Wednesday 14 March 2018
Austerity! Austerity! Austerity!
We have finally reached and inflection point in our economy. After the horrific crash of 2007-8, it has taken exactly 10 years to get our national finance back into some kind of order. Predictions for the future are not worth much, but we can at least believe the Tory Government when it says it will stick to controlling spending until the election; look at the track record above.
Whilst there could be a big quibble about how fast we could have cut spending in 2009-10, it will remain academic forever. Unlike Labour's current incarnation of blaming the Government for all the ills of the world and hysterically shouting "Austerity! Murderers!" at anyone sober enough to see reality.
The sad irony to all this is that, as it often the case in the UK, now that Government has control over its finances, the keys will be handed over in a couple of years to reckless Labour to start all the cycle all over again.
Also though Government is struggling with what to do now. It's whole mantra has been controlling costs, how can it slowly turn the taps on and if so where. Certainly many of the bloated public services we had in 2008/9 are now reduced to a level which delivers poor returns. The Government will be hounded to spend money on the NHS above all - but politically this is a mistake, Tory Governments never get any credit for health spending. Better would be to localise some of the gains and re-invigorate local government which felt the worst of the cuts of the past decade, people seeing improvements in their local areas across the country would surely be best. Or, if they were braver than they are, cutting some headline taxes like VAT. It is about time people were reminded of what it is like to keep more of your money to counter the socialist noise currently being made about handing over more and more to the'benevolent' state.
What would you do with a limited budget for change in the next 4 years?