Could Stormont collapse over non implementation of welfare reform?

So, at Stormont the DUP and Sinn Fein have informed the ministers of the other parties that they will have to take the brunt of the spending cuts which follow on foot of the OFMdFM parties to come to terms with the relatively generous terms offered Northern Ireland by the Chancellor of Exchequer…

The Finance Minister Simon Hamilton was scathing over Sinn Fein’s lock down on a settlement they presumably had some part in negotiating…

They are living on another planet economically and fiscally. I don’t like the realities of this any more than they do but you have got to accept the reality; you cannot stick your head in the sand and just hope they will go away, they are not going to go away. Reality will bite.”

While Adams has urged the Executive to unite against a “Thatcherite agenda”, Hamilton says the reality is that British chancellor George Osborne isn’t for turning.

Adams insists that welfare cuts can be resisted but Hamilton produces a letter from Osborne’s number two in the Treasury, Danny Alexander, advising the Minister that “costs associated with non implementation will escalate . . .”

Nevertheless the Finance Minister’s talk of ‘collapse’ over a core policy issue is an interesting departure. As Newton Emerson has pointed out collapse to an election is not the same as collapse into a void.

I prefer to test these matters against delivery, but its an intriguing thought that policy rather than culture war matters could trigger an early election. Staying with the hypothetical though: who’d win, and who’d lose?

[Hard to imagine how such a fight benefits anyone but OFMdFM, but what exactly would they be being re-elected to do?]

,

  • Katie-o

    Newton has a pretty good take on this , this morning. I quote.

    .”We have entered a new era in Stormont now that it is facing the first budget cuts in its modern history and there is nothing unusual in how it is handling or mishandling this, despite the hysterical warnings of doom from Robinson and others.”

    he continues: ‘Failure to agree a budget would scarcely be unheard of either, which is why Stormont has an automatic mechanism for that eventuality. The American government has shut down 18 times in the past 40 years once for three weeks, due to similar deadlocks….”

    ” What is unusual about our system is that the joint top coalition partner is ruling this jurisdiction with an electoral focus on another state. ”

    So it looks as though all is well as regards the administration here? What will be fun will be in how the cuts play out in each department and each pointing the finger at the other over who is to blame. In my view though an election is unlikely?

  • Michael Henry

    Looks like the Assembly is facing joint attacks from the English with their fines and from the dissidents calling for the Assembly to shut up shop-Sinn Fein will stand up for the people against those two wreckers who never look for a vote to get a voice in the Assembly -but they never tire of trying to give advice-

    England should stop its fines and stop trying to halt democracy-

  • Morpheus

    I don’t think there is anyone in Northern ireland – including the Shinners – who thinks that cuts are not needed…Northern Ireland PLC running at a £9-10B loss each year is testament to that but any cuts that are implemented need to be smart – what our Finance Minister and the DUP are trying to impose is not smart. Far from being smart it is also blind.

    If NICVA’s £750m per year figure is not accurate then Simon Hamilton needs to show us how much he thinks will actually leave the NI economy, what impact it will have in terms of job losses, businesses going under, home repossessions etc and what he is going to do to minimise the impact. If he can’t confirm how much is leaving then he doesn’t know how much he has to play with in the coming years so how did he cut the NI cloth with any degree of credibility?

    This whole sorry state of affair is supposed to be about getting people back to work – WHAT WORK? Unemployment is at a 6-year low – and that is great news which Stormont should be congratulated for – but there are still over 52,700 out of work with only a few thousand jobs on any offer in NI at the minute. If we fill all those vacancies – and we should – where are the other tens of thousand supposed to go?

    As CS pointed out recently, it is not fair that a couple who have children at uni and empty bedrooms have a 3-bedroom house when there are families on the waiting list. But that couple need somewhere suitable to go just as much as the family need somewhere suitable to go.

    Is the Finance Minister’s plan just to make the cuts, bollix to the consequences and see what happens? It looks very much like it and SF are right to block that from happening, regardless of what side of the house a person is from because this is going to hurt Sammy from the Shankill just as hard as it is going to hit Sean from the Falls or Sebastian from the leafy suburbs. And their families.

