Coffee House

Labour to launch a deficit clock for Tory conference

5 October 2012

2:09 PM

5 October 2012

2:09 PM

Things have come to a pretty pass when the Labour Party is launching a campaign with a deficit clock to expose George Osborne’s shortcomings. But they are about to do today, I understand, highlighting how much extra the government is borrowing over the four days of the Tory conference compared to last year: £277 million, they say. I’ll post the link when it becomes live.

Significantly, Labour is shifting from being in a position of deficit denial towards a position where they will (I suspect) sign up to Osborne’s spending plans. As Balls has found out, Osborne’s game is to dress up only-slightly-modified Labour spending plans with Tory language. But Osborne, and David Cameron, have overdone it with the rhetoric. Just 10 per cent of voters realise that the debt is rising. Before, the voters would not be any the wiser: Labour refused to point this out, having more fun lambasting the Tories for cuts. Now, Labour is changing its tune.

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But in my opinion, Labour has chosen weak ground by going for deficit, rather than debt. It is exploiting a relatively freakish fiscal event: that the deficit (ie, the amount by which debt is rising) is going up. It’s true – and deeply embarrassing for Osborne – that the deficit was £59bn in April-August 2012, compared to £48.6bn for the same period last year. But there is no doubt that the deficit is going down overall. It’s true that £10.6bn over those five months works out at £802 a second. But that the PSNB was higher in April-August does not, by any means imply, that it’s higher right now. And it certainly would not be by the same amount per second.

Also, Labour is using Westminster wonk words. Its use of ‘borrowing’ is not what the ordinary voter would understand: ie, a bank overdraft or a credit card statement. It is Treasury shorthand for Treasury jargon: ‘Public Sector Net Borrowing’ which is another word for ‘deficit’. All this will just serve to confuse people further.

If Labour had run a simple debt clock, they’d be on stronger ground. The coalition is increasing debt more over five years than Labour did over 13 years. This is a far simpler and more powerful point. As things stand, Labour has chosen a rather short-lived attack: as soon as the deficit starts to fall, which it will, it will have to shut up.

Nonetheless, it’s an interesting political development that Miliband has taken the fight to the Tories over public finances. Osborne can thank his lucky stars that Miliband has not, yet, learned how to choose the best weapon.

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Show comments
  • http://www.facebook.com/richard.stanfordbrown Richard Stanford Brown

    Oh the irony…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=717782162 Andrew James Walker

    I read comments on here from the spectrum of political knowledge, persausion and opinion.
    Let’s drop the Rhetoric for a moment and look at the facts.
    The Banking crisis caused a global recession, fed by short term financial gains over long term, socially and economically stable borrowing and lending decisions.
    The present government wears Saville Row rather than “Sartorial Elegence at M&S”, but the double dip recession is impacting upon every section of society, from the very bottom of the economic spectrum to “almost” the very top.
    The aftermath of WWII was about reinvesting in the value of humanity, people after 6 years of dreadful war, despite the debt, trying to re-build the moral and physical damage to millions of peoples lives.
    Some contributors need to look at themselves in the mirror and ask themselves, is the current system working for the benefit of people living in areas of high unemployment? Is it helping people grow personally? Are people able to find jobs in companies with the confidence to expand and grow?
    Many have been reading the tabloids and actually beleiving the rhetoric that sick, disabled and unemployed people are “scroungers” causing the defecit?
    This is a lie.
    We are all people and some people have lost everything, their homes, their jobs, their families, their lives in desperate, dire situations with little or no moral or financial support, despite having contributed in the past.
    The world my grandparents fought for 70 years ago is being attacked once more, by a thinly disguised, new breed of fascism.
    Some of you should be ashamed of yourselves.

  • andagain

    They may have difficulty attacking the deficit and spending cuts simultaneously.

