Northern Ireland bags £150m for broadband pipes in £1bn Tory bribe
Theresa showers DUP with gold to prop up minority government
The Democratic Unionist Party is to receive an extra £1bn in funding from Brit taxpayers, including £150m to spend on broadband infrastructure, after it agreed to prop up Theresa May's minority government.
The recent UK election resulted in a hung Parliament, meaning the May's Tory Party needed to do a deal to beef up its numbers if key Commons Votes.
The extra spending to be set aside for Northern Ireland will be splashed over the next 24 months, officials confirmed.
In addition to more money for broadband plumbing, the agreement also included: £400m for infrastructure; £100m to be invested in health and education; £200m in health transformation; £100m to tackle deprivation over five years; and an additional £50m for mental health, also over five years.
There is not currently any further detail on the how that cash will be used for specific projects.
In a three page document outlining the terms of the deal, the DUP said it had agreed to support the government on all motions of confidence.
"In line with the parties’ shared priorities for negotiating a successful exit from the European Union and protecting the country in the light of recent terrorist attacks, the DUP also agrees to support the Government on legislation pertaining to the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union; and legislation pertaining to national security," it said.
DUP leader Arlene Foster said:
"We welcome this new financial support of £1 billion pounds in the next two years as well as providing new flexibilities on almost £500 million pounds previously committed to Northern Ireland."
According to regulator Ofcom, 63,000 Northern Ireland homes and offices – or eight per cent of properties – do not receive 10 Mbps, down from 107,000 (14 per cent) at the end of 2015.
That is in line with the rest of the UK, where a total of 2.4 million, or eight per cent of the population were unable to get 10Mbps.
Northern Ireland has a population of 1.8 million. ®