    We need cuts but we need to be smart and trim the fat, not whallop off a leg and bollix to the consequences. This is not trimming the fat:

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/hundreds-of-millions-lost-as-stormont-underspends-29669952.html

    To me this is not something that the Assembly should collapse over – countries all over the world have budget troubles as Newton points out – but then again if anyone as much as farts up there these days then it’s a ‘crisis’

  • Tacapall

    ” it is not fair that a couple who have children at uni and empty
    bedrooms have a 3-bedroom house when there are families on the waiting
    list. But that couple need somewhere suitable to go just as much as the
    family need somewhere suitable to go”

    What ?

    The reality is this state has been running at a loss since its formation so there’s nothing new happening except we’re being threatened with doom and gloom if we dont act like good subjects and do what were told by our British overlords who tell us its hard times yet is spending billions upon billions waging wars and financing their own brand of terrorists in countries like Iraq, Syria, Ukraine etc etc. Sinn Fein is doing what it must do to survive and thats means not acting like good subjects by implementing collective punishment on the citizens of this part of Ireland on behalf of the British government.

  • Zeno1

    OMG Stormont might collapse!! Haven’t heard that for about 20 minutes. Would anybody miss them?

  • Morpheus

    Well it’s not an audio thing because I typed it so I am assume there is something in that quote you don’t agree with. What is it?

    SF are not doing what they need to survive, they are standing in the way of the DUP blindly letting hundreds of millions leave the NI economy with no thought to the consequences for the people of Northern Ireland. This one has feck all to do with the green/orange issue.

    If the Shinners had just went along with the blind cuts 12 months ago NICVA thinks that £750,000,000 would be gone by now

  • Roy Reilly-Robertson

    This is all very interesting as we watch the slow motion Stormont car crash – but why Stormont and not Scotland which is managing the whole thing in a much more imaginative and realistic way? Same agreement under the Barnet formula

  • Michael Henry

    Why Stormont- it’s because the evil Brit government is stealing millions off our budget because they can’t get the Welfare reform passed at Stormont-the Brits want Stormont to collapse-

  • Mister_Joe

    Probably not. Might be time for a “rest” anyway, maybe an election to clear out some of the deadwood with some luck.

  • barnshee

    I love it
    The economically illiterate are out in force or is that farce
    The English have woken up —you have been sent what you have been sent

    If you don`t like it RAISE MORE yourselves

    HINTS

    Water charges?? ahahahahahaha
    Higher rates bills?? ahahahahahaafa

    Some 70% of economic activity dependant on the tax payer (SE England branch)

    Spend it how you will –nd answer to your electorate– quangos, community activists
    victims groups Mickey mouse local govt officials paid 100K+ pa etc etc
    Arseholes for breakfast lunch and tea

    I love it

  • Croiteir

    Time to get rid of the civil service, a relic of the old unionist regime and its attempts to portray the place as a country. But who is going to tell their electorate that their state sponsored lifestyle is over and they now have to find a job or accept a smaller state hand out on the dole?

  • barnshee

    If NICVA’s £750m per year figure is not accurate then Simon Hamilton needs to show us how much he thinks will actually leave the NI economy

    Irrelevant—funding overall has been reduce it has already been removed by the paymaster its gone do whatever you want but its GONE

  • mickfealty

    Spot on Kate.

  • Morpheus

    £750m taken out of the Northern Ireland economy year after year after year is irrelevant? Hardly. A fraction of that has been taken out and we are already talking about yet another ‘crisis’ ffs

  • Comrade Stalin

    um, who will implement the decisions of the government with the civil service gone ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    You can believe what you want about the British government’s motivation, but that isn’t going to change anything. The British are determined to reduce the subvention. If devolution collapses they’ll simply introduce water charges, raise the rates, and pass the welfare cuts anyway – all of which they threatened to do in 2006/07 if devolution was not implemented.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Failure to agree a budget in the British constitutional system ordinarily amounts to a withdrawal of supply and an automatic general election.

  • Michael Henry

    Which is why the Assembly should be kept going like the people voted for -and so the Brit government can keep their grubby greedy hands away-

  • chrisjones2

    Its not our money its a grant to us…they fund the shambles

  • chrisjones2

    Then they can take the cuts in education cant they.

  • chrisjones2

    NICVAs figures are self serving. Money doesn’t ‘go’ it just moves in different ways. NI will get X million

  • chrisjones2

    …and theres another £2bn to come over the next 5 years

  • Comrade Stalin

    Put the SF koolaid down for a second. Whether the assembly continues or not is a decision for the DUP and SF. Their choice is either to implement welfare reform or continue facing budget shortfalls. Simple as that.

