THERESA May has agreed £1bn in additional funding for Northern Ireland as part of an agreement with the Democratic Unionist Party to prop up her minority government.
The deal struck in 10 Downing Street 18 days after the June 8 General Election also saw the Conservatives formally ditch plans to abolish the triple-lock protection for state pensions and means-test the winter fuel payment during this Parliament.
Under a ‘supply and confidence’ arrangement intended to last for the full Parliament, the DUP guarantees that its 10 MPs will vote with the Government on the Queen’s Speech, the Budget, and legislation relating to Brexit and national security.
Together with the 317 Tory MPs remaining after Mrs May’s disastrous decision to call a snap election, this will give the Prime Minister just enough MPs to clear the 326 level required for an absolute majority in the House of Commons, ensuring her victory in key divisions.
Speaking after talks in Number 10 with DUP leader Arlene Foster, Mrs May said the two parties ‘share many values’ and the agreement was ‘a very good one’.
Mrs Foster said she was ‘delighted’ with a package which includes £1 billion of new funding for infrastructure and health spending, along with enhanced flexibility on almost £500 million of previously allocated cash.
But there were immediate demands for other parts of the UK to receive similar largesse, with Plaid Cymru saying Wales should be entitled to £1.7 billion on a population-weighted basis.