BBC BLOGS - Nick Robinson's Newslog
« Previous | Main | Next »

Chancellor: Labour cuts would be tougher than Thatcher's

Nick Robinson | 16:55 UK time, Thursday, 25 March 2010

The chancellor has conceded in an interview with me that if Labour is re-elected, public spending cuts will be tougher and deeper than those implemented by Margaret Thatcher.

I asked Alistair Darling to spell out how tough spending cuts could be:

Robinson: "The Treasury's own figures suggest deeper, tougher than Thatcher's - do you accept that?"
 
Darling: "They will be deeper and tougher - where we make the precise comparison I think is secondary to an acknowledgement that these reductions will be tough."

The independent think tank, the Institute of Fiscal Studies, has noted that that total public spending increased by an average of 1.1% a year in real terms over the Thatcher era. This is almost three times the increase of 0.4% a year that Alistair Darling has pencilled in for the next Parliament.

The IFS went on to observe that:

"[I]f we subtract spending on welfare and debt interest then we estimate that the rest of public spending would be cut in real terms by an average of 1.4% a year compared to an average increase of 0.7% in the Thatcher era. We have not seen five years with an average annual real cut as big as this since the mid-1970s."

As the Conservatives wish to make bigger spending cuts than Labour, they have already accepted that they would have to be tougher than Margaret Thatcher.

Update 1753: This is not the first time the chancellor has caused a stir by accepting reality. It has not always been comfortable for him. After he observed that the world faced the worst economic crisis for 60 years, he says the "forces of hell" were unleashed on him.

The problem Labour has, of course, is that while what Alistair Darling says is true, it is also totally at odds with the message the party is giving to the electorate.

Voters are being asked to focus on so-called efficiency savings in dull things like IT, procurement and reducing staff sickness rates. Few actual cuts have been spelled out beyond the budget squeeze in universities which the chancellor sought to lessen in his Budget. The reality, of course, will be job cuts, real pay cuts and freezes and service reductions in the public sector.

Meantime, tax rises on the rich are being put up in lights while the fact that every basic-rate taxpayer will soon be paying more is downplayed.

The chancellor - who is by instinct straight - has learned the lesson from the prime minister's denial of cuts last year and can point to plenty of occasions when he has warned of how tough things will be and has set out figures and policies.

Nevertheless, all the polling suggests that few voters recognise the facts, believing something which no politician argues: that the deficit can be dealt with by efficiency savings alone.

Comments

Page 1 of 7

  • Comment number 1.

    Well lets see how they justify this. So yesterday was a total sham.

    They really should be ashamed.

  • Comment number 2.

    I guess sagamix will be rushing to condemn a Government planning cuts more savage than those of the 'old enemy' Thatcher.

  • Comment number 3.

    These cuts are going to be bad however is in power . They will be worse the longer you leave them start now and you can do it steadily . leave it for another year and they will be worse.

  • Comment number 4.

    The big difference being now and Mrs Thatcher was that at the same time she oversaw the deindustrialisation of Britain where 1 Million Jobs were lost in 1981-82. This saw a massive increase in social need whilst spending stayed flat. If there are any similarities it is with the conservatives who want to slash spending at a time when the economy can't afford it.

    We can't afford a do nothing government and that is why the polls are moving to Labour because people know in there heart of hearts that they cant trust the ideologically driven extremists in the conservative party.

  • Comment number 5.

    If he's going to make deep cuts why on earth isn't he doing it RIGHT NOW. These selfish politicians have wasted about 18 months doing NOTHING. Get on with it.

  • Comment number 6.

    The whole thing is a giant balls up.

    Sagamix and his flat earth deficit denial tactics are just not going to work.

    Uncle Alistair is not going to allow the wool to be pulled over anyone's eyes.

    So the real question becomes; do you want these cuts to be made by the tories or do you want to re-elect newlabour; have Alistari sacked for insurrection and watch us bleating to the IMF for forgiveness within three months./

    Like it or not for the flat earthers the deficit is the key election issue.

    Call an election

  • Comment number 7.

    It's not so much a case of which Party will implement the cuts deeper and faster, but rather who is responsible for the awful situation such that horrendous cuts are necessary in the first place. Which Party has been in power for the past 13 years and whose leader only last year denied that cuts were needed at all? Well done! You've got the answer in one!

  • Comment number 8.

    Something tells me that it won't be very long before some people start blaming Thatcher for these very same cuts...

  • Comment number 9.

    This is exactly the point that the Tories don't seem to understand.

    The cuts needed to get the debt repaid are going to be hard enough under a Labour government. Why do they think there is room to cut even more?

    If the Tories are going to cut even faster then that means more jobs lost, more businesses bankrupt and more people having their home repossessed.

    The governments plan is the only sensible solution - bigger cuts will be a disaster for everyone.

    What the Tories are suggesting is economic suicide - do you remember the phrase 'if its not hurting, its not working'?

    Well at least this government believes in preventing the recession from hurting as many people as possible - The Tories just think the whole thing is a numbers game.

    There are real lives affected by this - real people that will lose jobs and homes, real services that will be cut, just so the Tories can say they paid off the debt 6 months or a year earlier.

  • Comment number 10.

    Nick,

    I hope you asked Mr Darling to square how 'deeper and tougher cuts' can be managed through good old efficiencies and tinkering with tax for high earners?

  • Comment number 11.

    #6 rockrobin7

    What denial tactics?

    Its the Tories that are denying that their policy of slash, slash, slash will cause another recession, lose people jobs, homes and businesses and wreck the economy.

    You want to pay the deficit off now?

    Be my guest - why don't you pay the 160 billion!!

    Me and the rest of the country will keep our homes and jobs.

    In fact - yes - thats my new suggestion. All those Tories on here who want to pay the deficit down faster should all get together to pay it off.

  • Comment number 12.

    The difference is that Thatcher, for all her faults, had a vision and resolve to get on with these kind of tough decisions. The problem with Brown is that he's only interested in clinging onto power. For him the party and national interests are secondary.

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.


    We have for the past few years spent about 10% more than we have earned. Our ability to do continue doing this depends on the willingness of overseas lenders to continue to extend us credit. There are strong signs that some of them, in particular the Chinese, now are not only not willing to lend us any more but want their money back. If this happens, we are going to have to spend the next few years spending about 10% less than we have earned. This is not some piece of Tory maliciousness, it is a fact of life. If the government does not decide where the necessary cuts in living standards, whether reductions in private or in public expenditure, are going to happen, they will fall painfully somewhere undetermined when we cannot pay our bills. We can print any number of ten pound notes but we cannot print dollars or euros which our overseas suppliers will want once they realise that the pound is no longer a sound currency.