  • chrisjones2

    “democracy” – since when was SF ever interested in democracy

  • chrisjones2

    You really don’t get it do you. None of the parties want a smaller civil service as thats where their votes lie. Thats why we pay civil servants 30% more than private sector staff doing the same job

  • chrisjones2

    What decisions?

  • chrisjones2

    Now now….dont let reality in and scare the children

  • Morpheus

    And tell me, how much is £750m a year taken from our economy for those same 5 years?

  • Morpheus

    We all know cuts are needed but we need smart cuts first and foremost – blindly implementing cuts in an already struggling NI economy with no clue to the consequences is not smart in anyone’s book

  • Morpheus

    Self serving? What do NICVA get out of it?

    Money doesn’t go eh? Next pay day when your pay-cheque doesn’t arrive just tell yourself that everything is OK because money just ‘moves in different ways’. I’m sure your mortgage provider will be perfectly fine with that explanation.

    And ‘NI will get X million’ – well why didn’t you say? That’s me convinced.

  • Morpheus

    For goodness sake….it is not ‘they’ who takes the cuts, it’s the children trying to get educated. Get it into your head that this is not about SF, Catholic/Protestant, green/orange or any of that other myopic BS, this is about the impact that huge – but as yet undetermined – cuts will have on every family in Northern Ireland. It’s just an irony that SF are the ones standing up for the NI citizens who will be hit hardest.

    We need some sort of reassurance that there is some sort of plan better than “ach, sure we’ll cut the crap outta everything and see what happens”

  • Gopher

    I dont really believe there is any point persisting with a devolved administration here when it has been an abject failure since its inception. It is now proven beyond doubt that it is not viable in its present form.

    I firmly believe the only course of action now is for the DUP to leave the executive and go into opposition since no one else has the balls and let SF and SDLP administer the departmental budget cuts. The DUP with their unilateral voting power can play merry hell and block anything they dont like anyway and create the conditions for a new agreement to get the mechanisms for proper government instead of this pantomime

  • chrisjones2

    NI gets a fixed sum. If they spend it on welfare it goes one way. On health another. On wlefare you get less but there may be new jobs in health so go look for a job

  • chrisjones2

    It’s just an irony that SF are the ones standing up for the NI citizens who will be hit hardest.

    Where is the evidence for that? SF are standing up for their client group thats all

  • chrisjones2

    Depends how you calculate it but not less than £3.75bn

  • Michael Henry

    It’s not- you think none of us pay tax -only for the Brit government to take it through fines-

  • Michael Henry

    Why should the people be fined for a sound Political decision -no to the welfare cuts and it should be no more fines-

  • http://dulichkinhdo.com.vn/ Du Lịch Kinh Đô

    Its not our money its a grant to us…they fund the shambles
    Tour du lich thai lan gia re

  • gunterprien

    Awwhh…He wants a return to Unionist one party state…Bless.
    Ain’t going to happens..Soz.

  • gunterprien

    So, With ALL these cuts. How long can people say that a United Ireland is unaffordable?
    Seems to be getting cheaper by the day.

  • Morpheus

    And which is worse, £2b over 5 years or £3.75b over 5 years?

  • Morpheus

    Well done for dragging this issue down to this level but these cuts will hit the Protestant community just as hard as it will hit the Catholic community. I don’t pretend to speak for SF but regardless of their motives the families on the Shankill/Fountain have been protected from these blind cuts just as much as those in the Falls/Bogside.

  • Gopher

    Nope I think it is obscene that people will be losing their jobs because we have a government that does not work. I think it is only fair that the DUP who support welfare reform leave government until we get a system that works whether that is a nationalist party running the government, a unionist party running the government, the biggest nationalist and unionist party running the government I dont care. In the absence of agreement it is incumbent on the DUP to use their mandate to break this stalemate.

    If the SDLP and SF think they can run a minority government which in effect they are doing now at the behest of SF’s southern electoral strategy its time to test Stormont to destruction. The DUP going into opposition is preferable first option in a graduated response to them just walking away which is the only other way to save jobs by bringing back direct rule and letting Westminster save the jobs

  • Morpheus

    NI does not get a fixed sum, it changes from year to year. 30 seconds on Google, seriously.

    These cuts are supposed to be designed to get people back to work. Well there are 52,700 people on the unemployment register and as of this morning there are 3,080 jobs on recruit NI, nearly a quarter of which are temporary or contract work. What work do the other 48,000+ of them go to?

