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£333m from DUP pact with the Conservatives will be spent this year

Prime Minister Theresa May stands with DUP leader Arlene Foster as DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson signs the paperwork in June 2017 with the then Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury, Gavin Williamson, to cement the party’s confidence and supply deal to support Mrs May’s minority Conservative government in Commons votes
Prime Minister Theresa May stands with DUP leader Arlene Foster as DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson signs the paperwork in June 2017 with the then Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury, Gavin Williamson, to cement the party’s confidence and supply deal to support Mrs May’s minority Conservative government in Commons votes
Suzanne Breen

By Suzanne Breen

A total of £200m funding from the DUP's confidence and supply deal with the Tories will be spent on Northern Ireland infrastructure in the next year.

As Stormont's budget was published yesterday, it was revealed that £333m - almost a third of the money secured by the party in return for supporting Theresa May's minority government - would be spent in 2019-20.

Around £100m will be spent on health service reform, £10m on mental health services, £20m on tackling deprivation and £3 million on improving the broadband network.

Of the money diverted to Northern Ireland as a result of the 2017 Westminster deal, £430m has already been spent, the majority on health service reform and infrastructure projects. Under the budget, domestic rates are to rise by almost 5% and business rates by just under 2%. The budget includes an additional £140m on top of the block grant allocated under the Barnett model for devolved regions.

Secretary of State Karen Bradley said it was to recognise the lack of opportunity for "fundamental service reconfiguration" in the current financial year.

Mrs Bradley said it wouldn't be appropriate for her to take fundamental or strategic spending decisions, insisting those were for locally elected politicians.

The budget was instead aimed at securing public services and meeting urgent pressures in health, education and other core frontline services, she added.

Mrs Bradley said she had "engaged intensively" with the senior civil servants who are currently in charge of running public services in Northern Ireland and had also discussed the budget with the main political parties at Stormont.

In real terms, health will receive a 2% increase in funds and education will suffer a 0.7% cut, under the budget.

Given the size of the health spend - around half of the total Stormont budget - a number of other departments are also facing real terms decreases, with the Executive Office and Department of Finance likely to be hardest hit.

Public services will receive £11.35bn in the coming budget but around £180m of that has been included to pay for increased employer pension costs across the public sector. Around £1.5bn has been allocated for capital projects.

Mrs Bradley said that would provide a platform to progress a number of major builds, including the York Street motorway interchange in Belfast, the city's Mother and Children's Hospital, and the upgrade of the A6 between Belfast and Londonderry.

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