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Broadcasting: Northern Ireland

Question for Northern Ireland Office

UIN 78927, tabled on 22 July 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, with reference to page 49 of the New Decade, New approach document, published in January 2020, what progress has been made on discussions with NI Screen on broadening the remit of the Ulster Scots Broadcasting Fund.

Answered on

3 September 2020

The UK Government has provided £2 billion of funding to support implementation of the New Decade, New Approach deal. £545 million of this has already been allocated. The £2 billion includes a £1bn Barnett-based investment guarantee from the UK Government, which will include significant new funding to turbocharge infrastructure investment. This guarantee will apply in all circumstances, and allow the Executive to plan new investment over a five year period. £245m will support the transformation of public services, including transformation across health, education and justice. Funding release will be tied to the delivery of reform. The deal also provided £550m to help put the Executive’s finances on a sustainable footing, including £200 million over three years to resolve the nurses’ pay dispute immediately and deliver pay parity.

Alongside this, the UK Government has provided £60m of capital and resource funding to deliver a Northern Ireland Graduate Entry Medical School in Derry/Londonderry, which has now been approved by the Executive. The UK Government will provide £50m over two years to support the rollout of ultra-low emission public transport.

The Honourable Member has inquired about a range of specific areas of funding, including mental health support, tackling deprivation, tackling paramilitarism, the Castlereagh Foundation, centenary funding, culture and community funding, language and broadcasting support, support for the armed forces and veterans, IFI funding and a fund to promote the competitiveness of the Northern Ireland economy.

£140m of funding has been set aside in the New Decade, New Approach package to address Northern Ireland’s unique circumstances. The overall profiling of this spend to address Northern Ireland’s unique circumstances remains subject to final decisions by ministers. Where identified projects fall within devolved competencies, further discussions are needed with the Executive to establish the amount of funding which is required. We look forward to being able to confirm the detail across all these projects as soon as it is possible to do so.