It may sound a challenge, cutting £44 billion from public spending.
But actually, it’s easy.
Not only that, it can be done without hitting the least well off. Without cutting worthwhile public services. And if you’re so minded, you can even drape a “progressive” label over it all.
How to do it?
You see, the last Labour Budget contained overall spending totals for the government that mean a cut in spending of £44 billion (using the calculations form the Office of Budget Responsibility). Now, because Labour didn’t publish any departmental spending total plans beyond the current financial year, we don’t know where those £44 billion of cuts were going to go.
But of course it would be irresponsible to lay out those plans without having a good idea of how you’d put them into practice if you won the election. And it really wouldn’t be the done thing would it to write a general election manifesto that confirms the Budget’s plans and required £44 billion of cuts even if you don’t really know where the £44 billion is going to come from?
So just ask Alistair Darling and Ed Miliband – the last Chancellor and the author of Labour’s manifesto – where the £44 billion was going to come from.
As I said, simple.
After all, they wouldn’t be leaving their colleagues merrily criticising just about any spending cut proposed by the new government as awful, non-progressive, unfair and heartless if they knew that those very same colleagues had just fought a manifesto that was based on anything other than nice, warm, cuddly and progressive £44 billion cuts would they?