Why Conor Murphy’s Budget is failing our people

Sinéad McLaughlin is an SDLP MLA for Foyle and is the SDLP spokesperson for the economy For the last 14 years, Northern Ireland has been led by joint first ministers from Sinn Fein and the DUP. This leadership was supposed to deliver prosperity after the peace that was delivered by the leadership of John Hume and the SDLP. But instead of prosperity, the North continues to have some of the worst economic outcomes anywhere in Western Europe. My city of Derry …

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Change here for Ballinderry, Glenavy, Crumlin and… Aldergrove?

Wesley Johnston very kindly gave me some old NIR, UTA, GNR and even NIRTB timetables owned by his father, and it got me thinking. I’ve long been an advocate of reopening Lisburn-Antrim for commuter services, but what would a train service look like? The 1977 NIR timetable is the benchmark, rather than the much slower timetable which applied by the mid-1990s.  10 minutes Antrim-Crumlin, 5 minutes Crumlin-Glenavy, 6 minutes Glenavy-Ballinderry, 9 minutes Ballinderry-Lisburn including a stop at Knockmore. Trains call …

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Ahead of the Stormont budget, should the Executive be rethinking its priorities?

With the first budget of the newly reconstituted Northern Ireland Executive expected shortly, there will be an opportunity to consider whether public resources are being directed appropriately to deal with Northern Ireland’s priorities for the decade to come. The table above shows UK public spending per person in each UK region for various expenditure categories for the 2018-19 fiscal year, in both monetary terms and expressed as a percentage of the UK average. For example, health spending in Northern Ireland …

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“In the Autumn, Northern Ireland must have a proper Budget in place…”

As the only adult (politician) left in the room, the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, James Brokenshire, has intervened, for a second time, on NI Executive business and reallocated £131 million in funding to local departments [pdf file (216kb)].  From the BBC report Health and education are the major beneficiaries of £131m in additional money for Northern Ireland. The move was announced by Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire, as part of a reallocation of funds known as a monitoring round. Health …

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Quote of the Day: Driverless vehicles…

Phillip Hammond in today’s Budget Speech slipping in a wee joke or two… Does driverless vehicles sound familiar, by any chance? Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

If Ms O’Neill is sure Health budgets are guaranteed, surely a post #AE17 deal (and budget) must already be in the pot?

Here’s one possible answer as to why 94% of a capital expenditure programme for integrated education in the (failed) budget may be in danger of being paid back to Her Majesty’s Treasury. The main focus of the piece is a potential half billion loss to the Health budget, although the key point is that without ministerial discretion civil servants cannot uphold any ministerial deals without a budget act. Despite the original deadline for the budget being in December, there is …

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Any word on that budget you seem to have magically disappeared there Máirtín?

Good point from Stephen Dempster… RHI projected 490m overspend; SIF 13m over; community halls fund cost quadruples. Other overspends. Why can't Executive manage our money? — Stephen Dempster (@dempster7) January 14, 2017 Before the last election, I asked what damage could putting SF into Finance cause. I don’t suppose our oddly well travelled Finance Minister would care to comment now as he prepares to leave office with his budget both well overdue and – so far as anyone knows – completely …

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Effects of the Stormont crash on bedroom tax mitigations…

One of the notable features of that interview with the ‘naughty ministers’ on Newsline a couple of nights ago was Paul Given’s reference to the effect of forestalling of a functional budget, which follows Sinn Fein’s hasty (and unplanned) withdrawal. Here’s Digital View on the bedroom tax: A screening report published by the Department for Communities found that around 34,000 households could be affected by the policy, with average losses reaching up to £20.42 per week. Ms McCauley added: “Housing …

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#ae17 in numbers

SEVEN DAYS before institutions collapse; 5 MLAs per constituency means a minimum of 18 MLAs not returning to the Assembly; 30 is still the magic PoC number; £85,000 still the estimated daily cost to the tax payer of the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme.