    OmarCommentator

  • Comment number 15.

    4. balancedthought wrote:
    The big difference being now and Mrs Thatcher was that at the same time she oversaw the deindustrialisation of Britain where 1 Million Jobs were lost in 1981-82.

    ========================================================================

    According to the IFS since 1997 the rate of deindustrialisation has been greater than under the conservatives.


    As I have said before on NRs blogs don't think that NHS front line services are being protected by the current Govenment. They are looking to make massive cuts in bed numbers and the evidence is pointing at a 10% cut in nursing staff.

    People need to get real, wake up and really smell the coffee. The Government are doing a good job of hiding the real position because they are desperate to hang on to power.

    Finally, the figures do not show at all the true state of the debt because the Government have put PFI/PPP payments "off balance sheet". Like a family with an income of £30,000 and a loan of £100,000 ignoring the £50,000 owed on a very expensive credit card. I know of a PFI for a school that cost £30M to build and repayments will cost £150M!!

  • Comment number 16.

    Mr. Darling continues to surprise. Now that he is his own man, even temporarily, he shows that he can be more honest and straightforward than a recent Chancellor.
    In fact, I would probably consider voting for Labour... they know where the skeletons are buried, if it were not for the malign leadership of Brown. However well the other ministers appear to be performing, I am brought back again and again to the fact that Brown will somehow manage to screw it up and then deny it all. I find it difficult to identify any positive attributes in his leadership , except perhaps that he meant well.

  • Comment number 17.

    #7 DevonDenzil

    You mean the awful situation that has affected every developed country in the world?

    You mean the awful situation that would have been made worse by Tory policies on Northern Rock and the bank bailout which would have failed to save our banking system?

    Or do you mean the awful situation where a half a million jobs have been saved by the actions of this government, countless businesses have been saved and thousands of peoples homes have not been repossessed?

    The 'awful situation' as you call it was not caused by this government.

    This was a global recession that would have crippled the country even more had the Tories been in power.

    The Tories still believe in not supporting industry, jobs or helping homeowners. They'd rather cut the debt and to hell with the consequences.

  • Comment number 18.

    Mr Darling wont be making cuts he will be out of the job oneway or another. These cuts will be much the same whoever is in power it will only go down to when labour and unite will look at keeping big state intervention and targets. The tories will try to do small goverment and market forces . this is they way these cycles go along with Mr Browns boom and bust

  • Comment number 19.

    The fatal flaw in all this is that Labour just aren't capable of cutting spending.

    All we have had is procrastination and notional efficiency savings.

    We know even Thatcher didn't manage to cut as much as it felt at the time.

    There is absolutely no way Labour will produce a real spending cut until they are forced to do so.

  • Comment number 20.

    so they have made a bigger mess than Wilson, Callagahan and Healy

    now that takes some doing

  • Comment number 21.

    I would now expect over the next few days Byrne, Balls, Mandelson and Brown to pop up in interviews basically contradicting each other. Who knows then which version will match what is acted out. The curious thing is that spending cuts have already been implemented by this government - see Network Rail's smaller budget and problems with Jarvis.

    As public sector workers are gagged by confidentiality clauses no one really knows what is going on. In different blogs some bloggers claiming to be civil servants have written that redundancies have taken place over the last few months. As redundancy terms tend to generate a lot of cash, people do not attempt to claim Job Seekers Allowance as they have too much cash to qualify. Therefore the staistic becomes meaningless.

  • Comment number 22.

    # djlazarus

    Now you mention it...Thatcher did cause 2 apocalyptic recessions in the 80's that destroyed the manufacturing base of the country and left millions unemployed.

    She also squandered billions of pounds of North Sea Oil money and privatisation proceeds on temporary tax cuts.

    If Thatcher had managed the economy more sensibly then the UK economy would be in a much stronger position now that it is.

    People laud Thatcher as though she made this country Great again. In fact our power, wealth and influence in the world were all diminished by her actions.

    At least she took us strongly into Europe and set us on a path for European integration through the Single European Act. It will probably end up being the only thing the history books remember her for.

  • Comment number 23.

    #4 I think more deindustrialisation has happened under labour since 1997
    and they stood by casue it looked good for CO2 fans.

    funny I hoope labour scrap in and have to start the REAL cuts then implode and get another election in 8 months with a tory landslide
    to make the right desicions for the UK as a whole and not a narrow band that labour support, otherwise this septed Island is doomed.

  • Comment number 24.

    #20 IR35_SURVIVOR

    Thankfully though not as big a mess as Thatcher, Major and Lamont

    'hmmm lets see how many people we can make unemployed...'

    'negative equity - thats a good idea...'

    'let waste billions propping up the pound in the ERM when its obvious we shoudl come out...'

    'lets see how high we can take interest rates - 16%?'

    'Growth? whats that? oh the little bit between the two recessions!'

  • Comment number 25.

    #11 whom created the debt, liebour did with there spend spend at anycost mentality , without the UK working for what it "requires" I would like a TR7 hardtop but can only have it if I work harder and earn the money after taxes etc , its my choice , if I do not work I do not get its that simple

  • Comment number 26.

    In this specific case (the deficit) your points system is stupid and not connected to an objective reality. Many members of the public notice this but are told that they simply don't understand (who's fault is that?). Just reset the numbers and move on? Would you do it to save the human race? No!

  • Comment number 27.

    debt

    wakeup

    smell

    coffee

    simples

    debt

    wakeup

    smell

    coffee

    simples

    debt

    wakeup

    smell

    coffee

    simples

    do you get it yet

  • Comment number 28.

    #9: And what Labour fail to understand is that cutting the deficit is not something that we can do in our own good time. The rate of repayal is dictated by forces well beyond the government's control. We (the Government) does not dictate to people the rate at which they will be repayed; they do. If the Government starts telling people when they'll repay them, creditors will just decide not to lend.

    There are also very real doubts over the credit rating. Labour have consistently downplayed this problem, as well as the monstrous figures of the debt, as evidenced by the "wordle" of Darling's speech yesterday. How long is it going to take you to find the word "deficit"?

    Believe it or not, the Conservative approach is in fact a two-pronged one. Labour would have you believe that they will leave Business to wilt in the corner while visciously cutting. This is not the case. There are numerous concessions for industry and business they have proposed. Corporation tax cuts, new initiatives for the hi-tech industries, NI waiving for new employees, start-up schemes, etc etc.

    The overall intention of which is to eventually create a system where the economy is not dependant on government spending. Is Labour offering that? No. Even their false unemployment figures are massaged by unsustainable overemployment in the public sector, masking the fact that the profitable section of the employment market shed more jobs.

