2 Dec 2014

‘A third or a quarter’ of cuts still to come. Really?

At the launch of the national infrastructure plan 2014 in the wood-panelled splendour of the National Institute for Civil Engineers in Westminster, for the by-now regular day handed over to the Tories’ coalition partners when they are allowed to take some credit for the money spent.

Danny Alexander is strongly touting a pet project of “government-commissioned house building”. You only need to look at that phrase to see it may not be George Osborne’s cup of tea. You find a brief mention of a pilot project and feasibility review on p.28 of the document. I asked Danny Alexander (pictured below) if he could rate George Osborne’s enthusiasm for this approach on a scale of one to 10, 10 being bushy-tailed excitement.

Cobra Meet To Discuss Latest  IS Developments

Another Lib Dem politician might’ve made something of the differences with the Tories and said how much he was fighting for a policy they were too ideological to engage with, but the chief secretary doesn’t really operate like that. He said all policies were agreed and were the policy of the coalition.

In a throwaway that augurs badly for the openness about austerity still coming our way in the election, Danny Alexander said the remaining cuts amounted to “about a third or a quarter” of the total retrenchment job. I think you have to use some very wonky rulers to get that line in the graph.

The IFS works on the basis thy the next parliament starts in May 2015 (a reasonable premise) and that cuts announced are not the same as cuts delivered. They come up with a proportion of cuts still to be delivered closer to 50 per cent.

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