The Chancellor leaves the NI Assembly’s Business Growth Strategy in Tatters following Budget 2016…

Earlier today the Chancellor left the Northern Ireland Assembly’s Business Growth Strategy in Tatters following the release earlier today of Budget 2016. Many of us have argued on the Slugger Platform in recent years, that the current obsession by Stormont to put all of its economic eggs in the 12.5% Corporation Tax basket was misguided and their efforts would be better served to create the economic conditions to enable our indigenous businesses, large, medium and small to thrive. This could …

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Ford: People give more consideration to their family’s Christmas budget than the Executive gave to Northern Ireland’s budget

OPPOSITION FROM WITH IN: As Arlene Foster prepares to leave the Department of Finance, Alliance had a little parting gift for her on the day she becomes DUP. Following a meeting of the Executive, party leader, David Ford announced that both Stephen Farry and himself, voted against the budget before the Executive.

Election Rule #2: Don’t get backed into a corner

DEFENSIVE POLITICS: Politicians find themselves forced to take a course of action and then can regret it later. It happens on policy, resignations, constituency matters. It’s now a long way until Spring and there is a danger that if people are giving credit for the budget now, it will be but a memory in the new year.

Anti- austerity arguments are not limited to Sinn Fein, but a proper debate about the real impact of cuts is needed.

Anxiety and anger over budget plans including welfare cuts continue on both sides of the water. Amid the attacks on George Osborne for “ Tory austerity” in his  plans to cut public  spending  by a further £20 billion or 40% for unprotected  areas, a rough comparison of public spending as a share of GDP  suggests that  UK and Irish spending by this measure will remain roughly comparable to the end of the decade. I float this out in the hope …

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End of the line for Irish Water?

Radio Producer and Presenter John O’Donovan argues that its time to wind up Irish Water. Eurostat , the EU statistics agency has today decided that the Governments spend must remain on the states exchequer balance sheet. This means we will face into an additional €500 million added to the national debt, the assumption up to now by the Government was that it would pass the Eurostat assessment, even though they had factored the cost into its Spring Statement. In what …

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Cartoon – “Sinn Fexit”?

Talk is of Grexit and the latest from Tsipras is, “wife will leave if I surrender to Europe.” The Greek leader isn’t the only one at the centre of an impasse exercise his spouse’s bidding. Brian SpencerBrian is a writer, artist, political cartoonist and legal blogger. Actively tweeting from @brianjohnspencr. More information here: http://www.brianjohnspencer.com/ www.brianjohnspencer.com/

A Tale of Two Cities – The contrast of future spending plans in Dublin & Belfast

It looks likely that Ireland will run a small current budget surplus in 2015, despite initially budgeting for a deficit. Growth is running at 4% plus, employment is up. taxes are flowing into the coffers at a greater rate than predicted, Social Welfare spending is falling as activation measures take hold and  Patrick Honohan has remitted an additional €300M more than expected from the Central Bank’s windfall profits. The Irish Government have announced plans to make positive adjustments of approximately …

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Northern Ireland Executive spending dribbles out without a clear narrative. Does anybody care?

Taking a break from the minutiae of party battle,  let’s just see how we’re faring on policy – you know the stuff that politics is supposed to serve. The current results are mixed. Three points for more progress on school sharing between Protestant and Catholics. Why not go the whole hog and integrate them for heaven’s sake? One point for raising the idea of prescription charges – not because they’re necessarily a winner or would raise much revenue. But at least the …

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Cartoon – Spencer on Tuesday

In response to the Cameron-Kenny talks exit the Telegraph wrote, “It is astonishing how money can conquer ancient sectarian divides.” The divided became the united and money was the lubricant and the bridge. The only problem, Cameron wants the money back with interest. The divide now is between Cameron and the common money front of DUP-SF. Brian SpencerBrian is a writer, artist, political cartoonist and legal blogger. Actively tweeting from @brianjohnspencr. More information here: http://www.brianjohnspencer.com/ www.brianjohnspencer.com/

#SluggerSoapbox: Who speaks for poor children in Northern Ireland?

Professor Paddy Hillyard occupies the chair in Social Policy at Queens University in Belfast. His most research has focused on poverty, conflict and inequality in Northern Ireland, and the range of the social harms which people experience from the cradle to the grave. A draft budget has been circulated for consultation. The heads of some of our most powerful institutions have received extensive publicity on how the cuts will affect them. But who speaks up for poor and disadvantaged children in our …

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