SINN Fein’s MLA Karen Mullan has hit out after discovering that money from the Confidence and Supply agreement to tackle severe deprivation is being used to plug budget cuts.
£20 million per year for five years was allocated as part of the pact between the DUP and the Tories with the Department of Education receiving £16.5m, DAERA £1.8m, and Health £1.7m.
The Foyle MLA said: “When the money for severe deprivation was announced it was expected it would be added to existing programmes.
“However as most Department budgets were cut in real terms by the Tory/DUP budget we always had concerns the Confidence and Supply money would instead be used to mitigate these cuts.
“We wrote to Departments and learned that the £20m was allocated to seven programmes, only one of which has had its budget increased by £0.6m.
“The other six programmes have the same budget as last year.
“This shows that the remaining £19.4m was used to plug cuts.
“The DUP endorsed cuts to anti-deprivation programmes and then took credit for plugging those cuts with the Confidence and Supply money.
“It is smoke and mirrors,” she added.