UK Politics

Britains finances spiral out of control, as fear and loathing stalk the land

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Britains finances spiral out of control, as fear and loathing stalk the land

Any idea that the Conservative party is the home of prudent economic and fiscal policy is surely out the window, now that government borrowing has pushed past the £2tn mark.

That eye-watering total amounts to nearly 102% of GDP, the highest level British government debt has been at since 1961, and the highest level ever that isnt related to war-time expenditure.

Its no accident that the countrys Chancellor of the Exchequer is the most popular politician in Britain at the moment either. A large chunk of the money thats been borrowed has been funneled straight into the hands of a panicky electorate, grateful for any source of solace they can find.

In itself thats an unusual turn of events – Chancellors are usually unpopular figures associated with taxation and penny-pinching. But times change. In socialist-conservative Britain, people are paid not to work, and they seem to like it.

Although government policy over coronavirus in general is in chaos, and remains as it always has done, a mass of contradictions, polling has consistently showed that certain key policies remain popular. Giving away money is one. Enforced wearing of masks is another.

But the Chancellor does face some longer-term problems. No one predicted that the nations panic attack would last this long. Remember the talk about “flattening the curve?”. That was achieved in May. Protecting hospitals? – the Nightingales went largely unused. Death rates? Havent moved much over the past couple of months.

Its only case rates that are rising, which is nasty, but its not the Black Death wiping out a third of the European population. Its not even Spanish Flu.

And this is what the predictions got wrong: everyone in authority assumed a kind of emotional and psychological resilience on the part of the British population, which apparently it does not have.

Gone is the Dunkirk spirit, gone is the hardiness that won through in the Blitz. Never mind what the popular press would have you believe, theres little trace at all.

Instead, the Conservative government is being asked to hold everybodys hand every step of the way out of this crisis, and because its a government, and governments like to command and control, its happy to do so.

Having said that, the process is taking longer than predicted, and accordingly the cost is turning out to be much higher too.

How high? That depends how you measure these things.

Every month the countrys furlough scheme cost approximately ten times the annual income of Cancer Research UK. But that kind of trade-off – arguing about the real cost benefits of spending money on one disease rather than another – doesnt even enter into the standard debate.

What will catch peoples attention is when their taxes rise.

Thats coming, no doubt about it.

The popular Chancellor Sunak has spoken about “difficult” decisions ahead. And they will no doubt be very difficult indeed, although if hes got any sense hell be firmly ensconced in the Prime Ministers chair by then.

Why “difficult?” – beRead More – Source