Why it’s wrong to say there are no cuts

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The Daily Mail, in an appalling diatribe this morning, argues that because in real terms public spending in 2014 will be at the same level as 2008 there is nothing for anyone to protest about.

It's quite hard to assume anyone is stupid enough to write this so I presume the misinformation is deliberate, or originates in the Taxpayers' Alliance.

The headline numbers are right. Albeit they assume the government can deliver its plans, which is unlikely.

But the fallacy is in assuming that the composition of the numbers in 2014 is the same as in 2008. Just look at the composition of spending in 2014 compared with 2008. Interest charges will be much higher. That's not government's fault: that's bankers' fault - and they're the winners from it.

And look at unemployment. In 2008 there were 1.6 million unemployed. The number now is 2.5 million and is expected to rise over the coming years. So in that static spending we're paying for nearly a million or so people to be unemployed and are providing for their dependents. But spending is remaining static.

That's why there are cuts.

And that's why the Mail is lying through its back teeth when claiming constant spending means there is no reason to protest.