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:
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).