Britain Borrows More Than After WWII
After fighting World War Two, Britain was broke and in ruins. The long, slow crawl out of that mess took decades. Yet it has emerged that, after a decade of unprecedented boom, the UK’s public sector is now borrowing more than at the birth of the welfare state in the late 1940s.
Borrowing was £8.1bn in September, taking the total to £37.6bn in the first half of the year, some 75pc higher than at the same point last year, and the highest since records began when Britain started rebuilding the country after the Second World War. It adds to an ever-longer list of grim data coming out on how the country is fairing.
The governing Labour Party had been adept at massaging the statistics about Britain’s true economic and social state, but even that ‘spin’ has run out of steam in the face of reality. Both unemployment and inflation are growing at the fastest rate since the early 1990s. Even more shameful for the Labour government, it was revealed recently that most of the new jobs created during their time in power – up to 3 million in 10 years – went to foreign workers.
The bloated roll of people on some sort of welfare programme has barely budged. Worse still for the country’s future, the number of young people not doing anything – neither in school, work or training – is at record levels. Some estimates put the number of people able to work out of a population of 60 million, but who aren’t, at 9.78 million. And it is worth remembering, all of this is before the full force of the global slowdown and credit crunch has whipped through the economy.
The country looks set to enter a very grim 2009.
And it looks like investors may think twice about jumping into the UK to create jobs: Britain a dangerous place to do business, OECD to warn
Britain is a dangerous place to do business with weak anti-corruption laws, a group representing the developed world is to declare, according to reports.
By Jon Swaine 17 Oct 2008 The anti-bribery group of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) - which comprises 30 leading democracies - is preparing to mount a fierce criticism of Britain.
Its attack comes following the Government's decision to abandon an investigation into alleged corruption by BAE Systems in its dealings with Saudi Arabia on the grounds of national security.
The OECD is to warn foreign companies that doing business in Britain should come with a health warning because even when anti-bribery laws are enforced, they are lax, according to the Financial Times.
Companies should take special precautions when dealing in Britain because they face a substantial risk of becoming entangled in corruption, the group will say.
The body's conclusions follow a strongly-worded letter it sent to the Government during the summer. It complained that Britain had failed repeatedly to update its anti-corruption laws, despite having pledged to do so for years. Britain has failed to take action over a single case of overseas bribery, the letter added.
The group is to warn that Britain's Serious Fraud Office is also set to focus even less on its duty to tackle corruption overseas in favour of more regular commercial crime.
The SFO announced earlier this month that the construction company Balfour Beatty had confessed to breaching the Companies Act and paid a £2.25million fine in return for the closure of an investigation into alleged bribery in its work on a £75m ancient library in Egypt.
Critics complained that the case suggested British companies could buy their way out of trouble at a low cost and escape serious punishment by confessing to minor breaches of corporate law.
UK’s growing child poverty rates: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7641734.stm