Allister’s ambitious target

Jim Allister has been trying to earn his wages this week. He has submitted three policy papers arguing that Northern Ireland should receive £1billion of the £6.2bn EU spending earmarked for all of the United Kingdom. The reports cover the future of Structural Funds, Peace III and support for East-West initiatives. Interestingly, the economic issues it highlights are the sames as George’s thread:

1.2.1 An underdeveloped private sector

Of Northern Ireland’s 53,770 VAT-registered businesses, 31 per cent are agricultural and 89 per cent employ fewer than 10 people
Only 200 businesses have more than 200 employees and a mere 65 employ more than 500 workers.
The overwhelming number of large private-sector employers are overseas-owned
Around two-thirds of all manufacturing workers are employed by overseas-owned companies
NI has the lowest average private sector wages amongst the 12 UK regions at 83% of the UK average.

1.2.2 Over-dependence on public sector

NI public sector equates to 61% of GDP, compared to UK’s 42% and RoI’s 27% while public sector wages are 103% of UK average
Public sector, retail and hospitality account for 64% of all jobs, with the public sector employing 1 in 3 of all workers and 60% of all females in employment
Per-capita employment in today’s NI public sector is more than that of any Russian state at the break-up of the Soviet Union
Government sponsored retail-based regeneration strategies create retail developments that depend on continued high public sector wages

1.2.3 Low R& D and business formation

NI has second-lowest level of business formation of the 12 UK regions
NI has the lowest level of business growth amongst the 12 UK regions
NI has amongst the world’s lowest % of GDP invested in R&D
Public investment in NI R&D is 41% of UK average
Overseas-owned manufacturing firms account for 60% of NI R&D spend and 10 FDI firms account for 50% of exports
Private sector wages are 83% of UK average and falling relative to the rest of the UK

1.2.4 Low labour market participation

Over 530,000 people (41% of working-age population) are not economically active
There are worrying underlying trends: Since 1978:
– Unemployment fell by 24,100 – 45%
– Employees in employment rose by 171,690 – 33%
– Incapacity benefit claimants rose by 67,753 – 156%
The rise in incapacity claimants is almost three times the total fall in unemployment

1.2.5 High long term unemployed and uneven sub regional growth
NI has the highest level of long-term and youth unemployment amongst the 12 UK regions
Some wards in Belfast and Londonderry have amongst the highest levels of deprivation in Europe
Falling unemployment masks alarming rise in benefit claimants

  • Pete Baker

    fd

    Am I missing something? [I know it wouldn’t be the first time]

    Allister’s solution to the economic malaise is to increase public spending [albeit with EU funds]?

    btw.. do we really need the publicity shot? It’s scaring my cat – although it does sit interestingly with the caption (or, rather, with the post title) from below.

  • fair_deal

    pb

    Public spending isn’t an absolute evil it is what is done with it that is more important.

    The recent guidelines I received from mick encouraged the use of images in threads and I have done so as my recent threads demonstrate.

    PS I don’t like cats, a dog person myself.

  • Nevin

    Fair Deal,

    Aren’t matters like transport infrastructure, tourism and EU special projects now in the Strand 2 NSMC domain rather than the Stormont one?

  • eChad

    Considered and well presented requests for Europe’s assistance in building NI’s economic development.

    Great to see Jim arguing well for funding…

    ..just as the other Jim takes his place in arguing to block European funding. Go figure.

    (which jim is which?)

  • Alan

    Ever backwards!

    Is this is yet another Sinn Fein economic / hand-out strategy?

    No – this time it’s from the party that brought you three years of political inaction, but still accepted their salaries.

    The hypocrisy of this announcement is risable.

  • bootman

    Surely nobody believes that Scotland is a more natural economic partner than the 26?
    Self-delusion run amok!

  • Duffy

    I thought there might be something in these so had a look but gave up after the first one. Reads like the sort of thing the UUP would have put out 10 or 20 years ago. Maybe it is. Apparently Northern Ireland can make a pile of cash out of the EU by selling itself as a version of Scotland to Scottish people.

  • Loyalist

    Very good documents. Allister shows he’s leading the way for the Unionist community. Where are Mr. Nicholson’s policy papers? Probably buried under travel expenses forms.

  • Duffy

    Jim Allister may as well spit in the sea for all the impact he will have with his documents.

  • fair_deal

    Nevin

    “Aren’t matters like transport infrastructure, tourism and EU special projects now in the Strand 2 NSMC domain rather than the Stormont one?”

