Go North Young Man

Yesterday’s announcement of 400 jobs in Belfast by the NYSE, and today’s announcement of 100 jobs in Derry by Firstsource stand in marked contrast to the litany of closures in the Republic of Ireland. What’s going on? Most southern economists look on the North as a low wage, low skilled economic zone. During the boom years there was some truth in this (though it was all relative: too many jobs in the South were of the high wage, low skill variety). But now there appears to be an interesting change on the horizon, partly driven by a weakening Sterling, and partly by the continued of InvestNI on the call centre and IT sectors. And generous grants help too of course.

No doubt all this reads like a zero-sum game: the South gains, the North loses. The North gains, the South loses. A way of behaving that is neither optimal nor sustainable. Whose to blame? Everyone and no one. But too often it appears that policy makers on both sides of the border operate as if each part of the island was, in fact, an ‘island’. Take the recent Global Irish Economic Forum. Read the Report and Annex IV: Northern Ireland isn’t even mentioned once. I kid you not.

Of course, if hundreds and even thousands of young men and women end up moving north to earn a living then that type of thinking might change. Everyone breath in … and hold your breath.

  • George

    I’m afraid there is no silver lining to this economic cloud, either north or south.

    This announcement is a drop in the ocean compared to the woes that Northern Ireland is about to face.

    Let’s look at the facts.

    Nearly 70% of the NI economy is dependent on public sector cash to fund it.

    The latest UK exchequer figures show that rather than the huge 175 billion pound deficit for this year, the British economy will instead run one in the region of 200 billion. Those are the worst figures on record, by the way.

    Tax receipts are running at over 10 billion a month less than spending, and interest on the debt is already 6 billion a month.

    All this while spending has actually increased by nearly 5% year on year as Brown looks to spend his way out of trouble. Wait until the inevitable cuts come when the tank is finally empty.

    Northern Ireland will not be able to provide enough jobs for its own youth never mind acting as a draw for southern talent.

    (I could post equally grim figures for the Republic but that’s enough bad news for one day.)

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    George,

    yes appalling stuff and it is extremely worrying that the witchdoctors of our time, the economists, still cant agree whether monetary easing, the currently favoured medicine is actually going to improve the patient or kill him.

    Re. Moving North – a good job with the strong Euro if you have a deposit, low mortgage rates and mostly good rail and road links to the South and no violence – it will no doubt be attractive to quite a few.

  • John East Belfast

    Gerard

    “But too often it appears that policy makers on both sides of the border operate as if each part of the island was, in fact, an ‘island’.”

    That is because you have two competing Fiscal and Monetary jurisdictions with different legal frameworks.

    No different than the borders of France, Germany etc

    The ROI chose this separateness from the UK – its nearest neighbour with whm it shares a common language and then it chose to cut the monetary link once and for all.

    The Border is the real world and even if Southerners move north they will be paid in pounds and pay UK taxes and enjoy UK benefits.

  • googoogaga

    400 plus 100 new jobs is too small a sample to draw any meaningful conclusions from.

  • Frustrated democrat

    I would be more optimistic – the Conservatives have mentioned several times that they want to turn the economy around with an enterprise area status for NI and, if there is sufficient support in the elections for the policy, to reduce corporate taxation here. They have indicated there could be some difficulties to overcome in the EU and with the Revenue on the tax but on the assumption it can be done it would make a major difference to the economy here.

    The question is what rate would the tax go to – 5%?,9%,10% are all possible, 15% would not be enough to make a tangible difference and 12.5% would only equal the RoI.

    I however suspect that there would be a cost elsewhere to pay for the tax cuts, if so that would give the electorate a choice – a growing economy with more jobs and cuts elsewhere or a stagnant or declining economy and lower cuts.

    What way would people vote and would the other parties here support it?

  • Dewi

    What type of jobs are the NYSE jobs?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Dewi,

    Software developers and camponologists.

    FD,

    do you agree that the power to control tax rates should be passed to Stormo?

    It seems silly that Norn Iron can decide its consitutional future without reference to Britain that it cant therefore control its fiscal policy?

    ps Has everbody stopped received their notifications of posts now?

  • gimpy

    can it though ??? all laws enacted through stormont still require “Royal Assent”

  • mwmcd

    Come home young man

    The international banking sector has a problem – they need to cut costs. Citibank has shown that belfast can accommodate and staff operations for a cost that wouldn’t be achievable in London or Dublin. The challenge is to take this case study and grow this sector. This could create jobs for our soon to be unemployed civil servants. Also we can attract back all those who leave NI at 18 for uni and end up in London. We may finally have jobs for them.

