“Britain is on the mend”
The Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR), a government agency set up to monitor the UK government’s spending, has revised growth figures for 2010 from 1.2 to 1.8%, and predicted job losses in the public sector as a result of the cuts down from around half a million to one third of a million.
The Chancellor claims the revised growth figures from the watchdog are a endorsement of his policies. This isn’t a good argument; the government hasn’t been in power long enough to reasonably take credit, and the growth figures for the next two years have actually been revised down – from 2.3% to 2.1% in 2011, and from 2.8% to 2.6% in 2012 – as a result of the planned VAT rises and spending cuts.
The reduction in estimated job losses comes from deeper cuts to the welfare budget as opposed to Whitehall spending. I think this is news that will put opponents of the welfare cuts who also oppose public sector redundancies in a difficult position. Anyone who rejects the Chancellor’s dilemma would have to demonstrate where exactly how and where they would make cuts – which is actually a fair challenge in my opinion.
The newly released figures are more an endorsement of the actions taken by the previous government in response to the economic crisis, but I don’t expect Gordon Brown or Alistair Darling to get lavish praise from the Chancellor any time soon.