State of Play: Potential gridlock
How much do we pay in taxes anyway?
In 2012-13 HMRC tax revenue was £5,700 per person in Northern Ireland. That’s 23% lower than in UK as a whole (£7,300)
Since Northern Ireland has less income and wealth than the rest of the UK it raises at least 25% less revenue per person from all the main taxes
Why’ve we got less?
Loss of traditional jobsin shipbuilding and textiles, more money spent on welfare due to the effects of the Troubles
They’ve been over for years
But the impact of conflict drags on.
About 50,000 people were injured. That’s just over 3% of the population.
Many can’t work and need disability benefits. Then there are people who are profoundly disturbed by what they had to go through
the shock of witnessing a violent event, being forced to move house, fear of travelling out of one’s own area. Experience of the conflict and poverty are strongly linked,
What are our politicians going to do?
They asked Westminster to make a special case of Northern Ireland where the legacy of the Troubles has contributed to higher levels of disability, mental illness and poverty
What other options have they got?
They can agree a compromise package that blunts the worst of the cuts –
Where’s the money coming from?
The Assembly budget is already stretched.
Northern Ireland has just won a 4-year ‘bedroom tax’ reprieve. The cost in the first year will be £17m, which will have to be found locally.
The DUP’s dilemma
The Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland
has been trying to wring concessions from London.
But they collapsed plans to redevelop the former Maze/Long kesh prison site
scuppering the 5,000 jobs that project was predicted to deliver.And they’ve certainly blotted their copy-books,
haven’t they with
So much so they are considered a
How do you think we, the working class Protestant communities will react to welfare cuts?
Sinn Féin’s dilemma
Martin McGuinness declared: “Sinn Féin will resist this onslaught on the most vulnerable” In Stormont departments like Education and the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister Sinn Fein has sought to direct funding towards those in greatest need.
If Sinn Féin doesn’t implement welfare cuts in the north how will it fund any compromise welfare package?
How will Sinn Féin handle the issue if they are pushed by London, or by the DUP in Belfast?
Sinn Féin is a major player in power-sharing in the Stormont Assembly and the second most popular party in the South where its political ambitions are based on an anti-cuts agenda
How will Sinn Féin overseeing welfare cuts in the north be received in the south?
If Stormont continues to delay implementing the welfare reforms that the Cameron government has imposed elsewhere in the UK.
the Westminster government could impose a £60 million `fine’
The Chief Secretary to the Treasury has said Northern Ireland can’t pay.
Mr Cameron said: “It’s not a question of the UK Government ‘cutting’ [from the money it sends to Stormont].
“This is a devolved system; it’s for the politicians in Northern Ireland to decide how much to spend on welfare and how much to spend on other areas of government policy.It’s for Northern Irish politicians to make their own decisions here.
“It will be their decision but obviously if they decide not to make those reforms there are financial consequences. But those are consequences of their actions , not mine.”
On the other hand, Westminster could enforce the cuts directly, which means dismantling part of the power-sharing arrangements.
This could potentially alienate Sinn Féin.
If Mr Cameron were to waive the issue and make a special case of Northern Ireland, how would working class people in the rest of the UK react? What will people in Scotland and Wales say?
How would politicians in the rest of the UK react?
Will joint sovereignty provide the answer?
Could two Secretaries of State find the way out?