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Are you worried about the economy?

09:07 UK time, Wednesday, 28 April 2010

The leaders of the three main parties will face scrutiny over their spending plans in Thursday's final TV debate. Have they made their plans clear enough?

The debate, on BBC 1 at 2030, will focus predominantly on the economy. It comes amid claims that the leaders are not being upfront ahead of polling day about the scale of future cuts.

On Tuesday the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said no party had come "anywhere close" to being clear where the axe would fall, despite implications about the deepest cuts in spending since the 1970s.

BBC News website readers talk about why the economy is important to them.

A dozen things to watch for in the final debate.

Are the parties being upfront enough? What questions would you like to ask Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg about the economy? Which party has shown the most clarity on economic policy? Are you concerned about the scale of future cuts?

Submit your questions for the Prime Ministerial Debate.

This debate has now been closed. Thank you for your comments.

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Comments

Page 1 of 12

  • Comment number 1.

    Yes I'm worried about the Tory cuts! Just like the 80's or even worse.

  • Comment number 2.

    Yes I'm worried about cuts. Not that we have to make them but that I expect them to be made in all the wrong places.

    I find it hilarious that Labour claim they can make efficienies... they've had 13 years to make them! I certainly wont be voting for that shower.

  • Comment number 3.

    I fail to see how Mr Osbourne and Mr Cable can be expected to answer these questions when the government has consistently concealed the true horror of the UK's balance sheet.

  • Comment number 4.

    <RICHPOST><b>Conservative cuts= return to 80s dole queues</b><br><br><BR />Conservatives still think unemployment is a price worth paying for ideology.<br><br><br><BR /><BR /> </RICHPOST>

  • Comment number 5.

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  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.

    If it is good enough for the Government to enter the commercial finance sector by bailing banks out, why are local authorities prevented from using their money more effectively to reduce council tax bills that hit low income families and people hardest?

  • Comment number 10.

    It is very important to know where the cuts are coming from.
    If a party says they are from the NHS, schools, the police or the fire service then they definitely aren't getting my vote.

  • Comment number 11.

    As long as Labour and/or the Liberal Democrats form the next government I will not be worried.

    However if the tories form the next government then we all should be very worried as they would decimate public services like they did in the 1980s

  • Comment number 12.

    It is obvious to anybody with an ounce of financial sense that the figures quoted by the politians are not anywhere near where they need to be.

    I have labour supporting friends who believe the nonsense being quoted by our PM and Co about protecting front line services. I can see it now the Treasury cutting the NHS, education and defense budgets and telling the trustees /managers/ MOD etc who they should employ and who they should fire. Utter nonsense.

    All govt expenditure is going to be carefully accounted for and if it can be cut - it will. That includes pensions, benefits, EMA, defence spending, etc. Lets not kid ourselves the IFS is right to raise this issue because the politians are afraid to. Pity we don't face politians with more courage, integrity and honesty. Shame on all of them for allowing people to vote without telling the truth.

  • Comment number 13.

    I find the debate around the extra £6bn of cuts proposed by the Conservatives slightly surreal. Against the background of a budget deficit in excess of £163bn, this will a drop in the ocean. Also, since this cut in expenditure offsets an equivalent reduction in NI contributions as compared to Labour plans, the net change to the government's fiscal position is zero. Yet this seems to be the centerpiece of Labour's economic argument with the Conservatives. Am I missing something??

  • Comment number 14.

    I'm worried about the lack of willingness for politicians to face up to the reality of the dire situation we're in and to be prepared to do what is needed to face it, instead of using it as an opportunity to stick to party dogma (which appears to be blowing money that we can't afford in Labour's case, and as an excuse to destroy as many public services as possible in the Tory's).

    So I'm not worried about the idea of cuts, because we can't afford not to make them. I am worried about, depending on the result of the election, whether there will be enough, and if there are any whether they'll be in the right places.

    Unfortunately telling the truth in this situation - times are going to have to get harder, you're going to have to be worse off, doesn't appear to go down well with a large swathe of the electorate who seem to expect no taxes and great public services and react badly when not offered the impossible.

  • Comment number 15.

    Are you worried about cuts?

    I never worry about the inevitable, Que Sera, Sera.

    Its reassuring though, according to the IFS report, that the Lib Dems are best positioned to cut least and hopefully avoid unforseen tax cuts.

    The Tory position looks down right untennable without huge tax rises in the near future.

  • Comment number 16.

    I am when one of the Tory top priorities is to raise the inheritance tax threshold for the wealthy ... and they then want to do away with the 50p rate at a later date.
    We all accept that spending in public services will be heavily restricted - but that should be to get us out of the current situation and not to offer tax cuts to the better off.
    Vote Tory at your peril

  • Comment number 17.

    Being a pensioner I am extremely worried about cuts, but it appears that none of the big 3 care enough about pensioners therefore they won't get my vote.
    There are no need for domestic spending cuts, why?
    1) Stop overseas donations
    2) Stop immigration
    3) Bring our troops home
    The money saved will run into hundreds of billions of pounds, it can then be spent on domestic issues like:-
    Jobs thru the NHS, Roads, business Investment, Nationalisation of the railways, transport, mines, improving the welfare state for the British.

  • Comment number 18.

    Why did it take the IFS, an independent research body, to spill the beans on the state of the economy and it's analysis of future spending cuts. Are they more able to manage the truth than politicians who still seem to think that being economic with the truth is a requirement of their CV? We will not vote for black holes in the economy, we will vote for well thought out plans (policies)to get us out of those black holes, no 'if's', no 'but's' but it would seem that the truth is too much to ask thus far.

  • Comment number 19.

    Having just been reading about the Greek fiscal situation and realizing just how similar we are to that total mess. we must cut our social spending and keep it cut for many years to come just to stay in being.

  • Comment number 20.

    The level of public debt means whoever wins this election will need to make cuts, raise taxes, or most likely both. These measures will impact us all and people are rightly concerned and angry because those that will end up suffering are not those who caused the problem in the first place, ie the reckless greed of the banking industry. From what I have heard, Labour's plan to delay cuts until the economy is strong enough to withstand them is most sensible, that way the debt can largely be paid down by the increased revenues generated by a booming economy. The Tories cutting instinct will most likely cause a second, maybe worse, recession.

  • Comment number 21.

