When George Osborne announced his Spending Review in October there was some analysis indicating it equated to 75%/25% ratio between cuts and taxes. We couldn’t get a definite figure from the Stormont Finance department for the ratio in Sammy Wilson’s effort to plug the projected £4 bilion hole in the local budget over the next 4 years.
Sinn Fein has been particularly anxious that the Executive should not be seen as merely passing on Tory/Lib Dem cuts, and in a series of statements Sinn Fein ministers highlighted the additional £1.6 billion which they reckoned has been generated in order to balance the books. On the face of it, as I said on Good Morning Ulster on Wednesday, this would imply £1.6 billion in extra revenue and £2.4 billion in savings, which is a 60%/40% ratio (similar to what Labour’s Alan Johnson has talked about as his preferred option for tackling the UK deficit).
However Finance department officials only specified £840 million in extra revenue in the budget package – around half the Sinn Fein figure – and some of the details for, say, the disposal of assets sounded pretty vague. But if you work on this basis the cuts/tax ratio would be more like 75%/25% or even 80%/20% (which is similar to George Osborne’s ratio).
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