Osborne doesn’t need Plan B, but he does need Plan A+

The Chancellor is right to stick to his guns on deficit reduction. The dividing line in the debate is between those who believe that spending more on the bloated public sector would assist with the economic recovery and those who don’t. George Osborne is on the right side of that dividing line. Stabilising the dire state of the UK’s public finances and providing the markets with unwavering confidence that Britain is determined not to head the way of Greece, Ireland or Portugal is a prerequisite in getting our economy onto a sound footing.

It is worth reiterating though – because the averagely interested observer might not appreciate this from the froth of much of the media coverage – that the overall cuts package proposed by the Coalition is relatively modest. Total spending will only fall by about 3.5% in real terms by the end of the Parliament and the national debt will actually grow by about £400bn. The overall financial burden we are shuffling onto our children is continuing to grow. The price they will pay tomorrow for our largesse today continues to rise. The government is slowly getting the public finances into some semblance of order. But they are not engaged in the sort of serious recalibration of the private and public sector that the Trade Unions would have you believe. And many of us would actually like to see.

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Director General, IEA

Mark Littlewood is Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs and the IEA’s Ralph Harris Fellow. Mark has overseen significant growth in the IEA’s size, influence and media profile during his tenure, since 2009. Mark also sits on the Board of Big Brother Watch, a non-profit organisation fighting for the protection of privacy and civil liberties in the UK. Mark is recognised as a powerful, engaging and articulate spokesman for free markets. He is a much sought-after speaker at a range of events including university debates, industry conferences and public policy events. He also features as a regular guest on flagship political programmes such as BBC Question Time, Newsnight, Sky News and the Today Programme. He writes a regular column for The Times and features in many other print and broadcast media such as The Telegraph, City AM and Any Questions.