BBC BLOGS - Stephanomics
« Previous | Main | Next »

The Budget that has barely budged

Stephanie Flanders | 13:36 UK time, Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Everything changes - and everything stays the same. Continuing my earlier theme, the chancellor has announced a lot of small things but not changed the big picture - which is that he will not spend very much over the next few years, and will halve the deficit as a share of GDP.

PBRThere were all those expensive-sounding announcements - all that help for businesses in recession that he is "extending", the cut in bingo tax and the rest. But miraculously, the amount he's planning to spend next year has barely budged. He said total spending will grow by £31bn in 2010-11 - or by 2.2% in real terms. At Budget time, the forecast was for a rise of, er, £30.3bn in Total Managed Spending in 2010-11 - or growth of 2.9%.

Likewise, he now says current spending will grow by 0.8% a year in real terms after 2011. At Budget time, he was expecting it to grow by 0.7% a year over that period. I suspect the difference may be partly explained by that £3bn tax rise to pay for a further increase in health and other spending in 2011 - but, as ever, I can't be sure until I see the fine print.

UPDATE, 13:54: I was right about the structural deficit. The Treasury has revised down its estimate of the true "hole" in the public finances - the part of borrowing that won't go away as the economy recovers.

At the time of the Budget, he expected a structural ("cyclically adjusted") deficit of 8.9% of GDP in 2010-1. That's now come down to 8%, probably because GDP itself is going into 2010 smaller than they thought.

That fall follows through to 2013-4, when the structural deficit is now forecast to be 3.6%, not 4.5% as in the Budget. That's making it a bit easier for the chancellor to meet his headline goal for the deficit.

But deficit hawks will note that he has not used this improvement in the underlying picture - if it really has improved - to speed up his efforts to cut borrowing. That is what the IMF and others have urged in the past - that any "windfalls" that came the chancellor's way should be put into faster deficit reduction.

The prime minister will be relieved that the chancellor resisted the "temptation" to do this, six months before a general election, (some temptation...). But he's missed the chance to win extra points from the likes of Mervyn King.

UPDATE, 15:10: A tiny addendum to my comments on the structural deficit.

You might be wondering how the poor performance of the economy this year has reduced the hole that the government needs to fill. (If you want to cut structural borrowing, tank the economy - who knew it was that easy?)

Let me explain: they expected the economy to shrink by 3.5%. Instead it shrank by 4.75%. Yet, borrowing is more or less unchanged.

Ergo, they must have been wrong about the amount of borrowing that was due to the state of the economy. If they'd been right, borrowing would now be much higher than expected - and backbenchers would have had more to jeer about when the chancellor read out the numbers.

So, to repeat myself, the structural deficit appears to be smaller than we thought. At least, if this new estimate is right. We might find out, next year, that the first set of forecasts was right after all.

The lesson is that the dividing line between "cyclical" and "structural" borrowing is as porous as a sponge - and some would say, not much more useful for setting economic policy.

Estimates of the "structural" deficit are useful for informing discussion of the budget squeeze ahead. Every decent forecaster has to have one. They're a useful guard against the political temptation to wait for growth to magic all the borrowing away.

Just don't make the mistake of thinking the numbers are set in stone.

As of today, we have a new Treasury estimate of the amount that taxes "must" rise, or spending "must" fall, in the next few years to bring borrowing back on a sustainable course.

But if history is any guide, the truth will be much worse than they think. Or much better.


  • Comment number 1.

    Governmental budgets are a political tool and therefore unreliable. Budgets are forecasts. The process usually involves determining how much they wish to spend and then projecting the revenue to match that spending. Reality often requires mid-term adjustments. The forecasts by their economists are generally supplemented by the authority to print money. The tax rise for "healthcare" is to cover losses of funds given to banks but citizens do not want to have a tax increase to cover losses to banks, so it is called "healthcare."

  • Comment number 2.

    Oh Dear ! I think that's called 'Suspension of disbelief'

  • Comment number 3.

    "But deficit hawks will note that he has not used this improvement in the underlying picture - if it really has improved - to speed up his efforts to cut borrowing."