  • Morpheus

    You have it the wrong way around – it is because of these massive cuts that there will be job losses. You take £750m out of our economy every year then the people have less to spend in Northern Ireland’s tills leading to job losses and God knows what else further down the line.

    Cuts are needed, that is obvious, but we need to be smart and make cuts across the board in manageable chunks rather than just taking hundreds of millions of pounds away from those who can afford it least. Especially when Stormont has recently handed back hundreds of millions because of underspend.

    We haven’t even started to trim the fat – The DUP want us to whack off a leg because the Conservatives say so. That isn’t right.

  • Croiteir

    If you read the post you will see that I got it

  • Croiteir

    And how many journalists/pr people are “working” up there?

  • gunterprien

    You are rather implying that Westminster. will save jobs. Why should they?

    You Do realize that therUK has a budget deficit of 7% per annum. In the Eurozone they want this to be 3% per annum. I would surmise from that that a deficit of 3% par annum is sustainable, whereas a 7% deficit is not.

    Ergo, Westminster is going to chop..chop chop. Like it or not.

    This is not a strategy of job saving.

    Here’s a 2010 link detailing Wee Sammy Wilson and £4 Billion cuts as a RESULT of the 2010 UK election.

    P.s There is another election in 2015..Which is time to remind you of that 7% budget deficit.

    YOU haven’t even seen the begining of the cuts.

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/2010/12/15/uk-irish-economy-budget-idUKTRE6BE3OV20101215

  • Gopher

    So the 750 million we lose we just make people redundant to cover instead. HMG, whichever party that happens to be allocates us our budget its up to our parties here to distribute it. In lieu of welfare reform they are taking a proportion of that back so the cost will be to actual jobs like and capital projects. like Magee campus.

    Like I said it is incumbent now on the DUP to leave government in absence of an agreement and let the SDLP and SF and whatever other party remains in government with them to administer the job losses. The DUP as I have said have the unilateral votes to make sure that this becomes as politically painful for them as possible coming up to the elections in 2015. I’m not sure looking over their shoulders at micro dissident parties and Gerrys ego trip down south will be worth it.

  • Morpheus

    So your plan is to simply take the £750m out of the economy without a fight and just make people redundant? How many extra people will be on the unemployment register? How much of an increase will that have on the social security bill? How many people will no longer afford their mortgages? How many extra families will be going to food banks keeping in mind that right now – before these huge cuts come in – 3000 people a day already rely on charities to feed them:

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/3000-a-day-fed-on-charity-meals-30492126.html

    SF and the SDLP don’t want to just say bollix to your cuts Westminster – they have asked for political unionism to join them in going to Westminster and fighting our corner. They know cuts are needed – the fiscal deficit shows that – but we need to cut our cloth correctly. If no one knows how much is leaving the economy then how is this done?

  • Gopher

    Sorry your losing me we keep people that are comfortably unemployed in perpetuity we get no extra money to help the 3000 people who rely on charity we start to put out of work people creating wealth and abandon capital projects. Good luck with that. Gerry will fight to the last pound in your pocket.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Actually cuts aren’t needed.

    If we raised the rates here to the levels of council tax elsewhere in the UK and introduced water charges (again in line with the rest of the UK) we would be able to pay for these changes.

  • Morpheus

    Dude, punctuate. Your post makes little sense.

    If the system is being abused by those who “comfortably unemployed in perpetuity” then that is because the system is not robust enough to prevent it from happening. But let’s not be under any illusion that welfare fraud is rampant:

    “The department has confirmed that the total level of benefit fraud estimated to be in the system in 2011 was £19m.”

    http://www.thedetail.tv/issues/159/benefit-fraud/benefit-fraud-in-northern-ireland-what-the-data-shows

    £19m when the total payments in social security in 2011 was £7,319m…a quarter of 1%. Why not spend an extra £10m to make the system more robust? Fraud would be gone and we’d still be £9m a year better off.

    “Gerry will fight to the last pound in your pocket.” – this has very little to do with SF but if he does at least the pound will be in your pocket in the first place.

    Have you any answers to the questions I raised?

  • Michael Henry

    Always-it is the Brit Government who don’t look for the peoples vote in Assembly elections -they are opposed to democracy -

  • Michael Henry

    Your no Comrade- raise tax-more water charges-your just a Stalin-

  • barnshee

    “you any answers to the questions I raised?”

