“In the Autumn, Northern Ireland must have a proper Budget in place…”

As the only adult (politician) left in the room, the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, James Brokenshire, has intervened, for a second time, on NI Executive business and reallocated £131 million in funding to local departments [pdf file (216kb)].  From the BBC report

Health and education are the major beneficiaries of £131m in additional money for Northern Ireland.

The move was announced by Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire, as part of a reallocation of funds known as a monitoring round.

Health is to receive most of the cash – £60m – with education getting £30m.

The remainder of the money will be divided between other departments, with civil servants in control of spending after the collapse of Stormont.

The cash had been in the pipeline for Northern Ireland, £42m of it flowing from the chancellor’s spring budget in March, under the Barnett formula.

Most of the remaining money was left over as an underspend from the 2016-17 Stormont budget.

And from the NI Scretary of State’s statement

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, said:

“People are understandably concerned about the impact on public services and on business because of the lack of an Executive.

“What I am announcing to Parliament today is by no means a solution for the long-term. It is an interim step to keep Northern Ireland’s finances functioning in the continued absence of devolved government.

“In the Autumn, Northern Ireland must have a proper Budget in place to put its finances on a secure footing. Although we are not at that critical point yet, this is approaching.

“I do not want to have to bring forward a formal Budget myself. I want that power to be exercised by those who should be exercising it: the Northern Ireland parties, who have been elected by the people of Northern Ireland to provide devolved government here. But should an Executive not be in place, however, the UK Government remains prepared to legislate to pass a formal budget, and to take any further steps as may be required to uphold political stability.

“It should be for a power-sharing Executive to make use of the considerable spending power available to it and to address some of the big challenges facing Northern Ireland in the months ahead – not least in making Northern Ireland’s voice heard clearly in the process of EU Exit.

“An agreement is still possible, but the parties themselves have this within their own hands. We will continue to work with them over the summer, with the goal of getting the Northern Ireland Assembly up and running again.

“Fundamentally, Northern Ireland’s future is best served by local decision-making based on partnership and agreement. People want firm answers on their jobs, their schools, their hospitals, their community resources. Continuing uncertainty is not fair on anyone.”