Northern Ireland Budget (No. 2) Bill

Explanatory Notes

Commentary on provisions of Bill

Clause 1: Issue of sum out of the Consolidated Fund for year ending 31 March 2019 and appropriation of that sum

26 Clause 1 authorises the issue out of the Consolidated Fund of Northern Ireland the sum of £8,907,660,000 for the purposes set out in Schedule 1. This authorisation is in addition to the authorisation in section 4 of the Northern Ireland Budget (Anticipation and Adjustments) Act 2018. This is not new money, as it is an authorisation for issue from the Consolidated Fund of Northern Ireland as would normally be done by the Assembly. The sums referred to are those already appropriated by Parliament through the UK Estimates process, together with revenue generated within Northern Ireland.

Clause 2: Power of the Department of Finance to borrow

27 Clause 2 authorises the temporary borrowing by the Northern Ireland Department of Finance of approximately half the sum covered by Clause 1. This is to safeguard against the possibility of a temporary deficiency arising in the Consolidated Fund of Northern Ireland and any such borrowing is to be repaid by 31 March 2019.

Clause 3: Use of resources (other than accruing resources) in the year ending 31 March 2019

28 Clause 3 authorises the use of resources amounting to £9,934,658,000 in the year ending 31 March 2019 by the bodies listed in Clause 3(3) for the purposes specified in column 1 of Schedule 2; the amount authorised is set out in column 2 of that Schedule. As with Clause 1, this authorisation is in addition to the authorisation in section 6 of the Northern Ireland Budget (Anticipation and Adjustments) Act 2018.

29 There is a distinction between the cash sum authorised for issue in Clause 1, and the amount of resources authorised for use in Clause 3. The cash sum in Clause 1 includes cash used to finance capital investment, and also takes into account movement in working capital and payments based on provisions created in previous years. These do not constitute resource consumption. The resources authorised in Clause 3 exclude those items, but include non-cash items, mainly the depreciation of assets and creation of new provisions.

Clause 4: Limits on use of certain accruing resources in the year ending 31 March 2019

30 Clause 4 sets limits on the accruing resources, including both operating and non-operating accruing resources, which may be used for the purposes specified in column 1 of Schedule 2 in the year ending 31 March 2019. These limits are set out in column 3 of that Schedule.

Clause 5: Act to take effect as if it were a Budget Act of the Assembly etc

31 Clause 5 provides for this Bill to have the same effect as if it were an Act of the Northern Ireland Assembly. It also modifies references in other pieces of legislation to the Northern Ireland Estimates which would normally form part of the Assembly’s supply process, including the consideration of the estimates by the Assembly’s committees and the approval of the estimates document by a vote in the Assembly. For those purposes an Estimates document laid before Parliament, which will accompany the introduction of the Bill, is deemed equivalent to those Assembly processes. Clause 5(3) would require the Northern Ireland Audit Office and the Northern Ireland Public Service Ombudsman to prepare their accounts in accordance with the Estimates laid before Parliament.

Clause 6: Repeal of spent provisions

32 Clause 6 is short and self-explanatory. It repeals two Budget Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly from 2015 which are now deemed to be spent.

Clause 7: Interpretation

33 Clause 7 is short and self-explanatory. It provides the meaning of some terms used with the Bill.

Clause 8: Short title

34 Clause 8 is short and self-explanatory. It provides the short title for the Act, once it is passed.

Schedule 1: Sums granted for the year ending 31 March 2019

35 Schedule 1 sets out the purpose and sums of money granted to Northern Ireland departments and other bodies under this Bill (under Clause 1).

Schedule 2 – Amounts of resources authorised for use and amounts of accruing resources which may be used in year ending 31 March 2019

36 Schedule 2 sets out the amount of resources authorised for use by Departments and other bodies (see Clause 3), and the limits to use of accruing resources (see Clause 4).

 

Prepared 10th July 2018