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Public spending

Ed Miliband. Getty Images.

Labour’s two biggest problems—and neither of them is Ed Miliband

13 November 2014 11:00

The knives are out again for Ed Miliband this morning. But the Labour leader is the least of his party’s problems. Labour has still not come up with answers to… Continue reading

134 Comments
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Overpaid, underworked, ineffectual – the myth of the NHS doctor

5 November 2014 8:15

GPs enjoy the salary of bankers, regularly pulling in £100,000 for a five-day week, with no on-call or weekend duties and a lovely taxpayer-funded holiday every year. I know this… Continue reading

307 Comments
Nurses of Whipps Cross Hospital, in London, singing Christmas carols to a patient in December 1952 (Photo: Monty Fresco/Getty Images)

How do you solve a problem like the NHS? The Spectator asks the experts

30 October 2014 12:14

So ingrained is the NHS as part of British life that it’s hard to imagine it disappearing. But it can’t go on as it is: its budget is being squeezed… Continue reading

46 Comments
London, May 2011 (Photo: AFP)

How to defuse Britain’s £1.45 trillion public-debt time-bomb

29 October 2014 10:13

Last week’s public-finance statistics were truly dreadful. They showed that despite a year of fairly robust economic growth, UK government borrowing since the start of the financial year 2014 to… Continue reading

99 Comments
(Photo: Getty)

Nick Clegg stakes the middle – again – but is it the sweet spot for Lib Dems?

22 October 2014 13:37

Speaking at a south London primary school this morning, Nick Clegg firmly reiterated the Lib Dems’ equidistance between the two other major parties. Before an assortment of public-sector workers, Clegg… Continue reading

38 Comments
Royal Sussex County Hospital, UK

Mental health: Government’s commitment doesn’t match its rhetoric

24 June 2014 16:53

Professor Sue Bailey, the outgoing President of the Royal College of Psychiatry, has described mental health services in England as a ‘car crash’. Although the language may be alarmist Professor… Continue reading

7 Comments
Cabinets From Both UK And Scottish Governments Meet In North East Scotland

Scottish Independence: The Cost of Living Like This

28 May 2014 13:40

Yippee! The number-crunching boffins are at war again. The UK and Scottish governments have today released rival forecasts for life in an independent Scotland. It will not surprise you that… Continue reading

176 Comments
General Election - National Health Service

Spending on health harms your wealth

14 March 2014 14:56

Much of the Budget debate next week will be devoted to the future growth rate of GDP and of total public spending; but there probably won’t be much attention paid… Continue reading

8 Comments
Image: Getty

Cameron betrayed public trust – and sounded like Arthur Scargill – when he said ‘money is no object’

12 February 2014 16:25

There are some things that as a politician you really mustn’t say – things that suggest your priorities are so wrong, and your understanding of public duty so defective, that… Continue reading

87 Comments
englandinfrastructure copy copy

London is different: the government will spend money there

4 December 2013 18:14

The chart at the top of this post comes from the government’s National (sic) Infrastructure Plan 2013. (Sic because it is largely a plan for England.) You can find it… Continue reading

12 Comments
The Osborne Austerity

Osborne increases debt more than Labour did over 13 years

21 November 2013 13:27

The national debt figures are out – £1.2 trillion and rising – and although I hate to say it, the Labour Party has a valid point to make. If you… Continue reading

155 Comments
Europe's Oldest Surviving Iron Chain Suspension Bridge Connecting Scotland And England To Be Closed

Two nations, two cultures? Britain is divided by the Trent, not the Tweed.

19 August 2013 13:26

Of the many certainties those Scots in favour of independence hold to be self-evident two in particular stand out. First that Scotland and England are fundamentally different places whose political… Continue reading

302 Comments
Andrew Lord Adonis is not universally respected in the Labour shadow cabinet.

Is Lord Adonis the right man to lead Labour’s Growth Review?

12 August 2013 15:17

One of the things we know about Labour’s policies is that the Adonis Growth Review is meant to produce a fair few of them. Launched by Ed Miliband last month,… Continue reading

8 Comments
Justin Forsyth and the then International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell in Somalia in 2011. (Thomas Mukoya/AFP/Getty Images)

Being uncharitable

9 August 2013 14:49

William Shawcross’s comments earlier in the week, following the disclosure that the number of staff at foreign aid charities earning salaries greater than £100,000 a year has grown from 19 to 30 since… Continue reading

25 Comments
Folding Bikes Race At Goodwood

Cyclists, why are we paying for your bikes?

31 July 2013 11:42

My best mate revealed to me that his bicycle was wrecked. I asked if he would be buying a new one. He said yes, via the government’s Cycle To Work… Continue reading

486 Comments
Despite what Gordon Brown wants us to think, more spending does not equal better results. Picture: Ben Stansall/PA Wire

The report the Department for Education does NOT want you to read

26 April 2013 11:03

One of the better policies of this government is its offering massive databases up for public scrutiny. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, argues David Cameron, and outsiders can scrutinise what… Continue reading

61 Comments
What do the figures say about Thatcher's economic record? Picture: Getty Images

Margaret Thatcher in six graphs

10 April 2013 12:58

With the debate swirling about Margaret Thatcher’s legacy and her government’s record, it’s worth taking a look at what the cold, hard economic data has to say about her time… Continue reading

54 Comments
British Finance Minister George Osborne

Mr Micawber Goes to the Treasury

18 February 2013 12:52

John Rentoul draws attention to a new ComRes poll that goes some way towards explaining George Osborne’s predicament when it comes to managing government finances. Put simply, the public is… Continue reading

5 Comments
The Osborne austerity has meant core spending cut by just 3pc over 3 years. Debt is soaring - and voters who wanted him to fix all this will be deeply unimpressed in 2015.

Austerity latest: spending up, deficit up.

22 January 2013 12:47

We can all overdo it a little at Christmas, but the government’s monthly overdraft statement — which came in this morning — is of a different order. In December, HM… Continue reading

62 Comments
General Election - Week Two

Don’t be fooled: UKIP is not a libertarian party

27 November 2012 1:11

I’m sure, as James says, that the idea of some kind of Tory-UKIP non-aggression pact will not go away. But that’s because many Tory backbenchers are remarkably stupid. Proponents of… Continue reading

282 Comments
Ed Balls told the Guardian that Labour would conduct a zero-based spending review. Picture: Getty.

Ed Balls puts off public spending decisions until after the 2015 election

28 September 2012 13:50

The announcement by Ed Balls today that Labour would conduct a zero-based spending review is a cute piece of political positioning by the shadow Chancellor. It allows him to sound… Continue reading

54 Comments
A new survey shows a drop in support for spending cuts. Picture: Getty Images

Increased support for more spending, but also for benefit cuts

17 September 2012 16:28

‘Support for an increase in public spending rises.’ That’s the headline generated by the latest British Social Attitudes survey results, out today. They show that the proportion of the population… Continue reading

32 Comments

I Think Paul Krugman is Mistaken

4 September 2012 18:03

The great sage – once described to me by someone who attended a (highly) derivative speech he made on the Scottish economy as Woody Allen with statistics and no jokes… Continue reading

6 Comments
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There are economic reasons to cut the state, irrespective of the deficit

25 May 2012 13:24

Treasury Select Committee Chairman Andrew Tyrie recently explained he would support cutting back the size of the state even if our public finances were in balance. I doubt whether the… Continue reading

19 Comments
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Cuts or spin?

17 May 2012 13:37

Writing here on Tuesday, I made two accusations regarding the government’s deficit reduction plan. First, I said that cuts so far had been minimal. Second, I argued that higher taxation,… Continue reading

42 Comments