The likely impact of the cuts – doom or just dread?

As the countdown quickens to the comprehensive spending review (CSR), in a fortnight’s time, Peter Robinson argues for Northern Ireland to continue to be treated as special case. This runs counter to  other indications e.g.. “Any arguments made that the region requires special „exemption‟ from cuts or that there are specific circumstances requiring a sustained flow of support are almost certain to fall on deaf ears” – (Oxford Economics) Perhaps he knows something we don’t; let’s hope so. On the …

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Pressure from the cuts – the big incentive to learn how to govern?

With less than four weeks to go, the Hearts and Minds round table clearly shows the distance the Assembly rank and file have to travel before they come to terms with the cuts of the comprehensive spending review. Without a co-ordinated joined up approach by the whole Executive,  Sammy Wilson can do little except forecast gloom and doom. As I know from my contacts elsewhere, NI politicians are regarded as living on a different planet. We can nevertheless guess at …

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We’ll All Pay for Devolved Administrations’ Budget Cuts

The reality of massive public spending cuts has finally hit the devolved administrations (if not all their politicians). As Mick highlighted in his recent essay, NICVA’s report suggests that Stormont will have to make budget cuts of (at least) £1.2 billion in the next five years. Earlier today, the Independent Budget Review in Scotland recommended a fall in public sector employment of between 5.7% and 10% by 2014-15. In both Scotland and Northern Ireland, the debate about ring fencing health spending (which …

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Millionaire Minister hangs art

The announcement of the closure of the UK Film Council earlier this week came as a shock to those working in the industry. Seems like a politically expedient decision rather than a well thought out strategic choice, particularly when it came to light that for every £1 spent on film here by  Northern Ireland Screen (which is part funded by the Film Council) over £5 comes back in return Jeremy Hunt the Secretary of State for Culture,Olympics, Media and Sport(and one …

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Coalition cuts will disproportionately affect the poor…

Interesting line from the FT, who argue that because of the structure of public spending under Labour, the cuts planned for tomorrow will disproportionately affect the poor over the rich: With public money generally allocated according to need, spending cuts tend to take proportionately more money from poorer areas. The biggest reductions come in areas with the lowest household incomes. When, for illustrative purposes, the FT envisaged a 10 per cent cut in social security payments, the result was a …

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Ritchie/Attwood’s ministerial failure a blessing in disguise?

With the announcement of spending cuts of £128m from the Assembly’s budget, Sammy Wilson had stated his intention to offset the loses in part with Departmental underspends. “We knew [this] was coming down the line and when departments surrender money through the year, as inevitably they do, we can maybe use some of that to offset these cuts that have been imposed on us,” Mr Wilson said. Now DSD has declared a halt to plans to develop the Donegall Street …

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Phew, what a relief!

So Northern Ireland isn’t to be picked out for drastic cuts after all.  On his flying visit  the Prime Minister couldn’t have been more reassuring, backed up by his Secretary of State. He said the assembly could defer cuts to the Northern Ireland budget for a year if it wanted to. Secretary of State Owen Paterson said it was not sustainable for Northern Ireland to have more than 70% of its gross domestic product spent on public spending. “What we …

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