UK Budget – What spending cuts?

A large part of Britain seems to be in uproar about the government’s budget and the alleged spending cuts it contains. Students are taking to the streets as if they were French, their teachers are firing them on as if the future of society were at stake, grim doomsday scenarios of homeless masses are being construed, of course not without using analogies to Kosovo and even the Third Reich.

I don’t understand the protests. Because I don’t see any cuts.

In the financial year 2009/2010, the British government spent more money than it took in. And not by a small margin, but it overspent by roughly 150 billion £. That means that every day, the UK government spent 411 million £ more than it received in revenue. Every day.

And now for the proposed budget for the financial year 2010/2011: The government is calculating with revenues of 548 billion £ and with expenditures of 696 billion £. – Hold on; that second figure is higher again than the first figure, isn’t it? Yes, and by 148 billion £.

So, after spending more money than they had available for the last year (and actually the same has happened in every year in the last decade), the government will again spend much more money than they even plan to receive.

Does this constitute “budget cuts”? No.

So next time you hear some students or arts councils or the BBC whining about alleged “spending cuts”, remember the facts. They are grim enough: Day for day, debts are being made without anyone having the slightest idea about how to ever pay them back.

About Andreas Moser

Travelling the world and writing about it. I have degrees in law and philosophy, but I'd much rather be a writer, a spy or a hobo.
This entry was posted in Economics, Politics, Statistics, UK. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to UK Budget – What spending cuts?

  1. What you must realise, Andreas, is that while Britain may have given the U.S the English language, we have refined it to an incredible (literally) level. Spending more money than you take in is debt. Debt is bad. And printing your own money to pay your debts is counterfeiting, a terrible crime. But when the US Government does it, it isn’t bad, and it isn’t illegal. It’s called “quantitative easing”. What the devil is “quantitative easing”? It’s printing billions of dollars (for which you have no precious metal backing) to give people to buy things they wouldn’t have (thus putting themselves AND the government into more debt) from countries with whom we have a trade imbalance (called “debt”). And the British are only doing it in the millions, or at best, low billions of pounds. What a bunch of pikers! (OK, sarcasm session is over!)

  2. Clemens says:

    Nobody is whining about “alleged” cuts. The cuts are real: The teaching budget of UK universities is cut by 40%. The fact that there is still a huge deficit in the next year does not “prove” anything. Firstly, the cuts are calculated over the coming 4 years – the deficit is supposed to be much lower in the years to come. Secondly, maybe the government is wasting too much money otherwise and the (financially) positive effect of cuts in science, higher education and arts are outweighed.

    • Martha says:

      I absolutely agree, and I heard from someone at UCL they even are planning to cut around 80% on university staff – which also means it’s extremely unlikely for someone in academia to find a job at a university in the UK.

      But apart from that, Andreas, I was just wondering how someone related to the German SPD party would be willing to support the political ideas (or polemical statements) of someone like Cameron. But alas that’s a completely different issue.

      So maybe you should at least start studying philosophy before allowing yourself to have an opinion on something you don’t even know faintly about such as spending cuts in education.

      Did you know this is called “hybris”?

      Wovon man nicht reden kann, darüber sollte man schweigen.

  3. Bette Cox says:

    It’s a way of thinking that has spread like a vicious virus, not just in the UK but in America. Many hope the new “Tea Party” congressmen and women can, if not cure it, slow it down.

  4. Larry says:

    It is for this reason, among many others, that my vote will be going to UKIP from now on. The Conservative party are no longer conservative: not economically, and most definitely not socially.

    • Clemens says:

      I am sorry, but voting UKIP seems to be a really silly thing to do. Their manifesto starts with the following: “Save up to £120bn a year by leaving the EU. No British jobs or trade will be lost”. This type of well-thought-out policies will bring the UK economy really to its knees.

  5. Pete Judge says:

    The use of the word ‘alleged’ to describe cuts intrigues me.
    You make a fair point in so much that in a literal way, no less money will be spent but I think you are really just twisting the reality and perhaps trying to be a bit clever.

    You are taking the whole amount of expenditure as your example which is wrong. Try looking deeper at how and where the money is being spent and factor in that some things cost more than they did last year or the year before. Remember that much of the governments expenditure does not generate an income and as they borrow much of the money, there is a premium to pay for that too.

    There are far too many variables for a generalisation that there are no actual cuts…..and believe me, once these ‘alleged’ cuts do start to take a hold, you will feel it. We all will and everyone will have a right to whine – even you.

  6. Left Outside says:

    I spy a tactical error for the right.

    Do keep telling everyone that there aren’t any budget cuts, that sure to win people to your side of the argument as their university teaching grants are slashed, their nurseries close and their road go unmended.

    Good tactical thinking from the right. I do wonder how you guys have been ascedent for the last three decades.

  7. Pingback: Superman, Batman and Spiderman off. Grandmother helps out. | Publish or Perish – Andreas Moser's Blog

  8. To any of the critics above, are any of you at all bothered by the government routinely spending huge amounts more than it takes in revenue? Do you imagine that this can go on forever?

  9. jamesd127 says:

    “Do keep telling everyone that there aren’t any budget cuts, that sure to win people to your side of the argument as their university teaching grants are slashed,”

    Education expenditure is one of the many areas continuing to grow at alarming speed. Yet education is a zero sum game, as credentials get ever more inflated. Used to be that graduating middle school showed you were smart enough to rule a minor asian colony and lead armies. Now you can be a PhD despite being thick as a brick. And if education was useful, which it is not, somehow administrators heavily outnumber teachers, and are growing daily more numerous.

    Education expenditure is ever growing jobs for lefties, financed by ever growing taxes on those actually productive.

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