Stormont minister presses for extra NI funding during Treasury meeting

Stormont’s finance minister has said he received a “warm” reception when he met a senior Treasury minister to discuss extra funding for Northern Ireland.

Conor Murphy held talks with Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak in London on Thursday.

He is bidding for further money to support commitments in a deal restoring powersharing which is backed by the British Government.

The senior Sinn Fein member has criticised as “woefully inadequate” a pledge of £1 billion on top of the £1 billion which Northern Ireland would expect under the Barnett Formula.

Mr Murphy said: “We got a very warm reception, we got a very clear undertaking from him that he wants to continue dialogue with us, that he understands the difficulties that we face, and that when we have that work done in terms of costing all of the proposals within that document that we will continue to engage with him.”

He said he would be informing his ministerial colleagues in Belfast next week and had undertaken to continue dialogue with the Treasury.

The deal restoring the devolved institutions – entitled New Decade, New Approach – included a series of promises like restoring pay parity with England for disgruntled nurses.

It outlines plans for more public service investment, “turbocharging” infrastructure delivery and addressing Northern Ireland’s “unique circumstances”.

Mr Murphy said he would be returning to the Treasury to deliver his “financial ask” once work on costing the commitments was complete in the near future.

The Stormont minister in charge of the budget allocated for public services in Northern Ireland added: “He (Mr Sunak) has assured us that he remains ready to discuss that with us.”

Mr Murphy said the discussion was very useful.

“I am very hopeful that we will be able to deliver decent public services and that is the commitment of the whole Executive and we look to the Government here to fulfil their part in that commitment.”