Matthew Dancona

Unfunded spending

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My prize for comment of the day goes to CS responding to my earlier post on Patricia Hewitt:

"Just saw Old Pat on the TV slagging off her opponents' 'unfunded policies'. If the government has a budget deficit which it keeps having to revise upwards, doesn't that mean that its own spending is unfunded?"

This is a simple but brilliant point. We will hear the mantra “unfunded policies” from Labour more often than I care to mention: at present the figure alleged by Gordon and co. is £10 billion-worth of such Tory measures. But – even assuming this is an accurate figure - £10 billion is small potatoes compared to the deficit the Labour Government has already chalked up. One of Paddy Ashdown’s more effective attack lines before the 1997 election was to refer all the time to the “John Major Debt” and the cost of servicing it. The Tories should do the same to Gordon. As more voters go into overdraft, they will feel the sting of the national debt too if it is pointed out to them often enough.