Cross border shopping – the stats

RTE report on some interesting figures from the CSO.

Irish shoppers spent almost €500m shopping in Northern Ireland from the end of June 2008 to the end of June this year.

According to new figures from the Central Statistics Office, some one-in-six Irish households (16%) made at least one shopping trip to Northern Ireland over that 12 month period.

Much lower than previous estimates then. Just under half the spend is on groceries –

The cross-border shoppers surveyed said they had spent an average of €286 on their most recent trip to Northern Ireland, with most of that – €114 – being spent on groceries.

Meanwhile, on the Republic of Telly –

  • greagoir o frainclin

    “Irish shoppers spent almost €500m shopping in Northern Ireland from the end of June 2008 to the end of June this year.”

    Wow, it just shows that we in the Republic of Ireland are worth an awful lot to NI and it’s small economy at the end of the day….and much moreso than vice versa. There will be losses and tears among NI business folk should it ever end.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    You’re not in the Republic of Ireland, you’re in the 26 counties, amadán

  • Mack,

    You may be interested to know that after some gentle prodding, RTE have changed the wording of their story.

    No longer are southern shoppers “Irish shoppers”, they are “Consumers from the Republic of Ireland”.

    I think RTE may have finally noticed the GFA and Article 2 of the Constitution.

  • RepublicanStones

    Delamere suits this kind of show. Not the best stand up, although vastly better than the likes of Fergal Sharkey….i mean Ed Byrne.

  • Harry

    So I guess a large section of Southern Ireland’s electorate will not vote for a united Ireland to preserve their own selfish interest? That’s fine by me. Maybe unionists should be using this as an argument to show people that we are better off as part of the UK rather than in a united Ireland. Southern Irelanders are better off coming up to the North for their shopping – and thus those in the Northern Ireland would therefore be worse off shopping in a united Ireland. Sensible rational arguments for preserving the union is needed rather than the Protestantism the argument is always about.

  • Mack

    Horseman

    Yeah, saw that on your blog.

    They are Irish shoppers, being served by Irish workers in Ireland (the island), albeit outside of Ireland (the state).

    It’s pretty standard practice to refer to the residents of this state as Irish, that doesn’t preclude people outside the state also being Irish (as you point out the constituition even defines where some of them reside)..

  • Daft argument, Harry. Once you factor in the much higher salaries in the south you’ll find that unionism is screwed. Rational people always buy where things are cheaper. Should England ‘join’ France because lots of people go to Calais for their wine? Many of us holiday in Spain – should we base our politics on their cheaper sun, sand and sea?

    If/when the price balance turns, will you be first to advocate a UI? If not, why not?

  • John East Belfast

    What this highlights for me is the whole campaign (driven heavily by Business with ROI interests) to harmonise NI Corporate Tax Rates with the ROI was totally misguided.

    What we should be doing is aggresively going for lower Indirect Taxes – VAT & Duties.
    This will have little impact on the GB Economy as people arent going to cross the Irish Sea to do regular shopping.

    However it will greatly enhance NI as a tourist/weekend break destination if very low VAT was applied to clothes and jewellery for instance. It would also wipe out cross border fuel smuggling.

    I am afraid it wouldnt do the ROI retail industry any good but the ROI didnt care about NI FDI when it reduced Corporate Direct Taxes.

    NI should be asking the UK to make it a minimal Indirect Tax region and this will have no impact on overall UK tax take unlike the lower CT rate would have had.

  • Mack

    JEB –

    Not sure what the benefit of that would be? The tax revenues would flow to the British exchequer (rather than a regional NI one), and would probably be miniscule in the grand scheme of things there.

    NI has relatively low unemployment at the minute, so you’d probably achieve full employment, but in low paid retail and hospitality sectors.

    It might be a way to lower the subvention, weaning workers from low paid public sector work into aforementioned low paid service sector jobs.

  • John East Belfast

    Mack

    It would reduce the cost of living in NI and hence offset our high energy costs making it a cheaper place to do business

    I wouldnt under estimate the hospitality and tourist industries either and the knock on effect to construction and other service industries. Also it would get people out of a blaoted public sector and into private sector jobs

    Because of our sea “border” with the rest of the UK then it would be relatively painless for GB – indeed if it reduced the subvention it would be boost

  • barnshee

    JEB
    As previously ad nauseum

    You are either in or out of a Fiscal unit

    The same tax rates must apply across the fiscal unit otherwise people will flood to shop in the cheaper area and kill business in the areas left, reducing overall tax take at the same time

  • greagoir o frainclin

    “You’re not in the Republic of Ireland, you’re in the 26 counties, amadán”

    Jaypers…time again for the history lessons for the ignorant!

  • greagoir o frainclin

    “However it will greatly enhance NI as a tourist/weekend break destination if very low VAT was applied to clothes and jewellery for instance.”

