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NOVEMBER 16 2017 www.farmweek.com PRICE £1.30 (€2)
Concern over £6m cut
to agricultural budget
A
GRICULTURE in
Northern Ireland
has been dealt a
blow with a £6
million cut to its budget
for 2017/18 – leading to
fears that it may be a
sign of things to come for
farming.
Courtney prepares bull
for Lisahally autumn sale
SKILLS: Courtney Devine, 19,
Glenmornan, using her beauty skills
on this entry at the Richard Beattie
Lisahally Livestock Mart autumn
bull sale. FW1746-23DL
Picture: David Larmour
DAERA has moved to assure
farmers that the three per
cent reduction in its finances
will not have an impact on
existing services, however,
the Ulster Farmers’ Union
(UFU) says it is concerned
over the “direction of travel”
for agriculture.
“In the context of ambitious
plans to grow the farming
and food industries, a key
part of the local economy,
the Ulster Farmers’ Union is
disappointed that the DAERA
budget is being cut by three
per cent,” UFU President
Barclay Bell told FarmWeek.
“However, what is more
challenging is that we expect
further budget cuts in future
years. With the challenges of
Brexit upon us and just when
we need extra support, we are
concerned with the direction
of travel.”
The move means that the
agriculture and environment
portfolio will have a budget of
£192m to play with compared
to £197.9m in 2016/17, although
the Department of Finance
has cautioned that the budget
is not fully comparable to last
year due to timing differences.
The 2016/17 budget was
published before the start of
the financial year while this
budget comes mid-year and
includes in-year reallocations
and will only deal with the
REPORT
By TERRI LEONARD
t.leonard@farmweek.com
2017-18 financial year.
A spokesperson for DAERA
has also said the budget
cut will not mean further
staff reductions within the
department.
“The analysis presented
by the Secretary of State
for Northern Ireland on
November 13 shows that
DAERA’s opening 2016/17
budget position of £197.9m
has reduced by £5.9m to
the latest 2017/18 position of
£192m.
“This has mainly arisen
from the planned completion
of existing programmes and
the transfer of budgets to
other departments.
“There were no further
staff reductions in the
budget movements and
the adjustments have had
no impact on existing
programmes or services.”
The budget bill was
introduced this week by
Secretary of State James
Brokenshire in the continuing
absence of an Executive at
Stormont.
He said he had done so with
the “utmost reluctance” but
warned that public services
would have began to run out
of money if a budget wasn’t
put in place by the end of
November.
The bill sets out the
departmental allocations
that have been recommended
by the Northern Ireland
Civil Service and reflects
the budget that a returning
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