Topic Archives: Economy

From King Billy to the Glasgow Trams. A brief history of government debt…

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Governments often need more money than they can extract from their citizens or subjects. Centuries ago, the sovereign relied on loans at interest. This was called ‘usury’, but usury at that time carried no implication of extortionate rates of interest. It wasn’t until Jean Calvin decided that lending money at interest wasn’t a sin that more…

“Sunday’s election could be a significant day for Europe…”

EU flag

The campaign may have resembled a “political circus”, but Sunday’s general election in Greece could see the leftist Syriza, led by former communist Alexis Tsipras, emerge as the leading party – but in search of a partner-in-government [We’ve been there before! – Ed].  Indeed.  Although, they could still achieve a majority… In the meantime, the Irish Times highlights a more…

Ed Miliband in Belfast – no gaffs, little charisma, but a definite listening ear at the Heenan-Anderson Commission

Ed-Miliband at Heenan-Anderson Commission at Ulster University

When it comes to visiting English political party leaders, the people of Northern Ireland are unexcited. The hand of history is wobbling over the shoulder of Labour’s Ed Miliband and few really expect the DUP to hold the balance of power after the May 2015 election. However, it has been many years since Ed Miliband more…

The casino budget – a triumph of hope over experience

Draft Budget Cuts

Well, it’s finally here. After what seemed like an interminable period of consultations, talks, talks about talks, and talks about curried yoghurt, we finally have some numbers. The fact that the Budget is not quite as gruesome as might originally been feared is being spun as some sort of victory. It is still deeply grim more…

Corr-Johnston: What we need is Robin Hood when all we have is Prince John.

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Corporation Tax dominated the headlines in 2014, writing for Slugger the PUP Cllr for Oldpark, Julie Ann Corr-Johnston argues for a rethink of the entire debate Corporation tax will probably go over the heads of many in our community, but it has the potential of bringing 50-60,000 jobs into Northern Ireland over the coming years-Peter more…

Motoring could become more expensive for NI motorists

Slugger has had a number of excellent articles this year on transport especially in Belfast with the new bus lanes etc. Largely un-noticed, however, has been one seemingly unimportant event which may have significant relevance for many of Northern Ireland’s drivers. Clearly the recent reduction in the price of fuel is welcomed by many / more…

“The brinkmanship that seems inescapable on such occasions has become self-indulgent and self-important too”

The Guardian’s editorial on the Stormont House Agreement has some pertinent things to note about Northern Ireland’s latest deal.  Although, if, as they claim, “the glass is half-full” it is also, by definition, half-empty.  From the Guardian editorial The talks came very close, after 11 weeks of discussion, to falling apart, as earlier efforts under the more…

Death in Cobh and Attack in Cavan

A couple of days ago, Patricia McBride wrote on Slugger that “our political leaders north and south must become pro-woman” in light of the recent tribulations of Dawn Purvis, Director of Marie Stopes, as well as the judgement delivered by the High Court in Dublin last week regarding whether to continue life support for a more…

Stormont House Agreement (reduced to 750 words, then further digested to 350 and 140 words) #StormontTalks

Stormont House Agreement in a page 350 words

For those who don’t want to read the full document here’s an easy to digest 750-word summary!. (At the bottom you’ll find an even more concise 350 word digest, along with downloadable versions to re-use.) Final balanced budget to be agreed in January 2015. Legislation before Assembly in January 2015 to push through Welfare changes; more…

Stormont House Agreement (in full) #StormontTalks

Wordle of Stormont House Agreement December 2014

The NIO have published the text of the Stormont House Agreement, along with the financial annex. (I’ve also summarised the key bodies, dates and funds down to 750 words [and then just 350 words] in a separate post.) STORMONT HOUSE AGREEMENT Finance and Welfare 
The participants agree: 1. Early measures are needed to address the more…

GLL Belfast Leisure Centre Takeover

So Belfast City Council’s “outsourcing” (I love the Orwellian newspeak of this phrase) of its leisure facilities has been in the pipeline for quite a while, but the official hand over of our leisure centres to Greenwich Leisure Ltd (a ..err… “charitable social enterprise for all the community”) happens on 1st January. BBC today is more…

Why would you bother investing in Northern Ireland?

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Retired Irish Civil Servant Niall MacSuibhne (formerly the Irish Revenue dept) writes about what attracts multinationals to a region Ernst & Young publishes an annual review of Foreign Direct Investment in Europe and has done so for some years. These “attractiveness reports” as they are quaintly called give a continent wide picture of trends within the FDI more…

£421.82 For The Arts or is it 13p?

Arts 3

13p per person per week for the arts. £6.76 per person per year for the arts. £421.82 per person per lifetime (18-80.4) for the arts On the face of it, 13p For The Arts is a worthy and well run campaign, and of course those within the industry should campaign against cuts being imposed, I more…

Transport options for Belfast. Who gets priority on our roads?

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Andy Boal explores the transport options for Belfast It’s been interesting to read the responses to Brian’s post, but I’ve had a good look at the DRD’s proposed budget cuts and the consequences for public transport. It’s grim reading. Before we get into that, let’s start with a few principles. First of all, there is limited more…

The Flag Dispute: Anatomy of a Protest published by Queen’s

flag protest report

Today saw the publication of a report by researchers from the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation and Social Justice at Queen’s University Belfast, ‘The Flag Dispute: Anatomy of a Protest.’ It offers two key recommendations: A review of the outcomes of single identity work, coupled with additional programmes in loyalist areas that promote more…

NI’s exchequer transfers make us a more prosperous society than the south…

Interesting report from Maynooth finds that Northern Ireland is more prosperous than Ireland, indeed DUP run Castlereagh leads the affluence league for the whole island followed by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, North Down, Antrim and Lisburn…. Carl O’Brien in the Irish Times reports: Unemployment levels across many parts of Northern Ireland, for example, are half the rates south more…