Credibility Deficit pamphlet remains relevant

Jeff Randall quotes reference to need to show we control spending

When I wrote The Credibility Deficit in 2011 I argued that to develop a more Keynesian economic policy would require Labour to be credible not only on debt but on spending too.  When we came to power in 1997 our public services had suffered years of underinvestment.  Not only were waiting times for hospital appointments months long, but the infrastructure was badly in need of renovation.  When I fought the 2001 election as a parliamentary candidate, we fought it on the theme of Labour investment versus Tory spending cuts.  This was a pretty good way of describing the inclination of each party.

But as I wrote in The Credibility Deficit, "The investment-versus-cuts argument lost power when people began to doubt the returns they would get from 'investing’ their income via taxation."  This is the line Jeff Randall quotes in the Daily Telegraph.  To move beyond this perception, Labour needs to demonstrate its spending will be effective, hence my argument for an Effective Spending Guarantee, where extra spending will be independently monitored.  We need this, or something like it, if we are to have the room for manoeuvre we need in fiscal policy.

Stephen Beer, 03/05/2013

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