UPDATE: This article has been amended to take into account updated figures from the Office for National Statistics, which suggest that public expenditure per person in Northern Ireland was near par with Ireland in 2019–20.
CLAIM: Public spending in Northern Ireland is 45% higher than it is in Ireland.
CONCLUSION: INACCURATE WITH CONSIDERATION. Using public expenditure as a measure of public spending, total public expenditure per person in Northern Ireland in 2015–16 was 10% higher than in Ireland. More recently, it was near par with Ireland. As a part of national output (GDP), government consumption contributed an estimated 45% more, per person, in Northern Ireland than it did in Ireland. But government consumption excludes aspects of spending, like investment in roads and social welfare. Continue reading Is public spending in Northern Ireland 45% higher than in Ireland?
CLAIM: If 45 members of the Northern Ireland Assembly vote to revoke the Northern Ireland Protocol, then the Protocol goes.
CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. The Assembly cannot simply vote and “the Protocol goes”. By December 2024, the Assembly will vote on whether to continue with or withdraw consent for Articles 5–10 of the Protocol (but not the whole Protocol). Continue reading Can 45 NI Assembly members vote together to revoke and remove the Northern Ireland Protocol?
CLAIM: The provision of full-time (equivalent) maternity pay in the UK is among the lowest in Europe.
CONCLUSION: ACCURATE. In an OECD report, the UK ranked 9th lowest of 33 European countries for “full-rate equivalent” paid maternity leave. Including home care leave (childcare), the UK ranks 4th lowest in Europe. Continue reading Is full-time paid maternity leave in the UK one of the lowest in Europe?
How many children in Northern Ireland live in poverty? Dr Julie-Ann Maney, a paediatrician who works at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, wrote an article on this topic, claiming that one third of children in Northern Ireland live in poverty. Her claim was based on projections in a report by the Institute of Fiscal Studies, published in 2013. Continue reading Children living in poverty in Northern Ireland
CLAIM: Northern Ireland is one of the most “locked-down” places in the world.
CONCLUSION: ACCURATE. According to a “Government Stringency Index”, the UK has one of the strictest lockdown policies in the world, but the Northern Ireland Executive’s response is not the strictest within the UK. Continue reading Is Northern Ireland one of the most locked-down places in the world?
This explainer article details the Northern Ireland Executive’s COVID-19 recovery plan. Last changed on Thursday 15 October 2020, this article is no longer being updated. Please refer to the NI Direct website for information about the latest restrictions.
[This article was originally part of the COVID-19 Information Dissemination (COVID-19 ID) Project—a partnership between Community Development and Health Network (CDHN) and FactCheckNI. The project’s aim was to improve people’s health literacy about COVID-19 by providing accurate and up-to-date information which would increase knowledge, understanding and confidence and enable people to make good health decisions.]
What is the Northern Ireland circuit breaker?
On 14 October 2020, The Executive Office published an update to the list of regulatory (enforceable) measures as well as additional health guidance.
For a period of four weeks, starting at 6pm on Friday 16 October, the following will be in effect:
- Support bubbles are limited to 10 people from two households
- No overnight stays in a private home unless in a bubble
- Hospitality sector to close (except for takeaway/delivery)
- Fast food to close nightly at 11pm
- No sale of alcohol (in off-licences and supermarkets) after 8pm
- Retail remains open with emphasis on mitigations
- No mass events involving more than 15 people
- No close-contact services, including hairdressers and beauticians (health needs excluded)
- No indoor sport; no organised outdoor sport involving mixing of households (exception for elite athletes)
- Gyms open for individual training only
- Churches remain open (face masks mandatory on entering/leaving)
- Funerals limited to 25 people with no gatherings before or afterwards
- Weddings limited to 25 people (from Monday 19 October)
- Advised not to travel unnecessarily
- Advised to work from home
- Universities and further education advised to deliver distance learning as much as possible
In addition, the school half term holiday will be extended, beginning on Monday 19 October and reopening on Monday 2 November.
Continue reading What is Northern Ireland’s COVID-19 recovery plan?