    Spray money around and hope it buys the election. New Labour Mantra.
    Along with "Party before Country". Traitors the lot of them.

  • Comment number 4.

    It's a shame that reducing the annual deficit doesn't reduce the national debt.
    As long as there is a deficit, the debt will increase.

  • Comment number 5. all those hundreds of billions of £'s of public money that was pledged by this government to bail out the banks has now magically turned into debt on the public's balance sheet.

    ...and all accepted without a single politician or banker put in the dock.

    This is simply socialism for the rich and penury for the taxpayers.

    DEMOCRACY IS A SHAM!...I won't bother reading these crappy blogs anymore?

  • Comment number 6.

    It was I think interesting to note that in George Osborne repost he declared that the pre-budget would keep interest rates high(?)

    We must therefore assume that George Osborne and the Tories see zero or real negative interest rates as 'high'.!!!!!!

    The Tories must therefore be advocating extreme bubble economics - they are even more unsuited to managing an economy than the present government - or they are simply talking rubbish!

    Someone show me where I am logically wrong please.

  • Comment number 7.

    Why does the BBC need both Stephanie Flanders and Robest Peston to comment on economy things - an immediate saving to tax payers by letting one of them work for Sky? PS I would keep Stephanie..........

  • Comment number 8.

    Just been hearing a government minister down right lying on TV (interviewed by Bolton on Sky).

    He acknowledges next year slow growth will need continued borrowing, but then afterwards (from 2011) we can start "paying down the debt".

    Does he really think that the plan to half the deficit is the same as halving the debt mountain?

    We are going to be borrowing more and more and more every year. Announcing that we "only" will be borrowing £90 billion a year in several years time instead of the £178 billion this year is hardly some incredible achievement. Yet is spun and reported as if its some sort of noble goal showing responsibility. Just incredible.

  • Comment number 9.

    #5. DebtJuggler wrote:

    "I won't bother reading these crappy blogs any-more?"

    Blogs allow the cathartic expression of views to at least a few people, like you, who read them. You did not expect the World to change just because of your logical explanation of its insanities, did you?

    Blogs are just a bit better than grumbling in the corner of a near deserted pub whilst you nurse your half-pint of mild, aren't they?

  • Comment number 10.

    Where did the £40bn reduction in the provision for losses on bank investment go? Talking of windfalls if this reduction was remotely credible why did this not reduce borrowing? I think he has used the reduction in provision to hide the collapse in tax revenues.

  • Comment number 11.


    I see Darling has resurrected those efficiency savings that you demolished yesterday and then added some more. Is he double counting or will "efficiency savings" just be an excuse for doing nothing?

  • Comment number 12.

    We have no intention of paying down the national debt. It is far easier to debauch the currency and pay back in devalued pounds.

    Got gold?

  • Comment number 13.


    The BBC is license fee-payer funded.

    Watch this space on the gilts market- that is the real concern here. How to fund all this debt, whether it will be possible, and how much it will cost.

    I think AD has potentially dodged a bullet re banker bonus tax, rock and hard place spring to mind even if he did move the rock while he watched the building being built.

    I don't think the City will be too concerned- so very easy to avoid (short term interest free loans to employees for example, or simply defer to next year, or pay in shares), but from a political view it'll probably be enough for Joe Bloggs to see that he's done something punitive.

  • Comment number 14.

    the economy is too important to be run by politicians.

    as are the climate talks.

    in fact come to think of it...

  • Comment number 15.


    I think you mentioned in an earlier post why borrowing will not be so high as to add to the structural deficit. There has not been a large increase in people claiming benifit, employers are hanging on to staff at lower rates of pay and people are choosing to work part time. This is likely to change if there is no significant rise in economic activity.

  • Comment number 16.

    #9 John_from_Hendon wrote:

    "Blogs are just a bit better than grumbling in the corner of a near deserted pub whilst you nurse your half-pint of mild, aren't they?"


    No!...I'll get 'me' coat.

  • Comment number 17.

    just a quick question for those cleverer than me
    if the deficit this year is 178B and next year is 176B and the following year 140ish Billion. doesn't that add up to 0.5Trillion. i'm assuming there wasn't a deficit before this year.
    how on earth do we ever get to a state to start paying back this deficit? if we aren't ever then who is out there stupid enough to continue to lend money to us as a country?