    1 The tax base in NI is insufficient to maintain NI in its present form

    2 The population levels in N Ireland have risen on the back of the British welfare system (which supports a population level beyond that sustainable without it.)

    3 The money need to support this is being reduced by the paymaster. Newt Emerson concisely explains that whilst the PROJECTED budget is being reduced (by £750m?) the actual money will increase, that increase will be less than the lobby groups (the send us more taxpayers money brigade) want

    3 The amount supplied by HMG to NI is set for any specific year. NI politicians have it to spend as they see fit /agree (or not as the case may be).

    4 This produces

    (a) Lobby groups running around like headless chickens demanding more and more– the usual suspects who fear that their well upholstered tax payer funded arses will lose out.

    (b) Brain dead or disingenuous politicians who blame Government for not sending more money- to avoid facing the facts and hoping to shift the “blame” for “cuts” elsewhere.

    There will be no more money –a degree of honesty and a little humility (AHHAHA) from the politicians acknowledging reality might help.

  • Morpheus

    Interesting angle. Do you think then it would be better to ask everyone who can afford it to pay extra – ie. spread the pain across the country – rather than take away even more from those who have little to begin with?

    (Obviously with the caveat that more is done to prevent welfare fraud)

    As my granny used to say “you can’t get knickers off a bare arse”

  • Morpheus

    1. No one disagrees with that, not even the Shinners

    2. Where does that bombshell come from?

    3 (i) Prove it. Prove that NI’s welfare payments will in fact increase by £100m a year until the end of the decade. N.E. certainly didn’t.

    3(ii). Naive, can these NI politicians say, “no we choose to spread the cuts across the board instead of targeting those on welfare who can least afford it?” Hardly.

    4. Now here we can agree. An over-inflated public sector and Stormont handing back hundreds of millions to Westminster due to underspend scream to me that we have not even started to look at trimming the fat so we can at least try to live within our means.

  • streetlegal

    The departmental cuts could first be applied to the gross over-manning in goverrment offices. For decades the NI Civil Service has got bigger and bigger and bigger in an effort to address the inequalities in employment which have continued within the private sector. There are currently more than 30,000 people employed within the Stormont government departments – and much of the work carried out in these government offices is frankly unnecessary, based on a byzantine system of layer upon layer of management grades. So if the axe must fall, it should fall first to achieve an overall reduction in the administration of all of the Stormont Executive government departments.

  • Morpheus

    Don’t forget they get paid a hell of a lot more too

    “Average pay in the public sector is now a staggering 45.3% higher than that for private sector worker. It has risen from 44.9% last year and is more than double the difference in the rest of the UK where the gap is just 17%.”

    45.3% higher compared to the 17% in the rest of the UK???? We haven’t even started to trim the fat

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/public-sector-wage-divide-soars-gap-in-public-and-private-sector-pay-packets-widens-to-45-in-northern-ireland-29834763.html

  • barnshee

    “2. Where does that bombshell come from?”

    Arithmetic –+ feedback —eliminate the subvention–GNP (NI version) / income declines rapidly (certainly in the short /medium term) People either accept a lot less or move out less money to feed moths = less people

    “3 (i) Prove it. Prove that NI’s welfare payments will in fact increase by £100m a year until the end of the decade. N.E. certainly didn’t.”

    Can`t —can only point at BUDGET planned increases –confirming that NI is at the mercy of the paymasters intentions– who may or may not carry them out. Regardless of who is in power.

    “3(ii). Naive, can these NI politicians say, “no we choose to spread the cuts across the board instead of targeting those on welfare who can least afford it?” Hardly.”

    Why not -It should be an option – say “look its a bit of a balls up, we can`t agree how to do this we are a household that can`t agree where to economize the boss won`t give me any more, the bank has run out of patience we lost some money because we didn`t spend it -sorry its such a balls up— so we are cutting all expenditure by X%”

    The focus then should be on the “we can`t agree” and the answer to the “we can`t agree clowns” will lie in the ballot box at the next election ( or given N Ireland`s voting patterns perhaps not.)

    Jumping up and down and pretending they can get more money and then blaming the nasty Brits when none appears might be good for the faithful but has as much effect as rain dance.

    PS With few exceptions NI politicians are unemployable (how many of them would you employ-in any function) There is no danger of a collapse– where else would the turds go?

