June 22, 2017

Britain is not weary of austerity, it craves opportunity

Britain is not weary of austerity, it craves opportunity

The idea that the UK is tired of austerity is a falsehood peddled by the left – and the Chancellor. What we really want is opportunity, writes Rory Broomfield.

Ever since the General Election, the Labour Party and its supporters have claimed that “Tory austerity” is to blame for the ills of British society. This has seemingly been conceded by the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, as he said Britain is supposedly “weary of austerity”. Both are wrong.

In fact, the situation is quite the opposite. The UK has not lived within its means – ie had a balanced budget – for the past 15 years. With the election result and the initial reaction, you would be forgiven for believing that “the Tories have cut public services to the bone”. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Government spending of taxpayer funds since 2010 has decreased as a proportion of GDP, however, the economy has also grown. This has allowed borrowing to decrease (in percentage terms) but for tax receipts and spending to go up (in cash terms) due to greater economic activity. It has meant more money for public services as total government spending has increased from £691.67bn in 2010 to an expected expenditure of around £772 billion in 2016-17.

What people should really be unhappy about is how this money is being spent as well as the lack of hope and opportunity that was shown to them by the parties and their manifestos during the last General Election.

In 2014, the Taxpayers’ Alliance exposed £120 billion of wasteful spending by the UK government. There isn’t to my knowledge a more or as in depth report to compare to, however, the fact that both the Conservative Party and Labour were / are still looking to increase spending on certain areas (whether it be scrapping tuition fees or spending on transport), means they’ve either managed to save that amount or, more likely, both political parties are quite happy to keep on spending taxpayers’ money regardless.

What was lacking though in the General Election and the manifestos was a real sense of ambition and the creating economic opportunities for people. For the Conservatives, the election marked their abject failure to communicate their economic record over the past seven years to the electorate, and for their economic plans going forward. For Labour, the core assumption was that the state could do it (whatever “it” is) for you.

This sets up the next five or so years to be a testing time, irrespective of parliamentary arithmetic. The Conservatives are failing to communicate the benefits of their economic approach, and seemingly ignoring key voter issues like housing. The Labour Party only want the state to do more – at more cost to all of us.

Both parties are ignoring the the fact that many people (myself included) are worried that we have a £1.8 trillion debt that is increasing every year. Further, the Government has dropped plans that would see more educational opportunity (grammar schools) and aren’t even mentioning the incredibly popular policies such as tax cuts.

I have written elsewhere on how the Brexit bills can – and should – give people new opportunities and freedoms to the people, however, there are also other areas that neither party has successfully addressed or communicated their records over.

Compared to seven years ago, we live in a UK with higher debt and increased spending. What we want to see (and hear about) is a Britain that is giving people more economic and social opportunities to thrive in a safe and stable country with a bright future. Why isn’t any party communicating this?

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Rory Broomfield
Rory Broomfield

Rory Broomfield is Director of The Freedom Association and the Better Off Out campaign. He is an authority on the EU and has written a number of books including his latest, co-authored with Iain Murray, Cutting the Gordian Knot: A Roadmap for British Exit from the European Union. He has previously worked in the City of London and in Westminster for a number of Members of Parliament, including the current Prime Minister, Theresa May; the current Chairman of the 1922 Committee, Graham Brady; and Sir Richard Shepherd.

  • bobsworth

    What a pile of fact-free pish.

    Never mind Rory, you mental fucking bellend – you keep pushing that story, simply helps keep the Tories sliding towards inevitable defeat and disintegration.

    Incidentally no phrase has ever made me laugh quite as much as the childish garbage of “Better Off Out”.

  • Lamia

    Macron went through the French Civil Service school, became an Inspector of finances in the French government, became an investment banker at Rothschilds and then was appointed Deputy Secretary-General in Hollande’s government. His entire career has been spent at the heart of the French political and economic elite. He left the Socialist Party because he saw Hollande’s fortunes failing and he only did so with the backing of numerous political and financial contacts. He is as ‘establishment’ as it gets.

  • Dr Evil

    What austerity? I’m still waiting for it along the lines of that imposed on the Irish Republic. There was never any austerity. Just a bit of lip service. We are always annoyed by our money being squandered by useless governments. Billions wasted on foreign aid that gets stolen for example. Waste a few billion at home instead. The Wasteminster swamp needs draining like an infected wound.

  • Derek

    Macron was not a member of an established party. A percentage of voters have turned against long established parties of the left and right. Corbyn is an outsider that has changed Labour to fit with his values and beliefs i.e. its no longer the old Labour party but a new left party.

  • noix

    I was always led to understand that austerity was when the government received more in tax than they spent in order to pay down the national debt. When did the meaning change, and who changed it?

  • BlueDave

    I’m actually waiting for it to start: we are still running the deficit at a totally unsustainable level with the debt being added to at a frightening rate.
    Any thoughts that labour have are thinking about adding to it with yet more borrowing with their only plan to mitigate is based on extra tax for the so called rich.

  • Cece

    I agree with the need for increased opportunities. But the assumption that Britain is ‘not weary of austerity’ is ludicrous.

    This blog post has made a valid point about the link between opportunities and Austerity. Keynesian Economics suggests that by saving money through Austerity measures, the government may in fact be preventing new opportunities being made, such as the creation of jobs.

    But, to overlook the impact of austerity is niave. If we look at how it is affecting policing for example, The HMIC report uncovered that cuts made by the conservatives have led to ‘dangerous’ tactics of policing and many cases being left investigated, including 2,7000 sex offenders yet to be unregistered. With the unmanageable rates of knife crime and lack of anti-terror measures being discussed by MPs from all sides of the house, austerity measures, and who they affect remain a huge issue.

