Tuesday’s letters: Transfer of resources to private sector is way to cut UK debt

From: Gordon Lawrence, Stumperlowe View, Sheffield.

the latest GDP figures reveal the Government is trapped between a rock and a hard place as growth slows and inflation accelerates, with the inherited deficit a monumental threat dominating the entire nation’s well-being.

The two Eds’ (Miliband and Balls) answer to the problem is to slow repayment of the deficit on the mantra you can’t cure the deficit without growth; increasing public expenditure would no doubt boost growth but only in the very short term. In the medium and long term, it would metamorphose into chronic stagflation.

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Unless the structural deficit is dealt with quickly, which, logically, involves transferring resources from the bureaucratic, deadweight public sector to the entrepreneurial private sector, the deficit will continue to erode our economy. This, intrinsically, is the Osborne strategy.

Clearly, it coincides very much with Tory principles but is the antithesis of Labour’s. Inevitably, however, it is the only way forward for a sustained recovery.

For Ed Miliband to attempt to absolve the Brown-Balls partnership for the economic shambles that the Cameron Government has to deal with, and blaming the coalition for this misfortune, is like blaming the Titanic for damaging icebergs.

Our budget deficit is the highest in Europe, the National Debt broke through the trillion pound barrier on January 18 and soon the debt will be 100 per cent of GDP and that excludes a number of off-book liabilities such as public sector pension funding, equivalent to many billions.

The Brown-Balls partnership spent money like a latter day King Midas, even selling half our gold reserves at knock-down prices – $270 per ounce, now $1,300 per ounce – and to what purpose? What happened to all the tinkering, multiple initiatives and more grandiose social engineering projects?

The truth is plainly revealed in all the international comparison tables where our rankings have plunged like a lead balloon in rarefied air. From standards in education, 18-25 unemployment, levels of tax, competitiveness, cancer survival, personal debt, to teenage pregnancies and split families, our ratings are embarrassing. What a legacy!

From: Richard Bridge, Market Place, Snaith.

FIVE years ago, I was offered the opportunity of a new career after 17 years in the private sector. My role was a financial inclusion fund worker, better known as a debt adviser.

It opened the door to me to working in the voluntary sector and gave me a small inkling to see what is was really like for people who live off benefits, have debt problems, may be at risk of losing their homes, have suffered discrimination, have lost their jobs or have suffered domestic abuse. I could go on but it remains a privilege to advise those people on their rights.

Those people are the same as me and you. They are inspirational, funny, sad, grumpy, angry, but one thing that always strikes me is that they appear staggeringly brave and resilient. Possibly because they have no other choice.

Now this coalition intends to close the funding of the Financial Inclusion Fund which will decimate the provision of debt advice in this country. Citizens Advice Bureaux, already under-funded and subject to cuts, will not be able to cope. Apart from 1,000 people losing their jobs, there will be thousands of people all over the country who will despair and will now never know that they could reschedule their debt repayments, could save their house, could even enter into insolvency. Creditors will make hay, and especially the doorstep lenders (aka the legal loan sharks) who will continue to exploit those who cannot obtain credit elsewhere.

The result will be further untold misery heaped on the ignominy of one having lost one’s job, home, pride and dignity. The cost of the funding approximated to £40m per annum – the social and health (both mental and physical) costs will are incalculable.

As with EMA, it is an illogical choice of cut and once again affects those most in need.