Modern-day politics is accused of lacking diversity because of the supposed similarities between the two main parties. However, this time I sense that there is a real difference in opinion on the handling of the economy.
The economy affects everything in politics. It affects how much money the government can spend on public services like the NHS. It affects how much we get in our benefits and pensions. It affects how high our taxes are and how much our energy bills cost.
In this parliament, the coalition went on a programme of austerity – where public spending was drastically cut to reduce the UK’s annual budget deficit. Almost every area of public spending was cut. Inevitably, the public haven’t liked that. Normally, the Tories wouldn’t have a cat in hell’s chance of being re-elected in May.
So why are they creeping ahead in the polls? Well, Labour left the economy in a “car crash” situation with the UK’s budget deficit in 2010 hitting a record peak of £167.4 billion. They allegedly left a note in the Treasury warning the coalition that “there’s no money left”. For this, Labour aren’t trusted on the economy.
Ed Miliband has tried to look like he is taking the deficit seriously, despite forgetting to mention it in his speech at the Labour party conference in September. Labour have promised to reduce the deficit with ‘sensible cuts’ and to inact policies that will stimulate faster growth.
Elsewhere, UKIP say they will reduce the deficit. How? By pulling out of the EU, of course. That’ll obviously solve all our problems. The Liberal Democrats are trying to please everyone saying they will spend less than Labour and cut less than the Conservatives. The Greens and the SNP, however, are drastically opposed to austerity economics full stop.
The Tory plan is to have a budget surplus by the end of 2019. This seems unneccessary and part of an ideology which seeks to undermine public services. However, I do feel like the Conservatives have a clear lead on the economy. The repeated emphasis on a “long-term economic plan” is annoying but seems to be paying off for them.
With employment at a record high, the UK being the fastest growing economy in the developed world and inflation remaining very low, I think the Tories may win the most seats on economics alone.