Are business rates in Larne the same as Regent Street in London?

CLAIM: Business rates on Main Street in Larne are the same as Regent Street in London.

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. Higher property values in Regent Street mean that average rates are much higher there than Main Street in Larne. Continue reading Are business rates in Larne the same as Regent Street in London?

Are 75% of non-voters in Northern Ireland pro-Union?

CLAIM: Three-quarters of non-voters in Northern Ireland are pro-Union.

CONCLUSION: ACCURATE. The claim that three-quarters of non-voters in Northern Ireland are pro-Union is based on evidence from a research survey commissioned on behalf of the University of Liverpool. It found that 76.9% of respondents who are non-voters who stated a constitutional preference chose “to remain part of the UK”.  FactCheckNI has not found evidence of other surveys recording constitutional preferences of non-voters, but future surveys may provide more information about this cohort. Continue reading Are 75% of non-voters in Northern Ireland pro-Union?

Do the DOJ and NIO joint fund an £8 million a year programme to engage directly with paramilitary organisations?

CLAIM: The DOJ and NIO joint fund an £8 million a year Programme for Tackling Paramilitary Activity and Organised Crime that funds engagement directly with paramilitary organisations, such as the UVF, UFF, RHC, and UDA.

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. The cross-department Executive Programme for Tackling Paramilitary Activity and Organised Crime receives funds from the Northern Ireland Executive, and is not jointly funded by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Northern Ireland Office (NIO). To date, there is no evidence of funds being provided for engagement directly with paramilitary organisations by the programme.
Continue reading Do the DOJ and NIO joint fund an £8 million a year programme to engage directly with paramilitary organisations?

The process of nominating the First and deputy First Ministers

The publication of polling data about changing levels of party support in Northern Ireland has led to speculation about which parties might be in a position to nominate one of their MLAs to be First or deputy First Minister after future elections. In particular, there has been conjecture that an enlarged Alliance Party team could potentially nominate the deputy First Minister if their results surpassed those of the DUP or Sinn Féin.

Fact checkers don’t predict future events. This article explores the process currently in place that decides who leads Northern Ireland’s devolved government so you can understand how the process would be followed after the next election. Continue reading The process of nominating the First and deputy First Ministers

Is public spending in Northern Ireland 45% higher than in Ireland?

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?

Can 45 NI Assembly members vote together to revoke and remove the Northern Ireland Protocol?

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?