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Theresa Villiers: no more cash to help seal new deal

By Noel McAdam

Published 03/11/2015

Secretary of State Theresa Villiers
Secretary of State Theresa Villiers

The Government has rejected the Archbishop of Canterbury's call to "go the extra mile" and provide cash to help the Stormont parties seal a political deal.

On a visit to Belfast at the weekend, Dr Justin Welby said a special case could be made for extra money for Northern Ireland.

But Secretary of State Theresa Villiers yesterday hit back that the answer to the province's problems could not be ever-larger cheques.

"When it comes to welfare reform, Northern Ireland has much to gain from replacing a failed system that traps far too many people into dependency with a modern system that ensures work always pays," she said. "The Government is convinced that this remains the best route out of poverty. The answer cannot be ever more large cheques from the Treasury."

As the talks continue, Mrs Villiers also argued the Government already recognised Northern Ireland's special circumstances.

"That is why public spending per head is 23% higher here than the UK average. During the course of the last spending review the Executive's budget actually grew in cash terms," she said.

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