Budget 2012: George Osborne averts a slow national rot – Telegraph Blogs

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: The underlying ghastliness of the British predicament remains. [Government] Spending as a share of GDP has ratcheted up from 35pc at the end of the 1990s to the Brownian peak of 51.7pc in 2009 (Eurostat), an all-time high in peace-time. It came back slightly to 50.4pc in 2010.

This debacle happened over a decade when a string of countries were slimming down the Leviathan state. Germany and Holland are now leaner than Britain.

Eurostat’s total government spending as a share of GDP for 2010 (the latest available) shows:

France 56.6
Sweden 52.7
UK 50.4
Italy 50.3
Germany 47.9
Norway 45.8
Switzerland 34.2

The US, Japan, Canada, and Korea are all much lower, and China is much lower yet.

This state burden is the macro-economic killer. It is a far more relevant than the tax take as a share of the economy, since it includes borrowing (ie deferred taxation).

via Budget 2012: George Osborne averts a slow national rot – Telegraph Blogs.

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