Osborne sets out Tory agenda
Plenty of speculation about spending in Westminster today. The shadow chancellor is speaking later at the trendy think tank Demos.
Also the location of the launch of James Purnell's new project - Open Left and an important organisation in the formation of New Labour policy in the late 90s.
And will essentially be attempting to throw a traditional Labour accusation of Conservative policy back in the government's face.
Mr Osborne's expected to claim that it's the Conservatives who are now the progressive party and will say that a Tory government would be able to preserve front line services even spending less tax payers' money, because they'd make them more efficient.
And it would be another Labour government that would make deep cuts. This morning he told the BBC:
"I think because of the debt crisis that the country faces we have a choice: we can either reform the way those services are delivered so that the money goes further and you get more for less; or you can face frontline service cuts.
"Because Labour have no plan to reform public services, because Gordon Brown has been an obstacle to public service reform for all his political career, unfortunately if the Labour government were re-elected there would be frontline service cuts.
"It is the Conservatives, as the progressive force in British politics now, who are thinking seriously about how you change the way you deliver public services so that they can improve the quality of service delivery even in a period of budget restraint."
We're also told to expect more details on the Conservatives plans to let more independent groups set up schools in England, although they wouldn't be allowed to make profits.
The Conservatives often cite the system in Sweden, where "free schools" have caught on, but groups there are allowed to make money. That may not be in the Tories plan, but they clearly see a future where more groups, whether churches or charities, are in a position to provide public services.
Mr Osborne's claim to represent the "progressive force" in British politics, has just been described as "laughable" by Lord Mandelson, looking tanned after returning from his holiday. And that no voters will be "fooled".
(By the way, although he's back, after last week's confusion about who was running the show in the PM's absence, Lord Mandelson says he is not really in charge, but allowing Mr Brown to take a break!)
We may not get more black and white about how the Tories would spend or save taxpayers' cash today. But this is clearly an attempt by Mr Osborne to set out dividing lines between the two main parties - the Tories want voters to believe that they would make our money go further and preserve the services we expect from schools and hospitals. While they contend Labour can't or won't reform, so will end up having to make cuts.
The reality is that whoever forms the next government will have to deal with a massive hole in the books. Changes to how public services are run may not be enough to balance the nation's accounts on their own.
And the squeeze on spending won't just affect government cash that's distributed from Whitehall. Evidence today from the Local Government Association of job cuts councils are already having to make because their revenues are falling. The report suggests that 7,000 workers have already lost their jobs. That could be just the beginning.
Research published last month suggested that more than quarter of a million jobs could go from the public sector over the next few years. Gloomy predictions in that report paint a bleak picture for some towns and cities where prosperity in the last few years has been based on growth in public sector jobs.