• 8 March 2018

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Karen Bradley said domestic rates will rise by 4.5%

A new Stormont budget will include £410m of the £1bn package negotiated by the DUP in return for backing the Conservatives at Westminster.

The secretary of state said the allocation from the confidence and supply money includes £80m for health and education pressures.

There will also be £30m to support programmes to address issues of mental health and severe deprivation.

A further £100m goes to the long-term transformation of the health service.

Under the confidence and supply deal, the DUP agree to back the Conservatives in key votes – such as a Budget and a confidence motion – but are not tied into supporting them on other measures.

Capital spending for key infrastructure projects will receive a £200m boost.

The budget for the next financial year also includes an above inflation increase in domestic rates.

In a written ministerial statement, Karen Bradley said domestic rates will rise by 4.5%, a step which she describes as “necessary and important” to continue to support public services, particularly in health and education.

Business rates will, by contrast, only rise by 1.5%, in line with inflation and the current small business rate relief scheme will continue.

The rate increase by the secretary of state contrasts with the policy adopted by Stormont finance ministers over the last decade, which has been to freeze domestic regional rates, only increasing them in line with the rate of inflation.

Mrs Bradley said she had engaged intensively with the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) to understand the needs of local departments.

She pointed out that it would be open to a restored executive, of course, to consider and revise the financial position in the future.

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