    Bring em on. I get almost nothing out of the State so I wont be missing them. Gordon's Soviet factory floor sweeper economy needs a good clear out. Lets move some talent back into wealth creation. As for whining about loss of job security, well for the rest of us redundancy has been a regular occurrence for the last thirty years and I never hear anyone suggest that there was anything wrong with a world that worked that way. We can no longer afford to keep you so regrettably we have to let you go. Close the door on your way out please.

  • Comment number 22.

    If people are going to point fingers let them be pointed firmly in the direction of those that are responsible for the mess that this country is in and not at those that MAY be chosen by the electorate to govern, weather that be Lib-Dem or Conservative. The facts are that something has to be done to get the country back on its feet and as much as it pains me to say it, cuts will be needed. One thing I would certainly like to see is an efficiency drive where Red Tape is cut out, hurdles removed to get from point A to B quicker, cutting out all those seemingly unproductive people in government departments and leaving some work for those that are already being paid big money for signing off documents.

  • Comment number 23.

    It is all very well being frightened what the Tories will do, one thing to remember we are in debt because of the gross mishandling of UK finances for the last 13 years by this Labour Government.

    No matter who comes to power, Labour (nightmare thought) or Tory, or even Liberals holding the balance, our debt of billions has to be resolved or we will end up like Greece and we are close to that now.

    Just one reminder, for all the good and bad the last Tory Government did under John Major, at least the finances were left in good order.

    One more thing, no one mentions the war which is costing this country billions. That is the legacy of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, so the blame for this mess is directly theirs.

    Whoever is Prime Minister on 7th May has the unenviable job of unravelling 13 years of waste, mismanagement and gross squandering of this country's assets. Here I am thinking of our precious gold reserves and the destruction of what was once an envied Pension Scheme.

    I certainly do not envy anyone who has to sort out this mess.

  • Comment number 24.

    I am concerned that no party yet knows what to cut because the situation is so bad.

    Labour has failed to define 87% of the cuts it needs to meet its announced target. Conservatives have failed to define 80% of the cuts they need to meet their announced target. Liberals have failed to define 75% of the cuts they need to meet their announced target.

    All 3 parties on Newsnight last night, including the usually reasonable Vince Cable, all ducked the question of naming the cuts. Unbelievably all 3 parties are still campaigning on what they will not cut or even what they will still give away!

    Sadly many voters still seem to think the election is about what they can out of it not what the UK as a whole has to do to keep afloat. Voters who moan about their 'rations' in a lifeboat have hopelessly missed the scale of the problem.

    Quite frankly I would prefer to see the IFS and the IMF in parliament planning an objective route out of what has to be admitted is the situation that Labour voters landed us all in at the last election, but which admittedly no other party now seems able to cope with.

  • Comment number 25.

    We need a 25% cut in public expenditure and 5% cut in taxes.
    The candidates are wasting time debating the merits of trivial 3%, 4% or 5% cuts and 3%, 4% or 5% tax increases, as though a few percent either way was of any importance.
    We need a new spending review and new budgets for all aspects of government expenditure, with the total down by 25%. There is no point worrying about it. Get it done, the sooner the better.

  • Comment number 26.

    I worked as a nurse in the NHS for many years and we had people overseeing the wards who came from a nursing background.They knew how many nurses we needed each shift...al we have now are these so called"managers" from industry who walk around with clipboards and are on salarys of over 100k.This is one area where cuts should be made.

  • Comment number 27.

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  • Comment number 28.

    No way so long as they are the right ones. Quangos - in my area Renaissance Southend, East of England Deveolopment Agenct, Thames Gateway - get rid of them.
    Overpaid mangers in NHS and Local Government - slash their pay or get rid of them.
    And while I'm at it Ofsted. With standards in education and social services plummetting I wonder how they can justify the positive effect of their work. Decimate their budget.
    With all that you could probably keep the workers who do the work.

  • Comment number 29.

    Public spending cuts are inevitable, and given the decline in industry , both in primary (e.g mining) and secondary industries ( e.g car manufacturing) I am concerned about the future of young people leaving education, there doesnt appear to be much of a labour market, nor jobs that offer genuine long term satisfying prospects, I don't feel that investing in small business is an adequate response in stimulating growth and generating employment for this specific cohort. It is good that a greater number of young people are able to go on to university than 15 years ago they may have more choices when they leave, but what about those who don't have equality of opportunity or who choose not to go into further/higher education, how can we generate jobs for these young people?

  • Comment number 30.

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  • Comment number 31.

    I am worried that no potential government - especially a coalition resulting from a hung parliament - will make cuts in public sector expenditure fast enough and deep enough to avoid an economic meltdown that would make Greece's current problems look like the proverbial walk in the park. The UK needs a government that is prepared to recognize that a public sector that recycles nearly half of GDP is unsustainable, unnecessary and places an unacceptable tax burden on those who actually generate wealth within the economy. What is needed - but I suspect will never happen - is a commitment to reduce the public sector to 35% of GBP within 5 years and to 20% of GDP within 10.

  • Comment number 32.

    The cuts will come whoever is in power and whether we are worried about them or not. The government is borrowing about 25% of it's spending and we must either increase taxes or cut spending. If taxes are increased this will just make it more difficult for industry and commerce to survive and prosper.

    So, we have to cut spending.

    The longer term answer to our problems is to create more tax paying jobs and this should be the priority. The problem with Labour is that they cannot stop spending.

    Brown has massively increased the tax take but not satisfied with this extra revenue, he has borrowed around another £450 billion (£450,000,000,000) since 1997 up to the end of April 2010.

    We are now told in the budget the legacy of his policies will need a FURTHER £500-600 billion (£500,000,000,000) of borrowing just to get us to 2014 and probably quite a bit more beyond that. This is all quite separate to the huge PFI burden over the next 60 years of perhaps £245 billion.

    So, there we have it. Brown’s tenure in Downing Street will cost the UK taxpayer at least two trillion pounds (£2,000,000,000,000) over and above what we might have expected from a prudent steward of the nation’s money. He has spent our taxes, our children’s taxes and our grandchildren’s taxes. And after May 6th the reckoning will come - whoever is in power.

  • Comment number 33.

    Yes i will be very worried if the Tories get back in remember the 80s and that wicked witch Thatcher it could all happen again.

