Another month, and another all-time record for state spending in Britain. The government splurged £1.8 billion a day in April — of which £332 million a day was borrowed. Up goes the national debt. All of which leaves us with the question: where is this austerity that George Osborne keeps talking about? He’s been in No.11 a year now, and each month state spending has been — on average — 4.9 per cent higher than the same month under Gordon Brown. He seems to be taking the St Augustine approach to fiscal conservatism: Lord, give me spending restraint. But not yet.
The below graph shows state spending, per month. The amount in red is how much the government had to bum from the City:
This does not look so much different to Labour’s plans. The two parties are rhetorically very different, but following a very similar policy. The Guardian says on its front page today that Cameron is "looking for Obama’s backing on deficit cuts". Its always best to judge politicians by what they do, not what they say — and Obama is planning to cut total state spending more in one year than Osborne will do in four:
The idea that Osborne’s cuts are deep, fast or reckless is risible. The truth is that Osborne has outspent Brown every month he’s been in the Treasury — and will then embark on a very slow cuts trajectory. Can we cut faster? As Obama has shown, yes we can.