Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 25 October 2012


I completely understand why people might want to march through the streets in protest at the cuts in public spending in the past two years. The trouble is, whoever is in power, there are more cuts to come.

The West is in relative decline against the rapidly emerging economies of China, India, Brazil, South Africa and others. We have known this for some time. These new countries are characterised by a relentless focus on enterprise and economic growth and tangible improvements in the living standards of their own people, albeit from a very low base. The old world (Europe and North America) is characterised by crippling governmental debt, massive budget deficits and in Europe's case welfare systems that we can no longer afford, and living standards that are stuck or declining.

We have two choices we can remain in our bloated state and watch the rest of the new world overtake us and leave any corrective measures to a future generation, or we can take a stand now, reduce public spending, get the deficit down to zero (by 2017) start thereafter to pay off the mountain of public debt and reshape welfare.

The coalition government has chosen the tougher path and I fully support it. It involves painful measures like freezing public sector pay, reshaping public sector pensions to get them into a framework we can afford (whilst protecting people approaching retirement) and reducing budgets that councils have for their services. All of this is happening at the same time as many costs are rising. No wonder people are hurting.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel.

If we can slog through the next few years and get our public finances back into shape there is no reason why we cannot then compete in the world as it will then be and hand on a brighter future for the next generation. If we can get the economy moving again, more people will be employed, pay taxes and help reduce the deficit more quickly. Already a million new jobs have been created in the private sector since 2010, an important step towards rebalancing the economy.

But if we do not take tough measures now, there is every chance that we will slither onto a slippery slope of reducing living standards and terminal decline. Is that a credible alternative?.

Those who march in protest should buy themselves stout shoes. There are several more years of this yet.

posted by Gary @ 09:39