The Department for Communities has set out its final budget allocations for the 2023-24 business year.
The announcement follows publication of an initial budget assessment last month, and the completion of the first stage of an Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) consultation.
Confirming the funding decisions, DfC Permanent Secretary Colum Boyle said:
“I would like to thank everyone who responded to the EQIA. Over 180 individuals and organisations provided submissions, which we considered carefully in the Department’s decision-making process.
“Working closely with our delivery partners, we have sought to mitigate the significant and adverse impact of this sub-optimal budget across the vast array of public services and support delivered by the Department.
“Our shared priority remains supporting the most vulnerable and at-risk in our society, however, difficult decisions had to be made to live within the funding available.”
Funding decisions, in line with the measures set out in the EQIA, include:
- Continue to carry 600 vacancies;
- Rationalisation of the DfC office estate;
- 5% reduction in Arm’s Length Body budgets;
- £4.9m for the Rates Support Grant (£4m less than last year); and
- £159m will be provided to social housing for 1,470 new starts.
Mitigations have been provided for the following programmes and services:
- Funding will be sustained at last year’s levels for: the Supporting People Programme; for 280 community and voluntary organisations and for Labour Market Partnerships;
- £20m budget will be provided for Discretionary Support Grants; and
- Funding for homelessness interventions will be increased by £2m above the 2022-23 level.
In taking these decisions, the Department will manage a resource overplanning position of almost £10m in year.
The 2023-24 Budget settlement provided DfC with £861.6m Resource, £216.1m Capital and £25.6m Financial Transactions Capital (FTC).
This represented a Resource funding gap of £111.2m (15.5%) and a shortfall of £59m (27.3%) in capital required for 2023-24.
Notes to editors:
- The EQIA consultation will remain open until 02 August 2023 and all responses will be considered. It can be accessed here:
- The responses to the EQIA can be viewed here:
- DfC will continue to carry around 600 vacancies. This is likely to impact service delivery.
- Funding of £4.9m will be made available through the Rates Support Grant to support seven of our 11 councils. This is a reduction of £4m on last year’s funding.
- The baseline budget for Discretionary Support Grants is £13.7m. Last year the topped-up total spend on Grants was £40m.
- The Social Homes target for 2023-24 was 2,000 new starts.
- Homelessness Interventions will be increased by £2m (equivalent to 8%) above the 2022-23 level (NIHE’s spend in 2022-23 was £26.38m, with their indicative allocation for 2023-24 held at the same level, of £26.38m. The additional allocation will increase this to £28.38m in 2023-24).
- The Affordable Warmth Scheme capital allocation is £14m, compared to a final allocation of £16m in 2022-23).
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