Posts Tagged ‘spending plans’

Ed Balls’ commitment problem

18/03/2011, 07:00:09 AM

By Atul Hatwal

It’s been a tumultuous week. Quite rightly, the attention of the nation has been fixed on developments in Japan and Libya. Domestic politics has seemed less important.

But something big did also happen over here – and it wasn’t the launch of Labour’s opposing, yeah-but-no-but, AV campaigns.

On Monday, the two Eds gave a press conference on Labour’s tests for the budget. In the midst of what’s happening around the world, it didn’t get acres of coverage.

Setting aside the sight of head girl Justine Greening leading the Tory response, talking about “gi-noor-mous” holes in credibility on the BBC, presumably before returning to the treasury for lashings of ginger beer, the exchange seemed unremarkable.

But underneath the prosaic was something quite important. Labour developed its approach on the economy.

Before Monday, the position was straightforward. The government is cutting too far, too fast. Labour’s alternative is the Darling plan, halving the structural deficit over four years. In comparison, the Tory plan is to fully eliminate the deficit over a similar period.

So over the course of the parliament, Labour’s policy is for spending to be higher than the Tories to the tune of 50% of the structural deficit. This might not help reassure the 41% of voters who solely blame spending by the last Labour government for the cuts, but it is at least clear. (more…)

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