Not really a windfall

“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.”

These words by Dickens have been trotted out by many over the last hundred and fifty years to show the common sense of living within your means. Most people tend to recognise the wisdom of them and do their best to make sure that they don’t end up in the red all their lives.

Not so government. No, they think entirely differently. Not only do most Western countries seem to be entirely content to run with a permanent debt but they’re more than happy to add to it every damn year. And then crow about only adding to it by an unimaginable amount, as opposed to by an incredible unimaginable amount.

The government appears to be gaining control of the public finances and could benefit from an £8bn windfall this year due to higher tax revenue and lower spending, a report suggests.

The Ernst & Young Item Club forecast public borrowing for the year to the end of March to be lower than expected.

The club said it expected public sector borrowing for the financial year to come in at £140.2bn, compared with the £148.5bn forecast by the Office of Budget Responsibility.

Yes, it’s a movement in the right direction. But clearly if you’re borrowing £140,200,000,000 you’re still spending far too much relative to your income. Time to avoid celebrating and balance the damn books…

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