Public spending accounts for 70 per cent of North’s income

The Belfast Telegraph’s Barry White points us to an interesting table from The Times (reproduced below), highlighting the fact that public spending accounts for 70 per cent of regional income in Northern Ireland, more than double the proportion in the Republic or in the south of England.

According to Finance Minister Peter Robinson, the solution lies in a major shake-up of the Executive:

"A four party mandatory coalition with no effective
opposition is not in the best interests of decision making in Northern

"Eleven government departments to administer the province is about
twice as many as we need and the community designation system is no
basis for tackling community division in the longer term." (Belfast Telegraph)

also favours cutting the number of departments, but his piece
highlights some other options, which would not involve unpicking the
power-sharing settlement, that have nevertheless been passed up:

  The Review of Public Administration, dating back to the Trimble era,
was to have cut out much of the bureaucracy that has been built up over
the years, but it is making little progress. Peter Hain would have
pressed on, regardless, and reduced the number of health and education
bodies, as well as councils, to a precious, necessary few.

  Now we hear that Health Minister Michael McGimpsey is having second
thoughts about a single health authority, as was due to take over next
April. Who will be next to review the review, and avoid the
unpopularity of sending out the redundancy notices that the Assembly’s
target of 3% efficiency savings requires?

State spending as a proportion of national or regional income, 2007

Northern Ireland 70.5%

Wales 64.3%

North East 63.0%

Scotland 55.6%

North West 54.0%

France 53.2%

Sweden 52.4%

Denmark 50.1%

Italy 50.0%

Yorkshire & Humberside 49.5%

Belgium 48.6%

Finland 48.2%

West Midlands 47.1%

Portugal 46.6%

Netherlands 45.7%

United Kingdom 44.1%

Germany 44.1%

East Midlands 42.1%

South West 42.0%

Poland 41.9%

England 41.0%

Spain 38.5%

Japan 38.4%

East of England 38.3%

United States 34.9%

Ireland 34.1%

Australia 34.0%

South East 33.5%

London 31.4%

South Korea 29.2%

Source: Cebr






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