Belfast Telegraph

Sturgeon and Jones unite in condemnation of UK Government-DUP deal

A deal struck between the UK Government and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is "the worst kind of pork-barrel politics" and "a straight bung", the first ministers of Scotland and Wales have said.

Nicola Sturgeon and Carwyn Jones reacted furiously to news the agreement - which includes £1 billion in new funding for Northern Ireland - would not result in a knock-on funding boost for other parts of the UK.

Downing Street has said that as the allocation is being made as part of the block grant to Northern Ireland, there will be no consequentials through the Barnett formula, the mechanism used to distribute Treasury funds to the devolved nations.

Ms Sturgeon said that by "ignoring" the Barnett formula, Scotland would lose out on around £2.9 billion for public services while Welsh Government estimates put its loss at £1.67 billion.

Mr Jones said: "Today's deal represents a straight bung to keep a weak Prime Minister and a faltering Government in office.

"Only last week we were told that the priority was to 'build a more united country, strengthening the social, economic and cultural bonds between England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales'.

"This deal flies in the face of that commitment and further weakens the UK, and as currently drafted all but kills the idea of fair funding for the nations and regions."

Ms Sturgeon said: "In concluding this grubby, shameless deal, the Tories have shown that they will stop at nothing to hold on to power - even sacrificing the very basic principles of devolution.

"The Tories' excuses are simply empty spin and expose that they once again plan on short-changing Scotland.

"This is not a city deal - it is simply an attempt to pull the wool over people's eyes.

"This is the worst kind of pork-barrel politics, which has shredded the last vestiges of credibility of this weakened Prime Minister."

Scotland's First Minister said the deal also raised questions for Scottish Secretary David Mundell, who previously said he "won't support funding which is deliberately sought to subvert the Barnett rules".

"He and Ruth Davidson should now live up to their boasts by preventing this deal to go through - they should order Scottish Tory MPs to use their votes to put a halt to it," she said.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale also urged Ms Davidson and her new Scottish MPs to demand "extra cash to reverse the spending cuts her government has inflicted on Scotland".

In response, Ms Davidson said: "The Barnett formula ensures that if funding for public services goes up in England, it does across the devolved nations, if they are responsible for delivering these services. That system remains in place.

"But the UK Government has always been able to spend outside Barnett - like the city deals, which invested £500 million directly in Glasgow, £125 million in Aberdeen and £53 million in Inverness.

"Or like the £5 million for the V&A Dundee, the £5 million for the Glasgow School of Art or £5 million on regenerating Helensburgh's waterfront.

"With its distinct politics, Northern Ireland has received this sort of special funding package before - the last one in 2015.

"It's absurd for the SNP to criticise UK Government spending on top of Barnett in Northern Ireland when the exact same thing happens in Scotland."


From Belfast Telegraph