Executive, spend now when you’ve got it, to save jobs

Despite the local emphasis of the reporting, thanks to the size of the public sector locally, Northern Ireland is not the worst region hit by unemployment to a UK level of 2 million with another million to come. But there’s no doubt, the unprecedented surge everywhere comes as a shock and we have some of the worst black spots. The three highest percentage rises are in the same parts of Northern Ireland – Magherafelt, Dungannon and Cookstown – all in Mid Ulster. “These areas have had relatively low levels of unemployment so the sharp rise in unemployment is coming from a very low base,” says Richard Ramsey, Northern Ireland economist at Ulster Bank. The national debate on public spending is confusing – severe cuts will follow short-term increases. Public spending. has increased but will not hold that level for long – how long we are unlikely to know until after the UK 2010 election, although the April 22 budget may give some pointers. But we can expect that public spending will then become eye –wateringly tight, whoever wins the election, with a corresponding effect in the province.LARGEST INCREASES IN JOB SEEKERS’ ALLOWANCE CLAIMANTS BY LOCAL AUTHORITY
Jan 2009 compared with Jan 2008
Magherafelt (Mid Ulster): 186%
Dungannon (Mid Ulster): 161%
Cookstown (Mid Ulster): 149%
Vale of White Horse (west of Swindon): 147%
East Dorset (north of Poole): 146%
Purbeck (south-east of Poole): 144%

“If you look at the Magherafelt and Cookstown areas in particular, they have a large exposure to the construction sector and Northern Ireland as a whole has a larger exposure to the construction sector than any other UK region.

“Within Northern Ireland it’s these areas in Mid Ulster that have the highest concentrations of construction. So given the housing market downturn, it is not surprising that these areas have been hit hardest.”

Martin McGuinness among other ministers trumpeted an “ investment strategy ( which) will result in up to £20 billion being invested by 2018 to tackle the legacy of decades of underinvestment.” But those levels are now little more than a wish list. In the meantime, they must spend wisely what they’ve got. Further Westminster clawbacks are unacceptable. The Belfast Telegraph has pointed out that 22 major government projects — such as the Maze redevelopment and rail line upgrades are currently on hold. If they were up and running, these multi-million pound projects could create or safeguard hundreds of jobs.”

All must realise that we are at peak level of public spending now. These levels are set to reduce, perhaps dramatically in the years ahead. The Budget on April 22 will give the direction of travel. So get on with it, is the message for the Executive.

  • The Raven

    What, no comments anyone? Nothing at all to say?? Yet over 160 comments on the wee bollixes in Carmel Street…??

  • Driftwood

    The economist John Kenneth Galbraith once said, β€œThe only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.”

    If the Westminster subvention to here takes a hit, and my guess is that it will. Then the present cosy consensus may evaporate swiftly.

  • Greenflag

    The Raven ,

    ‘Yet over 160 comments on the wee bollixes in Carmel Street…??’

    LOL – too true . I get the feelin that events such as those in Carmel St give people a break from thinking the ‘unthinkable ‘ . ON the other hand I believe there is enough ‘cop’ in NI and indeed in the Republic that now realises that NI’s economic future is in the hands of the HMG’s Chancellor’s policies and budget and partially from a revival of the ROI economy .

    According to ‘hairshirt ‘ Lenihan our financial sector is now receiving inflows from off shore tax havens which are now increasingly disfavoured as the world’s economies focus on a new ‘moral ‘ financial future πŸ˜‰ With even Republicans in the American congress backing a 90% tax on all executive bonuses to bailed out companies retrospective to the end of 2008 we may and I think we are seeing a sign of mr con f dense returning to the market . It won’t be a straight uphill climb and it will require a worldwide ‘agreement ‘ from the G20 at least in principle and later in detail . AIG Acted basically as a hedge fund run amok . It’s been noted that some of those who got the biggest ‘bonuses’ referred to as shysters by some American commentators are to be found in the City of London . Perhaps the reputed coolness from Obama towards Brown is due to the latter appearing reluctant to impose any new moral ‘order’ on the City ? Unless of course Brown moves now in response to Obama’s initiative and makes a similar attack on the City wolves ?

    Driftwood,

    There will be a cut but in this respect NI is fortunate in that it’s 1.5% of the UK population and it’s residents have ahem a history of taking to the streets armed to the teeth in response to the ‘wrong kind ‘ of treatment from HMG . In this respect NI may get off somewhat lightly . Hopefully the residents of Tunbridge Wells and Sunderland don’t draw the wrong conclusions πŸ˜‰

    I recently re read Galbraith’s ‘The Great Crash 1929’ worth a read for the deja vu and πŸ˜‰ In it he made the comment that it (his book ) did not seem to sell very well in Airport bookstores.

  • joeCanuck

    Greenflag,

    Loved that last sentence. LOL

  • Greenflag

    joe canuck ,

    I messed up , Joe ;( Omitted the ‘wry humour’ after the deja vu . And Galbraith does the ‘wry’ in bucketfuls πŸ™‚ And a Canadian too πŸ˜‰

  • Rory (South Derry)

    MMcG (The Traitor)- among other ministers trumpeted an β€œ investment strategy ( which) will result in up to Β£20 billion being invested by 2018 to tackle the legacy of decades of underinvestment!

    And what does the Lord McGuinness the stoupe propose the population of Mid-Ulster does in the meantime?

    Again Proof that the Provos are not “fit for government” on any Planet