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BBC OnePanorama


Last Updated: Monday, 26 September 2005, 14:03 GMT 15:03 UK
Your Comments

Following "Brown's Miracle Economy", first broadcast on Sunday 25 September 2005 at 22:15 BST, Panorama wanted to know how you rated Gordon Brown, as well as your comments about the programme. .

The views expressed on these pages are not necessarily the views of the BBC. The e-mails published will be reflective of the balance of opinion received.

How do you rate Gordon Brown's economic record?

Gordon Brown is no worse or better than any other chancellor. He was in the right place at the right time and now it's not the right time any more. He now is resorting to the spin and fudge that we heard from previous chancellors. The pound is not going to leave the ERM. The budget will be balanced over the economic cycle.
Ken Tindell, United Kingdom

Since re-defining the timecourse of the economic cycle, Gordon Brown's credibility is in question.

On the point of the growing trade gap, it should have been pointed out that the UK's biggest trading partners (i.e. other countries in the EU) have been going through several years of very slow growth, therefore importing less from us. There are some signs of improvement to the French and German economies which may lead to a closing of the trade gap as UK consumption slows.
P Gandhi, London

The loss of quality manufacturing from this country after the rightful loss of uncompetitive manufacturing worries me and Stephanie Flanders' superb analysis shows that we really should fear times when the global economic situation is less favourable to us. Bravo Stephanie!
Tristan Collins, Bath, UK

Compared to Ken Clarke who had the absolute cheek to criticise when he and his party gave us high interest rates, boom and bust, falls in house prices and most unforgivable high unemployment. Gordon Brown and the Labour Party have given the British people a period of stability. For sure more has to be done and more investment in research and development is key
Mike Taylor, Leiston, Suffolk

For a while the economy has been teetering on the edge. Taxes and living costs rising way above the rate of pay. All that is needed is a catalyst to tip us over the edge. There is no slack to dampen the effect - this is demonstrated in the chancellor's reluctance to assist in the fuel crisis - every penny counts now. A very dangerous economic position.
Tony Humphreys, Prestatyn, UK

I just want to say how much I enjoyed tonight's Panorama with Stephanie Flanders. She is an excellent reporter and presenter. She explained the economics clearly, and stimulated my interest. The balance of information and interviews was just right.

It was a great idea to tour the country by bike, and the camera crew gave us some great shots. Thanks to all involved.
Amelia Hunt, Northumberland, UK

I can't believe how soft the programme was on 1) The explosion of public service employees that have to be financed by the private sector - you just let Ed Balls remain "in denial" and 2) How Gordon Brown's "inflation stats" are so bogus e.g. excluding such significant expenses as Council Tax and home energy supplies. The programme was very disappointing.
Julian Dawes, Nailsea, England

I think Gordon Brown is far overrated. The growth has only been continued by Old Labour-style government spending. A new generation of voters has to learn this lesson. It was interesting that only the government-appointed members of the Bank of England rate-setting committee wanted to have interest rates cut. They should not have been and we will all pay for this and so many other mistakes he has made.
John , Dunmow , Essex

Why are you not prepared to spell it out, that this economy is bankrupt? The demise started with Margret Thatcher,and has got progressively worse since. I used to employ 30 people, last year was 16, this year five. Now I have given up, so next year, who will pay the taxes?
Garry Hargraves, Hinckley

I stumbled across this programme and was immediately gripped by a reporter prepared to "get on her bike" and tour the country. I was particularly interested to see what was happening in the cities of the Midlands and the North such as Birmingham, Nottingham and Newcastle.

I enjoyed hearing what manufacturing firms, as well as local councils, had to say about the economy and I thought the debate presented us to was interesting and easily understood, and certainly food for thought. I was rather amazed at the impact public spending was having on the economy.

I work for a local authority and in my experience savage savings are being made everywhere and staff are having to working extremely hard with fewer resources, to keep Council Tax rises to a minimum. One more comment I would like to make about the programme - the photography and camera work were stunning.
Jane Lewis, Bingley, West Yorkshire, UK

I found the programme slightly dissapointing. I would have liked it to point out of the fact that we may have record low inflation, but we also have record low unemployment. Logically, inflation should be much higher, but it isn't because trade unions were crushed by the Thatcher anti-strike legislation, and New labour's regressive economic, especially fiscal, policies.

According the the Institute for Fiscal Policy report Poverty and Inequality in Britain 2005, since 1961 inequality didn't even peak under Margaret Thatcher, it peaked in 2001 under New Labour, because it's carried on the neo-liberal economic policies of anti-union, privatisation and deregulation of markets at the expense of ordinary people. "This all paints a bleak picture" it says, among other things.

