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Expenditure on DE services over £1.7 Billion says Ruane



19 June 2007

Department of Education

The Minister for Education, Caitriona Ruane, today announced that expenditure on Education in 2006-07 was £1.712billion.

Commenting on the figures the Minister said "This represents a significant investment in the provision of education services for children and young people last year. Education is going through a period of change, both in terms of the curriculum and how we manage our schools estate. This presents challenges and opportunities to everyone involved in education and emphasises the importance for all of us to ensure our budget is used to best effect for all pupils."

Against total recurrent budget available for 2006-07 (£1.655billion) the outturn figures mean that £70.7 million was not spent in that financial year.

Commenting on the figures the Minister said: "Of this £70.7million, more than £67million related to recurrent funding allocated to schools or Education and Library Boards and remains committed to them.

"It is inevitable that there will be some level of prudence, as schools and Boards have a clear responsibility not to overspend their allocations - and they are obviously taking this very seriously - but I want to stress that all of the funding allocated to schools and Education and Library Boards in the financial year remains committed to those schools and Boards and will be carried forward to be spent in future years - none of this funding will be lost to Education."

In stressing the importance of robust and effective financial management, Ms Ruane said: "I want to ensure that we continue to deliver high quality education services in the North of Ireland through making full use of all of the resources at our disposal."

The Minister went on to say that it was important to recognise some very positive aspects underlying the outturn figures - for example, the increase in schools surpluses reflects a reduction in schools deficits as well as prudent planning for the future by schools whose pupil numbers are falling and that this was to be welcomed.

On the capital budget of almost £159million some £31million was not spent in the current year. The Minister said; "I am pleased with the continued capital investment in education and I acknowledge the challenges of delivering a major and rapidly growing capital investment programme with the potential for slippage in some projects.

"I want to reassure all of those involved, that the funding committed to those capital projects was not lost to education and will remain available for those projects in future years."



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