Via National Statistics Online – Public Sector Finances, the trajectory of cumulative public borrowing this year more or less matches last year:

Public borrowing and net debt

See also Deficit plan under pressure as UK borrows £14bn more in June.

Here’s the tragedy: while my constituents and people across the country are seeing real reductions in services and worrying about cuts to public spending, public sector borrowing in June was slightly worse than last year and Government expenditure will increase in cash terms every year of the next five.

In that context, press coverage of our dreadful financial position is woeful.

The state continues to live beyond its means, even as this Government wrestles to bring spending under control. Our public debt is increasing. The Bank of England continues to hold down the headline rate of interest. Inflation is too high, with all the injustice that entails for savers and those on low or fixed incomes.

Prosperity does not follow from borrowing to fund present consumption: it comes from consuming less than is produced, saving the excess and investing in capital goods, real productive capacity. If we are serious about prosperity for everyone in this country, journalists must raise the quality of public debate and Government spending must be reined in with the consent of the population.

That is the task facing the press today: not to promote denial or despair, but to encourage real understanding of the scale of the challenge we face.


  1. Jonathan McKenna

    Thanks for showing the data, Steve – a welcome reminder of the real situation.

    I note your call for better quality discussion in the media. However, I just heard you on Radio 5Live repeat the old canard about not spending more than you’re receiving in income. Good advice for individuals but that’s not entirely applicable to governments, is it? The UK is a creditworthy state that it’s reasonable to assume will exist many decades into the future. So we can continue borrow – within reasonable limits.

    I do understand the point you’re trying to make but I wonder if you’ll set off unnecessary alarm by making a slightly misleading comparison with personal budgeting?

    That said, you were given woefully short time to expound on a complex topic! Ah, the modern media… 🙂


    • As you indicate, I could offer little more than soundbites in the time and the question of government borrowing deserves a long discussion!

  2. Gary - Manchester

    A complex scenario no doubt. Steve, in view of the spending cuts which are affecting everyone, one thing I m not aware of is what spending cuts have been introduced into Whitehall itself……ie what is happening with the actual running cost of Government? Can you give us a bit of insight ?