So Gordon Brown has only persued a more extreme version of Ken Clarke's economic-fiscal policies. Much less balloning in public debt of which £30 billion alone is based on PFI-based privatisation of state services, financed by borrowing. Of course, it's not counted as capital expenditure, so Mr Brown has fiddled the figures.
Rhoderick Gates, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

Gordon Brown or Norman Lamont? Need I say more?
Chri Purcell, Manchester, England

Having dragged myself into the higher rate of income tax, please could someone explain why I can not afford to buy a modest (average) home in the catchment area of a reasonable school and why I find my pension savings being taxed? Gordon Brown has got it in for people who work, particularly the young struggling to get on the housing ladder with children. His handling of the economy can only be described as poor.
Nick Torrington, Farnborough, Hants

People can only borrow against their equity for so long. As they reach their borrowing limits, their equity growth slows and interest rates rise, the economy will stall. It¿s just a matter of time. The secret is to save during boom years and spend during recessions. Unfortunately, boom years give us the confidence to borrow, leaving us with nothing to spend during recessions. This doesn¿t sound like good economics but seems to underpin Mr Brown¿s consumer driven miracle. P.S. I like the bike but shouldn¿t you wear a crash helmet?
Jon Barrett, Lenham UK

Gordon Brown's so-called economic miracle is propped up by high taxes. There have been at least 70 tax rises since 1997 and consumer spending, fuelled by record personal debt, now stands at a staggering 1 trillion pounds.

Now the wheels are starting to come off of Gordon's economic so-called miracle because heavily indebted people can't afford to spend any more money. They are also being squeezed by rapidly rising domestic fuel bills and motoring costs and can't take any more tax rises. The property market is also cooling rapidly. We are going to see a different economy in the coming years.
Martin Bailey, Basingstoke, England

Whilst a long-term supporter of Gordon Brown and his management of the UK economy, I watched this programme with a view to assessing his record from an objective presentation of the facts.

Unfortunately the programme centred on an appraisal of Brown's "economic miracle" in the main population centres of England with no reference to the other three nations which make up the UK.

So what can I conclude from this offering? Is it that the areas focused on in the programme are intended to be indicative of the UK as a whole? Or, more concerningly, is it that there is only one nation that really matters in any BBC assessment of Brown's "economic miracle"?
Caroline Hair, Nairn, Scotland

I do share the anxiety that was voiced on the expanding of the public sector. Here in Cardiff, a huge slice of the local economy is dependent on the public sector.
Alun Jones, Cardiff, UK

I largely agree with the programme that our luck is about to end in England. Gordon Brown is one more example that politicians serve themselves and not the public. My cynicism goes beyond just Mr Brown. The term "public servant" is largely a bad joke.
Rupert, UK

I wish you'd tell the viewers something they didn't already know. We all know that the economy was in excellent shape when Labour came into power in 1997. And Labour has proceeded to the 1 thing that they promised they wouldn't do i.e. Tax and spend. In the last fiscal year, the Treasury collected £525 billion, that's 525,000,000,000.00. The rebuilding of New Orleans is expected to take "only" £140 billion. Please tell us the taxpayers where the £525 billion has gone. That would be a far more useful topic for a future Panorama programme.
Sally Cooke, Skipton, UK

I'd like to know what our growth rate would have been without the £1.1 Trillion (£1,100,000,000,000) of personal debt that's been floating around the economy in recent years. This is clearly unsustainable as are our current levels of public spending. I was disappointed this figure wasn't mentioned in the Panarama report.
Andy Miller, UK

I watched your documentary on Gordon Brown's "miracle economy" and I must congratulate you on an incisive piece of tepid and inessential waste of taxpayers' money. I particularly liked the bicycle which made an appearance in every other shot. Please can you tell me where I may a purchase a similar bicycle? Also I would love to know what is so miraculous about this economy. I work 60 hours a week, live without luxury yet still find myself in debt. Please could you spare a minute from patting yourselves on the back and expain this anomaly.
Sylvia Owlchamp, Bristol

Very good programme. It has been painfully obvious that the current economic climate of the last few years can not be substainable. We as a country cannot continue to enjoy this high standard of living without taking into account where the products which help us achieve this standard come from. Manufacturing relies on engineering, which relies on engineers, which is not one of the professions which the young want to get involved in. Differentials have been eroded, along with status. Training and apprenticeships have all but dissapeared. The government has not encouraged manufacturing or manufacturers. The ability to produce products that the rest of the world wants is not important in circles of power within this country. The next couple of years will be interesting.
Richard Gosling, London

I agree that it's about time the country woke up and smelled the coffee. We will soon have half our workers employed directly or indirectly by a very inefficient public sector, while the rest of us struggle to pay our taxes to support all the pen pushers. It's about time we had a full and thorough root and branch reform of central and local goverment. Their productivities and working patterns the rest of us cannot carry this huge millstone round our necks forever. It used to cost this economy 17% of what it earned to support the public sector. That was far too much. But now I believe it costs in excess of 40%. What a waste. Think how many schools, hospitals and police that lot would provide. Or how much better off we'd all be.
Roy Courts, UK

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