Blow the wind southerly

With the pound hitting a record low against the euro on the eve of Gordon Brown’s “recovery programme”, it’s an ill wind for the UK generally that blows fairer for Northern Ireland. A weak pound works wonders for selling to southerners, as has been well noted before today.

“Northern Ireland has seen the biggest influx of cross border traffic since the 1970s especially after a National Consumer Agency Ireland June report revealed that a basket of goods is 30% cheaper in Northern Ireland.”

It’s great to see too that NI exporters are the most export hungry in the UK.
“Businesses in Northern Ireland are the most likely to export, with 52 per cent planning to sell overseas in the coming year.”

However these small green shoots do little to dispel the wider gloom of impending UK recession. Expectations of today’s plans to ease fuel poverty and help house buyers could hardly be lower. According to a Populus poll for the Times. the expected proposals “are very popular with voters, but only a small minority think they will make a significant difference to their economic situation. While 58 per cent support a one-off windfall tax on energy companies, just 22 per cent think it will make a significant difference, and 73 per cent little or no difference.”

Let’s see if Gordon can buck the trend set by the Chancellor after that disastrous interview.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London