Daily Mail heaps bank debt on nation’s shoulders

The media’s attempt to batter the public into a state of economic illiteracy has been ramped up by the Daily Mail’s attempt to conflate bank bail-outs with the government deficit.

The media’s attempt to batter the public into a state of economic illiteracy and turn the mantra ‘strength through cuts’ into a national obsession was ramped up on Friday when the Daily Mail attempted to conflate bank bail-outs with the government deficit in order to strengthen its case for public spending cuts.

According to the Mail, UK national debt stands not at 58 per cent but at a full 240 per cent. The newspaper takes its cues from a recent Centre for Policy Studies report (pdf) in arguing that the true level of UK national debt is four times original estimates when taking into account the debts owed by those banks bailed out by UK taxpayers.

The figure of 240 per cent also includes government pension liabilities even though these are future costs, not costs that are being paid now. The ‘240’ figure prompted Tory MP, Brooks Newmark, one of the report’s authors, to state:

“It is clear that the extent of UK indebtedness is such that the coalition must be relentless in its efforts to cut the deficit as quickly as possible.”

We are being told that our part-ownership of profit-making banks reinforces the need to make hundreds of thousands of people redundant so as to address the deficit. I am at a loss, which is more than can be said for RBS which last year made an operating profit of £3.5 billion.

The coalition and its supporters in the media will seemingly stop at nothing, stoop to any level and use any argument, however tenuous, in order to persuade the public that ripping up public services and laying off public servants is necessary.

The bank bail-outs contribute to national debt, not the deficit. Cutting investment in Education Maintenance Allowance and other programmes may bring the deficit down but it will also create the sort of low growth which makes paying off the national debt a thankless, if not impossible, task. The national debt will only be tackled by fostering a sustained period of strong economic growth through investment in skills, education, transport and infrastructure, research, innovation and enterprise.

Addressing a private sector-induced deficit by putting in place the sorts of public sector cuts which damage the ability of the private sector to grow precisely at a time when the private sector is weak and bank lending is low may help boost short-term corporate profits but it won’t help cut national debt.

Labour must do more to counter the scaremongering that we are seeing in public debate about the size of UK national debt and challenge the media-established economic orthodoxy that the budget deficit is the product of public sector over-spending and can only be addressed through cuts. A low-growth economy is not in anyone’s interest.

26 Responses to “Daily Mail heaps bank debt on nation’s shoulders”

  1. Lynn Hancock

    RT @leftfootfwd: Daily Mail heaps bank debt on nation’s shoulders: http://bit.ly/g6Bqbr writes Mark Anderson #DailyFail

  2. Claire Godwin

    RT @leftfootfwd: Daily Mail heaps bank debt on nation’s shoulders: http://bit.ly/g6Bqbr writes Mark Anderson #DailyFail

  3. Andy Bean

    RT @leftfootfwd: Daily Mail heaps bank debt on nation’s shoulders http://bit.ly/e0IaHG

  4. Press Not Sorry

    RT @leftfootfwd: Daily Mail heaps bank debt on nation’s shoulders: http://bit.ly/g6Bqbr writes Mark Anderson #DailyFail

  5. Spir.Sotiropoulou

    RT @leftfootfwd: Daily Mail heaps bank debt on nation’s shoulders http://bit.ly/e0IaHG

  6. yorkierosie

    RT @leftfootfwd: Daily Mail heaps bank debt on nation’s shoulders: http://bit.ly/g6Bqbr writes Mark Anderson #DailyFail

  7. Jim Thompson

    RT @leftfootfwd: Daily Mail heaps bank debt on nation’s shoulders: http://bit.ly/g6Bqbr writes Mark Anderson #DailyFail

  8. Dave M

    RT @leftfootfwd: Daily Mail heaps bank debt on nation’s shoulders: http://bit.ly/g6Bqbr writes Mark Anderson #DailyFail

  9. Chris

    RT @leftfootfwd: Daily Mail heaps bank debt on nation’s shoulders: http://bit.ly/g6Bqbr writes Mark Anderson #DailyFail

  10. Eric Chase

    Daily Mail heaps bank debt on nation's shoulders | Left Foot Forward: According to the Mail, UK national debt st… http://bit.ly/eihyfm

  11. scandalousbill

    The Centre for Policy Studies report states:

    “This massive increase arises because the official statistics now (for the first time) take full
    consideration of the total liabilities of the banks which have been rescued, and the full cost of all
    measures that have been used in the financial crisis that broke in 2008.”

    To bolster their argument they note that this is the official ONS assessment.
    The problem is that I cannot remember a single instance where anyone who buys common shares in any corporation, banking or otherwise, is then required, as a shareholder, to assume the total financial liabilities for that organization. I cannot wait for the ONS to justify this claim.

