UKIP Economics Spokesman Prof Tim Congdon says the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement has proven to be strong on fiddles but weak on fundamentals.
“George Osborne’s attempt to control Britain’s budget deficit has failed,” Prof Congdon said.
“We will still have a deficit of almost £100 billion in the next fiscal year, despite almost five years of cuts, austerity and disappointment. A key reason for the Conservatives’ failure is that David Cameron has got nowhere in his negotiations over the EU’s expenditure plans.
“The Budget documents show that investment by our public sector has been reduced from £58.4 billion in 2010/11 to £48.0 billion in 2013/14 and will be virtually the same (at £48.3 billion ) in 2016/17. By contrast, our contribution to the EU Budget is to rise from £5.2 billion in 2013/14 and will climb to £6.1 billion in 2017/18. (This is on the “own resources net” definition, which is far from being the full direct cost to us of our EU membership).
“It is also shocking that the government is cutting the social security benefits for some of the poorest in our land, while sending more to the European Commission in Brussels, and its bloated, overpaid and arrogant bureaucracy.
“The Treasury’s jiggery-pokery with the QE interest payments is another statistical fiddle for presentational purposes. It does nothing fundamental to help our economy. As Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne has been weak on fundamentals and strong on fiddles.
“The best way to strengthen our economy would be for Britain to leave the EU. We would quickly save the money now being sent by the government to the EU, which – as we have just seen – will total almost £30 billion net over the next five years.
“That figure of £30 billion is bad enough. But it does not include the far more serious damage done to our economy by the loathsome acquis communautaire, with its hundreds of rules and regulations that cause larger businesses to invest outside Europe altogether, bankrupt small businesses and destroy jobs.”