Budget welcomed

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DUP Upper Bann MP David Simpson has welcomed the 2018/19 budget announced by the Northern Ireland Secretary of State at Westminster.

Mr Simpson, pictured, says that as a result of the Confidence and Supply agreement between the DUP and the Conservative Party, the agriculture and environment department will see a 2.1% increase in its budget for next year. This contrasts with the budget consultation document which proposed cuts of up to 10% for the agriculture and environment department.

David Simpson commented: “I welcome the 2018/19 budget announcement in Westminster by the Secretary of State which gives certainty for Northern Ireland Government Departments for the next financial year. As a result of the Confidence and Supply agreement between the DUP and the Conservative Party, following the last Westminster election, the budget contains an additional £410 million for the next financial year. This has resulted in the agriculture and environment department in Northern Ireland receiving a 2.1% boost to its budget. This is a very good outcome for rural communities throughout Northern Ireland and contrasts with the budget consultation document which proposed cuts of up to 10% for the DAERA budget. Additional money will also be made available for health, education, infrastructural projects and justice.

“There are many challenges facing rural communities throughout Northern Ireland. I believe that this budget announcement will provide sufficient resources for DAERA to carry out all of its key functions as well as prepare for Brexit. It is vital that the Department moves forward with key programmes including getting on top of the TB problem in both cattle and the wildlife population and delivering the Sustainable Agricultural Land Management Strategy,” he added.

“The Democratic Unionist Party would far prefer to see a Budget for Northern Ireland being laid before the Assembly by a locally elected and locally accountable Finance Minister.  For thirteen months Sinn Fein has blocked attempts to reestablish a local Executive. Their elevation of narrow political interest over the real needs of the people have made it necessary for the Secretary of State to step in and deliver this Budget.”