Victoria Derbyshire debate roundup

Published: 13th Apr 2015

Here are some of the big issues from this morning's Victoria Derbyshire BBC 2 debate:

Jobs

The Coalition's record on jobs enters the spotlight again. Business Minister Matthew Hancock claimed the government has created a record number of jobs. Yes, although the employment rate - also at or near record levels - is a more useful measure. Lib Dem Lord Newby added to this a record number of jobs in the North East, also true.

employment rate

But it's also been highlighted that public and private sector employment have taken different courses since 2010. There are 400,000 fewer public sector employees, and 2.3 million more private sector employees since the election.

Zero hours contracts

A lot of audience members bringing up zero hours contracts. We've already looked at the facts surrounding the 700,000 people estimated to be on them.

Better or worse off?

Living standards and how different groups have been affected by recent tax and spending policies were also discussed. According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the poorest have lost the most from cuts as a proportion of income, as was claimed by Lord Newby.

We've also checked the claim from Labour that people are £1,600 worse off since the election.

The deficit

Stewart Hosie of the Scottish Nationalists draws attention to the slow progress on cutting the deficit. From a peak of over £150 billion in 2009/10 net borrowing was down to £90 billion last year. Meanwhile as a proportion of GDP, the deficit has roughly halved.

Deficit absolute

The deficit as a proportion of GDP

Matthew Hancock points out in 2010 Britain had a record peacetime deficit. It did, both in cash and as a proportion of the size of the economy. Here's our guide to understanding the deficit.

The debt

We rarely hear discussion of the deficit without a mention of the debt as well. Stewart Hosie from the SNP was right to mention the UK's debt is up to £1.5 trillion - that's £1,500 billion.

uk_debt

 

Corporation tax cuts

Claims from both Labour and the Conservatives that Corporation Tax was cut under them (under the Coalition in the Conservatives' case). It was in both cases. The standard rate on company profits was reduced from 31% in 1997/98 to 28% by the end of Labour's time in office. It's since been reduced to 20%.

"It's the economy, stupid"?

One audience member reminds us of the famous Bill Clinton quote and points out the economy is the big issue the election will be fought on. Actually Ipsos Mori's latest poll of important election issues found healthcare on top. 38% of us mentioned this, compared to 31% mentioning managing the economy.

More generally, as shown in the chart below of  Ipsos Mori's regular Issues Index, the economy is one of the most important issues people feel is facing Britain today, but in March people mentioned immigration and the NHS more.

Issues index


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