    Then I presume you would greatly welcome this…vast amounts of folk from the south, aka the Free State, aka Eire, aka Republic of Ireland heading north to NI.

    Ok then, hang out the green, white and orange flags, place the Cead Mile Failte mats on the ground for we are all on the way with big cash in hand!

    Folk from the south might even find it worthwhile checking out the property prices up north too.

  • 6countyprod

    GoF,
    It’s a matter of swings and roundabouts. A few years ago, when the pound was worth 1.55+ Euro, the flow was in the other direction. I used to fly regularly from Dublin. Don’t do it anymore, but it’ll come back in a few years.

  • John East Belfast

    barnshee

    “You are either in or out of a Fiscal unit

    The same tax rates must apply across the fiscal unit otherwise people will flood to shop in the cheaper area and kill business in the areas left, reducing overall tax take at the same time”

    I was talking Indirect Taxes – The Scots and English are not going to put their car on a ferry and bring it to NI to fill up with petrol. Nor are they going to come to buy incidentals like clothes.

    What it would do is greatly increase NI as a weekend break destination.

    This is a targetted regional tax with minimum impact on the rest of GB.

    Cars would be Standard Rated to stop GB people coming over to buy cars. Other items that would make a car journey worthwhile from GB might also be UK VAT Standard rated.

    However hotels, eating out, fuel and clothing would all avail of a much lower NI VAT Rate

  • Gav

    I wonder how much of the 500m Euro stayed in Northern Ireland, and went to local businesses, who provide decent dignified employment. It is likely that most of the money went into the coffers of US and UK multinationals, and that the only money that stayed in Northern Ireland was in the form of minimum wages to people whose lives revolve around paying more and more to support the banks.

  • Mack

    Gav –

    Some of it does, but even of the money that goes to bigger US and UK firms – they have to pay local rates (which are used to provide local services and employment), and commercial rents – which often go to local commercial property management companies (who will also employ people). They increase the value of commercial premises in the north and hence the profitability of new ventures that create jobs in construction etc. Much of it will go overseas, but it’s not entirely without value.

  • slug

    To the extent its grocery shopping, it helps the agri food industry, as most fresh produce is from NI.

  • greagoir o frainclin

    Indeed, as I’ve said Irish shoppers are invaluable to the NI economy….well worth half a billion.

  • bk

    Quiet clearly these people are traitors, supporting low paid British jobs at the expense better paid Irish jobs.

  • Joe

    Whatever the dent caused by shopping in the north, the govt’s lame-ass response has actually made it worse.

    People like a bargain, you ain’t gonna reverse that instinct with a bit of cut-and-paste patriotism. That just serves to highlight underlying economic frailty.

    Besides, Newry’s a [i]hugely[/i] nationalist town anyway, and a lot of that cash returns south for fuel and what not. People from Newry are always down south spending their Queen’s gold.

    Bogus argument. NEXT

  • bk

    Newry is enjoying the benefits of the significant devaluation of Sterling, and the Bank of England’s policy of “quantitative easing”. Coupled with the fact wages, commercial rates, VAT are higher in Ireland. What do suggest the Irish government do given that it is broke?

    Calais is currently suffering a collapse in trade similar to that of Dundalk.

    I can’t say I see much evidence of Newry’s Wannabe Irish population shopping in Dundalk.

  • barnhee

    “Other items that would make a car journey worthwhile from GB might also be UK VAT Standard rated”

    The big indirect revenue items are`
    Booze
    Road fuel
    Tobacco
    Vat (vat is also “on”the indirect tax component of booze tobacco etc)

    Given any material divergence on tax rates people flock to take advantage. (Ferry companies ran £1 returns to France, car and 4 £25 return -booze/tobacco cruises.)

    Enforcement is a huge problem how would you stop a local taking a lorry load of cheap booze etc from NI to GB?

    So maybe GB citizens will fly in and stay for 10% off a suit or a hotel bill? In the mean time the locals also pay less and the overall tax take declines?

  • greagoir o frainclin

    Aye and Ryanair’s cheap flights could make it well wothwhile for British folk.

    NI could be marketed and exploited if folk had the gumption. It could become the corner shop of the “British Isles.”

  • Dave

    “Quiet clearly these people are traitors, supporting low paid British jobs at the expense better paid Irish jobs.” – bk

    Good point. It does seem odd for folks on the left to be celebrating the transfer of higher pad jobs in supermarkets in Ireland into the Northern Ireland where they instantly become lower paid in supermarkets in the United Kingdom. It is indeed odd for Shinners so encourgae that deflation of wages for the working-class in what they claim is the same economy.

  • kensei

    6county

    It’s a matter of swings and roundabouts. A few years ago, when the pound was worth 1.55+ Euro, the flow was in the other direction. I used to fly regularly from Dublin. Don’t do it anymore, but it’ll come back in a few years.

    Cprrect. This is carry trade, you can’t actually build a sustainable economy on it.