Belfast Telegraph

Chancellor announces £400m for Northern Ireland welcoming funding case made by DUP

Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid in the Commons.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid in the Commons.
Sajid Javid delivers his statement to the Commons (House of Commons/PA)
John Bercow criticised some of Sajid Javid’s remarks (House of Commons/PA)

The Chancellor has announced an additional £400million in funding for Northern Ireland in his spending review.

Sajid Javid said he welcomed the case made by the DUP for improved hospice care and for those affected in the contaminated blood scandal.

He said while they were devolved matters: "I sincerely hope the Northern Ireland devolved administration will use some of the new funding we are providing today to address those issues.

The money for the next financial year equates to an around 1.8% increase in funding in real terms, it is understood.

"Taken together today's announcements will give the devolved administrations the biggest spending settlement for a decade," Mr Javid said.

Northern Ireland Secretary of State Julian Smith, in welcoming the announcement, called on Stormont to be restored in order to "spend the money effectively".

The Chancellor promised he was "turning the page on austerity" as he set out a cash boost for areas including health and education in a pre-election spending spree.

With Boris Johnson calling for a snap election, the Chancellor said the "uncertainty" around Brexit could not distract from delivering on the "people's priorities".

He said: "We are turning the page on austerity and beginning a new decade of renewal.

"A new economic era needs a new economic plan and today we lay the foundations with the fastest increase in day-to-day spending in 15 years."

Insisting the UK would be ready to leave the European Union, with or without a deal, Mr Javid confirmed an additional £2 billion for Brexit delivery next year.

The Chancellor's first major statement was repeatedly criticised by Commons Speaker John Bercow for deviating from the topic of the spending round.

Mr Javid said: "Next year I will add £13.4 billion to total public spending including £1.7 billion added for capital spending.

"These extra funds take the real increase in day-to-day spending to £13.8 billion, or 4.1%."

DUP MP Sammy Willson said he was pleased the economy was strong enough to provide the additional funds.

"In our discussions with the government we had emphasised the need for resources to recruit more police officers reduce hospital waiting lists, provide relief for school budgets, money to compensate those impacted by the contaminated blood scandal and to support the Northern Ireland Hospice," he added.

"The additional money now made available to government Departments in this year should help to partly achieve those objectives. It is now up to the Secretary of State to ensure, that in the absence of devolution the Civil Service get on with the job of making the decisions necessary to spend this money."

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