The Thick of It


Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Honesty on cuts or honesty on Tory motives?

I don't expect to but it would be good to hear something from the Tories this week admitting that Gordon Brown's fiscal stimulus was necessary to keep the economy going. They are more interested in highlighting the size of Britain's budget deficit. Cameron and Osbourne claim this is because honesty is needed about dealing with the deficit. I'd like to hear a little more honesty from the Tories about cutting public services. 

Osbourne didn't mention what he would do with increasing tax receipts as the economy begins to grow again. Alistair Darling intends to use these to reduce the budget deficit while protecting public services. The Tories are using the deficit as an excuse to make cuts to public spending. In both the 2001 and 2005 elections this was the predominant theme of their manifesto. 

What will George and Dave do when the economy picks up? Osbourne yesterday left the door open for make cuts to inheritance tax for the rich and mentioned that he wouldn't scrap the 50% top tax rate at the moment, leaving open the possibility of scrapping that in future. Cameron's Tories have been accused of being light on detail - they are now, at last, telling the public what they intend to do with government. Rather ominous gaps are still there and it will take a strong response from Labour to show the country why the Tories are wrong. Rachel Reeves at Progress agrees: "The banking crisis and recession will be used by the Tories to do what they always wanted to do. Cutting back the size of the state and then cutting taxes for the few."

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