Posts in the "Northern Ireland " category

Measuring what matters: Alternative measures of progress for Northern Ireland

Posted on December 01, 2016 by Lisa Wilson

Measuring tape

What is the yardstick by which the progress of countries and societies ought to be measured and judged? This is the question which, for some years now, has acted as the lynchpin behind the many conversations taking place across the globe concerned with whether or not we are measuring what really matters for our people, our economies, our societies or our environment.

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Permanent link | Categories: Northern Ireland

Autumn Statement 2016

Posted on November 23, 2016 by Paul Mac Flynn

The Autumn Statement delivered by the new chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond is the first substantial financial statement made by the government since the BREXIT referendum result in June. Naturally the referendum and its consequences featured heavily in the announcements, but it is still clearly too early to make any definitive forecasts for the longer term.

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Permanent link | Categories: Government SpendingLiving wageNorthern Ireland Wages

Northern Ireland and the Living Wage in 2016

Posted on November 04, 2016 by Paul Mac Flynn

Last week the 2016 Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings for Northern Ireland was released and some interesting results emerged. The largest increase in wages was bottom 10% of employees reflecting a welcome boost from the introduction of the National Living Wage. However, the National Living Wage should also not be confused with the real Living Wage, for which the latest rate was announced last week. For 2017 the rate will be £8.45 an hour in all parts of the UK excluding London. The ASHE figures for 2016 show that 28% of all Northern Ireland employees were paid below the Living Wage in 2016. These figures are a 1.5% increase on last year and show the limits of the ability of the governments National Living Wage to make a serious impact on Living standards.

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Permanent link | Categories: Living wageNorthern Ireland Wages

Big Idea: A Basic Income for Northern Ireland

Posted on August 18, 2016 by Micheál Collins

nicva image big ideas

NICVA held a Festival of Economics in Belfast on Friday August 12th.

Among the big ideas discussed was Basic Income.

The slides below are from my 2014 presentation to a NICVA masterclass on Basic Income. They explore the issue in the context of Northern Ireland, looking at the levels, costs, and likely challenges. They should also serve as a useful starting point for further work in this area. It seems, given the audience in attendance, that there is ongoing interest in the topic.

Permanent link | Categories: IncomeInequalityNorthern Ireland

The National Living Wage - What will it mean for Northern Ireland

Posted on March 30, 2016 by Paul Mac Flynn


The National Living Wage of £7.20 will come into force from tomorrow across the UK for those aged 25 and over. This new minimum wage rate will amount to an automatic increase of 50p per hour for the coming financial year and it is set to rise to £9 per hour by 2020. There has been much discussion of how workers and businesses will be affected by the NLW and this is particularly important for Northern Ireland as one of the lowest paid regions in the UK. In last December's Quarterly Economic Observer we outlined the impact of the NLW among employees and across industries. Overall 13% of workers in Northern Ireland would see an automatic increase in pay from this Friday. However the lower age limit of 25 will exclude some 50,000 workers who will remain on the current minimum wage of £6.70 per hour until November. It also does not take into account those who are currently paid above £7.20 per hour who may see a knock-on increase in their wages.

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Permanent link | Categories: JobsLiving wageNorthern Ireland Wages

UK Budget 2016 - Ominous Revisions

Posted on March 16, 2016 by Paul Mac Flynn

Today's statement in the House of Commons marked George Osborne's eighth budget in just under six years as Chancellor. Whilst there were many eye-catching policies such as a tax on sugary drinks and reforms to ISAs, they could not distract from some major revisions to UK economic growth. The Office for Budget Responsibility cut their forecast of UK GDP growth in 2016/17 to 2%, down from 2.4% outlined last November. GDP forecasts are cut further by an average of 0.3% out to 2020, putting significant strain on the Chancellors commitments on the public finances.

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Permanent link | Categories: Government SpendingMacroeconomicsNorthern Ireland Taxation

Nothing comes from nothing: the case of health

Posted on December 06, 2015 by Tom Healy

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

Health is better than gold or ‘is fearr an tsláinte ná an t-ór’ as the saying goes in Irish. Economists and statisticians tend to think of health as a cost as well as a sphere of activity involving consumption of resources in the present time. Health, however, has two dimensions: (i) It is a state of well-being for which all strive because it concerns body and mind and goes beyond narrow notions of ‘satisfaction’ or ‘utility’; and (ii) It involves work, behaviour, caring, time and money which enables people to be healthy not just this year but for years to come (hence it is an investment activity as well as a consumption activity).

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Permanent link | Categories: Government SpendingNorthern Ireland Taxation

Why Northern Ireland needs a real fresh economic start

Posted on November 18, 2015 by Tom Healy

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

While economic recovery is evident in both jurisdictions there has been a worrying acceleration in job losses in Northern Ireland with some very significant losses expected in JTI Galagher and Michelin Tyres, both in Ballymena as well as 100 job losses in the US Engineering company, Caterpillar.  Reflecting trends elsewhere in the retail sector, Dunnes Stores have announced a closure of part of a store in Belfast. In recent weeks, Bombardier has announced 20% cost reductions next year which will have significant implications for staff including agency workers employed by them. HM Revenue and Customs have announced office closures in Craigavon, Derry, Enniskillen, Lisburn and Newry while services will be centralised in one of its Belfast offices. 

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Permanent link | Categories: Northern Ireland Taxation

The fiscal implications of Irish unity

Posted on November 06, 2015 by Tom Healy

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

For a long time Irish history was marked by a surprising degree of consensus in favour of a united Ireland – whether as a united and politically independent island or as part of the United Kingdom.  Since 1922, there has been a marked lack of consensus about where Northern Ireland’s future lies. Partition reflects that lack of consensus. Economists are seriously at a disadvantage if they ignore the pervasive and enduring significance of national sentiment and identity.  The death of the nation state has been exaggerated notwithstanding the undeniable triumph of global capitalism and increasing irrelevance of borders to the flow of trade, ideas and persons. In a way, the failure of the European Union – to date – to build a strong political governance among its member states reflects the lack of an overarching ‘national story’ that would bind together disparate languages, cultures and peoples (such as happened in the great melting pot of the USA).

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Permanent link | Categories: Northern Ireland

Sustainable pensions in Northern Ireland

Posted on November 02, 2015 by Tom Healy

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

In a previous Monday Blog I discussed some issues in relation to ageing population and future pension provision in the Republic of Ireland (Living Long and Living Well?). This Blog focuses on Northern Ireland where many of the same patterns, concerns and long-term questions arise.

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Permanent link | Categories: Living wageNorthern Ireland

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