Team Jez: Labour Frontbenchers Were Mistaken

George Osborne’s Evening Standard has splashed on Guido’s student debt scoop from this morning. Team Corbyn have a new line: that frontbenchers Imran Hussain and Sharon Hodgson were “mistaken” about Labour’s policy and shouldn’t have said that Jez was planning to wipe out debts. If Corbyn’s own top team were mistaken, not sure how voters were meant to understand it. Almost as if the Corbynistas are lying to cover their tracks…

Shadow Minister: Every Existing Student Will Have All Their Debt Wiped Off

Let this put an end to the Corbynista spin that they never pledged to wipe out student debt. Here is Shadow Justice minister Imran Hussain speaking in a campaign video during the election:

“Just this morning Jeremy Corbyn has announced that the tuition fees will be abolished straight away from September if there’s a Labour government, and that we will bring back immediately EMA and also that every existing student will have all their debt wiped off. That’s fantastic news, isn’t it guys?”

That’s at least two Labour frontbenchers who made the student debt pledge during the election. Promise broken, Corbynista spin unravelled…

UPDATE: Schools minister Nick Gibb says:

“Day by day Labour’s top team are being found out for their betrayal over student debt. Their irresponsible offers to students are unravelling before our eyes. It is becoming abundantly clear that Labour’s election pledges were pure fantasy and they cannot be trusted to keep their promises – will they now step forward and apologise to this country’s young voters?”

Corbynistas DID Tell Students “Vote Labour” to Get Debts Written Off

Corbynistas are disingenuously claiming they never let students believe their policy was to write off debts, and that the whole furore is an MSM smear. The above tweets from Shadow minister Sharon Hodgson reveal the truth: they did use the pledge as a reason for “All those in early 20s with student debt” to “Vote Labour”. And they are now lying about it. One more time, students: “Ohhhh Jeremy Corbyn…”

Tory Videos on Labour’s Student Debt U-Turn Hit 1.3 Million Views in 3 Days

Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner is under heavy fire in the Commons over Labour’s student debt u-turn. Sarah Champion threw Corbyn under the bus on the Daily Politics earlier rather than defend the broken promise. Over on Facebook, Tory videos on Jezza’s fantasy policy shambles have now been viewed 1.3 million times in three days, and shared over 50,000 times – more than the vast majority (possibly all) of anti-Labour posts during the election. This is hurting, and deservedly so…

Shadow Cabinet Minister Admits ‘Not Possible’ to Keep Student Promise

Shadow Cabinet member Sarah Champion has admitted on the Daily Politics “I don’t think it is going to be possible” to keep Labour’s promise to student voters. Asked why Corbyn made the pledge during the election, Champion told Andrew Neil “you would have to ask him”…

Andrew Neil: Sarah Champion, when Jeremy Corbyn said a week before the election, a week before voting, he told voters that quote ‘he would deal with historic student debt’ what did he mean by that?

Sarah Champion: Well you would have to ask him, I think it’s…

Andrew Neil: Chance would be a fine thing.

Sarah Champion: I’ll ask if he will come on. I don’t think it is going to be possible to be quite honest, how do you square it with people that have already paid off their debt for example, what I do think though is we can’t change the past and I don’t think the Treasury would ever allow us to roll back on something.

Andrew Neil: Because it looks like it would be £100bn is the amount.

Sarah Champion: Yeah…

This is becoming a problem for Jez and his Shadow Cabinet knows it…

Rayner: Pledge to Cancel Student Debt ‘Not a Promise’

“I don’t see why those that had the historical misfortune to be at university during the £9,000 period should be burdened excessively compared to those that went before or those that come after. I will deal with it.” That was Jeremy Corbyn’s crystal clear pledge to students at the election: “I will deal with” your student debt. It was written up by all media outlets as a pledge to write off debts. Not once during the election did Labour contest that interpretation of Corbyn’s words. Thousands of young people will have voted Labour believing this to be a cast iron guarantee.

