Northern Ireland

School dinners and bus fares could be increased to counter budgetary pressures in education

Parents could face paying more for school meals under proposals to raise more revenue for Stormont departments.
Parents could face paying more for school meals under proposals to raise more revenue for Stormont departments. Parents could face paying more for school meals under proposals to raise more revenue for Stormont departments.

SCHOOL dinners and bus fares could be increased to counter budgetary pressures in education.

The BBC have reported the proposals were among those suggested as possible revenue generators across all Stormont departments.

Stormont’s political parties are due to meet on Thursday to discuss over 40 ideas set out in a briefing paper.

These include scrapping plans for free hospital car parking, increasing Housing Executive rents, MoT and driving test charges as well as street parking charges.

Other items listed on the document are water charges, raising tuition fees, introducing prescription fees, charging for domiciliary care as well as changes to dental charge exemptions.

The Department of Justice is suggesting a rise in court fees and charging for special police services, while farmers may have to pay more for Bovine TB testing and receive lower compensation payments.

On Wednesday, a protest was held in Belfast against proposals to scrap free public transport for over 60s, with another demonstration to be held this Saturday.

Read more

  • Protest to be staged in Belfast over proposals to scrap free travel for over 60s
  • Secretary of state considering revenue raising measures amid 'challenges' to public services

Earlier this month, the Northern Ireland secretary Chris Heaton-Harris said action was needed to bring Northern Ireland’s finances under control.

On the plans to find new sources of revenue, he said: “I asked for a lot of information from the Northern Ireland Civil Service who have done a tonne of work on this revenue-raising piece and answered the questions.

“I’m minded to go ahead with the public consultations but I want to actually read what’s been presented to me to make sure I am making the right decisions.”


He made the comments after meeting with the head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, Jayne Brady, and said the ongoing Stormont impasse was forcing difficult choices.

“Action needs to be taken to bring Northern Ireland’s public finances under control and make them sustainable for future years, and the necessary decisions have not been taken by local leaders to ensure affordable public service transformation can take place, and now that is being felt in the most undesirable of ways by people across Northern Ireland,” he said at the time.