UK News

Give English regions same £1bn deal as Northern Ireland, Unite leader tells PM

Len McCluskey is accusing the Conservatives of "bunging" £1 billion to the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland while insisting there was no money for schools, housing and "sprinklers in tower blocks" elsewhere. Picture from Gareth Fuller/PA Wire.

The leader of the Unite union will demand Theresa May gives the same £1 billion deal to the English regions as she handed to Northern Ireland.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey will speak at the Durham Miners' Gala, one of Europe's largest trade union events, alongside Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Mr McCluskey is accusing the Conservatives of "bunging" £1 billion to the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland while insisting there was no money for schools, housing and "sprinklers in tower blocks" elsewhere.

An estimated 200,000 people will be in Durham to watch the traditional brass bands and banners parade through the city before politicians make speeches on the old racecourse.

Mr McCluskey will say he was pleased for Northern Ireland and its communities.

"But if the government can find money to invest in Northern Ireland, it must be found for all our nations and all our regions," he will say.

"A billion pounds would go a long way to helping regenerate industries here in the north east.

"It would help fill the gaping hole left when the Tories let a world-class plant at Redcar close its doors, throwing 2,000 skilled men and women out of work.

"So I demand the same deal for the north east as for Northern Ireland.

"Theresa May, you have saved you own skin with taxpayers' cash but there are far worthier causes for our public money right here in the north east."

Security measures at the event will be tightened this year, with armed police expected to be highly visible around the route of the parade.

More roads will be closed for this year's Big Meeting - the alternative name for the gala which continues to flourish despite the end of deep coal mining in the UK.

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