Political Commentary and Other Stuff
i'll leave the Scots out of this, but in terms of NI we have to remember that (a) central government keeps a grip on many activities which elsewhere would be part of local government and could therefore be part of 'off balance sheet' spending via things like PFI, (b) that Northern Ireland Railways are still state owned (!) and (c) i suspect Army spendign is also factored in....
There are also something things in Scotland which are financed directly which are off book in England. Also, public spending has risen more slowly in Scotland than in England since 1997: http://www.ippr.org.uk/ipprnorth/pressreleases/?id=1839
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