Austerity plans under fire in Britain

Updated 23 April 2015

Austerity plans under fire in Britain

LONDON: With just two weeks before a knife-edge election, Britain’s major political parties Thursday faced stinging criticism from analysts over the lack of detail in their austerity plans.
The governing Conservatives and their junior coalition partner the Liberal Democrats, as well as the opposition Labour party and the Scottish National Party, have failed to provide detailed fiscal plans for the next five years, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said.
“Public finance plans of Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and SNP leave much unanswered,” the respected think-tank concluded in a study after analyzing the parties’ manifestos before the May 7 general election.
“None of these parties has provided anything like full details of their fiscal plans for each year of the coming Parliament, leaving the electorate somewhat in the dark as to both the scale and composition of likely spending cuts and tax increases.”
The withering criticism came as official data showed the coalition government beat its own deficit-cutting target for the 2014/2015 financial year to March. Economists said the data gave a boost to Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron — whose election campaign has been based on his handling of the economy.
Public sector net borrowing, the government’s preferred measure of the deficit, fell to £87.3 billion ($131 billion, 122 billion euros) in the year to the end of March, or the equivalent of 4.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), the Office for National Statistics revealed. That beat the official forecast of £90.2 billion and marked an improvement from £98.5 billion in 2013/14.
The deficit — the annual shortfall between government revenues and expenditure — has now dropped by about £60 billion since just before the coalition came to power in 2010.
The government has an overall debt of £1.48 trillion, or £500 billion higher than 2009/10.


Coronavirus: India expected to surpass US as worst-hit

Updated 20 September 2020

Coronavirus: India expected to surpass US as worst-hit

  • Over 60 percent of the active cases are concentrated in five of India’s 28 states

NEW DELHI: India has registered 92,605 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours and is expected to surpass the United States as the pandemic’s worst-hit country within weeks.
The Health Ministry on Sunday also reported 1,133 additional deaths for a total of 86,752.
Sunday’s surge raised the country’s virus tally to over 5.4 million. India, however, also has the highest number of recovered patients in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University. Its recovery rate stands at about 80 percent.
Over 60 percent of the active cases are concentrated in five of India’s 28 states – Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has faced scathing criticism for its handling of the pandemic amid a contracting economy that left millions jobless.