08 March 2018
DUP Leader Arlene Foster MLA said,
“Having called for a Budget to be passed at Westminster, we welcome the Secretary of State’s necessary intervention to give Departments certainty and fund public services for the next financial year. Departments living hand-to-mouth is no way to run public services.
This is Budget contains £410m secured by the DUP as part of our Confidence & Supply Agreement. Cynics doubted the C&S money would ever be delivered but today it has helped achieve an improved Budget compared to the one that many feared. Our efforts will help alleviate pressures in health and education, tackle issues with mental health and deprivation, transform our NHS and build new infrastructure.”
The DUP’s East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson said,
“We welcome the boost in resource spending in health and education as well as increases in justice, agriculture and infrastructure. The DUP has been able to ensure a 5.5% increase for hospitals (£71.7m), a 4.3% (£36.5m) increase for schools. This will be welcome relief for pressures on the frontline.
£100m will be allocated from the health transformational fund to enable investment in reforms within our hospitals. This investment should lead to better and more efficient services as well as future savings.
There is good news for the construction sector with an additional £200m being allocated for infrastructure. This will be a massive boost and will go a long way in building key infrastructure such as the York Street Interchange.
The retention of the small business rates relief scheme and business rates being limited to an inflationary increase are welcome steps. This continues the DUP policy of helping small businesses and stopping the rot in the high streets of our towns.
We argued against a 10% regional rates increase, as proposed in a Department of Finance options papers. The fact that increases have been held to 4.5%, on average an additional £1 per week for households, will be of considerable relief to hard-pressed families.
We also welcome the commitment by the Government to make further key decisions relating to good administration in Northern Ireland. In the absence of a local Executive because of Sinn Fein’s blackmail, we will be pressing the Government on these matters in the coming weeks.
The Democratic Unionist Party would far prefer to see a Budget for Northern Ireland being laid before the Assembly by a locally elected and locally accountable Finance Minister. The last Sinn Fein Finance Minister failed to bring forward a budget before his party collapsed the Executive.
For thirteen months Sinn Fein has blocked attempts to reestablish a local Executive. Their elevation of narrow political interest over the real needs of the people have made it necessary for the Secretary of State to step in and deliver this Budget.”