    More interestingly, what would be their assessment when these shares are sold? The revenues acquired via the sale would be based only the then listed price. Even if they were sold at 10 times the original purchase price, they would be unlikely to show anything but a loss under this new assessment method.

    I would think that the ONS needs to do a rethink and adjust their calculations.

  12. reded

    The Icelandic nation have pointed the way. Throw off the banksters’ yoke comrades. Can’t pay, won’t pay!

  13. Mark Stevo

    “To bolster their argument they note that this is the official ONS assessment.
    The problem is that I cannot remember a single instance where anyone who buys common shares in any corporation, banking or otherwise, is then required, as a shareholder, to assume the total financial liabilities for that organization. I cannot wait for the ONS to justify this claim.”

    I think the reality is that the state will step in to cover those debts in the event of insolvency (at least until someone works out how to fix the Too Big To Fail issue. I don’t disagree with your overarching point – the state doesn’t pay the interest on bank borrowings and there seems to be a much lower chance of being called on that assumed liability than say Ireland, where the banks still look deeply troubled.

  14. scandalousbill

    Mark Stevo,

    Even if the government steps in the case of insolvency to perform more bailouts, this figure would, or should, appear nowhere in current government accounts. It would be a new spend, not a budgeted one. It would further be a matter of choice, not legal obligation. The purchase of RBS and Lloyds shares differ strongly from outright nationalization, even though in the case of EBS the state’s position is that of a significant majority of shares.

  15. Mark Stevo

    At the risk of derailing the thread, the world would be a better place if organizations (and nation states) took account of liabilities before they materialised based on the probability of them appearing, rather than waiting for someone to ask for the money.

  16. Pucci Dellanno

    RT @leftfootfwd: Daily Mail heaps bank debt on nation’s shoulders: http://bit.ly/g6Bqbr writes Mark Anderson #DailyFail

  17. Jono Bad

    RT @leftfootfwd: Daily Mail heaps bank debt on nation’s shoulders: http://bit.ly/g6Bqbr writes Mark Anderson #DailyFail

  18. Anon E Mouse

    What a stupid headline.

    How can the “Daily Mail heap bank debt on nation’s shoulders”.

    Despite it’s links with Gordon Brown it’s only a newspaper…

  19. Mr. Sensible

    And if we continue to undershoot growth forecasts, what will this do for the deficit?

  20. Mark Stevo

    Depends on the associated spending cuts doesn’t it? You’re not still projecting negative growth in Q1 are you?

  21. Mark Stevo

    Sorry Mr S., I may have confused you with someone else.

  22. Daniel Pitt

    Daily Mail heaps bank debt on nation’s shoulders: http://bit.ly/g6Bqbr #DailyFail #ConDemNation

  23. Clive

    WHEN WILL YOU SHEEPEOPLE GET THE BLOODY MESSAGE!

    We’re dammed if we do, and we’re dammed if we don’t – anyone who tells you is either a politicians canvassing for votes – or a fantasist.

    ALL GOVERNMENTS ARE HEADING FOR THIS DILEMMA.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/guest-post-feds-most-dangerous-game-checkmate

    Backed into a corner – you see despite what the politicians say – this crisis was never ‘solved’, it wasn’t even tackled or recognised – all it was was KICKED DOWN THE ROAD.

    I don’t know how to put this nicely – so I won’t – we are totally fucked, it’s just a matter of time before the big balls drop – Spain defaults and collapses the Euro, the US loses it’s status as a reserve currency and China tries to slow it’s overheating economy (which will either work and send the rest of us into depression, or it will fail and the worlds second largest economy hits uncontrolled price increases)

    We call it the ‘black swan clusterflock’ and when you add into the mix a nuclear catasrophe in Japan, a middle east uprising, numerous earthquakes and forest fires in Russia – it all adds up to mass carnage.

    Your politicians missed it first time around – and they’re going to miss it a second time around. Don’t be surprised if ‘a war’ or ‘a terrrorist incident’ occurs at the point of collapse in order to provide cover or a distraction.

    WAKE UP SHEEPEOPLE

  24. Anon E Mouse

    Clive – Calm down fella. We all know the world needs a different model to run on – we’ve all seen “inside Job” but your post is just OTT.

    There was not a “nuclear catastrophe” as you call it in Japan – just an accident and forest fires in Russia are not going to result in “mass carnage”.

    Of course if you have a solution to your ‘black swan clusterflock’ please feel free to let us in on it…

  25. Mark Stevo

    I don’t consider myself a member of the tin-foil hat brigade, but he’s right when it comes to the US – without adjustment of some form the merry-go-round will stop at some point.

  26. Overcome Depression

    I would like to add that if you do not actually have an insurance policy or you do not belong to any group insurance, you may well benefit from seeking the aid of a health insurance agent. Self-employed or those with medical conditions generally seek the help of an health insurance dealer. Thanks for your blog post.

Leave a Reply