Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Karen Mullan has expressed concern that £20m in funding, which was earmarked as ‘additional’ money to tackle severe deprivation may instead have been used to cover budget shortfalls.
The money was provided as part of the Supply and Confidence Agreement which stated that any financial support would be “additional”. However, £16.5m went to the Department of Education, DAERA received £1.8m for its Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation scheme, and the Department of Health received £1.7m for Child Partnerships.
Karen Mullan said:
“We know that the Tory/DUP budget imposed real term cuts on many Departments.
“In this context it is important to know whether the £20m was actually added to programmes tackling deprivation or whether it was used to compensate for cuts to those programmes”.
“We have now written to the three Departments concerned to check whether this money is adding to anti-deprivation programmes or merely making up for cuts.”