19 October 2010

Best BBC Graph Ever

This is the 'savage' spending cuts in relative terms

As reported on the BBC ten o'clock news, by Stephanie Flanders

This is the truth, note the rise into a almost vertical incline after 2000, when Labour abandoned the previous Tory government's spending model and pumped huge amounts into the public sector, much of it the NHS

Does that look sustainable to you? Does it even look sensible? No - every post-war government, even the two Labour ones, has had to keep the constant rise in spending in line with economic growth - as shown by the broad trend, that rule was absolutely demolished in the past decade - to claw spending back to 2006/07 levels is moderate, even tame

I've known this for a long time, as these figures have been all over the right-wing blogosphere, I am no economist but people like Guido, the Taxpayers Alliance and others have all made the point that these are barely spending cuts, but reigning in the rise in spending, depending on inflation

This is the first time I've seen this graphic interpretation on any major broadcaster, and frankly it's about time - we can talk about the impact of the cuts, but this is the actual reason for them, and it really helps to show why we need them, and this rather dents the anti-BBC lot's case

The real issue is - why is essentially a clawing back of roughly 4% to the expenditure level of three years ago so bloody destructive? We're talking about a snip of money that simply wasn't there four years ago, and yet we're losing 25,000 MoD staff and god knows how many more public sector workers*

Not that I'm against reigning in the public sector, but it seems rather a lot for what is a relatively small cut - I know some is about future spending commitments, and it's over five years, but I can't help feeling it's a bit... inefficient, and it's the waste that's most important to cut, and I also can't help thinking that ring-fencing the NHS was a costly political manoeuvre

*though I may be underestimating the rise in the public sector workforce

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