Northern Ireland news

£90 million extra for health service as part of £250m reallocation of Stormont funds

The health service has received an additional £90 million as part of a reallocation of Stormont funds
David Young, Press Association

Northern Ireland's under-pressure health service has received an additional £90 million as part of a £250 million reallocation of Stormont funds.

The £12 million required to extend free school meal support for around 100,000 children over the summer months is also included in the June monitoring round.

The spending plans also include £2.5 million for set-up costs of the controversy-hit compensation scheme for people injured during the Troubles.

More than £10 million has also been provided to support the childcare sector, which has been severely impacted during the Covid-19 lockdown.

READ MORE: Nichola Mallon frustrated that Northern Ireland 'left behind' on face masks

Monitoring rounds reallocate unspent funds within Stormont departments to in-year emerging priorities.

They happen three times a financial year.

This round has been dominated by addressing pressures created by the coronavirus emergency.

The exercise had been delayed by a week as a result of the ongoing political dispute over the victims' compensation scheme.

Sinn Fein is unhappy about criteria for payments that could potentially exclude former paramilitary prisoners while the Stormont Executive as a whole is at odds with the Government over how the scheme will be funded.

While those issues remain to be resolved, ministers have signed off on funds that would enable the scheme to be set up.

More than £10 million has been provided to support the childcare sector

Unveiling the outcome of the exercise to the Assembly, Finance Minister Conor Murphy said: "The allocations made today will provide vital funding for our health service, vulnerable people and businesses.

"A further £90 million has been allocated to health. This includes funding for Elective Care and for the Mental Health Action Plan which is integral to the wider Covid-19 recovery.

"To support children during this pandemic, I have allocated £12 million for a summer food scheme, £12 million for summer activities and £10.5 million for childcare.

"Over £15 million has been provided for the most vulnerable in society. This will help meet increased benefit delivery costs, assist vulnerable people to live independently and will provide support for the homeless.

"I am also allocating £20 million for business start-ups and investment in tourist attractions.

"In addition, I have allocated £4 million to assist the arts sector and £2 million for the sports sector."

Other allocations include:

- £35.5 million for infrastructure, including £20 million for Translink, £10 million for other transport lost income and £5.5 million for NI Water

- £25 million for Ulster University Greater Belfast Development

- £13.5 million for the NI Courts Service, PSNI and NI Prison Service

- £3.6 million for education authority pressures and £300,000 for school uniform grants

- £2.5 million for higher education

- £2.2 million for Invest NI

- £500,000 for Covid-19 public information communications.

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