  • Comment number 18.

    Put Fred the Shred in charge - at least he made decent money, if only for himself. Caledonian Comment

  • Comment number 19.

    Ali [blah blah] D enial Denial denial denial denial denial will just have to get his 40 socialy deprived to rub his little lamp harder to get the labour genieAAA's up and running

  • Comment number 20.


    I'll see you there, mine's a pint. ESB is good.

    Going down the pub is a much better idea. Real people, real debate, real contribution to the economy and beer as well...

    As opposed to a blog that is accessable by the whole world but only ever seems to attract less than a hundred people or so. A sort of BBC "points of view" sop to disgusted of tunbridge wells.

    Probably why the goverment doesn't like pubs, beers not the only thing that ferments there.

    Oh, and did I mention beer?

  • Comment number 21.

    oh! I was under the impression that it always gets worse before it gets better.

  • Comment number 22.

    Ok so banking bonus is to be taxed, but is it, look at the wording carefully " He introduced a temporary levy of 50% on any individual discretionary bonus paid above £25,000. "

    Of course I doubt any of the planned bank bonuses were discretionary rather contractural, or at least they will be now.

    Sorted - we think he did something banks still pay the bonus as planned I wonder if the actual wording was an agreement between the bank and our beloved Chancellor

  • Comment number 23.

    Well this should be sufficient to keep the show on the road for the requisite six months before it becomes someone else's baby.

    What a complete and utter mess!

    Even with the broker's men knocking on the door New Labour still seeks to increase government spending. They just can't leave it alone can they?

  • Comment number 24.

    I think this labour government have come up with an ingenious new plan to use borrowed money over the next few years to pay off the debt. If only that worked...

    I thinkt they've been watching those tv adverts 'consolidate all your existing debts into one affordable monthly pay out...'

  • Comment number 25.

    Here's an idea can't we just trade in any governments over 10 years old as part of the scrappage scheme?

  • Comment number 26.

    What a sham. Borrowing yet more money to aid the recovery and when things get better, we will address the deficit indeed. Ergo, if we tell it how it is, we've no chance of being elected, so let's keep this charade going for a little bit longer. Does Gordon Brown think that we are stupid?

  • Comment number 27.

    Banks collect a lot of taxes on behalf of the Tax man from companies and families. [I'll explain: we don't deduct tax from the interest we pay on bank and mortgage loans. Conversely, banks and building societies deduct tax from the interest they owe us. That's because they are collecting all those taxes on behalf of the taxman.]
    That means that when Banks get into debt because they bought dud CDO loans from America and RBS bought a dud Bank from Holland, the losses they made on those daft deals means they can hold onto most of the taxes they're supposed to have collected for the taxman. Which is many billions of pounds and is the principle cause of our deficits. The excess spending was, and is, quite small.
    Nobody knows when the Banks and a few other financial institutions will get back into paying taxes again. Nor how much they'll be paying when they do get back to normal. Or even how big normal will be.
    It makes sense in this time of uncertainty NOT to take any drastic action, but mostly help economic activity recover quickly.

  • Comment number 28.

    #26 geofffromleeds. The answer to your question is an unqualified Yes!

    They will gain further proof of their hypothosis in a few months time when a new government is elected that will have exactly the same policies as the previous government.

    Difficult to see how Brown is wrong on this one really.

  • Comment number 29.

    Rather amusing to see the politicos, of all shades and including the BBC team of cheerleaders, all babbling about deficit reduction., otherwise known as borrowing less, NOT repaying debt, ever…

    Meanwhile government grows ever larger. 4.75% reduction (admitted) in GDP and 2.2% increase in government!

    And, is this proposed government-payroll freeze at 1% before or after inflation? Better pray they can keep a lid on interest rates lest your mortgage repayments become unsustainable.

  • Comment number 30.

    What is most interesting about the PBR is that income tax was raised today by 0.5% and no one even reported it. Yes national insurance is income tax. It is paid to the government and the amount you pay depends on the amount you earn. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it is is likely to be a duck!

