Posts Tagged ‘Fabian spending commission’

If Labour adopts the proposals of the Fabian spending commission, it will pay the price at the next election

21/10/2013, 11:11:21 AM

by Jonathan Todd

David Cameron – as, for some reason, he is always quick to do – taunted Labour thus in PMQs last week: “More spending, more borrowing, more debt. It is the same old Labour.” On the same day, a Fabian Society commission on the future of public spending reported that Labour could spend £20bn more in 2017-18 than the government currently plans.

If Labour were to adopt the recommendations of the Fabians, then the reaction of the prime minister is all too obvious. What is, though, more important to Labour’s 2015 chances is how the voters would react.

Polling by YouGov to support the book published by Labour Uncut at party conference gives us some indication.

This polling found that if Labour were to promise to keep most of the present government’s spending plans, but to borrow more specifically for public works such as building more homes, those who say this would make them more likely to vote Labour outnumber those who say it would make them less likely by 4% (17% more likely versus 13% less likely).

In contrast, a net 4% of voters say they would be less likely to vote Labour (12% more likely versus 16% less likely) if the party rejected any public spending cuts and instead allowed borrowing to rise.

The difference between these two strategies could be the difference between Labour winning and losing the election.

The Fabian proposal seems to fall somewhere between these two strategies. It doesn’t reject entirely spending cuts – a position that our polling indicates would be likely to cost Labour the election. Nor does it only go beyond the government’s plan exclusively for certain forms of investment – a strategy that our polling sees as compatible with Labour victory.


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