A key issue for the Northern Irish Government’s new Budget is whether it will include a new funding package for the region’s social services.
The Department of Social Protection has been pushing for a funding package that would include more money for social care.
A Department of Finance report said that if there was no new money for Northern Ireland’s social care services, it would be “immediately followed by the loss of the social care funding that was available under the last Budget”.
A spokesperson for the Department of Northern Ireland said the issue of a new round of funding for the social sector was still being considered.
The spokesperson said: “The Government is still in the early stages of working out the details of a package for Northern Irish Social Care and the Department is taking a cautious approach to the issue.
We are now in the process of finalising the final package for this funding.”
The government spokesperson added: “As this issue has been discussed in great detail in the past, it is not appropriate to discuss the exact details of the final Government Budget at this time.
It is a priority for the Government to work with the Northern Powerhouse to ensure that there is a package to support the health, social care and social security needs of Northern citizens, particularly those living in remote areas.”
We have made a number of commitments over the last two years to deliver significant improvements in the lives of people living in communities across the Northern powerhouse.
“In addition, the Government has committed to working with the local communities to deliver a number, but not all, of the key deliverables from the Northern Executive.”
The Department has promised to provide more funding to local communities over the next four years, and a further £1 billion will be given to local councils and local authorities in 2019-20.
According to the Northern Social Care Authority, social services will continue to be at the heart of the Northern Government’s approach to improving the lives and wellbeing of people across the region.
Social Care Minister Simon Coveney said that the funding would be a “step change” from the previous Government’s funding.
“This is a significant investment that will provide an immediate and lasting boost to our local community services,” he said.
He said: This is a step change in how we are delivering the services that are needed.
We know that in the community we have seen a dramatic improvement in social care in recent years.
“Northern Ireland has one of the lowest rates of suicide rates in Europe. “
It is clear that the Northern Health Service is in a financial position to deliver social care for all of our people and we will do all we can to deliver that.”
“Northern Ireland has one of the lowest rates of suicide rates in Europe.
It’s a challenge for us to build on this and create a stronger economy.”
What we know about the new budget: Sources: The Irish Telegraph, The Times, BBC News, The Guardian, Irish Examiner, BBC, Northern Ireland Office, Northern Health Authority, NI Social Care, Northern Powerhouses, Department of Health, Northern Finance