Northern Ireland’s public sector expenditure grew by nearly a fifth in last five years

Two blogs well worth reading side by side. First Jude Collins with a thoughtful piece asking whether the trajectory of current Republican thinking is actually yielding significant political capital for nationalism. In particular he makes the essentially moral point that:

Were the northern economy prospering, were the material conditions of all the citizens in the north to be comfortable and getting better, it would still be a sad reflection on our immaturity that we depend on an annual hand-out from London and the control of such matters as taxation and foreign policy from that outside source.

Now clip to Ian Parsley for the striking news that despite all the talk about cuts in Northern Ireland, there simply have not been any (at least in the bald overall figures):

 DFP figures show:

  • in 2009-10, total public expenditure in Northern Ireland was ₤21.8 billion, rising to ₤22.4 billion in 2010-11;
  • in 2009-10, “identifiable” public expenditure in Northern Ireland was ₤18.9 billion, rising to ₤19.2 billion in 2010-11;
  • total public expenditure grew by 24.3% in the period 2006/7 to 2010/11, even though revenue only grew 2.8%.

This is incredible stuff. Over a five year period, public expenditure grew by nearly a fifth, even though revenue barely increased at all.



  • iluvni

    When there are no consequences to failure in government, when there is no sanction to those who have been corrupt, when 5 parties are only interested in delivering goodies and costly schemes to those who’ll vote for them next time, when there is a bloated public sector, coming down with qangos and Stormont administrators, where political parties are staffed and expensed to the hilt and who run advice centres dedicated to helping people claim as much as they possibly can from the public purse, who can be surprised that public expenditure is through the friggin roof?

  • BluesJazz

    I’ve said it before…

    We’re in clover here. I’m guessing most SE English taxpayers haven’t a clue about the amount of their cash keeping this place in luxury.

    This is the real reason for a lot of people not wanting to leave the UK. Turkeys dont vote for Xmas.

    What happens though, if a major media outlet spills the beans?

  • BluesJazz
  • Red Lion

    As you said on another thread Bluesjazz, we get away with because we only make up 2% of the UK total population.
    But NI does contribute to the UK total economy in less measureable ways – lots of our young want-to-be workers head across the water to jobs and needed skills and pay taxes over there, we give a fair few to UK armed forces, that investment in NI education has some roundabout pluses for the British nation generally….

  • BluesJazz

    Can’t dispute that Red Lion. I also think our grammars are the equivalent of many fee paying independent schools in England. So the middle classes of both ‘communities’ get their cake and eat it.
    Some deprived areas here miss out somewhat although the glut of well paid ‘community workers’ somewhat alleviates a bit.
    The middle classes integrate very well here, its the Rathcooles and Ardoynes that might as well be on a different planet. When the DLA
    golden goose stops laying there could be trouble ahead.

  • Old Mortality

    Yes, the minority of us who do not depend on the public sector know it’s a total mess. What can we do about it? Very little, when the lengthy and futile debate on welfare reform at Stormont consisted of all the parties attempting to show that they cared most about ‘the vulnerable’ in our society. No individual or party dared to concede any merit in welfare reform.
    Still isn’t it grand that they managed to extract the concession that our sub-proles will be spared the ordeal of managing a budget for more than a week.

  • aquifer

    Welfare reform could be a tsunami of destruction and dispair.

    I hope the local public sector can muster an adequate response.

  • BluesJazz

    NI has a huge Soviet style public sector of non jobs to fill the gap between massive unemployment and reality.
    Add on the huge ‘economically inactive’ on DLA and we have a subsidised bubble.

    The Civil Service is full (28,000 plus) of (very) highly paid jobsworths who contribute zero added value.

    Only a tiny percentage of people in NI do a real job.


  • BluesJazz

    The 2015 block grant will be a reduction.
    Then the real politics kicks in.

  • Red Lion

    But don’t forget some of that public sector is absolutely necessary (as it is everywhere) nurses, teachers, police, fire, social workers, roads etc. These are real jobs. Without necessary key public workers the private sector doesn’t have the conditions to exist, and obviously vice versa. Interdependence.

  • Old Mortality

    Red Lion
    ‘But don’t forget some of that public sector is absolutely necessary (as it is everywhere).’

    Indeed so, but that doesn’t exclude the possibility that it is overmanned and overpaid.

  • Barnshee

    “it would still be a sad reflection on our immaturity that we depend on an annual hand-out from London and the control of such matters as taxation and foreign policy from that outside source.”

    The questions to expose these clowns are relatively simple

    1 What taxation would you cut?
    2 What government expenditure would you cut to balance 1 above
    3 Which taxes would you raise ?
    4 By how much?

  • RegisterForThisSite

    Oh er…..

    Does NI raise £12.7 billion in taxes etc

    And is NI liable for £1.12 billion Defence spending

    That’s almost 10%

    subvention or scamvention

    Or do people in Belleek feel safer than people in Ballyshannon

  • Republic of Connaught


    You sound like the totally unloved husband who keeps telling the wife “you can’t leave me, you can’t. You’ll have no money if you do. I am your saviour. Your only option is to stay with me no matter how much you don’t give a shit about me.”

    A pretty pathetic case for the union. Bought and sold for English gold, indeed.

  • Old Mortality

    ‘A pretty pathetic case for the union. Bought and sold for English gold, indeed.’

    But not likely to be bought out by Irish gold any time soon.

  • Greenflag

    @ Bluesjazz ,

    Shangri La ?

    I don’t think so 😉

    Shangri-La is a fictional place described in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by British author James Hilton.Hilton describes Shangri-La as a mystical, harmonious valley, gently guided from a lamasery, enclosed in the western end of the Kunlun Mountains. Shangri-La has become synonymous with any earthly paradise but particularly a mythical Himalayan utopia — a permanently happy land, isolated from the outside world.
    In the novel Lost Horizon, the people who live at Shangri-La are almost immortal, living years beyond the normal lifespan and only very slowly aging in appearance.

    Nothing mythicor mystical about the NI economy or polity -Unharmonious and only too mortal .

    But seriously there is no easy way out of the economic bind /cul de sac in which the NI economy finds itself .It’s the work of a couple of generations if that and the nature of the local politics doesn’t help either.
    In the meantime without the UK subvention NI would be Albania with a couple of Enver Hoxhas divvying up any remaining spoils:(

  • Republic of Connaught


    Irishmen won’t ever buy other Irishmen’s loyalty. When a nationalist majority arrives, it won’t be for the money they vote to unite their country.

    Self determination doesn’t guarantee wealth, nor does it preclude it.

  • Greenflag

    @ ROC

    ‘A pretty pathetic case for the union. Bought and sold for English gold, indeed.’

    Likewise for the ‘other ‘union ?

    A pretty pathetic case for the union. Bought and sold for Euro gold, indeed.

    @ Old Mortality ,

    ‘But not likely to be bought out by Irish gold any time soon.’

    I’d have added or ever after the soon 😉

    A shower of cantankerous ungrateful mopeheads the lot of yiz and I’m being kind 😉 !

  • Republic of Connaught


    I’m not a Europhile. Our unionist posters willingly embrace their cap doffing to England’s pockets.

  • RegisterForThisSite

    RoC, what pockets, this year the UK will miss balancing the books by £130 Billion, the relationship is that HMG borrows the money and passes NI’s share on to it, generous until you realise that NI are then expected to fork out for nuclear weapons and subs and several wars.

    Bit like a mate who will only lend you money if you go to the pub with him and spend some of the money on buying beers.

    Tough luck if you don’t feel like a beer, that’s the deal,

  • Greenflag

    ROC ,

    ‘Our unionist posters willingly embrace their cap doffing to England’s pockets.’

    Can’t blame them for that .Who else is there ? Certainly not us -we have more than enough on our plate as we’ll find out from next weeks budget . Beggars can’t be choosers and this applies as much to nations as to individuals .

    The ‘Wilsonian ‘taunt of NI unionist /loyalist spongers rings back from an earlier generation .

    But then they were’nt nor are they alone on this island in that respect 🙁

    ROI politicians are still the highest paid politicians in the EU and they still deliver the worst performance 🙁 In the matter of comparative ‘elite’ political and economic and fiscal management performance neither the Republic nor Northern Ireland have much to gloat about these days -quite the reverse I’d say .

    NI has of course the better camouflage for it’s local domestic tax shortfall cover up via subvention etc. The Republic’s banks meanwhile are preparing for the upcoming ‘ Year of Evictions ‘ .

  • There is nothing unusual about any country having to give extra support to people living remote from the centre. How much do the people in the north east of England get, for example? It’s part of the deal of having a nation State.