Does Gordon want to help?

The discussions on the financial package do not seem to be progressing well. Mitchell Mclaughlin has attacked Gordon Brown, claiming that so far no new money has been offered by the Treasury. Eyes will be on the budget to see any indication of movement, if not, the focus will be on tomorrow’s meeting to see if Gordon pulls a rabbit out of his red box. Finances are tight but the Brown Blair feud wouldn’t extend to sabotaging devolution, or would it? Perhaps it is just Stalinist negotiating tactics?

  • gram

    Not surprised really. Gotta keep middle England happy. No votes for Gordon in giving the N.Ireland economy a kick start.

    Wonder how much money the people of N.ireland will pay towards the London Olympics?

  • Henry94

    “British Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown has said details of a new Northern Ireland innovation fund for industry and jobs, to be made available to a restored executive, will be announced tomorrow.”

    Here comes the bribe.

  • If NI politicians, especially ‘unionists’, spent a bit more time actually studying the affairs of the only Government which really counts, they would know that the reason Gordon Brown can’t offer them any serious new money is because he hasn’t got any. And if he did have a spare billion or so, already heavily subsidised NI would be unlikely to top his priority list.
    Stand by for a heavily choreographed display of smoke and mirrors, probably disguising some sort of soft loan arrangements, and remember to read the small print very carefully.
    Peter Robinson used to assure us that there was plenty enough scope for savings in the NI budget to obviate the need for swingeing rate rises and suchlike.
    He may soon have the opportunity to prove it. I just hope he had his sums right.

  • gram

    Hugo ‘George Osborne’ Rudd:If NI politicians, especially ‘unionists’, spent a bit more time actually studying the affairs of the only Government which really counts, they would know that the reason Gordon Brown can’t offer them any serious new money is because he hasn’t got any.< < No money but can some how find 76 Billion for trident, 9 billion for the olympics and god knows home much for the illegal invasion of Iraq. >>already heavily subsidised NI<< In what way? Most goverments assist geographically disadvantaged areas. It is unreasonable to expect the N.ireland economy to adhere to the same rules as London.

  • Globetrotter

    We’re not “geographically disadvantaged”, our problems are political.

    The Republic seems to function pretty well.

  • Hugo ‘George Osborne’ Rudd

    Well, I think today’s budget makes the case very clearly. A fiscally neutral display of zombie-economics, flattering to deceive the eejits who think the abolition of the bottom rate of tax (or more correctly, a doubling of the bottom rate of tax) will save them money, and that tuppence off the corporation tax will turn Milton Keynes into the UK’s IFSC. Too late to turn the economy around now Gordon, so the time must have come for pointless gestures!

    Brown has no money to spend. Incidentally, 76 billion is wildly inaccurate even by Libdem accounting methods for Trident. Try £30bn at a max. Nine Billion for the Olympics was only to be expected, and I concede that invasion of Iraq was a senseless folly.

    The plan to give cash to Northern Ireland as some peace dividend is playing to the lowest financial logic possible; the idea that Northern Ireland can simultaneously be pacified and made less of an economic basket case by chucking more money at it.

    This is a bribe, pure and simple, of the chickenfeed variety Brown likes. The money means little in terms of the whole UK spending landscape, but can send the strategically shaved chimps we have representing us here in a feeding frenzy.

    If I were chancellor, I’d simply follow the priorities for spending, established by the spending departments. I’d claw back the defence savings, and tell the NI politicians to get on with governing. The idea of Peter Robinson being able to make more money a precondition of government is absolutely scandalous, and akin to ordering dessert for your idiot offspring before you can be certain he’ll finish the main meal.

  • Harris

    Henry

    “Here comes the bribe.”

    Will it be enough considering yesterdays comments from the DUP?

    “However, key DUP figures also issued tough statements yesterday, countering the inflexible government stance.

    DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson said: “The DUP is not and will not be in the business of jumping to Peter Hain’s tune or determining our strategy on the basis of threats or bribes.”

    He added: “No one should be in any doubt that we will use our mandate to ensure all the necessary conditions are in place rather than settling for a second-best, second-rate quick fix to suit Peter Hain.

    “All the necessary conditions are not yet in place to ensure a return to stable and durable devolution.”

    East Derry MP Gregory Campbell insisted: “We said that there would need to be a credible period of testing for Sinn Féin.

    “Some of these matters have been addressed but not fully resolved. The credible period of testing has not begun, given Sinn Féin’s à la carte approach to policing in the form of the MP Michelle Gildernew’s refusal to offer her support for information to be given to the police on dissident activity, all of this adds up to the absurdity of Peter Hain’s constant carping on the 26th deadline and what it will mean.”

  • gram

    Globetrotter:>>We’re not “geographically disadvantaged”, our problems are political.

    The Republic seems to function pretty well.<< We are geographically disadvantaged. The republic addressed this problem by dropping their corporation tax rates to 12%. Hugo 'George Osborne' Rudd: Incidentally, 76 billion is wildly inaccurate even by Libdem accounting methods for Trident. << Are those submarines going to drive themselves? 30bn is what it will cost to build and equip. Then there's the support, maintenance and staffing of the subs for the following 20-30 years.

  • Hugo ‘George Osborne’ Rudd

    gram,

    So you’re giving £76bn as the total costs for design, control, deommissioning of old SSBN’s, and fifty years’ running costs?

    The total cost of Trident replacement is due to take around 5.5% of the Defence Budget, and is not a lump sum figure.

    You gave the figure in the round, along with a short term figure and an ongoing expense, deliberately creating the impression of a current or imminent expenditure.

    Frankly, that level of spend is a relatively small price to pay for national security and a seat at the Security Council, when one considers the 1998 core budget for Northern Ireland was around 8bn pa.

    Even using your vastly inflated figures, assuming a steady population around 60 million, over the course of the next fifty years, Trident will cost per capita £1266 (£25.33 per year, less than most dental insurance) while Northern Ireland expenditure will cost £6666 per capita or £133 per annum.

    I love my country, and I like Northern Ireland a lot, but the fact that we’re contemplating spending sixteen quid per head of the UK population in giving a bribe to the DUP and Sinn Féin to stop killing one another and get on with the job of governing, is IMHO a bit much.

    I’d love to see the Cost/benefits analysis for that one. I’d prefer sixteen lottery tickets, whose 8:7 million odds are much better than the chance of this monumental waste of money making our lives better.

  • gram

    Hugo ‘George Osborne’ Rudd:You gave the figure in the round, along with a short term figure and an ongoing expense, deliberately creating the impression of a current or imminent expenditure. << Business cases should take all future expenditure into account. In addition this government regularly cocks up the budgets for major capital projects (dome, olympics, nhs it) so I wouldn't be confident of meeting any published figures. You seem happy that we are spending 76Bn to address an non-existent threat yet balk at the thought of giving N.Ireland some cash to improve competitiveness, address unemployment and our dependency on public sector jobs. Very strange.

  • Hugo ‘George Osborne’ Rudd

    gram,

    How on earth do you improve competitiveness by throwing government money at nationalised industry? That’s brilliant, I may make a sitcom out of it. Of course a business case should address all long-run costs, but if so, good accountancy requires you to suffix a £76bn figure with a note on the reduction in the defence budget you’re addressing.

    Throwing taxpayers’ money around is not big, it’s not clever, and it’s part of the reason Norniron is in the schtuck it’s in right now. In terms of meeting costs, I’ve agreed a 5bn overrun into my trident estimate, and a 2.26bn estimate into my olympics estimate.

    Incidentally, the figure for trident is for four boats of the same size with the same complement, rather than the likely three smaller boats with reduced complement, not to mention the new targetting and firing system.

    I’m not happy we’re spending more money on nuclear defence; i wish we didn’t have to, and that the military could certify a reduction in the threat level.

  • gram

    Hugo ‘George Osborne’ Rudd:How on earth do you improve competitiveness by throwing government money at nationalised industry? < < I don't think reducing the level of corporation tax to the levels of the republic can be classed as throwing money at nationalised industry. It's throwing money at private enterprise to attract inward investment. >>Of course a business case should address all long-run costs, but if so, good accountancy requires you to suffix a £76bn figure with a note on the reduction in the defence budget you’re addressing.< < That would be true if the current system could continue indefinitely however the current trident system is going obsolete. This reduction was going to happen anyway if the new system was put in place or not. So no this should not be part of the business case for trident. >>I’m not happy we’re spending more money on nuclear defence; i wish we didn’t have to, and that the military could certify a reduction in the threat level.<< Have you been on another planet for the last few years? Allowing British intelligence services to dictate where we spend our defense budget is like getting a peadophile to look after your kids.

  • Hugo ‘George Osborne’ Rudd

    gram, you misunderstand; that’s a double accounting error, and you’re still not addressing it. i’ll accept a written apology

    As for threat levels, well, Parliament disagrees with you, as do the MOD and our allies. You must be some type of securophobe. Incidentally, the paedophile analogy is neither adroit nor amusing, and terribly misjudged. You should be a little ashamed of that.

    Reducing corporation tax in Northern Ireland will have a small effect, but it still represents a stupid increas in spending. Northern Ireland will never straighten up and fly right with chunks of government money. And this corporation tax change would have happened six years ago under the tories.

  • gram

    >>gram, you misunderstand; that’s a double accounting error, and you’re still not addressing it. i’ll accept a written apology< < Accountancy lessons from someone who can't tell the difference from Nationalised and Private industry mmm. >>As for threat levels, well, Parliament disagrees with you, as do the MOD and our allies. You must be some type of securophobe. << We all know the treat really comes from international terrorism. Difficult to hit those guys with a nuke. Actually a sizeable number of MPs agree with this opinion. The govt needed the tories to get this through.

  • Hugo ‘George Osborne’ Rudd

    You won’t address the accountancy error, fair enough, you’re conceding the point.

    In fact, of course, the majority of any financial package will be aimed at bailing out the big charges for a period of time, adding finance to the bottom lines of some departments and putting more money up for grabs amongst the big spenders in the public sphere here.

    At least a change in corporation tax is better than more money for Invest (infest?) Northern Ireland. Pity Gordon’s knocking up overall corporation tax for small businesses (the businesses with the least capacity to shelter themselves from inflation) by a percentage point a year.

    If ya want real change in that direction, create a special business area and dump corporation tax by a couple of percent and give a small subsidy for HQ or large plant. Don’t just throw money around!

    Parliament voted by large majority to support the government’s Trident plan. Rehash the spin whatever way you want.

  • gram

    Hugo ‘George Osborne’ Rudd:In fact, of course, the majority of any financial package will be aimed at bailing out the big charges for a period of time, adding finance to the bottom lines of some departments and putting more money up for grabs amongst the big spenders in the public sphere here.<< What like? Water? Already pay for that. If money needs to be invested that's the govts fault not ours. Health. We have the longest waiting lists in the UK. We deserve parity. If that costs more to deliver in N.I. tough. To simplify the accounting on trident for you. If I was to go to the bank looking for a business loan I don't think the fact that I had a previous business that is now obsolete would have any bearing on their decision. They would look at what future benefits will be accrued from the initial investment. In the case of trident well there are no future benefits as it's designed to protect us from an ememy that isn't there. You are basing your financial argument on the fact that we already pay for a trident system. That is irrelevant. What is relevant is the opportunity cost of this decision. The things that will not get done, the benefits we will not get cause the govt is spunking 76Bn on a useless weapons system. A laughable decision when the guys on the front line don't even have proper equipment to save their lives.

  • Hugo ‘George Osborne’ Rudd

    There is no such thing as government money; it’s taxpayers’ money. If investment needs to be made in water, we should invest in water, and not expect the people of England, Wales and Scotland to foot the vast majority of the bill.

    We do deserve parity; that would be £7,000 per capita per year of public spending, or thereabouts.

    I happen to agree with you that we already pay for water; but we have to be prepared to grow up and pay our way perhaps a little more.

    You’re basing your Trident argument on the principle that there is no enemy; Okay, fine, but Parliament doesn’t agree with you.

    I also agree that we should be treating our troops with more respect for their lives, at home and abroad.

  • George

    Hugo,
    “Reducing corporation tax in Northern Ireland will have a small effect, but it still represents a stupid increase in spending.”

