5 things you should know about George Osborne’s “Charter” and why Labour will be voting against it:
1. It commits every government to running a budget surplus in normal times from 2019 onwards. However since 2010, Osborne has missed his own deficit targets and changing the law won’t help him to do any better.
2. Effectively it is a big political stunt from George Osborne so that he has an excuse to keep making ideologically-driven cuts.
3. But it’s a dangerous stunt because if the Charter is followed to the letter it binds the hands of future governments, making it illegal to borrow money for investment in infrastructure or housing even at times when investment would lead to faster economic growth.
4. In fact, the best way to reduce the deficit now is to invest to grow our economy. It’s for this reason that most economists disagreed with George Osborne’s cuts
5. It could also force a government to keep making cuts, irrespective of the impact they have on public services and working families.
It is crucial that we reduce the deficit, and Labour takes this mission seriously, but it must never be on the backs of the most vulnerable, or at the cost of the key public services we all rely on.