  • Comment number 31.

    # 28 - are you living in the same world as me?

    The reality is:

    1. the tax the banks deduct at source from interest payable to depositors is a small amount of the government's total tax take (and was a small amount even when interest rates were higher). The banks have to account to the Treasury for this regardless of whether they have make losses on their own operations.

    2. The principal cause of our deficit is not the fact that the bank's are no longer paying tax as a result of not making profits. It is because our public spending is too high and our tax take is too low. Even if the main banks each chipped in a few billion each in tax, we would still have a massive deficit.

    3. We will need to take drastic action soon. We can't continue running up these annual deficits. Why not? If investors think the UK is at high risk of defaulting or believe that it is seeking to inflate away its debt, the yields on government debt will go up and we won't be able to afford the debt service. Think about it. In ball park terms, the government debt is going to be over £800bn by the end of next year. Tax take will be around say £450 bn. If interest on new debt being issued goes up from say 4% to say 6%, the debt servicing costs are about £50billion, i.e. 11% of total tax take. These are rough numbers and I am sure someone will have accurate figures. I also appreciate that increases in yields will only affect new debt issuances to finance the current year deficit and re-finance old debt as it matures. Nevertheless, there reaches a point where we can't raise new debt either at all or at affordable prices. At that point we have either to say hello to the IMF who will require us to take the drastic measures anyway or the BoE could carry on its QE and purchase government debt Zimbabwe style.

  • Comment number 32.

    So once again the hard-pressed British tax-payer has to pay....and pay...and keep on paying!
    More on tax.
    Less on services.
    Why are the ordinary poeple of the U.K. being treated like victims?

  • Comment number 33.

    Re: no 17

    'who is out there stupid enough to continue to lend money to us as a country?

    Er,pretty much everyone actually..Foreign Governments through their central banks, Pension funds, Insurance Companies, investment banks, and you and me, if we have our money invested in some kind of fixed income portfolio.

    See, despite all the wailing and gnashing of teeth as to how terrible the UK's economic plight is in reality everyone knows there is absolutely no prospect of a revolution, insurgency, civil war or other political catastrophe that will interrupt the smooth flow of tax revenues to central government. Therefore for a guaranteed return over three to thirty years financial institutions are quite happy to take up the full quota at every treasury auction.

  • Comment number 34.

    #33 MischieviousCheesy101. Interesting theory, although it doesn´t seem to address the role of QE. Neither does it recognise that banks can exchange garbage for cash and then use the cash to purchase gilts - QE by any other name.

    Surplus countries have their own problems, namely a need to invest their surpluses coupled with a growing phobia as to the toxicity of the US$. How is good for the UK, or anywhere else, that the world reserve currency is being destroyed?

    You don´t seem to explain why in 1976 a deficit of about half the size of the current deficit necessitated recourse to the IMF and yet today everyone is happy that the situation is stable. If you take a look at country analysis data you will note that the overall analysis of the UK has not changed much i.e. It was and is considered a stable country and there was and is an unchanged expectation as to the prospects for revolution, insurgency, civil war or other political catastrophe.

    All in all a very sound post that pays no attention at all to any relevant facts, well done!

  • Comment number 35.

    32 EuroSider:

    ''Why are the ordinary poeple of the U.K. being treated like victims?''


    Because they are victims voluntarily.

    It is far easier to listen to somebody who says 'Move along, move along, nothing to see here'. It is not even thinking - 'If I think hard enough about it the problem will go away.' They dont on average really think there is much of a problem. As long as somebody else cops it that'll do nicely. Hence decimation. The next step is the demonisation of the decimated. As nothing will change in hurry the objective has to be not to be one of the decimated, which is a matter of positioning. The idea that the majority of the 9 out of 10 not decimated will really give a monkeys about the decimated is just hilarious. There are always words but words are cheap.

    BTW They always think somebody else will get decimated. Thats the trick to decimation.

  • Comment number 36.

    34 Armagediontimes

    Yes, everything is the same as 1976..especially the inflation rate of 26 percent and average earnings increase of 28 percent..Oh, sorry did I miss something?

