The Executive today agreed almost £220 million of Covid funding to support the social recovery from Covid. The health service, education, the arts, charities and sports organisations are among the beneficiaries.
In addition to the £219.9million, £96.1 million is being allocated to meet costs associated with the business support schemes (an increase on the £80.9 million held centrally included within Budget 2021-2022).
Announcing the allocations, Minister Murphy said: “Although the COVID 19 restrictions are easing, the impact of COVID on society remains profound. The £220 million I am allocating will support the social recovery from Covid.
“I’m providing nearly £60 million to support the health service. This will help continue the roll out of the Covid-19 vaccination programme which has been hugely successful. The pandemic has had a significant impact on mental wellbeing and I have provided funding for a number of mental health interventions. I’m also conscious that many people are experiencing long-term impacts from Covid. Funding has therefore been provided to support individuals managing the long term health effects of Covid.
“Over £50 million is being allocated to support our children and young people’s education. This includes £20 million to provide laptops for teachers and voluntary youth services, £10 million for well-being and pastoral support for students, funding for Special Educational Needs services as well as support for the Irish Medium sector, outdoor education centres and outdoor play in primary schools.
“I am also providing £9 million for the Further Education Sector to ensure a safe learning for students including through funding for Covid testing.”
Minister Murphy continued: “Recognising the impact of the pandemic on unemployment levels I am allocating £12 million to support older people returning to employment.
“I am also providing £13 million to support recovery within the Arts, Cultural and Heritage sector, £5 million to support charities and social enterprises, and £5 million for sports organisations.”
The Minister concluded: “As we lift restrictions these allocations will bolster the health service and fund the social recovery from Covid.”
Other allocations include:
- Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs – £2.6 million to include funding for Wastewater Surveillance Programme, Rural Business Community Fund and Rural Community Ornamental Garden Scheme.
- Department for Communities – £10 million for councils, £3 million for Community Support Programme, £1 million for Food Interventions, £0.8 million to support town and city centres and £0.5 million for IT support.
- Department for the Economy – £14.1 million for the Large Hospitality and Tourism Business Support Scheme and £18 million for the Covid Restrictions Business Support Scheme.
- Department of Finance – £64m for the Localised Business Support Scheme and £2.7 million for loss of income, staffing and recruitment.
- Department of Justice – £21.5 million – funding for cross-justice recovery, NI Courts and Tribunal Service, NI Prison Service and PSNI.
- Department for Infrastructure – £20 million for lost income.
- Public Prosecution Service for cross-justice recovery – £1.3 million.