Austerity is working in the United Kingdom, it seems.
After five years in which public sector borrowing was not dropping at the rate that the Government hoped, the chancellor George Osborne has now found that he beat his target for reducing such borrowing in the last financial year by nearly £3 billion.
This is good news, but it is hardly a radical achievement. Britain’s debt pile grows ever larger.
Cutting the deficit does not, as many people think, mean cutting the debt. It means cutting the rate at which that debt is rising.
One of the most lamentable aspects of this general election has been the way in which all the parties, both in Northern Ireland and Great Britain, have made uncosted spending pledges.
If all such pledges are met, then the adults of today get to enjoy benefits for which the children and grandchildren of today will have to pay (benefits that they will not themselves be able to enjoy).
It is the height of irresponsibility not to acknowledge that as what it is: selfishness.
However, it has been greatly to the credit of the Liberal Democrats that, amid populist pressure to maintain reckless expenditure, they have since 2010 quietly acquiesced with the Tory drive to reduce the deficit, and ultimately to make some inroads into that alarming £1.48 trillion overall debt pile.
That figure has risen by almost £500 million since the coalition came to power.
It is easy to deride austerity, and to promise more money for everyone. Anyone who cares about the future of the nation has to do better than that. Now the UK economy is growing more quickly than the eurozone.
Those economists who argued against austerity are not looking as clever as they were a few years ago.