Plaid Cymru’s Treasury Spokesperson, Jonathan Edwards MP, has questioned the legitimacy of the reported £140 million worth of extra funding for Northern Ireland, expected to be announced in the upcoming Spring Statement.
DUP Deputy Leader Nigel Dodds MP posted on Twitter yesterday that £140 million had been secured for the Northern Ireland budget “outside of the normal block grant process”. Normally funding is allocated to the devolved institutions in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, based on a population based calculation known as the Barnett Formula. Dependent on the level of devolution and the number of people in each country, Westminster allocates funding to each devolved administration, known as the block grant.
Any uptick in spending in England is also matched – on a population basis – with what is known as ‘Barnett Consequentials’.
Mr Dodds’s statement indicates that extra funding has been secured for Northern Ireland, not based on the Barnett Formula. Wales and Scotland are therefore unlikely to gain equivalent uplifts in their budgets.
Mr Edwards questioned whether this was “another backroom deal”. He went on to say if it was, it would be “difficult to conclude anything other than that this Westminster Government is buying parliamentary votes.”
As part of their confidence-and-supply deal with the Westminster Government, the DUP agreed a £1 billion increase in Northern Ireland’s budget to support the Conservatives in crucial votes. A similar increase was not extended to the budgets of the Welsh and Scottish Governments.
Commenting, Jonathan Edwards MP said:
“Serious questions need to be asked about this £140 million that the Westminster Government seems to be doling out to the DUP.
“If this is another backroom deal, it would be difficult not to conclude that this is anything other than the Westminster Government buying parliamentary votes. Welsh taxes should not be used to buy the votes of DUP politicians.
“Dodgy deals with the DUP have already seen over a billion pounds head to Northern Ireland, whilst Wales received no such increase. No ifs, not buts, Wales must get its fair funding share.
“More than anything, this just encapsulates the sorry state of affairs in Westminster. The British state is fundamentally broken. Politics is simply not working in the interests of the people of Wales."