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Today’s borrowing figures are bad for the Tories, but they’re not good for Labour either

21 February 2014

21 February 2014

Today’s borrowing figures are, on the surface, not good for the Tories. The surplus on the public finances in January 2014 was lower than for the same month in 2013, at £4.7 billion compared to last year’s £6.0 billion figure (although it’s worth pointing out that the difference could get even smaller with subsequent revisions).

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That disappointing figure means that over the year, Osborne has borrowed just £4 billion than at the same point last year:-

These figures give Labour the opportunity to remind voters that George Osborne has failed to meet his own targets. But there is an easy way to spin this, which is that there is still so much that needs doing before the economy is ‘fixed’ that voters need to back the party they trust to do it, rather than sauntering off with Labour. To a certain extent, the Tories need some figures that remind voters that not everything is going well just to reinforce the case against Labour, which is still failing to cut through on the economy in the polls. The Treasury has said today that ‘as today’s figures show, the job is not done and the biggest risk to the recovery would be abandoning the plan that’s boosting economic security for Britain’s hardworking people’.


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  • CHRISTOPHER WHITE

    Tory lead on economic policy 15%!

  • Makroon

    What utter tosh.
    Have a look at last years “preliminary figures” and compare with the ultimate outcome.
    Ms Hardman doesn’t have a clue.

  • BarkingAtTreehuggers

    Is that it? The Tories are s**t but Labour are even s**tter?
    God almighty this is so pathetic – when will *anyone* stop these loons throwing away all this money?

    • HookesLaw

      You are so clever try to do better.

      • BarkingAtTreehuggers

        The last 12 months in government (starts in May) are the worst for waste – they always are. You will hate me for these words of wisdom, I don’t give a s**t.

  • Blazenka Hudson-trograncic

    Geddes would have laughed at the current ‘cuts’, when are we going to see the spending curve go down, all we have now is a slow down in the increase.

    • telemachus

      Please explain in an accelerating economy why we need to make the spending curve go down causing pain to the poor and disadvantaged
      As tax receipts exponentially rise your view can only be right wing dogma

      • wycombewanderer

        Because that’s what Keynes says should occur.

        You are still a Keynesian aren(‘t you?

        Not just one of these fairweather Keynesians who think no matter at what point in the economic cycle the country is at, the answer is toi spend more of other peoples money on your client vote?

        • telemachus

          The economy is beginning to boom
          We must not increase the suffering of the poor
          We could cancel Trident etc

          • wycombewanderer

            and lose all the tax revenues from those highly skilled engineers?

            I thought ou wanted more government funded jobs to create growth.

            You really are a strange mix of competing ideas aren’t you?

            • telemachus

              There has to be a moral imperative in financial decisions
              Explain to us all just who you would direct a nuclear attack at

              • Two Bob

                You are completely insane.

                • telemachus

                  They said that about Beveridge

                • Whizjet

                  And they were right.

                • telemachus

                  How much did your mother have to pay the doctor when you were born?

          • saffrin

            Better to cancel the EU’s memberships fees, foreign aid, Labour’s PFI scams, HS2, etc etc.

            • telemachus

              Re EU
              We would lose much more than we would gain
              Re PFI
              We would be in true health crisis without these

              • saffrin

                Not if we built our own buildings. Those PFI landlords would be screaming for a new deal. Or we could just tell them to ge fk themselves at let Labour pay them out when they get re elected in 3058.

    • Whizjet

      Even Saint Margaret only ever managed a spending growth reduction, not real cuts.
      Our children will be far worse of than ourselves due to this economic profligacy, I dare not even think about the debt mountain that will be served up to our grandkids.

      • telemachus

        Every generation has the wit and resources to cope with the plight they find
        Remember, unlike the rest of Europe we have an expanding population including resourceful innovative immigrant talent

        • Two Bob

          How are we meant to cater for them considering how overcrowded England is already? Do you know anything about what goes on outside the M25?

          • telemachus

            I live in the North with vast open spaces and loads of opportunity to develop brown field sites
            The more the merrier

            • Whizjet

              More drownings in Morecambe Bay . . .

