Posts Tagged ‘national debt’

George Osborne hasn’t set a trap for Labour. He’s launched a boomerang

01/12/2014, 09:38:06 AM

by Jonathan Todd

George Osborne thinks he is being clever, setting a trap for Labour. But Labour should vote against his proposal, expected to be contained in Wednesday’s Autumn Statement, for a new law requiring that Britain’s structural deficit be eliminated by 2017-18. As it is not a trap, it is a boomerang.

“The duties imposed by the Bill are not accompanied by any corresponding sanctions,” he told MPs, when asked to vote by the then Labour government to put into law the halving of the deficit in two years. As declamatory legislation – an Act of Parliament which no one has any intention of enforcing – Osborne was right to dismiss it as “vacuous and irrelevant”.

Yet Osborne now advances his own declamatory legislation. What will follow as a result of his law from the deficit not being closed by 2017-18? Will the deficit be further extended by the government fining itself? Or will the government be required to learn their lesson in its prisons? It’s all funny money and silly politics.

Such tawdry legislation diminishes us. And if Osborne is going to pass laws making a deficit after 2017-18 illegal, doesn’t he anticipate people enquiring how he’ll make his government legal? Labour will make hay with speculation on what heartless plans he conceals. But his stated intentions are sufficient to damage him.

Under published Conservative plans, the Resolution Foundation “estimate that several government departments would face real-terms budget reductions of one-half or more between 2010-11 and 2018-19”. Budgets for DfID, the NHS and schools are nominally ring fenced, so other departments face a halving of their budgets.

How will the Home Office keep us safe on a shrunken budget? Are we to win ‘the global race’ with an FCO so puny? Will local government be recognisable after ‘the jaws of doom’ close?

Osborne is asking MPs to vote to make the continuation of government as we have known it illegal. While by 2010 there was fat to trim in the public sector, there is now less, so his plans entail a more dramatic state curtailment.


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There is an alternative

14/07/2011, 03:00:52 PM

by Amanda Ramsay

When Jacob Rees-Mogg MP spoke in prime minister’s questions in January, he may as well have stepped out of a time machine and metaphorically donned a leopard-skin tabard as he banged the drum to that old Maggie favourite, of TINA – there is no alternative.

Recollections of TINA induce shudders down centre-left spines, remembering all too well the last time TINA entered political parlance in the dark, recessionary years of the 80s and 90s, huge swathes of industry decimated, home repossession rife and unemployment sky-high.

Sadly, the public largely seems to have bought into the Tory and Lib Dem line that blames Labour for the economic crisis of debt. Labour must take bold ownership of the truth over the government’s economic narrative to counter this, otherwise how will the electorate think any differently? Which of course is where campaigning on the doorstep comes-in.

It is important to note that before the global financial crisis, despite rhetoric to the contrary, the UK had the second lowest debt of G7 members and national deficit was smaller pre the 07/08 crash at 2.3 per cent of GDP than that of 3.4 per cent in 96/97, with total debt down from 42.5 per cent to 36.5 per cent.

There is many a policy alternative to lazily slashing the very fabric of our society. (more…)

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