David Cameron will today insist his commitment to further tax cuts and a continuing squeeze on public spending is motivated not by a right-wing agenda but a principled commitment to helping hard-pressed families.
He will hit back at charges by Labour and his Liberal Democrat coalition partners that the Conservatives are driven by Thatcherite ideology in their determination to shrink the state.
Speaking two weeks ahead of the Budget, which is expected to include fresh tax-cutting measures, he will say: “It is wrong for government to take a single penny more of your money than we absolutely need.”
The Prime Minister will dismiss the suggestion that ministers are just a “turnaround team of accountants rescuing a failing business”.
Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, has accused the Tories of planning “cuts for cuts’ sake” and trying to place the burden of deficit reduction on the working-age poor.
But Mr Cameron, visiting a West Midlands manufacturing plant, will argue that reducing spending and taxes helps people struggling to make ends meet.
“Every bit of government waste we can cut, every efficiency we can achieve is money we can give back to you. A bit of extra cash that can help a Dad afford those trainers for his son or help a Mum celebrate her daughter’s birthday with a meal out.”
He will say: “This isn’t about some ideological commitment to a smaller state. It’s actually about our values.”
The Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, will today accuse Chancellor George Osborne of a “monumental error” in ruling out the possibility of sharing the pound with an independent Scotland.
In a lecture in London, he is due to say: “In the last three weeks people in Scotland have seen an array of approaches from the UK Government - what they apparently call their Dambusters strategy. We were love-bombed from a distance by David Cameron, then dive-bombed at close range by George Osborne.
“I believe George Osborne’s speech on sterling three weeks ago, his sermon on the pound, will come to be seen as a monumental error.”