  • William Blakes Ghost

    If Labour see a chance to gain advantage by misrepresenting an issue to the ignorant (in terms of understanding the context of an issue) electorate they will. There is nothing more insidious, more despicable as politicians who at heart are liars and hypocrites! Blair was a pass master at such malevolence, Brown a crashing dysfunctional bore..The sons of Brown, Miliband and Balls, fascile supercifial school boys.. If that’s the sort of cheap risible ‘Comical Ali’ propaganda stunt we have to look forward to from Labour god help this country! Once again Labour’s inherent dishonesty and hypocrisy come to the fore.

    Labour need to come clean and actually set out what their intentions ares and stop trying to deceive the electorate (likely an impossibility I know). .

  • Anthony Makara

    At this time why is the Chancellor allowing IDS to indulge his ideological experiment of making-work-pay? An idea adopted from the Clinton era and one that will prove unsustainable. I ask one question. Should Government be propping up and encouraging bad wages? Sensible politicians who understand the problem of debt are allowing IDS to indulge his political vanity at such great cost to the public purse. Many of us believe that inflation is just around the corner and what happens to making-work-pay when the government has to factor inflation into topping up bad wages? IDS has delivered a ticking timebomb and no-one, not even the Prime Minister has had the sense or courage to stop him. What we really need to see is a UCS clock, Let’s see how much this exercize in social and wage engineering is going to cost us.

    • Ruby duck

      Do nothing about socialism’s victims? Good plan.

  • TomTom

    The only reason that Debt is not increasing even faster is simply the QE Programme which has lowered interest charges on EXISTING Debt. The allocation of Bank Capital to funding Government Deficits which in turn feed Banks cheap funding show a Third World Symbiosis between State and Finance which kills the private sector and households to enrich cliques

    • http://www.facebook.com/amergin.selby Amergin Selby

      I agree.

  • Daniel Maris

    Are you still arguing there is no need for Plan B Fraser? – I’m confused…

  • Hexhamgeezer

    how about and immigration clock. It can have 3 figures – One for immigration, another for emigration, and a 3rd adding the two together representing the actual numerical chan in the population.

  • sandywinder

    This could easily backfire on Labour as it gives the Tories far more ammunition and justification to actually make real cuts in public spending. Before we had Labour complaining that cutting spending was not a priority but as debt, borrowing, and more importantly public spending is increasing, rather than decreasing as they once claimed (Tory cuts), they can hardly then claim that the Tories are cutting too far too fast.

  • wrinkledweasel

    For a simple soul like me, I see the cost of living rising and the pay-packet diminishing. This would be a lot easier to swallow if the Government gave the appearance of dealing with the economy. Instead, I see huge wastage, on Overseas Aid, vanity treatment on the NHS, criminal PFI contracts, military adventures that are doomed to failure, incompetent and badly thought out infrastructure projects and of course, the EU.

    Public perception is not guided by these things because they are difficult to grasp in their complexity and enormity. What can focus our attention is anecdotal material.

    What sums up our sick society is the failure to deal swiftly (if at all) with Abu Hamza. The
    Taxpayers’ Alliance estimates Hamza has cost Britain at least
    £2.75million in welfare payments, council housing and legal costs.

    The cost of keeping the conscience of a liberal elite who are out of touch with reality is a cost we cannot afford. And until the current ruling classes are replaced by true representatives of the population, the workers will bear the burden of of decisions which favour the tyranny of the many by the few.

  • http://twitter.com/MisterQuintus Tony Quintus

    When Ed Balls admits that mistakes were made with the UK finances under Labour, Ed Milliband admits that for the majority of Labours term in power the top rate of income tax was LOWER than the 45% it is going to fall to and the entire Labour party admit that the only reason the UK economy came out of recession prior to the election was massive public borrowing artificially inflating GDP, thus making a double dip inevitable, I shall start paying attention to their opinions on the current state of affairs.
    AND NOT BEFORE!
    Oh, Alistair Darling must grovel before the nation for signing us up to bail out the euro while we didn’t have a government too!

