Let me have one more go at explaining to all those commentators and opposition politicians who claim there have been massive cuts in the public sector. Overall the public sector continues to grow, led by the growth in real spending on important areas like health and education. Whilst some individual departments and programmes have been reduced, overall there has been real growth. So can we now have some accuracy in reporting, and an end to the lies based on no figures or garbled and selective numbers?
Yesterday the ONS produced the official figures for the year to September 2014. They said:
“Government final consumption increased by 0.3%,(Q3) following a 1.4% increase in the second quarter. Between Q3 2013 and Q3 2014 government final consumption increased by 1.9%”. These figures are in real terms.
The same official figures showed that growth in government consumption added 0.2% to the total economy in Q1 2014, another 0.3% in Q2 and an additional 0.3% in Q3. This follows the performance in 2013 when public consumption showed a small real increase.
The ONS revised down total growth of the economy for the most recent year to September to 2.6% from 3.0%, but it still leaves the UK as the fastest growing major economy apart from the USA. There are also signs now of rising private sector consumption, with more imports adversely affecting the balance of payments, along with a reduced balance on income from investments. People are saving less and spending more.
As a result of the better growth rate, the UK economy is now 2.9% above the previous peak, and has recouped all of the 6% crash in output recorded in the Great Recession at the end of the last decade.