The right wants to spread alarm about government borrowing, but it’s a sound, affordable response to the pandemic
A number of journalists, politicians and observers have become increasingly concerned about the mounting quantity of public debt involved in the UK’s coronavirus response. These “quantity vigilantes”, as I like to call them, worry that public debt has been growing at unprecedented levels since the pandemic began, passing 100% of GDP – a level not seen since 1963.
This record peacetime deficit will only mount as the second wave of coronavirus hits jobs, investment and spending across the British economy. So how bad will it get? To some alarmists, what awaits us is no longer simply the “sacred responsibility” to balance the books for the next generation – that old Conservative trope marshalled to legitimise austerity – but something far worse: an impending currency crisis.