Tuesday, February 24, 2009
The Minister for the Cabinet Office has never been one of my favourite Labour politicians. (Come to think of it, I haven't got any favourite Labour politicians!) And this article he has written for the Daily Telegraph has done nothing for his standing.
It is clear that Labour's main line of attack on the Conservatives will be to continue the old line that the "Tories will drastically cut public services" and that only Labour will support them. (Ask the posties what they think of that argument!)
He refutes "...the charge that Labour have got little for its investment in public services" by saying that this "...fails to withstand an inconvenient truth: the facts. The Conservative legacy we inherited was decades of underinvestment in public services; families still on welfare after two Tory recessions; and social cohesion in tatters."
It seems to me that we have had 12 years of a Labour Government that has raised taxes to unprecedented levels, stored up off-balance sheet liabilities (PFI) and created a vast client state dependent on a bloated public sector and an enormously over-complicated tax credit system that will take a generation to unravel.
But Liam Byrne does reassure us that "...we did all this while over-achieving on delivery of our efficiency targets, delivering £26.5 billion in savings."
So it is possible to reduce expenditure without slashing public services then?