« Was it Cameron who triggered the suspension of Ross? | Main | The Tories need a responsible tax cut plan to beat Labour's irresponsible tax cut plan »


Why didn't he lay into Brown's claim to have cut debt? Brown keeps repeating it as if it is fact. Why aren't the Tories tearing this claim apart at every opportunity?

Sound speech; nothing fancy but a clear choice

For better or worse, no-one takes him seriously now on economic matters. he should be removed and a heavyweight replacement found.

Timely article on why Keynesianism is not the answer and never will be:


Brown's continued fiscal policy since The Nantwich and Crewe election, "Borrow to bribe". I hope that resounds everywhere!

Remember however that low interest-rates are emphatically *not* a good thing for the significant number of retired people who depend on interest from savings for a significant slice of their income.

UK debt end 1997 : 413,2 G£, i. e. 49,8 % of GDP (ONS)
UK debt end 2007 : 618,8 G£, i. e. 43,8 % of GDP (ONS)

Factcheck: as a % blue eyes it was down

How can it be good, sensible or, in the long run, sustainable to have interest rates set below the rate of inflation?

Perhaps Mr Osborne can explain.

How can we simultaneously move towards lower interest rates and also borrow ever more money by selling more gilts? If the market is flooded with government securities will the price not collapse, forcing up yields and thus interest rates?

Perhaps Mr Darling can explain.

@Bright Eyes

Plus PFI approx 7% of GDP, plus Northern Rock, plus RBS/HBOS/B&B? Debt still down? Budget deficit since 2002? Debt still down?

Well at least George Osborne comes out talking about the economy rather than being invisible for much of 2008.

Fraser Nelson's view is "So, still no campaigning message to counter Brown’s. This is not the stuff to restore the double-digit Tory lead. Sure, there is good stuff in what Osborne's saying, but it’s a bit of a truffle hunt finding it. It shouldn’t be. Clarity is urgently needed, and I don’t think today’s speech has done much to provide it."

Clearly we need much more from Osborne.

I have been very critical of the party's silence and apparent agreement with Brown but this is GOOD!

The tone is right, the stance is right and there are few hostages to fortune. Maybe all our prodding here woke them up and concentrated their minds on what matters! And it's come out when the Brown-engineered disaster of Equitable is in the headlines

One of the first things Gordon Brown did as Chancellor was to set up the FSA to regulate the companies in the financial sector. They did no such thing - there was a total failure to act anywhere and the first place this hit home was with Equitable where its failure led to losses in the pension funds of 1.5 million savers. No compensation from the Gordon Brown’s Treasury has ever been forthcoming - yet! The Ombudsman says she is hopeful - but she’s an unjustified optimist, I think.

All this time Brown has ignored the warning and failed to tackle the FSA’s uselessness . Northern Rock was the next, followed by Bradford & Bingley , RBS and HBOS - and the rest!

Brown has personally been responsible for allowing this banking collapse to happen . This particular case affects mainly pensions. But then Brown does not care about private pension holders for in his first budget he removed tax-relief from dividends paid to pension funds, which has cost the pensions industry (and the pensioners) £5 billion each year ever since.

The guilty man is still there and public do not seem fully to recognise his incompetence and callousness. With this responsible attack THEY WILL.
Blue Eyes - Well done in your demolition of Bright Eyes!! You could have added Network Rail too.

The GDP figures including PFI are as follows:

1996 51.3%
1997 49.8%
1998 46.7%
1999 43.7%
2000 41.0%
2001 37.7%
2002 37.5%
2003 38.7%
2004 40.4%
2005 42.1%
2006 43.1%
2007 43.8%

A nationalised industry is not a debt, it is an asset, and a guarantee is not the same as having a debt of the same value. Is Norhern Rock really an asset? Well, it's repaid half the taxpayers' loan already; in a private company, this would be considered spectacular. The bank preference shares are a very good deal for the tax payer, too.

Solid performance. It continues to build on a solid base.

This does follow a slow start -- but you certainly don't catch up by starting again!

There is so much to criticise about labour/brown, it can't all be addressed in one go -- I am sure browns other 'not-lies just misunderstandings' will be challenged/addressed over time...

George is coming good.

That 43.8% figure does not include PFI. PFI under the Tories was tiny, for the occasional project not for wholesale spending.

Why has Brown been running a deficit since 2002 while the economy has been booming?

Wasn't he supposed to be running a surplus so that he could borrow during a downturn? Weren't those HIS rules? What happened to Prudence for a Purpose - the purpose of which was to save money on debt interest so that more public money could be spent on actual services?

The idea that Brown has "paid down debt" so that we can "afford" to borrow is bunk.

Public sector net debt, expressed as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), was 43.4 per cent at the end of September 2008,


The ONS ‘helpfully‘ gives us a figure excluding the debt incurred from the Northern Rock rescue which puts the Debt to GDP at 37.9% but they get this figure by knocking £81 billion from our net debt. Perhaps someone here can confirm this but I didn’t think the NR rescue came anywhere near to costing us £81 billion, more like £50 billion.

But thought the ONS helpfully gives us figures excluding NR debt, they don’t extend this helpfulness by giving us figures including the Gordon Brown’s Enron off balance sheet PFI deals, which I understand is in the area of £100 - £150 billion

So in the dullalay wonder land of Gordon Brown the debt is 37.9% but as no one else other than New Labour acolytes inhabit that world you have to add in the PFI deals making the figure more like 44.7%, then if you add in NR its 50.2%, then there is Network rail, public sector pension liabilities and the rest of the bank bail outs to add in.