  • Morpheus

    It’s not an option though it is? Our politicians are being told that they must implement welfare cuts and that’s it. If Westminster said “OK peeps, last year you made £10b yourselves and we gave you another £10b giving you £20b to live on. This year we can only give you £9b so off you go and come up with plans on how Northern Ireland PLC intends to live within its means” then there wouldn’t be an issue. But that’s not what’s happening

  • barnshee

    “that’s not what’s happening”

    But that`s exactly what IS happening. HMG have a budget (and the whip hand) which includes various changes inc welfare. If NI chooses not to mirror the changes and to rearrange the money to different budgets — it is free to do so -and live with the consequences .The reduced subvention is a given.

    It is this unwillingness to rearrange local budgets and MOST important-to live with the consequences that is at the root of the present smokescreens created by the politicians.

    Frantically pointing at the Brits is past its sell by date. .
    Man up and take the consequences.

  • chrisjones2

    It depends if you are happy to trundle on in a dependency culture or want to stimulate real growth ie how much pain, when and over how long a period

  • chrisjones2

    I disagree. I think they should just collapse it

    We have:

    1 a series of secret deals that spat in the faces of victims
    2 an utterly dysfunctional political mess on the Hill
    3 sectarianism embedded at every level in every decision
    4 rampant corruption, cronyism and clientism

    It all smells of Stormont circa 1957 but with both sides up to the same old nonsense. Is that the equality we voted for? The trough turned over so we both grub on the ground for the swill?

    Time for a cool refreshing period of direct rule

  • Morpheus

    “Plan B’ you mean?

    I agree with 2-4…1, not so much but that is for a different day

  • Thomas Girvan

    Why do you continually cite the NICVA as a source of reference?
    They are a charitable organisation, who have a vested interest in championing the needs of the vulnerable in our society.
    And good luck to them.
    As for economics, forget about it. What would they know?
    They are well intentioned amateurs, when it comes to macro economics.
    Could you provide a link that would illustrate the basis for your figures?
    Go on, I look forward to seeing it!

  • Morpheus

    I cite NICVA because they are the only ones who have bothered to do any analysis whatsoever into the impact these welfare cuts will have on the people of Northern Ireland.

    “As for economics, forget about it. What would they know? They are well intentioned amateurs, when it comes to macro economics.”

    In the interests of helping you take that that foot out of your mouth the report was commissioned by NICVA but the analysis was completed by Christina Beatty, a Professor in the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam University – a statistician by background – you can read all about her here:

    http://www.shu.ac.uk/research/cresr/staff/christina-beatty

    and Steve Fothergill, also a Professor within CRESR at Sheffield Hallam University and an economist by background. You can read about him here:

    http://www.shu.ac.uk/mediacentre/professor-steve-fothergill

    10 seconds on Google would give you a link to the NICVA report but hey, we are all busy people so here it is:

    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=nicva+welfare+reform

    As I have said many times on this thread, the only reason I have used this report is because no one else has bothered to confirm how much will leave our economy or look at the impact it will have on the people of Northern Ireland and since it has been in the public domain for nearly a year with no effort whatsoever to show that their analysis is wrong then what else do we have to go on? Guess work? Promises of “ack, sure we’ll do the cuts anyway and we’ll be grand”?

    But if you can give me the *real* figures of how much will leave the NI economy and what the *real* impact will be on the people of Northern Ireland then I am all ears. I’ll be right here on the edge of my seat.

  • Comrade Stalin

    It is not incumbent upon the DUP to leave the government. Why would anyone willingly walk away from power ?

    Devolution cannot stand without powersharing. If either the DUP or SF withdraw permanently from government it will collapse.

  • Comrade Stalin

    “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need” is classic Marxism and to some extent it applies here.

    Things like the rates reductions and the water charges being held off are a massive subsidy to the middle class. They are spun as a punishment on poorer people, but in reality those on low incomes would have these charges paid for by the welfare system.

    Without meaning to sound pompous I have a good job and a good salary, I could easily afford £200 in annual water charges and increases to the regional rate, and so could all of my neighbours.

    In NI I’m paying about £900 in rates. I did a quick calculation based on the value of my house and in most parts of the UK I would be paying £1200.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Pretty much all of the above happened during direct rule too. In particular, the secret deal was concocted by the British government working with Sinn Féin behind everyone’s back.

    Direct rule or not, we get the government we deserve.

