Top City journalist: Osborne needs to move on from cuts and restore growth

Leading City journalist Anthony Hilton has said the government needs to "move on from tough talk about cuts", and concentrate on restoring economic growth.

Leading City journalist Anthony Hilton has said the government needs to “move on from tough talk about cuts”, and concentrate on restoring economic growth. Writing in tonight’s Standard, he counters the debt hysteria of George Osborne and co, he points out that “every generation of taxpayers has had to pay the bills of its predecessors”, says the chancellor’s rigid stance “could prove counter-productive” and calls for a “Plan B” for the economy.

He writes:

“Listen to Chancellor George Osborne and you could easily believe government debt was invented by Gordon Brown.

“In fact, he made a pretty big reduction in the debt levels he inherited from his Conservative predecessor John Major – fixing the roof while the sun was shining, to coin a phrase – until he was knocked hopelessly off course by the financial crisis and the need to bail out banks.

“There are many things to criticise Brown over but debt management before the crisis is not really one of them. It does rather underline the pettiness behind the refusal of Osborne and David Cameron to put Brown forward as a potential head of the International Monetary Fund.

“But that’s another story.”

Looking further back, he writes:

“Even today, though Napoleon has been taken care of, the Kaiser hasn’t. Today’s taxpayers may neither know nor care but a small slice of what they hand over to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs every year goes to pay the interest on a couple of billion pounds of debt run up to pay for the First World War and still outstanding.

“Have a look some time at the Government securities section on a stock market prices page and locate War Loan. Launched in 1916 it is still going strong. And it is you who is paying the interest. We did rather better with the Second World War. The last of the millions lent by the US was paid off in 2006.”

And on growth, he writes:

“Nor will debt necessarily stifle economic growth. Throughout the Victorian age, hailed as the golden age of British power economically, militarily and politically, debt did not drop below 100 per cent of GDP until just before the First World War when, of course, it immediately shot back up again.

“It would be wrong to say debt does not matter but we need a sense of proportion – and having made the point, the Government must move on.”

Though Hilton is spot on regarding the government’s attitude to debt, they’re not completely anti-debt – they just believe in privatising it.

21 Responses to “Top City journalist: Osborne needs to move on from cuts and restore growth”

  1. Camden United

    Top City journalist: Osborne needs to move on from cuts and restore growth: //bit.ly/mdK0a2 reports @ShamikDas

  2. Michael

    Top City journalist: Osborne needs to move on from cuts and restore growth – //bit.ly/keyIP2

  3. Tommy

    journalism news Top City journalist: Osborne needs to move on from cuts and restore growth – Left Foot Forward //ow.ly/1d0T54

  4. paurina

    Top City journalist: Osborne needs to move on from cuts and restore growth – //bit.ly/keyIP2

  5. DJE

    Top City journalist: Osborne needs to move on from cuts and restore growth: //bit.ly/mdK0a2 reports @ShamikDas

  6. Elaine S

    RT @TheRightArticle Top City journalist:#Osborne needs to move on from cuts and restore growth – //bit.ly/keyIP2 #politics #Labour RT

  7. Νέα Νέμεσις Εργασίας

    More than a year on, @leftfootfwd still preaching deficit denial to any Fabian or trade-unionist who will listen //bit.ly/jrV7cO

  8. Jas

    More than a year on, @leftfootfwd still preaching deficit denial to any Fabian or trade-unionist who will listen //bit.ly/jrV7cO

  9. 13eastie

    The delusional piffle is utterly risible, Shamik!

    “…he made a pretty big reduction in the debt levels he inherited from his Conservative predecessor John Major [sic] – fixing the roof while the sun was shining, to coin a phrase – until he was knocked hopelessly off course by the financial crisis and the need to bail out banks.”

    This was in a parallel universe to the one in which LFF produced this chart, presumably? //www.leftfootforward.org/2011/05/tax-and-spending-under-new-labour-and-mrs-thatcher/

    That anyone could conceive of such drivel (or, for that matter, cite it) should be a cause of hilarity to all!

    In 1997, Brown inherited a healthily growing economy with cyclical spending on the wane – a trend that soon led to a budget surplus with no action taken by Labour at all.

    Brown blathered on about the economic crock of his “Golden Rule” and the “End of Boom and Bust” while at once setting out to construct a millstone of a structural deficit which he operated continuously from 2002 to 2010.

