08 June 2018
DUP Leader Arlene Foster MLA said,
“This day twelve months ago almost three hundred thousand people voted DUP. We received a mandate which enabled us to negotiate an additional £1.5billion for everyone in Northern Ireland.
The electorate used the ballot box to stand up for the Union. It was a perfectly timed outcome.
Our election billboard (graphic attached) said:
“More Votes. More Seats. More Influence. More for Northern Ireland.”
Never was a billboard more accurate.
The election result was an historic vote in so many ways. The weeks which followed catapulted the DUP into the global spotlight. Our manifesto webpage had 5.5 million hits in 6 hours. People all over the United Kingdom and beyond sought to find out what the DUP stood for. Whilst some headlines were less than complementary, I only found praise for our manifesto. Many said if the Conservative Party had stood on such a manifesto, they may have had a better result.
Our opponents peddled scare stories about how we would use our influence. Just over two weeks later the Confidence & Supply Agreement was published and demonstrated it was a good deal for everyone in Northern Ireland. Whether unionist or nationalist, catholic, protestant or agnostic – it was a good deal for everyone.
In UK terms we:
1. Ensured no change to triple lock for pensions and the universal winter fuel allowance across United Kingdom.
2. Confirmed UK funding on defence in line with the NATO commitments and support for the Reserve Forces in Northern Ireland.
3. Secured commitment to decentralise public sector jobs out of London around rest of United Kingdom.
For Northern Ireland we:
1. Secured funding for York Road Interchange and other infrastructure projects (400m)
2. Secured funding (150m) to enable roll out of ultra fast broadband
3. Secured funding to tackle hospital waiting lists and crisis in schools (100m)
4. Secured funding to reform health service (200m)
5. Secured funding to address mental health (100m)
6. Secured funding to tackle pockets of severe deprivation (50m)
7. Confirmed farm support at current levels till the end of the Parliament and made agriculture a critical priority in Brexit negotiations
8. Secured commitment of full implementation of Armed forces covenant across United Kingdom.
9. Secured flexibility around remaining shared future spending (up to £500m)
10. Secured reports into impact of tourism VAT and APD
11. Secured commitment to work on city deals and enterprise zones for NI
Since then, delivery has been gradual but steady progress has been made. £410m has recently been delivered helping deprived communities, schools and hospitals.
The commitments were not dependent upon devolution but we have found ourselves in crazy and ridiculous position of having money in the bank and no one there to withdraw it for major projects which require Ministerial sign-off.
One year on from that historic election, I renew my call for devolution to be restored without preconditions. Let’s enter the Executive with nothing but our mandates and let’s work together to get the best outcomes for Northern Ireland.
Whether on roads, mental health, broadband or shared education, it is deeply frustrating that such decisions have been held up.”