        • Whizjet

          we certainly have an expanding population – unfortunately we have a static acreage!!!!!!

          • telemachus

            More productivity per acre

            • Whizjet

              Lol – maybe a five year plan for tractor production too.

  • HookesLaw

    As analysts point out (see The Times) – thanks to the rain retails sales are down and so are tax receipts.

    Alan Clarke of Scotiabank. — “Essentially, over December and January we have seen an average gain of 0.5 per cent month-on-month each month, or 6 per cent annualised. That is really good.”

    Chris Williamson of Markit — “Once the decline is looked at in context of the atrocious weather seen during the month and the surprisingly strong rise that had been recorded in December, the underlying trend in the data suggests that a brightening mood among UK households is translating into higher consumer spending.”

    Also the ONS said — ‘January receipts are influenced by the timing of HMRC income tax returns. Self assessment returns will also be received in February, meaning that a conclusion on total income receipts should not be drawn at this stage’

    Analysts also said that the Chancellor remained on track to hit official borrowing targets for the year to March 2014.
    For the year to date, stripping out the effect of cash transfers from Royal Mail and the Bank of England, the deficit totalled £90.7 billion — 4.2 per cent lower than at the same point in 2013. The Office for Budget Responsibility in December forecast borrowing to be 3.1 per cent lower over the 2013/14 tax year as a whole’

    For those wondering why economic activity is not filtering through to tax returns they should parhaps consider the case of Chris Moyles, former BBC DJ who pretended to be a used-car salesman for a year in a failed attempt to avoid tax on £1 million.
    ‘Moyles entered an aggressive tax avoidance scheme called Working Wheels, which
    required him tell HM Revenue & Customs that he had spent the 2007/8 tax year “engaged in self-employment as a used car trader”.
    The self-styled “saviour of Radio 1” claimed on his tax return that he had
    sold £3,800 worth of second-hand cars.’ (See The Times)
    I do not know what disgusts me more – the failed attempt or the level of his wages at the BBC.

    • Alexsandr

      retailers will do well selling furniture and white goods when the poor people flooded out get their insurance cheques. and the building trade will do well out of restoration. I think there was an effect on GDP after the 2007 floods. And Network rail must be spending some cash at Dawlish and at the 5 or 6 places they have had earthslip trouble.

      • HookesLaw

        You are right. But network Rail,will probably be juggling its existing budget.

        The BBC website says that just 5800 houses have been flooded. Though if you looked at the news bulletins you would never have guessed it was so low.

        48,000 were flooded in 2007.
        But that was a nice cosy cuddly socialist flood. This is a nasty tory flood so much worse

        • Ooh!MePurse!

          Tory floods are so much worse. They are racist too. And take no account of the needs of the transgender community.

          • HookesLaw

            They affect wimmin more too, and cats and dogs.

            On the subject of ‘wimmins’ rights — I see mad Haridan Harperson is beginning to get her just desserts. Although I’m sure she will survive
            http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2564409/JAN-MOIR-How-Harriet-call-feminist-this.html

            (I do like ‘wimmin’ really – its the bogus campaigning a la Harperson I can’t stand)

            • Ooh!MePurse!

              Thanks for that. Disturbing. Chances of it making it to the BBC news? Any way for us to force it on to the BBC? No, of course not, we just pay for it.

              Any lefties prepared to defend this revolting story? Form an orderly queue.

              • Ooh!MePurse!

                No one? No hysterical defence? Oh dear. Poor show, comrades.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          …sounds like you Camerluvvies have your work out for you, then. A socialist’s detoxificationing is never done, eh laddie?

          Good thing you have Dave. Everything’s in good hands, with Dave around. The party ranks are surely growing like gangbusters, eh lad?

          • Ooh!MePurse!

            Read this several times. Still makes no sense. What on earth are you blethering on about?

            • the viceroy’s gin

              …maybe you’re just dumb.

        • saffrin

          48,000 flooded in 2007 and Gordon Brown hailed himself at the 2010 General Election for blowing the most on Foreign Aid.

    • southerner

      Hooke how long did it take you to put all that together. Do you ever leave that bedsit of yours?

