The agreement between the Conservative Party and the DUP includes a commitment to invest an additional £1 billion in Northern Ireland over two years. It is worth noting that funding for devolved nations and regions, including northern Ireland, is usually done through the UK Government’s Barnett Formula based on relative population.
Under the Barnett formula, spending in one-nation triggers an increase in funding for other nations, based on relative population. A £1 billion investment in Northern Ireland would equate to a £1.7 billion increase in the Welsh Government’s funding.
It is only fair that Wales is given its “rightful share” of the money used to “bribe” Northern Ireland. The £1.7 billion figure based on relative population under the Barnett formula using 65.5 million, 1.8 million and 3.1 million as the population of the UK, northern Ireland and Wales respectively.
Plaid Cymru’s leader in Westminster, Liz Saville Roberts, has accused Westminster of neglecting the people of Wales and treating its citizens as “third-class citizens”. Commenting after the UK Government’s statement in the House of Commons chamber, Plaid Cymru’s Westminster group leader, Liz Saville Roberts, said:
“The Tories and the DUP pride themselves on being champions of this supposedly precious Union but this agreement makes a mockery of the claim that the Union is a family of equals.
“While the Prime Minister is busy bribing the DUP to stitch up the seams of this threadbare administration, she continues to neglect the people of Wales and treat us like third-class citizens.
“Plaid Cymru has always been at pains to prove that the formula used to determine funding levels for the UK’s countries is not fit for purpose and the UK Government’s disregard for the funding formula today seems to indicate that they now agree with us.
“The agreement makes clear that the additional investment in northern Ireland will not be subject to the usual checks and balances of the Union. It will instead be an investment through the back door to avoid having to make commitments for the other UK countries.
“That the Tories are attempting to justify their grubby deal by pointing to investments in City Deals – which are jointly funded by the Welsh Government – is insulting.
“Wales’ rightful share of this investment would be around £1.7 billion. A boost to the Welsh Government’s finances of that magnitude would be potentially transformative for the NHS, for people’s wages and for our citizens’ standard of living.
“This Tory-DUP deal not only deliberately evades the checks and balances that are there to ensure Wales gets its fair share of investment, but also neglects the fact that it is Wales that needs this investment most.