Last week Angela Rayner confirmed the policy would cost £100 billion but defended it on Marr: I like a challenge, Andrew, but we’ve got to start dealing with this debt crisis that we’re foisting on our young people. It’s not acceptable”. Last night Rayner confirmed the pledge had been downgraded to an “ambition” and not a “promise“. Take note students, they were having you on…

Ashworth Confirms Labour Breaking Student Debt Promise

Shadow Cabinet minister Jon Ashworth confirms Corbyn’s promise to “deal with” student debt has been downgraded to an “ambition”. Johnny Sparkle torn a new one by Susanna Reid – if the Tories packed in their self-indulgence and took a holiday this would be the top politics story in the news…

McDonnell Backtracks on Vow to Write Off Student Debt

During the election Jeremy Corbyn vowed “I will deal with” those who had the “historical misfortune” of large student debts, promising he would “ameliorate” their situation and write it off. Last week Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner confirmed the policy, admitting: “It is a huge amount, it is £100 billion. I like a challenge, but we’ve got to start dealing with this debt crisis that we’re foisting on our young people. It’s not acceptable”.

Today John McDonnell u-turned on that key election promise which won the votes of so many students and young people, telling Marr it was just “an ambition” and conceding for the first time “it’s very difficult” to do. All those who voted Labour to have their debts written off should watch this interview. It was fantasy politics, a pack of lies all along…

Hammond’s “Sound Money” Speech Sadly All Spin

Philip Hammond’s Mansion House speech this morning was sound in its rhetoric. “We must make anew the case for a market economy and for sound money,” he said, warning that “higher taxes and higher borrowing” must be rejected, taxes must be kept “as low as possible” or else they will “slow growth, undermine competitiveness, and cost jobs”. He repeated this language at Cabinet, telling colleagues of the “importance of making the case for a market economy and sound money”. This is all positive rhetoric. The policy truth is alas very different.

Hammond confirmed this morning that he still wants to push back closing the deficit until 2025, ten years later than the Tories promised. The Tories have added £500 billion to the national debt in 7 years, Hammond now plans to add a billion a week to the burden. That is not “sound money” by any definition of the term.

Taxes have risen under the Tories. The claim by the Tories to be a low tax party has not been true this century. They raised VAT almost immediately upon coming into office. They argue they have cut business taxes, yet they raised dividend taxes on small business owners and tried to raise National Insurance contributions. Hammond ditched the triple tax lock at the election. He has signalled further tax rises are likely. The tax burden under this Chancellor will rise to its highest level since 1969. That is not keeping taxes “as low as possible”. 

Hammond is sounder on economics than Theresa May and her former aides. Talking up the “market economy” is clearly a slap down of the PM’s failed attempt at interventionism in the manifesto. Though his claim to be funding public services by anything other than more borrowing and more taxes is sadly all spin…

Gove Fights Dangerous “Austerity is Over” Narrative

Encouraged by her new chief of staff Gavin Barwell, Theresa May is aggressively pursuing the dangerous narrative that “austerity is over”. Barwell told Newsnight that he lost his seat because public sector workers in his constituency wanted a pay rise. May has apparently accepted this analysis and told Tory wets she will pursue Labour-lite economics to win back Corbyn voters. Hers was already the most economically left-wing Red Tory manifesto since the seventies and it was rejected by the public. By contrast David Cameron won a majority while Labour screamed about spending cuts. The Tories had a 24 point lead before the manifesto was released – it was the dementia tax and the student offer not austerity that lost them their majority. Ending austerity is the wrong inference from May’s failure…

The national debt is nearly £1.9 trillion. It grows at a rate of £5,170 per second. The debt burden is 86% of GDP, more than double what it was pre-2008. Public sector borrowing is £51.7 billion this year – that is government overspending by £1 billion a week. May’s manifesto already kicked the deficit reduction can down the road to 2025, ten years later than George Osborne’s original so-called austerity programme. Young voters chose Corbyn, now May wants to win them back by saddling them and future generations with even more debt.

