Big Ideas Economics Festival Final Agenda and Timings.

On 12th August over 100 people from the voluntary and community sector, government officials, politicans, party staffers, academics, business people and interested individuals will get together in NICVA to discuss big economic ideas.

The event is fully booked but if you haven't reserved a place you can join in the conversation on #BigIdeasNI.

Here is the finalised the full agenda and timings (we hope..)

9.00am Registeration, tea and cofee

9.30am – 12.35pm hosted by Seamus McKee

9.30                        Welcome                                                                          Main Conference Hall

Seamus McAleavey, NICVA                                                        

9.45                        The Importance of Big Ideas.                                         Main Conference Hall

Mairtin OMulleoir, MLA Minister for Finance

10.15                     Is left right politics the big idea we need?                      Main Conference Hall

18 years on from the Good Friday agreement and our politicians are faced with the challenges of governing in a global economy that is fast paced, unpredictable and multi-cultural in its outlook.  Yet political debate and, by default, economic debate here still tends to be anchored to the old divisions of the past.  Do we need to move away from orange and green politics to left right politics? Or is the left/right divide already redundant?


Eoin Rooney – Eoin is Special Advisor to the Finance Minister. He previously worked in NICVA, the Equality Commission and the West Belfast Economic Forum.

 Jeffrey Peel – Jeff is an Economic and Political Commentator and is Managing Director at Quadriga Consulting Ltd.  He’s also a Fellow of the Institute of Economics Affairs, the free market think-tank. 

Lee Reynolds – Lee is Head of Policy for the DUP and a Councillor for Belfast South. He recently led the successful Leave campaign during the EU membership referendum

 Clare Bailey – Clare is the Green Party MLA for South Belfast. She is passionate supporter of women’s rights and an active campaigner on equality issues.

 Alex Kane – Alex is a political commentator and a columnist for the News Letter, Irish News and Belfast Telegraph.

Peter Bunting – Peter is the Assistant General Secretary at the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and heads up its Belfast office.

11.35     Discussion groups and Skills Development Sessions      Check notice Boards for venues

a)            Is a tax on land not buildings the big idea we need?

Land is one of the biggest economic assets we hold.  But are we making the most of the opportunity it provides to improve the economy and can we utilise land to guard against another housing bubble?

b)            Is universal affordable childcare the big idea we need?

The cost of childcare is an increasingly burden on household budgets. This burden is particularly felt by women and reduces their ability to access to the workplace.

c)            Is better economic data the big idea we need?

Devolution gives Northern Ireland the chance to make our own decisions. But we need to base these decisions on good quality and up-to-date data.

d)            Skills development session: How to work out the cost of your policy asks

An introduction to how to work out how much your policy proposals will cost and save the public purse.

You can find out more about the speakers for each session here.

12.35                                     Lunch and fringe sessions                     Check notice board for venues.

Grab a packed lunch from the foyer and attend one of the five independently organised fringe events. Community Energy organised by Fermanagh Trust, Social Finance from the Building Change Trust, Participatory Budgeting organised by the Open Government Network and all the way from Switzerland we have campaigners from the sovereign money movement. And Matt Johnston will be hosting a discussion session on public transport - what if it was free?

1.35 - 5.00 Hosted by Jamie Delargy

1.35             Key note address Global Debt – what’s the big idea?     Main Conference Hall

Professor Steve Keen                                   

Steve Keen is Professor of Economics and Head of Economics, History and Politics at Kingston University London and a long-time critic of conventional economic thought. As well as attacking mainstream thought in his book and website Debunking Economics, he is also developing an alternative dynamic approach to economic modelling.  Steve has a particular interest in debt and credit and is exploring the prospect of a debt-deflation on the back of the enormous private debts accumulated globally, and our very low rate of inflation.

2.35        Discussion groups and Skills Development Sessions      Check notice Boards for venues

e)            Is Greater Devolution of tax powers the big idea we need?

Do we have the right economic levers to overhaul our economy? Corporation tax is being devolved, but is this the taxation power we need to kick start our economy?

g)            Is strategic use of procurement the big idea we need?

Government in NI spends around £2.6billion on goods and services every year. Could this spending power be used to improve our economy and spending power?

h)            Is a modern benefits system the big idea we need?

A social security system based on the concept of a job as a sure route of if poverty is becoming a thing of the past. With less secure jobs and in work poverty do we have a benefit system fit for the 21st century?

I)           Skills development Session: All you need to know about economics in 60 minutes.

Not exactly economics 101 but a quick session on key economic concepts, ideas, the crash and how we got to here.

You can find out more about the speakers for each session here.

15.35                     Short break with tea and coffee available in foyer.

15.50                     The Big Idea behind CEE                                                     Main Conference Hall

                                Lisa McElherron, Head of Public Affairs, NICVA.

16.00                     Big Ideas for the Future of the NI economy                       Main conference Hall

                              Simon Hamilton MLA, Minister for the Economy

After his address the Minister will join our panel for question and answer session.  Panel members are

Colin Neill, Hospitality Ulster

Tracy Marshall Elliott, Belfast Exposed

Sinead O Regan, Upper Springfield Development Trust

Rachel Gawley, App Attic

Seamus McAleavey, NICVA

16.50                                     Closing remarks                                                    Main Conference hall

Bob Stronge, Chairperson of CEE Advisory Committee. 

17.00                                     Drinks reception                                                       Foyer

Join us for some refreshments to mark the end of busy day and celebrate four years of the work of Centre for Economic Empowerment.

Share your COVID-19 support service

Organisations providing support to people and communities can share their service information here

> Share your support

Not a NICVA member yet?

Save time, money and energy. Join NICVA and you’ll be connecting in to a strong network of local organisations focused on voluntary and community activity.

Join Us

NICVA now welcomes all small groups for free.