Laura Kuenssberg “misled” BBC viewers with analogy of “credit card debt to the max” national debt, say leading economists


The letter said that BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg had “twisted” the financial challenges facing the UK government in covering the 2020 Spending Review.

Speaking about the size of the national debt on Politics Live, Ms Kuenssberg said “it’s the credit card, the national mortgage, everything is absolutely at the max,” adding later that: “for the next few years it won’t there really is no money.

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The letter, addressed to BBC chief executive Tim Davie, said the credit card analogy “does not represent economic reality” and “reproduces a number of misconceptions regarding macroeconomics and public finances. “.

Its signatories, including Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, vice-chancellor of the University of Glasgow, said Ms Kuenssberg had set a “standard across the media” as one of Britain’s most seasoned journalists , and called on BBC journalists to avoid using similar analogies in the future.

“We would say that is never an appropriate metaphor for public finances,” the letter read.

“Maximizing a credit card would mean that the government is approaching a hard limit on its borrowing capacity. It doesn’t.

“It is the consensus among economists that the government should at this point not focus on reducing the deficit, but rather on providing the necessary spending to ensure a recovery from Covid-19.”

Speaking about the size of the national debt on Politics Live, Ms Kuenssberg said “it’s the credit card, the national mortgage, everything is absolutely to the max” (JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP via Getty Images)

The signatories said record interest rates on government bonds would likely remain so “for the foreseeable future.”

“These are not signs of an institution approaching its credit limits,” they added.

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