Andrew Marr just repeated one of the biggest lies of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. What’s worse, it’s one that could help the Tories put in place more austerity.
On your marks… get set… LIE!
Chancellor Rishi Sunak was on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday 28 February. His slot was ahead of the budget on 3 March. But before Sunak even spoke, Marr was already spreading propaganda for him. Because in his intro, he said:
Now, my final guest is a man who’s borrowed almost £300bn: the chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak.
#Marr compounding one of the biggest lies of the pandemic: that the Tories have "borrowed" £300bn. Clear paving of the way by the government and corporate media for increasing austerity #TheAndrewMarrShow pic.twitter.com/xZvAPV0wrg
— Steve Topple (@MrTopple) February 28, 2021
And that’s it. That’s the lie right there. Because Marr claiming the Tories have “borrowed almost £300bn” is simply not true.
Marr’s lie, unpicked
Tax expert Richard Murphy was straight on it. He tweeted that:
How many times this week will we hear the lie that the government has borrowed £300bn to pay for Covid? It hasn’t. It has issued debt, but then immediately repurchased it using new money created by the Bank of England. This debt has already been repaid in that case, for good.
— Richard Murphy (@RichardJMurphy) February 28, 2021
Murphy is so ‘irritated‘ by this lie that he did a video. In it, he says:
There is nothing owing to anyone. How do I know? Because the bills have been settled.
He then says that the Tories have already paid the £300bn off:
with money created by the Bank of England [BoE], which was used to buy government bonds, which bonds were issued by the Treasury simultaneously with their repurchase – in effect to fund the deficits that were required to ensure that government could continue to provide its services despite the collapse in tax revenues… How many bonds have been issued? Roughly £300bn… How many bonds have been repurchased by the Bank of England on behalf of the Treasury? Roughly £300bn… What is the consequence of that repurchase? That the Bank of England has injected roughly… £300bn worth of new money into the economy
£300bn: where’s it come from, and gone to?
So, where has this £300bn gone? Murphy says it’s gone:
either into savings, and savings have risen by roughly £300bn this year; in such things as stocks, shares, and other things, or in cash. Now, that is the end of it. There is no further bill to pay.
So Marr was either lying, or he doesn’t get basic economics. Let’s say it’s the latter. To be clear for Marr’s benefit: what Murphy is saying, simply put, is this. The Tories just got their mates at the BoE to print a load of money. End of.
More cuts coming?
SNP MP Angus MacNeil took Marr’s lie to a possible conclusion. As he tweeted:
#Marr introduces Chancellor Sunak as having "borrowed" £300billion asking will he continue "borrowing".
Charade goes further as #Marr bellows "borrow borrow borrow"
Actually most of it was "monetary financing" or "printing cash" not borrowing from anyone!#AusterityCausingTV
— Angus B MacNeil MP (@AngusMacNeilSNP) February 28, 2021
His #AusterityCausingTV hashtag is apt. Because this £300bn lie could well pave the way for more cuts to public spending and/or tax rises. That is, the Tories could bring in more austerity.
And we’ve already seen a bit of it, because the Tories have made a real terms cut to some public sector workers’ pay. This, and any future cuts, are based on a lie that we owe someone £300bn. We don’t. So, for Marr to say otherwise, is him being complicit in this sham.
Featured image via The BBC
Do your bit for independent journalism
Did you know that less than 1.5% of our readers contribute financially to The Canary? Imagine what we could do if just a few more people joined our movement to achieve a shared vision of a free and fair society where we nurture people and planet.
We need you to help out, if you can.
When you give a monthly amount to fund our work, you are supporting truly independent journalism. We hold power to account and have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence the counterpoint to the mainstream.
You can count on us for rigorous journalism and fearless opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right wing mainstream media.
In return you get:
- Advert free reading experience
- Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
- 20% discount from our shop