"We’ve now cut the deficit not by a quarter, but by a third."
"we forecast underlying deficits very close to £120 billion in 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14".
"Our overall forecast of under-spending has a number of elements....[including] payments (for example to some international institutions) that were due to be made late in the current financial year, but which are being delayed into 2013-14. In the last of these cases, departments have assumed that these payments will be accrued to 2013-14 rather than 2012-13, although we see some risk that this may not always be the case and some could be accrued to the original date."
"There is every indication that the numbers have been carefully managed with a close eye on the headline borrowing figures for. It is unlikely that this has led either to an economically optimal allocation of spending across years or to a good use of time by officials and ministers."
Much of that remains valid, but not all. I would now suggest:"We've reduced the deficit by a quarter, in line with the plans we inherited, despite the fact that the misguided policies we and others implemented have made deficit reduction much more difficult. We've done this mostly by massive cuts to public investment, despite the fact that the economic circumstances are more conducive to public investment than at any time in living memory. On the bright side, however, we've learned that during a period of prolonged weak or zero growth, with businesses and households seeking to raise saving and lower investment, it is possible to continue to finance very large deficits at very low interest rates. "
"We reduced the deficit by a third in our first two years in government, mostly by massive cuts to public investment, which we now realise were a big mistake and have damaged the economy. We're trying belatedly to correct this. We've also now realised that trying to reduce the deficit further while the economy isn't growing is self-defeating, so we're not even going to try to get back on track until it does grow. Meanwhile, since we have no actual growth strategy, and we need to be able to say that the deficit is still falling, we've adopted the proven and time-honoured strategy of putting off paying the bills."