The big news today seems to be the report of the Office for Budgetary Responsibility. Labour used the report to hammer the Government. Mr Balls must think it is important to be up front with people about how bad things are in this crisis?
But I seem to remember that when Labour’s former Chancellor, Mr Darling, warned people the crisis was going to be very bad some people got very angry. I can’t quite remember who…..
Well, let’s see, there was Mr Balls….
OK, OK, but that’s in the past. Tell me, what is the basic difference between the Government’s position and Labour’s position on public spending and the economy?
My goodness, you really are out of touch aren’t you? As any fool knows, Labour thinks the Government should borrow more to get the economy moving while the Coalition is committed to its tough programme to reduce borrowing.
Oh I see, so how much less is the Government planning to borrow in comparison to what Labour planned to borrow?
At the last election Labour said it would borrow £110bn next year but now Mr Osborne says he will borrow £120bn
So that’s less in the sense of being £10 billion more?
So the Coalition is attacking Labour’s plan to borrow more at the same time as announcing that it is borrowing more?
And Labour is attacking the Government for doing more borrowing at the same time as saying it should borrow even more?
Is anyone making any sense about the crisis?
Well, the Liberal Democrats did warn before the General Election that if cuts were too deep it would stall recovery
Ah, so are they going round telling everyone they were right?
No, now it looks as though they were right they are keen to stress that they were actually wrong
I see, I think. But at least the Government has a plan to get the economy moving. How much more growth does the Government think its new policies can generate?
This year growth will be about 0.9%. Next year the Government says it will be 0.7%
So that’s more growth in the sense of being 0.2% less?
What about the longer term?
The Government is very confident that we will get back to healthy growth by 2013
That’s a relief. Why is the Government able to be more confident now than before?
It isn’t. It was just as confident last year about its predictions for 2012, as was the previous Government about its predictions two years ago for 2011. In fact the only prediction that has always been right is the prediction that the Government will predict that things will be a lot better in two years.
I see. But why does this Government say its own predictions were wrong?
Because things that are beyond our control – in Europe – have ruined out plans
I see. So can we be more certain about the future now?
Don’t be silly
This is all a bit much for me, can I lie down?
Yes, perhaps you could lie down in one of the new nursery places for two years olds that the Government is creating
That’s a good idea. Why is it doing that?
Well, it’s mainly to encourage mothers to go out to work
Very good, and how is it being pad for?
Well, largely by cuts in tax credits
I see and will that that have any drawbacks?
It will probably reduce incentives for mothers to go out to work
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