We have had too much austerity in this country – in the private sector in the period 2007-9. I opposed it at the time. I now support policies to give us private sector prosperity again. That’s more prosperity for every individual and family. I want to see more jobs, more better paid jobs, lower taxes and better living standards for the many.
The absurd political debate between the parties of the left argues about austerity in the public sector. Look at the figures. Total managed public spending was just£629 billion in 2008-9, and was £732 billion in 2014-15. The severe cuts, the reductions in income and spending power, took place in the private sector, mainly between 2007 and 2010, thanks to Labour’s great recession. Real incomes fell, many people were thrown out of work and lost all their earned income, there were pay cuts, the end of bonuses and reduced overtime.
Why did this happen? Because a Labour government helped by the FSA, the banking regulator it set up, and by the Bank of England, put interest rates up too high, starved the banking system of cash, and forced the banks to lend less and slim their balance sheets. They did this because in the preivous period they had allowed the banks to expand too much, lend too much, and had not required them to hold sufficient cash and capital. Their asterity policy was too extreme and too fast acting, so it brought several banks down, and with it private sector credit, jobs and incomes.
I urged them not to overexpand bank balance sheets and not to allow mega mergers on the way up, and urged them to be less severe and allow longer for adjustment on the way down. When the coaltion came into power they caried on for a bit with the extreme bank slimming policies for RBS andLloyds/HBos they inherited from Labour, which kept the economy from growing. The economy started to perform much better when the government changed its approach to RBS after a couple of years, and started to build a decent UK bank that could help finance a good recovery.
The UK had too much austerity inflicted on it by Labiour at the end of the last decade. For the last couple of years we have seen growth resume, with many more people in jobs and with some growth in pay, overtime and bonuses. That is what we need. Tax cuts for the many will also help drive a rise in living standards and more jobs and activity.
Can the debate please concentrate on where we have suffered from austerity, and what are the best policies to banish austerity from the homes of the UK?Higher taxes and more public sector borrowing will not promote greater individual wealth and income.