N. Ireland Politics

What's in the detail of the proposed NI political deal?

Stormont Image copyright Pacemaker Press
Image caption It's understood MLAs will vote to allow Westminster to implement welfare changes in Northern Ireland

Sources predict that a deal will be done later on Tuesday to resolve the political deadlock in Northern Ireland.

But it is understood welfare reform will be dealt with via a legislative consent motion.

That means MLAs will vote to allow Westminster to implement welfare changes in Northern Ireland.

Previously, Sinn Féin indicated its opposition to Westminster legislating directly for welfare reform.

However, republican sources say a better financial package has now been negotiated to help vulnerable people who will lose out as a result of the welfare changes.

The same sources concede that the additional cuts to benefits and tax credits introduced by the Conservative government since the last election make it impossible for Sinn Féin to achieve its previous pledge that no-one would lose out as a result of the welfare changes.

The sums involved in any new welfare mitigation schemes have not yet been confirmed, but sources say the package may have been compressed - which means it will be initially more short lived than the six-year plan set out in the previous Stormont Castle Agreement.

Informed sources say extra resources over and above those contained in last Christmas's Stormont House Agreement have been obtained for the Executive budget.

It is thought these sums may relate to areas like mental health and security where local parties have made the argument that Northern Ireland has unique circumstances.

It is believed there will be a strategy to deal with paramilitarism, but there will not be a body with powers to recommend the exclusion of parties from the assembly, like the old Independent Monitoring Commission.

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