Posts in the "Northern Ireland " category

We need to talk about what policy can do to ensure a decent wage for the low paid

Posted on September 25, 2019 by Lisa Wilson

money box

How do we lessen the plight of the low paid and ensure that workers are rewarded a decent wage for their work? Is it enough for policy to focus solely on increasing the minimum wage?

 This Blog looks at recent UK policy which has sought to tackle low pay and suggests that if the Government is really serious about “ending” low pay it needs to move beyond its recent sole focus on raising the wage floor and utilise a range of policy levers. Key among these is the need for workers to have the right to have their wages negotiated for collectively by a trade union.


The National Living Wage aka the national minimum wage

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Permanent link | Categories: JobsNorthern Ireland Wages

Inflation and the pound - the rise and fall.

Posted on August 19, 2019 by Paul Mac Flynn

As the prospect of a no-deal Brexit looms, much attention has focused on how the UK economy will react to life outside the EU on the first of November. While there are likely to be some immediate impacts on day one arising from border delays and turbulence in the financial markets, it would be unwise to expect any sort of ‘big bang’ event. In reality the real economic impact of a no-deal Brexit will be felt in the long run. However, some of the impact is already with us and this is no more evident than in the value of Sterling.

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Permanent link | Categories: Northern Ireland

Automation technologies and the future of work

Posted on April 30, 2019 by Lisa Wilson

auto 4.PNG

Recent rapid advances in artificial intelligence, robotics and other forms of smart technologies have led to widespread concern about the potential impact of automation technologies for the future of work. Some paint a doomsday scenario with the unstoppable march of the robots resulting in large numbers of our jobs wiped out, widespread technological unemployment and ultimately an economic and social dystopia.

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Permanent link | Categories: JobsNorthern Ireland

The organisation of childcare services: What role for gender equality?

Posted on January 25, 2019 by Lisa Wilson

Publication cover - The organization of childcare services_final slides - Cover image for The organization of childcare services_final slides
Cover image for The organization of childcare services_final slides

Slides from Dr Rossella Ciccia NERI Belfast seminar presentation 


Permanent link | Categories: JobsNorthern Ireland InequalityGenderWages

Interest Rates: Don't move too soon

Posted on November 01, 2017 by Paul Mac Flynn

Interest rates have been making the headlines in recent weeks, as speculation mounts about a possible change in policy this Thursday. In the UK the Bank of England base rate has been at an all-time low for almost 10 years. Monetary policy has been very loose since the Great Financial Crash of 2008, not only in the UK but around the world.

Low interest rates were also supplemented by a process of Quantitative Easing designed to free up even more money in the system by allowing central bank purchase less risky assets such as bonds.

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Permanent link | Categories: Northern Ireland Wages

Job insecurity is not a necessary trade-off to job flexibility

Posted on September 25, 2017 by Lisa Wilson

In the Autumn of 2016 Prime Minister Theresa May commissioned Matthew Taylor to undertake a review to consider how employment practices need to change in order to keep pace with modern business models. One of the central aims of the review was to consider the extent that emerging business practices put pressure on the ‘trade-off between flexible labour and benefits such as higher pay or greater work availability, so that workers lose out on all aspects’.

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Permanent link | Categories: IncomeJobsLiving wageNorthern Ireland Wages

The Absence of Devolution - The Economic Costs

Posted on July 19, 2017 by Paul Mac Flynn

As the deadline of the 29th of June passed without the establishment of a new Executive, it looks as though Northern Ireland may be in for a long period with no devolved government. Quite how long this interregnum will last is in the realm of political speculation, but it does have important implications for our economy.

Much has been made of the fact that, as a consequence of the failure to form an Executive back in March, the civil service has been ‘running the country’. That the walls have not come tumbling down around us, has lead many to question the real benefits of devolution and whether we would really miss the Northern Ireland Executive if it never came back.

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Permanent link | Categories: Government SpendingNorthern Ireland

UK Spring Budget. The calm before the storm

Posted on March 08, 2017 by Paul Mac Flynn

In what will be the UK's last Spring Budget, earlier today Philip Hammond gave what could only be described as a lacklustre financial statement to the House of Commons. There were moves to increase funding for Social Care and a small reversal of the increases to Business rates in England. At UK level, there as an increase in National Insurance for the self-employed but also an increase in tax thresholds with the higher rate threshold moving up to £50,000. The increases in the thresholds will benefit higher income tax payers more than modest gains for lower earners. For Northern Ireland, specifically, there was an increase of £120m in block grant spending over the next three years with £90m for day to day spending and £30m for capital projects. To put that in context £90 is 0.9% of Northern Ireland's current day to day resource spending. The block grant is set to fall by £184m in real terms by next year alone and to fall by over 5% by 2020. Whilst any new funding is welcome, austerity will continue to be the economic narrative in Northern Ireland for many years to come.

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Permanent link | Categories: Government SpendingNorthern Ireland Taxation

Northern Ireland’s draft Programme for Government revealed all of the signs of a power-sharing government on the brink of collapse

Posted on March 06, 2017 by Lisa Wilson

In the months leading up to Martin McGuinness’s resignation as Deputy First Minister and refusal to immediately nominate a replacement calling to a halt power-sharing in Northern Ireland, and the triggering of Assembly elections there was growing skepticism and concern as to why it was taking so long to clarify, publish and sign off on all of the necessary components needed to pursue the Assembly’s mandate - a final draft Programme, a budget, an economic strategy, and a social strategy. However, looking back, it is clear that skepticism was well-founded with failure to sign off on the Programme for Government nine months after the forming of a new Executive revealing all of the signs of a power-sharing Government on the brink of collapse.

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Permanent link | Categories: Northern Ireland

Improving wellbeing: But what is it and who’s responsible? Northern Ireland’s new approach to governance

Posted on December 16, 2016 by Lisa Wilson

In Northern Ireland’s new draft Programme for Government (2016-2021) ‘wellbeing’ is embedded as the central concept on which the Executive seeks to base its new approach to governance. On the first line of the introduction to the draft document it is said that the Programme for Government is designed to help deliver improved wellbeing for all our citizens.’. Moreover, the overarching single-line strategic purpose of the Executive is set out as being to ‘improve wellbeing for all - by tackling disadvantage, and driving economic growth’.

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Permanent link | Categories: Northern Ireland

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