Two of Northern Ireland’s political parties have been paid almost £300,000 between them, it has emerged.
The Electoral Commission today revealed that the DUP received £136,815 and the SDLP got £155,577 last year for ‘policy development’.
The biggest Westminster parties were each eligible for £458,193 from the grants — which are intended to create and test policies for manifestos.
Labour and the Liberal Democrats claimed the maximum amount, however the Conservative Party was only paid £397,097.
The DUP used the vast majority — £111,694 — of its grant to pay staff salaries, with most of the rest of the money going to cover the cost of rent, IT facilities, equipment and research such as polling or focus groups.
The SDLP spent the money in a similar fashion, though unlike the DUP it spent more than £16,000 organising meetings for policy development.
Grants were also given to Plaid Cymru and the Scottish National Party but Sinn Fein does not qualify as it does not take its seats at Westminster.
The Alliance Party does not qualify as it does not have the minimum of two MPs in the House of Commons.