  • chrisjones2

    Amen ….but over the austerity their pay has gone up in cash terms

    And its not just the grades ….they are many pay points within the grades which the rones climb every year. I keep waiting for the age discrimination claims for new young competent staff paid £4k a year less than old time servers

  • Thomas Girvan

    I am no expert on Welfare reform, but having done a brief search on Messrs Fothergill and Beatty, it seems they have cornered the market on Welfare Reform, academic research.

    They were commissioned by the Scottish Parliament to provide a report.

    They did, and the Scottish Parliament have introduced Welfare Reform

    The Welsh Assembly have introduced it.

    The Labour party have said they will not be reversing it.

    The DUP, Ulster Unionists, and Alliance Party want to move forward on it

    The most eminent Economist in N.I. John Simpson, has poured scorn on the Beatty/Forthergill report,
    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/business/opinion/john-simpson/impact-of-welfare-reform-most-important-30187380.html
    So basically, we are being held to ransom By Sinn Fein, who have back tracked on an agreement, which Martin McGuinness had with Peter Robinson.
    Why?
    It is obvious that the agenda in the Republic of Ireland, for Sinn Fein takes priority, and of course the breaking of parity with G.B. is something that Sinners would instinctively be comfortable with.
    Meanwhile we will see our services eroded, year by year, in order to protect a system that is clearly in need of reform.

  • Morpheus

    A genuinely interesting report but the authors had a thing or two to say in response as I am sure you are aware:

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/business/news/criticism-of-welfare-report-inaccurate-30225288.html

    But as I said in my original post the reason I cited the NICVA report is because they are the only ones have bothered to look at the impact on the people of Northern Ireland. Hell even John Simpson says: “The scope for a GB/NI debate on welfare reform lies in setting up a mechanism to evaluate the impact of how the new criteria apply in NI.”

    So even he thinks we need to evaluate the impact in NI yet here we are with the DUP championing blindly implementing the cuts with no comprehension of the impact.

    NICVA says £750m per year, John Simpson says less – but interestingly doesn’t say how much less – so are we any the wiser? Where is Simon Hamilton in all this? Where are his figures? Where is his impact analysis report? Assuming he has one. If he doesn’t then how did he cut the NI cloth for the next few years? How are we supposed to have any faith that he has a plan and has the interests of the people of NI at heart? (And that is coming from someone who actually likes Simon Hamilton. It took balls to call Poots out last week but he did it and respect where respect is due)

  • Thomas Girvan

    So, I assume you believe the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly didn’t do due diligence before implementing Welfare Reform.
    You should offer your services as a consultant, to both these institutions.
    (And I thought the N.I. Assembly was useless!).

  • Morpheus

    Not a single answer to a single question – no surprise there – but let me get this straight, you fully endorse cuts on the people of Northern Ireland without any knowledge of how much will be leaving the economy, what impact it will have or if there is a plan in place to mitigate the loss? And you would have had these still undetermined cuts in place a year ago when you had even less of a clue? Is that seriously your position? You don’t agree with John Simpson, the man you describe as “the most eminent Economist in N.I.” that we should set up a “mechanism to evaluate the impact of how the new criteria apply in NI.”

    I wonder why the DUP Finance Minister didn’t stand up before the last elections and say “We are going to implement these cuts but we won’t be telling anyone how much will be taken from our economy or what impact it will on the people of Northern Ireland so all you will have to on is a NICVA report saying £750m per year and then John Simpson telling you that it is less, but won’t tell you how much less.”

    If you have read this thread you will see that I am not against cuts, with a £9-10b net deficit every year then it is obvious we can’t carry on like this, but I am against blind cuts with no thought to the consequences. I am for well thought out, planned, focussed,smart cuts which involve trimming the fat off NI PLC and things like this:

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/hundreds-of-millions-lost-as-stormont-underspends-29669952.html

    and this..

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/public-sector-wage-divide-soars-gap-in-public-and-private-sector-pay-packets-widens-to-45-in-northern-ireland-29834763.html

    tell me that we haven’t even started to trim the fat.

