'Caring' Cameron to defend spending cuts

Prime Minister will use speech to claim that the Conservatives want to build a fairer society

David Cameron will today insist there is “true compassion” behind the Government's austerity programme, arguing the Coalition is taking tough decisions because of its concern for Britain's long-term future.

Speaking at a meeting of Conservative activists, he will attempt to counter charges that the party has used the economic crisis as cover for driving through ideologically driven cuts. Tory strategists are also keen to avoid the trap of being seen as less sensitive to the impact of George Osborne's spending squeeze than the Liberal Democrat coalition partners.

The Prime Minister will insist the Government's programme – including its overhaul of the NHS – will help to make society fairer. Mr Cameron will argue: "People say Conservatives in government are taking tough action because they don't care. But the opposite is true. We're taking those decisions because we do care."

He will say: "We care about the kind of country our children are going to grow up in, about not burdening them with debts that we are too timid to pay back. We care about giving people dignity in old age, which is why we're making difficult decisions today – so we can afford our pensions system tomorrow. We care about keeping a health service that is truly there for all and free for all, which is why we're prioritising prevention and not just treatment."

He will tell the meeting in London: "It's only by taking tough and bold action that we will make our country stronger and fairer."

Mr Cameron's speech, coming three weeks before the Budget, is a clear sign that Mr Osborne will have little scope for popular handouts.

It reflects concern among Conservative strategists and ministers that the party is seen by many voters as standing for spending cuts and little else. They are worried that a more aggressive approach by the Liberal Democrats since the turn of the year may risk "recontaminating" the Tories, undoing Mr Cameron's work to end its image as the "nasty party".

Nick Clegg and his party have highlighted their differences with the Tories in public – for example, by demanding a wealth tax in the Budget and changes to the Government's NHS reforms.

One senior Tory said: "We cannot allow the Lib Dems to be seen as the conscience of the Coalition. If they are going to tell voters they stopped us privatising the health service, we cannot allow that to lie on the table. It is not true and so we are going to answer back."

Police plan privatisation

Police in two forces are planning to privatise as many duties as is legal in a deal worth up to £1.5bn over the next seven years. West Midlands and Surrey Police have invited bids from large security companies to take on services including patrolling and investigating crime, according to a report. It is the biggest private contract yet proposed for police services. A Home Office spokeswoman said: "We support the police in considering the value of private-sector partnering to achieve cost savings and better services."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk