Up until about 2004, the Labour government’s strategy of fighting poverty by concentrating on three priorities – government spending, government spending and government spending – had seemed to work rather well. On a number of measures, living standards of low- to middle-income earners showed notable improvements.
But from then on, progress on this front suddenly came to a halt, or even went into reverse again on some measures. This was a bit of an embarrassment for advocates of a Greek-style approach to public spending, because during those years, they had largely gotten their way. Social spending in the UK had reached record levels, and with that potential largely exhausted, what else was there to do?
At its party conference in Brighton, the Labour Party has now finally found the answer: more government spending.