    Transport does not have a cross-border body. Worldwide promotion has been given over but other functions remian hence why we still have the NITB. Administration of EU funding falls under SEUPB but the decision on the distribution of Structural Funds given to the UK AFAIK lies with the UK government not SEUPB.

    bootman

    “Self-delusion run amok!”

    No a fact of economic and social history. It does not mean that a economic relationship should not be pursued with the RoI but it does mean it shouldn’t be the sole obsession either.

    Also in terms of the EU approach – common action to address common problems – the difficulties of the Scottish economy are mirrored in NI.

  • Loyalist

    Duffy

    At least he’s making a contribution to the debate, which is more than can be said of the other 2 MEP’s.

  • Nevin

    As I said on another thread:

    “Jim Allister DUP – the descendant of a Scots Presbyterian from the Lowlands of Scotland or a Hebridean galloglass from an earlier era?”

  • Loyalist

    Nevin

    Jim Allister DUP – one of Unionisms most capable spokesmen, as sharp as a tack, and capable of devouring smart-alec nationalists for breakfast.

    And I’m pretty sure Allister = Lowland Scots.

  • Duffy

    I see from the European Parliament website that under Jim Nicholson’s entry there are two reports listed since the last elections – one on the Peace fund and one on the International Fund for Ireland. Under Jim Allister’s entry there is nothing listed for reports. Just a list of speeches and papermill questions – nothing pertaining to actual legislation.

  • fair_deal

    Nevin

    Surname as a tool for discovering a person’s origins has limited value even though it is a profitable business for some. There is not a consistency/fixed surnames down through the centuries never mind millenia. Also it is discriminatory as it places greatest value on the male line.

  • Duffy

    Indeed.

    Does Adams = Lowland Scots?

  • fair_deal

    Duffy

    “under Jim Nicholson’s entry there are two reports listed since the last elections”

    Sheesh. Please bother to learn how the Euro Parliament works.

  • fair_deal

    Duffy

    Does Adams = Lowland Scots? and Hume. The zealotry of a convert 😉

    Anecdote alert

    One of the nationalist festivals in North Belfast organised a political debate and an audience member asked “Is Adams an Ulster-Scots surname?” Mitchel McLaughlin replied “No, it is a Scotch-Irish surname”

  • Loyalist

    Duffy

    I suggest you visit his website to see just how many reports he has published.

  • Nevin

    Fair Deal,

    Transport doesn’t have a North-South body but Mowlam agreed Chapter 9 in Ireland’s NDP 2000-2006 document (PDF)

    [i]9.34 Consequently, a key aim of transport development policy during the period of this Plan
    will be to improve infrastructure and integration within and between road and public transport
    182
    networks, in both jurisdictions, so as to provide a more coherent and sustainable strategic
    transport network for the island as a whole. The objective will be the generation of a co-ordinated
    transport and logistics plan for the island in the context of East-West linkages to Britain and Europe,
    including strategic cross-border roads and Trans European Networks (TENS) routes. To that end,
    under the direction of the NSMC, the authorities in both jurisdictions will be working together to
    identify and promote joint projects within this important area.[/i]

    This would appear to indicate that the NSMC will control East-West linkage development.

  • fair_deal

    the key part of the text is

    ” working together to
    identify and promote joint projects”

    Co-operation is not control

  • Loyalist

    fd

    Spot on. Unionists have nothing to fear from co-operation for the common good of both jurisdictions.

  • Nevin

    Fair Deal,

    Allister is discriminatory in his references to east-west linkages. Scotland and the Scotch tongue is just a small portion of the interchange.

    Sadly, Ulster-Scots cultural harvesting will probably obscure more than it reveals about our past. A visit to Bushmills and a look at the posters on the lamp-posts reveals how desperate it can get.

  • Nevin

    Fair Deal

    I was thinking more of

    [i]a co-ordinated transport and logistics plan for the island in the context of East-West linkages[/i]

    That would appear to place East-West links under the direction of the NSMC.

  • fair_deal

    nevin

    This still reads to me as co-operation with the NSMC given the co-ordinating role.

  • Duffy

    Fair Deal,

    I worked at the European Commission in the early ninetes spending a lot of time at the Parliament dealing with reports. I think I am still pretty much up to date with the place. Throw me a question and we can see if that’s true. Maybe you could teach Loyalist what is meant by a “report” at the European Parliament.

  • Nevin

    FD,

    It would also appear to place the NSMC at the western side of the development of East-West linkages.

