Help! Frugality & the General Election 2010

Miss Thrifty1 April 18, 2010

Did you see the First Election Debate this week? I have racked up my No. 1 moment for you above (or here, if you cannot see the video). Gordon Brown said that we “cannot afford” to cut government spending – aka cutting waste – despite the UK’s £167 billion budget deficit, as the spending/waste has to continue for the time being if the economy is to remain stable.

This isn’t the blog post equivalent of a party political broadcast (I’m a floating voter), but these comments did make me splutter my cocoa. It dawned that this time around, I am viewing the General Election through a very frugal lens.

Last time I voted, in 2005, my priorities were the NHS and crime. In 2010, the economy is at the top of my agenda. I have also realised that it isn’t simply the various economical initiatives that are grabbing my attention; but also the parties’ respective attitudes towards the economy, and towards spending and debt in general.

So right now I am thinking that Labour is probably not for me, not just because I believe that its top bods have mishandled the country’s finances and allowed spending to rocket out of control, but also because Gordon Brown is beginning to remind me of someone who has been bitten by the Barclaycard Bug. You know what I mean: spend spend spend -> bum, up to my limit -> hooray! limit raised again -> makes excuses for all that stuff you really need to have (e.g. a 12% increase in NHS managers in 2009, or £780,000 on flowers for government departments) -> as you were: spend, spend, spend money that you don’t have. And so on, while all that debt and debt interest continues to multiply…

Mind you, it doesn’t look like the Liberal Democrats are planning to chop waste any time soon either. And that leaves the Conservatives, who talk a good talk when it comes to reducing that mindboggling deficit ASAP – but who were also behind those grisly moats and duck houses.

So I’m back to square one. Help! Which party is the Thrifty Party?

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1 Response to “Help! Frugality & the General Election 2010

Andrew says:

It may sound counterintuitive that we cannot afford to cut spending but when interest rates are low and we already have a quanitative easing policy the main means left to promote growth in the economy are fiscal measures, the key one being government spending.

If he is right, then reducing government spending would have the effect of reducing the amount of money in the economy, stifling spending and growth and potentially leading to deflation, which is bad.

Cutting waste in government terms would mean less people are employed by the government, potentially increasing unemployment and therefore reducing spending. Although this is clearly an significant simplification of the problem.

Personally I am with you that cutting waste is essential although I also think that most of the activities the government carry out are unnecessary and should be shelved and that the majority of taxes should be cut substantially as a result, but I don’t imagine many people would agree with the extent to which I would reduce their activities if I had my way.

April 18, 2010 at 8:57 pm

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