The UK government announced its austerity package today; it’s harsh. But how does it size-up to Irelands plans-in-the-making? Opposition members in the HOC were quick to point to Ireland and our governments belief that we could cut our way out of the economic problem; Brian Lenihan’s we’ve turned a corner speech last year was the focal point of their ridicule.
Such ridicule, if heeded, may be good for Ireland; it is becoming clear now that Ireland's "misguided austerity" could actually be a key thing that helps Ireland grow! albeit indirectly via less severe global austerity. In any event, I think it is interesting to place the newly announced UK austerity plan in an Irish perspective. In simple capita terms the UK is just shy of being 14 times bigger than Ireland. We can compute some basic figures off this fact to make some quick comparisons. I also think doing so will help put the fairly animated debates in the UK over their cuts into some perspective for us here.
I’ll just run some of today’s headline figures –
UK Public sector four-year austerity package in Irish terms: €7bn
UK Public sector job cuts in Irish terms: 35,000 jobs
UK Welfare cuts in Irish terms: €575m
UK Extra social care in schools in Irish terms: €165m
UK Axing quangos in business, innovation and skills sector in Irish terms: ~ 2 quangos; €30m