NI Fiscal Council welcomes the Public Accounts Committee's ‘Review of the Northern Ireland Budget Process’

The NI Fiscal Council welcomes the Review of the Northern Ireland Budget Process by the Public Accounts Committee, and in particular supports the recommendation that there should be more long-term fiscal planning by the Executive.

The Council published an assessment of the 2022-25 Draft Budget in January, highlighting that while it is balanced, it lacks strategic priority-setting beyond health.

Sir Robert Chote, Chair of the Council said "While the golden opportunity of a three-year budget has unfortunately now been lost, a new Executive still has a the potential to put in place a reforming budget after the May election."

"The PAC's call for alignment between the Programme for Government and budget processes chimes with what we have heard from our stakeholders.  Many also said that they had difficulty following the budget figures, and the Council intends to continue to prioritise this area of transparency".

Sir Robert added "We noted that there were some useful advances in transparency in this Draft Budget, but there is much more that could be done - for example accompanying the spending proposals with an up-to-date forecast for spending in the current year and comparable figures for previous years."