DUP cash could be put to better use

Ian Lavery wins the Wansbeck seat at the Northumberland General Election count 2017
Ian Lavery wins the Wansbeck seat at the Northumberland General Election count 2017

The arrangement between Prime Minister Theresa May’s Tories and the DUP’s ten MPs was exposed for the fiasco that it is the very first time it was put to the test when they combined to defeat an amendment by the Labour Party to the Queen’s Speech that would have lifted the public sector pay cap and halted savage funding cuts affecting our emergency services.

It’s worth considering the implications of this for a moment.

At a time when our wonderful emergency services’ workers have been proving yet again what a debt we owe to them, we are told we can’t give them a pay rise.

Yet the ‘magic money tree’ Mrs May told us did not exist can somehow find £1bn to bring about the arrangement she has struck with the DUP to leave her desperately clinging to power.

Mercifully, the emergency services in our area have not had to deal with the horrors so many have faced in Manchester and London, but we can all sleep safely knowing they will be there in a heartbeat when called upon, whether they get a pay rise or not.

What is concerning, however, is that the cuts continue to bite in our area.

Northumbria Police, for instance, has announced that front line services to be public will no longer be operated in our local police stations 24/7.

There will be no one to man the front desk at Bedlington Police Station in the future between 8pm and 8am – Ashington and Morpeth front desks were already only manned from 9am to 5pm.

Similarly, it has just been announced that the night-time closure of the accident department at Wansbeck Hospital is to be extended, as we all knew it would.

How can this give confidence to the public who know that criminal’s don’t ‘work’ office hours or that they are only able to seek medical help during the day time?

Like so many of you, I am left wondering if Mrs May’s £1bn for the DUP could not have been put to better use.