Big Eye, December 9, 2014

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Everyone’s an expert. You don’t have to go far to get ‘irrefutable’ evidence that will prove your argument and when it comes to budgets and financial targets this proof often comes in the form of statistics.

Yes folks, it doesn’t matter whether you want to prove black is white or confirm crazy old King Canute’s claim to be able to control tidal activity, there’ll be statistics to support you.

Last week a perky Chancellor presented even perkier statistics in his budget speech, leading the more simple-minded amongst us to believe that although there were a few ‘tricky’ areas that need a bit of tweaking, the economy was storming ahead and the good times were just around the corner.

All we have to do is tighten up our finances and review the odd knotty issue and we could all expect to sail into a rosy sunset care of the Conservatives.

A dramatically less chirpy view of the future has been calculated by other economics ‘experts’, including the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), who, in general, aren’t in the pay of the Government or the Conservative Party.

Their statistical analysis suggests that we’ll need to do a whole lot more than fiddle with stamp duty to stay afloat.

They say that keeping us on our current wobbly path will require a perfect storm of further fierce spending cuts coupled with increased levels of borrowing from the world’s bankers with whom we are already up to our necks in debt!

Now, either the irritatingly self-confident George Osborne is keeping something from us or the number-crunchers at the IFS need to get some new calculator batteries because someone is fibbing and I’d really like to hear the truth.

Are we drowning in our debts or are the good times on the horizon?

One of these economic forecasts must be entirely wrong in its predictions, but bearing in mind the proximity of a General Election and the fact that voters are not surprisingly disinclined to vote for politicians proffering doom and gloom I suggest that the IFS version of the current dire state of our finances might be the more believable one.

Close to home our Government’s disinterest in us is apparent in the latest kick in the teeth concerning our ongoing need for capital investment in our sinking infrastructure.

Firstly, plans to upgrade our local section of the A47 corridor have been torn up.

The grim announcement last week was swiftly followed with more bad news delivered on Friday when it was revealed that Ministers are prepared to offer about a third of the money needed to protect vast low-lying areas from flooding.

The other £16 million will somehow have to be sourced locally!

The National Audit Office described it as inadequate but Henry and Liz are ‘over the moon’ ... we’ll see if they’re all prepared to take their blasé heads out of the sand and join us waving impotently like Canute on the sea wall when the next massive tidal surge comes roaring over the top!

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