This article explains the Northern Ireland Executive’s COVID-19 recovery plan.
[It is part of the COVID-19 Information Dissemination (COVID-19 ID) Project — a partnership between Community Development and Health Network (CDHN) and FactCheckNI. Its aim is to improve people’s health literacy about COVID-19 by providing accurate and up-to-date information which will increase knowledge, understanding and confidence and enable people to make good health decisions.]
Northern Ireland’s COVID-19 recovery plan
On 12 May 2020, the Northern Ireland Executive launched their COVID-19 recovery plan, Coronavirus: Our Approach to Decision Making.
The document outlines a roadmap for relaxing COVID-19 related restrictions in Northern Ireland.
At the end of April, FactCheckNI published an explainer article about the existing ‘lockdown’ rules for Northern Ireland.
What are the new guidelines?
Many of the previous regulations remain in place. However, the new document outlines five steps in each sector for easing restrictions. Most, but not all of step 1 relaxations, across all sectors, have been announced on a case by case basis since the plan was published. The main phases in each sector are: Continue reading What is Northern Ireland’s COVID-19 recovery plan?
CLAIM: Over 95% of people living in south Belfast own their own home.
CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. The 2011 Census shows that the Belfast South constituency recorded 56.1% of homes being owned outright or owned with a mortgage or loan. Continue reading Do over 95% of south Belfast residents own their own home?
CLAIM: There are 1.2 billion fewer carrier bags distributed in Northern Ireland since the introduction of the carrier bag levy in 2012.
CONCLUSION: ACCURATE: Data from annual reports from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) calculates a cumulative reduction of the dispensing of 1,230,620,479 carrier bags. Continue reading Has levy removed 1.2 billion carrier bags?
CLAIM: Only 3 out of 12 regions are net contributors to the UK Treasury.
CONCLUSION: ACCURATE. Data from the ONS showed that only three regions of the UK — London, the southeast and the east of England — ran a fiscal surplus in the 2017-18 financial year, the latest year for which figures are available. Continue reading Are only 3 out of 12 regions net contributors to the UK Treasury?
CLAIM: There are 40,000 third-level students in northwest Ireland, with 7,000 graduates annually ready for employment.
CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. Available data shows 9,370 third-level students in northwest Ireland, with approximately 3,300 graduates a year in the region. The Ireland Northwest Trade & Investment mission may have included figures for Ulster University Coleraine, which is outside the geography covered by the partnership. Even so, the claim is a large overestimation. Continue reading Are there 40,000 third-level students in the northwest of Ireland?
CLAIM: Northern Ireland requires a 660% uplift in government expenditure to be equal to the European Union average of 2.2%
CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. UK government expenditure on cultural services (measured by Eurostat) is just over half of the EU average. Within the UK, public expenditure in Northern Ireland is less than half than in Scotland, Wales, and England. However, Arts Matter Northern Ireland uses European statistics that reach beyond the arts, and make an invalid comparison between EU figures and public expenditure arts spend within the UK. Continue reading Do Northern Ireland arts need a 660% uplift in government funding?