  • Comment number 29.

    We can't rely totally on cuts to get us out of this mess we need to raise more money as well and increasing normal taxes will just increase the burden on the poorest. We need a brave Government who can think out of the box and consider new taxes like a financial transaction tax to raise billions of pounds which could help avoid some of these cuts.

  • Comment number 30.

    #23 IR35_SURVIVOR

    Or Labour and the Lib Dems might form a coalition government and change the voting system to PR...

    That would make me laugh.

  • Comment number 31.

    #9 some simple statistics culled from govt own figures will suggest there is plenty of room:

    Pre 2005: average public spending in boom times over last 40 years c35% GDP
    Public spending at boom peak in 2007-8 (difficult to be really precise as to when the music step) just under 44% of GDP

    Pre-2005 average public spending in bust time since 1960 has been 44% of GDP, 49.2% of GDP, 42% of GDP
    Now: 52% of GDP and rising

    And as for the idea that this is a painful exercise, looks at what Darlings stated plans are - after taking out interest and welfare payments (why take out welfare payments) they are talking about an annual 1.4% cut in spending. In the private sector that is not called a cut but an accounting rounding error.

    Now I will happily admit that there are significant issues about the timing of cuts but what is being proposed is utterly hopeless and entirely incapable of getting the public sector back under control. Over the life of the next parliament they need to cut public sector spending by 20% maybe a touch more. If politicians pretend that this can be done without a radical re-appraisal of what govt and govt spending is for then they are living in fantasy land.

    I will admit that the sort of cuts I believe are needed will require us to give up the comfort blanket of govt support/spending in some areas and make all us rely on our own efforts. What I want is grown up debate on what areas of public spending are really needed and what are simply exercises in waste paper creation.

  • Comment number 32.

    #10 CockedDice

    Unfortunately it won't be squared away by just that. It's going to be unpleasant over the next few years whichever party wins. More unpleasant under the Tories though as they themselves have admitted they would take more drastic action.

    However what the government has done is laid a marker down on where its priorities are.

    It will try to protect jobs, families, pensioners, homeowners and businesses from cuts. It will try to be fair on taxation, placing the burden to pay at the door of those who can most afford it and have most benefited in the good years.

  • Comment number 33.

    4. At 5:17pm on 25 Mar 2010, balancedthought wrote:
    The big difference being now and Mrs Thatcher was that at the same time she oversaw the deindustrialisation of Britain where 1 Million Jobs were lost in 1981-82.

    ===

    I think you may have your facts wrong here, possibly to try and demonstrate a party political point.

    According to the Office for National Statistics, from Q1 1981 to Q4 1982 (so 24 months in total), the number of manufacturing jobs fell by 657,000.

    From 1979 to 1997 (the Tory years) manufacturing jobs fell by 2.572 million.

    Annual average = 143,000

    Over the last 13 years of Labour 1.695 million manufacturing jobs have been lost.

    Annual average = 130,000

    So, not much moral high ground for Labour to crow about there.

  • Comment number 34.

    So are you going to pay 13 thousand pounds to follow these cretins around in their battle bus Mr Robinson?

    Because if you are I have to tell you as one who would be paying the fare via the licence fee , I strongly object.

    I love the way you allow a complete lunatic to take over this blog site. do the moderators allow spammers ??

  • Comment number 35.

    #Voice_of_Reason wrote
    "The cuts needed to get the debt repaid are going to be hard enough under a Labour government"

    "They'd [the Conservatives] rather cut the debt"

    None of the parties are intending to repay any debt during the next Parliament. They intend to increase it. They are however pledged to reduce the deficit.

    There's no magic formula that says how fast and how deep the deficit should be cut. There are arguments on both sides. If the debt continues to grow, as all parties propose, the cost of servicing the debt will rise, especially if interest rates rise and confidence in the British economy falls.

    By 2014 we will be paying some 70 billion pounds per annum in debt interest costs (optimistic forecast). If market conditions turn against us this could rise to an annual cost of over 90 billion pounds (and worse after 2015).

    A failure to cut the deficit will divert an increasing proportion of public spending to service the national debt.

  • Comment number 36.

    Voice of Reason must be the only one left who clears the present Government of all blame for everything... huge debts, overflowing prisons, inadequate social services, massive debts on PFI schools, oppressive laws, the surveyance society, immigration out of control, an illegal war, terrible unemployment, record home repossessions... I could go on but I'll run out of space. Voice of Reason...for you to suggest that the Government is blameless for all these serious failings is irrational, to say the least. To scaremonger that the Conservatives would have made things worse defies belief!

  • Comment number 37.

    Gee wizz! Tough budget cuts? No *** Sherlock? I'm flabergasted.

    Why are IR35, RR7 et al making so much of this? Like we didn't know it was coming and like Tories wouldn't do more!

    Personally I would prefer to see a couple of pence on the basic rate, a few more pence on the upper rate and a lot more pence on the top rate than cuts but I accept that we can't fund it all through tax (oh, and before you decry me, I'd be hammered by my own suggestion but if I were interested in myself, I'd vote for Davey C. Well, I wouldn't really, seeing as he exists in a policy vacuum but that's a different debate) It's where the axe falls that is the interesting part, not that the axe is going to fall.

    You righty's can't have it both ways; bemoan the deficit in all it's humungous glory and then criticise when the Chancellor says that to attack that deficit we need to make some tough cuts.

    But I'll guess that I'll get the usual right wing mantra of 13 wasted years, too many public servants, labour government inefficiency etc thrown at me for saying this. A wholely vacuous diatribe on the past to cover the fact that the Tories objected to the massive investment required after Thatcher & Major destroyed our society; that they got every policy decision on the financial crisis wrong; that they are scared of stating what they'd really really do as it would certainly ruin their increasingly slim chance of pulling the wool of the collective electorate's eyes.

    Simply put, GB & AD made the right choices going into this recession, they are making the right choices to support us out of the recession and they are the only party I would fully trust to make the right choices when it comes to protecting the public services we all rely on (well, those that aren't partially privatised) post this recession while we we pay back our national borrowing.

    Once again, Call an election. With the YouGov and Marginal Polls turning red I really can't wait. I'll enjoy watching yound Dave snatch defeat from the jaws of certain victory...

  • Comment number 38.