  • Comment number 34.

    I am one of those people who live within their means, it is people like me who has to suffer because of greedy people who want, want, want but haven't the means to pay. The UK has been binging on credit for years and now the day reconnining is neigh. The country is in debt along with it's workforce, this is a recipe for Depression. The future WILL be swingeing cuts, higher taxes, a rise in home repossessions as interest rates soar, unemployment will rise to levels not seen since the 1930's and inflation will rise as busnesses try to survive by raising prices. The UK has been printing money to stave off this day of reconning, this strategy has weakened the currency and given the economy false growth, if Portugal and Spain go down the pan along with Greece a collapse in the value of the Euro although good for exports will trigger a new Global downturn. So not I am not afraid of cuts and an era of austerity, it is an inevitable consequence of Labour's long party on credit. I live within my means, pity others don't do the same.

  • Comment number 35.

    Anyone who can remember the 80's will recall the Tory's destroyed the manufacturing base of the UK economy in favour of the service sector the main pillar of this being Banking and Financial services. New labour simply carried on with what they inherited from the Thatcher Years and look where its got us now!

  • Comment number 36.

    I don’t mind cuts as long as they are in the right place!
    All of our public services seem to operate on an ‘if you pay the most you will get the best people’ remit, in particular at management level. What about employing people who aren’t just in it for the cash. People who actually believe in the service they provide to the community and receive a livable salary in recompense. Make local councils, NHS and the like trim their heads of service, and associated staff, and make them look at the worth they get from the Chief Executives against the salary they are paid. I would also ban the bonus culture that has infiltrated our public services, that has to be a joke.

  • Comment number 37.

    I see the Tory bashers are out in force today.

    The IFS report is based on 13 years of New Labour's management of our economy. That's the party you should be worried about. New Labour, and Gordon Brown in particular, got us into the situation we are in.

    But carry on voting for the disaster that is New Labour and kiss your jobs goodbye after 6th May. We are broke BECAUSE OF New Labour.

  • Comment number 38.

    I say get the Government to live on Low pay and see how they like it

    The re4ason we have billions to pay out is that we are in a war that we cannot afford

    We are paying wealthy bankers money

    What is happening to all the money we gave them?

    Do we get it back?

    I’m so lost with the economy no 1 tells the truth but they expect us to pay for something we don’t even know what we are paying for

    Cut the MP's WAGE

    Cut the amount of MP's

    Cut all the spending on the city

    I was shocked to learn that Civil servants get full pay when they are not in work and they get a pension

    My friend is head of the benefits agency

    He gets something like £60000 a year

    He gets holidays paid for him

    He gets a pension

    If he doesn’t work for something like 5 months he still gets paid

    He walks around wearing all the best clothing designer labels

    He is a glorified civil servant

    I have no clue what they do with the money we give them

    I’m tempted not to give them any more till we all know the truth

    Why are we paying the government money when we do not know where it goes?

    Fancy lunch
    Designer buildings for civil servants

    When people can’t even afford to heat their homes

    What country are we livening in?

    They say we are in deficit

    Who caused this deficit I know I didn’t

    If we give millions to banks why don’t we get it back and give it to the people

    I guarantee this and it is not a hard thing to say people are actually starving in this country

    Old people and young

    No 1 MP is telling the truth and I’m so anger

    I’m sick of paying for something that I had nothing to do with

    I’m sick of MP's thinking we are stupid

    And I’m not voting any more

    And I don’t think I’m alone in this

    ILL REPEAT GET MP'S TO LIVE ON A LOW WAGE AND WE WILL BE OK

    GET THEM TO SELL THEIR HOUSES INSTEAD OF LINING THEIR OWN POCKETS

    GET THEM OUT ALL OF THEM

  • Comment number 39.

    @ #5 - I'm with you Jamie. I'm 30, qualified, and have experience, but there are too few jobs out here in the countryside.

    Labour have been treating the unemployed like criminals, and the Tories will be even worse.

    Instead of providing real training or encouraging businesses to take people on they just want us to do community service for less than the minimum wage.

    They're just trying to appeal for votes from the ignorant Daily Mail crowd.

  • Comment number 40.

    Yes, of course I'm worried about cuts. But I'm more worried about Lib Dems not talking about what they will cut in order to finance their wonderful vote-winning schemes they have planned.

    Camden council is Lib Dem led and is proof at how badly the party manages in terms of economic crisis (one example being Better Homes for tenants which have been poorly maintained and already require fixing)

  • Comment number 41.

    Of course cuts are needed in the country's finances.

    This ridiculous, pathetic government has been living beyond its means ever since it came into office. Despite all the good 'boom' years, it just kept on spending all the money it could tax out of us and then some in the form of borrowing. It didn't put any away for the 'rainy days' that have now hit us.

    And despite these 'rainy days' it keeps on spending. Government debt keeps on rising at a rate of £300,000 per MINUTE! Actually, it's not government debt - it's OUR debt.

    This debt is going to take years and years to repay. This Labour governemnt has done exactly the same as all previous socialist efforts: spent money it doesn't have without a care as to the consequences and brought the country to the verge of bankruptcy.

    So, yes, cuts do need to be made. We've been living beyond our means for years. Anybody who says cuts shouldn't be made is living in a dreamworld.

  • Comment number 42.

    The easiest cut to make would be to pay everyone income support levels whatever they do, if you go on a foreign holiday your pay is stopped. As we all know income support is the life all those millions on benefits aspire to so as we all want benefits cut because they are too high we would easily be able to manage on benefit payments the rest could be taken in tax to pay the deficit off. There are some who would be better off but it would be interesting to see how some of the whingers coped, there was an excellent program on a few years ago about a road with well to do people who couldn't understand why payments were so high one of the most vocal complainers was made redundant strangely he went down to get his government handout, I wonder if his neighbours shunned him!
    Another easy one would be to scrap taxpayer funded final salary pensions let all the Government employees experience their pension payments vanishing as their scheme is wound up.
    The prime minister/chancellor and all other MP’s should pay tax on their tied cottage anyone else in that situation has to so why not them it’s a benefit in kind!

  • Comment number 43.

    Any party that wins will have to introduce massive public spending cuts to bring back the confidence in the UK economy and maintain the credit rating. I think its only the lazy and the shy who claim benefits and the public sector employees on massive pension schemes which will be afraid of the cuts.

