Responding to comments from Lord Young about most Britons “never having it so good”, Mark Littlewood, Director General of the IEA, says that, while the comments may have been politically insensitive, there is a great deal of truth behind them.
“It is unsurprising that Lord Young has chosen to apologise for his comments; but he is, in many respects, right. The coalition’s cuts are modest, not enormous. In 2015, this government will still be spending more than when it came to power, and in real terms the cuts amount to only 4%.
“And while we should be sensitive to the fact that 100,000 people a year are expected to lose their jobs in the public sector, we should remember that, in the context of a 30 million-strong workforce, they are a tiny minority.
“The nation’s finances require drastic measures to be brought back on track; and that undoubtedly requires a shrinking of the public sector. The coalition’s efforts so far have been reasonably modest. If most growth predictions are to be believed, then at the end of this Parliament, the UK will be more affluent than it has ever been before. This should lead the government to be more ambitious in its fiscal retrenchment, rather than often giving the impression that their current proposals amount to a spectacular reduction in the size of the state.”
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Notes to editors
The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems.
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