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Saturday, September 19, 2009

The public spending war

With the battle lines drawn around future public spending plans the start of the Liberal Democrat Conference sees Nick Clegg issue a brutal warning about the future. He tells the Guardian that bold and even "savage" cuts in government spending will be necessary to bring the public deficit down after the next election.

He sets out plans that include a long-term freeze in the public sector pay bill, scaling back future public sector pensions, and withdrawing tax credits from the middle class. It is a direct challenge to the party's grass roots many of whom are prepared to give the leadership latitude on this issue but nevertheless do have some red lines over which they will not cross. What is important here is that Clegg and Cable respect those red lines so as to take the party with them.

Meanwhile, new figures show that whereas the Liberal Democrats are prepared to set out in some detail how they will put the country's finances back on a level footing, it seems that the Tories are all talk and no trousers:

The Liberal Democrats also attacked Tory spending plans last night, claiming that Treasury documents released under the Freedom of Information laws revealed £53bn of unfunded Tory promises. "The Tories try to talk tough on spending cuts, but in reality they haven't a clue," said a spokesman, Lord Oakeshott. "With over £50bn of uncosted spending commitments, they are not fit for government."

The Tory response is very much a non-denial, blaming the Treasury for releasing the figures rather than trying to refute their own financial progligacy. Let hostilities commence...
Have you seen that Labour run Bridgend CBC is looking to reduce it's electricity bill by turning off street lighting in selected areas of the county borough?

Let the crime begin!
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