  • Comment number 44.

    I think massive cuts should be made to our so-called defence budget. Trident is useless because we can never use it so that's a few billion right away. Then we could stop invading other countries to appease the US empire. Another few billion saved.
    Then the important areas of the public sector, like health and education can actually be improved instead of downgraded. The popular trend, prompted by tabloid press and its gullible readership is that everything, except defence, must be cut. This is a big fat lie

  • Comment number 45.

    Anybody who had not realised that the Parties were not giving us the whole truth about the necessary cuts has clearly not been paying attention, or is particularly naive. If we are to survive the next few years we need to be prepared for a very austere period similar to the post-war era. Luxuries like unmeans tested benefits, Child Trust Funds and unessential services will have to disappear.

    If we don't take these measures then our economy is likely to fail and the consequences of the, both home and abroad will be catastrophic. We have seen today falls in stocks around the world as traders lose faith in efforts to rescue the Greek economy. Imagine how much worse it would be if similar judgements are made about the UK economy.

  • Comment number 46.

    None of the parties are being honest about the cuts that are to come. There will have to be drastic cuts whichever party wins, but none of them can afford to be honest as it would be electoral suicide if they did and none of the other parties followed their lead.
    I suspect some parties would be relieved not to win the election and have to make these cuts, as it would then allow them to attack the party that has to make them, and claim they wouldn't have done.
    There are lots of savings that can be made, although unfortunately they will cost jobs. There are a lot of non jobs, or nice to have jobs in the public sector which can not really be justified given the state of the public finances, and the fact that almost everything that could be taxed has already been taxed.

  • Comment number 47.

    I'm worried about cuts not being made or about them being made in the wrong places - you can trust Labour to make sure the lucrative contracts for friends and family will still be funded, while with LibDems, they will of course be worried about where their own moneys will be coming from and cuts will not be conducive to stuffing their and their supporters pockets.

    With Tories - they will have an incentive to "clear the house" of Labour creatures first and then they know they personally will benefit more from better economy (through business interests and investments) than from the cheap "grab all you can grab right now" approach.

    You see, I am cynical but also pragmatic - if the UK were a company and I was the owner my first task would have been to fire the current management (Labour) for gross misconduct, get rid of all of their numerous friends and relatives, getting nice salaries and producing precisely zero value, and hire a management team that can restructure and turn around the company (that's only Tories right now, I'm sorry). If LibDems would have shown up for a job interview - that would have been immediate "fail" and "don't call us, we'll call you, if you're lucky" result.

    And the truth of the matter is - the UK is in fact a (quasi) corporate entity and all of us are (quasi) shareholders. And as shareholders we must select the management (the Government), which we think can maximise the shareholder value and protect the business long-term rather than that which offers to pay cheap handouts while happily leading the business to bankruptcy.

  • Comment number 48.

    We should all worry about forthcoming cuts to try and stabalise our economy. Whoever ends up in number ten will have the unenviable task of filling a huge hole of debt.

    What I worry about more is the fact that under NuLabour's watch things have been allowed to get this bad - yet they still have the front to stand up and declare themselves the party to trust with putting right what they have created.

    Why oh why hasn't the extent of the debt been made clear before this election campaign? Once more it is an attempt by Brown and co. to take us for fools and mask the truth. Cameron and Clegg are at a huge disadvantage not knowing the size of the problem and NuLabour, without a doubt, know this but continue to slate them to the public for not announcing their plans to overcome it.

    Perhaps this is a lesson for the future - before calling an election the government of the day should be expected to publish a full and comprehensive account of this country's financial situation. Then it would be more of an even playing field.

    There are two reasons why Brown has stayed silent - 1. He wanted to be the only one to sound as though he knows what he is talking about. 2. Even more worrying is that maybe NuLabour themselves are unable to face the truth and hoping for a miracle. Hiding your head in the sand solves nothing.

  • Comment number 49.

    What's this thing about the Gold Reserves, we left the Gold Standard last century, it no longer figures in international finance, try and keep up people.
    Cameron is pushing his scaremongering about the crisis in Greece for a purpose. The facts are in monetary terms Greece and the UK have the same deficit £174 billion, the difference is that the UKs economy is seven times bigger that Greece, hence our deficit is seven times smaller. Cameron's pitch about the UK being in the same position as Greece is nonsense.
    We pay 1.2% on our bonds the Greeks pay 15.8%, their bond repayment term is 2 years ours is 14 years, not quite the same is it?
    However I'm sure knowledge of the facts won't stop HYS postings about this issue.
    One contributing factor to the Greek deficit is the widespread tax evasion carried out by the professional and middle classes, to the tune of £23 billion a year. If the Greek government addressed that issue their government revenues would look a little healthier.
    Cameron never mentions that one.

  • Comment number 50.

    I work in the education sector FE we have already had a reduction of 3.5 million in the last two years we are currently undergoing a voluntary redundancy exercise within the college. Three other colleges have already reduced their staff by 150 in total and like my own employers two other colleges are talking about redundancies.
    Problems are we have not had the change in government as yet, also they all talk about further cuts or say there have been no cuts in education.
    In reality we are overrun with application from 16-19 year old that are unable to obtain jobs.
    Question here what happens to those prospective students as we are going to be limited to numbers. In the coming year even if we increase class sizes to try and accommodate some extra students the funding will not be there.
    The government organisation set up to share out these monies was called the Learning Skills Council which is a total waste of money, have just change their name to the SFA no prizes for guessing what SFA stands for.

  • Comment number 51.

    As always, a Labour government has run out of other people's money. The climate of incompetence and self interest, the lies and the utter denial in which they are wallowing is enough to drive any sane person to their GP for multipacks of Prozac. I can't say the others are much better. We need a totally new form of leadership in this country,which is based on sound management and consensus rather than endless chopping and changing between left (sort of) wing and right (sort of)wing policies.
    At present, we need to take some serious steps:
    on 7 May we should:
    1. Cease all payments to the EU until its books are audited. If the audits are not forthcoming, then we disengage from the corrupt EU experiment - more socialists playing chess with other people's lives.
    2. Bring troops back from Afghanistan immediately, and redeploy them to protect our borders and stop importing more benefits junkies.
    3. Deport all foreign criminals and bill their home countries for the costs of their trial and imprisonment.
    4. Stop giving handouts to career babymothers.
    5. Cut red tape and let business do what it is best at - wealth creation.
    6. Stop all foreign aid to countries which simply do not need it, and in many cases are our competitors.