  • http://twitter.com/dangroveruk Dan Grover

    This seems like a risky strategy so close to quarterly GDP figures that most seem to be predicting will show some growth (and thus technically ending the recession).

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Hilton-Holloway/708772773 Hilton Holloway

    Labour was running a £60bn deficit in 2008 – and it should have been at least balancing the books. They had not prepared for any kind of slow-down. Take this for example.

    ‘Alistair Darling, the Chancellor has cut growth forecasts for the UK this year as the slowing housing market and the global financial crisis take their toll on the economy.
    In his first Budget [March 2008], Mr Darling cut the forecast for this year to 1.75pc to 2.25pc, down from an original forecast of 2pc to 2.5pc. In a bid to support increasingly cash-strapped consumers, the Chancellor said he will postpone a 2p increase on fuel duty to October rather than next month.

  • DavidDP

    “If the medicine’s not working you change the medicine”
    True. But, to continue the analogy, if the problem is lung cancer caused by cigarattes, you don’t smoke more cigarettes to cure it.
    The problem is high spending. The cure is not to push for even higher spending.

  • AdrianH

    I find it amazing that Labour even dare to even bring this up seeing as they were the party in power when this total disaster got set in motion in the first place. Whether they caused it or not, they were involved.

    Sadly most of the general public are fickle, have memories like gold fish and are very easily influenced else we wouldn’t have people turning to a party who were booted out 2 years ago and haven’t changed in the slightest since.

    • http://www.facebook.com/amergin.selby Amergin Selby

      The ways in which they were involved is that Gordon Brown agreed to deregulation of the finacial sector. This true but the Tories throughOsborne was demanding more. The other involvement was identifying the imminent collapse of the global economic system involving many of our own banks.Brown borrowed huge tranches of money and purchased much of the banks’ equity in effect partially nationalising those banks. It was an heroic act for which he deserves applause and not this regurgitating of Tory dogma that its all Brown’s fault. Rubbish. He deserves a knighthood.
      I am sick and tired of reading and listening to this story of the crisis that began in America. REMEMBER! Not here. Not Gordon’s fault.

  • London Calling

    well insulated with debt….:(

  • London Calling

    The public are not thick, just well insulated……:0

  • London Calling

    I remember your debt clock Fraser, what happened to it, did it run out of digits ?

    By the next election it will be hung over in my view, most are living in debt, who knows what will transpire, your advice to Labour will be much appreciated when the ideas fall flat as there will be plenty of political ammunition to banter with I’m sure….

  • HooksLaw

    We have a deficit because of Labour spending policy. I thought they were saying the deficit was being cut too quickly, now they say it is being cut too soon.
    The deficit is 25% lower than the one Labour left. Labour have spent a week complaining about cuts not they complain about the deficit. As ever labour are lying and 2 faced.

  • john hill

    Maybe we could have clocks showing the rising debts of he labour party and the guardian.

  • linuxonian

    What a typical Liebor trick completely pointless as are labour the Entire crap heap we are in right now is totally the creation of labour yet they are redshit hot at passing the blame to anyone but themselfs .

    People WILL learn one day , Me i have known for years but maybe i take a little more notice of what is going on around me and less to the press and TV con merchants.
    such as the Biased Broadcasting Corperation

  • http://twitter.com/John_J_C_Moss John Moss

    Deficit = the Government’s overdraft: Debt = our collective mortgage.

    Any surprise that debt is rising? We have to pay for it, not the Government.

    • http://www.facebook.com/fraser.nelson.9 Fraser Nelson

      Even that isn’t right! Nobody’s overdraft is reset to zero on 5 April each year!

  • Chris lancashire

    From the people who gave us the defecit – and the debt – now comes this sheer hypocrisy. As I observed before, the Great British Public aren’t that gullible.

    • Adrian Drummond

      Good point and I agree … but if you think the British public aren’t so gullible, why are so many indicating that they will vote for the party currently led by Ed Miliband?

