A large part of Britain seems to be in uproar about the government’s budget and the alleged spending cuts it contains. Students are taking to the streets as if they were French, their teachers are firing them on as if the future of society were at stake, grim doomsday scenarios of homeless masses are being construed, of course not without using analogies to Kosovo and even the Third Reich.
I don’t understand the protests. Because I don’t see any cuts.
In the financial year 2009/2010, the British government spent more money than it took in. And not by a small margin, but it overspent by roughly 150 billion £. That means that every day, the UK government spent 411 million £ more than it received in revenue. Every day.
And now for the proposed budget for the financial year 2010/2011: The government is calculating with revenues of 548 billion £ and with expenditures of 696 billion £. – Hold on; that second figure is higher again than the first figure, isn’t it? Yes, and by 148 billion £.
So, after spending more money than they had available for the last year (and actually the same has happened in every year in the last decade), the government will again spend much more money than they even plan to receive.
Does this constitute “budget cuts”? No.
So next time you hear some students or arts councils or the BBC whining about alleged “spending cuts”, remember the facts. They are grim enough: Day for day, debts are being made without anyone having the slightest idea about how to ever pay them back.