The UK general election is coming up. Let’s talk about government spending.
Since we had that big financial crash in 2008, most of the conversations around UK government spending have been about doing less of it. The justification for and consequences of austerity (big decreases in the amount of money the government gives to everything from the police service to local councils) has dominated headlines and politicians' speeches. But the 2019 election is different. All the main parties are claiming that austerity is over. All are saying they’ll increase government spending if they win office on December 12th.
How much money our governments spends, and what they spend it on, matters. It funds everything from our pensions to our police force, from our education to our rubbish collection. But it can be a confusing topic to get our head around. Where does the government’s money actually come from? Why do we pay taxes if the government can increase debt? And why don’t government just create more money when they’re feeling broke?
That’s why we’ve created this ‘we need to talk about government spending’ explainer. It should help you make sense of what politicians and pundits mean when they talk about public spending. And that in turn should help you decide who you want to vote for in the upcoming election.