The Golden (Conservative) Years
* When Labour came to office in 1997 they inherited falling debt, inflation, and unemployment and rising GDP. They were committed to Conservative spending plans.
* The budget deficit, which had fallen from £51 billion in 1993 to £29 billion in 1996, continued to fall and surpluses were recorded in each of the years from 1998 to 2001.
* Government debt fell from 42 percent of GDP in 1996/1997 to 30 percent of GDP in 2001/2002.
* Unemployment fell from a little over 2 million in 1997 to 1.5 million in 2001.
The Spending (Labour) Years
* In June 2001 Labour were reelected with a barely reduced majority. Two weeks later Gordon Brown says
“Every time in recent decades when the British economy has started to grow, Governments of both parties have taken short-term decisions which too often have created unsustainable consumer booms, let the economy get out of control and sacrificed monetary and fiscal prudence”
Brown ignored this advice himself.
* Between 2001 and 2007 tax receipts rose by 40 percent.
* This was still not enough to fund Brown’s new found passion for spending; in the same period government spending increased by 54 percent in real terms.
* The number of British households receiving more in benefits than they paid in taxes rose from 43.8 percent in 2000/2001 to 48 percent in 2007/2008.
* Even though the economy was growing Labour ran deficits in the fiscal years ending 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 – all before a single banker needed bailing out.
* Between 2001 and 2008 Gordon Brown added over £200 billion to British government debt.
* British government debt increased from 30 percent of GDP to 35 percent on the eve of the crisis.
Then, in 2008, came the worst economic crash since the Depression.