Health service one of main casualties of political crisis
The crisis for devolved Government in Northern Ireland has quickly affected some major services, including the NHS.
The crisis for devolved Government in Northern Ireland has quickly affected some major services, including the NHS.
Belfast City Council has published its agenda for the development of the city. It emphasises the importance of the city, the scale of its current deficiencies and offers a coherent analysis of the necessary policy changes.
The Utility Regulator has an aversion to sticky consumers! If you are a sticky consumer, are you grateful that the regulator would like to free you from your sticky position?
Northern Ireland's biggest private sector employers have been growing. The job market has been more stable in the last two years than many observers expected. Many businesses did experience ups and downs in the employment they offered.
The amateur soothsayers have been having an unmerited field day commenting on the consequences of the Brexit referendum. Carefree, careless, amateur commentary has unjustifiably and frequently said that the economy has done so much better than was feared.
Unusually and exceptionally, Northern Ireland is about to make critical decisions on company taxation and make these changes in a deal agreed with the UK Treasury.
Northern Ireland has a better record in the creation of jobs than in the creation of more good jobs. In the last decade, the number of jobs available in Northern Ireland increased by 4% (58,000 jobs). Although this was a slower rate of increase than the UK average,...
Treasury decisions on the forthcoming apprenticeship levy have created a financial squeeze and a policy dilemma for the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
The Executive has moved one step closer to deciding on the next Programme for Government (PfG). A 175-page synopsis lists ideas which would challenge every Government department or agency to do more to contribute to the wellbeing of everyone in Northern Ireland.
The impact of the Brexit referendum result is slowly becoming clearer and more (not less) significant than was originally expected. When the history of the Brexit impact is written, the unexpected symbol of the changes will be the price of Marmite. The prices set by businesses...
A special scheme, providing financial incentives to encourage the provision of heat from 'renewables' (the Renewable Heat Initiative, RHI) was launched in November 2012. It was launched in parallel to a comparable scheme for the rest of the UK. However, unrecognised,...
The biggest users of electricity in Northern Ireland pay significantly higher tariffs than comparable businesses in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland. This difference has provoked a suggested review of the way in which these tariffs are set, a search to identify the...
Ten years ago some of the apparently most profitable businesses in Northern Ireland were the small group of high street banks and a slightly larger group of property developers. Now, in the later months of 2016, after those years of collapse of property prices, action by...
Titanic Island is the Northern Ireland subsidiary of Jersey-registered Titanic Investments. The trading results for Titanic Island reflect events in the regeneration of the 161 acres of land known as Titanic Quarter and held on a long lease from the Belfast Harbour Commissioners.
The draft of the next Programme for Government (PfG) is now overdue. Adding together the suggestions from the recent wide ranging consultation to make an effective PfG is no easy challenge. More bluntly, it could bring together a bundle of contradictions.
The Danish Commissioner has done the EU a service by attempting to clarify the fiscal discretion of national governments and doing so with some basic principles. Other regions, like Northern Ireland, (even as we leave the EU) should support the decision on taxation due from...
The urban 'high street' is changing. Some of the less disciplined comments on staging a revival reveal a poor appreciation of the social and economic changes affecting urban regeneration and consumers' market behaviour.
Ministers in the Executive are now tasked with the job of publishing a new economic strategy as part of the refreshed Programme for Government for the years up to 2021.
Sometimes it takes a reality check to bring realism into Government statements. The Economic Policy Centre at Ulster University has established a record of 'telling it as it is', popular or critical.
Farmers and food producers are demonstrating support for ostrich-style behaviour - heads in the sand. They are currently big contributors to the local economy. Following Brexit there are huge question marks over the future of these sectors.
Brexit brings a large open-ended agenda to Stormont. Policies on employment law, farm income support, cross-border trade and electricity supplies are all needed. For Northern Ireland, the negotiations are complex. Initially, there is an important over-riding...
The UK nation-wide referendum produced a small majority for the UK to leave the EU. The voting spread was uneven. The easy and tempting conclusion would be to acknowledge that Scotland and, separately, Northern Ireland had a majority wishing to remain in the EU.
Catalyst Inc, the new name for the former Northern Ireland Science Park, has an ambitious £100m investment agenda for the next stages of development in units in Belfast, Londonderry and Ballymena. Catalyst Inc plans to further boost an important success story.
The post-Brexit negotiations will be tense and contentious. What would be agreeable for Northern Ireland from the UK Government (London) could fall foul of difficult London-Brussels tension.