  • Morpheus

    As for Scotland and Wales then they are big enough and ugly enough to look after themselves, my primary concern is Northern Ireland. But for some light reading:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scotland/10751763/SNP-pledge-to-reverse-benefit-reforms-after-independence.html

    and

    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/welsh-government-says-welfare-reform-6925741

  • Morpheus

    As for Scotland and Wales then they are big enough and ugly enough to look after themselves, my primary concern is Northern ireland. But for some light reading:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scotland/10751763/SNP-pledge-to-reverse-benefit-reforms-after-independence.html

    and

    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/welsh-government-says-welfare-reform-6925741

  • Thomas Girvan

    I think you have missed the boat Morpheus.
    The negotiations are over.
    (Unless Sinn Fein can go over on our behalf, and get a better deal!).
    It is either implement the reforms or face the increasing cuts in the funding of public services.
    Plus having to fund a whopping computer system for a billion quid.
    It is time to get the heads out of the sand.
    P.S. Just a thought, Morpheus, are you on the DLA?

  • Morpheus

    No, no I’m not but your suggestion shows your caliber. Well done you.

    But again, not a single answer to a single question.

    As I said, repeatedly, I am not against cuts and I have said why they are needed. But I am against blind cuts with no mitigation plan or thought to the consequences. And I am against our ‘leaders’ rolling over and giving up the fight on behalf of the people of NI.

    If they have trimmed the fat, know how much will be taken from our econony and have a plan in place to mitigate the loss then ffs show it. Show us something…ANYTHING…which shows they have a clue

  • Zeno1

    “…..trigger an early election”

    The DUP should trigger one just to avoid having one in 2016, for obvious reasons.

  • Zeno1

    400 are employed in OFM/DFM …….. That is more than in Downing Street.

  • Thomas Girvan

    There’s no point in reinventing the wheel.
    Newton Emerson has tried to clarify for you the discrepencies in the NICVA report, remember this from a few days ago?

    .http://sluggerotoole.com/2014/08/15/are-unionists-committed-to-drastically-lowering-peoples-standards-of-living/

    Unfortunately you seem to be incapable of comprehending his explanation

    As he has a better grasp of the issues than you or I, there is no point in me even trying.

    Where I feel I would have a better understanding than Newton, is in the area of Human psychology and behaviour.

    Your inability to accept that, on a matter that has been preoccupying you for many months, is in my professional opinion due to a personality deficit which you have.

    I would suggest possibly a narcissistic personality or perhaps, Obsessional Compulsive disorder.
    Either way, in dealing with personality traits they are persistent and very difficult to treat.
    If I had one piece of advice to offer you, it would be for you to get out more.
    Sláinte

  • Morpheus

    Hahahahaha, dude even a stopped watch is right twice a day. :)

    But tell me, in your “professional opinion” what do you call someone who puts no thought whatsoever into reaching their own conclusions and instead takes what they read on the internet and takes it as gospel?

  • Thomas Girvan

    I am not an economist.
    Very few of us are.
    I have listened to various players commenting on this.
    I am a realist.
    The cuts are happening, that is reality.
    If I had to choose between Newton Emerson and John Simpson, and Daithi McKay , and yourself, then I go for the first two.
    Sinn Fein are grandstanding for the benefit of their Southern project.
    Listening to McKay on the Nolan show this morning, it is clear that Sinn Fein have no clue about the future costs of their obstructing Welfare reform.
    They are well named, “ourselves alone”, well not quite, they have Morpheus!
    Meanwhile the Nolan show has moved on. They are discussing cuts to the Arts budget.
    Another taste of things to come!

  • Morpheus

    I am not an economist either, that is why I started with NICVA (in the absence of anything else) which says that £750m will leave the NI economy every year. John Simpson disagrees with the report’s conclusions and NICVA disagrees with John Simpson’s disagreement. Are we any the wiser? No.

    That’s why I want to see the analysis of Northern Ireland’s Finance Minister – the guys whose job it is and is holding the purse strings. If it’s not £750m then he should be able to confirm that it is not £750m per year but will in fact be £XXXm per year and it will have XXX impact on the people of Northern Ireland and the plan to mitigate the loss is XXX. What have we got? Tumbleweeds. Even John Simpson, your reference, thinks we should be looking at the impact.

    As I said before I am not against cuts -I think they are needed – but I think we should trim the fat before we start taking from those who can least afford it.

    (and for reference, I am not a Shinner, but if I were I would have absolutely no problem saying it. I think McKay was embarrassing this morning and Nolan let Campbell off the hook far too easily when he was asked for the DUP impact assessment)

  • Morpheus

    The fact that the cuts will impact men, women and children of all ages, religions and none is evidence enough.

    Unlike political unionism who are happy for their ‘clients’ to take the hit because more of themmuns than ourwans will take the hit