DUP agree £1bn 'confidence and supply' deal to back Conservative minority government
Package will increase spending in areas including infrastructure and broadband as well as health funding
Theresa May has secured a deal with the DUP to prop up her minority Conservative government.
The prime minister and DUP leader Arlene Foster have agreed a £1bn 'confidence and supply' arrangement which will see the Northern Irish unionists back the Tories in key votes.
The funding allocation is make up of £200m per year for two years to boost infrastructure spending, and an additional £75m annually for two years to provide ultra-fast broadband in the province.
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Around £100m will be provided in each of the next two years to support the Northern Ireland Executive’s delivery of its priority for health and social care transformation, with an additional £50m in each of the next two years to address immediate pressure in health and education provision. Plus £10m will be provided for each of the next five years to provide specific additional help to Northern Ireland for its mental health services, recognising the historical impact of Northern Ireland’s past on its communities.
The deal means the 10 DUP MPs will support the Queen's Speech when the crucial vote takes place in the House of Commons on Thursday. It also commits the DUP to support the government in votes on the Budget and finance bills, as well as Brexit legislation and laws relating to national security. This gives the government an effective working majority of 13 - when the speakers and Sinn Fein (who do not take their seats at Westminster) are taken into account.
The pact is intended to remain in place for the length of the Parliament in 2022, but it can be reviewed by the mutual consent of both parties, and will be reviewed after each parliamentary session. As a result the next review point will be at the end of the new two-year parliamentary session.
The two parties have been wrangling over the pact for two weeks after the prime minister lost her Commons majority at the general election.
May said the two parties share many values in terms of wanting to see prosperity across the UK, the value of the union, the important bond between the different parts of the United Kingdom.
"We very much want to see that protected and enhanced and we also share the desire to ensure a strong government, able to put through its programme and provide for issues like the Brexit negotiations, but also national security issues,” she added.
Foster said: "We’re delighted that we have reached this agreement, which I think works, obviously, for national stability.”
Reports have said the pensions triple lock and winter fuel allowance payments will remain in place as part of the agreement.
Ahead of the election the Tories said they would replace the triple lock with a double lock and means-test the winter fuel benefit.
The DUP arrangement gives May an effective working majority of 13 - when the speakers and Sinn Fein (who do not take their seats at Westminster) are taken into account.
"In terms of the Northern Ireland executive, of course we are determined to see it back in place as soon as possible as well, because we believe we need a strong voice for Northern Ireland when dealing not least with the Brexit issue."
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