Cable warns Hammond to cut Trident not welfare

 

Oliver Wright
Sunday 03 March 2013 20:26
Comments

Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, today declared himself a member of the so-called “National Union of Ministers” vehemently opposing cuts to their departmental budgets.

Mr Cable admitted he and other ministers in the Cabinet were “defending our turf” against spending cuts due to be implemented by George Osborne after 2015.

His comments came after Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, warned that the Armed Forces could not sustain further cuts and demanded the welfare bill was cut instead.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary is also said have voiced anger that her department was in line for cuts while others were exempt.

Mr Cable told the BBC’s Sunday Politics programme that ring-fencing some Government department’s budgets was “not a good approach to public spending in the long run”.

“It’s not a question of just defending our turf,” Mr Cable said. “There is a very strong argument if we’re interested in growth and recovery, for investing a lot more, not less, in skills and science and innovation and our industrial strategy and I’ll make that case in government.”

Mr Cable said he “sympathised” with Mr Hammond’s desire to protect his department from further cuts, but called on the Defence Secretary to scrap the Trident missile programme to make savings.

He said it would be “very difficult” to make any more welfare cuts and instead said the Government should be looking at cutting “elements of universal benefit”. Asked whether he is a member of the “national union of ministers” Mr Cable replied: “I suspect I’ve been fingered as a shop steward in this particular organisation.”

Tim Farron, the president of the Liberal Democrats, attacked Mr Hammond’s demand to cut welfare instead of the Armed Forces saying it was “morally wrong” and “economically stupid”. “That would be a ludicrous thing to do,” he told BBC’s Andrew Marr Show. “I heard Philip Hammond making those comments and you think at a time like this to think it’s more important to invest money into Trident or something like that, rather than protecting those people who are the least well off in our society – that would be morally wrong as well as just economically stupid.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in