      • alexsandr

        i think all parties should be afraid of the majority who wont support any of them and will stay at home and watch corrie rather than voting for them. I think a campaign to go to vote but write ‘None of the above’. A majority of spoiled ballots would send a powerful message!

      • telemachus

        Because Adrian the importance of debt is a myth and the voters are getting wise
        Britain’s level of debt is relatively low. In the late 1940s government debt was almost 250 percent of GDP. Far from Britain’s economy being wrecked, it went on to have the longest boom in its history.
        Compared to other countries, the debt is not unduly high. It is perhaps around 78 percent of the GDP—compared to 93 percent in the US, 133 percent in Greece and 227 percent in Japan.
        So folks not wedded to screwing the disabled wish to be rid of the coalition

        • Radford_NG

          6 Oct.c.1.10am.BST…….As of 26 July 2011 UK national debt was 80% GDP.The figure for Germany was 83.2% // for the EU 27 it was 80% // for the €uro Zone 17 it was 85.1% .[EU 27 & €uro Zone 17 rates are brought down by low national debt in most ex-soviet block states.] These figures come from Eurostat (the EU statistics office in Luxembourg) via ‘eurofacts 19 August 2012’ :published by June Press. You will have to wait another 2/3 months before the issue comes up free to view at : june press. Try looking them up in the mean time.

          • telemachus

            Still makes my point on your figures-mine I admit were a few months before

          • TomTom

            Don;t rely on those figures as they probably exclude PFI and Bank Liabilities. You also have to look at the funding cycle and whether the debt is externally or internally held. It is the Monetary Efect of such Debt that matters. Germany also has 1 TRILLION Euros of Bundesbank Liabilities under TARGET 2 which are not counted. Government Guarantees are not counted. The US Debt is 20% Global GNP

        • dalai guevara
        • TomTom

          Idiot. In the 1940s Britain had RATIONING and depended on Marshall Aid for 50% GDP in 1947. It was a bankrupt island trading jet engines for Soviet timber and terrified of the huge Sterling surpluses built up by India during the War. It lived for 40 years with Sterling Crises and Stop-Go Policies which made it industrially weak and overtaken by Germany in 1964

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=554986702 Dean Wales

            Not an idiot, just not stoopid lor gullible like what you is Tom Tom.Uk debt as expressed as GDP was only on two occasions in the last 150 years or so worse than it was when Tory and their limpwristed partners took over.They alone have shafted the nation, particularly the most vulnerable of its members, to serve tax cuts to millionaire mates on the back of a financial crisis in Europe caused by bankers, who they steadfastly protect. A point Osbourne was forced to admit under cross examination by parliamentary committee, that he lied and misrepresented financial facts to ensure support for idealogical policies that further harmed my country in order to serve the elite 10%.Telemachus is correct on all counts, and we the electorate are indeed getting wise to this shower of scums lies.Time for change cannot come soon enough, just remains to be seen if Tory lot leave a country capable of survival or too wrecked to revive itself.They should erect a second clock for all to see, counting down to the moment the liars can be ousted out of office-at least then the demise of LibDem traitors will be assured.

      • Fergus Pickering

        Because people always do say they will vote for the opposition in the middle of a parliament. The technical name for this is being pissed ff.

      • Alic

        because they are mugs who think you can borrow your way out of debt and that you don’t have to work for it. They take the past of perceived least resistance. Most of them are too young or in denial to remember that socialism doesn’t add up. You keep taking other people’s money until it runs out. It has run out.

    • telemachus

      Mr Lancahire- Can you not read
      “The coalition is increasing debt more over five years than Labour did over 13 years. ”
      Not only not caring but financially incompetent
      This latter will finish them

      • ToryOAP

        I have told you before you stupid nerk that you are too dumb to comment here. The idiot Brown and his catamite Balls left the country with the largest deficit in history. This is a recurring current account item that, although reducing, adds to the debt. See my explanation below or read Economics for Fuckwits before commenting further.