  • Comment number 52.

    I too am worried about cuts, that they wom't be fierce enough, and that such cuts as are made will be made indiscriminately. Rather than do this, that, and the other because someone might like it, the State should identify those things that *need* to be done and won't be adequately done by the private sector; spend enough to do them properly; and cease doing everything else. Desirable is not the same as necessary.

  • Comment number 53.

    Have just been reading about Birmingham City council (TORY) and the situation they are in over the equal pay issue. What was interesting is some of the scales of pay:

    Street sweeper - £32k per year!
    Bin Man - £46k per year!
    Bin Wagon Driver - £50k per year!

    I don't know about anyone else but I can see where I would make cuts!

  • Comment number 54.


    The MP's won’t actually take on the issues

    They say they want to talk to people but they don’t listen

    I’m watching the BBC NEWS and Gordon Brown has not got a clue he does not know what it is like to live on benefits or a low wage or a pension

    How does he know what society is like

    He has not got a clue nor do any of them

    I’m worried that there is no one that will be able to run this country and

    I’m worried I agree Labour has hidden the actual amounts of people unemployed and shoving them in places that no one can see

    Now as someone says the chickens are coming home to roost


    WE SHOULD CLOSE THIS COUNTRY OFF AND START AGAIN

    I’m not BNP but they seem to take the issue seriously of immigration

    I never asked all these people to come in to the UK and I had no say

    I will never vote BNP but this country is a mess and not one of them can fix it

  • Comment number 55.

    I don't think many of we ordinary voters (including me) actually know the true state of the country's finances, so it's difficult for us to make an informed judgement about when and what cuts should be made.

    The differences between the parties appear to be based upon when and what cuts are made. They all agree that cuts need to be made.

    I'd wager that chauffeur driven cars for ministers, armies of advisers, focus groups for every policy decision, quangos filled with partisan yes wo/men and "fact finding" jollies to Barbados for MPs are not top of the list of cuts for any of the parties.

    I think the best we can hope for is a hung Parliament, which may prevent the excesses of ideologically-driven cuts for cuts' sake, which both Labour and the Tories have instinctively targeted in the past. It doesn't look as if any party is going to get a resounding mandate from the electorate, so whoever ends up in charge should do only what is necessary and not what their ideology persuades them to do.

  • Comment number 56.

    33. At 11:34am on 28 Apr 2010, The Boss wrote:

    "Yes i will be very worried if the Tories get back in remember the 80s and that wicked witch Thatcher it could all happen again."

    Me too. I also remember the 1970s where Labour put us into so much of a mess both financially and from the unions, the Tories had no choice other than to make harsh cuts.

  • Comment number 57.

    To Jamie -

    You appear to have a lot of fear for what will happen should the Tories get into government and start to make cuts. Rightly so, they nor anyone else has told us what will go and when. I have two questions for you:

    1. £1 in every £4 spent by the current government is borrowed. This cannot continue. So, taxes have to go up and spending has to come down. I agree that £60 per week for jobseekers is not enough and that this may even get less. But seeing as the Institute of fiscal studies estimates upto 5 million foreign nationals working in the UK, do you think you should get preference for jobs to ensure that the British are fully employed before we import labour?

    2. We are in a tremendous debt hole driven by the spending policies of the current government over the last 13 years and the ways in which they managed and regulated the economy. Do you think that they who caused the problems should be allowed to sort them out or do you think that if someone destroys your house, you should probably not let them try to rebuild it?

  • Comment number 58.

    The comments that refer back to Mrs Thatcher are depressingly and / or intentionally selective. The financial mess of the late 70's was caused by none other than the Old Liarbour Party who over-taxed and over-spent - recall the IMF imposition on Chancellor Healey ?
    Fast foward 30 years and New Liarbour has created the same mess but x2 as bad - recall "No more boom or bust" - not quite so - we now have the worst "bust" ever seen in the UK even allowing for 1930 !
    Cuts must happen if the UK is not to join Greece and Zimbabwe as financial basket cases. New Liarbour has never disclosed the true extent of the financial hole - the deficit is only what has been disclosed, there £Bns of debt that Brown / Littl' Darlin' have kept hidden as PFI / PPP schemes.
    It will hurt but sovereign bankruptcy will hurt far, far more.

  • Comment number 59.

    When a currency collapses, civil and public servants don't get paid and neither do pensions and benefits. It is happening in Russia, it happened in Argentina where the currency collapsed, something similar will happen in Greece, Portugal and Italy. It will happen in the UK if we do not take things seriously NOW! In order to survice, we need a government that will make difficult decisions.

  • Comment number 60.

    Personally i'm petrified of the persecution of the genuinely disabled by either the Tories or a continuance of Labour.

  • Comment number 61.

    Regardless of the 'global financial crisis' (for which Gordon Brown likes to blame on the rest of the world, as though his government is somehow blameless), cuts were always going to be necessary following the rampant profligacy of 13 years of Labour government.

    Even during the so called boom (again something which, together with it's counterpart 'bust', Gordon 'the prudent' insisted, was confined to annals of history), Labour was borrowing ever increasing amounts to employ more people to work for the state and paying endless new benefits to feckless deadbeats and economic immigrants that travelled half-way across the globe because they heard there was free money on offer.

    To compound issues Gordon Brown's response to the global economic collapse was to just to redouble government borrowing. Which has basically squandered hundreds of billions of pounds to merely delay the inevitable consequences of his policies until after the election.

    So no matter who wins this election, the inevitable spending cuts and tax rises are exclusively the fault of THIS government and not the one that has to pick-up the pieces.

    I'm sure history won't look kindly on the government of the last 13 years.

  • Comment number 62.

    Its about time they cut something from the public sector

    Lib Dems are proposing yet again another attack on private sector pensions - it is about time the public sector was attacked - pay freezes, pay reductions, reduced holiday entitlement and pay penalties for unsubstantiated sick leave.

    OH - and SP2 will be vastly reduced from 2012 .. labour's 2009 budget .. seem to have forgotten everyone ? so .. how about at the same time cut public sector pension rigths/values and retirement ages ?

