This conference left me with a sense of the Party’s sincere humanity and compassion. Our aims include lifting the poor out of poverty through the best possible means: work, education, strong families and wealth creation. I happened to have dinner with John Hayes MP who set out an inspirational vision and purpose for education as the key to social mobility: like me, John comes from a modest background.
Regarding the coming cuts, David Cameron said:
And when we are done with these cuts, spending on public services will actually still be at the same level that it was in 2006.
And as John Redwood has pointed out:
You can overdo the dire warnings about cuts to come, especially when the plan is to increase public spending each year for the next five years. If they do announce difficult cuts in particular departments and programmes it will be because the public sector is unable to manage with a 6% cash increase this year and another 2.5% next year.
A great many companies would, I am sure, be very glad of such guaranteed increases in turnover. They would hardly respond by cutting key business lines…
John has also summarised our tax and spending plans in stark terms:
I have long been pointing out that over the five years of this government’s plans total public current spending will rise by an annual £92.1 billion from the last Labour year. I should also add today that over the same time period tax will go up by £176.8 billion a year. In the last Labour year they collected £479.7 billion in tax. This government plans to collect £656.5 billion in tax in 2014-15. ( Budget Red book forecast p 100). The annual tax increase by year five of the planned increases will be £3000 for every person in the country or £12,000 for a family of four.
Labour’s legacy is not just comprehensively dire, it is also absurd: we find journalists discussing “drastic cuts” when in fact both taxation and spending are set to increase significantly.
I don’t know what will be in the Comprehensive Spending review but I hope it will be much more sensible than our distorted political discourse suggests.