    Reducing tax a company has to pay is not an increase in government spending.

    Gram,
    “It’s throwing money at private enterprise to attract inward investment.”

    Reducing corporate tax entails not taking away money rather than throwing it.

    Might I also point out that the UK has been doing very well on the Foreign Direct Investment front over the last decade despite the fact it had a 30% corporate tax rate.

    The problem was that virtually none of it went to Northern Ireland.

    Reducing the corporate tax rate will only remove one of many reasons why foreign companies decided to invest in Great Britain and the Irish Republic rather than NI.

  • Hugo ‘George Osborne’ Rudd

    I mean the overall package, not reducting tax; fair catch, however, and I will be clearer in future.

    Reduce if far below the ROI rate if you want people to come to NI.

  • gram

    Hugo ‘George Osborne’ Rudd:We do deserve parity; that would be £7,000 per capita per year of public spending, or thereabouts.<< No we deserve parity of public services. Individuals pay the same level of taxation throughout the UK. If it costs more to deliver services in N.Ireland again tough sh*t. Do you think the post office would delievr a letter to Castlederg if they weren't forced to? By your logic there would be no money for services or roads outside of the main population centres.

  • gram

    George:Reducing corporate tax entails not taking away money rather than throwing it.<< Thanks George for stating the bleeding obvious. Should I also clarify that when I say "throwing money a private enterprise" I don't mean that someone from the government is standing outside the company hurling fivers at it?

  • George

    Gram,
    you commented:


    I don’t think reducing the level of corporation tax to the levels of the republic can be classed as throwing money at nationalised industry. It’s throwing money at private enterprise to attract inward investment.

    You are saying that reducing the level of corporation tax can be classed as “throwing money at private enterprise to attract inward investment”.

    I’m saying it can’t. How can you throw money you don’t have at people who are still in possession of it because you haven’t yet taken it off them in taxes?

  • gram

    George:I’m saying it can’t. How can you throw money you don’t have at people who are still in possession of it because you haven’t yet taken it off them in taxes?<< Reducing corporation tax lets companies keep money that would previously been taken off them. In effect this is giving them money.

  • Hugo ‘George Osborne’ Rudd

    Gram,

    Northern Ireland does deserve parity of public services. It doesn’t deserve more. Reminds me of a speech at our party conference. Would you like me to direct you to ‘le bureau de something pour nothing’?

    The problem is at least 50% that people here think they have an automatic entitlement to cash for the crime of being forced to live in Northern Ireland. I simply argue that parity is parity, and that no natural right exists to get the cash of the taxpayer. The parties demanding a big package have a sodding cheek.

    Spending here should be on the basis of assessed priorities, not the inclination of parties to make ridiculous demands of the chancellor of the exchequer.

  • George

    gram,
    “Reducing corporation tax lets companies keep money that would previously been taken off them.”

    We are talking about companies that aren’t even in Northern Ireland. The object of reducing the corporate tax rate is to attract these companies to the region by offering favourable business conditions.

    Ireland’s corporate tax take went up when it reduced the rate to 12.5% which is quite odd if the government was in effect giving money.

  • gram

    Hugo ‘George Osborne’ Rudd:The problem is at least 50% that people here think they have an automatic entitlement to cash for the crime of being forced to live in Northern Ireland. I simply argue that parity is parity, and that no natural right exists to get the cash of the taxpayer. The parties demanding a big package have a sodding cheek.<< I think this is unfair. The parties are trying to get a deal which will allow them to compete with the Republic for inward investment and to address govt underspanding on public services. I don't see the problem with this. MPs always look for a good deal for their constituents. For once the DUP/SF etc are doing what they are paid to do. Treating the economy in N.Ireland in the same way as London or the SE is unfair.

  • gram

    George:Ireland’s corporate tax take went up when it reduced the rate to 12.5% which is quite odd if the government was in effect giving money.<< No not odd at all. The increased revenue was due to the increased economic activity stimulated in part by low corportaion taxes. Individual companies were however able to keep more of their profits.

  • George

    gram,
    there is a world of difference between “keep” and “give”.