123865 - Weather: Northern Ireland (Answered)

Paul Girvan
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, whether the Permanent Secretaries of devolved Departments in Northern Ireland have the authority to set up financial support schemes to address damage caused by severe weather conditions.

Mr Shailesh Vara

I sympathise with those who have been adversely affected by severe weather conditions recently.

The establishment of financial support schemes for damage caused by severe weather conditions is a devolved matter. As such, it would be a matter for Northern Ireland departments to consider and I have made no assessment as to the powers available to them in this regard.

More broadly, the fundamental issue is and remains the absence of Northern Ireland Ministers to take political decisions. The broader strategic decisions needed to tackle some of the key challenges facing Northern Ireland requires political direction to progress. That should be provided by local politicians through a power-sharing Executive, and that is why it is essential that we see devolution restored.