Public Expenditure

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Ireland – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 14th November 2007.

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Photo of Shaun Woodward Shaun Woodward The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 11:30 am, 14th November 2007

My hon. Friend makes an important point. First, we must understand that because of 40 years of troubles, it has been difficult to re-engineer the Northern Ireland economy in the way that has happened in the rest of the United Kingdom over the past two or three decades. That is why public expenditure represents about 70 per cent. of Northern Ireland's economy, which compares with a figure of 41 per cent. in England and stands markedly against 34 per cent. in the Republic. He is right to draw attention to that. The new Administration in Northern Ireland have plenty of scope to regenerate their economy by allowing some of those sectors in the public area to be open to more competition from other areas than they have been in the past decade or two.

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