Fermanagh appears to have been left out and forgotten when it comes to the ‘Levelling Up Fund’ as part of the Conservative Government’s Budget 2021.

As part of the Levelling Up Fund, £49 million will be given in total for 11 projects from the first tranche of allocations from the fund, however none are in Fermanagh.

The money will go towards such projects as the redevelopment of a derelict Ministry of Defence site in Derry into an urban community farm, the redevelopment of the Dundonald International Ice Bowl, replacing a former police station in Glengormley with a new business hub, regenerating Omagh Health Centre and providing new and upgraded sports facilities in Castlederg.

Many projects

Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA Rosemary Barton has said that while she welcomed news in the UK Budget that will directly assist some areas throughout Northern Ireland in the Levelling Up Fund there is nothing in it for Fermanagh as well as the South Tyrone area of her constituency.

“It is pleasing to hear that many areas in Northern Ireland will directly benefit from the UK budget through the ‘Levelling Up Fund’, unfortunately there is nothing for Fermanagh and South Tyrone,” Mrs Barton said.

“There are many projects in this constituency that some funding support would have made a huge difference to help progress. Projects like the Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark, former security base at Enniskillen, Lisnaskea Health centre, South Tyrone hospital, infrastructure improvements throughout the constituency and much more.

“Unfortunately it appears that there hasn’t been a case made for this constituency to the Treasury in order to support community benefits.”

While the Budget 2021 was hailed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer as the biggest allocation of funding to devolved governments since 1998, the Northern Ireland Finance Minister described it as a “tough budget for people struggling to make ends meet”.


Conor Murphy also disputed the additional £1.6 billion per year for Executive departments and said it represents a marginal 0.9 per cent real term increase to the Executive’s budget next year, eventually turning to a zero real terms change by 2024-25.

The £1.6 billion will be on top of the £13.4 billion annual baseline funding for Northern Ireland which the Treasury said gives the Northern Ireland Executive sufficient funding certainty to plan in-year spending and to provide additional future investments in areas such as health, social care and education.

‘Rebuild public services’

Also speaking on last week’s budget, Sinn Féin MLA, Jemma Dolan said: “Last week’s Westminster budget was an opportunity to deliver a budget which would have enabled the executive to rebuild public services and spur economic recovery

“Unfortunately, the budgetary increase that the English Finance Minister gave only provides a marginal real terms increase in funding next year.

“This increase will be far outweighed by increased demands on public services, particularly in light of the ongoing pandemic.”

“Conor Murphy, the north’s Finance Minister, has calculated Mr Sunak’s increase will only be a 0.9 per cent real term increase to the executive’s budget next year, turning to zero real terms change by 2024-25.

“Sinn Féin believes the priority over the coming years must be in supporting the health service and tackling waiting lists.

“Unfortunately we are at the whim of a Tory government in England when it comes to finances. Sinn Féin will continue to push for more fiscal autonomy.”

£1bn for farmers in NI

Other announcements for Northern Ireland include the Executive providing £1 billion for farmers and land managers and £9.3 million to support fisheries, over the Spending Review while Northern Ireland will also benefit from its share of national programmes including the £5 billion Project Gigabit and the new £1.4 billion Global Britain Investment Fund will help spread economic opportunities more evenly across the UK by supporting investment in the UK’s life sciences, offshore wind and automotive manufacturing sectors.