Department for Infrastructure outlines final budget allocations for 2023-24

Date published: 03 July 2023

The Department for Infrastructure (DfI) has outlined its final resource budget allocations for the 2023-24 financial year.

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Despite having already taken significant action to reduce spending and to increase fares and charges to help sustain essential services, the Department faced a remaining £112m funding gap against a budget allocation of £523.4m.

Today’s announcement follows analysis of responses provided during the first four weeks of an Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) consultation on the budget.

Confirming funding decisions for this financial year, DfI Permanent Secretary Julie Harrison said: 

“I would like to thank everyone who took the time to respond to the EQIA consultation. Over 800 individuals and organisations told us very clearly about the impact of the budget allocation on public services we provide in relation to water, transport and planning, and on the people who need these services.     

“Around 95% of the Department’s resource budget delivers essential, front-line services; the vast majority of which are regulated, statutory, or contractually obliged. This leaves very limited scope to make the kind of cuts to spending that are required. That challenge has been exacerbated by decisions that had to be taken last year and which cannot be repeated. 

“After carefully considering the responses, I have had to make difficult decisions to ensure DfI and its delivery partners (DVA, Translink, NI Water, and Waterways Ireland) do everything possible to reduce spending and balance their budgets, while at the same time meeting responsibilities to deliver multiple statutory functions and keep people safe.”  

The Department had already reduced ‘discretionary’ spending, not entered into new resource funding commitments, maintained a limited service only on flood risk management and essential road maintenance, and stopped recruitment other than for business-critical roles. The following further decisions have now been confirmed: 

  • Stopping Departmental spend on road safety advertising and other programmes;
  • Ending the Cycling Proficiency Scheme (which supports teachers to develop children’s cycling skills);
  • Reducing the grant to Community Places (which provides independent planning advice to communities);
  • Providing a reduced allocation to the Active Travel School Programme; 
  • Dial-a-Lift services and the Disability Action Transport Scheme will be funded from 1 August at 95% of the level allocated for April to July;
  • Funding for the Assisted Rural Travel Scheme (ARTS) will continue at current levels;
  • Community Transport provision for the longer term will be reviewed, to ensure that we are maximising both value for money and outcomes through these key services;
  • Reductions to ALBs of £53.4m from their originally assessed requirements.

The Department will continue to assist Translink and NI Water as they work through the decisions that will be needed to meet their contractual and regulatory responsibilities within the funding that is available to them.  It is recognised that some decisions that would need to be taken to live within budget allocations are not within the power of Senior Officials to take under the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation Etc.) Act 2022, amended by the Northern Ireland (Interim Arrangements) Act 2023 in the absence of an appropriate decision maker. 

 These include: 

  • stopping waste-water treatment; 
  • reducing essential road maintenance to emergency response only;
  • reducing winter service to snow clearance only; 
  • stopping the community transport programme; 
  • switching off streetlights (options are being assessed for 24/25); 
  • stopping flood prevention programmes.

As the Department has made clear throughout, if political decisions are not taken during the year to increase budget allocations or to implement the measures listed above, spend in 2023/24 will exceed the current allocation.  

Notes to editors: 

  1. The Department’s total resource requirement for 2023-24 to provide a standard service across all areas was c£691m.  The allocation was £523m which equates to a 14% cut when compared to last year.
    During 2022-23 and continuing in 23/24, the Department sought to improve future sustainability of its services by increasing rail, bus and ferry fares and on street parking charges.
  2. The Department also undertook a zero-based budget exercise and restructured to further align effort against key activities, control and prioritise vacancies and manage headcount, and accelerated LED streetlight replacements to reduce energy consumption.
  3. The EQIA report is available at:
  4. All media queries should be directed to the Department for Infrastructure Press Office at:
  5. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.
  6. Follow the Department on Twitter @deptinfra on Facebook @DepartmentforInfrastructure and on LinkedIn at DfILinkedIn

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