Comments: Brown's imprudent tax and spend legacy

The biggest miracle of the miracle economy - it's a miracle Gordon has managed to spend so much and yet deliver so little.

Posted by FHH at February 4, 2007 01:28 PM

David, you forget that the IFS also pointed out the 'off the books' debts of public sector pensions, PFI and railtrack debts amount to a further £100bn, taking the national debt to a much higher level than the offical one.

Any thoughts?

Posted by Ash at February 4, 2007 07:57 PM

It is an important issue, though it is not one that the IFS chose to emphasise, and neither did I on this occasion. By the way, public sector pension liabilities, on their own, are many times £100 billion. The latest official figure for the main public sector schemes is £327 billion but one independent estimate puts it above £1,000 billion.

Posted by David Smith at February 4, 2007 08:13 PM

Without wanting to come across as a complete Gordon fan, the spending spree was started off by Tony Blair making commitments to spending on Health and (later, Education) in the 2001 election campaign at a time when Gordon was still saying Prudence. John Prescott's Department (whatever it was called at the time) also routinely trumpeted spending commitments without any evidence of outcomes. Brownite departments have been rather stronger on evidence-based policy rather than policy-based evidence-making.

Posted by Paul Bivand at February 5, 2007 10:31 AM

The role of the Treasury is always to try to limit the fiscal damage, but I'm not sure your recollection of events is entirely accurate. Tony Blair, it is true, blurted out the NHS commitment (raising spending to the EU average) in a January 2000 interview with Sir David Frost, and Gordon Brown was hopping mad about it. But only because he wanted to announce it himself, in his March 2000 budget.

Posted by David Smith at February 5, 2007 10:41 AM

Dear David,

Can you tie up the following statement with its origin, are there certain aspects of these that you could apply to the intense "monetization" of the current new world order.

There's no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.”

Bets wishes,

Arik Schickendantz

Posted by arik schickendantz at February 7, 2007 03:01 PM

Dear David

What advice would you offer a would-be first time buyer contemplating their first purchase? Is the housing market still a safe investment or are we in danger of a downturn. The geographical area being considered is Chichester if that makes a difference.

Best wishes
Cliff Pritchard

Posted by Cliff Pritchard at February 9, 2007 03:30 PM

I don't know your area, but I've no reason to suppose it will be behave very differently from the national average. I don't expect a fall in house prices but I do expect a slowdown in house-price inflation. That means you can afford to take your time. The other advice is straightforward:
(a) Don't overstretch yourself; leave room to accommodate higher interest rates, or get a decent long-term fixed rate (b) Don't buy something that's been on the market too long - it probably means it will be hard to sell (c) If something seems much too expensive, it probably is.
Good luck. It's tough for first-time buyers.

Posted by David Smith at February 9, 2007 09:02 PM

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Posted by blinbo at February 11, 2007 01:40 PM