Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd has expressed serious concern about the impact of rising energy costs on the services being provided by his Department and its delivery organisations.
Minister O’Dowd said:
“The Department for Infrastructure and our arms-length bodies deliver essential public services across the north. The continued lack of an Executive agreed multi-year budget and the absence of additional resources from London for pay and energy costs presents real challenges for the Department and for the planning and delivery of public services. This includes the provision of water and waste water treatment, public transport, and the maintenance and management of the roads and rivers assets that keep people safe.
“The Department is facing unprecedented resource pressures of over £180m in 2022-23 as a result of the increase in energy prices and inflation which remain extremely volatile. This currently includes some £70m of energy pressures of which £50m relates to NI Water.
“The combination of these budget pressures and the Cost of Living Crisis is presenting an extremely serious situation which, if not addressed, will result in very difficult decisions having to be taken including further cuts to services that are already operating in a constrained environment. The lack of a functioning Executive also means the tough political decisions that are needed, to develop more sustainable public services for the long term, are not possible. While I will continue to work to deliver on behalf of the public, I also need to be straight about my Department’s ability to function effectively in these circumstances outside the normal budget process.”
Notes to editors:
- All media queries should be directed to the Department for Infrastructure Press Office at: email@example.com
- 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.
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