    So, Commissar Darling is preparing the ground to fire on his own troops, such is the treachery of the NuLab politburo.
    If anyone needed an excuse for not voting this bunch of profligate twisters in again, then here it is, an admission he will sacrifice his own to balance the books he helped cook, how noble!
    Labour have always found it easy spending other peoples money and now they are going to prove it's just as easy for them to take away their jobs and houses too!
    Of course, he wont be feeling any of the pain, he has two houses and loads of your money to help him forget about the millions he is going to condemn to poverty.

  • Comment number 39.

    #32 Voice_of_Reason wrote:
    "It will try to protect jobs, families, pensioners, homeowners and businesses from cuts"

    You're starting to sound like a Labour Party election broadcast.

    So why, then, is Labour raising National Insurance Contributions on both individuals and businesses?

    And why is Labour cutting the NHS budget (something the Conservatives have pledged not to do)?

  • Comment number 40.

    Nick:

    The purported cuts in service and funding in the Chancellor comments to you compare to Margaret Thatcher's administration Must Be Extremely Severe and, also, going to be massive...And, not some "skinning" of the previbal "accounts"...

    (Dennis Junior)

  • Comment number 41.

    #33 Yellowbelly

    Thanks for the statistics. I would just add:

    Unemployment is higher now than in 1997.

    Every Labour Government has left office with unemployment higher than when it came in.

    Give it a few minutes though and the voices of unreason will be back.

  • Comment number 42.

    Cuts have to be made; unfortunately the cuts that will be made will be the wrong cuts. A few low paid civil servants, a few hospital porters but the £100000 + higher grade jobs will roll on , and the non jobs will continue to be created. What is required is a total slashing of all jobs that do not deliver frontline service to the public and a decrease in the number of high salary clerical posts that have grown up in quangoes that serve no essential purpose. Paying unemployment benefit to these people is considerably cheaper than paying inflated salaries for nothing. If they are as valuable as they appear to think they are, they will soon find jobs.

  • Comment number 43.

    So what we have now is a labour government, yes a labour government saying that massive public spending cuts are inevitable, and they'll be deeper than Thatchers efforts. They have already presided over the widening of the gap between rich & poor, and the poorest in society paying more tax proportionally than the rich - who is the ordinary working person supposed to turn to??

    I despair at the state of things in this country, how have we let it come to this? No choice at all between the 2 main parties and the country train wrecking towards official bankruptcy and becoming a laughing stock.

    Where do we go from here? I know where im going, out of here as quick as possible to take up the job offer in Australia I was made on Monday.

  • Comment number 44.




    Well done Nick for flushing Darling out. Looking again at the interview he clearly didn't relish saying what he did. (You even managed to have a go at GoBro).

    The reality is that the British public have been lied to over the last 18 months. Even if Darling halved the deficit we would still have a debt increasing by over £75m a year at the end of the next parliament. That is unacceptable, when debt reaches a certain level it become impossible to pay down as the interest is so large.

    The voters in Britain need to know the truth, we cannot go on spending more than we earn. During most of the last 13 years the government has spent more than it received and so did the population of the UK. We have all become addicted to debt and it can't go on.

    Can a political party that has failed to control debt in the good times do it in the bad? I doubt, it but in some ways I hope they win the next election because they would then be forced to face reality. The problem is that GoBro can only do more taxation of the "rich", and the definition of rich is moving further down the salary scale.

  • Comment number 45.

    2. AndyC555 wrote:
    I guess sagamix will be rushing to condemn a Government planning cuts more savage than those of the 'old enemy' Thatcher.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Andy – I can’t help but think that some of us will end up looking back at the Thatcher years with a certain fondness.
    The fact that these savage cuts are being planned by a Labour Government makes me worry that the public finances are far worse than they are letting on.

    Dark times ahead I think

  • Comment number 46.

    "This is not the first time the chancellor has caused a stir by accepting reality."

    A classic, Nick. Hey everyone loves Darling now, don't they? Toynbee loves him. Tories love him. We all love him on here. A "safe pair of eyebrows" the Mirror called him yesterday. Sums it up nicely. Anybody want to replace him with a young, wet behind the ears, right wing ideologue? No, me neither. Consensus reigns on the Nick Robinson politics blog and in the country at large. Never thought I'd see the day!

  • Comment number 47.








    Since the BBC doesn't seem to include a link to the IFS, their analysis of the budget is here

    http://www.ifs.org.uk/projects/322

  • Comment number 48.

    If 300000 public service jobs are cut, on an average salary of £30000 per year then the taxpayer will save £9billion. After paying dole money there is still a saving to the taxpayer of £8billion per year.

    Considering Labour have taken on an extra 900000 public service jobs, not frontline nurses,police or firemen, this seems a reasonable start for this year.

    The economy isn't going to be devastated.

  • Comment number 49.

    'We have not seen five years with an average annual real cut as big as this since the mid-1970s."'

    In other words the biggest cuts since the last time Labour bankrupted the country.

  • Comment number 50.

    'Nevertheless, all the polling suggests that few voters recognise the facts, believing something which no politician argues: that the deficit can be dealt with by efficiency savings alone'

    And the above, in a nutshell, is the reason why Labour still have a fair chance of winning the election. If they were aware of the scale of the mess that Labour have created then the Tories would walk it. Trouble is they're either clueless as to what's going on, or in a state of denial.

  • Comment number 51.

    And everyone thought that because the public owns the majority shares of the major banks that we would all be receiving bonuses. As every other decision has been wrong, why not proceed. Certainly the maintenance of the status quo will be the ruin of many a country.

  • Comment number 52.

    #24 I think in 97 the gov at the time handover the best state of the economy at any point since 1945 at least, which is more than in 79, and 2010, they are the facts, and the world is not flat either.

    My passion is for things "made in england" like BSA,Truimph,humber etc

    but I also realise that the imports from japan etc where of a better qaulity etc. which is why they went to the wall.


    but 1989 John bloor was able to restart the "triumph" because much of the Thatcher hard to take but neccessary medicine was working,

    trouble is Blair,Brown,balls and co have undone all of that .

  • Comment number 53.

    Our "industrialisation" was corrupt and bankrupt..Unions too much power, but we swung too far into Finance, which is why a Balanced, Private Sector led, Public Sector supported at the R&D level, not designed to protect local "labour constiuency" jobs, using tax reliefs is best!
    Business tax reliefs and lower personal taxes (get rid of personal tax reliefs) will simplify and ensure employers see their greatest asset PEOPLE as valuable as plant and machinery and INVEST
    Public Sector is to deliver services to the masses, get rid of unnecessary bean counters and made up jobs...reform pensions for public sector in line with Private Sector ie NEST for ALL
    Got to go, cider at 5% proof is a calling...joy

  • Comment number 54.

    Great blog by the way Nick. In fact one of the most straight and upfront blogs I've seen on the BBC website in quite some time.