    Paternity leave - forget it .. we all got along ok
    Child Trust Fund ... scrap it .. why give some people my money ? I have 2 children but am not eligible for this .. why they deserve MY money ?
    TAX credits .. change this system .. cut it out completely / change the tax system to compensate.

    etc etc

  • Comment number 63.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 64.

    "37. At 11:40am on 28 Apr 2010, Wu Shu wrote:
    I see the Tory bashers are out in force today.

    The IFS report is based on 13 years of New Labour's management of our economy. That's the party you should be worried about. New Labour, and Gordon Brown in particular, got us into the situation we are in.

    But carry on voting for the disaster that is New Labour and kiss your jobs goodbye after 6th May. We are broke BECAUSE OF New Labour."


    I think you will find that the GLOBAL recession started in america by the bankers (typically tory supporters).

    You will also find that we had to spend money on public services because they were destroyed by thatcher and the tories. Without public services the country would not function.

  • Comment number 65.

    Following a court decision, Birmingham Council is now paying cleaners, £32,000 per annum pro rata, the same as refuse collectors. Pay needs to be reduced and aligned with pay rates in the private sector.

  • Comment number 66.

    #23
    "It is all very well being frightened what the Tories will do, one thing to remember we are in debt because of the gross mishandling of UK finances for the last 13 years by this Labour Government."

    And let us not forget the appalling financial mess the Callaghan Labour government bequeathed to the Tories in 1979. The Thatcher government only did what they had to do, yet were (and still are) vilified for it.

    In 1976, Britain had to be bailed out by the IMF. From memory, interest rates hit 27% and inflation went up to around 16%. Yet it was not until 1978 that the Labour government did anything about the spiralling inflation, and when they did - capping public sector pay rises at 5% - it led to the Winter of Discontent.

    I find it amazing that anyone could consider voting for this bunch of incompetent idiots again. No-one has taken the government properly to task about it and demanded an explanation of how they could have turned a surplus into a mountain of debt, and why they just sat back and let it happen. It's no excuse that they didn't know things would get so bad - the point is that they ought to have known, and anything else is just negligence.

    I'm not worried about the cuts. I'm damned angry about them - not because they're going to happen, but because the people we trusted to run the country got us into this mess, and haven't even had the guts to say sorry, far less admit culpability.

    Spite, ignorance, jealousy and inverse snobbery characterised the Labour government of the 1970s, and nothing that I can see has really changed since then. Remember Grunwick? Three MPs, including two cabinet ministers showed their true colours by joining the picket line. There were three members of the body entrusted with running the country showing partisan bigotry and getting involved in an industrial dispute. I ceased to respect Labour and everything they stood for from that moment, and after experiencing the Winter of Discontent as well as the current mess, I've seen nothing to change that. Vote Labour at your peril - because even if you are on benefits and don't have to work for a living, just remember that eventually the money available for benefits will run out. And then where will you be?

  • Comment number 67.

    No, I welcome cuts. This country has fostered a population of dossers for generations. Benefits are far too generous and there is a culture of entitlement amongst students, public sector workers, benefits claimants, and families. Well, I want people to take responsibilty for themselves. If you haven't got a job, work for yourself, if you've got children, feed, clothe and look after them, why should I? Want an education? Well, pay attention at school when you're 11 because if you do, you probably won't need to go to University, your grandad likely did very well without it. Got a uni place? Right - now get your degree done in half the time. Cuts? Just look at the Taxpayers Alliance website!!!

  • Comment number 68.

    In response to some posters' comments re: efficiency savings, I'm surprised more hasn't been of the following fact;

    In recent history, NO majority government (not even Thatcher's) has succeeded in reducing national spending. Not one. Yet 3 of the 4 hung/coalition parliaments have done exactly that. Conclusion; the Tories' claim that they need a majority to make cuts is pure hogwash.

    (As an additional point, they've also made the claim that a hung parliament would result in economic catastrophe due to a downgrading of the UK's debt. Really? Why, then, of the 16 AAA-rated EU economies, are 14 of them coalition governments? 12 have PR!)

    Given the (largely deserved) unpopularity of Labour, the Tories should be sitting on a landslide victory. Cameron looks unlikely to manage even a slim majority and is resorting to scare-mongering lies in his panic. I wouldn't trust Osbourne with a sharp pencil, let alone a G7 economy. Why, oh why can't we have a credible opposition who try to WIN your vote rather than just claim that they're not as bad as everyone else?

    Frankly, it's pathetic. No wonder people are turning to the LibDems and fringe parties in their droves. A hung parliament may be no bad thing...

  • Comment number 69.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 70.

    GOD HELP US ALL

    TRUST ME PEOPLE OF THE UK

    WE ARE IN FOR AN ABSOLUTE HELL OF A TIME NO MATTER WHO GETS IN

  • Comment number 71.

    Cuts, what cuts! The debt problem could easily be solved by printing more money and inflation could be avoided by requiring banks to hold in reserve at least as much as they lend out. This would stabilise the banking system, take debt out of the economy and replace it with debt free money. So why don't they do that - because keeping us in debt is how the super-rich banking elites make their money.

  • Comment number 72.

    Sue Denim wrote:
    "I also remember the 1970s where Labour put us into so much of a mess both financially and from the unions, the Tories had no choice other than to make harsh cuts."

    At least that's what the Tory press told you and you believed it. Try opening your eyes, or reading something that isn't a right-wing Tory tabloid

  • Comment number 73.

    Mandelson is already destroying our education system as you can see in universities around the country. Medical research funding has been ringfenced by a government who do not understand medical research whatsoever. Most world changing discoveries have been blue sky not ringfenced, i.e. "accidental" (ask, Fleming: Penicillin, Tim Hunt: Cell cycle and therefore cancer etc).

    The tories and the Labour unions together have already destroyed our manufacturing base, leaving us as an economy of bankers and innovators. Banking has obviously gone kaput, but the tories propose to massively, massively add to the cuts to scientific research that Labour has already made, therefore destroying our scientific innovation base, while hugely funding start-up business. The problem is, if you destroy academic innovation and university funding, no new inventors are trained, no new innovations are made, no new students go in to science and our innovation base dies at the hands of the tories as well.

