Prof Richard Drayton (Kings College, London) in Letters LRB (24 Jan 2013):
'...if there was a such a large and growing gap in the public finances, was it an urgent problem of over-expenditure, or was it really a crisis of revenue collection, as tax laws favourable to corporations and a lack of enforcement allow an ever increasing share of GDP to escape the public purse? What is clear is that in May 2010 the percentage of UK GDP which went to servicing debts, even after the impact of the 2008 crisis, was, at 2.5%, at the lowest level enjoyed by any Conservative government since...1900. By no metric in 2010 was the present or projected debt burden of the UK in historical terms very high, let alone unsustainable.
The price of austerity will be a long-term decline in the standard of living of the majority of the population, and an acceleration of the now thirty-year long experiment in transferring wealth from the poor and middle classes to the richest.'