Mr Darling’s budget │ Plucking numbers out of thin air?

23 April 2009 │ Edited: 28 April 2009

Somehow yesterday’s budget made me decidedly melancholy. The numbers seem to be plucked out of thin air — the public borrowing figures are harrowingly large (net borrowing of £175 billion this year), while the Chanecllor’s economic prognosis is exuberantly optimistic (-3.5% this year, 1.25% in 2010, 3.5% in 2011).

If the seriousness of the current economic situation has been laid bare by the Chacellor, and therefore it seems credible, his, the government’s and the country’s credibility vanished into thin air after the growth figures he quoted. Credibility is already fragile and if things go badly in the next few months, Britain may have to borrow money at a higher rate. Money will be needed: more debts will be assumed and more social welfare expenditure will increase.

Reading the FT Budget paper (a.k.a. one of the wonders of the modern world) made me even more profoundly depressed. No one seems to believe the growth figures, and the borrowing figures may reach above 100% of the GDP in a few years’ time.

The period of unsound figures will continue: no one seems to be able to predict anything accurately at the moment. In the year’s time, we may think it was all a blip, a nightmare but only a nightmare, or we will still be in midst of a soul-destroying economic and social decay.