March 10th, 2008

The Chancellor’s Unfunded Spending Hikes

Back in 2005 Gordon boasted in his budget of “economic growth for the 50th consecutive quarter” in 2006. The next year he did not subsequently boast of 54 consecutive after Guido pointed out that he was taking credit for the five years of growth under the Tories following White Wednesday in 1992.

The point of Guido giving this background is to highlight that during all this long unbroken period of economic growth, Gordon failed to pay down the government debt – a truly prudent Chancellor would have done it at some strong point in the economic cycle. He did however forecast the budget surplus this year to be of some £9 billion, in fact the budget will probably be in deficit £9 billion. As Michael Fallon points out, despite many predictions to the contrary, the budget has never been in surplus* under this government. Gordon’s imprudence over the last 5 years alone has led to £69 billion in unplanned and unfunded spending hikes. The public sector has been bloated by a governing Labour party beholden to public sector unions for funding.

Who pays for this unfunded spending? Middle class taxpayers of course. The interest on the government’s ballooning debts consumes an ever increasing share of tax revenues. The nationalisation of Northern Rock further smashed the golden rule by £110 billion. We are now heading for G.F.T.** in a weakened fiscal position compared to other major economies. Alastair’s response? The word from the Treasury is that they plan to fiddle the statistics so that the golden rule will magically become unbroken. An illusion that will fool no-one.

Remember this when the new Chancellor talks about budgetary control or prudence in his budget speech. Treat any promises of future surpluses as a bad joke. Any “Green” tax hikes should be seen as what they really are, an excuse to tax the middle classes even more. The truth is Labour’s out of control unfunded over-spending hikes have added to Britain’s economic woes.

The budget should:

  • Focus on a growth-package to boost real incomes based on reducing the tax burden for those on low and middle incomes.
  • A boost for small businesses with reductions in corporation tax to Irish levels (12.5%).
  • A civil service recruitment freeze. We don’t need any more bureaucrats.

Instead we will probably get higher consumer taxes to pay for higher government spending.

*As pointed out in the comments, this is apart from the extraordinary 2001 windfall from the 3G bandwith auction bonanza. A one time bonus never to be repeated.

**Global Financial Turbulence in the vernacular of the Treasury.



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