Labour’s fiscal stimulus helped make sure that recession didn’t turn into depression and that stimulus meant that people did not lose savings in their bank accounts, or mortgages didn’t collapse along with the banks, which would’ve led to people losing their homes.
Yes, Labour did borrow to help us recover from the crisis and that is why we now face a large public debt. But there is an alternative to paying back that debt. The Labour alternative presented at the last election was to first focus on recovery and pay back 50% of the debt within the next Parliamentary term (4 to 5 years). The Lib Dem / Tory plan is to pay it all off within the same timeframe and starting the cuts now risks economic recovery as the first year following a recession is always fragile. Even Thatcher didn’t make any cuts following first year following the downturn in the 1980s.
Figures from the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies show the difference between the current plans that are due to be implemented by the Coalition Government and the Labour alternative.
At the last full council meeting, Lib Dem group leader Paul Lorber barked on about blaming Labour for the state of the economy, ignoring the role that banks had to play.
But to say Labour is the reason why we’re in this mess is simply wrong… it’s irresponsible bankers that got us into this mess, and they should play a strong part in bearing the brunt of the costs for the role that they played getting us into this mess. While the Lib Dems and Tories are pushing out the message that Labour is to blame, the bankers responsible for the crisis are getting away with it.
Normally blog posts are about the author’s views. But today I draw upon what a local Dudden Hill resident said to me this weekend.
I was out talking to a local resident in Neasden on Saturday conversing about what the Government is doing with regards to public spending.
“This is typical Tory”, he said, reverting back to his memories of the Thatcher Government in the 1980s. “These cuts are all ideological, they just want to cut, cut, cut.”
With most of the cuts yet to even come into force, he said “it’s already affecting people.”
….. and it is. It’s been hard enough for people to cope with the impact of the recession, but to have cuts to services, to benefits for people who may have lost their job during the recession, and the forthcoming rise in VAT, will be hitting people that need help the hardest.
Did Britain really become a nation of benefit scroungers under Labour? This is the type of rhetoric that has pointed many to mark their vote in the Tory box on polling day. The reality couldn’t be any more different.
With the Department for Work and Pensions proposing to reassess every individual recipient on incapacity benefits, they have issued a call for evidence. Within the document is a graph displaying the caseload over time from 1978 to 2009.
What the data shows is that the caseload stayed pretty much at the same levels that Labour inherited in 1997. The sharp rises occurred under Tory years from 1986 to 1995.
These rises are not necessarily a bad thing as prior to the increased caseloads, it could have meant that those that should have had extra support to meet their additional needs.
Now, the Tories are proposing a reversal in the changes that occurred under their watch to take the caseload numbers down. My concern is that vulnerable people who need extra support to help them carry out their daily routines will have support withdrawn from them and find themselves struggling to cope with the financial pressures on them and not being able to live their lives with dignity as many didn’t in the early 1980s.