    • Makroon

      Correct. Hardman should stick to Westminster tittle-tattle. Next financial year the debt as a percentage of GDP will probably decline (for the first time in years).

  • Smithersjones2013

    Why should anybody care? ‘Money is no object’ according to Dave…..

    • HookesLaw

      Not true. You are in a sad way if you have to misrepresent like that.

      • Ooh!MePurse!

        To be fair, that is what Cameron said. Misguided in my view albeit understandable in the circumstances. Article about putting the ‘rights’ of mere molluscs and foxes above the needs of humans is interesting. Who caused the floods? The EA and the EU.

        • telemachus

          The floods are a compound of many agencies ignoring global warming for many decades
          To Ed Miliband’s eternal credit he began to address this

          • wycombewanderer

            The environment is an EU incompetence, the UK just pays the bill.

            • telemachus

              Flooding is zero to do with the EU

              • wycombewanderer

                Not dredging to protect voles and not people is though.

                • telemachus

                  You know it is much more complicated than that

              • saffrin

                Brussels makes the rules, you know it, I know it and as each day passes, more and more people know it too.

                • telemachus

                  Just which rule decreed flooding on the Somerset Levels?

          • glurk

            Began?? Where has he been? Asleep in the dogs bed? To be fair, all the rest of them are in there with him.

  • telemachus

    The biggest risk to the recovery would be to let the country limp on with the progressive tensions between Cable and Osborne and between the coalition partners in general
    We need a strong financial steadily led by Ed Balls

    • Ooh!MePurse!

      We need Ed Balls like we need dysentery. And the results would be the same.

      • telemachus

        We need Ed not only for sustained growth but also to end the current attacks on the poor and disabled

        • Ooh!MePurse!

          You are a remarkable natural phenomenon. The symptoms of dysentery usually come out of an orifice located further down the body.

          • telemachus

            OMP
            It is also known as bloody flux
            The bloody flux from the left will shake y’all up

            • HookesLaw

              You give a surprisingly apt definition of Socialism.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                …look who’s talking.

            • Ooh!MePurse!

              Oh come on, that was lame even for you.

              Was that the first thing that you got from Wikipedia when you looked up dysentery?

              If I were a leftie (shudder) I’d have gone down the slavery route. Still, history is not the greatest friend of your type. As in, what actually happened.

              • telemachus

                “If I were a leftie (shudder) I’d have gone down the slavery route”

                Not sure of your thinking but remember slavery was abolished by the left

                Wilberforce recognized the need for government intervention. The only way abolition got through Parliament was with the agreement for the state to pay massive reparations to those whose businesses would otherwise be crippled by the loss of slave labour.

                Wilberforce recognized that these other people, these strangers, most of whom lived far away, were his responsibility and the responsibility of all his fellow Britons. He devoted himself to this cause, to this rescue of people coloured differently than himself, in distant lands, whose emancipation would indeed cause great disruption to what we might call “the English Way of Life.”
                Why cannot we be selfless in this way today?

                • saffrin

                  Slavery has nothing to do with colour or race.

                • telemachus

                  Not now but to a large part then

                • saffrin

                  Then being when. Slavery has been a fact of life since the beginning of time.
                  Brown apologizing for it as if it was all our fault just showed the man up again for what he is, a complete moron. How they managed to stop that fool dribbling in public is a mystery.

                • telemachus

                  Our empire and prosperity was built on slavery
                  I agree slavery continues-zero hour contracts etc

                • saffrin

                  Since when did the middle classes care about the worker units?

                • Ooh!MePurse!

                  Wilberforce was a Tory. No point in arguing with this fact. As a fellow Hull lad, he was the subject of my dissertation for my MA.

                • Ooh!MePurse!

                  Oh, and look up the Combination Acts. I’m sure you’ll be able to find it on Wikipedia.

    • Ron Todd

      I can imagine my bank managers response if I told him the answer to my overdraft was me spending more.

      Balls and co got us into this mess repeating the actions that cause a problem will rarely cure the problem.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …then why are the Camerluvvies doing it?

