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Financial Assistance Act (Northern Ireland) 2009

Background and Policy Objectives

3.During the Assembly debate on the impact of global economic downturn on 15 December 2008, the First Minister and deputy First Minister announced that they intended to bring forward a Bill to create new permissive powers to take remedial action in response to any circumstances that the Executive agrees warrants rapid and effective financial intervention.  The First Minister and deputy First Minister indicated that they would seek to accelerate the Bill through its Assembly stages with the aim of having the legislation in place by the end of January 2009.

4.The Act provides a firm statutory basis for the Executive to respond to exceptional circumstances by enabling it to provide financial assistance to prevent, control or mitigate an aspect or affect of those circumstances.  It also provides a statutory basis for the Executive to make available financial assistance to tackle poverty, social exclusion or deprivation when existing funding arrangements are considered ineffective, inadequate or unsatisfactory. The Act will ensure that all elements of Government can co-ordinate to provide financial assistance in response to any emergency or hardship situation.

5.Subject to the agreement of the Assembly, an amendment will be made to the Ministerial Code (established under section 28A of the Northern Ireland Act 1998) to require that any proposal by the First Minister and deputy First Minister to make a determination, designation or scheme under the Financial Assistance Act, must be brought to the Executive for consideration and approval.

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Explanatory Notes

Text created by the Northern Ireland Assembly department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes accompany all Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly.


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