Question Time: Finance Monday 22 February 2021

Finance Minister Conor Murphy answers Members questions in the Assembly Chamber 22 February 2021. Read the Official Report (Hansard) –

Each of the questions answered have been chaptered in the video to help you find them more easily.

Chapters / Questions

00:00 – Troubles Permanent Disablement Payment Scheme
Questions 1, 9 and 14 taken together.

1. Mr Butler asked the Minister of Finance for an update on his Department’s engagement with the Executive Office on the Troubles permanent disablement payment scheme. (AQO 1611/17-22)

9. Mr T Buchanan asked about delays to payments. (AQO 1619/17-22)

14. Ms Dillon asked whether there will be a meeting with the Secretary of State. (AQO 1624/17-22)

07:27 – Fiscal Council
Questions 2 and 12 taken together.

2. Ms Ennis asked the Minister of Finance for an update on the establishment of the fiscal council. (AQO 1612/17-22)

Question 12 on the establishment of the Fiscal Council came from Mr Lyttle (AQO 1622/17-22)

13:11 – COVID-19: Aviation Industry

3. Miss McIlveen asked the Minister of Finance whether he will work with Executive colleagues to prepare a comprehensive package of measures to assist businesses that service the aviation industry and that have been badly impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. (AQO 1613/17-22)

15:57 – Premiere People: NICS Contract

4. Mr Carroll asked the Minister of Finance for a breakdown of the £425 million contract with Premiere People for the provision of temporary agency workers for the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS), agencies and non-departmental public bodies. (AQO 1614/17-22)

23:17 – COVID-19: Budget Implications

5. Mr Robinson asked the Minister of Finance to outline the medium- to long-term Budget implications of the COVID-19 pandemic. (AQO 1615/17-22)

27:45 – January Monitoring Round: Departmental Bids
Questions 6, 8 and 11 taken together

6. Ms Hunter asked the Minister of Finance for an update on departmental bids for unspent COVID-19 funds made since the start of 2021. (AQO 1616/17-22)

Question 8 referred to road improvements (AQO 1618/17-22)

Question 11 referred to laptops for online learning (AQO 1621/17-22)

Topical Questions

29:44 – Unspent Funding
T1. Mr Nesbitt asked the Minister of Finance to inform the House of the quantum of funds at risk of being unspent and therefore lost to the Treasury. (AQT 1021/17-22)

31:50 – Fiscal Management
T2. Mr Newton asked the Minister of Finance, given that he will be aware of the code of practice and established rules of the OECD which are embedded in the Treasury’s ‘Improving Spending Control’ guidance, whether he agrees that where it states in that guidance that “devolved administrations, and their Arms Length Bodies will be expected to monitor and manage information about spending effectively, including improving the skills needed, in order to help them deliver their spending plans” that is a good foundation for fiscal management. (AQT 1022/17-22)

34:27 – IT Provision
T3. Ms Hunter asked the Minister of Finance whether he will allocate extra resources to schools by extending for another year the Engage programme and the provision of expanded IT support for schools and IT equipment for children who do not have adequate IT at home for schooling. (AQT 1023/17-22)

36:37 – Winter Fuel Allowance
T4. Mrs Barton asked the Minister of Finance, in light of what should have been the automatic payment of winter fuel allowance in Nov and Dec having been quite problematic in a number of areas, what steps is his Department taking to resolve the issues to avoid a repeat of the problems next year. (AQT 1024/17-22)

37:53 – Gender Identity
T5. Ms Sheerin asked the Minister of Finance whether he agrees with the transgender community here in its call for a change in the law to allow people to declare their own gender identity rather than enduring a medical process to receive a medical declaration. (AQT 1025/17-22)

39:17 – Job Start
T6. Mr Durkan asked the Minister of Finance how much money came here by way of Barnett consequentials for the youth labour market intervention that is known as Kickstart in Britain, was proposed as Job Start here but is now known as “false start”, given that it, too, has been shelved by the Minister for Communities after months of preparation by businesses and promises to young people. (AQT 1026/17-22)

41:46 – Hospices: Financial Support
T7. Mr Gildernew asked the Minister of Finance, in light of the fact that the pandemic has had a devastating impact on the fundraising activities of hospices, and given the crucial role that those organisations play in caring for people with terminal illnesses, with the fact that there remains money to allocate in this financial year, whether he will consider an injection of financial support, further to the more than £15 million that he provided previously, to help hospices through this difficult period. (AQT 1027/17-22)