    The TrusselTrust has also proven that there has been a massive rise in the US of Foodbanks across the UK since the Universal Credit Changes were introduced. In light of the anti-austerity protests that have been taking place throughout the 2017 election campaign, and a large demonstration set to take place in London on the 1st July, I think it’s safe to say that anti-austerity is something that we as a nation cannot avoid to talk about.

    Some sources for you all;

    https://www.trusselltrust.org/2017/04/25/uk-foodbank-use-continues-rise/
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/benefit-freeze-cuts-austerity-measures-welfare-state-inflation-a7661196.html

  • Nockian

    It doesn’t communicate it, because by and large, all Governments are prisoners of their policies. They are mandated by those truly in power, to walk a tightrope between crony capitalism that produces jobs and tax income and a welfare state that provides the bribery to keep the voters believing they have some sense of control. The Government are only salesman with some minor scope for shifting around money and tax.

    When, as has happened, the globalists wreck the monetary system, then the Government wrecks the fiscal system. It isn’t just that Britain is in debt, but the entire globe. The Government would have to cut spending and that would result in the mass of population no longer accepting the current system and a mass of unemployed and very angry public sector workers. It can’t initiate lassez faire capitalism and real free markets because it s a captive of a crony capitalist structure that threatens its existence by mass redundancies-hence tax revenue loss and millions of very angry unemployed.

    The Government can’t offer opportunity, it can only muddle through and hope the whole lot doesn’t collapse. Reality is standing on the doorstep and the Government is adorning it with tinsel and baubles to pretend it isn’t as bad as it really is. It will keep on pretending until reality steps inside and grabs it by the throat, then it will scream and run away leaving the people to try and make things work-we only need to see the evidence of Grenfell tower-due for demolition in 2014, but instead, clad with some cheap panels to make it look nice, which set alight and burned almost 100 people to death and leaving the rest with no homes, clothes o food. It was the people themselves that came to the rescue, it was the people that came to the rescue in the floods, it always is the people-the state is a useless, expensive, inefficient and corrupt waste of space.

  • There should be more articles like this. Blair’s vile legacy must never be rehabilitated. Remember always that awful period of government and the baleful effects that are still being felt today.

  • Lamia

    Some good points (though I don’t agree that Macron is an outsider; he’s as ‘French political establishment’ as you can get).

  • Dartfordian

    Whilst agreeing with the thrust of the article, I must make two points:
    – I would not wish to see Blair anywhere near the House of Lords;
    – although Brown remained an MP for a year after being PM, he hardly ever attended Parliament in that time. He therefore took his wages as an MP under false pretences.

  • Jolly Radical

    Blair’s behaviour as PM is an obvious case of misconduct in a public office, a criminal offence which carries up to five years imprisonment and an unlimited fine.

    Can’t some enterprising QC take this on as a pro bono case, and bring a private prosecution if necessary?

  • cambridgeelephant

    “Election to Parliament is the paramount qualification for political office in the U.K.”

    Well I agree with this statement in theory. The trouble is the practice.

    One thinks of Boris, as Mayor of London. Indeed, one thinks of the current Mayor of London, who like Boris abandoned the HoC for the job.

    Then there is Britains foremost rebel, one Nigel Farage.

    The irony is that once Brexit is complete and Nige’ has finally triumphed, the original statement may again begin to hold true.

  • Bill

    He looks grey and haunted and has the rictus grin of the memento mori.

  • SonofBoudica

    Politics became divisive after Blair. He poisoned trust in elected Government for, probably, a generation or more. Indeed, democracy in the UK is imperilled by his legacy.

  • SonofBoudica

    What a terrible slander on Gloria Swanson. A good thing for the author that she is dead and therefore cannot sue.

  • Citizen of Hope and Glory

    SWANSON WASN’T A WAR CRIMINAL THOUGH!! (Caps Lock prob….not shouting!)

  • Derek

    Trump, Macron, and Corbyn are outsiders from mainstream politics with populist appeal. It’s arguable as to why politics today has become so divisive that rank outsiders are the preferred choice. Macron is the man in the middle whereas the other two represent the more divisive left and right of today.
    None have any real answers to the two elephants in the room – ageing demographics and ever-rising inequality. The average annual rise in unfunded liabilities for the UK from ageing demographics will exceed the growth in GDP by several percent up to at least 2050. A primary surplus of about 3% for 20 years is needed to bring the UK debt down to around 40%. That’s la la land without continuing ongoing cuts or continuing tax rises for the foreseeable future. The Conservatives have proved you can’t sell continuing ongoing cuts to the public as a long term solution. No government investment can create a return of around 5% pa to the exchequer after debt repayments. Any returns (if positive after allowing for subsidies) will be very very low.
    Inequality is created by the global rich so outside the control of politics.

  • Nockian

    A man who should never know happiness and be forced to walk the earth for eternity.

  • MrVeryAngry

    And he could let us all have the details of his Parliamentary expenses claims – that he had shredded.
    He has been found out as a liar. He has no future in any position of trust in an western democracy or pretty much anywhere that has a vague sense of honesty and honest public service.
    He is an utter weasel.

  • rtj1211

    Ask him about the organised surveillance on menbers of the public his disgusting brand of politics carried out. Brown was at it too, the scurrilous little toad.

    Tell him to send his son to fight for 36 months in Syria if he wants to return to politics….a just war, so his son can fight in it…..

  • Michael990

    I hope Blair and his cronies are proud of what they have done to Britain over the past 40 years. It’s not surprising he removed the offence of treason from the statute books since he would be one of the first to be convicted.

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