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Spending Money Wisely

Northern Ireland is allocated over 18 billion pounds a year to provide and improve Public Services. One of the most important roles of the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive is to plan how to spend this sum. The spending plan is called the Budget.

In the current economic climate, with less money available, agreeing the Budget is not an easy task.

The money available to spend comes from Taxes or from selling government assets, such as land or buildings. The Assembly needs to plan carefully to make sure that money is spent wisely. MLAs have to decide how much money to allocate to each sector, for example schools, hospitals, roads, public transport or sports facilities.

In Northern Ireland, the Finance Minister is responsible for the budget making process. The Finance Minister talks to other Ministers to agree a draft budget. This has to be agreed by the Assembly.

Assembly Committees examine the draft budget and debate it in the Assembly Chamber. The Assembly may have to make some changes to the draft budget before approving it.

The Budget is agreed every four years (that involves spending over £70 billion). As our elected representatives, MLAs scrutinise Minister work including the way they spend taxpayers’ money. For every Minister and their Department, there is an Assembly committee that monitors their Department’s budget to ensure that money is being well spent.

With less money available, the Assembly must make difficult decisions. Could you make the cuts necessary to balance the Budget?

Spending the Northern Ireland Budget