I do wonder sometimes upon which planet some members of the Labour Party live.
Your Labour party correspondent from North East Hertfordshire (Comet Letters 31 March) asserts (without providing evidence) that before the financial crisis hit, under Labour “the budget deficit had been just about eliminated. It is not the case that there had been overspending by Labour.”
I refer readers to the Office For National Statistics Statistical Bulletin dated 22 March 2011, table PSF1, which confirms what I have previously stated, which is that from 2001 to 2010 inclusive (all under Labour) there was a huge annual budget deficit each year, culminating in them having to borrow over £154 billion in 2009/2010 alone. These figures exclude financial interventions. The appalling behaviour of some of the banks did not cause the deficit, although it certainly did not help.
It is clear that Labour borrowed heavily even in the earlier years of their13 years in office, that is, when tax revenues were buoyant. It makes sense to borrow during a recession, but not during a lengthy boom, any more than it makes sense for Labour to have sold the UK’s gold reserves at knock-down prices in the same period.
It is this mismanagement of the UK’s economy under Labour that is now essentially the reason for the Coalition Government’s present unfortunate necessity for cuts. They are Labour’s cuts and the price we are paying for Labour’s errors.
Some people even believe that the cuts are needed to “pay back our debts”. Even if the government’s deficit reduction plans work through to 2015, not one penny will have been paid off the National Debt. All that will have been achieved is that our borrowing no longer gets worse year on year. The total debt of (by then) well over £1,000 billion will still be there – to be paid off at some future time by someone – whilst we all pay the interest on it of over £120 million a day.
(Chair, borough and county councillor, Stevenage Liberal Democrats)