Page last updated at 12:00 GMT, Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Paterson welcomes Stormont draft budget

Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson has welcomed the draft budget agreed by the Stormont Executive, which he said involved a "substantial allocation" to the police service.

On 15 December 2010, Mr Paterson assured MPs that if Northern Ireland's security situation deteriorated, the UK government would be prepared to consider "going to the contingency reserve for extra funds".

At Commons question time, Mr Paterson faced concerns from MPs that public spending cuts would affect policing in Northern Ireland, where the threat level is currently "severe".

Labour's Bill Esterson asked: "Will you understand the very real public concern not just in Northern Ireland but elsewhere in the UK about any cuts in frontline policing in Northern Ireland and the impact they would have on security and on public safety?"

Mr Paterson replied: "I'm fully aware of the concern that the small number of terrorists presents and that is why this government has made a fair settlement on the Executive.

"And that is why I'm very pleased today that the Executive agreed a draft budget with a substantial allocation to the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland).

"We have made it absolutely clear that should the security position deteriorate, we will be open to further discussions with the Executive, as was agreed by the previous government."

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