  • fair_deal

    Duffy

    1. My reference is about the appointment of rapporteurs being co-ordinated with the Party groups. As JA is not a member of a party group this places him at a disadvantage.
    2. Both reports have specific reference to NI. This makes JN a natural choice for the rapporteur role and his parliamentary experience and membership of a bigger grouping why he gets the nod over fellow member Bairbre de Brun. I have done a quick check and I can’t spot anything as geographically specific among the reports of JA’s committees.
    3. JA’s scepticism on the EU would make him an unlikely choice as rapporteur for a constitutional affairs report.
    4. JN’s position as a quaestor probably counts for something too.

    Loyalist

    In Euro parliamentary terms a report is a committee’s formal response to Commission legislation/proposal/consultation.

    Nevin

    Geography places the NSMC on the western side of East-West linkages

  • Loyalist

    fd

    I am aware of that. I am also aware of the significant contribution that JA makes on his committees (Fisheries and Const. Affairs). Given that the committee structures are dominated by EPP-ED and POES it is not surprising that JA’s name does not appear as a rapportuer.

  • Markkus

    Agreed on the publicity shot. If an English MP promoted a photo like that, he’d be lampooned and compared to Alan B’Stard.

  • duffy

    Fair Deal,

    Thanks for coming back on that. Your points are spot on. As in any Parliament there are different ways to influence policy but it is the case that in the European Parliament rappoteurship of just one (legislative) report is probably worth a hundred speeches.

  • bootman

    Fair Deal—-As JA is not a member of a party group this places him at a disadvantage.

    Maybe those nice Vlaams Blok lads and Le pen will work with him, they share the same basis outlook

  • Loyalist

    bootman

    I’m sure Jim Allister appreciates your concern, but there are also lots of advantages to being outside a group. I suggest you ask the UUP’s MEP why he belongs to a federalist, pro-Euro group when he claims to be a Euro-sceptic.

  • fair_deal

    No it means he isn’t prepared to tell the electorate one thing fly to the parliament and join a group which says the opposite.

    Vlaams Blok doesn’t exist anymore.

    Neither has the DUP aligned itself with any fascist grouping in the Euro parliament making it clear the DUP want nothing to do with them.

  • Nevin

    FD, the implication is that the development of East-West infrastructure linkages is the ambit of NSMC, not Stormont. These changes were evolving apparently while Robinson and Campbell were playing musical chairs at Stormont.

  • duffy

    You don’t just turn up at the European Parliament and decide which group you want to join. They have to want you too. Ian Paisley always said that he preferred to be independent and there is no reason not to believe him but in all those years when he was seldom there did anyone ever actually ask him to join their group?

  • Loyalist

    duffy

    The only person from Northern Ireland who ever aligned with Fascists was John Taylor.

  • fair_deal

    Nevin

    1. The DUP didn’t attend NSMC meetings.
    2. The NSMC is partially staffed by civil servants from OFM/DFM.
    3. Participation in NSMC meetings was by the nomination of the First Minister David Trimble (it is how he blocked Sinn Fein for a while). So who did he chose to nominate to attend that meeting?
    4. The decision you are exercised about
    was made at the December 2000 meeting. Gregory Campbell replaced Peter Robinson in July 2000 some five months before that date so the two events have no relationship.

  • Nevin

    [i]The special EU programmes body will have significant functions in relation to post-1999 Structural Funds, including advising the North-South Ministerial Council and the Finance Departments on the negotiation of the post-1999 Community initiatives and the common chapter on co-operation between Northern Ireland and Ireland.[/i] Dail 9 Mar 1999

    FD, as you can see the common chapter was in place by March, 1999. The DUP ministers opted out of the process so they allowed it to evolve. This evolution is likely to continue as there is no Executive in sight.

  • fair_deal

    Nevin

    A poor attempt at shifting goal posts. The transport issue you specifically raised was agreed at a Dec 2000 meeting of the NSMC.

    http://www.northsouthministerialcouncil.org/transarea.htm

    The principle of cross-border bodies, the NSMC and what areas they could cover was in the Belfast Agreement in April 1998. An Agreement the DUP does not support and were not involved in the negotiation of.

    http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/events/peace/docs/agreement.htm#strand2

    A subsequent agreement was reached about which of these areas were to have bodies and which were to be areas of co-operation on 18th December 1998. This was solely negotiated by the pro-agreement parties.

    http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/events/peace/docs/dept181298.htm

    This agreement was then sent to the Assembly for approval on 18th January 1999. The DUP voted to reject the report.

    http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/record/reports/990118.htm#2

  • duffy

    Loyalist,

    Good point. Bargepole was probably the 2nd worst thing that ever happened to Northern Ireland and unionism in Europe in terms of image at least. Incredible to think that while nowadays the argument tends to be over whether Nicholson or Allister is of more significance in the European Parliament, at one time unionism was represented by Taylor and Paisley.

