Advice NI Welcome Communities Minister Hargey Commitment to Advice Funding

Advice NI welcome the supportive comments made by Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey in relation to independent advice. 

This follows the publication of the Department’s Equality Impact Assessment on its proposed Budget 2021-22 allocation which included no allocation for the independent advice sector to support welfare change, equating to a £1.5m reduction in funding.

Bob Stronge, Chief Executive, Advice NI said:

“We really appreciate the supportive comments of the Minister. She is obviously committed to independent advice and the role it plays in protecting the vulnerable. Advice NI will continue to support the Minister in her efforts to improve the Department’s budget allocation and would encourage everyone to respond to the EQIA consultation and the Draft Budget consultation, highlighting the importance of independent advice.” 

Minister Hargey statement:

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has said that those most impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and economic crisis will not be denied access to advice support services.

Image removed.

Minister Hargey said: 

“It is clear that the draft budget presents very significant challenges for the Executive and across departments with a constrained Spending Review outcome, however one area that I see as being of vital importance is the provision of advice support services that are crucial to helping those people most impacted. My focus has always been on protecting those in most need I will ensure these critical services continue next year as an essential element of DfC’s budget.

“The Draft 2021-2022 Executive Budget is currently out for consultation and all responses will be taken into account in finalising the Budget. No decisions on the final outcome have been made yet.  Now is the chance for people to have their say on how the Draft Executive Budget will impact them, which will help shape final outcome.”

The Minister added: 

“I will continue to fight to protect those most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and current economic crisis - families living in poverty; low-income families, single-parent families, those with disabilities and children and young people.  I will work hard to ensure the necessary resources are targeted towards those most in need.”

Advice NI urges everyone to respond to the DfC EQIA consultation to show their support for the independent advice sector. Comments on the Department draft Budget 2021-22 allocation can be submitted via the following:

• Submit your responses online: DfC Draft Budget 21-22 consultation - Equality Impact Assessment Review - NI Direct - Citizen Space
• Email your responses: 

The deadline for responses is Thursday 25 February 2021.