SNP unhappy over Irish deal
DUP secures £1bn to support Tory government
The Conservatives have reached an agreement with the Democratic Unionists which will see them support Theresa May’s minority government in exchange for £1 billion in extra funding.
It comes two weeks after the general election resulted left Mrs May clinging to power. The 10 DUP MPs will back the Westminster government in key votes to give her a working majority.
However, the deal prompted an angry reaction in Edinburgh and Cardiff as it was revealed no extra funding would be released to either the Scottish or Welsh governments.
Ian Blackford, the SNP’s Westminster leader, said that under the Barnett Formula the deal should translate into a further £2.9bn for Scotland. Ian Duncan Smith, speaking for the Conservatives, described the claims as nonsense and said the Barnett Formula was not relevant to this agreement.
DUP leader Arlene Foster said the “wide-ranging” agreement was “good for Northern Ireland and for the UK”.
Mrs May and Ms Foster signed a three-page ‘confidence and supply’ deal at Downing Street that falls short of a formal coalition agreement.
The Prime Minister May agreed to provide at least £1b in extra funding over two years for Northern Ireland, which will include raising pensions annually by at least 2.5% and keeping universal winter fuel payments for the elderly.
In a statement, Mrs May said: “I welcome this agreement which will enable us to work together in the interest of the whole United Kingdom, give us the certainty we require as we embark on our departure from the European Union, and help us build a stronger and fairer society at home.
She said, however, the money would only be released to a power-sharing executive in Belfast, putting pressure on the DUP to make an agreement with their Catholic nationalist rivals.
Senior Conservatives such as former Prime Minister John Major expressed concern that an agreement with the DUP may undermine the Good Friday peace deal. British governments have abided by a neutral stance towards Northern Ireland politics.
The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford said the Conservatives had “found a magic money tree to help them stay in power.”
“The financial aspects of this deal entirely sum up how little the Tories care about Scotland – while a billion pounds is being handed over to Northern Ireland, Scotland is seemingly to be offered little more than scraps from the table.”
The SNP is likely to turn up pressure on Scottish Secretary David Mundell who had said he would not support a deal with DUP which would impact adversely on Scotland.
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said the deal had to result in additional funding for Scotland.
“If the price of propping up this miserable Tory government is hundreds of millions of pounds for Northern Ireland, it is vital that all nations and regions of the UK also get extra funding to end austerity,” Ms Dugdale said.
The Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones said the deal “further weakens the UK, and as currently drafted all but kills the idea of fair funding for the nations and regions.”