        • telemachus

          I despair
          It is not about textbook economics but vision and leadership.
          The current crew have no vision and cannot lead us into a dynamic growing economy

          • ToryOAP

            You haven’t the slightest idea. You are the Jimmy Saville of political discourse. You are a world-class idiot and a troll to boot. You have nothing to say but keep saying it. If you were my dog I would put you down. Fool.

            • telemachus

              So I guess you have no actual argument to gainsay the truth

              • ToryOAP

                Fool

              • Hexhamgeezer

                Tit

            • Alan Eastwood

              There is absolutely no need for this juvenile rant. The best way to deal with left wing nonsense is to ignore it.

              • ToryOAP

                No, sometimes the best way to deal with it is to ridicule the morons. I am fed up with the way they have taken over right-of-centre blogs with their meaningless trolling. They are ruining intelligent discourse so every now and then a rant is the least they should get. Coffee House has already lost one of its best commentators Ulysses because of these idiots.

              • Fergus Pickering

                There is always a place for juvenile rant especially when our tel is in the saddle. Rant on, dear sir.

            • http://www.facebook.com/amergin.selby Amergin Selby

              The Saville comment is disgusting and totally uncalled for and justifies an apology when you sober up.

              • ToryOAP

                But aren’t all you old lefties kiddy-fiddlers? You and telemucus certainly appear to fit the profile. Trolls and stalkers to boot. Disgusting.

                • telemachus

                  I trust you have a good lawyer
                  I have the time, the incination and the money to nail you.

                • ToryOAP

                  Bring it on troll. I am a retired policeman and pub owner and I live in Hastings.

        • Alan Eastwood

          trevorsden

          • ToryOAP

            Who he?

          • toni

            And judging by the comments, madder than ever.

      • HooksLaw

        You are so dim it is beyond laughable.
        Labour are screaming blue murder that the govt are cutting too much, so at one blow you shoot yourself in the foot.
        And as others say, the starting point was the biggest deficit in nour history so its inevitable that, starting from that high base the debt will increase. It is this point which highlights the utter disaster that was Brown’s management of our economy.
        These huge deficits cannot be reduced overnight, not least because the economy was left so much smaller by the recession, and the economy will be suffering for a generation.
        Brown left the economy on a pathetic state, far to over reliant on city revenues which were ephemeral and not as he foolishly believed permanent.
        He actually ran deficits when we had growth and chose to spend money which simply did not exist by borrowing instead of repaying debt.

        A return to Labour will be deja vu all over again. Labour will borrow and spend.

        • telemachus

          Labour rhetoric is changing now they understand the true incompetence of Osbourn
          You need growth for gods sake for both the wellbeing of the nation and the fiscal deficit.
          Maybe deja vu but it will lead us back to boom and wellbeing

          • ToryOAP

            Just when we think you are the most stupid troll on the web you go ahead and prove it. Nobody cares what you say. You are just polluting and irritating you cretin.

            • George_Arseborne

              If no one cares why are you replying to his comment.? You make yourself a fool or better still a cretin borrowed from you. Again keep my comments on and stop taking them off.

            • http://www.facebook.com/amergin.selby Amergin Selby

              I bet you say that to everyone who disagrees with you. Only one valid opinion in the world and its yours.

          • loftytom

            This Osbourn chap, any relation to Osborne perchance?
            Two commas and an apostrophe missing in the second sentence.
            O Tempora, O mores.
            Alumnus of Winnie Mandela comp I take it.
            Pip Pip!

        • George_Arseborne

          Hooks law states that when you cut too fast and too far, you become reckless and borrowing sky rocket. Simple. So you make me laugh for being so daft .

        • George_Arseborne

          Hooks Law states that too far, too fast leads to recklessness thereby sky rocketing the debt. Typical Osborne rule. You make me laugh. By the way stop taking off my comments

      • Sarge

        ‘Not only not caring but financially incompetent’ could equally describe the shadow cabinet..after all they have far more experience in that area.It’s not years zero comrade,the airbrush approach to history will not work..

