We are all aware of the elections, if we are not then we soon will be. We know the three main parties, their proposals and the date of the election. But do we know that the parties will actually do what they say?
In an economy hanging by a thread upon the coat of British society, one wonders what exactly will happen after the 6th of May. Do we know how much money or more to the point how much debt Britain really has?
Where are the facts, the exact figures? I propose that as tax-payers, the ones who actually fund all decisions made by the government, that we should be entitled to see Britain’s bank statements. No, you read it right the first time. What is stopping parliament from making a full list of finances available and owed downloadable to the British public? Just like a company balance sheet.
In the years to follow the coming election, we have to work out how exactly any decisions will be funded. Many areas of the UK are suffering due to lack of funds. We can invest into those areas in hope of raising standards, although this will mean other areas will suffer even worse than at present. We have a very high amount of national debt! To give you some idea of the amount of debt this country has, here are some facts from the HM treasury:
“The national debt is predicted to rise from 44% of GDP in 2008-9 to 77.7% of GDP in 2014-15, a rise of Â£854bn. PSND more than doubles from 2008-9 to the end of the forecast period six years later. The largest difference in the PSND forecasts from this year's Budget to PBR is Â£9.7bn, which is less than 2% of the debt.”
The election we see has time on its side. Over the next financial year there is to be an amount of fiscal loosening to help our economy recover. This will allow political parties to make promises of investing more money in Britain’s most important services such as the NHS. Over the course of the next four weeks we will see many ideas put forward by the competing parties to sway the voters. The first and most important goal of each party though, should be to work towards gaining macroeconomic stability, not votes. This would mean that all areas of the economy are in a good state of health. This includes working towards full employment. We need change and we need it now.
So, if we are to experience macroeconomic stability not just micro economic stability (which concentrates on individual sections of our economy), we are due to see some heavy cutbacks in 2011-2012. The elected government must start a program of fiscal tightening or the economy will never fully recover. The longer we keep avoiding the much needed cut backs then the larger the debt and the interest on the debt. The amount of interest charges incurred upon the national debt for the year of 2010-2011 is expected to be close to Â£44.4 billion! Remember that is the interest payments alone. If we think of how much interest a personal loan sees us paying for example; if we were to take out a loan of Â£300 to be paid back over a period of 3 years, we will be expecting to pay around Â£560 which is almost double that of which we received.
Whoever we choose to take up the reins of this country, we must ask them what it is they are really planning to do to tackle the national debt!
Whilst we as a country are saddled with such a substantial amount of debt we are further damaging the economy by pledging to invest more money into failing areas. We must encourage more efficient services within the financial limitations already in place before we hand out more money. If we give Â£50million to a failing service and Â£20million of this is wasted due to the service’s inefficiency then we may as well have thrown the remaining Â£30million into the massive furnace of failure.
We must enforce better regulations and higher quality of work to avoid money being lost within each sector. The NHS alone has recently paid out Â£60 million as a result of negligence claims. This is even worse! We may lose money if a company / service is not operating to the best of their ability, but in the health service inefficiency leads to not only loss in profit but to the loss of mobility, the loss of senses or feeling in parts of the body. In more extreme cases the loss of life! We cannot expect those who have had this experience to remain silent, they deserve some compensation for what they have had to suffer. So money starts being lost via court cases. Now if we were to invest 30millon of that wasted sum into providing benefits and rewards to services performing to the best of their ability, we may see a rise in standards as the thought of an incentive is appealing. This will avoid the Â£60millions worth of charges for the presence of low standards.
We currently have an excess of non-medical staff in the NHS, why not use these additional workers to actively enforce the practise of better regulations to provide much higher standards of care. If employees are unsatisfied by levels of pay, would it not be best to work harder to achieve a more secure long term result than a quick fix rise, which may help in short term but will see a much lower wage packet in the future?
The promise of money to go into various sectors may encourage voters to choose a party but if the money is going to waste after investment, then there is no point. We see the Liberal Democrat party suggesting the expansion/improvement of rail networks. The transport sector of Britain’s economy is not in dire need of help. So why invest money into a service that is not in need and cause a much higher amount of cut backs when the fiscal tightening process is started? This proposal is not only unjustifiable it is completely illogical! All parties have made promises of growing our economy but are they suggesting we get ourselves into further debt in the process?
To increase our country’s wealth and decrease national debt we must take steps to stop this happening. We need to start sourcing more products from within the U.K instead of looking overseas and paying additional import costs. If the public and private sectors are to work together successfully we may have the chance to introduce new items into the production lines of British factories. We need to support our home grown farmers by encouraging supermarkets to source their stock from inside the UK. We need to reduce the drain on state funds by getting everyone who is capable out of the benefit system and on to the cards. We lose such an astounding amount of money due to claimants who are not really entitled to benefits who receive them none the less. Why not provide housing benefit to those willing to go to work? But we won’t consider doing so due to financial worries. This will mean that the additional benefits such as income support will not need to be paid. This will save on average Â£70 per person per week. It may not seem much but multiply that by 1 million and you will see my point.
There are many ways in which our parties can improve our economy after being elected. The problem is these simple ways of operating have no great ‘wow factor’ when it comes to the electoral campaign. We find the parties proposing bigger and more appealing differences in competition with the others.
So whilst your party is taking to the streets campaigning for the deeds to Number Ten, we must ask them not what they propose to do following election but, what cut backs they will be making in 2010-2011 when the fiscal tightening begins and how big an effect their current proposals will have upon these cut backs! It is not purely a competition where we hand out a medal then never see the winners again. Our decisions on the 6th of May will affect us for years. It is no good us seeing various investments now which will lead to use being worse off in years to come! No, ask the parties for facts and figures and what will be happening on May 6th 2011!