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Flags/Parades/Protests/Dealing with the Past (Public Funding)

Volume 573: debated on Wednesday 15 January 2014

9. What public funding will be made available to help implement an agreement on flags, parades and protests, and dealing with the past. (901926)

I would urge the parties to continue their efforts to reach agreement on these matters. Since these areas fall mainly within the devolved field, funding for them is also devolved to Northern Ireland as part of the block grant.

There will be a waiting public wanting to see whether agreement can be reached on these very comprehensive matters. Will the Secretary of State ensure that whatever funding is needed in addition to the block grant to deliver this can be delivered to ensure a much more peaceful and prosperous future in Northern Ireland?

I agree that these issues are very important. They are difficult to resolve, and finding an agreed way forward would be very positive for Northern Ireland. However, it is primarily for the Northern Ireland Executive to find the money for these proposals within the block grant they are already allocated, which, as my right hon. Friend the Minister of State has pointed out, is considerably higher per head than elsewhere in the UK. We will of course consider proposals for additional funding, but the deficit means I can make no promises as to whether it will be granted.