125526 - Public Expenditure: Northern Ireland (Answered)

Nigel Dodds
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what recent discussions she has had with the head of the Northern Ireland civil service about the budget for the next financial year; and if she will make a statement.

Mr Shailesh Vara

In the absence of an Executive it has fallen to the Northern Ireland Civil Service to protect and preserve public services in Northern Ireland. The Secretary of State would like to put on record again her gratitude to David Sterling, as Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, and all of his colleagues, for the professionalism they have shown in taking on that responsibility.

We want to see a restored Executive taking forward the 2018-19 Budget, with the difficult decisions it requires made by locally elected politicians in the interests of the whole community. That will remain our overriding priority. In the meantime, the Secretary of State liaises regularly with David Sterling on a range of issues concerning the maintenance of public services, including the Budget situation, and that engagement will continue in the important weeks ahead.