Northern Ireland needs to confront its inner ‘subsidy junkie’

Malcolm links to a particularly sharp leader in the Economist last week, which noted that:

Over the 40 years of the troubles, the place has become a subsidy junkie that receives from Westminster £5 billion ($10 billion) more than is raised locally by taxation. More than a third of the 770,000 people in jobs are directly employed by the public sector (which accounts for nearly two-thirds of economic output), while half a million are officially classified as inactive. Part of the problem is the scarcity of private-sector investment, which is crowded out both by the omnipresent state and the large black economy that “peaceful” paramilitaries on both sides of the religious divide hold sway over.

Malcolm’s piece was written before the Ministerial jobs were divvied up, but he correctly guessed that Sinn Fein would retake the spending departments whilst the DUP would grab the means to control that spending. Now that should be a battle a day worth watching, especially as the cream is slowly withdrawn by a newly prudent Number 10.


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