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The UK Government Spending Ratio: Will it Return to the 1930s?
Public spending will be at levels of Gordon Brown, says Politeia's new economic spending analysis.
As the debate over 1930s spending ratios looks set to dominate the New Year’s political debate, Politeia’s analysis by the economist, David B. Smith*, considers what the figures for public spending really are.
In his commentary, The UK Government Spending Ratio: Will it Return to the 1930s?, the author shows that the changes to accounting procedures and the measures officially used to report public spending ratios tend to underestimate levels of public spending.
Smith proposes a more accurate model for measuring public spending. It gives a picture of the government’s spending plans which indicates that they are nowhere near the 1930s. Indeed, taking the chancellor’s current proposals, UK public spending in 2020 will be 11 per cent higher than in 1938 and just under 40 percent of GDP, the figure of Gordon Brown's early chancellorship. As Smith concludes:
'...general government spending is expected to be some 39.4% ... in 2019-20 rather than the officially projected 35.1% ... Public Sector Net Borrowing (PSNB) is expected to be around £50bn ... rather than the £23bn PSNB surplus for which the Chancellor is aiming. This projected borrowing ratio for 2019-20 would probably be sustainable, even if it might be disappointing, and our longer-term forecasts show a further diminution subsequently. However, that achievement relies on holding the growth in the volume of general government current expenditure to plus 1% per annum, which is roughly what has happened since 2010 (i.e., there have been no overall cuts in practice).'
Politeia recently published After 'Osbrown' by Douglas Carswell MP. In the pamphet, the now first UKIP candidate to be elected to Parliament warns agains another credit-fueled recovery. Here is some of the coverage:
David Abulafia, Jonathan Clark, Robert Tombs
The government's new history curriculum has yet to be finalised. But so far the draft has prompted a lively debate amongst historians, teachers and the public.
The plan for pupils to concentrate on the history of this country, from the Romans to Mrs Thatcher, strikes some critics as being too Anglocentric. Others cavil at themes or even phrases which jar on today's politically correct sensibilities.
However, as Politeia's History in the Making: The New Curriculum, Right or Wrong? suggests, such criticisms are wide of the mark.
Today too many children finish primary school without the foundations of mathematics, and so cannot make progress in the subject at secondary school. As a result they are not equipped to lead and participate in a full adult life. Primary Problems: A First Curriculum for Mathematics emphasises the importance of mathematics in the primary years.
Its author, Professor David Burghes, considers the examples from a group of successful, mathematically high-performing countries, Singapore, Japan and Finland. He suggests that there are lessons for this country both in terms of what is taught and when. Professor Burghes compares the government’s new proposals with these models, and while welcoming certain features, including the greater freedom for teachers, suggests where they might be modified for greater success.
This publication is kindly sponsored by OCR
As universities become ever more competitive globally, not just in the USA but now in Asia, they attract the best scholars, students and greater levels of funding. However, UK universities are being held back by the burdens of government policy. Unless this changes, they could lose their historic global lead. In particular they need freedom: from burdensome regulation in research so scholars and scientists can follow judgement and ‘hunches’; to play to their diverse strengths; and for a satisfactory balance to be struck on funding.
That’s the message from Martin Rees, one of the UK’s most distinguished scientists who also led two of our most prestigious institutions as President of the Royal Society and Master of Trinity College, Cambridge.