    Perhaps the reason why so many people are unaware of the impending pain ahead is that we haven't seen enough blogs of this type.

    Any chance of these points being made on the 10 o'clock news ?

  • Comment number 55.

    #35 JohnHarris

    Fair point re deficit rather than debt. Your right that they are talking about how much more we will borrow over the next 5 years or so.

    The Tories want to borrow less - that means higher taxes and greater spending cuts in the short term.

    There is this myth that somehow the UK debt will be out of control and the Bond markets will call time on the country. Its a lie perpetrated by right-wing economists and the Tory sympathetic press.

    Just like it was a lie that when Labour came to power the FTSE would plummet.

    Just like it was a lie that when Labour brought in the minimum wage it would lead to higher unemployment and businesses going bankrupt.

    Just like it was a lie that Paul Daniels would leave the country if Labour got elected (pity!).

    The international markets have a lot of other potential targets in their sites long before they get to the UK. Our deficit will not be as large as many of the other major economies.

    The biggest threat to the deficit is that the Tories take us into another recession, higher unemployment and spiralling benefit claims.

    As a country we just can't afford that.

  • Comment number 56.

    Bryn the cat 37

    'You righty's can't have it both ways; bemoan the deficit in all it's humungous glory and then criticise when the Chancellor says that to attack that deficit we need to make some tough cuts'

    You really are living on planet ga-ga aren't you ?

    We're not criticising HIM. We're criticising the rest of his collegues for denying what he appears to have just said. No so long ago Gordon Brown couldn't even bring himself to mention the word cuts (had you forgotten?).

    Yes, Labour might just win. As Nick points out the electorate are in a state of denial right now. Just what Gordon Brown needs to get re-elected. I'd love to see what excuses you come up with after another 5 years of Labour failure if they do.

  • Comment number 57.

    #36 DevonDenzil

    Its true - the Tories would have made things worse.

    I never said this government hadn't done anything wrong. That would be ludicrous. All governments make mistakes over time.

    However on the central question of managing the economy this government actually made the right decisions. Decisions that the Tories got wrong.

    And in my opinion, and the opinion of most leading economists and every other industrialised country, the Tories are making the wrong decisions now. They want to remove the help for the economy before the recovery has barely begun. Thats just madness.

    Labour aren't perfect, I never said that, but i'd rather this countries economic future were in their hands.

  • Comment number 58.

    To Voice_of_Reason
    As a well informed activist of the Labour Party perhaps you could explain to us what not even the Chancellor could explain. The 550 million Pounds savings on sickness of NHS Staff (from next year!).
    Does it mean that they have one more year to get sick and paid before their sickness benefits are cut? If that is the case I can see an increase in sickness this year :-)
    As for your reply at 17 I think you dreamers should come to terms once and for all with the fact that jobs haven't been SAVED by NuLab, they have been BOUGHT.
    Hundreds, if not thousands of useless jobs are being subsidised until after the election. Such a practice is not allowed in the private sector that has to work hard and take big risks to make sure that thousands of
    NuLab supporters and scroungers can enjoy a comfortable life. You should be ashamed of your equality and fairness claims!

  • Comment number 59.

    The two recessions are not comparable:Thatcher`s was exacerbated by the decision to cut spending in 1981 as output fell and unemployment rose,the present recession was due to a structural collapse in finance across the world for which government`s incurred huge debts. (And some assets)

    Despite Thatcher`s small state ideology,government spending increased during her period in office to pay the costs of unemployment and community breakown.The revenue from North Sea oil went to pay for economic failure.Social tensions would have been greater without it.

    Another difference is timing: Howe`s budget of 1981 worsened the slump,Darling`s cuts are more modest until the recovery is secure.

    There is a more fundamental difference which Mr.Robinson hasn`t addressed.Darling is cutting the costs of delivery as well as services so the consumer is less affected.

    Finally,with his intention to protect front line services,health,education,pensions,there is greater control on the social consequences of recession than we had in the past.

  • Comment number 60.

    It's true Osbourne lacks the experience of Brown.

    Osbourne hasn't had the experience of wrecking the UK economy and dismantling banking regulations. He hasn't had the experience of basing a bloated public sector on the fiction that you can expect ever increasing tax revenues with no chance of recession, he hasn't had the experience of basing an economy on borrowings that can increase and increase and that will never have to be repaid.

    i'd say that lack of experience enhances his credentials.

  • Comment number 61.

    Labours biggest argument for re election is low unemployment and use it as a sign of "a better understanding of the economy" and how the Tories are unelectable based on history.

    Unemployment has not fallen as much as under Thatcher because 60% of people are now employed by the private sector which has not had to face the reality of the recession (yet) as it is still propped up by borrowing. Under Thatcher the public sector accounted for only 40% of the employment market.

    Now, unless spending on the public sector is maintained, employment in the public sector WILL HAVE TO BE EFFECTED. 25% reductions in public sector employment are required who ever gets in.

    If 10 million is employed now, over the next 3 years (2010-2014) unemployment will rise by 2.5million. Unemployment will be 5million and this will not even include the long serm unemployed and those on sickness benefit. Using methods of calculating unemployment from the 1980's I think a like for like measure would be about 10million unemployed. Seems they have forgotten to tell us this.

    People like voice_of_reason seem too stupid to understand the simple economics of another Labour term and are driven by partisan hatered of the Tories.

    Labour are too soft on the unions so will not cut public sector employment. The only way to pay for such a large cost is by borrowing because the private sector is too small to fund it. Employment will remain low but the debt will rise. The financiers will lose confidence and we will lose our AAA rating. Cost of borrowing will rocket and before you know it we will need to find an extra £100bn+ a year just to pay the interest. We will then have to0 go to the IMF like we did last time Labour did this.

    It does not take an economist to see that this would lead to further hardship.

    The only thing that would make Labour seriously electable would be for them to sever all union ties and declare they will not bow to union pressure.

    UKIP seem to have the only real economic policy saving £120bn a year through withdrawal from the EU - no cuts and no pain.

  • Comment number 62.

    #37 I have known from the minute that they introduced IR35 through the back door that we were doomed, then I got involved with the deep purple crew and it was quite clear that democracy was shoot to pieces too.

    what a profligate waste of money the family courts have been for the last 13 years contributing nothing to society other than bitterness but filling the coffers of societies hangers on,

    And that is just one example of how badly they thve misspent over the last 13 years and they would not listen to anyone whom dared to critisice there policy , invarialbe ending up in jail, after a "show" trail.


