Belfast Telegraph

DUP plans for huge public sector cull with 10,000 redundancies

By Liam Clarke

The DUP is planning more than 10,000 public sector redundancies in Northern Ireland, a leaked memo has revealed.

A DUP submission to the talks process envisages saving £400m in public service wages each year.

This is estimated to equate to more than 10,000 jobs being shed over a three to four-year period. This is far more than the 6,000 jobs mentioned in recent Press speculation, but it is in line with predictions made in the Belfast Telegraph last month. The higher level of redundancies are because the DUP aims to use the voluntary redundancy savings to cover future expenses like paying for a reduction in Corporation Tax to business. It had originally proposed the redundancies as a way of meeting immediate pressures.

The DUP paper was originally leaked to the Nolan Show and a copy has now been obtained by the Belfast Telegraph. Corporation Tax is a levy on business profits which is charged at 20% in the UK but 12.5% in the Irish Republic. The low rate in the south is widely seen as key to the Dublin government's ability to attract elite American firms like Google and Apple to set up shop in Ireland. All the Executive parties are currently in favour of reducing rates in Northern Ireland to Irish levels but the cost of reducing the tax must be met from our own budget. Sammy Wilson, the former Finance Minister, once estimated that for each percentage we reduced Corporation Tax, we would have to find about £40m a year from other taxes and cuts. That is about £340m to bring us into line with the Republic.

The prospect of letting thousands of public servants go, even voluntarily, in order to bolster business profits has enraged the union. Bumper Graham, the Assistant General Secretary of Nipsa, the public service union, has predicted industrial action.

The DUP submission states "we suggest that over the next 3-4 years we bring the public service into line with the reductions that have already taken place in the rest of the UK. If we were to mirror the reductions we would ultimately save about £400m each year. This would not only help to balance our budget but in future years it would allow room for Corporation Tax reduction."

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