  • Comment number 37.

    31 nedafo2

    The objective is to push the problem forward into the future as far as possible. That has been the ethos of every action taken since the crunch arrived. The crunch was the size it was/is because that was the ethos present prior to the crunch. Why do you expect the ethos to change when the same fellows are running the show. This is just a virtual reality game. The idea is to tie in with the Mayan Calender, defer till 2012. Max out on the national credit card till then. Then seek an IVA, or go to one of those finance compaines that offers a repackaging with just one affordable monthly repayment. The public can understand that, it is a behaviour they can empathise with.

    Why do you expect irrationale people to behave rationally old boy. Why do you expect to fight irrationality with rationale. Clearly does work.

  • Comment number 38.

    #36 mischievousCheesy101. Yeah you have missed somthing. You talk about the potential for revolution, insurgency, civil war or other political catastrophe and I point out that the situation in this regard is essentially unchanged from 1976 to date.

    You then introduce the subject of inflation and seek to pretend that I have made some comment about that - when I have not.

    Are you a politician?

  • Comment number 39.

    I have stepped into a parallel universe where nonsense is logic and logic is nonsense:-

    Deficit is growing and growing.
    Our current account is and has been in deficit for as long as I can remember - therefore we have to borrow money.
    How can this go on and how can the government not actually show the necessary actions to stop it - cuts in non essentials, incentives for industries that create wealth rather than just move it around.

    I am a fish.

  • Comment number 40.

    I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today: Wimpy.

  • Comment number 41.

    38 Armagediontimes

    I shouldn't perhaps have been so flippant, what I was referring to was your point 'You don´t seem to explain why in 1976 a deficit of about half the size of the current deficit necessitated recourse to the IMF and yet today everyone is happy that the situation is stable. If you take a look at country analysis data you will note that the overall analysis of the UK has not changed much..'

    My answer is that rampant inflation, unrestrained pay awards and base rates in double digits are not part of the landscape today. Although many seem to believe that such things may become reality further down the road, those investing in Gilts at the present time appear to have discounted the possibility.


  • Comment number 42.

    Cant see my earlier post ! I asked whether a £bn was £mm or £km.Oh, I'm sorry,wrong area,I thought this site was,ask Stephanie a Question.

  • Comment number 43.

    Can't afford half a pint of mild anymore.
    Can't afford to go to the pub.
    The pub hasn't got a corner anymore.
    The pub's been knocked down.
    There's a big hole where the pub used to be.
    The hole's got got concrete and steel pylons.
    The pylons hold up a new building.
    The building's a 150 story bank.
    The banks is buldging at the seams.
    The seams have burst.
    There's all money bursting out.
    The money is floating down.
    The people are hungry.
    The money is worthless.
    The people all eat the money.
    The ink is poisonous.
    The people are dead.

    I was bored. It's all so, well, so impossible.

  • Comment number 44.

    Why the hell is this government still playing footloose with the nation's credit card? They should have to pay a minimum payment on it at least. When do we get the loan sharks in, are they called the IMF?

    Could this be a double-dip on the way followed by a flat-line with no pulse? Are we about to be KO'd? Will we end up so weak that we can't even get up and start manufacturing a decent balance of trade again?

    Oh hang on, we can consume our way out of this by giving each other lots of cheap tat for Christmas, that'll work. I'll buy it on my credit card.


  • Comment number 45.

    This Darling character was saying last year that we`d be in "growth" at this point.
    Is that not worthy of comment Stephanie Flanders?

  • Comment number 46.

    WOW on the bank bonus....

    So banks will pay staff 25k bonus now and wait till 6th of April to pay the rest of the bonus...

    Betr TAX revinue NILL, the tory's will not fight it as it will end before the next election, ill feeling in the city massive!

    Well done NuLabour

  • Comment number 47.

    #25 truly truly wonderful idea, first time I've laughed hard at a response to the blog in months.

    Trouble is, who is going to give us 2 grand let alone 200 billion for this discredited excuse of a government?

  • Comment number 48.

