Belfast Telegraph

New DUP policy plan states number one priority is restoring Assembly

A DUP 'policy plan' set to be launched today reveals that the party's top priority is restoring Stormont. (stock photo)
A DUP 'policy plan' set to be launched today reveals that the party's top priority is restoring Stormont. (stock photo)

By Steven Alexander

A DUP 'policy plan' set to be launched today reveals that the party's top priority is restoring Stormont.

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Despite being in the midst of a Westminster campaign, the document could be a mini Assembly manifesto. Brexit only merits a single sentence.

In her foreword, DUP leader Arlene Foster writes: "We want to get decisions taken in Northern Ireland on the issues that matter most to you, but we need other parties to join with us and nominate ministers. We will work with others to get things done. It's time to get Northern Ireland moving again."

In its 12-point plan to do this, the DUP places Stormont at the top of the list. It states: "Delivery from Westminster is much needed but its impact is impaired by no Assembly. The DUP want to work with others to secure a balanced deal and we remain willing to set up an Executive immediately."

It also states that "any new Assembly will have to undergo far-reaching reform to deliver more and deliver better".

The party also wants to tackle the healthcare crisis by implementing the recommendations from the Bengoa Report to transform the service and promises investment across the sector.

On education, the party wants to ensure extra money given to Northern Ireland after an education funding boost in England actually goes to schools here.

On the economy, the document says the Assembly and Westminster have helped "deliver a jobs revolution in Northern Ireland".

"Now it is time to do the same for skills and productivity backed up by infrastructure investment and a business rates system fit for our modern economy. We want to see a sensible Brexit deal but no borders in the Irish Sea."

The DUP also suggests it wants to overturn new laws relaxing abortion restrictions while "promoting a culture of choosing life through perinatal services and valuing children through baby boxes and childcare".

Other priorities include action to bolster social housing, new offences and tougher sentences to better protect animals, a new environmental strategy to tackle pollution, strengthening the PSNI, and a new welfare mitigations package.

The party also wants Northern Ireland's centenary to be a showcase of what the country "and all its people have achieved".

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