Overspend further evidence of need for fiscal floor, says Tennyson

Alliance Finance spokesperson Eóin Tennyson has said projections that Stormont departments are to overspend by up to £1 billion is further evidence of the need for a fiscal floor.

Eóin Tennyson Finance

He was speaking after the Permanent Secretary in the Department of Finance, Neil Gibson, confirmed that the Executive’s budget is currently on course for an overspend of £450 million, which rises to £1 billion once pay awards are accounted for. This follows an overspend of £300 million in the previous financial year.


The Upper Bann MLA has said: “The Secretary of State has previously inferred that overspends have arisen as a result of Executive mismanagement. That a pressure of up to £1bn has accumulated on his watch, even after significant cuts with untold damage for our public services and communities, is clear evidence that such an argument has no basis in reality.


“Northern Ireland’s public finances are on a dangerous trajectory. We are now the only devolved nation currently funded below our level of need, as attested to by the Fiscal Council, and the ongoing absence of an Executive is hampering any opportunity to place our public finances on a more sustainable footing.


“The people of Northern Ireland cannot be punished for this political crisis. What is urgently required is a fiscal floor, building upon the experience of the Welsh Government, to ensure our block grant cannot dip below our level of relative need. A financial package will also clearly be required to ensure stabilisation and make pay awards, but also to enable transformation through tackling the cost of division and reforming public services.”