Yesterday saw the release of the June figures for spending, taxing and borrowing. Over the year June 30th total public spending rose by 2.9% in cash terms. As there was no inflation over that year, that is a real increase of 2.9%. I look forward to a flood of articles praising the end of austerity and recognising that real public spending is rising.
The welfare figures also show that despite a good year for creating jobs and getting more people off welfare and into work, the combination of higher rates, more people eligible for various benefits and better take up has led to a 3.6% real increase in the amount of welfare paid out.
The deficit came down a bit, thanks to revenue growing at a lively 4.4%. That’s a big real increase in tax receipts, thanks to higher incomes and more items being purchased and attracting VAT. It would be welcome if more commentators writing about the economy worked from the actual Treasury figures, instead of relying on misleading and wrong opposition soundbites. In order to discuss how we can best look after those in need, we first need to know how much we are currently spending and why it is going up.