Professor Saville Kushner from the University of the West of England, together with Barry Kushner and Oliver Penrose. The presentation makes the case that there is no urgent need to reduce the budget deficit and that the budget deficit was higher post World War II when the welfare state was being constructed. It also asks the very relevant question of why is there one single narrative about the financial state of the country. The Coalition Government is embarking on an unprecedented round of spending cuts. It is as tough a package of retrenchment as the IMF imposed on Greece, a country on the brink of bankruptcy and twice as tough as the famously harsh measures Canada took between 1994 and 1997. It is three times tougher than Sweden's measures between 1993 and 1995. In British terms, it is immeasurably tougher than what we did after the IMF crisis in 1976 or after the ERM crisis in 1992 .No country has volunteered such austerity. Will Hutton, The Guardian 19.06.10 Are the cuts justified and do the assumptions behind it stand up to scrutiny? In the Maastricht Treaty, negotiated during Margaret Thatchers period as PM, the EU set a ceiling of 60% debt as a percentage of GDP. At the time, this was considered harsh. Were not that far off of it. But look at the history of national debt. The debt to GDP ratio has almost always been more than 60% since records began. When we were building the welfare state the UK debt rose to 261% and stayed over 100% well into the 1960s. And this was also the time when we were rebuilding cities destroyed by bombing.