– SIMON HEFFER: ‘Savage cuts’? You ain’t seen nothing yet (Daily Mail, Nov 15, 2014):
The hysterical complaints from the Left have not ceased in four years. The Government’s cuts are ‘savage’; they are betraying the poor, cruelly cutting welfare, imposing an unfair ‘bedroom tax’ and slashing public sector jobs.
Well, if the Guardian-reading classes think we’ve suffered an excess of austerity since 2010, I have a message for them, and indeed the rest of the country: you ain’t seen nothing yet.
We may have encouraging news of economic recovery, growth, and falling unemployment, which all suggest the darkest days for Britain’s finances are over. But the truth is that the UK’s debt is far worse than it was when the Coalition took over.
Despite all Chancellor George Osborne’s efforts to reduce spending, we are borrowing even more than last year — and because earnings are low, so too are tax revenues, making it harder to pay the interest on those debts without borrowing more.
It means that whoever wins the next election is going to have to make huge cuts in spending — some figures suggest an extra £48 billion over the next five years.
In the first six months of the 2013-14 financial year, the total new borrowing was £52.6 billion. This year it is £58 billion, testament to Mr Osborne’s apparent inability to control spending.
That’s an extra £5.4 billion on an already ballooning public sector debt: the total now stands at a mind-boggling £1.453 trillion, which is £100 billion more than last year.
And there’s virtually no inflation to lower the real value of that debt, either. To say we can’t go on like this is something of an understatement.