    Nevertheless, if you read back through the thread you will see that I have made no remark in respect of the DUP and the far right. Wrong target mate.

  • Nevin

    Er, the common chapter from which I took the transport quote was already in place before the Executive was formed. It was IMO an amendment to the 1998 Agreement. The DUP ministers indulged in musical chairs whilst the amendment was permitted to bed down. And Allister seems unaware of the NSMC role in deciding how the East-West infrastructure is to be developed.

  • fair_deal

    Nevin

    If you are genuinely concerned about cross-border issues then take them up with thse who agreed to them, established them and implemented them.

    “Er, the common chapter from which I took the transport quote was already in place before the Executive was formed.”

    The same quote appears on the NSMC website and says it was agreed at a meeting in December 2000.

    Also as I have shown above the process began in April 1998 and the DUP did not support any stage of that process.

    Any link to this common chapter?

    “It was IMO an amendment to the 1998 Agreement”

    It wasn’t an amendment. It was the implementation of Strand Two Paragraph 8 of the Belfast Agreement.

    “And Allister seems unaware of the NSMC role in deciding how the East-West infrastructure is to be developed.”

    1. His report is not solely on transport links.
    2. The report was submitted to the SEUPB and DFP. Who does SEUPB report to? The NSMC.
    3. East-West linkages cannot be planned without talking to those in East ie Scotland. It isn’t a great plan to have superb roads or rail going to great ports to end up linking to a poor road, rail or port on the mainland. He is identifying resources to ensure good indepth co-operation.

  • Nevin


    http://www.ndp.ie/newndp/r/NDP_complete_text.PDF

    FD,

    This is getting a little confusing. The DUP didn’t recognise the NSMC and now Allister does?

    And then there’s this:

    Allister: “Any Interreg programme of cooperation between our two countries should reflect the formulation of an integrated Scotland-Ulster transport strategy, aimed at improving the transport infrastructure in Western Scotland and the Province.”

    Firstly, such a strategy would not be in NI’s competence as we’ve already noted. Secondly, does INTERREG operate across two regions of the same state?

  • fair_deal

    Eyes roll

    “This is getting a little confusing”

    No it is perfectly simple. They didn’t support it and don’t participate in its operation but they don’t deny it or other cross-border bodies exist and operate.

    Co-operation does not cede control.

    An example of how even the existence of a cross-border body doesn’t even reduce control is despite the existence of SEUPB this has not ended DFP’s role in negotiating NI’s share of European funding with the Treasury.

  • Nevin

    FD, don’t you accept that control of East-West infrastructure developments has been ‘ceded’ to the NSMC? If you do, what is the point of Allister’s Scotland-NI proposal?

    Check out ‘development corridor’ in Gregory Campbell’s authorised “Shaping Our Future” document. It sounds more SDLP than DUP ie there are no development corridors to the rest of the UK. Why?

  • fair_deal

    “don’t you accept that control of East-West infrastructure developments has been ‘ceded’ to the NSMC?”

    What part of “Co-operation does not cede control.” do you not understand?

    “Check out ‘development corridor’ in Gregory Campbell’s authorised “Shaping Our Future” document.”

    1. If you claim about ceding control was true then DRD would have developed this document it would have been the NSMC.
    2. The region’s links with the mainland are through the gateways. There is this thing called the North Channel?
    3. The development of a transport stratgy is dealt with in a separate plan.
    http://www.drdni.gov.uk/DRDwww_Strategies/file.asp?id=121
    4 The implemntation section specifically identifies the different partners a successful regional strategy requires “The successful
    development of the Region, and the realisation of its full potential, can only be achieved through effective partnership between regional and local government and with the public, private, community and voluntary sectors and through appropriate co-operation with our neighbours in the island of
    Ireland and with Great Britain.”

    This trolling is becoming tiresome.

  • Christopher Stalford

    Fair Deal and Nevin

    Perhaps I might bring some clarity (or more confusion) the policy paper in relation to East-West co-operation was also sent to a Scottish Parliamentary committee looking at the future of Interreg chaired by Denis Canavan.

  • Nevin

    FD, there is no need for such a condescending tone.

    The language of the SoS document signed by Gregory portrays NI as more of a region of the island of Ireland than one of the UK

    [i]A strong North-West regional centre based on Londonderry, the transport pivot and regional gateway for the North-Western corner of the island (C7);[/i]

    Apart from the use of ‘Londonderry’ – presumably to keep Gregory happy.

    Ditto the insertion of ‘with’ in your quote, “co-operation with our neighbours in the island of
    Ireland and with Great Britain”.