UK current account deficit worst in peace-time since the Bank of England started collecting records in 1772 under the reign of George III.
How does George get away with missing his targets, wrote Isabel Hardman in The Spectator. She continued: “The Chancellor was asked this on the Today programme this morning, with John Humphrys needling him on the economic targets on debt and deficit that he set himself and asking whether if he could miss two out of three of those targets and potentially be on course to miss a third, ‘what’s a bloke got to do in your job to get the sack?’
Accurate fact checking service Ch. 4 FactCheck listed all the targets that the Chancellor has missed. Click this link. These include:
Debt. The target was for public sector net debt to fall as a share of GDP between 2014/15 and 2015/16.
Welfare cap The independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) said in last year’s autumn statement that the government had already breached its own cap on benefits and tax credit spending.
The OBR said today: “A fresh upward revision to the cost of disability benefits… means that our forecast of spending subject to the welfare cap continues to exceed the permitted amount in every year, and by a larger margin than in November.”
Exports In 2012 Mr Osborne said he wanted UK exports to double to £1 trillion by 2020.
The OBR says it expects the real number to be £643bn by then, lower than its last forecast in November and 36 per cent lower than the government target.
Productivity There isn’t a numerical target for productivity growth, but the government launched a plan last summer to try to improve productivity, a long-term problem in the UK economy.
It must be a disappointment, then, to see that the OBR has revised down its forecast for productivty growth, and believes it will remain below its pre-financial crisis average until at least 2020.
Saving In a speech in 2010, Mr Osborne said he wanted to increase saving as a share of GDP. It’s not absolutely clear how he defined “saving”, but on most measures, the aspiration has failed.
World Bank figures on national saving – which including private and public saving – show the UK figure falling from 14 to 12 per cent of GDP from 2011 to 2014.
The household saving ratio – which represents the percentage of disposable income people are saving – has fallen from 11 per cent when Mr Osborne first became Chancellor in 2010 to just 4.4 per cent.
Many voters are now asking “Who was the fool who let George Osborne loose on the economy?” One answer is there no creditable opposition. (Today Corbyn sent Diane Abbott to talk to Swiss bankers). Osbo’s main, possibly only asset is his unshakeable composure, (his self regard is firmly entrenched), and it’s an asset he is going to need as the national debt soars ever upwards.