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Northern Ireland

The State of the State 2021/22

Northern Ireland’s public sector has spent the past year dealing with the same pandemic challenges as the rest of the UK. But in the background, its political complexities and unique position in EU Exit continue to set the region apart – and both are likely to take centre stage in the year ahead.

For this year’s State of the State, we interviewed elected representatives, government officials, public service executives and business leaders to get a rich perspective on Northern Ireland’s public sector.

Trust in government varies between administrations

Our survey found that people in Scotland and Wales trust their devolved governments more than the UK Government, likely driven by immediacy, relevance and their sense of identity. People in Northern Ireland, perhaps still reeling from 590 days without an Executive, show lower levels of trust.

Maintaining the tax and spend status-quo

Our survey found that people in Northern Ireland are more likely to favour staying with the pre-pandemic balance of tax and spending than any other nation of the UK. At the same time, they are more likely than those in England and Wales to say that taxes and public spending should be lower.

Pessimism persists

As in other parts of the country, people in Northern Ireland appear to have been left pessimistic for the future after 18 months of the pandemic. Their views on a range of government priorities suggest that they expect to see little improvement in the years ahead. People in Northern Ireland are much more likely to say that the strength of the Union with England, Scotland and Wales is set to get worse.

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Our research


The State of the State 2021/22 is a report compiled in partnership between Deloitte and Reform. Alongside an Ipsos MORI survey of more than 5,000 members of the UK public on their views of government and public services, we interviewed more than 50 senior public sector figures including permanent secretaries and other senior civil servants, police chief constables, council chief executives, NHS leaders and elected representatives past and present. Together, this blend of quantitative and qualitative data provides a view of the state according to the people who depend on it and the people who run it.

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