Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Spending Cuts In Context And The North/South Divide

A report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) tomorrow will expose the true extent of the Coalition's cuts.

It will point out that analysis of figures from the OECD reveal that the UK is cutting public spending LESS than the European average over the next 2 years. And this despite the fact that public spending increased far more sharply in this country than other major economies during the recession years.

This report is just further evidence of the myth being propagated that this country is being put through some kind of especially draconian state spending squeeze. Fraser Nelson's Coffee House blog analysis further proves the point. Fraser demonstrates with the graph below how Osborne isn't even cutting as hard or as quickly as Labour did the time they bankrupted the economy before last.

Indeed, projected spending in most departments is expected to increase by 2014/15 compared with 2009/10.

Worryingly, the CEBR report highlights that the economy in regions like the northwest, northeast, Wales and Northern Ireland will still be dominated by the public sector where it will still account for over 50% in 2015, after the spending cuts have been implemented. So we will still have large parts of our country where the sector of the economy that contributes tax income is smaller than the part that consumes it.

Of course, Ed Balls, seeing a report that undermines his economic "master plan", has already begun to spin it in his favour. It is obvious that public spending cuts will affect areas with the highest public spending the most. But rather than address the questions this report raises about his economic strategy, he prefers to point to the obvious fact that proportionately, northern areas dominated by the public sector will see bigger affects of the cuts. He ignores the government's plans to assist private enterprise in these areas so they can take up the slack and instead claims the government is attempting to exacerbate the north/south divide.

Expect a lot more of this kind of spin from Labour and the left generally. Attempts to revitalise regions of the UK to make them less dependent on the dead hand of the state will be portrayed as typical Tory attacks on traditional Labour voting areas. Labour's fear being that once freed from the employ of and dependancy on the state people there will take a more independent view when they vote. God forbid.

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