    I yearn for our government to make populist cuts such as on consultancies and to legislate to break up the Pharmaceutical (the NHS is a cash cow) and Banking giants under tougher competition laws. Banks are masters in the art of transparent subterfuge in avoiding anti-trust and competition law and their size means institutional investors ignore management overpayment.

  • Comment number 49.

    #17 fairsociety

    Can the same clever person answering fairsociety also explain why the Government's net financing requirement for 09/10 is £242.9 billions and will need to sell £225-odd billions of gilts next year. And what happens when the BoE need to sell their QE gilts for monetary controls when the Government are trying to sell theirs?

  • Comment number 50.

    The problem with any Cuts where ever they may fall is that because of the make-up struture of all UK Society and Manufacturing is in the inter-twined way that of concerning just about everything, either in everyday use or of needs is being fully relied upon to keep everything inactively going.

    You therefore have a fully intergrated "Economic" system in place that interacts to self-correct and re-balances itself, to produce a House of Cards effect.
    Therefore, if you "Cut" a section away from being supported, then the whole thing is in danger of falling apart, and thats the problem that has now got to be faced by the next Government.

    Since over now many Years both the Public Sector relies upon the Private Sector to supply manufacturing Good etc:, while likewise vise-versa the Private Sector has relied upon Sub-Contracting work from the Public Sector etc: and doing anything that will up-set this now finely tuned balance will create Un-employment, which in turn affects manufacturing out-put, sales, and further Employments prospect.

    It will take a brave man or woman to pull out the First-Card while not knowing if this will bring down the whole pack?

  • Comment number 51.

    What is getting concerning about all of this, is that more and more people are getting angry. I appreciate that I am looking at only 3 bbc blogs, but the direction is clear. The fact is that our High Streets have been changed and our pubs are closing, we are getting poorer etc... and life is not what it was (only 10 years ago). It sounds very simple, and it is, but that is what this Country used to be,and we were all very happy with that.

    WE are now indebted to (whoever) for sums that are indescribable, ( who knows what a trillian is)in order apparently to safeguard what we believed to to be The Bank! It makes no sense to me or most of us. All we know is that what we all had only 10 years ago is gone, ( a way of life, post offices in a Commounity, happy people going to work without furrowed brows, but with a smile, due to what I can only describe as..... unfettered and egocentric idiocy by our non appointed PM)

    This lot in power are not clever enough to be in the "front line" making decisions, whether it be The Economy, Afganistan, Iraq, or whether bouncy castles are dangerous. I hope that these stupid people read these blogs but the if they do, thet they still have the b.... to leavr their homes and face the inquisitors. It may get more challenging out there

    Best of luck everyone.

  • Comment number 52.

    Despite voting for this last gvt we do not deserve the fate of bankruptcy that awaits us. However if bankrupty and severe economic depression brings with it new ideas and political thought to our country it may well be beneficial as a scar upon our memory which we will not forget.

    On a brighter note there are still countries in the world that are being properly run (not many though!), but pity those who are unable to emigrate.

  • Comment number 53.


    It is not just national economic system, it is globally interconnected.

    Nobody really knows what the effects of pulling any one card from the system or on what timescale effects (if any) will be noticeable.

    All we know is that some cards (but not which ones) appear to have been pulled.

  • Comment number 54.

    As a nation we should default on our national debt and then we will discover who the slavemaster is!

  • Comment number 55.

    I have just been reading that they have just had a Bubget in the Irish Republic whereby they are reducing anyones whom is over 22 Years of Age and is on State support Benefit whom will see his/hers Benefit reduced down to 150 Euros per Week, which equals currently to 136 Pounds UK, but even at this amount it is still being paid at a rate that is well over and above 2 times that of the UK's Income Support Rate of payment depending upon whether you are aged over 25 Years, or not.

    If I was Irish and un-employed, I would be making my way to Spain or Portugal for the Winter where 150 Euros each Week goe's a long way, and look for a Job in the Sun.

  • Comment number 56.

    #51, your point is a very valid steohen, I have never known such anger towards politicians since I began voting 40 years ago. This matter , when mentioned in the media tends to be airily dismissed as if it is only what we expect of politicians but the level of invective and pure hatred is intense,much more than I have been used to. The nearest I can compare is the miners strike but never have I heard this towards the Labour pary that usually sides with the sentimental lobby.

