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Britain's Northern 'soviets' Swell On Brown Handouts

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Britain's northern 'soviets' swell on Brown handouts

David Smith and Claire Newell

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-2200150,00.html

Regions receive higher levels of public spending than former communist countries

THE growth in public spending in northern areas of Britain is so rampant that it is resulting in the “sovietisation” of swathes of the country, new figures show.

Gordon Brown, the chancellor, has pushed up national public spending beyond the levels of former communist countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The dependence on the public sector of the north of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland has grown so sharply over the past year that many areas are now significantly more reliant on public spending than countries such as Sweden, known for the bloated size of its welfare state.

The new figures, compiled by analysts at the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) and to be released in a report tomorrow, show that between 2001-02 and 2005-06, public spending grew from 38.9% to 43% of gross domestic product.

The national increase over the past year, from 42% to 43%, disguises the fact that in southern regions dependence on the state has barely risen, while in northern areas it has jumped sharply.

The reliance on the public sector varies between regions, from just 33.4% in London to 71.3% in Northern Ireland. The public spending share in Northern Ireland has risen from 65.2% to its present level in four years; Wales has gone up from 56.3% to 62.4%; the northeast from 56.4% to 61.5%; Scotland from 50% to 54.9% and the northwest from 47.8% to 52.6%.

“In some regions high public spending is a reaction to the problems of economic deprivation,” said Professor Doug McWilliams, head of the CEBR. “But what is noteworthy is that the public spending share has risen much faster than can be explained by this.”

The “sovietisation” of parts of Britain as a result of Brown’s huge increases in public spending looks even more dramatic when the figures are adjusted for comparison with other countries. On this basis, public spending is equivalent to 76.2% of the size of the Northern Ireland economy this year, 66.2% in Wales, 64.9% in the northeast, 57.7% in Scotland and 56.1% in the northwest.

This compares with 56.1% in high-spending Sweden, 54.1% in France, 51.9% in former communist Hungary, 51.5% in Denmark, 46% in Germany, 42.6% in the Czech Republic, 41.2% in Poland and 36.3% in Slovakia.

Sir Digby Jones, director- general of the CBI, the employers’ organisation, said that he was increasingly concerned about the “crowding out” of the private sector by a rapidly expanding public sector. “I’m very, very worried about this,” he said. “The private sector is responsible for around 62% of GDP in China — a communist, totalitarian regime.”

In the northeast of “the fifth largest economy in the world” there is a mirror image, he pointed out, with the public sector responsible for nearly 62% of GDP.

Tony Travers, director of the Greater London Group at the London School of Economics, said the differences were due to the weakness of the private sector in large parts of the UK.

“What really varies is the scale of the private sector economy,” he said. “In the southeast, the east and London, the scale of the private sector is very much greater.

“All of this raises the question of whether public spending is a good or a bad thing. Thirty or 40 years ago regional planners would have said that the thing to do to close the north-south divide would be to shift public spending north. The thing that makes economies grow is the vibrancy and success of the private sector.”

John Adams, director of research at the Institute for Public Policy Research North, agreed that the figures reflected big economic differences between the regions.

“It’s right that the national exchequer should transfer money to poorer people and that you have some kind of system that protects the poorest people,” he said. “But the ideal situation is that all the areas of the country have a healthy economy and healthy employment.”

Many northerners argue that they deserve a greater share of government money.

“The north has historically been behind the south,” said Eleanor Marsden, a teacher from Hull. “If the north is getting more money than the south, it is because there are severe areas of deprivation in the north that as a country we have been very slow in addressing. Some places in the north haven’t been touched since the war and that’s something that really isn’t acceptable.”

Barry Peek, an engineer from Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, disagreed. “These days I’m not sure there is such a strong north-south divide. House prices have risen everywhere, including the north,” he said.

“I’m not sure that the north is as deserving as it used to be — and pumping money in isn’t necessarily the best way to achieve things.”

OFFICIAL: YOU’RE NOT WORKING HARDER, IT JUST FEELS THAT WAY

BRITAIN’S stressed-out generation, the millions who believe they are working harder and longer than ever, have got the wrong end of the stick. Official figures show that working hours are falling, not rising, and that the average working week is shorter than it has ever been, writes David Smith.

The statistics show that average working hours are declining for both men and women. The average working week for all people in full-time jobs has dropped nearly two hours in the past 10 years.

The government’s Labour Force Survey shows the average working week for all full-timers, including paid overtime, has dropped from 38.8 hours in 1996 to 37.1 hours in the first three months of this year.

The male average working week has come down from 40.9 to 38.9 hours and the female average from 34.7 to 34 hours.

The Department of Trade and Industry, in a recent report, noted there had been “a gradual downward trend in working hours for a long time, but this appears to have accelerated as a result of the working time directive”. The European Union directive, introduced in 1998, but with exemptions for certain staff, has cut the number of people working more than 48 hours a week by a fifth.

Working hours have dropped sharply over time. In the middle of the 19th century, the average industrial worker put in as many as 3,500 hours a year — double the present annual average for full-time workers — with 60 or 70-hour working weeks common.

Politicians have regularly argued that Britain needs a better work-life balance. Last week, David Cameron, the Tory leader, addressed this theme when he said in a speech that there was more to life than money.

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It should also be noted that the little private sector activity in these areas is highly dependent on public sector contracts. For example, the construction industry lives off PFI, which is off balance sheet and not included in the above numbers.

Edited by BuyingBear

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The Northern Irish economy is even more of a joke than I thought it was - 76.2% of GDP from public sector spending - JASUS!

