What a day. The International Monetary Fund has politely suggested that
Gideon George Osborne should slow the pace of his austerity measures; in response, Osborne has politely suggested that the IMF should go and spin on it.
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The IMF’s chief economist, Olivier Blanchard, told the BBC: “We said that if things look bad at the beginning of 2013 – which they do – then there should be a reassessment of fiscal policy… We think this would be a good time to take stock and see whether some adjustments should now be made.”
He suggested the March budget would be a good time to change tack, adding: “Slower fiscal consolidation in some form may well be appropriate.”
In response, Osborne said: “We have a credible and flexible debt reduction plan. That credibility is very hard-won and easily lost.
He said pension, education and welfare reform was making the UK economy more competitive, and cuts to corporation tax and higher-rate income tax were making the country more attractive to business. “We do have to carry on with the cuts. We’re not about to bring that programme to an end. [It] will go on until 2017. We are walking a difficult road but we are going in the right direction.”
My problem with the IMF is that it is the very organisation that told us our economy had a completely clean bill of health, immediately before the credit crunch, the banking crisis and the first of our recessions. How can we ever trust anything that comes out of it again?
Mr problem with Osborne is that he’s, well, Osborne. Look at what he said – it’s a load of hogwash. We don’t have a credible debt reduction plan – that’s why the credit agencies are poised to strip the UK of the triple-A rating that Mr 0 prizes so much.
Even The Spectator magazine – a Tory rag – has slapped Osborne’s chum David Cameron for lying about the debt. Cameron said his government was “paying down Britain’s debts” – in fact, on his watch, it has risen from £811.3 billion to £1.11 trillion (for those of you who like percentages, that’s from 55.3 per cent of GDP to 70.7 per cent). In other words, both as a percentage of GDP and in real terms, debt has risen by nearly a fifth under this government. And Osborne is the one who was supposed to turn that situation around.
Welfare reform isn’t making the UK economy more competitive, it’s pushing wages down. If the impoverishment of British workers is what Osborne thinks it will take to bring business into the UK, then he isn’t fit to be Chancellor. But then, we knew that anyway.
Cuts to taxes might make us more attractive to businesses, but only because they don’t have to pay as much to the government in order to operate here. That doesn’t help the UK; it helps those private businesses.
So once again, we see how Osborne views his own role – as a kind of corporate vampire, sucking money out of the state and feeding it to private businesses – from abroad, to judge from his statement today. The money he siphons out of the Treasury means a shrivelled, shrunken public spending system – again, something Osborne desperately wants, as he will use it to improperly justify further cuts to services which the British public desperately need and deserve.
Back in 2010, the IMF was recommending austerity and Osborne was shoulder to shoulder with its spokespeople. Now he’s showing his true colours.
But then, what can we expect from a man with such poor morals he even used the Parliamentary expenses system to make a cool £1 million at the taxpayers’ expense?
I wonder what he’ll say tomorrow, if the figures put us into triple-dip recession.