UK DEFICIT: Hidden in the figures – how Camerlot fiddles ‘reduced’ the deficit

To quote the Prime Minister yesterday, “with the stroke of a Minister’s pen” his Chancellor has made him a bare-faced liar.

ozzsleeveChancellor Goebbels Osborne: everything up his sleeve

David Cameron made great play yesterday of how Britain’s deficit is falling…..because his Government has been austere, and because the economy is “turning the corner”. I posted earlier to demonstrate what complete tosh the latter of those claims is. Now here’s another Slogpost to deconstruct the complete bollocks that is the former claim.

First up, let’s reiterate one more time for luck the nonsense that this “austerity” represents. Actual Government expenditure is still rising. In the latest reported quarter for 2013, expenditure increased by 0.9%, the fourth consecutive quarterly increase.

Secondly, let’s not forget that the Draper’s savings are still dwarfed (by a factor of eight) by the huge amounts of QE money chucked at an economy which, as we saw earlier, isn’t responding.

Whatever this government has done is but a kid’s piss in the Pacific compared to what’s happening out there in that real cut-throat world of markets to which the Conservative Party claims to be ineluctably committed.

This morning, however, evidence has been released by the ONS to show that the Coalition has fiddled the deficit figures to give the Tories something to say at Conference. Like so many things in Cruel Britannia today, the léger de main clearly visible here is mere accountant’s fantasy.

To quote from the ONS analysis (my emphasis):

‘In 2012/13 general government deficit (or net borrowing) was £82.1 billion, equivalent to 5.2% of gross domestic product  – down from 7.6% of GDP in 2011/12….[However]….These estimates include the impact of two transactions which affect general government net borrowing in 2012/13. The asset purchase facility transfers in Q1 2013 lowered borrowing by £6.4 billion, while the transfer of the Royal Mail to Pension Plan assets in April 2012 reduced borrowing by £28.0 billion. Together the transactions have reduced net borrowing by 2.2% of GDP.’

In short, without this jiggery-pokery, the reduction would be zero. And pray tell us dear Treasury, exactly how many Britons regard the Royal Mail as a Pension Plan asset?

Now, in a final bullfighter’s coup de grace, read this deliciously self-incriminating extract from the Prime Minister’s speech of yesterday:

“You can’t conjure up a dynamic economy, a strong society, fantastic schools all with the stroke of a minister’s pen.”

Indeed you can’t, Dave – not even if you’re a Chancellor. But your Chancellor has tried to do so: and as, under ONS rules, he was an advance sighter of these data, he knew what the result would be before you made your speech, chummy. Tell me, Prime Minister: just how much do you trust Lord Draper of Frogspawn?

If only we could trust Shadow Chancellor Ed ‘Numbers Guru’ Balls to spot this fraud and make hay from it. If only we could trust the Labour Party to be our Friend in Tough Times. If only the Labour Party wasn’t led by the love-child of Gerald Ford and Sarah Palin. If only we had an effective Opposition beyond the blogosphere.

Earlier at The Slog: David Cameron – a card sharp in a pack of liars