Firstly let me say that this was just the first of many very difficult decisions that we as a Labour Council will have to make in the next four years. They are decisions that we would prefer we did not have to make but we are being forced into them by the Coalition government who have embarked on this ideologically driven and reckless plan to clear off the national debt in five years.
Bell’s first mistake is to confuse the national debt (what we owe) with the deficit (how much we are adding to what we owe in the year). In his budget speech Tory chancellor George Osborne talked about eliminating the structural deficit by the next election.
The structural deficit is not the whole deficit but an estimate of what part of it is “built in” and will not be squeezed out by resumption of trend economic growth. The structural deficit is the irresponsible bit of the deficit – the spending your kids’ inheritance bit of the deficit.
In May the OECD reckoned that the UK had the worst structural deficit in the OECD. Not quite sure what is “ideologically driven and reckless” about tackling that! Funny how easily the evil Tories got the lovable LibDems to sign up to their deficit reduction plan. Maybe Cllr Bell is just on the wrong side of the argument?
Does Cllr Bell know what the deficit is? Probably not. In the last financial year it was £155 billion. Don’t glaze over. That is about £5,000 for everyone who works in the UK. Let me repeat, the Labour legacy to the working people of Britain was to borrow £5,000 on each of their behalfs in just one year. In the current year it is due to be £149 billion. Pretty much another £5,000.