    How can they defend keeping child benefit for the very rich while doing this to one of the economic germlines for our country? They are trying to create a race of blank-eyed tory businessmen without any thing for us scientists to invent for them to sell. Vote for them (or Labour with Mandelson in it for that matter) at your very great peril.

  • Comment number 74.

    1. At 11:00am on 28 Apr 2010, Mark - Hove wrote:
    Yes I'm worried about the Tory cuts! Just like the 80's or even worse.

    I like the way you highlight the 80`s, but wasn`t they in power during the better period of the 90`s, when of course Labour took over & has been borrowing money ever since!

  • Comment number 75.

    Why are these cuts and/or tax rises necessary? Brown has gone on an unfunded spending binge and now we are expected to pick up the tab for his largesse. If someone creates a dog's dinner of something they are the last person you want to fix it. Labour's destruction of our economy is nothing less than treason and my children are now saddled with debt just to pay off the idle, lazy and fickle.

  • Comment number 76.

    53. I am with you. You forgot the final salary pension.

  • Comment number 77.

    I work with vulnerable children in the Social Care sector within Scotland, and I'm extremely worried about the spending cuts made within each local authority especially under a Conservative government.

  • Comment number 78.

    Absolutely becuase they will fall onto people ill equipped to take them. Pensioners, Pensions anything that is an easy target by useless Politicians. One area that will NOT be touched by ANY cuts will be MP's pay and expenses. The Senior Management in Public Service, Fat cat bankers, Heads of so called private sector and Quangos will also 'miss out' on any cuts. No matter what Cameron and Osbourne say now they WILL do away with winter fuel payments. We will still pay Billions to 'Overseas Aid' whilst we will suffer severe cuts. It just isn't right. God help the vulnerable in Britain over the next 5 years.

  • Comment number 79.

    Of course we should be worried, cuts are needed so this term we are getting 5 extra politicians with salaries and exorbitant expenses claims coming out of the public purse, that will help a lot! The cuts wont come from the Westminster gravy train whoever is in power.

  • Comment number 80.

    Yes. Very.

  • Comment number 81.

    Not really, I've got my off shore bank account, off shore paradise and really good accountants! I am more concerned about all those bigoted women out their talking to Gordo!!! ingenious - lets get to the truth! Utter contempt for the great British public! fantastic!

  • Comment number 82.

    I think its madness that we are being to asked to vote yet we aren't being told what the cuts would be for each of the parties. We might as well not bother voting in the first place.

  • Comment number 83.

    I am a 41 year old medical student with a wife in full time employment an d a two year old son. I have to pay tuition fees and nursery fees without assistance. We get by. We are not rolling in money but occasionally we can afford to go the cinema. I am not afraid of cuts. On the contrary, I welcome them. We are living within our means and I would say our quality of life is good and we are grateful for what we have. We count our blessings. We don't feel we are owed by the state. We pay our dues. These cuts are long overdue. My fear is that they will not be made if Brown remains in Downing Street. He breaks promises for fun. The level of debt in our country is a disgrace and we all ought to take responsibility. The attitude of having today and paying tomorrow has got to go - otherwise we will be going cap in hand to the IMF like Greece and shortly Portugal. I am surrounded by students who have just come through the present A level system and I have to say I am shocked by the poor standards of numeracy and literacy - and these medical students are allegedly the cream of the crop! Let's all just wake up. Nothing is for nothing - it never has been and it never will be. You reap what you sow and this appalling Nanny State has stupefied too many people in to believing the State is going to sort them out. Sorry, but we need a two way street mentality here. The one way street of take, take, take must be opened up to two way traffic.
    On Saturday morning, while out for a walk I encountered two young lads aged about 11 or 12 passing a football between them in the main road. The ball became trapped under a car and one of them began kicking aimlessly at the rear of the car. I asked him what he was trying to do. He disdainfully told me that his ball was stuck. I told him I could see that and suggested that he get onto the floor and retrieve it. He suggested I retrieve it. I reminded him that the car was somebody's personal property and he should show more respect for it. Begrudgingly he retrieved his ball and I was subjected to a predictable torrent of foul mouthed abuse in my wake as I walked home. This country is not broken Mr. Cameron but it has certainly been badly damaged. The Conservatives are right to recognise the importance of the family because all these behaviours have to start somewhere and that place is the home.
    When the ash from the Icelandic volcano left hundreds of thousands of Britons stranded abroad recently, I was frankly dumbfounded. Who are all these people who can afford to go on holiday abroad? As news bulletins became more clear, I was horrified to see how many were teachers and public sector employees. One thing is clear - they are being paid too much and there are too many of them. It is scandalous that we now have a larger public sector than France! Who pays for them? Are they worth it?

    So bring these cuts on please. Whoever gets elected. I really don't care as long as it is not Brown and "No more boom or bust Labour".

    Global recession? No, British recession - we're not in the Euro. We are our own entity and as such we are our own masters.

  • Comment number 84.

    Absolutely no point in worrying about anything, what will be will be. This is all part of the assett stripping, the ruling classes started it all by dumping shares, they're probably most of the crew involved in the banking fiasco and they pull the strings with all the political parties. Don't you think it's strange how the banks commit such fraudulant activity and get away with it? They're bailed out by the government so the tax payer owns some of them yet, whilst they are crucifying small businesses with extortianate interest rates and denial of vital cash flow overdrafts, they are still awarding themselves obscene bonuses. If the pot is empty you cannot pay for anything let alone billions in bonuses yet they're doing it, isn't that strange? Anyone that's seen films of Al Capone and his mob in the 30's will get a handle on it. When he was arrested and sent to Alcatraz he consulted his No'2 and send to him, Frank, we'll have to get legit, get inside big business, and that I reckon is what you see with the banks. The Teflon coated bank bosses, like Al Capone, should be doing time in Alcatraz but they're not, strange,strange, strange. It doesn't matter who wins the election, the banks and the ruling classes will jerk them around on a piece of string and the only ones who will suffer are the hard working law abiding citizens of this country.

  • Comment number 85.

    Cuts will cause social and political upheaval over the next 25 years.

    The poor will become poorer and more numerous.

    The rich will become richer and smaller in number.

    The UK will lose many of its young people.

  • Comment number 86.