    Given that Brown could not even mention the word "cuts" a few months ago , he dressed it up as investement of 0% or some such fantacy

  • Comment number 63.

    Fancy that.

    A tiny bit of realism leaking from the Labour administration.

    We are totally indebted as a nation. Was that what anybody voted for?

    No cash in the atic, or under the matress. None tucked away to protect against a rainy day.

    I bet Gordon's absolutely boiling with rage as Darling admits that "His" boom years are exposed as a total sham, leaving a massive mess and a catastrophy for this generation's children.

    We have lived through a decade of economic deceit.

    This and the next generation will, I hope, grow up to be much more interrogative of governments and their decisions. Not taken in by good intentions, but wantin - demandin - explanations about why their taxes have been spent in any profligate manner.

  • Comment number 64.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 65.

    Voice_of_Reason

    I take my hat off to you, I have rarely seen someone who is so totally in denial about any facts re his chosen political party, that he does not even believe anything bad is going to happen under them, even when they say so themselves.

    "The reality, of course, will be job cuts, real pay cuts and freezes and service reductions in the public sector."

    Please wake up and smell the cider. Things have not got better.

  • Comment number 66.

    One of my sons has already moved to the USA, my middle son is now planning to move to Australia and the baby asked me the other day how long after he graduates next year I think he should emigrate to Canada.

    They understand what's going on.

  • Comment number 67.

    Voice of reason

    'And in my opinion, and the opinion of most leading economists and every other industrialised country, the Tories are making the wrong decisions now.'

    Wrong on every count

    The IMF, OECD, the EU and every major business organsiation side with the Tories.

    As for other countries, most of them don't have anything like such a large deficit because they haven't had Gordon Brown ruining their economy for the last 13 years. Of those that do, they're cutting far quicker than even the Tories are proposing (Ireland, Greece etc.)

    Even by lefty standards you managed to get that spectacularly wrong.

  • Comment number 68.

    Thatcher did not "de-industrialise" Britain,she got rid of unprofitable industries dominated by the Unions, and also broke the Unions. The only unfortunate result of this was that the formerly union dominated Labour party could then become "New Labour" under Blair.

    For all her faults, she always put Britain first, not self and party first as does Mr Brown.

  • Comment number 69.

    Most of the increase in state spending is due to the laws introduced by new labour. There is no need to cut health or care spending just get rid of the Health & Safety new regs, the spies in the local authorities and the inspectors looking for those authorities who haven't filled in their weekly reports.

    Central control of all our actions costs a bomb - get rid of it!

  • Comment number 70.

    60. At 7:35pm on 25 Mar 2010, AndyC555 wrote:
    It's true Osbourne lacks the experience of Brown.

    Osbourne hasn't had the experience of wrecking the UK economy and dismantling banking regulations. He hasn't had the experience of basing a bloated public sector on the fiction that you can expect ever increasing tax revenues with no chance of recession, he hasn't had the experience of basing an economy on borrowings that can increase and increase and that will never have to be repaid.

    i'd say that lack of experience enhances his credentials.

    ===

    Indeed, Andy. Osborne also lacks the experience of selling half the UK's gold reserves at a 20 year low price, costing US £7 billion in the process:

    "Between 1999 and 2002, Mr Brown ordered the sale of almost 400 tons of the gold reserves when the price was at a 20-year low. Since then, the price has more than quadrupled, meaning the decision cost taxpayers an estimated £7 billion, according to Mike Warburton of the accountants Grant Thornton.

    It is understood that Mr Brown pushed ahead with the sale despite serious misgivings at the Bank of England. It is not thought that senior Bank experts were even consulted about the decision, which was driven through by a small group of senior Treasury aides close to Mr Brown.
    The Treasury has been officially censured by the Information Commissioner over its attempts to block the release of information about the gold sales.

    Ed Balls, who is now the Schools Secretary, Ed Miliband, now the Climate Change Secretary, and Baroness Vadera, another former minister, were all close aides to the chancellor during the relevant period."

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/investing/gold/7511589/Explain-why-you-sold-Britains-gold-Gordon-Brown-told.html

    "Following a series of freedom of information requests from The Daily Telegraph over the past four years, the Information Commissioner has ordered the Treasury to release some details. The Treasury must publish the information demanded within 35 calendar days – by the end of April.
    The sale is expected to be become a major election issue, casting light on Mr Brown's decisions while at the Treasury.

    If the information is not released by the end of April, the Treasury will be in "contempt of court" and will face legal action. A spokesman said last night that the Treasury was not preparing to appeal against the ruling."


  • Comment number 71.

    Hi Everybody,
    I think that most people miss the point about what "cuts" in Government spending really means.
    How about looking at Govt. spending the same way "Joe Public" (i.e.us)looks at his own spending.
    We could divide it into three categories:
    A) "ESSENTIAL" spending that it really is hard to do without.
    B) "NICE IF WE CAN AFFORD IT" spending which is what we would buy if we have a few pounds spare put aside.
    C) "COMPLETE WASTE OF MONEY" spending which cash which when we've spent it we think. "Oh s..t that was a waste!

    Examples of Government spending which might fall into the same categories might be as follows:

    A) "ESSENTIAL" we provide good health care, education,police and armed forces.
    B) "NICE IF WE CAN AFFORD IT" An example from my area might be the new proposed bus link between Luton & Dunstable for which the Government have announced £80 million grant to help build an 8 (eight) mile busway, but which is probably not essential and could be "cut" from Government spending budget.
    Contrast this with the £100million that Alistair Darling Budget announcement for "Pot Hole" repairs on local roads which most would agree is essential.
    C)"COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME" might be paying a reported £80,000 housing allowance on expensive central london homes to house a family of 10. Surely this can be done for less and now. The Budget yesterday only proposed changing the system in October 2011!
    Any comments please? either on this blog or to [Personal details removed by Moderator]
    Cheers.

  • Comment number 72.

    FACT- Historically Labour have a disasterous record of paying down debt.
    Only today the BBC said the NHS had employed more managers than clinical staff the last 12 months, now 44,000 managers in the NHS, no wonder they are able to gloat they have kept unemployment down when they are giving out non jobs.Rest assured our grandchildren will be paying for this messs to be cleaned up.

  • Comment number 73.

    What is the matter with the voters? In opinion polls, they think real spending cuts and tax rises for the average Joe can be avoided? Which planet are they living on, for it sure as hell isn't this one. It is clear there is a massive, structural deficit which has been largely created by Brown's policies as Chancellor before he ever became PM. That is the reality. The mess the country is in is of Brown's making and he hopes to lie his way back into office, by pretending that a) he isn't responsible and b) there need be no pain.

