27 Apr 2010

Revealed: the eye-watering spending cuts to come

At the IFS briefing on what the parties are NOT telling you about their cuts plans.

Here in percentage terms (after factoring in fixed costs and manifesto pledges) are the degree to which the IFS thinks you are in the dark: you don’t know 87 per cent of the cuts Labour would have to make if they stuck to their election promises, 82 per cent of the Tory cuts that would come your way, 74 per cent of the cuts the Lib Dems would have to make.

And this was meant to be the election for reconnecting with the voters and rebuilding trust. What does it say about the mandates parties have to inflict pain and the issues of social solidarity?

Earlier at Labour’s press conference, Sky’s Adam Boulton pretty well exploded at the party representatives – Peter Mandelson, Yvette Cooper and Ed Balls – over this and you have to wonder how many voters might do the same if they knew how much they’re being kept in the dark.

But the politicians will tell you privately that the Tory candour at their party conference last October about where some of the cuts would fall and their talk then of the age of austerity ahead appears to have driven quite a few voters away.

The IFS parks the biggest blame for this secrecy on the government for not going ahead with a full spending round which other parties would then have had to follow. But no one comes out smelling very good from this seminal brieifing on the pain the other side of the election curtain.

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