The language of the “Commentariat” is clear – essentially, “Northern Ireland cannot deal with more cuts“. Frequently, our economic woes – rising unemployment, rising cost of living and so on, are put down to “Tory cuts“. We hear even how our retail sector is suffering because “cuts have taken money out of the economy“.
There is a slight flaw in all of this – there haven’t actually been any…
In fact, DFP figures show:
- in 2009-10, total public expenditure in Northern Ireland was ₤21.8 billion, rising to ₤22.4 billion in 2010-11;
- in 2009-10, “identifiable” public expenditure in Northern Ireland was ₤18.9 billion, rising to ₤19.2 billion in 2010-11;
- total public expenditure grew by 24.3% in the period 2006/7 to 2010/11, even though revenue only grew 2.8%.
This is incredible stuff. Over a five year period, public expenditure grew by nearly a fifth, even though revenue barely increased at all.