"Austerity is here to stay"
Speech, Lord Mayor's Banquet
November 11, 2013
There are some people who seem to think that the way you reduce the cost of living in this country is for the state to spend more and more taxpayers’ money.
It’s as if somehow you measure the compassion of the government by the amount of other people’s money it can spend.
At a time when family budgets are tight, it is really worth remembering that this spending comes out of the pockets of the same taxpayers whose living standards we want to see improve.
I hope the Archbishop of Canterbury will forgive me for saying — it’s not robbing Peter to pay Paul — but rather robbing Peter to pay Peter…
The single biggest threat to the cost of living in this country is if our budget deficit and debts get out of control again.
If interest rates and mortgage rates start to soar, the increase in cost of living will far outweigh the impact of any increase in government spending or indeed reduction in taxation.
This government is not prepared to let that happen. We have a plan — and we are carefully implementing that plan. Already we have cut the deficit by a third. And we are sticking to the task.
But that doesn’t just mean making difficult decisions on public spending.
It also means something more profound. It means building a leaner, more efficient state. We need to do more with less. Not just now, but permanently.