Sunday, 27 November 2011

Belgium or Britain

A colleague texted me over the weekend worried that the press were suggesting Belgium could be next point of focus in the Eurozone crisis. I told him to stop worrying about his handful of cash in a Brussels bank, spend it on chocolate - I'm much more worried about Britain.

A quick look at the table on the back pages of the Economist is a brutal reminder that the UK budget deficit is twice that of the Eurozone and more than double that of Italy. Our pensions "gap" i.e. unfunded pension expectations, is the highest in Europe.

The only good news is that the UK government is still able to fund at a low level, not the 7 per cent plus faced by Italy and Spain. This will only continue so long as financial investors believe that the government is trying to sort out the mess. Financial investors include your pension fund and my pension fund and the place where we both put our insurance premiums.

Despite this it sounds as if the Unions really have not got the message that we can not carry on as before. Yes we should value teachers and nurses and doctors - my husband is one. But Wednesday's threatened strikes really do threaten us all.

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