Vince vs Danny and Osborne?

From the Observer:

Vince Cable is refusing to accept deep cuts to his departmental budget without a guarantee of billions in funding for job-creating capital projects, as arguments over this week’s spending review reached a new pitch.

With just three days before George Osborne is due to announce £11.5bn of cuts for 2015-16, the business secretary was said to be in no mood to back down in a dispute he regards as crucial to the government’s economic credibility.

Cable is arguing, in talks with Treasury ministers and officials, that the coalition must have “a strong story to tell on growth” to run alongside its tough message on slashing the budget deficit and balancing the books by 2018.

In a dispute that has pitched him against the Treasury chief secretary Danny Alexander, a fellow Liberal Democrat, Cable is fighting for investment spending on everything from science and business funding to grants for training and skills development. Insiders said that he was not pushing a party point but a case he believed was in “the national economic interest”.

In March, some raised questions over Cable’s future in the cabinet when he broke ranks to ask, in an article in the New Statesman, whether the government “should borrow more, at current very low interest rates, to finance more capital spending: building of schools and colleges; small road and rail projects; more prudential borrowing by councils for housebuilding”.

So, Vince is reportedly fighting for things he believes are vital to future economic growth and which are run by his department? That’s got to be good news, surely? It’s his job. It’s also Danny’s job, as with every Chief Secretary before him, to encourage his colleagues to justify every penny their department spends. It’s not a bad approach and one that is entirely predictable. We’ll know the results of these negotiations on  Wednesday.

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3 Comments

  • Agree with Geoffrey Pane. Support Vince Cable on this. Laws or Browne replacing Vince Cable would not just be a bombshell, but a total disaster … and lead to a number of us questioning whether this is truly our party.

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