Some replies to the new that real public spending grew by 1.6% contributing positively to economic growth said they did not think government could produce positive output. I have used official figures, based on normal GDP accounting conventions.
Presumably all agree that if someone sets up a fee paying school or a private healthcare business the income for those ventures add to GDP. Similarly if the state provides education and health care paid for by tax and borrowing that too adds to GDP. One of the main reasons for the positive increase in state output was more students educated and more patients treated by the state.
I have also been criticised for failure to understand causality. I did not comment on causes in the short piece I wrote. Some of the increased state spending resulted from its high borrowing and from the state of the economic cycle. Some came from positive decisions to increase spending as with overseas aid and EU programmes. Some came from increased numbers needing services, and some from chosen service improvements.
The interesting thing is that high levels of borrowing-fiscal stimulus- and of spending have not prevented a downturn. The situation shows that action is needed to bring about the private sector led ecovery the government seeks.