Vince Double-Bill: PBR video response and LibLink Times article

Here’s the video response Lib Dem shadow chancellor Vince Cable recorded yesterday in response to Alistair Darling’s Pre-Budget Report yesterday. (It is him, promise: you can make out the outline of his hat in the evening gloom – it might be worth filming Vince nearer a street-lamp next time.)

(Hat-tip: the Lib Dems’ ACT website).

Vince also appeared in yesterday’s Times, which the Voice failed to cover yesterday, arguing that Alistair Darling would have done better to model his PBR on one of his predecessors, Roy Jenkins. Here’s an excerpt:

Few chancellors are loved. They can, however, earn respect. … [Alistair Darling] could be the Roy Jenkins of his generation. … the approach that Jenkins brought to bear — through spending cuts and tax increases — was precisely what is required today: candour and clarity about the state of the nation’s economy; willingness to confront sacred cows (in his case, overextended defence commitments and prescription charges); and a commitment to sharing the burdens fairly (then, a fierce tax on investment income, which was seriously unpopular in the City). His policies worked; his legacy was a strong budget and balance of payments.

Candour now has to start by acknowledging two painful realities. One is that the economy is still very weak. It will not just spring back to strong growth. Recovery may well be painful and slow. The withdrawal of monetary steroids, the overhang of personal indebtedness, the continuing restrictions on credit availability and cost, worries over high and rising unemployment, a fall in business and public investment: all will inhibit growth.

The other reality and impediment to recovery is the state of the public finances. It may be possible for the Government to continue to borrow 12-13 per cent of GDP — £175 billion — for a short while at current low borrowing costs. But the structural, long-term element in the budget deficit is so large — a product of overdependence on the financial sector for government revenue — that Britain is now the most likely of the G7 countries to experience a serious loss of creditworthiness. …

Policy should be decided not on the basis of party advantage but economic fundamentals. That is why I am suggesting five tests on which an objective judgment should be based: evidence of sustained economic growth; employment growth; overseas demand (especially in the EU); monetary and credit conditions in the UK; and the market cost of government borrowing. …

A generation ago Jenkins earned the nation’s trust as he turned the economic crisis around. He told the truth. He made the rich pay their share. And he did the job in the national, not party, interest. Mr Darling and his successor, whoever it is, will have to lead the country through five years of hard economic slog. They won’t go far wrong if they follow in Jenkins’s footsteps.

You can read Vince’s article in full here.

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This entry was posted in LibLink.
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