Despite all talks of austerity, £1,521.2 billion was the UK’s public debt at the end of the financial year 2013/14, as much as – be prepared for this, but probably you already are - 87.8% of GDP.
The Office for National Statistics, the source of these data, in a recent release also informs that this debt represented an increase of £100.6 billion compared to the end of 2012/13.
Still according to the ONS, government borrowing, excluding the effects of bank bail-outs, was £11.8 billion in September 2014, £1.6 billion higher than September 2013.
Without all their many zeros, these figures may look less catastrophic than they actually are, but are still impressive.
Economists had predicted that borrowing would not increase. Even worse, the government had. Chancellor George Osborne in March pledged to cut the budget deficit by more than 10% over the next 12 months.
According to some calculations, our national debt grows by £15,510 every three seconds.
What happens to individuals and families also happens to governments. Spend more than you have, and you end up in debt. Keep doing it, and the debt accumulates. The more debt you have, the more debt interest you must pay. Last year, Britain's debt cost the taxpayers more than £50 billion in interest payments: about half of the NHS budget and more than the entire defence expenditure.
Reducing the debt is a political priority. Raising tax rates hurts the economy, as has been repeatedly shown. Therefore, we can effectively decrease the debt only by bringing down spending, which would not be difficult to achieve if we cut waste.
The Liberty GB party has various common-sense policies to achieve this goal, including:
- abolishing purposeless quangos
- reducing the public sector's unnecessarily high number of employees and other wasteful departmental expenditures
- halting mass immigration, thus decreasing its enormous expenditure on benefits; diversity policies; education; health; translation services; extra police, prison, judicial and intelligence services; and so on
- ending health tourism
- ending non-emergency aid to all countries, except those with a proven record of protection of their minorities, in particular the one which is by far the most persecuted minority in the world: Christians
- limiting the funding of schools by central government to a base amount, adjusted to the cost of living of the area, with any extra spending raised by the local authority
- leaving the NHS free at point of delivery, but not in any circumstances. There must be a limit to the expenditure for each person paid for by public purse, that could vary with age and other conditions. This will mean that the elderly and people with chronic or serious conditions, who have more justified need for health care, will have a higher limit. The NHS money will be conditional on the patient's following the doctor's prescriptions, in particular the lifestyle recommendations
- devolving healthcare decision-making to the local level to enable services to target local needs and to cut out higher layers of bureaucracy
- implementing "Work for the Dole" (also known as "Workfare"), to help benefit claimants back to work
- removing benefits for people under 25 who refuse to take up offers of work, training or education. In those cases they should be the responsibility of their parents. This could incentivise them to become active members of society
- stopping giving free council or council-funded accommodation to unmarried mothers under 25, who must remain the responsibility of the pregnant girl's parents. The rate of teen pregnancy would dramatically decrease, as has been evidenced in the US when welfare has been withheld
- seriously cracking down on benefit fraud
- ending benefits for children resident outside the UK.