Comedy prime minister David Cameron has urged voters in the forthcoming general election not to pass on a “legacy of debt” to their children. This is clearly advice to vote for anybody but the Conservative Party.
His words came as an economic expert finally demolished the claims made in his first, lying, election poster and others pointed out that he has failed to fulfil other key pledges from 2010.
David Blanchflower, writing in The Independent, took the Tories to task for the lies on their poster.
Starting with the claim that the national deficit has been halved, he pointed out: “The size of the deficit itself has shrunk from £153bn when the Coalition took office in May 2010 to £91bn today, so it is down by around 40 per cent, or nearer to a third than a half.
“GDP is up, so when the deficit is expressed as a proportion of GDP it has indeed halved from 10.2 per cent of GDP to five per cent. It should be said, though, that the reduction in the deficit is nowhere near what George Osborne claimed it would be in his Budget statement in June 2010.: ‘The formal mandate we set is that the structural current deficit should be in balance in the final year of the five-year forecast period, which is 2015-16 in this Budget’.
Mr Blanchflower said the claim that 1.75 million jobs have been created is “false.” He showed three ways of calculating job figures and none produced the amount suggested in the poster: “No way, no how, can you get 1.75 million jobs created.
He continued: “The Tories continue to boast that the fact there are now nearly 31 million people in work means ‘there are more people in work’ than ever before… It could also be said that there more people inactive than ever before. This is just because there are more people than ever before – 16-plus population is up 3.2 per cent since May 2010.”
He said the claim that “the NHS has more doctors and nurses and money than it has had in its history” is also wrong for the same reason: “The population… has grown by nearly two million since 2010. The number of people age 65 and over, who make greater demands on the health service than young people, is up by around 800,000 since 2010. So spending more on a bigger population could be entirely consistent with spending less per person and of care worsening as demands on the service increase. That presumably helps to explain the evolving A&E crisis in the NHS.”
Finally, on the claim that 760,000 more businesses have been created: “This claim uses data… which includes unregistered businesses which don’t pay VAT or PAYE and have no employees – in other words, self-employed people working alone, some in partnerships.
“Careful work by Channel 4 Factcheck has helpfully noted that if you simply count (as the ONS does) the number of registered new firms who pay VAT and/or PAYE… the number of registered new firms is 163,275, or around a fifth of the Tories’ claim.” He went on to show that the number of successful businesses created by the Coalition was 4,400 – around 1/172 of what was claimed.
Meanwhile, on the blog Left Foot Forward, two other Cameron promises were trashed – his claim to protect the NHS, and his plan to reduce immigration.
“Last week figures were released showing that the health service is experiencing the worst A&E waiting times since records began back in 2004. This in part stems from problems experienced by GP surgeries, with many patients turning up at A&E because they are unable to get a doctor’s appointment.
According to the Royal College Of General Practitioners, 50 million patients will be turned away from GP surgeries next year because of government underfunding. There is also a potential shortage of GPs coming further down the line: under the coalition the number of family doctors per 100,000 people has fallen to 66.5 – down from 70 in 2010.
“Operations to replace hips, knees and cataracts are also being rationed in certain areas of the country, with elderly people having to either go without or pay.”
In addition, it has been revealed that 25 cancer treatments will no longer be provided by the NHS in England, putting an end to Cameron’s claims that his government has delivered better cancer care.
Moving on to immigration, Left Foot Forward stated: “Back in 2010, David Cameron promised, “no ifs, no buts’ to cut net migration – the difference between people moving to the UK and those leaving – to the tens of thousands – despite warnings that the figure was undeliverable.
“Net migration is now above 200,000, its highest level since 2011. According to the Office for National Statistics, estimates for the 12 months to the end of September 2014 revealed a net flow of 212,000 migrants to Britain, compared with 154,000 the previous year.”
This puts Cameron’s speech in context. When he said voters faced a choice between the “road to recovery” and the “path to ruin”, he may have been trying to steal the catchline used by his critics about that infamous election poster – but voters have already made their decision about it. It will be clear that the “path to ruin” is Conservative policy.
“When you look at the children you love, do you want to land them with a legacy of huge debts?” he said. “Do you want to limit their future, to make life more difficult for their generation, because we refuse to do the right thing in our generation?” Of course people don’t. That’s why nobody in their right mind with an income around the national average or less will be voting Conservative.
He warned that “the writing is on the wall” for the country if it fails to deal with its debts, the consequences of which could mean higher taxes, higher interest rates and less money to spend on public services such as hospitals and schools. The Conservatives have not only failed to deal with the nation’s debts; they have created worse debts. A vote for the Tories is a vote for increased public debt.
And in the context of the facts related above, Cameron’s claim that “not a penny” would be cut from the NHS budget over this period, so “everyone gets the care they need” is clearly disingenuous. Health services are failing because of the Tory NHS Crisis and an increasingly-profit-driven service will not put matters right – the money will go into shareholders’ pockets rather than into care.
Cameron deliberately dodged the issue of immigration, saying it would be addressed “through the prism” of other subjects including jobs, taxes, home-ownership, education and retirement. In other words, if you’re worried about immigration, Cameron will do nothing for you.
Tories rob the poor to pay the rich. The fact that the national debt is still rising to the £1.5 trillion mark, despite punitive cuts to the incomes of the poorest, demonstrates that better than any verbal argument.
Cameron is a liar and a thief, and his government is responsible for the deaths of many thousands of vulnerable people who couldn’t cope when his government stopped the benefits they had funded with their taxes.
Think about that when you vote on May 7.
Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike
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