  • Comment number 57.

    #"17 if the deficit this year is 178B and next year is 176B and the following year 140ish Billion. doesn't that add up to 0.5Trillion. i'm assuming there wasn't a deficit before this year.
    how on earth do we ever get to a state to start paying back this deficit?"

    #17.Simple answer is we can't pay back the deficit. We are not meant to. When we borrow money say £100 billion, we have to pay that back with interest. The problem is that the bank does not "create" the interest it only creates the principle. The money that is used to pay back that interest is created by more borrowing. That is why the debt keeps rising. It is impossible to pay it back. This causes inflation. ie a rise in prices. If it were possible to pay back all the debt there would be no money in circulation.

    Take it back to the beginning where it started. Lets say that there is no money at all in the world. A bank wants to start lending money. Lets say £100 to me because I want to pay someone to plaster my bathroom. The plasterer gets his £100. But I have to pay the bank back £110 because they charged 10% interest. How do I do it. Well I am a plumber and my friend wants me to plumb up his bathroom for £150 pounds. He gets a loan from the bank for £150 and pays me £150. Great I have £40 left after I have paid the bank back. Where does he get the money to pay back the bank. Another loan must be created...

    This is how our money supply is expanded. The trouble is banks or the economy must continually find new people to lend money to who will pay back the bank. Eventually people do not pay back because there is not enough money in cirulation to pay back the bank and it leads to a recession ie the sub prime market this time. The system was set up this way.

    I know this sounds rather simple and it is. Economists and banks make it sound complicted because if people actullay realised how banks create money out of thin air there would be a revolution.

    We do not need private banks. We should put the regulation of money back into the hands of the government and not the banks. That way we could have a largely debt free currency.

  • Comment number 58.

    Re: 57.

    I enjoyed the simply way you have laid out the Terming of how "Money" came into being.

    But, of course before the time of Money everyone use to "Barter" their worth against some deed, whereby you either would do something or exchange something for what you could agree with, with somebody else as a fair exchange in-kind.

    Also, however, back in the past everyones Labour was worth as much as anothers, therefore: why have we been conditioned today to believe that Bankers and the so-called Elite Classes are worth more in Terms of value for just doing nothing better than sitting around talking all Day, while anyone that doe's a hard Days work in Manufacturing, or Labouring in the Building Sectors are treated as being Second-Class in Jobs-Worth terms?

    Its about time we looked the so-called Elite in the eyes, instead of looking forever upwards to them.

  • Comment number 59.

    "It was I think interesting to note that in George Osborne repost he declared that the pre-budget would keep interest rates high(?)

    We must therefore assume that George Osborne and the Tories see zero or real negative interest rates as 'high'.!!!!!!

    Someone show me where I am logically wrong please."

    He declared the government was acting in a way which would not keep rates low for any sustained time. Logically he is right because (Greenspan spoke at length on this subject as Fed chairman with regards to US deficits):
    To fund its borrowing requirements the Gov must issue bonds.
    If it borrows lots then it issues lots of bonds
    By the laws of supply and demand the more supply you have of something the lower the price (and in the case of bonds the higher the yeild or interest rate)

    As such by borrowing lots of money the Government pushes up medium term interest rates as it has to offer higher interest on its bonds to attract investment (and that will mean higher mortgage costs as the bank would be stupid, in fact legally neglegant to shareholders, to lend to a homeowner at a lower rate than it can buy a bond).

    The only reason this has been avoided thus far is that the QE has been used to buy Government bonds from the banks, then the government tells the banks they dont have enough AAA assets on their books and sells them new bonds. In short the QE is supporting the deficit at present. If done directly it would be illegal under EU law.

    Either way its bad news if borrowing continues, withdraw QE and interest rates will soar or keep QE and induce massive inflation.

  • Comment number 60.

    Darling's motto seems to be 'a problem ignored is a problem solved'. He knows that he will turfed out of office sometime next year, so instead of dealing with the real issues of cutting government waste now, he raises taxes and carries on as usual. It will soon be someone else's problem!

