Monday 23 October 2017

Scotland threatens to take action over Tories' 'grubby' deal

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon addresses the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. Photo: Reuters
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon addresses the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. Photo: Reuters

Katrine Bussey

Scotland has threatened to invoke formal dispute resolution procedures with the UK government as the row over the Tories' £1bn (€1.1bn) deal with the DUP intensified.

Political leaders in Scotland and Wales reacted furiously to the agreement, which will see Northern Ireland benefit from additional cash while Theresa May will gain the support of DUP MPs in crucial votes at Westminster.

Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones has already described it as a "straight bung'' to prop up a ''faltering'' Conservative minority government while his Scottish counterpart Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: "Any sense of fairness sacrificed on the altar of grubby DUP deal to let PM cling to power."

Scottish Finance Secretary Derek Mackay told MSPs at Holyrood the Conservatives were "ripping off Scotland to the tune of £2.9bn (€3.2bn)" and said it "feels like daylight robbery".

Mr Mackay claimed it was "unacceptable" the funding for Northern Ireland would not be subject to the Barnett formula spending rules, which determine how resources are allocated to different parts of the UK.

Increased spending on devolved issues, such as health and infrastructure, for one part of the country will usually result in the allocation of additional money for other areas.

Mr Mackay is demanding urgent talks with Liz Truss, Britain's chief secretary to the Treasury, and Welsh Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford in a bid to find a "satisfactory solution" that is "fair and reasonable to all".

In a letter to Ms Truss, he stated: "As this is an issue of such significance to the Scottish government, if we cannot agree we will look to pursue a more formal mechanism to resolve the situation by invoking the formal dispute resolution mechanism."

Irish Independent

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