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A simple question for each Party

  john bunyan 14:21 16 Nov 2019

We have a National Debt of about 86% of our annual income (GDP) with Germany at 60. I realise the difference between normal and capital spending but I would like to know from each of the aspiring Parties what the % of GDP will be at the end of their 5 years term. Why are we mortgaging our grandchildren’s future?

It seems that honesty does not get votes

  Forum Editor 17:51 16 Nov 2019

"Why are we mortgaging our grandchildren’s future?" The same questions might well have been asked in 1800 when our national debt was running at 200% of GDP, and again in the early 20th century, when it rocketed to over 150%.

During the second World War it again climbed to 200%.

The rise to our current figure of 86% was triggered by the financial crisis of 2008 and has been fueled by increased spending on Social Security benefits, bailing out banks, and a reduction in tax revenues from stamp duty, corporation tax, and income tax.

We are not alone - America's national debt is currently running at around 110% of GDP.

We can reduce our debt in several ways - we can lower interest rates to stimulate the economy and increase tax revenues. We can have spending cuts - nobody likes those - and we can increase taxation. The nature of the problem makes you realise that in the main governments are on a hiding to nothing, whatever they try to do.

  Dunk 18:29 16 Nov 2019

Why are we mortgaging our grandchildren’s future?

Because politicians would not only mortgage their futures - they would SELL their grandchildren if they thought it could get them elected.

And if you honestly think a politician cares about five years ahead, you need a good talking-to.

  john bunyan 18:54 16 Nov 2019

Unpopular as it may be, taxes must rise. There are not enough “rich”’ to pay for all the spend involved. FE’s examples of when our debt was higher were at times of crisis such as war or bank collapse. That is not the case now, and we are just maxing out our collective credit card to buy goodies we can’t afford. The trouble is that no Party will put higher taxes in their manifesto.

  Forum Editor 23:13 16 Nov 2019

"The trouble is that no Party will put higher taxes in their manifesto."

Of course not, and I doubt that anyone would expect that. There are other ways to reduce debt, as I mentioned earlier, but it cannot be done without anyone feeling the pinch. If we want a lower level of debt we must pay our way out, and of course we can only do that if we pull in our belts.

People love blaming politicians for everything that's wrong in their lives, but of course we are all ultimately to blame for this - we are the ones who want rafts of benefits and a better health service and higher State pensions and so on, but we don't want to pay more in taxes to get them.

  john bunyan 07:49 17 Nov 2019


I wrote to my MP ( a ERG member) to volunteer to pay more tax, particularly for the NHS. No constructive reply.

At the moment both main parties are behaving like folk who are overspending their credit cards with no plan on how to pay them off. A seemingly impossible conundrum

  Dunk 15:33 17 Nov 2019

"If we want a lower level of debt we must pay our way out, and of course we can only do that if we pull in our belts."

Of course some people have plenty of cushion around their midriffs, and can manage to tighten their belts - but what about those at the bottom of society, living from day to day, possibly already having to use foodbanks?

How on earth will they cope with another round of belt-tightening? But as long as we, who are well-off, are OK what's not to like about a bit more agony for them?

I despair of such attitudes in a civilised society! What's wrong with the wealthy paying a bit more tax to subsidise the poor?

  john bunyan 16:31 17 Nov 2019

The top 10% of earners pay 60% of the tax take already so there is a risk that if you increase this too much, the tax take actually goes down, as they move to other places. Footballers, bankers etc are quite mobile. About 50% of the population pay no tax.

Clearly there has to be a balance between spend and tax but expecting all the extra tax to come from the higher paid is unrealistic. Already we see top doctors not doing overtime as it brings them no extra due to taxation

  Dunk 07:38 18 Nov 2019

Oh dear,the old apples and pears argument of "The top 10% of earners pay 60% of the tax take". (No wonder it's the politicians favourite quote in any interview!)

Of course they pay more, and so they SHOULD.

How does extracting more money from those least able to find it help society in general?

  caccy 17:08 19 Nov 2019


They WILL leave the country and then the rest of us will have to make up the difference (basic tax rate up to 30% ?). Fancy paying that?

  Dunk 09:45 21 Nov 2019


You regurgitate the perennial scare story about high rate taxpayers all leaving, and then drag a 30% tax rate out of mid-air. Why not throw in a 95% tax rate for all?

Tell us where they would all go to, presumably other countries have much better tax laws, and consequent less public services? Dream on.

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