Department for the Economy - Spending Plans for 2023/24 Consultation

Closed 30 Aug 2023

Opened 7 Jun 2023


The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (SoS) announced the 2023/24 Budget for Northern Ireland on 27 April 2023. This will see Northern Ireland departments receive £14.2 billion of Resource DEL funding and £2.2 billion of Capital DEL funding.  The Department for the Economy (DfE) has been allocated funding of £772 million Resource DEL (RDEL) and £246 million Capital DEL (CDEL) for 2023/24.

Overall, Northern Ireland departments face a 0.4% reduction in budgets; DfE’s reduction is 1.3% against its 2022/23 year-end position.  However, this does not reflect the real reduction in DfE RDEL spending power.  In addition to the 1.3% (£13 million) reduction, DfE’s one-off savings, totalling £75 million, delivered in 2022/23, must now be replicated in 2023/24, and additional new pressures including pay and price also funded.  When comparing the SoS’s budget to the Draft Budget 2022–25, DfE must deliver its services with £100 million less and in addition, fund pressures of £30 million identified for 2023/24. Therefore, DfE’s overall resource spending power is reduced by £130 million, or 16%.

Managing a shortfall of this magnitude will undoubtedly impact DfE’s ability to deliver public services in 2023/24, including funding of further education and higher education, skills measures, and the activities of our Arm’s Length Bodies (ALBs) which deliver services and support for areas including economic development, tourism, creative and screen industries, consumer protection, workplace safety and resolving disputes at work. To live within the funding available, difficult decisions must be taken and will potentially have longer term implications. 

Why your views matter

The purpose of this Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA) is to present the proposed decisions required by DfE to live within its 2023/24 Budget allocation and the potential impact to people in Section 75 categories of those decisions on the services and support DfE provides.  Your comments and feedback on the proposed indicative budget policy and impacts of those proposed decisions is sought through this consultation. 

Decisions around budget reductions need to be made urgently so they can be implemented to take effect as early in the financial year as possible. This will allow business areas, Arm’s Length Bodies (ALBs) and organisations who depend on our funding to make plans as soon as possible. DfE has decided that it can best balance the challenges presented by the tight financial timescales, with its own desire to hold a meaningful consultation, by adopting a two-stage approach.

DfE will consult for a 12-week period until 30 August 2023.  However, we encourage responses within the initial four weeks of the consultation period (up to 05 July 2023) as views received during this time will be used to inform DfE’s initial allocation of funds to its business areas and ALBs, as well as any early mitigations that can be put in place.  Responses received between week 5 and week 12 of the consultation (06 July to 30 August 2023) will be used to consider further mitigation measures, to inform in-year budget reallocation processes, and to direct any additional funding (or further reductions) that emerge over the course of the financial year.




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