    Darling seems to want to scupper the chances of Brown remaining as PM - perhaps Darling is that rare beast in the Labour Party - someone who puts country first!

  • Comment number 74.

    Voice of unreason

    'They want to remove the help for the economy before the recovery has barely begun. Thats just madness.'

    Failure to deal with the deficit is harming the economy. Why do you think that business are so keen to see the deficit reduction start now ? Do you honestly think they'd want to harm the economy? The economy can only start to make a proper recovery once we have a credible plan for dealing with the deficit and we're never going to get that under New Labour.

    New Labour = no recovery and 5 more years of economic failure.

  • Comment number 75.

    £11 bn efficiency savings announced in budget.

    This what IFS said has happened to last few clains of savings.

    Treasury claims £11bn by 2012–13
    • the financial crisis Had not happened what would have been
    claimed over this period?
    – targeted £21.5bn between 2004–05 and 2007–08 under Gershon
    Review and claims achieved £26.5bn
    – targeted £30bn between 2007–08 and 2010–11 under 2007 CSR and
    increased this to £35bn under Operational Efficiency Programme
    • Will efficiency savings be delivered as expected?
    – £26.5bn: NAO audit half-way through suggested: 25% did not
    adequately demonstrate true efficiencies, another 50% questionable
    – £35bn: less than one-third (£10.8bn) found by Autumn 2009, another
    £24bn needed before April 2011

    so £24 bn required in next year where is that coming from. Not been able to prove last efficiencies according to Audit Office

  • Comment number 76.

    #58 giannir

    Thank you for the compliment and saying I am well-informed. I do try.

    However I am not a Labour Party activist - I know you will probably not believe it but its true.

    As for the idea of subsidised jobs, I'm happy to say that I am in favour of subsidies for jobs rather than paying unemployment benefit to keep people on the dole.

    The idea that, just because someone works hard for a company that in some way takes money from the government, that makes them a scrounger (?!) seems a bit extreme even for you Thatcherites.

    I think your showing your true colours - wanting to privatise everything and to hell with the consequences for society. I hope Cameron has the guts to make those comments. The electorate will duly punish him and his sorry party.

  • Comment number 77.

    bryhers

    'Darling is cutting the costs of delivery as well as services so the consumer is less affected.'

    So they've managed to increase the cost of delivering said services for the last 13 years in a row and a simple statement from AD makes you believe the costs will now start to fall.

    Say hello to 'bryn the cat' on planet ga-ga.

  • Comment number 78.

    A nice juicy increase in VAT anyone?

    25% VAT rate would lift dopamine levels nicely.

  • Comment number 79.

    If you have a Mortgage and the interest rates decrease, meaning that you have extra cash to spend, all personal financial advisors will advise you to pay off more of your debt straight away.

    Alistair Darling finds that our debt is numerous billions less than he first thought, so he spends it. Please explain.

  • Comment number 80.

    #61 David
    "People like voice_of_reason seem too stupid to understand the simple economics of another Labour term and are driven by partisan hatered of the Tories."

    Ahhh - when your argument fails let the insults fly eh?

    Its not a partisan hatred.

    If the Tories had a sound economic policy and people stood behind Cameron weren't generally a bunch of hard right-wing xenophobic Thatcherites but instead had a more social democratic outlook then I might consider voting for them.

    Doesn't seem likely though does it?

    Oh and you call me stupid and then suggest a vote for UKIP?

  • Comment number 81.

    #65 Chris

    I disagree Chris - things have got a lot better over the last 13 years.

    There have been massive improvements in the NHS and Schools. Standards are up and waiting lists are way down from the bad old days under the Tories.

    Poor pensioners now have more money than ever before because of the Pension Credit. Ditto for poor and middle class families because of the Working Tax Credits.

    Scottish, Welsh and Irish Devolution all put in place and an elected Mayor for London (even if it is Boris I still agree with the principle).

    The minimum wage has lifted hundreds of thousands of people out of poorly paid jobs.

    Interest rates are the lowest they have ever been and even before the current recession they were low and stable compared to the Tory years.

    Inflation has been generally under control and lower for most of the last 13 years than under the Conservatives in the 1980's.

    We've had 12 years of growth out of 13....

    I could go on but yes there has been a lot achieved under Labour.

    It actually amazes me that you Tories attack as though everything Labour has done was rubbish...perhaps thats why the polls are narrowing?

    Maybe people are looking at the Tories and seeing how extreme and reactionary they are whilst lacking in decent policies?

  • Comment number 82.

    NEW LABOUR = 13 years of taking from the productive and giving to the unproductive, Brown rode his luck on massive public and private borrowing and a housing boom for this economic formula(mirage) to last as long as it did, well the chickens have certainly come home to roost.

  • Comment number 83.

    Why cannot quantitative easing applied through budget (increasing spending, keeping jobs etc) rather than through the banking system? As I understnd it, doing the way we are doing the banks and financial institutions take a handsome first risk-free cut for themselves before lending to the rest of us.

  • Comment number 84.

    So we are back to 'the orderly management of decline.' Even if Labour did win the next election (they won't, thankfully) they would be unable to govern. Having to implement a programme of swingeing cuts (by their own admission, deeper than Mrs Thatcher's)would destroy the Labour party. Now let's look at the alternative: a soft focus, desperate to be liked conservative party lacking the ideological fervour of the Tebbitt/Keith Joseph generation. The modern Tory party falls between a rock and a hard place. My greatest fear is not that Cameron is another Thatcher but rather that he turns out to be another Heath.

  • Comment number 85.

    #74 jobsagoodin

    So your (backward) argument is tha cuts equals economic growth?

    By that argument then if we just sack the whole public sector you think the economy will be better?

    Sorry but I go along with most economists and leading developed countries that believe that cuts will harm economic growth.

    Thats why they need to be made gradually and carefully and not drastically and in a draconian fashion as the Tories are suggesting.

    We have a credible plan for dealing with the deficit - the start of it was laid out in the budget and the government have explained that it will be more than halved within 4 years.

  • Comment number 86.

    #79 tramsheds

    He didn't. Most of the additional cash has gone into reducing the deficit. There was very little giveaway in the budget which is right given our economic circumstances.

  • Comment number 87.

    #82 tenmaya

    As opposed to taking from the poor and letting the very rich get very richer? Whats so wrong with a fair tax system whereby your contribution increases as you are more able to afford to pay?

    It is surely a responsible thing for a society to do to make sure that it helps its most vulnerable citizens, the low paid, the families with children, the pensioners etc.

    We all pay the price for social failure when the support is not provided.

