BELFAST (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Theresa May struck a deal on Monday to prop up her minority government by agreeing to 1 billion pounds in extra funding for Northern Ireland in return for the support of the province’s biggest Protestant party.
Below is a breakdown of the planned investment agreed with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) that May is prepared to fund through the province’s power-sharing executive.
The executive collapsed in January and parties have until Thursday to agree a deal for to restore it. [here]
Infrastructure: 400 million pounds
- The UK government will allocate 200 million per year for two years and with sufficient flexibility as to the choice of project.
- The only project mentioned is the York Street interchange, a scheme that would replace a junction in Belfast linking three of the busiest roads in Northern Ireland. The regional department of infrastructure estimates its cost at 120 million to 165 million pounds.
Health and education: 350 million
- The UK government will allocate an additional 50 million pounds per year for two years to enable the Northern Ireland executive to address immediate pressures in health and education.
- Recognising the longstanding focus on securing a modern, sustainable health service in Northern Ireland, the UK government will allocate 100 million pounds per year for two years to support health service transformation.
- The UK government will provide 10 million pounds per year for five years to support the delivery of mental health services in Northern Ireland, recognising the historical impact of the province’s past on its communities.
Broadband: 150 million pounds
- The UK government will contribute 75 million per year for two years to help provide ultra-fast broadband for Northern Ireland.
Social projects: 100 million pounds
- The UK government will provide 20 million pounds per year for five years to target pockets of severe deprivation so that all can benefit from growth and prosperity.
- The UK government notes that one of the first tasks for Northern Ireland’s new executive will be to work towards the devolution of corporation tax rates, the timetable for its introduction, and how this might best be flexibly managed, with options being developed for the Autumn Budget 2017.
- The UK government will work to utilise its networks of embassies and high commissions to promote Northern Ireland as a location for foreign direct investment.
VAT/Airport Passenger Duty
- A detailed consultative report will be commissioned into the impact of VAT and Airport Passenger Duty on tourism in Northern Ireland. The Irish Republic scrapped its passenger duty in 2014 and has introduced a lower rate of VAT for the tourism sector.
- The UK government will work with the Executive to seek the implementation of the legacy bodies set out in the Stormont House Agreement that was adopted by Northern Ireland’s parties in 2015.
- The bodies are to be established so as to operate in ways that are fair, balanced and proportionate and which do not unfairly focus on former members of the armed forces or police.
Reporting by Padraic Halpin; editing by Michael Holden