Lib Dem MP John Pugh has written a thoughtful, balanced piece on economic policy for the New Statesman website. He freely admits he has voted for every part of George Osborne’s economic strategy brought before the Commons (“I did not know if it would achieve all its major objectives but I certainly did not know it would not”) but says the facts are plain: it’s not working. Here’s an excerpt:
Yes, jobs are being created in the private sector, unemployment is not moving upwards, the deficit is down, our export markets are engaging with the emerging economies, inflation is low and our credit good. However, friend and foe alike acknowledge that the plan hinges on economic growth and there’s little positive news yet on that. …
What I entirely reasonably claim is that George’s plan conceived before the 2010 election and implemented after it was bolder and potentially riskier than that advocated by Vince Cable and the Lib Dem Treasury team. Retrospectively and with all benefits of hindsight, slowing a little the pace of deficit of reduction to better protect economically-useful capital expenditure as suggested by Vince looks as though it might have been a better bet.
It is not that Plan A could not have worked or that the sage of Twickenham was necessarily right. It required though a number of other things to go right or not go badly wrong – for the Chancellor to be lucky – and this Chancellor has not been lucky.
You can read John’s piece in full here.
* Newshound sets the agenda, as you would expect from a Red Setter