People are being asked for their feedback on a briefing paper issued by the Department of Finance on how Northern Ireland spends its money.
The Department of Finance says that a number of options are available for balancing the budget and they are intended to inform debate about the issues that will face an Executive Ministers ahead of the new financial year.
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Important decisions need to be made about future public funding, including Health and Social Care and people need to be involved in these decisions.
The briefing paper sets out three scenarios. These scenarios are not proposed budget settlements and no decisions have yet been taken. Their purpose is to show the kinds of choices that will need to be considered by Ministers in reaching agreement on a Budget, and to help inform debate on public spending.
- Scenario one is similar to the approach of the previous Executive in 2016-17 (and then maintained in 2017-18). It provides no central fund for new actions and interventions in support of the Programme for Government (PfG).
- Scenario two is similar to scenario one but assumes a level of new funding from additional income generation/reviews of existing policies which could be used to fund additional pressures. It provides a central fund for new actions and interventions in support of PfG of £40 million in 2018-19 and £50 million in 2019-20.
- Scenario three relies more heavily on departmental reductions to allow available funding to be redirected to priorities such as health and schools. It provides a central fund for new actions and interventions in support of PfG of £30 million in 2018-19 and £40 million in 2019-20.
Within the scenarios, a number of revenue raising ideas have been put forward for various Government Departments, including Health. Some of the Health ideas include:
- Increasing in patient charging for dental services
- Increasing Health and Social Care Trust car parking charges
- Prescription charges
- Charging for domiciliary care and day care
- Charging more for community meals
What do you think about revenue raising within Health and Social Care services?
You can have your say on these suggestions. Visit https://www.finance-ni.gov.uk/publications/briefing-northern-ireland-budgetary-outlook-2018-20 for more information on how to do this. Feedback should be given to the Department of Finance by 26th January 2018.