Senior Treasury official takes control of Stormont money after UK legislative move

A senior finance ministry official has taken control of Stormont’s finances after the UK government in Westminster triggered legislation under the Northern Ireland Act.

eil Gibson at the department will act until a new budget is in place, but he will not have the power to distribute more than the £400m of unallocated funds Stormont has had from London since the draft budget .

Northern Ireland is currently without a devolved government with the DUP and its leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson refusing to enter power-sharing institutions or the executive without the full implementation of legislation overriding the protocol.

The cross-community arrangements at Stormont mean that without the DUP the executive cannot sit and the party has so far failed to agree a nomination for a Speaker of the Assembly.

Without an Assembly in office, Westminster politicians will invoke powers under Section 59 of the Northern Ireland Act.

While it won’t add more money to the coffers of interim ministers at Stormont, the move will open up the possibility of more money being spent.

A Stormont Finance Department spokesperson confirmed that the Permanent Secretary had written to all departments setting out the cash and resource limits available to ministers.

A finance ministry spokesman said the arrangements were on an “unforeseen” basis and “do not replace an agreed budget”.

“It is necessary because, in the absence of a vote on a finance law for the year 2022-23, a certain number of departments are reaching the cash limit which had been authorized by the Assembly during the vote. accounts in March. ensure that services can continue to be provided,” a spokesperson continued.

“For most departments, this new authorization has been set at around 60% of the departments’ provision for the 2021-22 financial year. This will be reviewed at the end of October 2022.

“While departments have legal cover to continue spending on service delivery, they will still not have the certainty that an agreed budget would provide.”

The Northern Ireland office has been contacted

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