Encouraging signs

OUR MP, Iain Wright, and our Mayor, Stuart Drummond, are both expecting a tough time for Hartlepool in 2013 because “more Government cuts are on the way and that will hit many vulnerable people in the town”.

But Iain Wright also said he believes that Hartlepool has the potential to be “a fantastic part of a renaissance in engineering” in the UK.

Iain is not being realistic about the economic difficulties Britain faces.

Ten years ago, under a Labour government, Britain’s national debt began to increase, despite good economic growth, because of unwise government spending on health, education and social security benefits.

By 2008, still under a Labour government, the economy had slowed down and Britain was in recession.

The national debt had increased dramatically because of huge welfare benefits, bank bail-outs and a rapid fall in income tax payments.

By 2010 the national debt had increased to £800,000m with the annual budget deficit running at £140,000m per year.

Today, even after more than two years of unpopular spending cuts by the Conservative/Liberal Democrat Coalition Government, the national debt has increased to £1,000,000m and is on course to reach £1,300,000m by the time of the next General Election in 2015.

That is, on average, about £50,000 for every household in Britain.

To add to our problems there is also a huge debt crisis in the European Union, our biggest export market, and an even bigger national debt problem in the USA, amounting to the equivalent of £11,000,000m ie. £11 trillion – more than eight times as big as our national debt.

Leading British economists say that we face another year of squeezed wages, rising unemployment and reduced economic growth.

Inflation in 2013 is expected to be almost three per cent, which is higher than the expected increase in wages, so reduced consumer demand will push unemployment up to about 8.3 per cent.

Further Government spending cuts, amounting to £10,000m, are expected and there will also be the launch of a new Government welfare payments system to tackle the problems created by Labour’s complex and cumbersome tax credit system, which squandered immense amounts of money in the years up to 2010.

There are some encouraging signs however.

Even with the crisis in the eurozone and the economic problems in the USA, it is good to see that many UK businesses have improved their flexibility and capacity for innovation, with the result that the labour market has been in a somewhat healthier state that many expected.

However, Britain is grappling with the problems created by a colossal economic collapse and it would be good to see our politicians debating the problems calmly and attempting to devise a sensible way forward.

Instead we see them indulging in childish political point-scoring and “yah-boo” loutish behaviour at Prime Minister’s Questions.

And all Iain Wright MP can say is that he “hopes the town will be given the opportunity to reach its industrial and engineering potential”.

Wonderful! But he didn’t make any suggestions about just how that desirable state of affairs can be achieved.

Jim Allan,