      • James

        Christ you’re dumb.

        Labour ran up that amount of debt during a period which includes the biggest boom and highest tax receipts probably in the history of the British state. The Conservatives inherited an economy in tatters after the second biggest crash in history. It’s a wonder they’re not running up more.

    • Dimoto

      Miliminor and Balls – one feeble stunt after another.
      All excitedly reported by the Spectator luminaries.

      • Frank P

        Luminaries??

        Get a dictionary, FFS!

    • dalai guevara

      This is proof we have entered cul-de-sac Britain. The chaps who caused the crisis cannot be trusted, the chaps who run the crisis cannot be trusted. We need to see a big move by someone, preferably dealing with the issue of w h a t went wrong. Now, go strip another title off someone.

    • 2trueblue

      I don’t think people are gullible in so much as they are ill informed, rather ignorant of the difference between the deficit and the debt. Those in the media clearly do not understand it or wish to mislead the public of the meaning.

    • Alan Eastwood

      We have to accept that the figures are correct. Osborne is a disaster and my views on Cameron are supported by the majority of commentators here, not you Mr Lancashire. It is really past time you removed your rose tinted spectacles.

    • ArtificialIntelligence

      Unfortunately, they are Chris.

    • Heartless etc.,

      Great British Public aren’t that gullible.

      Oh yes they are! They voted for the Hero of the H2B x3, and then, like idiots promised treats, followed in the wake of the incompetent who followed, all the while amassing debt and trivial satisfaction.

      And instead of demanding action, the GBP supinely wait for the H2B and his coterie of knaves to ‘do something’ – instead of tearing the place down and demanding action – on immigration / worthless funny money / taxes / the OS Aid scam / energy prices / transport / the HS2 scam / the woeful toadying to the EUSSR / non-existent interest rates for savers and those who followed age-old advice on frugality, debt, saving, and preparing for the unexpected……

    • ArchiePonsonby

      I shouldn’t worry Chris. I remember that in Vancouver about fifteen years ago a similar “deficit clock” was installed in a window of a bank – HSBC, if memory serves – facing a main traffic artery in the business district, remorselessly clocking up the national debt by an alarming amount every second. I heard later that it had been moved due to “pressure” from politicians in the capital! I am willing to bet that something similar would happen here!

    • http://www.facebook.com/amergin.selby Amergin Selby

      I am not sure when we began talking about deficit as a historical event but if I recall some of my history I can recall being told that Sir Richard Arkwright was so rich that he vowed to pay off the National Debt. He didn’t succeed. That was some time ago now.even before there was a Labour Party.

    • Alic

      Pity they ddin’t launch it when they came to power and started getting us into debt then , isn’t it? what a bunch of hypocrites.

  • james102

    This is dangerous ground for our political class, what if
    the electorate start to understand how unaffordable the state sector at its
    present size is?

    This confusion in the publics’ mind about deficit and debt
    must be the result of a deliberate policy.

    • telemachus

      James
      I fear that Coalition incompetence is such that poliyically it will not matter
      Neither debt nor deficit will fall

      • ToryOAP

        I thought I told you to shut up you moron.

      • HooksLaw

        Of course the debt will not fall until we run surpluses. When do you think that would be under a Labour govt?
        Brown ran deficits when he had growth so there is no prospect of the debt falling under Labour.
        The debt and its interest payments will be a millstone round the country’s neck for decades.
        This is the measure of Labours last disastrous 13 years in power.

      • james102

        I agree but it does not matter if it is the
        Conservative-Libdems, Labour or any combination.

        The fact is that the political class have created a client
        state and have funded it by borrowing against future generations’ taxes.

        Imagine suggesting a policy that involved slashing the
        public sector payroll, welfare payments and even the supposed untouchable NHS?

