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, 15 November 2012


I have recently contacted the Chancellor of the Exchequer and suggested that a large screen is fixed outside the Treasury (or maybe Trafalgar Square) to display how much money the government is still having to borrow every day to pay our bills, even after over two years of spending cuts.

I suggest this because day in day out I meet people who have no idea how bad things are and who want the government to spend even more or tax less.

Here are the statistics the screen might display: this year just to pay our bills we will be borrowing £120 billion. In other words every 3 days we are borrowing another £1 billion. Every three days.

Last year we borrowed £130 billion, next year we hope it will be a mere £110 billion! In other words we are still spending too much.
Yes we are getting the deficit down, but there is a long way to go.

What about our total debt, all of which has got to be re-paid. This now exceeds £1 trillion. The Treasury screen might also inform us that we are paying interest at the rate of £46 billion each year on this debt, more than we spend on education or defence! Every hour we spend £5 million in interest payments. This keeps on going up as we keep on borrowing more.

I shared this information with two professional friends last weekend and there was a sharp intake of breath. Intelligent well-informed people; all of this information is in the public domain - but they had no idea.

Every day e-mails roll in calling on me to support more spending for this great cause or a reduction in tax on that area. My stock answer is becoming more and more robust: no! We have horrendously over-spent and over-borrowed and although it is painful we have to slog through the next few years and first of all get the annual budget deficit down to zero. We might achieve this by 2017 if we hold our nerve and if the economy picks up again.

Then, unless we want to bequeath an almost impossible debt burden to our children, we have to make inroads into the mountain of debt which will be by then well over £1.5 trillion.

If all goes well we should be on an even keel again by 2023.

So put the screen up George, it's time the harsh reality was better known.

posted by Gary @ 12:53