Nicola Sturgeon blasts £1bn ‘bung’ as DUP agrees to Tory pact

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

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

Prime Minister Theresa May stands with First Secretary of State Damian Green, Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster and other part representatives. Picture; Getty

Prime Minister Theresa May stands with First Secretary of State Damian Green, Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster and other part representatives. Picture; Getty

Downing Street 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 used to distribute Treasury funds to devolved nations.

Ms Sturgeon said that by “ignoring” the Barnett formula, Scotland would lose out on around £2.9bn for public services while Welsh Government puts its loss at £1.67bn.

Mr Jones said: “Today’s deal represents a straight bung to keep a weak Prime Minister and a faltering government in office.”

Ms Sturgeon said: “In concluding this grubby, shameless deal, the Tories have shown they will stop at nothing to hold on to power – even sacrificing the very basic principles of devolution. This is the worst kind of pork-barrel politics, which has shredded the last vestiges of credibility of this weakened Prime Minister.”

She 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,” Ms Sturgeon said. Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale also urged Ms Davidson and her new Tory Scottish MPs to demand “extra cash to reverse the spending cuts her government has inflicted on Scotland”.

In response, Ms Davidson said: “The UK Government has always been able to spend outside Barnett . . . 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.”

The deal will see the ten DUP MPs back the Tories in key Commons votes.

There will be £1.5bn in funding – consisting of £1bn of new money and £500m of previously announced funds – to be spent over the next two years on infrastructure, health and education in Northern Ireland, money Mrs Foster said was needed to address the challenges from Northern Ireland’s “unique history”.

As part of the deal, the the triple lock guarantee of at least a 2.5 per cent rise in the state pension each year, and winter fuel payments, will be maintained.