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Osborne owes Darling an apology

24 January 2012

11:08 AM

24 January 2012

11:08 AM

Britain’s national debt rose to over £1 trillion last month, and will never return below
this threshold. George Osborne is increasing net debt by 61.5 per cent in real terms over this parliament, more than the 59.9 per cent which Labour proposed when it fought the last election. Here’s
how the OBR’s current projections for debt contrast with what Darling proposed in his last Budget:

At the time, Osborne said Labour’s debt plan was reckless and unsustainable. I think he owes Alistair Darling a generous apology. Then, Darling said he’d halve the deficit over four years. Too
slow, said Osborne. Now, he’s taking five years to do it – as the below graph shows:

Osborne has kept to his spending plans, which cut departmental totals by 2.8 per cent a year, a fraction faster than Labour’s proposed 2.2 per cent a year. But growth has evaporated. Rather than
respond to this with more savings, he chose more debt – set to exceed £1.5 trillion in 2017. You can bet that no government will run surpluses large enough to ever reduce that debt
below the threshold it crossed today.

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