Sunday, March 27, 2011

Just a reminder: the cuts aren't as bad as Labour and the BBC would have you believe

As London clears up after yet another anti-cuts riot, the Mail on Sunday's Stephen Glover reminds us how relatively minor the cuts actually are, and why they're necessary.
The extreme severity of the cuts is now accepted as universally as are the laws of gravity. Even many card-carrying Tories will unthinkingly assume that the marchers have a reasonable case, though they may disapprove of the way in which it is expressed.

No one, or almost no one, will point out the amazing truth, which is that these cuts — variously described as ‘savage’ or ‘draconian’ or, by the TUC, as a ‘massacre’ — are actually comparatively mild. Far from being ‘slashed’, public expenditure at the end of the process in 2014-15 will be a mere three per cent lower in real terms than it was in 2009-10 before the cuts began.
That wasn’t a misprint. Three per cent lower. In 2009-10, government spending was £669 billion. In 2014-15 it is projected to be £647 billion, if you strip out the effects of inflation, or an estimated £764 billion if it is included. Expenditure will be £710 billion in 2011-2012, so in money terms it has already gone up.
The above shouldn't detract from the real hardship that many people will suffer as a result of the cuts, but as Glover points out, the scale of the cuts is an order of magnitude less severe than Labour, the unions and their media allies would have you believe...
But the three per cent figure is not what the overexcited and angry marchers will hear from a succession of speakers during the marathon rally in Hyde Park this afternoon, who will include TUC General Secretary, Brendan Barber, as well as Ed Miliband.

The audience will be roused to a state of fury with scare stories about plummeting police numbers and the impending privatisation of the NHS. They will hear about libraries up and down the country closing as a result of wicked Coalition policies, and the hairs on the backs of their necks will bristle as they are told about the inevitable collapse of the welfare state.
Glover goes on to remind us how Gordon Brown, ably assisted but current Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, got Britain into this mess...
In other words, Gordon Brown went on a massive bender, splashing out ever larger sums of money on new hospitals and new schools — sometimes to dishearteningly little effect — before producing a final splurge in order to alleviate the worst effects of the recession. During these ten years, the proportion of GDP eaten up by public spending rose from 36 per cent to 48 per cent, the highest ever peace-time figure.
The report by Tim Morgan which Glover references is here.

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