“Across the whole of the UK, 49% of the economy will consist of state spending, while in Wales, the figure will be 71.6% – up from 59% in 2004-5. Nowhere in mainland Britain, however, comes close to Northern Ireland, where the state is responsible for 77.6% of spending, despite the supposed resurgence of the economy after the end of the Troubles.
Even in southern England, the government’s share of spending is growing relentlessly. In the southeast, it has gone up from 33% to 36% of the economy in four years.” State spending at this level crowds out the private sector and places a tax burden on the wealth-creating sector that makes it uncompetitive in a global economy. If Britain is to get itself back on its feet after this recession, it will have to do so with a far smaller public sector.