Thursday, 10 November 2011


During the 2010 General Election all three of the main parties accepted that there would have to be cuts. The Conservatives said that they would make cuts of £92 billion if they got a majority. Labour announced that they would halve the deficit by 2014 if they were re-elected* (Labour’s Fiscal Responsibility Act 2010 committed it to halve the overall budget deficit by 2013–14 from its 2009-10 levels). The Liberal Democrats campaigned for cuts of £80 billion.
After the election neither Labour nor the Conservatives were able to form a government on their own. The Lib Dems eventually formed a Coalition with the Conservatives. A key factor in the Coalition negotiations was Lib Dem insistance that children, the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our society would be protected from the worst of the cuts.
In the event cuts of £81 billion** were agreed, and every week measures are being announced by the Lib Dems that demonstrate that they are delivering on their promise to help those who cannot help themselves, such as The Pupil Premium, raising the tax threshold to help the lowest paid, restoring the link between wages and pensions, trebling cold weather payments and many, many more.
As a result of forming the Coalition the ‘cuts’ are 11 billion less than they would have been if the Tories governed alone, and 4 billion less than we would have experienced had Labour been re-elected***. And remember, Labour had no plans to cut taxes for the lowest paid, or to find EXTRA money for the poorest school children or pensioners.
When you hear Labour activists trying to denounce the Liberal Democrats for making ‘cuts’ you might want to point this out to them.
* (Labour will) Secure the recovery by supporting the economy now, and more than halve the deficit by 2014 through economic growth, fair taxes and cuts to lower priority spending. Labour Party Manifesto 2010
(**figures from the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies)
*** The deficit stood at 170.8 billion at the end of the 2009-10 financial year. Cutting it in half, as required by Labour’s Fiscal Responsibility Act, would have resulted in cuts of 85.4 billion.
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