Friday, May 25, 2012

What British Spending Cuts?

Jeremy Warner points out that even as Paul Krugman and others claim that Britain's double dip recession is due to its so-called "austerity", government spending actually increased in the first quarter in Britain even as private sector economic activity (particularly construction) contracted.

Now, the indicator Warner points to is actually "government purchases", which doesn't include the large part of the government budget that consists of transfer payments like pensions and unemployment benefits. But if you look at overall government spending, you get the same picture. During the first 4 months of 2012, government spending increased from £204.7 billion to £212.2 billion, a 3.7% increase that far exceeds the mere 1.9% gain in nominal GDP.