George Osborne announces public expenditure to rise – shock!
Sometimes our press and media do go just a little overboard.
Yes I accept that some departmental budgets in Whitehall are going to be reduced, by a tiny fraction in the whole big scheme of things, but after some of the histrionics and excesses seen in the headlines over the past week it is worth digging out Chancellor Osborne’s Budget Speech to see what he actually said about overall public expenditure.
Current expenditure will rise from £637 billion in 2010-11 to £711 billion in 2015-16.
I offer that for all of you who somehow thought that a huge axe had cut swathes of money away from public spending, just imagine what YOU could do with £74bn over a five year period.
Although this is an increase, the House should remember that we inherit a rapidly rising bill for debt interest – a bill that won’t start falling until the debt itself starts to fall.
So there we have it, Osborne announced an increase in spending, much of that increase is of course due to the haemorrhaging debts and associated interest payments that Brown’s government has left us with, but nonetheless public expenditure is to continue increasing over the life of this government. It seems likely that at the end of this current Parliament the coalition government may manage to bring the debt under some tighter control, and they may have to reduce more departmental expenditure to free up money for interest repayments, they may have to increase some tax revenues to keep essential services protected, but at the end of the day they may be seen as another government which failed to halt the growth in public expenditure, or indeed failed to reduce it.