Tag Archives: spending cuts

Tories seem to be shredding their claim to economic competence with each new spending commitment

The Tories have gone on about economic responsibility and controlling spending for long enough. It’s bizarre, then, that their list of dubiously funded post-election spending commitments is getting longer by the day.

It’s not enough to say that the NHS will get the £8 billion it needs out of the proceeds of a stronger economy alone as Jeremy Hunt did this morning. That’s like making a commitment on a foundation of fresh air and marshmallow.

Asked how the Conservatives would fund the pledge, he said the economy had been turned around and pointed to investment in the service during the last Parliament, when the government guaranteed an above-inflation increase in funding.

He said: “If you want to be sceptical about the commitment, look at the track record.”

It’s not as if the global economy is in a particularly robust position to be able to rely on that.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 17 Comments

Opinion: Who’s been hit hardest by the coalition’s cuts?

The budget on March 20th is likely to concentrate on growth, on avoiding an ‘omnishambles’, and on fighting the notion that Osborne has taken the country from triple A to triple dip. But it’s also the time to take stock of who’s bearing the brunt of (attempted) deficit reduction. This graph shows the combined effect of all the coalition’s tax and welfare changes, as modelled by the Institute for Fiscal Studies. It doesn’t look good.

Impact of modelled tax and benefit reforms since Jan 2010, by income decile group (Copyright of the IFS*)

The blue …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 15 Comments

Opinion: Liberal Democrats must not apologise for cuts

Occasionally Nick Clegg, or his speechwriters create a phrase which deserves to live on in the political lexicon long after the rest of the speech has been confined to the political dustbin. The pre-2010 General Election debates were transformed by Nick referring to the “two old parties” and asking voters to “do something different this time”.

While the phrases were memorable, they were hardly that effective. Voters did what they did the last time they faced a Labour government mired in staggering incompetence and a Tory party leadership tacking to the centre while the grassroots howled. That was in the 1970’s when voters gave Labour a kicking and the Tories the mandate of largest party in parliament but no overall majority. In 2010 the outcome was the same with Labour weakened and the Tories becoming the largest party, except that on this occasion, the Liberal Democrats, from MPs to ordinary members, voted by a huge majority for a coalition. But while the phrases used in the debates were clever and eye catching, it was another of Nick’s phrases which should help set the tone for the party in the future. Nick said there would be “savage cuts”, while Vince Cable joined his Tory and Labour colleagues in saying that post-election there would, under a Liberal Democrat government, be “cuts faster and deeper than Thatcher”.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 38 Comments

Opinion: Pick your horse in the grand recovery stakes

Moody’s, the US credit ratings agency, has put the UK on negative outlook, threatening the country’s triple A status. This came the day after three other organizations had also made their views known.

The CBI predicted that the UK would avoid a double-dip recession, the services firm BDO published the results of a survey suggesting turnovers were continuing to fall and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development reported that employers were more likely to lay off staff.

It is now four and a half years since the uncertainty of the credit worthiness of banks and hedge funds that were …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 6 Comments

Ian Swales MP writes: 12 CUTS Labour don’t talk about

The Labour party think they can win the economic argument by just wailing about cuts on behalf of their public sector union paymasters. They give no credible alternatives for what they would do about Britain’s economic crisis.

What they also like to ignore is some of the changes that are being made towards making this country fairer. Here is a list of cuts WE should be talking about because they are mostly happening through Lib Dem action and pressure.

  • The CUT from £250,000 to £50,000 in the maximum annual pension contribution to receive tax relief – clawing back a staggering £4,000,000,000 (£4bn) that Labour was giving to the rich.
  • The

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 55 Comments

PMQs: Penguin in the menage à trois

The first big subject at Prime Minister’s Questions this week was Europe. Tory MP Andrew Rosindell asked if David Cameron would show “bulldog spirit” at the forthcoming summit. Later, similar points came from various Tory Eurosceptic MPs, including the Father of the House, Sir Peter Tapsell. He is always heard with great respect, despite his long-winded, rather pompous and, in this case, halting mini-speeches which have barely inquisitive constructions stuck on the end of them.

Ed Miliband started on Europe as well, asking if Cameron would fulfil his promise that treaty change might give the opportunity to “repatriate powers”. The Prime …

Posted in PMQs | Also tagged , , , , and | 4 Comments

Opinion: cuts in welfare are the hallmark of a selfish society

During the Conservative Party Conference, George Osborne announced a simple change to child benefit. He took a difficult and historic decision to remove payments to households with at least one higher rate taxpayer, saving an estimated £1 billion of public money from going directly to the highest paid 12% in our society.

In what turned out to be my last blog post, I railed – somewhat hysterically – against the reaction to this modest cut. It was clear that the right wing press would oppose such a move. But what was less clear, and more galling, was the way the …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 44 Comments

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  • User AvatarJudy Abel 6th Feb - 12:02am
    I know what I'm going to say won't be very popular, but in all discussion on childcare, no one ever mentions what might actually be...
  • User AvatarTracy 5th Feb - 11:09pm
    Apologies for the typos above. I blame my phone!
  • User AvatarSimon Shaw 5th Feb - 11:07pm
    @Tony Greaves @Nick Thornsby You are both correct. As I asked in the first posting, if people really would prefer us have 5 MPs, one...
  • User AvatarTracy 5th Feb - 11:06pm
    Totally agree with you Ian. It is neither liberal nor democratic. I don't think there is any such thing as 'positive' discrimination. It is discrimination...
  • User AvatarNick Thornsby 5th Feb - 10:39pm
    Interesting piece and comments thread. Given that we now know (if we ever didn't) that there are no safe Lib Dem seats, I can't help...
  • User AvatarTony Greaves 5th Feb - 10:05pm
    No-one has yet answered the underlying practical question posed. We have no safe seats to guarantee automatic election. At the next election we will have...