Theresa Villiers U- turn! Arch Brexiteer opposes free trade deal with US as ” threat to the Union”

25 May

An intriguing little Brexit story.  At a post- referendum conference in 2016 I watched flinching as Ireland’s most eminent public servant Peter Sutherland, former Attorney General, former EU commissioner, first head of the World Trade Organisation, chairman of BP etc.etc ( now sadly dead), tore into the UK’s decision to leave the EU as insane, disastrous etc., giving chapter and verse.  As he finished he admitted with a grin he’d been ranting. Batting for Britain was former NI secretary Theresa …

Read more…Theresa Villiers U- turn! Arch Brexiteer opposes free trade deal with US as ” threat to the Union”

The coronavirus remote working boom has made many modern offices obsolete and the impact on the economy will be profound

23 May

The announcement this week by Facebook that they would begin to allow most employees to work remotely was among many this week from technology companies announcing similar moves towards remote working. The coronavirus outbreak has seen a massive increase in the number of people working from home. In 2019, only 5% of the UK workforce worked exclusively from home. In April 2020, 39% of workers worked only at home, and whilst this has fallen to 33% over the last couple …

Read more…The coronavirus remote working boom has made many modern offices obsolete and the impact on the economy will be profound

Government Borrowing Smashes All Forecasts

22 May

The newly-released April borrowing figures from the ONS show Government borrowing rose by £62.1 billion – double the £30.7 billion economists had predicted for the month and now means the government has already borrowed what it expected to borrow for the year. The highest monthly figure ever recorded… A fall in consumer spending meant a […]

Government Borrowing Smashes All Forecasts

22 May

The newly-released April borrowing figures from the ONS show Government borrowing rose by £62.1 billion – double the £30.7 billion economists had predicted for the month and now means the government has already borrowed what it expected to borrow for the year. The highest monthly figure ever recorded… A fall in consumer spending meant a […]

Could open streets save our restaurants and bars?

20 May

Covid-19 has severally affected the hospitality industry with most bars and restaurants now closed. At some stage, we need to work out how we can let these businesses safely reopen. I came across a video that proposes a solution – open streets. In simple terms, it means having more outdoors areas for restaurants and bars. Customers will be uncomfortable sitting inside; they will be more relaxed sitting outside in the fresh air. The chances of catching the virus outside are …

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Will the City Deal provide a “fresh start” for Derry?

19 May

The current global pandemic has put Northern Ireland’s long-standing problems firmly into context – with Coronavirus claiming more lives across the UK in a few days last month than thirty years of the Troubles did. Fortunately post-conflict NI is a very different place these days, with change perhaps nowhere more prevalent than in our economy. Current pandemic woes aside, NI entered the current decade in a much better economic condition than it has any other decade since at least the …

Read more…Will the City Deal provide a “fresh start” for Derry?

The Governor of the Bank of England and Tory back benchers join Boris Johnson to reject the A-word – Austerity

14 May

Andrew Bailey, Governor of the Bank of England  Because of Covid 19,“ the UK is facing a mega recession” warns the Institute of Fiscal  Studies. It’s hardly a surprise to learn more every day about the dire state of yet another part of the economy. GDP is forecast to slump by 25-30 per cent this quarter, and millions of jobs could be destroyed – with no guarantees about the recovery.   Official figures yesterday showed a 5.8 per cent fall in …

Read more…The Governor of the Bank of England and Tory back benchers join Boris Johnson to reject the A-word – Austerity

There is more than one vision of a new Ireland

12 May

I’ve yet to read Paul Gosling’s book with the vaultingly ambitious yet carefully ambiguous title “A New Ireland: a new Union, a New Society. “  Judging from the discussion and its antecedents from the Holywell Trust, it makes an important contribution to enriching the debate on the future of the island.  But the logic of ideas seldom reproduces easily in politics. Political will is something else entirely. Broadly there are two contrasting approaches to the future: to follow the logic …

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Is the lockdown doing more harm than good?

5 May

We’ve been trapped in our houses for six weeks now. The economy is suffering; so are we. It’s (possibly) affecting our mental health. And people aren’t visiting the NHS for routine – or not so routine – appointments. Lockdown is coming at a cost. Yes, the coronavirus is deadly. But so is the lockdown — […]

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The north’s economic problem – education…

4 May

John FitzGerald is one of Ireland’s most respected and influential economists –formerly research professor at the Economic and Social Research Institute and currently chair of the group advising the Irish government on climate policy. He is a strong critic of Northern Ireland’s policies on education and skills training, arguing that these are core factors in the weakness of the northern economy. He is the latest interviewee in the Holywell Trust’s Forward Together podcast series. “In terms of productivity, Northern Ireland …

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Mobility data suggests that Northern Ireland is traveling more than any other region in the UK or Ireland

3 May

Data provided by Apple on levels of mobility by Apple Maps users suggests that Northern Ireland has seen less of a drop in motor traffic levels than any other area in the United Kingdom or Ireland. The chart above shows average motor traffic levels by week, compared with the week commencing Sunday the 19th of January, for the regions of the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Italy and Spain. The data suggests that this week motor traffic levels in Northern …

Read more…Mobility data suggests that Northern Ireland is traveling more than any other region in the UK or Ireland