Local MPs Huw Merriman and Amber Rudd need to look further than their immediate future

Mr Merriman speaking in Parliament. File photo SUS-190716-160503001
Mr Merriman speaking in Parliament. File photo SUS-190716-160503001

From: David J Daniels, Beech House Lane, Robertsbridge

Noting Huw Merriman’s recent weekly digest and his comments on the Conservative Government’s determination to proceed with no-deal Brexit, as well as Amber Rudd’s conversion no-deal, one is left wondering whether either has the interests of the country at heart.

If we taxpayers weren’t paying interest on the National Debt at the rate of £923 million a week, we would have more than enough to fund the NHS and sort out our roads and housing problems but why do we owe so much?

Since 1970 the UK balance of trade in goods has steadily declined from a surplus to today’s deficit of £149 billion. We are now importing far more than we export and as a result the government’s borrowing is rapidly increasing, so that in March 2019 the UK’s national dept was £1.80 trillion or about 85.6 % of GDP. As Mr Micawber famously said “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen shillings and six pence, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”

In 1978, household net savings were around 10% of net income and now they have fallen to 4%, household unsecured debt to credit card firms, banks and other lenders, is now nearly £16,000 per household. Many in work struggle to make ends meet and there is little evidence that the Thatcherite economic theory of trickle down wealth actually happened, given the widening gulf in wealth between the millionaires in the Cabinet and the rest of the country.

The Thatcherite economics followed by Major, Blair and Cameron did nothing to halt the decline of manufacturing, crippled the long term productive capacity of the country and the result is now obvious. The recent spate of anti-EU propaganda regurgitated by Jones, Walter and Walsh will not change the fact that the UK has a sliding and devalued pound [down 25% since Brexit], a shrinking economy [UK GDP growth rate fell to -0.2%], the lowest investment in the car industry in years and a collapse in investment into the UK, whereas it has surged 43% in the last three years in the EU.

It’s no use blaming the EU for decades of our own strategic economic incompetence, nor promoting the populist nostrum of Brexit, as that will not stop the UK’s economic decline. The fantastical supporters of Brexit and no-deal will be in for a big disappointment in expecting a re-energised economy from the Brexit chimera. In the past Britain actually grew great on investment in productive industry, not today’s call centres, gig economy, shady bankers and city gamblers like the new Chancellor who brought on the financial crash of 2008 and its consequent hardship.

The long term solution for the UK is an economy based on financing decades of long-term investment; a focus on training and education, support for technology, R&D and innovation as well as manufacturing excellence and British private and public ownership of key assets and infrastructure, so there is a national long term industrial strategy. Our local politicians only have an eye to their immediate future, so if and when an election is held, it will be well worth looking at the facts of the economic condition of the country before making choices.