This evening Andrew asked the Northern Ireland Secretary for the Government's forward plan for the budget in Stormont in the midst of ongoing political instability in the region.
'The head of the Northern Ireland civil service said to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee on 24 January: “It will be incredibly difficult for us if we do not have budget certainty by 8 February.” It is now 20 February. What will the Secretary of State now do to set a budget and therefore the political direction that Northern Ireland so needs?'
The Secretary of State replied: I' thank the Chair of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee. As I said in my statement, I am now working to ensure that we get certainty for civil servants in Northern Ireland—those dedicated public servants—and I will return to the House when I have further information.'