Treasury wants NI to ‘pay its way’

In the wake of this week’s IRA decommissioning announcement, the Financial Times carries an interesting article on the economic realities driving the British Government’s approach to the peace process.

With the London government, inspired by the Treasury, pressing for Northern Ireland to start "paying its way", this could coincide with real cuts in public expenditure. The budgetary allocations for 2006-07 are set to be announced next week.

"The danger is that cutting back public expenditure, without at the same time doing something to help the private sector, could leave Northern Ireland worse off than before. The trick will be to get things moving in parallel," says Sir David Fell, head of the Northern Ireland civil service at the time of the 1998 Good Friday agreement.

Northern Ireland receives about £22bn a year to support its public services, while it raises £14bn in taxes, leaving a gap of £8bn, which is funded by central government. On a per capita basis, this is more than Scotland or Wales and 25 per cent more than Merseyside. (

There have already been significant cuts in education in Northern Ireland, and taking control of ministries with shrinking budgets will not be an attractive prospect for local politicians, but in the long run only accountable democratic Government can deliver a sustainable economy.







7 responses to “Treasury wants NI to ‘pay its way’”

  1. Sharon O' Suillibhan. avatar

    Welcome back , Tom .
    Now – what was that about Kerry … ? (!)

  2. wonkotsane avatar

    Bully for Northern Ireland! England has been limping along with £15bn a year defecit in taxes paid in England and taxes spent on England. Time the whole of the UK was made self-sufficient.

  3. Tom Griffin avatar

    I thought I was going to get away with it.
    It was a great game. Kerry did well to get back in touch at the end, but there was no doubt the best team won.
    Back to the drawing board for another year, I guess.

  4. Tom Griffin avatar

    I wouldn’t be surprised if there was an attempt to cut the English deficit in the next few years to facilitate the Brown succession.
    Northern Ireland may well be an easy target for cuts if there isn’t a devolved administration up and running.

  5. Sharon O' Suillibhan. avatar

    Hi Tom !
    Re : the All-Ireland –
    Any time a team from the Six Counties is playing in an All-Ireland , I cheer them on . I have nothing against Kerry (or any other team , as I do not follow sport at all !) but it can confuse pro-unionists as to how a team from ‘their country’ could possibly play in an All-Ireland tournament !
    Petty , are’nt I ….. 😉

  6. Tom Griffin avatar

    We won’t hold it against you Sharon. I think there was 31 counties supporting Tyrone on Sunday.

  7. Sharon O' Suillibhan. avatar

    …promise we will go to Kerry for our holidays … (ouch!) 😉

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