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Posts in the "Government Spending" category

A Budget for the few

Posted on March 19, 2014 by Paul Mac Flynn

Budget 2014 announced some interesting measures for pensioners and savers but overall the economic strategy remains as it was. Government fiscal policy remains committed to reductions in government expenditure extending to the end of the decade despite serious concerns over the sustainability of the current 'recovery'.

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Permanent link | Categories: Government SpendingInequalityInvestmentMacroeconomicsNorthern Ireland TaxationWages

UK Autumn Statement fails to tackle underlying problems

Posted on December 05, 2013 by Paul Mac Flynn

In the Autumn Statement today the Office for Budget Responsibility has upgraded forecasts for growth in the UK economy from 0.6% to 1.4% for 2013. Furthermore they have upgraded forecasts for 2014 and 2015 to 2.4% and 2.2% respectively. While much attention has focused on the speed of the UK recovery, the composition of any such recovery matters just as much. The first point to make is that while GDP growth appears to be growing again, it follows a long period of stagnation from mid-2010 to mid-2013. The absence of growth for nearly 3 years means that the level of UK GDP is still some 2.5% below its pre-crisis peak. Fiscal austerity smothered the beginnings of a recovery in 2010, and the UK economy is only now experiencing what by historical standards is modest GDP growth.

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Permanent link | Categories: Government SpendingJobsMacroeconomicsNorthern Ireland Taxation

Are we over-spending?

Posted on November 25, 2013 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI - Tom Healy, Director NERI
Tom Healy, Director NERI

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) periodically publishes comparative data on a wide range of economic and social areas from education to pensions to overseas aid. In its latest Government at a Glance there is a wealth of data on many aspects of public service and management of public finance together with measures of outcomes in health and education across all 34 OECD member countries including Ireland (Republic).

Writing in the Irish Independent in an article entitled ‘Level of public spending still too high despite cuts’  on Thursday 21st November Brendan Keenan highlighted a number of comparisons including:

  • the impact of taxes and social benefits on income
  • public spending per capita and as a % of total national income
  • the structure or make up of public spending in each country.

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Permanent link | Categories: Government Spending

Northern Ireland Discretionary Income to fall by 20%

Posted on October 21, 2013 by Paul Mac Flynn

Discretionary income is the income that households have left over after taxes and spending on essential household necessities like accommodation, food and fuel. The report therefore captures the falling income in Northern Ireland and the rising cost of living. In Particular over the last five years the cost of essentials rose by 16.6% while gross incomes only grew by 12.0% leaving working people in Northern Ireland far worse off.

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Permanent link | Categories: Government SpendingIncomeInequalityNorthern Ireland

Assessing the impact of Budget 2014

Posted on October 15, 2013 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI - Tom Healy, Director NERI
Tom Healy, Director NERI

An economist was once asked to assess the impacts of the French Revolution of 1789 to which she replied 'it is too early to say yet'. Budget 2014 may very well fall into this category.  In some ways like an impressionist painting in the Art Gallery the viewer has to stand back and ponder it all. Much detail, many tax cuts for businesses, lots of nasty cuts for some and universal cuts for those who are sick, elderly or young unemployed.  How do we assess the likely employment, output and public finance impacts of this Budget?

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Permanent link | Categories: Government SpendingInvestmentTaxation

Is it really €2.5 billion ?

Posted on October 13, 2013 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI - Tom Healy, Director NERI
Tom Healy, Director NERI

Having spent 5 years now in the austerity trenches another few hundred yards seems surmountable especially when the casualities are counted as €2.5 billion instead of €3.1 billion in 'fiscal adjustments' (cuts to spending or increases in tax neither of which is nice). But, €2.5 billion is still €2.5 billion. In other words around 1.5% of GDP in an economy already on its knees in terms of retail sales, employment and debt.  A smaller casuality hit is welcome. But it depends very much on the detail of what is announced next Tuesday in Budget 2014.

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Permanent link | Categories: Government SpendingTaxation

A welcome (if modest) increase in employment

Posted on September 02, 2013 by Tom Healy

Tmp Jobs

The publication, recently, by the Central Statistics Office of results from their Quarterly National Household Survey for the year to June 2013 has provided a welcome respite to the generally negative employment news since the beginning of 2008. Employment is now increasing across most sectors and occupations, both in full-time and in part-time employments. Notwithstanding very disappointing results for GDP in the first quarter of this year (see NERI Quarterly Economic Observer of Summer 2013) an increase in employment is welcome. In summary, the number of jobs is up by 34,000 in the year to June 2013, the numbers unemployed (as measured by ILO definitions) is down 22,000 while the numbers in the workforce (including the unemployed) is up by 16,000). The total estimated population is up slightly. Could this be the turning point? Could the austerity zealots be right after all?Doubtfully. A number of factors weigh on the Irish economies, North and South:

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Permanent link | Categories: Government SpendingInvestmentJobsMacroeconomics

Reforming Tax Credits in Budget 2014

Posted on July 31, 2013 by Micheál Collins

Taxation options are a key context for the forthcoming Budget (October). However, given the distortionary effect of any taxation change, and the fragility of the domestic economy, any choices around raising additional tax revenues are challenging. These challenges are magnified given the notable increases to most areas of taxation over recent years. As such, it remains important that choices are examined and their revenue and behavioural implications considered in advance.

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Permanent link | Categories: Government SpendingIncomeTaxation

We need a change of course and we need it now

Posted on June 27, 2013 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI - Tom Healy, Director NERI
Tom Healy, Director NERI


While caution is always advisable in examining the latest quarterly data, the release by the Central Statistics Office of the latest quarterly national accounts was something of a wake-up call to those eager for news of a recovery. The Republic of Ireland is in a deep stagnation. The downturn has lasted longer than any period of recession since the 1950s, here. A further contraction in personal consumption and investment in the first quarter of this year confirms a downward trend apparent in the second half of last year. This is disappointing but hardly surprising given the impact of austerity abroad and at home.

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Permanent link | Categories: Government SpendingInequalityInvestmentMacroeconomicsTaxation

Investment is still the key

Posted on June 10, 2013 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI - Tom Healy, Director NERI
Tom Healy, Director NERI

Unemployment is the biggest single problem confronting Europe today. Ireland is no exception. With one in seven out of work, here, and one in four young people either out of work or not in education or training currently we are faced with a huge challenge. President Michael D. Higgins is correct to draw attention to the challenge that this problem poses to the future of European cooperation and social stability.

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Permanent link | Categories: Government SpendingInvestmentJobsMacroeconomics

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