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The UK government has offered Northern Irish political parties a package of measures to stabilise the region’s finances, but made it conditional on the return of the Stormont executive.

Chris Heaton-Harris, Northern Ireland secretary, told party leaders on Monday that London was “willing to help but all these issues can best be addressed by the return of locally accountable institutions”.

The proposals included a one-off payment to stabilise Northern Ireland’s public finances, and extra cash for public services.

There was no official confirmation of the details but Colum Eastwood, leader of the small SDLP party, called it an “opening gambit”.

The Stormont executive has been on hold for nearly two years after the Democratic Unionist Party pulled out in protest at post-Brexit trading arrangements.


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