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DUP to vote against government on NHS and tuition fees

The DUP is planning to vote against the government on issues related to NHS pay and tuition fees.

A party spokesperson confirmed that its 10 MPs will vote with Labour in favour of a "fair pay rise" for NHS staff and to oppose an increase in tuition fees.

On the reason for voting with the opposition, the spokesperson said: "We have agreed to support the government in the budget vote and a number of key votes, but not on issues such as this.

"We would vote in line with what is in our manifesto and what is in line with the best interests of the country."

In a statement, DUP leader in the Commons Nigel Dodds said: "The DUP wants to see fair pay for public sector workers.  We have consistently argued against the pay cap therefore will be voting for the motion in the House of Commons."

"We welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment to flexibility on the pay cap.  At the General Election, the government received a clear message about austerity.  The Chancellor has said he is 'not deaf' to the voice of the electorate," he added.

As the votes are non-binding they do not impact the party's confidence and supply arrangement with the Conservatives.

The Commons motion for lifting the pay cap on NHS workers is also being backed by some SNP and Liberal Democrat MPs, and is expected to pass when it goes to a vote on Wednesday evening.

Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth has called on the government to "end the public sector pay cap in the NHS and give NHS workers are fair pay rise".

Under the government's current plan the annual tuition fee cap is set to rise by £250 a year - meaning an additional £1,000 burden on students over the course of a four-year course.

The increase in tuition fees was announced in December last year without an announcement from the Department of Education, with the change in the cap from £9,000 to £9,250 being made on a government website.

University fees in Northern Ireland are lower than other parts of the UK and are capped at £4,030.

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