I know the GDP thing is interesting to the financial junkies...

But from my point of view, I can see the government wasting money they have taken from me as tax. If they didn't waste it, they needn't have collected it, and I would have had it to spend on the things that *I* want.

Regardless of what the figure is, it is higher than it should have been.

Profligacy at the expense of the prudent is *never* right. If things need to be done, then they need to be done and hang the consequences... if they dont need to be done then they shouldn't be done just to use up an over-collection of tax...

"I know the GDP thing is interesting to the financial junkies..."

pp, no its more than that, for it rubbishes Gordon Browns claim of 'prudence'.

The problem as I see it is that domestic supply is always lagging far behind demand and the shortfall is being supplied by imports which forces us to have an overvalued currency propped up by high interest rates with the implications for restricted liquidity. This is why we always pay for growth with imported inflation.

Conservative government strategy should be based on certain key areas. Support for the supply side and ensuring that our economy becomes balanced with domestic supply able to feed demand. This will allow us to have lower interest rates, providing greater liquidity without us having to worry about imported inflation, providing a much needed boost to exporters. We need an export-outlet as a safety-valve for our economy once domestic supply increases so that we don't over-supply.

Once domestic supply feeds demand we will see productivity producing better wages with less need for credit and state top-ups to maintain living-standards. The implications for welfare will be tremendous as people move into jobs, freeing up money for lower taxation. So long as supply outstrips demand, and we have healthy export markets, there can be economic expansion without the danger of inflation.

The reason we are in a mess today is because we are no longer a nation that produces. We have lost the ability to supply our own market and the ability to export. We have now become trapped in a permanent trade-off between liquidity and imported inflation. It isn't by accident that the cost of food staples has soared as Sterling has declined over the year. We are not producing enough wares or foodstuffs as a nation.

David Cameron has talked about rebalancing the economy away from services, this should be the cornerstone of Conservative economic policy going into the next election.

Posted by: Iain | October 31, 2008 at 16:58

So in the dullalay wonder land of Gordon Brown the debt is 37.9% but as no one else other than New Labour acolytes inhabit that world you have to add in the PFI deals making the figure more like 44.7%, then if you add in NR its 50.2%, then there is Network rail, public sector pension liabilities and the rest of the bank bail outs to add in.

NR is a nationalised industry, not a debt. It's repaid half the amount the government put in. It's an asset, as is Network Rail. The Eurostat figures are compiled under code ESA95, and include all PFI debt as part of consolidated government debt.

Things owned by the government are not debts!

"Fraser Nelson's view is "So, still no campaigning message to counter Brown’s."

No, HF, there is a very clear campaign message coming from the Tories. Its just not what Fraser wanted, or advocated personally, which is not the same thing.
There was an interesting debate going on between Danny Finkelstein @Comment Central and Fraser at the Coffee House blog a few days ago which highlights this.

But they need to be paid for Resident Leftie. NR is a debt of more than 11.5bn and will be until it has paid back 100% of that amount,if it ever does. After 15 years of a very beign economic circumstances our position is lamentable. It's why despite our very high interest rates vis a vis our major competitors the pound is so week.History will not be kind to Brown I think.

Here is Fraser Nelson's latest offering on his theme about A lack of clarity.
And this is Danny Finkelstein's latest response Borrowing and Nelson's blind eye.

But mummy and daddy always bail me out when I overspend my twustfund allowance. Why is this any different?


"I know the GDP thing is interesting to the financial junkies..."

pp, no its more than that, for it rubbishes Gordon Browns claim of 'prudence'.

Not to the man in the street... 30%, 40%, 50%, 500% who says what is good? those who have a view are the 'converted' and don't need preaching to...

Further, you allow brown to set the agenda... his breaking of his own rules should not be the /lead/ in a story - the lead should be the mess people see every day, the fact /he/ has broken /his/ own rules should be the icing on the cake. Otherwise he disowns the rules (as is being done) and your arguemnt against him dies, because it was built on /his/ foundations and /he/ has taken them away.

How much tax will be taken to pay for this profligancy and for how many years is a clearer message (underpinned with the GDP figures, but only in the small print for those who want to know).

If, a decade ago, labour had said 'in ten years time, britain will be...' and went on to describe where we now find ourselves. Who would have voted for them (for more than one term - they had to get in in for one term to kill the 'cones hotline')?

The 80s were fun, challenging and full of opportunity for those who wanted it - now things are drab and hopeless - if you want a secure future forget starting your own business, Public Sector is where it is at :-(

In what decade did all those 'dragon' entreupenuers get started? I'll bet it wasn't under labour... And where is the next generation (who would have to have started while labour was in power) coming along?

The GDP figures may establish to 'financial junkies' that gordon has killed prudence, but that needs to be explained to the man in the streat in terms that matter. If you can't explain it to the man in the street in a way that he cares about, then maybe he is right not to care !

We can argue all day about the true cost of PFI, the future cost of unfunded public sector pension liabilities, the “investments” in nationalised businesses, etc.

What the left cannot argue against is that our national debt (straightforward, unambiguous, incontrovertible debt) rose by 20% over the last seven years. The question they must then answer, and I'm hoping resident leftie will take a stab at it, is this: if you cannot afford to be repay your debts in the good times, how the hell do you expect to manage the bad?

The comments to this entry are closed.



ConHome on Twitter

    follow me on Twitter

    Conservative blogs

    Today's public spending saving

    New on other blogs

    • Receive our daily email
      Enter your details below:

    • Tracker 2
    • Extreme Tracker