March 24 Letters: Being economical with the facts can’t change the truth

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From: Gordon Lawrence, Stumperlowe View, Sheffield.

ROBERT Reynolds (The Yorkshire Post, March 16) challenges the Government’s economic competence and enumerates some statistics in an attempt to establish his case. Indeed, he regards anyone who believes the coalition is doing a reasonably successful job as a nut case.

I’m afraid, however, it is Mr Reynolds who should be enjoying the services of a head shrinker. In his letter, he never cites the condition of the economy that the Cameron government inherited. Labour sympathisers, for a long time, have been trying very hard to exonerate the Blair/Brown dynasty from culpability in the unmitigated shambles they left. To accuse the Tories of economic failure, I’m afraid, is the equivalent of blaming the Titanic for damaging icebergs.

Robert Reynolds, however, is correct in asserting that the National Debt, the country’s total accumulated debt, has almost doubled since 2010 (£0.76 - £1.74 trillion). The simple reason for this apparently appalling figure is that Labour left a staggering annual deficit of more than £150bn that represented an annual rise of that amount in the National Debt. Naturally, he neglects to mention such a crucial fact. It’s also interesting to record that Gordon Brown more than doubled the National Debt during the last five years of his tenure (£0.33 - £0.76 trillion).

By implementing its so-called austerity programme, the coalition has managed to reduce the key annual deficit from £150bn to about £90bn – a programme that Labour has resisted all the way. The £90bn current deficit is admittedly a big burden and means the National Debt will keep on growing until the Government can reduce the deficit to zero – a tall task. The interest on the £1.4 trillion total debt, as Mr Reynolds observes, is about £40bn per year and constitutes a profound drain on vital government functions. But without the unpopular struggle to reduce the deficit where would we be? Would it be like the 1970s when Labour had to call in the IMF to rescue the economy? Indeed, it’s become almost traditional practice for the Tories to sort out the mayhem left by their left wing rivals.

There’s no doubt Robert Reynolds has quoted accurate figures but by careful selection and excluding essential events 
he has skilfully, or naively, arrived at a completely false assessment.

In fact, when the other positive factors of Osborne’s economic performance – employment, growth and inflation – are evaluated the UK stands out internationally as a much applauded role model.