- Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon has condemned the £1 billion Tory-DUP deal as “the worst kind of pork barrel politics.” Carwyn Jones, Wales’ first minister called the agreement “a straight bung.” The £1 billion deal has been given to Northern Ireland in a block grant, bypassing Barnett formula rules to fairly allocate funding across the UK.
LONDON – Scottish and Welsh politicians have condemned the deal between Theresa May and the DUP, describing it as “grubby, shameless,” and “a straight bung.”
Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon called the agreement between the two parties “the worst kind of pork barrel politics,” after it was confirmed that there would be no extra money for Wales and Scotland, the UK’s other devolved administrations.
The deal, which was signed between the DUP and the minority Conservative government on Monday, means that £1 billion extra will be given to Northern Ireland over the next two years in exchange for the unionists supporting the Tories on key votes.
Carwyn Jones, Wales’ Labour first minister, said that the pact supporting Northern Ireland “kills the idea of fair funding,” and it is “a straight bung.”
The £1 billion will be given to Northern Ireland in a block grant for specific projects, meaning that the agreement will not affect the Barnett formula, which decides how to fairly share out money across the UK’s devolved governments.
The Scottish secretary David Mundell had previously claimed that any additional funding for Northern Ireland would mean proportional extra funding for the other devolved governments. He said “Barnett rules will ensure the appropriate funding comes to Scotland.”
The Tory-DUP deal includes support such as £160 million a year for health and education and £275 million a year for infrastructure, but Downing Street said that the money would be part of Northern Ireland’s block grant, which means no additional funding for Scotland or Wales.
Sturgeon accused the Tories of buying their way into power.
“By ignoring the Barnett formula, Scotland will be missing out on an estimated £2.9 billion in funding for our public services – that is the price to Scottish taxpayers for the Tories to stay in power,” she said.
“This is the worst kind of pork barrel politics, which has shredded the last vestiges of credibility of this weakened prime minister.”
The SNP says that £2.9 billion in extra funding should be given to Scotland, while Welsh Labour has said that there should be £1.67 billion for Wales, if the money was spread out proportionally.
Carwyn Jones said that the deal “further weakens the UK and as currently drafted all but kills the idea of fair funding for the nations and regions… this is a short-term fix which will have far-reaching and destabilising consequences.”
Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson defended the deal, saying that “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 means that the DUP will vote with the minority government on the Queen’s Speech, the Budget, and any Brexit and national security legislation.
However, votes on other matters will still need to be agreed on a case-by-case basis, leaving the door open for further financial settlements in the future.
Prime Minister Theresa May said “I welcome this agreement which will enable us to work together in the interest of the whole United Kingdom, give us the certainty we require as we embark on our departure from the European Union, and help us build a stronger and fairer society at home.”
Speaking in Downing Street, the DUP leader Arlene Foster that her party and the Tories were committed to “building prosperity for all.”