Our Blog

The cuts are coming! – But where? Who to blame?

Posted by
18 October 2010
1 comment

Tomorrow (Wednesday) is D-day for the UK. That is when the Chancellor will announce the cuts to the government budget to be phased in the next few years.

Social media is an excellent resource if you want to make sense of it all. So without further ado. RAAK’s guide to the cuts on social media.

In this very helpful blog post Fishburn Hedges explains -

Spending cuts will be phased in – £5bn is being cut out this year, another £18bn will be cut in 2011/12 then another £19bn and £21bn and £20bn in Years 2, 3 and 4 of the Spending Review. Altogether, that’s £83bn lower spending per year by 2014/15. (Labour’s £52bn cuts would have started next year, in stages of £14-11-14-13bn.)

But why so much? Look at the graph below. The UK deficit is only about £100bn this year.

UK government surplus/ deficit

UK government surplus/ deficit since 1946

To explain why – Fishburn again:

UK national debt – the total amount owed by the Government – will be around £900bn this year (62% of GDP). The Govt will pay £44bn interest on that debt – more than the £40bn defence budget. National debt will increase to 70% of GDP in 2012/13, and start falling in 2014/15.

So come 2014/15 the government will be spending more than £80bn less – twice the size of the current UK defence budget. AND taxes will be £29bn per year higher than 2009/10. But here’s the thing – the exact details and impact of these cuts won’t be clear tomorrow, and not for years to come.

Today the Guardian’s Datablog released data on the UK budget deficit over the years. And us RAAKonteurs quickly drew the graph above using Google spreadsheets. ( Just to see whether it would be easy to pin the blame on a particular party for past and current profligacy.)

Actually, lets not forget the real reason for the massive spike in the graph above come 2009. The UK tax payer injected more than £70bn directly into the banks.

We are still under-writing these businesses who allegedly plan to pay out £7bn in bonuses this year. For a very provocative but good blog post on the banks, go here.

If your less inclined to point fingers but want to get to the bottom of all the human and systemic failures that got us in this mess, you could do allot worse than this London School of Economics (LSE) podcast.

Crowd sourcing the cuts
You can help report the actual cuts through more than one service. There is this Cuts Google Spreadsheet, and this implentation wherearethecuts.org of Ushahidi, the mapping tool. (Not sure how one would report National cuts on it, but very useful for the very local ones that never make the press).

George Osborne on social mention

George Osborne on social mention

Being George Osborne
And, just in case you thought it was easy for Mr Osborne, this fantastic interactive tool gives you a chance to make some cuts. Try and see if you can make the books balance without touching VAT.

Forget the sympathy. You’d think that Mr Osborne is rather unpopular in social media at present. Not if Social Mention is to be believed (see image to the left).

Sentiment in the blogosphere, Facebook and Twitter is 2:1 positive towards him.

Or perhaps this is a sure sign that sentiment analysis is still some way off being an exact science. Or perhaps we need to check again tomorrow.

Posted by

1 Trackback

Leave a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *