David Cameron and Nick Clegg asserted in the Coalition Agreement (pdf) that tackling public sector debt was the government’s ‘most urgent task’. It has been revealed this morning that across the finance industry, the verdict is failure.
The Treasury has collated 14 independent forecasters’ predictions (pdf, p.18) for net government borrowing over the next four years.
Their collected view is that chancellor George Osborne will borrow billions more than the Office of Budget Responsibility predicted he would in June 2010 (pdf, Table C7, p.90) – or that the OBR said Alistair Darling (pdf, Table 4.5, p.38) would have if Labour had been re-elected.
Here are the raw figures:
At worst, the government’s swinging cuts have stopped the recovery in its tracks, leading to borrowing far above and beyond what they predicted their supposedly profligate rivals intended. At best, with the European and global economy facing such turmoil, the facts have significantly changed since the general election of May 2010.
The current strategy has failed. It’s time for serious change.