The only Cabinet minister who so far seems to recognise the recklessness of all this is Michael Gove, who told the Today programme “we need to get on with the job of reducing the deficit so that we do not saddle the next generation with a burden of debt”. The trouble with the government’s “austerity is over” spin is the deficit and debt can’t be spun away. If the gilt market loses confidence interest rates shoot up, as inflation takes off wage demands will spiral and the UK’s own version of Chavez will be installed. CPI has hit a 2.9% high this morning, above expectations. Not a good signal to loosen the fiscal stance and abandon austerity…

Tory Record: More Debt, More Taxes

As is traditional in elections the Tories are warning that Labour will bring more debt and more taxes. That is a given, however what is the Tory record after 7 years?

In 2010 the Tories promised to close the deficit by 2015. They failed to do that, so Osborne shifted the goal posts to aim for 2017/18. Under Hammond the OBR now says the government is unlikely to balance the budget by 2026. If the political will had been there they could have balanced the budget; from a worse position over the same period Ireland managed to balance the budget and cut the debt. Ireland now has a lower debt to GDP ratio than the UK and a higher GDP growth rate. The repeated Tory failure to balance the budget means that the national debt continues to rise and is now 89% of GDP. The Tories have added £500 billion to the national debt in 7 years, Hammond plans to add a billion a week to the national debt under Theresa May...

Taxes have risen under the Tories. The claim by the Tories to be a low tax party has not been true this century. They raised VAT almost immediately upon coming into office. They argue they have cut business taxes, yet they raised dividend taxes on small business owners and tried to raise National Insurance contributions. To be fair it is a mixed bag, some taxes have gone up, others down. According to the OECD the overall tax-to-GDP ratio has risen from 31.5% of GDP under Gordon Brown to 32.5% under George Osborne. Taxes have risen under the Tories…

This is not to say debt and taxes would not rise catastrophically under Labour. If you want to balance the budget you have to cut spending, George Osborne used to say privately that the Tories wouldn’t get re-elected if he slashed spending. Enda Kenny cut Irish government spending by 10% and GDP growth has been much faster than in the UK. He got re-elected and is the longest serving Fine Gael prime minister in Irish history.

Dan Jarvis Confuses Debt and Deficit

It is often said that Dan Jarvis – not generally considered Westminster’s greatest thinker – doesn’t have the brain to be the next Labour leader. He has tried to dispel those fears today with a 5,000 word essay about his vision for Britain in the New Statesman. What could go wrong?

Action Dan’s big idea is a typically uninspiring “one-off wealth tax” which he says would help bring down the deficit”. Except, as Lucy Powell points out, he means “debt“:

Is this the best Labour moderates can do? Best hope for Jarvis is that no one can be bothered to read his dire snoozefest of a manifesto…

Smith’s £200 Billion “New Deal” Pledge Busted by McDonnell

Labour leadership hopeful Owen “Oily” Smith’s £200 billion “British New Deal” pledge, unveiled this weekend, has already been trumped by John McDonnell’s promise today of £500 billion for small businesses. The shadow chancellor announced his plan in pro-Brexit Sunderland to help secure the North-East for Labour. Goodbye prudence hello prolificacy…

owen smith credit card

Both men are deluded. In May alone the UK had a deficit of £9.7 billion – £74.9 billion for the 2015-16 financial year. Smith’s £200 billion pledge would almost double Labour’s record deficit under Gordon Brown in 2009-10 of £154 billion, taking the total to approximately 10.3% of current GDP, and adding another 12.5% to our current £1.6 trillion national debt. The choice for Labour members is between a spendthrift and a squanderer…

Squandermania: Osborne Misses Borrowing Target For This Year

OSBORNE MISSES TARGETS

New figures from the Office for National Statistics show that – shocker – Osborne has missed his borrowing targets again. The 2015/16 financial year left a budget deficit of £74 billion, that’s £1.8 billion more than the ONS’ £72.2 billion forecast. Net public sector debt is just shy of £1.6 trillion.

