Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Does Yvette Cooper still want to be tough on the economy?

I dimly recall Yvette Cooper as an economics journalist on the original Independent. It seemed to me at the time that she made a lot of sense. I could not remember any particular article, so I used dogpile to ferret out her early contributions. Sadly, it seems that the Indy started uploading to the Web in significant quantity only at the end of 1995 by which time Ms Cooper (she did not become Mrs Balls until 1998) must already have been eying up a safe Labour seat.

However, I did find this piece from mid-1996 in which she recommends fiscal rectitude on the then chancellor, Kenneth Clarke. In the events of the 1996 statement and the 1997 budget, Clarke did in fact impose fairly tight spending limits. What happened? Labour swept to power in a landslide and benefited from an unpredicted surge in tax income while maintaining the Clarke spending plans for two years. The result was a budget surplus until 2001 and what turned out to be a deficit budget in advance of an election in which Labour retained power.

It is going to be interesting to hear Yvette Cooper's pitch to her comrades in her bid for the leadership, particularly as it relates to taxation and spending.

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