The Government’s plan is to increase national debt by £600 billion over this Parliament, from 2010 to 2015. Despite this fact, just 10 per cent of the public understand that debt is planned to go up, according to a ComRes poll for the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS). Incredibly, 47 per cent of us think that the Government plans to cut national debt by £600 billion – the complete opposite of the reality. Meanwhile, 12 per cent think it plans to keep national debt at the same level and the remaining 32 per cent said they didn’t know.
The Government does plan to cut the deficit, or the amount of additional borrowing it piles onto the national debt each year. So it does intend to make the national debt bigger at a slower speed, with steadily smaller increases each year. But the Government’s Budget plans are clear: they plan to borrow even more money and increase the debt every year until the next election in 2015.
So why are so many people so factually incorrect in their understanding about the Government’s plans for debt? As this great CPS video shows, it could be because the most senior members of the Government, including the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, have not exactly been entirely accurate about it when talking to the media.
Before the election, Gordon Brown told Gillian Duffy that he had a plan to “cut the debt in half over the next four years”. Meanwhile, George Osborne told a conference that “we should never take our eyes off the prize: a British economy free from its debt.”
Such talk is downright misleading. It’s no wonder the public have been hoodwinked into thinking that politicians are doing something about our soaring debt when the truth is that all they disagree about is how fast it should keep on climbing. And it’s also no surprise why the talk is only really about how fast we should be hiking up our debt.
Despite the rhetoric about cuts and despite already being almost half way through the current Parliament, the Government has only managed to implement six per cent of the cuts to the proportion of national income consumed by current expenditure that it had planned. Meanwhile, it has made much faster work of hiking taxes, having carried out over 60 per cent of its tax raising plans. And that’s why the British economy is going nowhere.
Spending is too high. Taxes are too high. Plan B isn’t working. It’s time to try Plan A.