Prior to the meeting with the
Prime Minister Chancellor Gordon Brown it had been said he would be in listening mode, that this was only the first step in bidding for a “peace dividend”. After all, what do you give an economy already overly dependent on public funds? More public funds? Maybe not. Update below£50billion may be the headline but, looking closer, Brown stated
“I also said today that we would be prepared to have a 10 year agreement about investment in infrastructure for the future, not just four years but 10 years, worth about £18bn in that period”
Except, there is already a 10 year Investment Strategy in place. From 2005-2015, up to £16billion was already expected to be invested [included in that figure are PublicPrivatePartnerships] – PDF summary here – as Peter Hain previously announced, in December 2005 – Delivering a world class Northern Ireland: Historic multi-billion pound regeneration blueprint unveiled
“We are clearly signalling Government’s strong commitment to taking forward major programmes of work including education, health, and transport and, of course, those areas that fall within EU compliance. The projects identified cover almost every aspect of life in Northern Ireland.
“Future years’ spending plans will be examined and finalised in the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review when the Investment Strategy is reviewed and updated, thereby creating a rolling programme.
And as far as I can recall, it had already been announced that the NI budget was to be raised to £9billion in a year or so [I’ll check that when we get back to Kansas]. 4 years of a budget at £9billion plus 10 years of strategic investment totalling £18billion… no wonder Brown didn’t have to listen for long – although there’ll obviously be a need to examine the full details as they emerge. Oh, and as Henry McDonald predicted on Sunday.. it looks like cutting corporation tax was a no deal.
Update The Treasury has some more details on the proposals