David Cameron reaffirms urgency of deficit reduction
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Wednesday 27 February 2013
David Cameron has said that the Government needs to go “further and faster” to bring down the deficit after the loss of Britain’s coveted AAA credit rating.
His comments raised hopes among right-wing Conservatives that George Osborne might announce further spending cuts in next month’s Budget. But it provoked alarm among Liberal Democrats, who are pressing for a boost for major projects such as housebuilding to kick-start the economy. One Lib Dem said: “Further cuts would be madness. It would be another self-inflicted wound.”
Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Cameron said that the decision by the rating agency Moody’s to downgrade the UK was “a reminder of the debt and the deficit problem” the country faces. He said: “It demonstrates we have to go further and faster on reducing the deficit.”
His official spokesman played down the significance of his remarks, saying: “He was referring to the Government’s policy as is. He was not making a new statement.” He explained that the “further” element included the extension of the timescale for debt to fall while “faster” related to an expected “acceleration” in the fall of the deficit over the coming years.
The Chancellor announced in December that the Government would seek a further £10bn of cuts in the 2015-16 financial year. Despite Mr Cameron’s statement, Mr Osborne is likely to reiterate that target in his Budget, before the Cabinet negotiates how the savings will be achieved in a government-wide spending review to be completed by the end of June.
Cuts for Whitehall departments over the next few years will be extended for a further year into 2015-16. But a Cabinet battle has already broken out between ministers over where the cuts will fall. Theresa May, the Home Secretary; Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary and Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, are among those arguing that their empires should not take another hit and that the pain should be shared more widely. Their move has put “ring-fenced” budgets – health, schools, overseas aid and defence equipment – under pressure, but it would be politically difficult for Mr Osborne to cut spending on the NHS and schools.
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Game of Thrones season 5 trailer: The first full-length look is here
Mia Khalifa: Pornhub star claims Drake sent her 'cringeworthy' naked photos on Instagram
Boris Johnson claims porn-obsessed Islamic jihadists are 'literally w*****s'
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Putin opponent reveals Russian President's daughter's secret identity
Ball pool for adults opens in London
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account
£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...
Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - HIGHEST QUALITY INTERNATIONAL FIRM - A...
Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - EXCELLENT FIRM - We have an outstandin...
Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: IN-HOUSE - NATIONAL CHARITY - An exciting and...