    As someone who earns more than the average wage and pays more than his fair share (and likes to drink Cider!) I am happy to be part of a progressive tax system as I know it helped me and members of my family when I and they weren't so lucky.

  • Comment number 88.

    10 million people not financially active at about £300 ave per week including income support, disability benefits, housing benefit, council tax benefit etc and so forth.

    £156,000,000,000 a year for people to sit at home and watch Judge Judy and Jeremy Kyle.

    10 million instant votes for Labour (if they could be bothered that is)!


  • Comment number 89.

    #80 VOR, but I think a large number in the NW or NE will vote BNP.

    The Real legacy of 13 years of labour incompetance

  • Comment number 90.

    It's about time too! Nick's last comment that polled people believe that this deficit can be dealt with by efficiency savings just about terrifies me.

    All 3 parties need to get on message ASAP in order to tell the public the truth...the next few years are going to hurt, regardless of political hue

  • Comment number 91.

    Voice_of_Reason @ 9

    Do you remember the phrase 'if its not hurting, its not working'?

    Only too well, which was precisely the moment the Tories completely and utterly lost the plot, and more-or-less, by default, let in this shower.

    The political cycle seems to be predicated upon economic failure, that is, Governments in the developed world can bumble along or or less indefinately providing that they do not screw up economically, as examples in Australia and Canada have shown.

    I think it was Tory Michael Howard, in a rare candid moment admitted that they were waiting for Labour to screw up economically, and then, by buggins turn, they would be back in power.

    So, it has come to the point where the Tories thought that this economic crisis was their chance but this blogger is hoping that the voters of England do not allow buggins turn this time, but decide across our England to vote in a motley crew of Greens, English Democrats, UKIP, independents and others along with, what we must sadly accept, will be many mainstream party candidates.

    Believe it or not, but such a political mix would result in a improved government in our England because the outcome from such a varied mix would be better political decision making and a much healthier democracy.

  • Comment number 92.

    I have changed my mind - I want Labour to form the next Govenrment. Why this madness? I hear you cry.

    I am coming round to think that Labour need to lie in the bed they made. If Labour get in, they will be less popular than the BNP by 2014.

    They will never form a Government again and Lib Dems will be the opposition. I think to destroy Labour once and for all we need to re elect them and watch them drown in the mess they created.

    Goodbye Labour its (not) been fun.

  • Comment number 93.

    jobs @ 56

    "Yes, Labour might just win. As Nick points out the electorate are in a state of denial right now. Just what Gordon Brown needs to get re-elected."

    Not really. It's very possible to realise the gravity of the economic and fiscal situation - i.e. to NOT be in the oft mentioned and much sought after "state of denial" - and yet be seriously considering a vote for Labour. How come? Easy - you just need to (1) recognise (as I don't much want to) that it's a straight choice between L and C, and (2) think (as I do) that we would be in an even bigger mess (a deficit plus recession plus fox hunting type scenario) if the Tories had been in power, and ... most importantly ... (3) believe (as I do - no strike that, I know) that Labour will be far far better at managing this situation going forward than the Tories would be. You do all this - and it's quite straightforward if you concentrate - and you get there.

  • Comment number 94.

    #88 David

    'Not financially active'

    You mean like looking after small children? Those lazy mothers!!
    Like caring for an elderly relative or spouse? Absolutely heartless.

    In the world of the Tories anyone who receives any benefits should feel guilty - nevermind whether they are performing an important role for society as a carer of mother etc

    Nevermind whether they are in high skilled training or university and will pay back that investment many times over through their lifetime.

    You always accuse the left of being jealous and contemptuous of rich people but then show nothing but jealousy and contempt for the poor and anyone on benefits.

  • Comment number 95.

    Voice_of_desperation.

    How about this.

    No one in this country should starve or be homeless, or lack clothing, education and access to healthcare.

    But after that it should be up to the individual. If there are unemployed people living in better accommodation than employed people it's wrong. If there are unemployed people going on holiday when working family's cannot afford to it is wrong. If there is one single family in the UK with a better lifestyle than a family where someone works....it is wrong. That's a picture of Brown's Britain.

    Tell me where my criticisms are wrong or you can do a Brownism and simply ignore my point.

  • Comment number 96.

    #84 akaFlyingAspidistra

    I don't think Cameron will survive very long no matter who wins the election. The Tory right have only put up with him because they think he can win.

    If the Tories somehow managed a small majority it would be straight back to Euro-Rebels and right wingers trying to steer Cameron and the party to the extremes.

  • Comment number 97.

    #92 David

    Glad you've come around David. I'm sure you'll see what a great decision that was.

    So, just to confirm, you'll be voting Labour at the election then?

    Good oh!

  • Comment number 98.

    #95 AndyC555

    All you want to do is penalise those that don't currently work. As I've explained elsewhere there can be very many reasons for this. Lets hope you are never disabled to the point where you are unable to work.

    I'm not saying that some people don't claim benefits when they shouldn't. Thats fraud and it should continue to be tackled.

    I'm not saying that some people shouldn't be encouraged back into work. That is being done and we need to do more.

    However, demonising people when you don't understand each and everyones personal circumstances is not helpful.

  • Comment number 99.

    fairly @ 63

    "We have lived through a decade of economic deceit."

    Yes, in the private sector. The uber capitalist behaviours and mechanisms in the banking and financial industry (US, UK, global) have blown a hole the size of Jupiter in our stale 1980s thinking. Whole thing was nonsense. We've been exposed, shown up for what we are - which is slavish, kowtowing devotees of this thing they call "Business". Not industry pls note, or hard work and enterprise, but Business. Laissez faire, unregulated, money makes money business. Let it rip, let a few thousand people commit grand larceny, and a few quid might trickle down to the masses. Well sorry but it didn't trickle down, did it? Do you feel you've been trickled on, Fairly? Exactly right. It's fine to throw some flak at Brown, he is annoying, isn't he? (and his hands are far from clean) but it's NOT fine to turn for solace to the Cameron/Osborne Conservative Party. The rational response to what has happened is to move LEFT. To expect the Tories to execute such a move is ... well you don't need me to tell you what it is.

  • Comment number 100.

    Voice of reason (Could it be Mandy)talks about 13years of growth under Labour. Labour inherited a growing economy, and did nothing to change things for the next three years. They did free up the Bank of England (which the Tories would have found dificult to do because the Public's perception that they were in the City's pocket)

    The global economy was growing throughout most of the Blair years.

    Why is it "Labours Policies" which gave us a growing economy when things were going well thanks to the global economy, but it's the "global economy" not "Labours Policies" when things go "belly up".

 

Page 1 of 7

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.