Chancellor George Osborne has unexpectedly shifted his stance on fiscal responsibility. In the space of a few days, gone is his long-held goal of delivering a fiscal surplus by 2020. And now he is speculating on a possible change in corporation tax to a rate of 15% or lower.
The referendum is over. Now, government must adjust to the post-Brexit world. Despite the tremors emanating from the vote, normal public policy making must continue and the local institutions must function efficiently and services must better influence the rebuilding...
Take back control’ and ‘don’t send £350m a week to Brussels’: two appealing but misleading sentiments. The public debate on the EU, whether across the UK or just in Northern Ireland, has been seriously inadequate. On balance, the merits of a vote to remain are...
Invest NI promoted 5,550 new jobs in the year to March 2016. Given the changes in the wider economy, the recent changes in functional responsibilities affecting Invest NI and the recent changes in the EU-wide agreed State Aid rules, the new jobs-promoted figure was a creditable outcome.
Although the officials would play down the claim, Translink is well endowed with good capital assets from which to provide an improving public transport system. But from an operations perspective, it is constrained and inadequately funded for operating bus and rail services.
A new payroll tax to pay for expanded apprenticeship programmes comes into force on April 1, 2017. All employers will pay 0.5% of their payroll costs to HMRC. Employers who have a pay-bill of less than £3m a year will be exempt.
Leading business consulting organisation EY has published the updated version of its international review of the attractiveness of the UK, and the regions in particular, for foreign direct investment (FDI).
Does Northern Ireland need a new strategy for its manufacturing industry? In the aftermath of recent announcements at Michelin and JTI Gallaher's, along with job losses at Bombardier, there is an easy response that attention should now turn to a differentiated policy to incentivise a larger manufacturing sector.
The combined efforts of farmers and food processors directly generate probably about 20% of local incomes and employment.
The Assembly election is over. Now, can the promises be delivered?
There are two important election issues: what will a new Assembly and Executive do to secure a faster growing economy, and how will the Budget be managed? These must be achieved within the constraints of a devolved administration. Wishing for a more generous block grant...
David Dobbin, along with a group of special advisers, was asked by Minister Jonathan Bell to consider why energy costs for large commercial customers were higher here than in other competing areas of the EU, and what steps might be taken to narrow the difference.
The Belfast Telegraph Business Awards are now the longest established and best-supported awards covering a complete range of businesses in Northern Ireland. Each of the judges brings an extra degree of expertise so that the combined results are, we hope, fair and...
The rates bills for business and households in 2016-17 have been issued. In total, these bills will raise £1.17bn for both Stormont and the local councils.
Divided, we are still standing ... but wobbly. The refreshed Stormont House Agreement asked the Northern Ireland Executive to report on the cost of division to Northern Ireland society. That task was then passed to the Ulster University Economic Policy Centre. Their task was...
Northern Ireland presents a range of contrasting performance measures. Even though economic and social standards fall short of our ambitions, average living standards are high when placed in an international setting. Internationally, the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland...
Devenish (NI) is a growing Northern Ireland registered company with major trading interests across the UK and in the US.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has now changed the legislation in Great Britain and excluded new additional local Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) from the scheme.
Official planning policies for housing are inadequate to sustain an improving economy. A fragile market lacks the necessary dynamic for change. Two features of official policy pose particular problems.
The Brexit debate has started. With nearly 120 days to go before votes will be cast, by June 23, boredom will have overtaken excitement at this once-in-a-lifetime decision. The early days of public debate have been dominated by opinions and prejudice, rather more than rational...
There is a contradiction in the current official assessment of what new house building is needed and what is actually happening. House purchase transactions have risen to pre-crisis levels but house building is still well below what the market might sustain.
The search has now begun for revised and more acceptable schemes for renewable energy supplies. The existing schemes are too expensive and are not value for money.
The Prime Minister is right when he emphasises that a Brexit would be an irreversible single decision - no amendment, no second chance, no going back. First Minister Arlene Foster, emphasises the UK decision lies with the voters. However, other opinions from Dublin or Edinburgh...
The annual report from the chairman of the Ulster Orchestra Society outlines the serious financial pressures faced by the orchestra but ends with a degree of reassurance. Sir George Bain is "more than a little optimistic". That optimism is, however, tempered by evidence of the reduction in funding from two sources of financial assistance - the Arts Council and the BBC.
Translink is the parent company of Ulsterbus, Metrobus and NI Railways. These subsidiaries are normal trading companies whose performance can be gauged in terms of the overall acceptability of their public services, but also in terms of the degree of financial...
Health and social services in Northern Ireland have a unique organisational structure that should allow good integration of health and social services for people who need these services. Two key starting points: first, money is not the only factor in decision making but it...