        The intergenerational transfers must end but it is like the
        Irish and Spanish property boom, everyone thinks others will be holding the
        parcel when the music stops.

      • http://www.facebook.com/amergin.selby Amergin Selby

        Have I git it right
        Income – expenditure = +surplus or – deficit
        debt = debt +( surplus or – deficit)
        bit over simplified but i think that is what most people are saying.

    • TomTom

      Politicians are the ones that are confused. Osborne seems to be having great difficulty

  • DavidDP

    But seriously. This move by Labour is the equivalent of being invited to someone’s house for dinner, treading mud into their carpets, and then spending the evening criticising how dirty the house is.

  • ToryOAP

    Why are the British public so thick and why doesn’t anyone explain the deficit/debt to them? E.G. I have a credit card bill of £10,000, an income of £20,000 a year and annual expenditure of £30,000. I fund my income gap (deficit) of £10,000 a year through my credit card so after 1 year I now owe £20,000 plus interest of (say) 10% so my debt is now £22,000 and after year 2 £35,200 (or thereabouts). If I reduce my overspending (deficit) by half to £5,000 the debt will still rise. I need to reduce my expenditure to below my earnings plus the interest on the debt in order to reduce the debt. The 2 are inextricably linked and should never, ever be talked about in isolation.

    • Irascible Old Git

      “Labour isn’t Learning” is so much more succinct.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=717782162 Andrew James Walker

      Thank you for the basic maths lesson.
      What if you have £30,000 in unsecured debt.
      You also have a mortgage and children and a disabled, elderly parent living at home with you.
      Then you lose your job.
      How do you pay your own defecit off if you earn NOTHING?
      This scenario (mine is real by the way) if nobody will spend money, people are going out of their way to avoid paying tax, AND AVOID INVESTING IN STAFF, MACHINERY, TRAINING, ETC ETC.
      How is the country to pay it’s way out of deficit if people are jumping off job centres because they cannot find work and are in penury?
      Wake up Man, you are living in a tiny box without windows. Go to your local job centre and look at the scores of people under 25 and over 40 without jobs. The food banks, the fall in demand in high streets, the utter dispair amongst sick people being forced to go and find non existent work and made to feel it’s their fault for being sick and disabled?
      These people are not “left or right, they are human beings, just like you.

      • ToryOAP

        We will ignore the stupidity of getting £30,000 of unsecured debt, a mortgage and dependents without having insured against the possibility of losing one’s job. We will also ignore the fallacy of your entire position as the UK still has income, albeit less than its expenditure. Whenever I see a job centre I don’t see the scores of people looking for jobs – they are all in the pub, McDonalds or watching TV while hardworking eastern Europeans are doing their jobs. The real question is how the education system failed this country by producing idiots like you.

  • Sweetpea

    Is Labour going after the Tories on debt; or on competence? Every target Cameron and Osborne have set on the economy has been missed – no harm in reminding people of that.

    • HooksLaw

      Last years deficit was in fact lower than was forecast by the OBR. The other reality is that the govt are borrowing money at the lowest rates ever whilst Spain for instance is paying near 7%.

      • Sweetpea

        The deficit will not be wiped out by 2015 as promised; the economy is shrinking not growing; unemployment is higher than forecast. Didn’t the Tories used to advocate a policy of three strikes and you’re out?

  • Irascible Old Git

    Thanks for informing us all exactly which weapon the Labour Party should use to shoot down this wretched government. Much appreciated…

  • Irascible Old Git

    Thanks for informing us all exactly which weapon the Labour Party should use to shoot down this wretched government. Much appreciated…

  • DavidDP

    “If Labour had run a simple debt clock, they’d be on stronger ground”
    No they wouldn’t, given the fact that debt is increasing precisely because of the massive deficit they left the country to deal with. They inherited good finanances, which enabled them to avoid increases in debt at the start, but drastically ramped up spending so that by the end it was being added to on a massive and fast basis. Playing “averages” over the 13 years is extremely disengenuous and of dubious intent.
    Unless you actually think that you can simply cut all deficit spending overnight and immediately start cutting the debt, without any serious and negative consequences whatsoever.

