|Clegg, Osborne, Cameron, Alexander: The Quad Making Things Worse|
Some used to laugh at the Chancellor’s growing list of excuses for the lack of an economic recovery in the UK - Angela Merkel, Ed Balls, Silvio Berlusconi, the Royal Wedding, British civil servants, Brussels bureaucrats, the Euro, people concerned about global warming, employment tribunals, trade unions, banks, bank holidays, Liberal Democrats, energy prices, Gordon Brown, the world, the cold weather, the wet weather, the Royal Jubilee – but it just isn’t funny anymore.
According to the Office of National Statistics the UK’s net debt as a % of GDP (excluding the billions spent on the financial interventions to bail out the banks) was 51.2% when Labour left office, but now stands at 65.5% and rising.
It’s simply no longer credible to argue that external factors are the cause of the UK’s double dip recession. Even the ravaged Spanish economy is doing better than the UK, which shrunk by 0.4% last quarter (and 0.2% for the whole of the eurozone), compared to the British fall of 0.7%.
Remember the Coalition plan was that by cutting public spending and jobs, it would somehow free-up space for the private sector to grow. They said we should expect the economy to grow by 5% - in fact it’s shrunk and shrinking.
The biggest negative in the most recent figures is in the construction industry, which has shrunk nearly 10% down on the year, accounting for roughly half the overall reduction in GDP. Ironically, about the only positive contribution to economic growth has been Government spending and services, the bit of the economy the Coalition is cutting.
Government cuts to capital and infrastructure spending has had the cosmetic effect of seeming to make inroads into the deficit, but it's not been good for the economy. The effects on the construction industry, as we are now seeing, have been little short of catastrophic.
House building in the UK is close to a post war low, while thousands of families in poor or unsuitable public and private accommodation, and thousands of building workers being paid the dole. The economics of the mad-house.
Too many cuts, too quickly, are killing off any chance of an economic recovery.
People are hurting, and are being hurt by the choices made by this Coalition Government.