26 June 2017

NFB greets Government deal with reservations

The Conservative Party and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) have officially signed a confidence and supply agreement to prop up a minority Conservative Government.

The agreement was signed in 10 Downing Street by Gavin Williamson MP, chief whip for the Government, and Jeffrey Donaldson MP, chief whip for the DUP.

 

Under the terms of this parliamentary agreement, the Government will be able to rely on the votes of DUP MPs for the Queen’s Speech, the Budget, and any eventual votes of confidence in exchange for keeping the triple lock on pensions, scrapping the means testing of the winter fuel allowance, committing to 2% of GDP on defence spending, and increasing spending on Northern Ireland by £1 billion.

 

The National Federation of Builders (NFB) hopes that this agreement will deliver much-needed stability to the country and enable the Government to focus on fixing broken housing policies, reforming procurement, fostering home-grown talent, and delivering a Brexit that enables SME builders to grow and prosper.

 

Richard Beresford, chief executive of the NFB, said: “While we welcome the stability brought about by a functioning Government with parliamentary backing, we have strong reservations about the Government’s decision to increase spending on Northern Ireland by £1 billion, especially since government spending per head in Northern Ireland is already greater than in England and Wales.

 

“Without seeking in any way to underestimate Northern Ireland, we would like to know where this extra £1 billion comes from and whether the construction industry and SME builders such as our members across England and Wales will receive a similarly generous endowment.”