      • telemachus

        If you had a visionary bank manager he would understand that if your profits were increasing he would best protect his investment by increasing it

    • saffrin

      Would that be the same Ed Balls that didn’t consider £195 Billion deficit being evidence of Labour’s overspending?

      • telemachus

        Are we or are we not in a position to say this poses no threat to our economic wellbeing

        • saffrin

          Ed Balls poses a threat to our economic well being all on his own, as does any Labour Government.

          • telemachus

            You will rejoice in Ed’s leadership

            • Ooh!MePurse!

              Or else?

  • andagain

    What is Labours attack line going to be? It doesn’t look too convincing to say the Government is borrowing too much money and should spend more.

    • Mynydd

      What about Mr Cameron saying money is no object we will spend what it takes, as Mr Pickles said we are a wealthy nation so we can afford to spend and spend some more.

      • andagain

        Clearly we aren’t as wealthy a nation as you would like to think, or we wouldn’t be needing to borrow so much money, would we?

        • Mynydd

          It’s not me that said we are a wealthy nation it was a government minister Mr Pickles.

          • andagain

            I don’t care who said it. The fact remains that the governments income does not cover its expenses. So spending cuts and tax rises will be with us for year after year after year to come.

      • HookesLaw

        Another one telling lies. sad if you have to do that to defend an impossible position
        We are a nation capable enough to deal with natural disasters. Indeed that is the whole point of governments being able to borrow money.
        If we had a surplus then the surplus would be less if we have to deal with a natural disaster. The government has a contingency fund for… well contingencies really.

        • Mynydd

          So borrowing by Labour bad, borrowing by Conservatives good. With respect to the contingency fund, whatever Mr Cameron takes out of it will have to be replaced, by what, more borrowing?

      • Shinsei1967

        You seem confused between the PM saying that money will be made available to deal with the immediate relief of the relatively small (by national standards) number of communities affected by the floods and the ability of the government currently spending £100bn more than the £600bn it raises in taxes to substantially borrow more.

        • HookesLaw

          No confusion just propaganda. Its everywhere.

        • Mynydd

          I’m not confused, Mr Cameron is doing exactly what he accused Mr Brown of doing, spend, spend, borrow, borrow. it’s just a different call. I wonder how many of those who cheered to the rafters when Mr Cameron/Osborne made the benefit cuts are now demanding money from the government.

    • Daniel Maris

      Probably better to say that the Tories are failing to go after the tax dodgers aggressively.

    • telemachus

      But with those 2 apparently competing concerns is a commitment to increased Capital investment to allow expanded economic activity and roll in the tax receipts

      • saffrin

        So why did Gordon throw so much money down the drain when he could have expanded economic activity say by investing it instead in the UK’s manufacturing industries?

        • telemachus

          What he did was invest in social infrastructure saving us from collapse of health and education

          • saffrin

            Ye’ right, by closing down perfectly good schools, packing the kids into 1000 plus pupil schools, creating a gang culture, dumbing down the education system to a point punctuation was brought into question about needing and taught our kids they could get shot of their teachers by claiming just about anything.
            Health?
            Staffordshire hospital got all of the publicity, that wasn’t the only NHS establishment where hundreds died needlessly or where patients lie in their own mess for want of patient care.
            Don’t forget Labour had thirteen years to train more than enough Doctors and nurses yet all Labour wanted to do was use the NHS and its lack of trained staff to further their aim of filling the country with evermore unwanted immigrants.

            • telemachus

              No no no
              You mention the symptoms the end result of which we prevented by investment

              • saffrin

                Would that investment be the PFI scams we are still paying, the ones that add to our annual deficit and why would Gordon throw all that money down the drain on Foreign Aid when he knew we needed the money at home?
                Was it because Ed Balls advised him so?

    • Whizjet

      Ha ha – Labour will call it INVESTMENT and then also talk about GOOD borrowing.
      You don’t even need to be an economist to know that spending MUST come down, as a deficit is unsustainable – or leads to the use of the politicians’ favourite tools, inflation and fiscal drag.
      All you need to know is primary school arithmetic.

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