“Hollow nationalist rhetoric will not do.”

In the Belfast Telegraph Sinn Féin MLA Mitchel McLaughlin responds to Ed Curran’s question on the cost of a united Ireland with some hollow nationalist rhetoric, and indulges in some fantasy economics.

An analysis of the expenditure by ‘regions’ along with a series of estimates of the revenues from the regions by Oxford Economics shines some light on the actual subvention by the British Exchequer.

The main findings demonstrate that total ‘identifiable expenditure’ for the North was £14.1bn in 2004/05. This is relevant data, as ‘non-identifiable spending’ is mainly comprised of two components – debt interest payments and defence spending, neither of which would be accrued in a united Ireland.

The ‘residence-based’ revenues from the North in the same period were £10.7bn, indicating a deficit of £3.4bn.

There are significant sources of potential wealth creation as well as huge untapped resources that would be available for development in a single island economy. A proactive job creation strategy in alternative energy, ICT and green technology aimed at full employment – which British economic mismanagement could never achieve here – would see tax revenues climb rapidly and welfare payments plummet. Bringing people back into work and paying taxes on their incomes and through their spending would eliminate any deficit.

Why does he pick out 2004/5?  Possibly because by 2010/11 the total current expenditure here has risen to well over £18billion with an additional £1.5billion in capital investment.

Have those ‘residence-based’ revenues risen accordingly?

And that’s without calculating the cost of his proposals on currency  [Which one? – Ed] and fiscal policy

All the people who share this island would benefit from the creation of a vibrant, dynamic all-Ireland economy based upon:

• A single currency

• Democratic control over Irish monetary and fiscal policies

[As opposed to the IMF and the ECB? – Ed]  Or just Germany…
Perhaps his party colleague, Northern Ireland deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, could have a chat about the full implications of following through on those proposals with the European Commission president, Jose Manuel Barroso.  Since he and the NI First Minister are travelling there anyway.

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