A new report by an economist who worked with the IMF on German reunification argues the North would cease to be a financial dependency in the event of a ‘United Ireland.’
Dr. Gunther Thumann calculates the North would save £8.5billion a year by leaving the UK and uniting with the rest of the country.
This would bring the North close to a balanced budget in a reunification scenario, working on a reported deficit figure of £9.2billion for 2013/14.
Dr. Thumann’s ‘Northern Ireland’s Income and Expenditure in a Reunification scenario’ report, was commissioned by the Oireachtas Good Friday Agreement Implementation Committee last month and co-authored by the Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly.
Contrary to claims the island of Ireland can’t afford the North, Dr. Thumann maintains pension liabilites accrued while the ‘Six Counties’ were part of the UK would be London’s responsibility, slashing £2.8billion a year from the deficit. An annual £2.9billion bill towards UK defence expenditure, debt interest, international service, EU contributions, and the upkeep of the UK royal family and other ‘non-identifiable’ items routinely charged to the people of the North would, equally, be of no concern for the governors of a new agreed Ireland. Up to £1.1bn in accounting adjustment figures attributed by Westminster to the North, meanwhile, would also no longer be applicable.
Dr. Thumann calculates that the amalgamation of the northern and southern public services would save £1.7bn a year resulting in a cumulative saving of £8.5bn without having even taken account of the likely potential for growth in the North as happened in East Germany following its reunification.
The findings follow hot on the heels of Derry economist Paul Gosling’s ‘The Economic Impact of An all-island Economy’, which reached similar conclusions in April stating that the exclusion of ‘non-identifiable items’ and a concentration on “only the direct costs of NI” reduced the reported annual deficit of the North substantially.