The Budget has been delivered and all the allegations against this Government of being profligate in its spending have been borne out with borrowing estimated to be £660 billion over the next four years – which is simply ridiculous. This figure is calculated on the basis that growth will be 3.5% in 2011 which at the moment seems wildly optimistic.
Reverting to its natural instincts the Government is proposing to increase the top rate of tax to 50% for those earning over £150 000. This is symbolic more than an attempt to get spending under control and is designed to appease the left wingers in the Labour Party and pressure the Conservatives.
One thing which never changes is the outcome after a sustained period of a Labour Government. All Labour Governments spend as though there is no tomorrow and tax until the pips squeak and leave the country’s economy is an absolute and utter mess. Gordon Brown’s is no different!
Does taking ‘full responsibility’ constitute an apology or is it simply a clever play with words to say that ‘it’s not my fault but being the magnanimous person I am, I am prepared to be held to account’?
Gordon Brown’s actual words are:
‘I take full responsibility for all my actions, but I think we’re dealing with a bigger problem that is global in nature, as well as national. Perhaps 10 years ago after the Asian crisis when other countries thought these problems would go away, we should have been tougher … keeping and forcing these issues on to the agenda like we did on debt relief and other issues of international policy.’
While looking at from past mistakes is obviously important, it is more important Gordon Brown puts in place the right policies now to get the country out of the current economic slump – something he seems unfortunately incapable of doing. I’ve no doubt he and will look at this period in ten years time and wish he’d done things differently and not burdened the country with mountainous debt.
First the Germans and now the French. There seems to be a queue of politician’s abroad wanting to attack Gordon Brown’s economic policies. No doubt we’ll see Downing Street twist this story to try and explain that this wasn’t aimed at Brown and he is still regarded everywhere as the saviour of the world economy!
The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has today painted a very gloomy picture on the state of UK finances in the years to come with a prediction that it will take 20 years for UK debt to return to pre crisis levels and that £20 billion worth of tax rises or spending cuts will be necessary to achieve the improvement in the public finances set out in the PBR.
This forecast is in effect confirmation of this campaign video released by the Conservatives two weeks ago in that future generations will be straddled with debt left behind behind by Gordon Brown and his incompetent Government. Despite the plethora of gloomy economic news including job losses and record numbers of house repossessions, Gordon Brown refuses to acknowledge that he hasn’t ended economic boom and bust, a point put to him at today’s PMQ’s by David Cameron.
The UK economy is now officially in recession after the release of growth figures this morning which show a 1.5% decline in GDP in the last quarter. This follows a drop in GDP in the previous quarter of 0.6% which means the official definition of two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth has been met.
The 1.5% fall is the largest since 1980 and shows what a perilous state the economy is now in. Gordon Brown refuses to accept that he has put an end to boom and bust but these figures make him look even more foolish when he continues to make claims that this recession is different to previous ones and that he is not to blame. The public won’t buy these feeble excuses. He was very keen to take credit for the ‘unprecedented growth’ as he put it of the UK economy during the first ten years of a Labour Government but is even keener to distance himself from the negative growth in the UK economy. When thousands of people are losing their jobs and their homes each week, it’s embarassing for the PM of this country to give interviews to the press and media and blame the United States and anyone else he can think of at the time and completely try and absolve himself of any blame for the current economic crisis. He should have the decency to be a little honest – but I suppose if he could he wouldn’t be Gordon Brown.
Just to make matters worse, the pound is trading at $1.35 this morning which is the lowest its been for about 25 years.
According to the Office for National Statistics:
‘The number of unemployed people increased by 131,000 over the quarter and by 290,000 over the year, to reach 1.92 million (the highest figure since the three months to September 1997).
More worryingly ‘there were 530,000 job vacancies in the three months to December 2008, down 69,000 over the previous quarter and down 153,000 over the year. This is the lowest figure since comparable records began in 2001.’
We now have uncontrolled debt, rapidly rising unemployment, sterling losing value on a daily basis, property prices down by 20% and Government introducing policies such as VAT cuts and bank bailouts that simply aren’t working. Gordon Brown has made a complete mess of the economy and his claim that the UK economy is well placed to weather the ‘global downturn’ is palpable nonsense.
Despite billions of pounds having been pumped into the health and education systems during the past 12 years by the Labour Government, the quality of service in both areas remains unsatisfactory. Two stories which show the wastefulness of the Labour era have been highlighted this week. The first is the failure of 340 000 children to attain 5 GCSE grades A-C including English and maths with one in seven schools, a total of 440 failing to ensure that at least 30% of their pupils got five A*-C GCSEs. The education education education mantra has been assigned to the dustbin as far too many children continue to receive an inadequate education.
The second is the news that Britain has fewer hospital beds per head of population than almost any other European country, with half as many as Lithuania and Hungary. This is a terrible indictment on Labour’s wasteful spending. Most people didn’t need to see official statistics to know that hospitals are always short of beds – their personal experience will have confirmed this. But it is a deeply worrying and depressing statistic that shows how reckless this Government has been in dealing with the health service.
Value for money isn’t something this Government has understood. It has spent like an addict without ensuring the appropriate increases in the delivery of services. Bureaucracy has been bloated and we are now left with so much Government debt that it will take this and the next generation to pay it off without having the high quality services that the borrowed money should have delivered.