    I am worried because if we do not make cuts to the waste in public sector and benefit culture my salary,council, car, VAT taxes added together will exceed my income whilst people on benefit and in public sectors get their annual increases

    The country is in a mess, hiding it under a carpet does not help!

  • Comment number 87.

    "Previous Next 1. At 11:00am on 28 Apr 2010, Mark - Hove wrote:
    Yes I'm worried about the Tory cuts! Just like the 80's or even worse."

    That time (and this time) they are having to be made because of Labour being in power for so many years and mismanaging the economy.

  • Comment number 88.

    Whoever gets in power will have to slash expenditure, increase tax (of one kind or another) and bleed us dry to repair the damage that has been caused to our economy. If you add all the off sheet debt the government has created to that we are aware of, we are in serious trouble. But dont worry we will find out all of this after the election. As for those who think one party will cut less than another think again.

  • Comment number 89.

    I know it is hardly a vote winner, but I would love to hear either the Lib Dems or Conservitives explain ALL cuts possible right down to the last £1 because of the state that Labour has left this country in.

  • Comment number 90.

    #10. At 11:09am on 28 Apr 2010, Adam wrote:
    It is very important to know where the cuts are coming from.
    If a party says they are from the NHS, schools, the police or the fire service then they definitely aren't getting my vote.

    ---------------------------------------

    That is the problem. Whichever party actually comes up with any real figures or states which particular areas will be cut, will be kissing goodbye to any chance of getting in power.

    History tells us that the Tories will always cut harder on front line services than the Labour party. So the Tories will NEVER get my vote.

    Cameron & Clegg are both advocating that we need change now. But is this just change for the sake of change - neither have given me a good reason to believe otherwise. Do we really want change, is that change going to be vastly better than what we have now? I personally don't think so.

  • Comment number 91.

    A great saving could be made by no taxpayer benefits until you have 15 years of taxpaying residency, child benefit to other European countries only paid at the rate paid in the country where the child is resident after the 15 year rule has been applied. Nothing paid where there is no reciprocal agreement. If these cuts were I introduced I would have no problem with them.

  • Comment number 92.

    Neeb wrote:

    "I'm sure history won't look kindly on the government of the last 13 years."

    ----------------------------------------

    I'm sure history won't look kindly on any of the governments of the last 30 or 40 years.

  • Comment number 93.

    64. At 12:01pm on 28 Apr 2010, thelevellers wrote:

    "I think you will find that the GLOBAL recession started in america by the bankers (typically tory supporters).

    You will also find that we had to spend money on public services because they were destroyed by thatcher and the tories. Without public services the country would not function."

    So whose was on watch when it all kicked off? Who spent and borrowed when the going was good and left nothing for when times here hard? Was Thatcher working behind the scenes? Is the current (and blameless in every way according to you) gvernment being forced to mess things up royally by the Tories?

    More nonsense from the brainwashed and deluded sadly.

  • Comment number 94.

    I work in the private sector and believe it or not, we that generate the income to pay for our "services" have been taking pay cuts for a couple of years. (4 in my case) and there are no new jobs to go to!

    how I wish I had taken my dads advice and gone into teaching, local council, or the police. or as someone mentioned above a street sweeper.

    Its time the public sector woke up and realised that its a simple equation, it there isnt enough money coming in then pay has to be cut!

    Its not a right to have a year on year increase.

  • Comment number 95.

    Who remembers Norman Lamont saying in the early 90's "Rising unemployment and the recession have been the price we have had to pay to get inflation down. That price is well worth paying." I believe David Cameron worked as a Special Advisor in the Treasury department at the time. If the tories got in it would be a disaster - they would make cuts which would affect the whole country, just as they did in the 1980's.

  • Comment number 96.

    > My money each week is broke down as follows
    > Coming in £55 as I have money being taken off for a crisis loan so £60 > is now £55 a week
    >
    > In £55.00
    >
    >Out
    >
    > £25.00 GAS
    > £30.00 ELECTRICITY
    > £15.00 Telephone
    > £10.00 TV licence

    > I have no money to EAT and I’m sick of this

    You have no money to eat, and you spend £15 a week on a telephone? And £10 on a TV licence?

    I hate to sound unfeeling, but perhaps you need to re-think your priorities? I don't accept that a phone and TV are essential - especially not if you're going hungry. Maybe you're tied in to a contract or something, but get out of it and go PAYG, and dump the TV and get a radio.

  • Comment number 97.

    Yes, cuts are a worry but even more worrying is the fact that so many people are failing to understand why we need them. They are having a go at the Tories proposal to slash public spending but for those of us who live in the real world and understand the scale of the problem we face the cuts currently proposed are just not enough. Labour have spent billions on the public sector, billions paid for by borrowing. They then bailed out the banks. They continue to borrow just to have money to spend on the day to day running of the country. Now, we will soon have a national debt of some £1.4tn and a deficit (difference between income and expenditure) of £160bn. Now, how can we expect to carry on as we are, balance the books and reduce debt? We can't. Simple. Until we face up to the fact that we need to have savage public sector cuts and probably very hefty tax rises whichever party gets in then we are kidding ourselves. And for those muppets who rant on about the 80's cuts, what we are facing are far, far worse cuts and it will not matter which party is in power because it will be the markets and credit agencies that decide our financial future, not you, me, nor the Government of the day. Get real.

  • Comment number 98.

    Only a deluded person would think we can get out of this mess without cuts. If there is debt at home the takeaway goes, maybe visits to the pub in extremis even satellite TV. Its no different nationally or globally. The pain must be shared though. Remember the words of Dicken's Mr McCawber.

  • Comment number 99.

    Public spending cuts will hurt the most vulnerable while the rich profit from them.

    The Tories will see to that.

    Chuck another orphan on the fire, Dave.

  • Comment number 100.

    thelevellers wrote:
    "
    As long as Labour and/or the Liberal Democrats form the next government I will not be worried.
    However if the tories form the next government then we all should be very worried as they would decimate public services like they did in the 1980s "

    Whoever gets in will have to cut spending.
    The Tories will not hang around to start it, as they have already said.
    If Labour & the Libs, singly or in tandem, get in, it is more likely they will drag their feet, before being given a not so gentle nudge by bond market action.
    Any further slacking, and the UK's creditors will be pressing for IMF intervention.
    Then you will see some real fun.
    So get real, there will be spending cuts whoever wins.



 

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