May 29: Setting record straight on Labour’s spending ‘excesses’

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From: Allan Davies, Grimsby.

YOUR letter writer Mrs W Abbott (The Yorkshire Post, May 21) quotes columnist Tom Richmond: “Unless the Labour Party apologises for past spending excesses....”. Which excesses?

From 1997-2007, public finances were in better shape than at any time during Ken Clarke’s time in office from 1993-97. It was only after the economic crash for which the bankers were entirely responsible that the deficit rose markedly. The cost of unemployment benefits increased, tax receipts fell and then, when Mr Brown took the initiative in recapitalising the banks which otherwise would have collapsed, the deficit grew further. By some sleight of hand, the bankers’ private debt became public sector debt.

When Mr Cameron became PM in 2010, the economy had already recovered by some three per cent from Q1 2009 to Q3 2010. George Osborne’s contribution was to introduce austerity policies which brought stagnation for two-and-a-half to three years. When the economy regained the pre-crash level, the UK was the sixth of the G7 group to do so. Only Italy lagged behind. By that time, there had been a marked increase in population, and there were also more people in jobs. It also follows that living standards had fallen – and productivity had also fallen. It is the fall in productivity which is most worrying, for the trend since 1970 had shown an increase of 2-2.9 per cent per annum. UK productivity is now some 30 per cent behind the world’s leaders.

I suggest that the economic situation in 2010 was far less dire than has been portrayed, and that it is far from being as rosy today as David Cameron tells us.

When did a government last preside over five years of both falling living standards and falling productivity, and still be re-elected?

From: J Hutchinson, York.

IRRESPECTIVE of whether you agree or not with the letter written by Colin Proctor (‘Thatcher was such a disaster for this country’, The Yorkshire Post, May 26), I would ask him why, after 10 years of Tony Blair the country was worse off when he left office than when he came to power in 1997?

Surely 10 years is enough to at least address some of the perceived wrongs of the previous Tory administration?

From: Andrew Mercer, Guiseley.

IT smacks of desperation to blame Margaret Thatcher for current woes. What about Gordon Brown and Ed Balls?