Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Labour's Debt Crisis


Bob Briant said...

Ahem. As I don't belong to any political party and come from the "Speak truth unto power" tradition of the British civil service, I'm not dependent on tainted political sources for my information.

In the news there's a useful survey across Europe by Reuters of the various fiscal stimulus packages in progress by national governments:

Germany's coalition leaders met on Monday to agree a SECOND package of stimulus measures worth £50 billion - the proposed fiscal stimulus in Britain's Pre-Budget Report was worth £20 billion.

By that Lloyds TSB source posted in the previous thread, projected government debt in 2009 as a percentage of national GDP is low for Britain compared with the comparable figures for Germany, Japan, the US and the Euro Area.

For an alternative source, try this for a chart plotting a time series for UK National Debt as a percent of GDP:

For an OECD brief on data relating to government debt in OECD countries try this source but the figures there only go up to 2006:

Bob Briant said...

Of relevance:

"The Treasury’s recent forecasts for the budget deficit, due to rise next year to 8% of GDP, were dismal. Yet Britain’s public debt compares favourably with that of other large economies; indeed, its gross government debt as a share of GDP is the lowest among the G7 countries. Although there are worries about underlying obligations that are not counted, such as unfunded public-service pensions, these do not enjoy the same degree of formal government backing as gilts."

Bob Briant said...

Of special interest here, Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Board of Governors of the US Federal Reserve Bank, gave a(n important) lecture at the LSE tonight (13 January) on: The Crisis and the Policy Response. The text of the lecture can be downloaded here:

Press reporting on the lecture:

"Ben Bernanke, chairman of the US Federal Reserve, warned yesterday that the economic recovery package planned by the incoming Obama administration will not succeed unless financial stability is restored. . . "

The report in the Indy goes on to cover evidence to a Treasury Select Committee hearing on the banking crisis and its effects on the UK. Of particular interest:

"Mr Lambert [of the CBI], Mr Moulton and other witnesses urged the Government to 'print money', while Mr Bernanke also spoke openly about the Fed's plans to implement a policy of 'quantitative easing', though the Fed chairman prefers the term 'credit easing'."