David Cameron accuses Gordon Brown of spending cuts 'deceit'

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Tory leader David Cameron has accused the Prime Minister of "deceit" over public spending cuts.

Mr Cameron rounded on Mr Brown at Commons question time, after he again claimed the Tories were planning 10 per cent cuts.

In rowdy exchanges, Mr Brown said that under a Tory Government people could look forward not just to 10 per cent cuts in public spending but also rising unemployment.

Challenged by Mr Cameron to say if there would be a spending review before the election, Mr Brown said it would be "completely wrong" to have one "in the midst of a recession" when it was impossible to forecast unemployment and growth.

Mr Cameron repeatedly insisted that under the Government's plans total spending would be cut after 2011.

Mr Brown sparked Tory jeers and laughter when he denied this, saying total spending would continue to rise and it would be a "zero per cent rise in 2013-14".

As the row over spending escalated, Mr Cameron mocked the Prime Minister's performance as "one of the most feeble" ever.

Rejecting Mr Brown's charge that the Conservatives would let unemployment rise, Mr Cameron retorted: "There's only one person we want to put on the unemployment register and that's you!"

He said: "Last week I think it was demonstrated for everyone to see that capital spending under Labour will be cut. Now I want to turn to total spending. Will you accept that your own figures show that ... total spending will be cut after 2011."

Mr Brown replied: "No. Total spending will continue to rise and it will be a zero per cent rise in 2013-14. In 2011-12 and 2012-13 it will continue to rise."

Mr Brown said the debate was about how the country returned to growth and jobs in the economy.

"The reason we have advanced spending to 2009-10 is so we can spend to get out of recession.

"We put forward proposals for homes and jobs and more money in 2009-10. The Opposition have rejected this expenditure.

"We put forward proposals for expenditure in 2010-11 and the Opposition have rejected that.

"The capital spending we have advanced to 2009-10 and 2010-11 is not available therefore after 2011.

"This is precisely the way a Government will act to take the country out of recession."

Shadow chancellor George Osborne should explain why he was "going into television studios yesterday saying he was going to cut schools now, cut Sure Start now, cut the September guarantee for school leavers now and do nothing about unemployment.

"We cannot get out of recession unless we spend now on the services we need."

Mr Cameron said the Prime Minister was in "full retreat".

He said: "In the first answer you said we are going to get a zero per cent increase in public spending - that's a new one. In the second answer you finally admit you are going to cut deeply capital spending."

The debate was about whether the Prime Minister could be "straight" with the British public.

"When the Treasury themselves are saying, when it comes to total spending, there is a reduction in the medium term .... will you give a straight answer and say when you allow for inflation, total spending is being cut."

Mr Brown said current spending would rise and "continue to rise". Capital spending would rise until 2011 and then fall.

"I've already made clear that current spending for health, and for education, and all these public services, will continue to rise."

There was only one "serious party in the world" that was trying to tell the Government that they should be cutting spending now and that was the Conservatives.

Under Mr Cameron's proposals "schools would be losing money now, teachers would be being made unemployed, childcare services would be at risk, no teenager would get a guarantee for jobs.

"That is the future if the Conservatives were ever to implement it."

Mr Cameron dismissed this as "complete nonsense" and said not even the Cabinet now backed the Prime Minister's "ludicrous line" on public spending.

"You keep talking about this 10 per cent. I don't know whether you realise how much damage it is doing to you - it's not doing any damage to us.

"Let's just explain where this deceit about the 10 per cent comes from. If you take the Government's own spending plans, you take off debt interest, you take off the increase for unemployment, you are left with a 7 per cent cut in every department - the Government's own figures.

"If you exempt the NHS you get a 10 per cent cut. If you take out health and schools, you get a 13.5 per cent cut.

"That's the Prime Minister. Mr 13.5 per cent - your own figures."

He demanded: "Are you going to have a full departmental spending review before the election - yes or no?"

Mr Brown sidestepped the question, saying it was "Conservative policy" for unemployment to go up. "No wonder you want to cut public services. You are basing your assumptions on unemployment continuing to rise because you will do absolutely nothing about it."

Mr Brown said Government action was helping to preserve 500,000 jobs in the recession.

"We will not forecast our spending plans on unemployment being higher in 2014 and rising every year. But if that is what you want to do, then you cannot afford public services and the truth is you will be cutting public services by 10 per cent."

Mr Cameron said: "This is one of the most feeble performances I've ever seen from you.

"There is only one person we want to add to the unemployment register and that's you."

He asked again: "Peter Mandelson (the Business Secretary) has said there won't be a spending review before the election. Can you tell us, will there be one or not?"

Mr Brown replied: "It would be completely wrong to have a spending review now at this stage because we are in the midst of a recession and it's not possible to say what unemployment and growth ... are likely to be in 2014.

"The Conservatives are the party of unemployment. They are premising all their spending plans on unemployment continuing to rise. You said yourself that unemployment will keep on rising.

"If that's the basis of your spending plans then people can look forward, under a Conservative Government, not just to 10 per cent cuts but to rising unemployment.

"They want these public spending cuts to pay for inheritance tax cuts for the very rich.

"They are the party of the few and we are the party of the many."

Mr Cameron said: "I know the walls of the bunker are thick but you seem completely unaware that unemployment is rising across the country because of the Government's policies.

"We've seen hundreds of people lose their jobs at Diageo, in Scotland, another tragic case, and yet you seem blissfully unaware of what is going on in the country you are meant to be governing.

"Everyone will conclude that you aren't going to have a spending review because you don't want to own up to the cuts you are planning in department after department.

"The truth is this Government is planning to cut capital spending - fact. They are planning to cut total spending - fact. And the most important fact of all is that they are incapable of being straight with the British people."

Mr Brown said the Opposition would cut public spending this year and deprive people of help with unemployment and housing.

"This Opposition party would cut public spending next year and cut it savagely in schools, education and Sure Start.

"We now know the truth about the Conservative assumptions about the future. They are assuming unemployment will continue to rise to 2014. That is not the policy of this Government. We want to get people back into work."