Belfast Telegraph

NI gets biggest slice of public money per person in the UK

By Gillian Halliday

More public money was spent in Northern Ireland per head of population than in any other part of the UK last year, a report has revealed.

During 2017, each person living here cost the public purse £13,954, according to figures published by the Office for National Statistics.

It estimated what spending occurred in each part of the UK and what revenues were raised.

The spending refers to public spending here, and also our share of UK-wide expenditure on matters such as defence.

Our £13,954 cost per person was more than £3,000 higher than in the east of England, which ranked lowest at £10,649.

Of the regions, Scotland was next highest at £13,237 per person, followed by Wales (£12,623) - ranking one place ahead of the whole of England, which spent £11,472.

The overall UK average, meanwhile, was £11,742 last year.

Analysis also revealed a varied picture in terms of public expenditure per person in Northern Ireland over the past three years.

During 2014/15 spending was £14,043, before dipping to £13,766 the next year - which was £188 less than the latest figure of £13,954.

The report also suggests that Northern Ireland had the biggest gap between what is raised in revenues and the amount that is spent per person - a deficit of £5,014.

The second largest deficit was in Wales, at £4,251 per person.

The only areas to run per-person surpluses were London, the South East of England and the East of England.

Northern Ireland's poor revenue performance comes against a backdrop of having the lowest average salary out of all the UK regions.

A person employed here earns £21,326 on average.

That is around £2,400 less than England at £23,743, which is the highest, ahead of Scotland (£23,154), and then Wales (£21,500).

Belfast Telegraph

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