Thursday, 11 June 2009

A Shave Or A Spending Cut?

Policy debate has returned to the political agenda as the question of the nations finances has come under the spotlight.

Conservative shadow frontbencher Andrew Lansley let slip his assessment of the situation by announcing the need for 10% across the board cuts in spending.

Alistair McRonald defends this plan for it's honesty, saying "the public... will appreciate someone explaining that they can't have a free lunch."

Alistair follows up by pointing out the choice is between 10% cuts offered by the tories and 7% cuts offered by Labour and flatly accuses Labour of lying to the public about their intentions.

Labour apologist Andy Peacock (who has resurfaced in Slough) argues Mr Lansley "let the cat out of the bag" and that this shows the real political choice to be
"between Labour which believes we must grow our way out of recession - and the Conservatives who have revealed that they would cut the vast majority of public spending by ten per cent."
Unfortunately he somewhat tails off after this as he is unable to give any more details (update: he has now provided details).

Irrepresessible LibDem blogger Paul Walter disagrees with both Labour and tories, picking up the baton and taking the fight to both sides.

Not only does he point out the contradiction in the tory ideology that they would still pick and choose where to swing the axe, but he also nudges Labour to remind them that they have already stated they will be fighting the election on the basis that the economy is already coming out of recession.

More locally the political debate is shown up in stark relief as ruling Conservatives imposed a near maximum Council Tax increase of 4.68% in Wokingham borough, while attempting to claw back £60,000 from scrapping 245 waste bins for dog bins and planning to sell off public libraries.

LibDem PPC Prue Bray explained that it "shows there is a considerable lack of strategic thinking [on behalf of the tories]," exacerbated by Conservative financial mismanagement which resulted in the loss of £5m council funds during the Icelandic banking collapse.

She adds on her own blog that there is a significant trend in the questions posed to the Conservative administration in Wokingham.


Update: BBC's Paul Mason helpfully gives us a graphical presentation on the figures in his Newsnight report. He says any government will quickly face a credibility test after the next election.

In the same programme Gavin Esler hosts a debate between Labour's John Denham and the Conervative Phillip Hammond.

Warren Swaine thinks Labour is foolish to promise the earth when they can't deliver it. Economic competence means you can't be a soft touch, because the consequences of profligacy always come back to haunt.

John Redwood is unhappy that the Conservatives are not prepared to pledge to make bigger, deeper cuts and wants to open up a debate on exactly how much fat needs trimming.

1 comment:

  1. Hmm. Lansley was actually talking about what is in the current budget under Darling. Labour have jumped on this, and it's beginning to backfire.


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