Northern Ireland ahead of Wales

Wales is the poorest region in the United Kingdom, according to the “latest” figures from EUROSTAT. It seems that Northern Ireland’s per capita GDP in 2003 was greater than Wales and the Border, Midland and Western region of the Irish Republic. While the Border, Midland and Western region came in with GDP at 92.5% of the European average and Wales with just 91.6%, Northern Ireland registered 92.8%. The Southern and Eastern region is where the wealth is now concentrated in Ireland with 149.2% of the EU GDP average, which manages to drag the national average up to 134.1%, but even that pales into insignificance compared to inner London with a whopping 278%.

  • It’s always used to make me want to kick the cat every time John Hume staggered off to Boston, or Berlin, made one of his tedious ‘… Derry, a bridge between Boston and Berlin …’ speeches, and yet the silly sod never would admit the truth. Namely, if our beloved maiden City wanted to capitalise on its histric assets, making a pitch to the “City of London” of Londonderry fame, might well have made a jot more economic sense. But no, John knew best.

  • topdeckomnibus

    I lived and worked in Wales for eight years. Earning three times the amount I had made in the so called “rich” South East of England.

    Wean Wales off grant aid ? No chance. 1936 Special Areas Reconstruction Act, Barnet formula EU.

    What happened when the Welsh whingers moaned about being exploited by the Japs ? Panasonic invited Welsh school leavers to take the same entrance tests are Jap apprentice types. Over 90% of the Taffs failed. The Japanese told them that while you are this thick then expect eventually grant aid to dry to a trickle.

    In the 1970s Newport Gwent got a purpose built skillcentre to retrain workers for work in new technology industry. The electronics courses sat idle unsubscribed. Too difficult for them.

    Ebbw Vale College gained special dispensation to dumb down its ONC and HNC engineering courses.

    Pray on their knees and prey on their neighbours.

    The sooner England gets a vote for its freedom and independence the better.

  • topdeckomnibus

    Here is a story. In the early 1990s we were contracting in Panasonic Cardiff. When the Welsh workers went to tea break they religiously switched off the lights.

    We asked the Japs about this. saying that it cost more to switch fluorescent lighting off and back on again then to leave it on for such short periods as tea and lunch breaks.

    Yes said the Japs. But A WElsh worker had put the idea in the suggestion box. So although it was costing the Japs money they introduced the idea to encourage the right attitude amongst their Welsh peasant workers.

    A sign of our times. Banzai.

  • Crataegus

    Very interesting figures generally. A quick look at the Polish figures and you soon see why so many live here.

    I would predict that we are set to overtake places like Kent and Shropshire if we can get our act together. Perhaps even Dorset.

    Karl how we view the world from NI never surprises me. I now spend a fair amount of time in central London and as I have said on other threads, there is no comparing the wealth in London with other places like Dublin. Yes it has its run down areas, as do all cities, but overall it is a major economic dynamo of global importance.

    Personally I don’t mind where the money comes and I assume that Mr Hume was trying to use whatever contacts he had, fair play to him but as you indicate London is closer. Crazy to ignore the place.


    What did the Welsh do to deserve this? Nothing?

  • Overhere

    this also blows a bit of a hole (no pun intended) into the last thread about aid to the Republic and the road situation !!

  • dantheman

    This info is about 3 years old, given the economic development in the south as continued in the south and the GDP difference was a whopping 60 pounds per head, the north is almost certainly the poorest part of ireland. Poorer than those bog oirish micks from the bogland of mayo!

    And what that is ireland the 2ND MOST PRODUCTIVE COUNTRY IN THE EU?? Bejaysus. Maybe some of our loyalist economists should get down to castlebar and tarmac a few drives to help her majesty’s realm out a bit!

  • Crataegus

    Never get too cocky about an economy. They tend to be mercurial and fickle mates. On economics the most certain points are that the economies of the west are in decline relative to those of the East. That the supply of resources is not much in excess of demand in many key sectors and population growth is often in areas of severe deprivation. What future does this bode for any of us?

  • kensei

    “On economics the most certain points are that the economies of the west are in decline relative to those of the East.”

    I’m not sure I agree with this. Historically, rich countries tend to stay rich, and there are few examples of major falls in per capita GDP. The thing most countries that have become “rich” in the past have in common? Proximity to rich neighbours.

  • Rory

    Proximity to rich neighbours is a determining factor in one’s own level of richness suggests Kensel. Hardly the experience of Ireland during the height of Britain’s greatest period of wealth explosion in the 19th century. Nor do I see this idea working itself out on a more local level, for example North Kensington and South Kensington.

    For a time in North London I lived next to a brothel and crack den and although the owner appeared incredibly wealthy the effect upon my circumstances was not at all enriching. I do however have stories to tell.

    Is this posibly what you mean, Kensel? That simp;y by living in proximity to the unsrupulous, careless, amoral rich we shall all become, if not materially rich ourselves, at least all budding little F Scott Fitzgeralds able to make a living telling our stories of the wonder of wealth.

  • Crataegus


    rich countries tend to stay rich,

    No they don’t; go back 250years and the rich countries were India, China, the Ottoman Empire? Spain and the Italian States were in decline USA just wasn’t. Britain was on its way up on the back of the slave trade and piracy followed by such honourable ventures as the Opium wars of 1840.

    In the next 20 -25 years China will overtake America as the worlds economic power and India won’t be that far behind. As things stand Europe is on its way down.

    We simply cannot compete with the low wages in the East and Africa. (if ever it stabilises) Free marketers will say you don’t want to compete with low wage economies, but the difference is so large what we have to ask is what jobs can’t be done more cheaply in Bangalore? The only sectors I can see as being relatively safe are those like construction but these rely on a buoyant overall economy.

    There is an arrogant attitude that we can have value added jobs and rely on our intellectual abilities, but China produces more graduates per year than USA, Britain and Germany put together and its government is up to its neck ensuring its industries succeed with direct aid and all manner of intervention like holding its currency at artificially low levels.

    More worrying I see an inherent instability caused by the limited supply of raw materials as demand rises.

    On the more specific I have seen past booms turn to recessions and usually the flip over is fairly quick. That’s why I say don’t be too cocky about economies just be thankful while the good times lasts.

  • Alan

    *More worrying I see an inherent instability caused by the limited supply of raw materials as demand rises. *

    Agreed – who will be energy rich in 30-40 years time? And how do you get there?

  • DK

    “Agreed – who will be energy rich in 30-40 years time? And how do you get there?”

    The Canadians. Lots of coal and oil in the tundra. Just too expensive to get out while it is cheaper to import from USA etc.

    Not energy rich = China and India. Hence the efforts at nuclear and hydroelectric in both.

    Also not energy rich = Ireland and most of Europe. Need to do something with all that wind and waves that we get.

    As for the Eurostat report:
    GDP of ireland is 139 Bn Euro. Northern Ireland GDP is 39 Bn, or 22% of the total Island, while the population of 1.6 million is 29% of the total of 5.5 million of the whole Island. So, NI on average is worse than the Republic, although better than the “Border, Midland and Western region”.

    On a UK basis, the picture is pretty similar, with NI contributing 2.4% of the 1598 Bn UK GDP, but 2.6% of the 60.4 million population, although better than 12 of the 36 other UK regions.

    What does this tell us? NI is basically a region, whether in UK or Ireland, but not as bad off as we think!