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DUP-Tory committee to press ahead with £1billion spend

Secretary of state James Brokenshire has reconfirmed that £1 billion promised to the DUP will be spent even if the political institutions are not restored.
Connla Young

Secretary of State James Brokenshire has reconfirmed that a special committee will decided how £1billion promised to the DUP in return for propping up the Conservative government will be spent.

The cash was allocated earlier this year as part of a 'confidence and supply' deal to support Theresa May's government.

The deal's extra funding will be spent on infrastructure, broadband, health and education while provision has been made for a committee comprising members of both parties to oversee the deal.

DUP members of the committee include MPs Jeffrey Donaldson, Nigel Dodds and Sammy Wilson.

Last month the Northern Ireland Office said the ‘consultative committee' will only “discuss and agree the handling of legislation”.

However, a statement from Conservative Party HQ described it as a mechanism” by which the Tories and DUP “can agree the funding Northern Ireland needs”.

In a weekend newspaper interview Secretary of State James Brokenshire said that the £1billion will be delivered even if the Stormont executive is not restored.

"I am not focusing on not having an executive up and running, that would be something I don't want to contemplate," he said.

“But ultimately we will do what is required in the best interests of Northern Ireland in relation to budgeting and ensuring the good governance of Northern Ireland, but we do acknowledge that there are particular financial needs that Northern Ireland has, given the nature of its circumstances,” he told the Sunday Business Post.

Sinn Féin's northern leader Michelle O'Neill said “the British government is obliged to act with ‘rigorous impartiality' by the Good Friday Agreement.”

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