What a lovely point

The Institute for Fiscal Studies said that despite “two parliaments of pain”, the Conservative-led austerity drive had made little difference to public spending when measured as a share of national income and compared with pre-downturn levels.

So there’s been no austerity then?

11 thoughts on “What a lovely point”

  1. I wonder how much the interest burden has risen by, which means consequent reductions elsewhere if the total has remained the same.

  2. Here in local authority land we have had cuts, so someone else must be having a good time.

  3. Yep, it’s pensions really.

    So-called departmental budgets, the NHS excluded, have been cut, quite severely in some cases.

    But all the money saved has ended up in the maw of ‘annually managed expenditures’ and debt interest. AME is basically social security transfers, but pensions is the fast-growing part of this.

    See chart 3 here http://m.huffpost.com/uk/entry/8553002
    (Sorry for huffpo link but the chart is clear enough, even if a little dated the trends have continued).

    Our oldsters are basically impoverishing us. But it’s ok because they ‘earned their pensions’… which is presumably why they are so well-funded now :rollseyes:

    There hasn’t actually been any significant austerity in £ terms, which is what makes me so angry about the bleating of the left (and why guardianista calls of Tory Armageddon sound so out of touch).

    What the Cameron governments really did was pause spending and move resources from almost everything else to pensions. At least our economy has grown a bit so the %gdp burden is down a little.

  4. I wonder if the pensions figures bandied about are gross, or net of income tax? My old-age is notionally about £500 per month, and true, it is paid gross, but overall it is taxed along with everything else I have as income (so it is at 40%), and therefore I see £300 out of the notional £500. As to what they should be, that is a different question.

    Pensions for state employment are considerably higher, but then are commensurately taxed.

    I’m a through-and-through Conservative, but talk of austerity is complete ovaries. We should have had it and therefore be in a better financial position than not having it and yet allowing opposition to cane us with it.

    As far as bleating about government departmental expenditure going down, it should do. The point is to spend the available sums wisely and economically, and that is simply not the case, and never has been, with central and local government in the UK.

  5. Oblong,
    Thanks for the detail. So the pensions triple-lock was a spectacularly bad idea. As everyone said at the time.

  6. Yes it was a bad idea in terms of fiscal policy and intergenerational fairness.

    Might have proved successful at winning a few votes though…

  7. I would have thought that most pensioners spend their cash they get fairly readily on slippers, Werthers Originals, day trips to the seaside and presents for the grandkids. I am buying shares in manufacturers/suppliers of the above, plus tartan blankets, thermos flasks and padded coats for Yorkie terriers. Also that little A4 pamphlet featuring weird gardening implements and things you never knew you needed for your kitchen which comes with the Sunday papers.

  8. Let’s ignore the politics.

    “austerity drive had made little difference to public spending when measured as a share of national income and compared with pre-downturn levels.

    So before GR public spending was x% of the economy. After GR public spending is x%. We all got much poorer, at least in the short term, but at the government’s portion of the economy didn’t increase. Good show.

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