    For six whole years before the banking crisis that he allowed to take place on his watch (which he was 11 years into by then), Gordon spent like a lunatic, dishing new benefits out to all and sundry, throwing money at every problem he could invent, and cooking the books with over-priced, off-balance-sheet PFI projects.

    Whatever //v.gd/MichaelCarroll could do, Gordon could do better it seemed…

    The truth is that, while the sun shone continuously for a decade, Gordon simply sat in a deck chair peering at it through the holes in the roof of his dacha, and through which he was ever hopeful of money spiders plummeting.

    Indeed, despite:
    – Asset prices generating unprecedented tax revenues
    – Pensions being routinely confiscated
    – Utilities being robbed at gunpoint
    – Spending being hidden by PFI’s
    – Innumerable stealth tax increases
    – “Un-pree-cee-dented” sustained growth…

    …GORDON *STILL* RAN A STRUCTURAL DEFICIT!

    If this is your counsel on roof maintenance, Shamik, I’d move to a warmer, sunnier country and buy a leasehold if I were you.

  10. Ed's Talking Balls

    Well, my browsing once again brings me to LFF and yet another article with which I disagree.

    Alas, it seems that I’ve been beaten to the punch by 13eastie, so there’s no need for a lengthy, if obvious, rebuttal.

    I would, however, add selling gold at the bottom of the market to the list of Gordon’s achievements above. Get that man to the IMF!

  11. William

    Evidence based web site?

  12. mr. Sensible

    Osborne continues to lose support…

  13. Richard

    The graph you point to eastie is on tax and spending, not debt. You might as well be comparing chalk and cheese.

    “- Spending being hidden by PFI’s” Oh, like the 60 odd Osborne has signed up to, smashing Brown’s record.

  14. matthew fox

    I see the resident loons are out in force. The economy is forecasted to grow by 0.3% in Q2 and all we get is ” Blame Brown ”

    The PSBR for Apr 11 was £10 Billion, only missing the City’s forecast by £3.5 Billion. The wally brains who tried to defend the borrowing figures forgot to mention VAT was only 17.5% in Apr 10 as opposed to 20% in Apr 11.

    I am glad so many Conservatives are running away from Osborne policies, it goes to show how wrong they have been.

  15. 13eastie

    @5 Richard,

    I’m assuming your post was an attempt at irony, but for the benefit of other readers:

    Subtract tax revenue from spending and you get the deficit.

    Subtract the area under the tax revenue curve from that under the spending curve from that and you get the debt.

    Good luck with your A-Levels!

    (P.S. PMSL at the way you obey your tribal instincts that tell you to view anyone who dares to desecrate the Gordon Brown shrine as some kind of Osborne fanboi – again, best of luck with your dumbed-down A-Levels).

    @6 “forecasted [sic]”? When you run out of facts to invent out of thin air, start on neologisms!

  16. Cat

    @13eastie & other sock puppets

    “The delusional piffle is utterly risible”

    This isn’t LFF op-ed, it is Anthony Hilton’s op-ed.

    “In 1997, Brown inherited a healthily growing economy with cyclical spending on the wane – a trend that soon led to a budget surplus with no action taken by Labour at all.”

    Brown stuck to Clarke’s plans for 2 years, it was Brown’s spending plans that brought about a budget surplus. And while the economy was growing our public infrastructure was crumbling.

    “while at once setting out to construct a millstone of a structural deficit which he operated continuously from 2002 to 2010.”

    Utter drivel, even Osborne couldn’t claim that and keep a straight face. Look up what a structural deficit actually is, you seem to be confused.

  17. paulstpancras

    Top City journalist: Osborne needs to move on from cuts and restore growth – //icio.us/FaPp8w

  18. John Kennedy

    Top City journalist: Osborne needs to move on from cuts and restore growth – //icio.us/FaPp8w

  19. 13eastie

    @8 Cat,

    I’d love to hear your explanation of how Brown’s deficit between 2002 and 2008 had no structural component.

    The options available to you would appear to be:

    a) The deficit was entirely cyclical (during a period of “un-pree-cee-dented” sustained growth)

    b) There was no deficit at all

  20. Daniel Pitt

    Top City journalist: Osborne needs to move on from cuts and restore growth //t.co/x86FQwd #ConDemNation

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