  • DavidDP

    “If Labour had run a simple debt clock, they’d be on stronger ground”
    No they wouldn’t, given the fact that debt is increasing precisely because of the massive deficit they left the country to deal with. They inherited good finanances, which enabled them to avoid increases in debt at the start, but drastically ramped up spending so that by the end it was being added to on a massive and fast basis. Playing “averages” over the 13 years is extremely disengenuous and of dubious intent.
    Unless you actually think that you can simply cut all deficit spending overnight and immediately start cutting the debt, without any serious and negative consequences whatsoever.

    • David Algie

      While they left a 12% deficit your second sentence is factually wrong. if you go back to 1997 you’ll find that Blair’s government did inherit a debt of 45% GDP and deficit of 4% which was one of the highest in the OECD and meant that they stuck to tight spending plans for the first term.

      • DavidDP

        “they stuck to tight spending plans for the first term.”
        The tight spending plans, inherited from the Tories, went out the window post – 2001.
        Hence my point about the disingenuousness of averaging it out. Doing so includes the benefits Labour got of a benign inheritence (the trend was downwards) and underplays their profligacy.
        Frankly, the fact that Fraser has only just started using this metric regularly is rather suggestive that its use is not purely mathmatic.

      • HooksLaw

        The deficit was on a programme of reduction until labour started spending to suit themselves rather than economic reality. They won 2 re-elections by bribing us with our own money and with the debts they were running up.

    • http://twitter.com/rjs2662 Richard_Sage_Pleb

      Your comment implies that debt rose steadily over the 13 years of Labour government to the overall figure in 2010- that is simply not true and can be seen via ONS figures. Debt spiked markedly in 2008 because of the issue with the banks. If you take the government spending in the last year of the labour administration (post bank crisis) it is still less than the spending in the last 12 months.

      • DavidDP

        The cyclical deficit, that caused by the banks, is mostly dealt with. The problem is the structural deficit, which as the name implies is deeper set. It wasn’t just because of the banks, would that it were.

        • TomTom

          Crap. The Banks posted fictive profits and paid tax to the Treasury based on their speculation. Now they are insolvent with tax loss carryforwards so will never pay taxes even if they were to recover. The economy was a bubble 1990 onwards and the Banks are a black hole sucking in capital and according to the FPC they need a lot more

      • HooksLaw

        The deficit figures are I believe given less the bank interventions.
        The deficits were due to sky high spending and tax revenues falling off a cliff. Much of the city based casino banking revenues and other such rubbish relied on by Balls and Brown are gone forever. As the BoE said 7% of the economy has disappeared.
        VAT cuts were a waste of time and just benefited countries like China and South Korea.

        Government spending must be cut because it cannot be supported over the cycle. That part which cannot is the structural deficit. The structural deficit can never be supported by the ability of the economy to pay for it.

        • TomTom

          Funny that VAT cuts had no effect on Services then – or on house repairs. Obviously Services are not a big part of this economy

    • http://twitter.com/rjs2662 Richard_Sage_Pleb

      Your comment implies that debt rose steadily over the 13 years of Labour government to the overall figure in 2010- that is simply not true and can be seen via ONS figures. Debt spiked markedly in 2008 because of the issue with the banks. If you take the government spending in the last year of the labour administration (post bank crisis) it is still less than the spending in the last 12 months.

    • HooksLaw

      Indeed, a large chuck of our spending goes to servicing the debt that labour let loose.

      • TomTom

        £43 billion in fact which is larger than the Defence Budget but still below what it would be at market rates of interest

    • George_Arseborne

      We are tired of this hymn. Tune something else

      • Colonel Mustard

        I’m tired of your execrable English.

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