Its worse than that, All the profits from North sea oil went into maintaining security and infrastructure in that province during the 70's and 80's. There was little foreign direct investment at the time and the traditional industrial base (shipbuilding and textiles) has gone.

If you ever wonder why there is no push for Irish reuninfication there are two reasons

1. The NHS - the republic does not have this scheme, so even nationalists if given a choice would vote to stay with the UK.

2. The public sector - Voters in the republic if given a choice would also reject NI reunification because it would cost too much to take it on.

I suppose these is a strategic advantage for Britain to maintain Northern Ireland, but for the life of me, I don't know what that is.

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If you ever wonder why there is no push for Irish reuninfication there are two reasons

1. The NHS - the republic does not have this scheme, so even nationalists if given a choice would vote to stay with the UK.

2. The public sector - Voters in the republic if given a choice would also reject NI reunification because it would cost too much to take it on.

I suppose these is a strategic advantage for Britain to maintain Northern Ireland, but for the life of me, I don't know what that is.

I think the republic does have a health system pretty similar to the NHS - perhaps one of our ROI posters can confirm or deny this?

As for strategic advantage, it is simply to prevent a civil war erupting as hardline loyalists would go insane if forced into a united Ireland. Given the fact that the UK are responsible for the situation (in that they sent the planters/settlers who were the ancestors of the loyalist community), it would be unforgivable in the eyes of the international community for them to wash their hands of the situation.

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I suppose these is a strategic advantage for Britain to maintain Northern Ireland, but for the life of me, I don't know what that is.

The republic will be lumbered with Northern Ireland eventually, it's demographic destiny, I'm reminded of the reunification of Germany but reunification of Korea is probably more accurate.

The dependency ratio for NI is also well out of whack, it's as if screwing as much out of the benefits office is a national past time.

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I think the republic does have a health system pretty similar to the NHS - perhaps one of our ROI posters can confirm or deny this?

As for strategic advantage, it is simply to prevent a civil war erupting as hardline loyalists would go insane if forced into a united Ireland. Given the fact that the UK are responsible for the situation (in that they sent the planters/settlers who were the ancestors of the loyalist community), it would be unforgivable in the eyes of the international community for them to wash their hands of the situation.

I live in the RoI, unless you hold a medical card ( pensioner, unemployed) then medical care is not free.

There are several health insurance firms here, the dominant players being VHI and BUPA.

If you need quality care, then, unless you have insurance you are put on a waiting list.

Currently the Health service in the RoI is a major political hot potato, especially concerning waiting times in Accident and Emergency.

Civil war has never stopped Britain withdrawing for any of its former colonies before.

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The republic will be lumbered with Northern Ireland eventually, it's demographic destiny, I'm reminded of the reunification of Germany but reunification of Korea is probably more accurate.

The dependency ratio for NI is also well out of whack, it's as if screwing as much out of the benefits office is a national past time.

Unionists are also at a disadvantage, due to young people from that background having a tendancy to migrate to England and never return to the province, so as a proportion of the population they are shrinking. It becomes even more stark when you realise that the number of foreigners on the entire island outnumber the unionist population. So demographically you are right, however while the British government provides substantial employment and medical care there will be no re-unification.

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It becomes even more stark when you realise that the number of foreigners on the entire island outnumber the unionist population. So demographically you are right, however while the British government provides substantial employment and medical care there will be no re-unification.

Transcript of the Anglo-Irish conference of 2025 :-

"You can have it"

"No, you keep it, we don't want it"

"Look it's yours, just take it"

"Nooo frickin way!"

"Go on, we'll throw in a lollipop"

"Not for all the lollipops in the world"

"Damn, we'll see if we can offload it to the Chinese, hopefully they can do a lift-and-shift to Shanghai" :rolleyes:

How's this for bubble-propping?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/5024782.stm' rel="external nofollow">
Over a million people in Ireland could benefit from a windfall payment of about £11bn (16bn euros) from a saving scheme set to mature at the end of May.
More than half of Ireland's adult population own a Special Savings Incentive Account (SSIA), which was launched five years ago in May 2001.
Many of those who regularly put money into the government scheme since it started could get up to £13,000 each.

That's a nice BTL deposit!

Edited by BuyingBear

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So people go round killing each other and then they're rewarded with massive subsidies from central government "If we pay you enough do you pwomis not to kill each other?

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How's this for bubble-propping?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/5024782.stm' rel="external nofollow">
Over a million people in Ireland could benefit from a windfall payment of about £11bn (16bn euros) from a saving scheme set to mature at the end of May.
More than half of Ireland's adult population own a Special Savings Incentive Account (SSIA), which was launched five years ago in May 2001.
Many of those who regularly put money into the government scheme since it started could get up to £13,000 each.

That's a nice BTL deposit!

The SSIA initiative was introduced by then finance minister (Charlie McCreevy), 5 years ago, in response to pressure from the EU commission over high inflation figures and also to redress the erosion of savings culture since the boom began in the 90's.

Currently its feeding a feel good factor in the RoI, that has seen an explosion in car sales, holidays and "property investments" all over the world.

Oh I forgot, inflation is rearing its ugly head again and there is a national election due as the proceeds of these accounts start to mature.

So people go round killing each other and then they're rewarded with massive subsidies from central government "If we pay you enough do you pwomis not to kill each other?

I've noticed that the only thing both sides of the Northern Ireland assembly (whenever it meets) ever agree on are pay rises. :rolleyes:

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The SSIA initiative was introduced by then finance minister (Charlie McCreevy), 5 years ago, in response to pressure from the EU commission over high inflation figures and also to redress the erosion of savings culture since the boom began in the 90's.

Ahh, thank god that's no longer a problem :lol:

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  • 302 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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