    Part of the thinking behind the so-called 'fiscal stimulus' was to pump non-existent money into the economy to keep things ticking over when times were bad. But piling up debt for the future is simply putting off dealing with our unhealthy economy.

    It is clear that the people who created this mess do not have a clue.

  • Comment number 61.

    Governments are a system. They work independent of the people in them. The people in them are carers of the system. They are there to serve the citizens of the area governed by the system.

    Governors are there to serve, citizens are there to be served.

  • Comment number 62.

    Thankyou London Harris. The barter system never really worked to the full extent as some people may have not had anything to barter with that another individual wanted. That was not to say that someone else did not want what he had. England used the tally stick system after barter where by a stick was snapped into 2 pieces. This worked very well as a medium of exchange as it was almost impossible to counterfeit as no 2 sticks "snap" in the same way.

    Money as such came about hundreds of years ago when people used to deposit their gold with a goldsmith and was issued with a promisary note from the goldsmith. People realised that instead of having to go and get their gold to trade, they could simply give their goldsmith's note to someone else. This is how the trust in money came about. The goldsmith realised however that no more than 10% of people came to collect their gold at one time. As a result he issued 10 times the notes that he had gold in his vault. While this was considered "illegal" it was convenient for trading and helped grow the economy. This is the basis for banks today. They only have 10% deposits for the entire amount that a bank has leant out. That is why we saw the run on Northern rock. A run on a bank is very easy is people feel jittery.

    The Americans had a largely debt free money system before the civil war. It was issued by individual states debt free in some cases. Apparently it created a great deal of wealth for the people. England did not approve of the colonies effectively becoming independent and debt free of them. Backed by the King and banking interests this was the prime cause of the American civil war. This is not really taught in history for the truth is worrying. But look at the quotations of the people who were there at the time. Indeed part of the American constitution states that it will be the government that coins its own money. This was shattered in 1913 by the signing of the Federal Reserve Act. It was a bill designed by bankers at a meeting on Jekyll Island. It effectively gave the bankers the right to steal the wealth of the poeple.

    The whole situation is coming to a head now, where shorlty we will not be able to pay the interest on the current debt

  • Comment number 63.

    #59. will wrote: in response to my

    "We must therefore assume that George Osborne and the Tories see zero or real negative interest rates as 'high'.!!!!!!

    Someone show me where I am logically wrong please"

    Your response does not I think respond to my point that if George Osborne says that the present interest rates are high under Labour (at zero or negative), as he must logically be saying then that Tory rates must be less than these - that is to say more negative.

    This is logically daft as it implies that holding monetary assets will cost us even more than at present, under his party's policies, and at the same time we are expected to increase our saving ratio - despite the increased negative incentive to save - the man and his party are economic and financial idiots!

  • Comment number 64.

    It's rather a sobering thought to think that for every 1 Pound borrowed we are now automatically today -9 Pounds in Debt, or that the total income of just 10% of the Nation in productivity employment is supporting 100% of the Nations Income.

    But, then on the other hand I remember back in the 1960's when I was Working in the Public Sector whereby back then according to Work-Study Programmes which calculated that for every one Blue Collar Manual Worker there was a further 3 and a Half White Collar Staff in various Company Offices just looking after that same 1 Manual Worker's interest.
    But back then I always felt sorry for the half a Worker.

    I wonder if we did another up-dated head count on just how many there are today simply sitting around in the various Government Quango and Agencies just "Looking after someone elses interest", while getting paid more than that same 1 Person they are looking after, then perhap indeed this goe's a long way in making up the missing 90% being paid off of the backs of the Working 10% in todays Society.

  • Comment number 65.

    Heresy, I know, but what about abolishing Child benefit? that would reduce the deficit. Why pay people to have children, especially as the world is overpopulated. surprised the ecowarriors haven't suggested it!

  • Comment number 66.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 67.

    This was a politically very clever budget. It was a "Show your Tory hand" budget. The Tories have to show their hand before the next election now. It's a ticking time bomb for any opposition party prior to an election.

  • Comment number 68.

    The budget has budged very markedly.Into sovereign default territory.


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.