Monitoring round further proof of need for Infrastructure Commission, says Muir

The latest Executive monitoring round is further proof of the need for an Infrastructure Commission, Alliance Infrastructure spokesperson Andrew Muir MLA has said.

Mr Muir was speaking after Finance Minister Conor Murphy announced the latest allocation of money to Departments. While the Department for Infrastructure received over £68 million, Mr Muir said £35.9 million of capital funding from the Treasury remained unspent and would be handed back if that remained the case.

“Many of the allocations announced today are well needed, such as to Translink, which is experiencing serious cost pressures as a result of a drop in passenger numbers, and NI Water, which is seeing massive hikes in energy costs,” he said.

“However, millions in capital funding remains at risk of being handed back, which would be nothing short of scandalous in the current climate, particularly when we should be driving investment across Northern Ireland. We seriously cannot have a situation where almost £36 million in capital funding is not spent.

“This highlights again the pressing need for an independent Infrastructure Commission, which could drive delivery and tackle the systemic problem of utilising capital funding, money which is designed to improve our infrastructure.

“Treasury must show greater flexibility and the Finance Minister must ensure all funding is utilised. With so many in struggling in the face of the cost of living crisis and numerous areas crying out for investment, it would be shameful to see monies sent back unspent.”