    The jobs from NYSE are tech jobs which will give new jobs to those techies currently doing IT jobs for public sector clients that may disappear with Government cuts. Currently Northern Ireland IT companies are delivering projects for companies with HQs throughout the uk and world. With the weak pound we should be selling these companies around the world.

    I’m sure we could give a few jobs to our mates down south.

  • Gimpy,

    Royal Assent is a formality.

  • Driftwood

    Andrew Gallagher
    If Queen Elizabeth wanted to, she could withdraw Royal Assent.
    Westminster could withdraw the annual £7billion bounty and let us raise our own taxes as Sammy McNally suggests.
    The 5000 troops stationed here would be put to good use rationing the basic foodstuffs.

    Let’s not forget who really runs this place.

  • If Queen Elizabeth wanted to, she could withdraw Royal Assent.

    In theory, yes she could. But that would precipitate a constitutional crisis of epic proportions.

    More plausibly, but still highly unlikely, the Prime Minister could advise the Queen to withhold assent. Whether devolution would survive such an event is questionable.

  • Have I stumbled into an irony fest here. How many of youse muppets would want to work nightmare shifts for minimum wage on behalf of Sky, supervised by morons who actually think they are on the corporate ladder? That’s the reality of the Derry jobs and many more like them. Yes, people want work and they’ll take the cac that’s offered but please don’t sell us this as anything other than a stopover on the way to India or China.

  • Nordie Northsider

    I’d say that a good few Southerners have been atrracted North by purely economic considerations. I know of a few Donegal people who could have joined the Garda but who decided that the PSNI is a better bet.
    But, as Bertie Ahern might say, it’s swings, roundabouts and half a dozen of the other when it comes to the North-South divide in living standards. When I was a student travelling to various cross-border events, I remember us Northerners feeling so very sorry for our impoverished Southern counterparts. It was either ‘What, no grant!’ or else ‘What a piddling grant!’ I wonder how that squares up since the introduction of student loans.

  • kensei

    The NYSE jobs are good jobs. But 400 IT jobs is a push in a short space of time — Belfast has a limited pool of talent. The recession might help pull people in, I suppose.

  • Turnpike

    Another 100 call centre jobs… plus NYSE jobs are the financial services equivalent of McJobs. Too low paid and quality for a genuine financial centre.

  • Mack

    Gerard –

    Yesterday’s announcement of 400 jobs in Belfast by the NYSE, and today’s announcement of 100 jobs in Derry by Firstsource stand in marked contrast to the litany of closures in the Republic of Ireland

    There have been announcements of jobs in the south too, and closures in the north. E.g. Google announced today that they are to expand their Irish operations –

    Eric Schmidt on Ireland –

    “This is still a very good place to be hiring, on an incremental labour costs basis I would prefer to put the people here. I’ve got the workforce. They are well educated.

    “I’ve got the management team. And I’ve got the infrastructure here already. We actually do the maths very carefully.”

    http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/google-to-up-investment-and–hire-more-staff-at-irish-hq-1918330.html

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Driftwood,

    re. “Let’s not forget who really runs this place.”

    Didnt we get a glimse of that last week when the quareone Hillary turned up?

    Norn Iron is now an internationalised zone that the Englezes cough up for partly because of guilt for their shocking record in our country and more importantly becuase they know if they stop the mad feckers who pass themsleves off as loyal subjects wouldnt stand for it and would start murdering all the Nationalists they could get their hands on – as they threaten to from time to time e.g. 1974.

  • Fabianus

    Gerard

    Of course, if hundreds and even thousands of young men and women end up moving north to earn a living then that type of thinking might change.

    Would this mean that the spectre of 50%+1 would move closer? But that would surely be a paradox because Northern Ireland might conceivably be voted out of existence, partly by those same economic migrants.

  • aquifer

    The work gets done in Northern Ireland and companies in the financial sector make profits in the Republic where they pay less corporation tax.

    The salaries get spent here, UK plc needs the income tax and VAT. The growth in the ROI companies spills back into the North as demand for more services.

    We need employed people to pay mortgages to stop our property sector imploding.

    What’s not to like?

    OK no democratic socialist gang leader gets a look in, but that was only ever going to be a problem for a maximum of 5 male people, while providing expanded opportunities for 5 million others.