In his budget speech (Report, 19 March) the chancellor, George Osborne, forgot to mention the following eight factors: missed target to eliminate the deficit by end of this parliament; larger debt in the government’s five years than Labour accrued over 13 years in office; tax breaks for millionaires and hedge funds; a million people using food banks; 59% rise in working people forced to claim housing benefit; 1.4 million people on zero-hours contracts; record numbers of people living in poverty; and another £60bn in cuts still to be found before 2020. All seemed to have slipped George’s memory.
• Simon Jenkins has fallen for the claim that Osborne has brought us out of recession (Cameron may be PM, but Osborne is the one in charge, 19 March). The economy was already recovering when Labour left office in 2010, having put on four quarters of solid growth. As soon as Osborne announced his draconian cuts, GDP slumped back under zero and then seesawed up and down for three years, so that a median line drawn on the graph shows us bumping along just above zero. In other words, he delayed a nascent recovery by three years. As for Britain being the fastest-growing nation in the developed world, this is of course relative. If you go down in the dumps for so long it can look dramatic when you finally recover. Germany, for instance, didn’t go down in the dumps in the first place, so inevitably its growth rate may look relatively modest.
The economy was already recovering when Labour left office. Under Osborne's draconian cuts, GDP slumped back under zeroContinue reading...