The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee has today launched an inquiry that will examine the UK Government’s commitments in the New Decade, New Approach (NDNA) agreement that restored Northern Ireland’s Executive after a three-year absence. The Inquiry will focus on the allocation of £2 billon of funding to sustain the devolved institutions in Northern Ireland.
On 13 January 2020 the acceptance of New Decade, New Approach (NDNA) agreement by all parties in Northern Ireland heralded the end of three years without an Executive. The UK Government has committed £2bn funding to address Northern Ireland’s public services, including health, education and infrastructure, while commitments have been made in the NDNA to improve the stability of Northern Ireland’s devolved institutions. The Inquiry will attempt to determine the efficacy of the NDNA deal. It will examine whether the funding is sufficient to create the desired policy outcomes, and at the desirability of multi-party negotiations as a means of deciding on the allocation of extra funding in Northern Ireland.
Simon Hoare, Chair of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee said: “Three years without devolved government left funding and scrutiny gaps in Northern Ireland. Public services, such as health and education, were left short of staff, short of funding, and short of certainty. Thankfully, the New Decade, New Approach agreement, which was so decisive in the restoration of Stormont and the Executive, provides hope that these issues will be addressed with urgency. But in keeping with the spirit of improved transparency and scrutiny enshrined within the Agreement, the deal itself must also be scrutinised. Our inquiry will assess how the Agreement will affect funding for public services and the sustainability of Northern Ireland’s devolved institutions.”
Terms of reference:
The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee would welcome the submission of written evidence on the New Deal, New Approach agreement that addresses:
Whether the UK Government’s commitment of £2 billion is sufficient to transform public service provision in Northern Ireland;
What evidence and calculations underpin the £2 billion commitment;
How UK Government funding should be allocated to Northern Ireland and whether it should be linked to the functioning of devolved institutions in Northern Ireland;
the potential merits and/or demerits of establishing an Independent Fiscal Council in Northern Ireland to assess the Executive’s use of public money;
The potential effect of the New Decade, New Approach agreement on the future sustainability of devolved institutions in Northern Ireland; and Whether the deal excludes other measures that might improve good governance in Northern Ireland.