As ministers posture, the debts still pile up

By Daily Mail Comment


Yesterday was another deeply worrying day for Britain, as the Office for National Statistics revealed the country borrowed £120.6billion in the last financial year.

It was only £300million less than in the previous 12 months – and very significantly more than the £89billion of borrowing predicted by the Chancellor for 2012/13 when he unveiled his plan to eliminate the budget deficit three years ago.

What is most troubling, however, is the Coalition’s timid approach to trying to get this vital programme back on track.

Underlying figures show the government borrowed £120.6billion last year, compared to £120.9billion in 2011-12, the Office for National Statistics said

Underlying figures show the government borrowed £120.6billion last year, compared to £120.9billion in 2011-12, the Office for National Statistics said

In any rational world, George Osborne would be demanding further savings from the welfare budget which – for all the BBC’s disgraceful scaremongering about the cruel ‘cuts’ – is actually increasing over the course of this Parliament.

He would be bringing to an end  the ludicrous pledge to lavish ever  more money on overseas aid. He would  be removing the ring-fence from  NHS spending – which exceeds £2billion every week – to encourage managers  to slash bureaucracy.

Yet all the indications are that – when he delivers his latest spending review in June – Mr Osborne will be blocked from taking any of these options.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne today denied getting panicky about the state of the economy

In any rational world, George Osborne, who today denied getting panicky about the state of the economywould be demanding further savings from the welfare budget

Instead, the Ministry of Justice, Home Office and Ministry of Defence – which have actually made real cuts over the past three years – will be ordered to trim still further their own budgets.

These reductions, while potentially harmful to national security, will still save only £11.5billion.

The Chancellor is in this crazy position for two reasons: the image-fixated Prime Minister’s refusal to accept that aid and health spending can no longer remain untouchable; and the Liberal Democrats’ ideological opposition to reducing the still bloated £200billion welfare budget.

With only two years until the election, ministers have a stark choice: continue with this political posturing at their peril, or take the hard choices required to balance the books and put Britain on the road to economic recovery.

Allies on immigration

Repeatedly, we are informed by the Left-wing establishment that the impact of immigration on public services  is exaggerated. It’s also endlessly argued on the BBC that Britain stands no chance of reclaiming powers from Brussels because it does not have any powerful allies in negotiations.

How surprising, then, to learn that Theresa May has won the support of three of our neighbours – including Germany – to campaign for an end to the abuse of the free movement directive by EU immigrants who are putting ‘considerable strain’ on schools, hospitals and the welfare state.

Of course, Mrs May has a long way to go to reclaim control of this country’s borders and welfare state.

But she has already dispelled the myth that an isolated Britain must quietly do as it is told by Brussels – however inimical it may be to our national interest.

Qatada farce goes on

If only there was similarly good news to report on Abu Qatada.

Mr Cameron apparently banged his fist in anger yesterday, as the Al Qaeda hate preacher and convicted terrorist humiliatingly won yet another court victory in his fight against deportation to his native Jordan.

Doubtless, the Prime Minister’s fury at this sorry debacle is genuine.

But – with the Lib Dems opposed to  any withdrawal from the European Court of Human Rights, and Britain’s own human rights judges now sided with Qatada, and refusing to sanction his removal – we fear it will prove to be nothing more than impotent rage.