Osborne has missed every single deficit target he has set himself. He asked us to judge him on how well he tackled the deficit, well he missed his borrowing target for 2015/16, he missed his balanced budget target for 2015, he’ll miss his new adjusted target for 2016 and his overall balanced budget target for 2020.

The Treasury are focusing on the fact that March saw the lowest public borrowing in a decade. A mere £4.8 billion…

George Osborne’s Budget Irresponsibility

Parliament is voting on George Osborne’s Charter for Budget Responsibility today. The Chancellor’s claim to be running a responsible budget is risible given public sector debt has doubled during his time in office. It is now approaching £1.5 trillion, or 80% of GDP. 

Osborne consistently failed to achieve his deficit forecasts in the last parliament – the deficit this year will be almost five times what the Chancellor envisaged in 2010 (via Spectator):

The UK’s deficit in 2015 will be higher as a percentage of GDP – Osborne’s preferred metric – than Greece. The only advanced economy with a higher deficit than the UK this year is Spain. Osborne says today:

“[Labour] have confirmed they want to go on borrowing forever – loading debts onto our children that they can never hope to repay. This is not socialist compassion – it’s economic cruelty. As Labour’s Great Recession showed, those who suffer most when government run unsustainable deficits are not the richest but the poorest.”

Yet it is under Osborne’s squandermania that government debt has rocketed, or has he might put it “loading debts onto our children that they can never hope to repay”. As for the “economic cruelty” of “unsustainable deficits“, only three months ago the Chancellor delayed his planned budget surplus by a year, meaning an extra year or excess before he balances the books. It isn’t just John McDonnell’s Labour that is an anti-austerity party…

Neck an Ouzo, Save a Greek

greece indigogo

A 29 year old Londoner is trying to raise a bailout fund for Greece on the crowdfunding website Indiegogo.

Kind hearted well wishers are receiving Greek delicacies in exchange for donating to the fund. Grecian treats include:

  • Pledge €3 and get a postcard of the Greek Prime Minister sent from Greece.
  • Pledge €6 and get a Greek feta cheese and olive salad delivered fresh to your door.
  • Pledge €10 and get a small bottle of Ouzo.
  • Pledge €25 and get a wine bottle filled with delicious Greek wine

€51,329 have been raised by 3,234 people in one day. A mere €1,599,948,671 to go…

Loony Labour Lefty in Deficit Deceit Leaflet

Dopey deficit dunce Ian Mearns, re-standing in Gateshead, claims that even “after four years of the most aggressive spending cuts in living memory,” the “deficit is still rising”:

This is factually incorrect. Now either the Labour MP is deliberately misleading voters or he’s stupidly confused the debt and the deficit.

You may choose one of the above…

Man With Plane Trolls Owen Jones From the Sky

With Owen Jones visiting South Thanet yesterday to campaign for Labour, Simon Moores – an economist, Guardian contributor, councillor and pilot – saw his chance to troll the his lefty colleague from a great height. And troll him he did, by flying this banner over the constituency for the afternoon:

Moores tells Guido:

“I did it off my own back because I can’t stand Owen Jones. I can’t stand economic illiterates and Jones drives me crazy.”

One critic Owen can’t block…

On Camera: Rachel Reeves Confuses Debt and Deficit

Footage has emerged from 2010, that shows a newbie MP failing to tell the difference between the debt and the deficit.

Despite boasting of her background in financial services, asked very clearly what the current national debt was, newly elected Rachel Reeves replied: “£156 billion” – the size of the UK budget deficit when the Tories came to power in 2010. She was speaking to Martin Durkin, for his documentary ‘Britain’s Trillion Pound Horror Story’:



For the record the UK’s debt at the time was around £0.76 trillion, so not like she was too far out!

Reeves would be rapidly promoted through a series of Labour financial briefs…

New UKIP Poster Mocks Dave’s Debt

This new poster from UKIP will be going around Westminster on a truck today.

let-me-do-it-again

Remind you of anything?[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Alan Sugar on Jeremy Corbyn:

“It’s clear you alluded to students refunds to get votes from young impressionable people. You are a cheat and should resign.”

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