Tories have promised another £150m for ultra-fast broadband

Northern Ireland will receive an extra £400m of infrastructure investment, as part of the Democratic Unionist Party’s (DUP) agreement to prop up the Tories’ minority government in Westminster.

This includes funding for the £150m York Street Interchange, a project identified by the Belfast-based Construction Employers Federation (CEF) as a likely DUP bargaining chip.

The scheme will relieve a bottleneck at the intersection of the M1, M2 and M3 roads, and was the one major project in Northern Ireland’s infrastructure pipeline not covered by the existing budget.

On top of the infrastructure spend, the Tories have promised another £150m for ultra-fast broadband.

The total package is worth £1bn to the Northern Ireland Executive over the next two years, with health and education also benefitting.

CEF managing director John Armstrong said: “Infrastructure spending has significant direct and in-direct economic benefits, and it is critical that it is directed towards projects which have the highest economic yield. The focus therefore on the York Street Interchange Project, as well as other major schemes, is one we welcome.

“It is welcome too that the UK government has agreed this financial package for the Northern Ireland Executive to be spent flexibly.

“Despite the best intentions, infrastructure delivery can often be subject to unforeseen challenges and delays and it is important that the additional financial support announced today takes cognisance of this.

“It is now absolutely critical that a Northern Ireland Executive is formed by Thursday’s deadline.”