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Austerity simply doesn’t work—its death is long overdue

For Osborne's policy to have succeeded would have required abnormally good luck

Chancellor Philip Hammond. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/PA Images

Subjects can dominate the agenda one day, and then drop from view. Something of the kind has been happening to austerity. Two years ago nothing seemed so important to George Osborne as eliminating the budget deficit. In 2015, fresh from masterminding the Conservatives’ unexpected win, Osborne pledged himself to achieving a surplus by 2019-20 and announced further cuts of £12bn in welfare. Austerity, having been relaxed before the election, had returned with a flourish. Not only did the Chancellor claim…

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