Were “City Deals” part of DUP’s Confidence and Supply Agreement?

UPDATED 1/11/2018

CLAIM: “City Deals” by the UK Government are part of the Democratic Unionist Party’s Confidence and Supply Agreement with the Conservative Party.

CONCLUSION: Unclear. (“False” in an earlier version of this fact check.) The DUP claim that “City Deals are part of our Confidence and Supply Agreement” is not explicitly referenced in the text of the Confidence and Supply Agreement they made with the Conservative Party, nor referenced by the Chancellor Philip Hammond in delivering his “Financial Statement” (29/10/2018). But as part of discussions between the Conservative Party and the DUP, the UK Government committed itself to working with the Northern Ireland Executive and other stakeholders towards city deals in Northern Ireland. The Belfast Regional City Deal was negotiated and agreed among Belfast City Council, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and the UK Government.

Continue reading Were “City Deals” part of DUP’s Confidence and Supply Agreement?

Was funding cut for youth work?

CLAIM: The Irish News wrote that a funding cut places hundreds of youth work posts at risk.

CONCLUSION: There is no evidence of any cut, nor any proposed cut. Yet there is uncertainty about continued funding, for this and other programmes, in light of the composition of a new Northern Ireland Executive (or direct rule governance) after elections in March 2017. Continue reading Was funding cut for youth work?

How dependent is Stormont on Westminster subvention?

CLAIM: Northern Ireland were once net contributors of revenue to HM Treasury.

CONCLUSION: True, up until the 1930s. But data show that Northern Ireland has run a fiscal deficit since 1966. The most recent figure, from 2013-14, is a subvention of £9.2 billion. Continue reading How dependent is Stormont on Westminster subvention?

Is crime on the rise in Northern Ireland?

CLAIM: Under an Alliance Minister of Justice, crime rates in Northern Ireland are lower.

CONCLUSION: According to PSNI reports, annual offences covering the relevant period are marginally higher (105,289 versus 105,040). Meanwhile, crime in Northern Ireland has been rising every year since 2012/13. Continue reading Is crime on the rise in Northern Ireland?

Has Sinn Fein Education Minister improved outcomes for most disadvantaged?

CLAIM: Since 2011 the Sinn Féin Education Minister John O’Dowd has “improved educational outcomes for the most disadvantaged”, and consequently “58.5% of children receiving Free School Meals (FSM) now obtain 5 GCSEs A*-C, compared to 31.5% previously.”

CONCLUSION: The claim fails to distinguish between students that are eligible for FSM, as opposed to those who actually receive them. However, once corrected for this inaccuracy, it can be substantiated and verified by data from the Department of Education. In fact, there have been even greater improvements in performance among Free School Meal Eligible (FSME) students. Continue reading Has Sinn Fein Education Minister improved outcomes for most disadvantaged?

Did the ‘NI 2012 – Our Time, Our Place’ campaign help bring in one million visitors?

CLAIM: The ‘NI – Our Time, Our Place’ campaign in 2012 helped to attract 1,000,000 visitors to Northern Ireland and brought £40 million to the local economy.

CONCLUSION: This claim relies on a report by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, without research methodology or sources provided. Other evidence demonstrates a growing trend in visitor numbers. The ‘NI – Our Time, Our Place’ campaign may have made a positive contribution. However, Northern Ireland still lags behind other economies in the region. Continue reading Did the ‘NI 2012 – Our Time, Our Place’ campaign help bring in one million visitors?