UKIP Leader Nigel Farage questions George Osborne's Autumn Statement in his latest column on the Express
• We heard yesterday that George Osborne had declared his economic plan to have worked.
In his Autumn Statement he told us the numbers were heading in the right direction and we were even going to be running a small cash surplus by the next time Halley’s Comet can be sighted from Earth.
We are even going to have an additional £3bn worth of savings – which might sound like a lot but in fact is less than one third of the increase in our payments to the EU Institutions which The Chancellor smuggled into the stats yesterday.
But the simple fact is that the Chancellor has refused to grapple with government spending, as demonstrated by the fact that the public sector net borrowing is forecast to be 5.6 per cent in 2014. If the deficit reduction is working, and Labour and their Keynesian chums have been proved wrong, why are we still not doing it properly?Why are we going to be running a deficit, adding to our costly national debt, if balancing the books is what we are aiming for?
Debt is forecast at 75.5 per cent of GDP this year, rising to 80 per cent in 2015 before trickling slowly down to a level which will still cost the tax payer billions in payments. The debt interest payments for the UK alone are about the same as the entire education budget and possibly more.
But what really struck me in Osborne’s speech was his emphasis on trade.
At the top of his speech he even backed up what Ukip has been saying for years: that the EU is a declining market and we need to look further afield for trade and investment. I quite agree; trade is one of the key reasons why I think the EU is such a terrible institution since it harms the richer countries by limiting their market opportunities and the poorer countries who are denied the opportunity to trade their way out of subsistence farming. So as usual, what sounded like a great line was just more Tory rhetoric which can’t be backed up by policy or law all the time we remain in the EU.
He said Lord Livingston would have whatever he needed at his disposal to be an effective Minister for Trade and Investment. He talked up the Prime Minister’s trip to China but not once did he mention that the UK does not have the ability to make bilateral trade deals and everything to do with our trade policy; the method which made this country the forefront of the world, must go via the European Commission on our behalf.
The irony of this of course is that this requirement for our trade links with the EU is one of the key arguments the Europhiles use for why we should not even be given a referendum on our continued membership. Will these statistics announced in the House of Commons and broadcast across the nation mean that these deceptive arguments about the UK needing to remain in the EU for trade advantage and three million jobs at risk if we do take control of our own destiny disappear as fast as Ed Balls’ credibility?
I shan’t hold my breath.