Nick Clegg – Stand by for more cuts

 
Nick Clegg at the Lib Dem conference Nick Clegg at the Liberal Democrat conference

If you thought the cuts were bad, stand by for more bad news - £16bn of cuts to be precise.

The Treasury Chief Secretary, Danny Alexander, has just declared at the Lib Dem conference that the government will soon have to set out "specific plans for the £16bn of savings that are needed" in 2015 - after, that is, the current spending round ends.

What the Liberal Democrats have been doing this week is setting out their negotiating position with the Tories for the next spending round - their red lines if you like on "who pays".

What they wanted voters to hear is that they will veto Tory proposals for a benefit freeze and cuts of £10bn to the welfare budget. However, listen hard and you'll hear that they are not ruling out ending the link between benefit rises and inflation or other cuts in the benefit bill.

This is what Danny Alexander said: "At £220bn, welfare is one third of all public spending - and despite our painful reforms it is still rising. We will have to look at it."

His message to the Tories is that they'll only discuss this if they get agreement to higher taxes on the wealthy. Nick Clegg now clearly regrets suggesting that that's the top 10% of the population - in other words people earning over around £50,000 a year.

He may also regret hinting on BBC Radio 4's World at One that he would re-examine benefits which go to even the richest pensioners such as Winter Fuel Allowance, free bus passes and free TV licence.

No wonder he talked at the beginning of this Conference about "scars ahead".

PS: The £16bn figure is not, it turns out, entirely new since it was implied in last year's Autumn Statement when the chancellor announced that cuts would have to go on beyond the next election. However, it came as a surprise to me.

 
Nick Robinson, Political editor Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 326.

    156#

    Thats hardly surprising though is it? Where the voters are so dense that light bends around them, they're bound to blame the tories arent they, compared to when your Iron Chancellor doubled income tax on their poorest overnight. Lambs to the slaughter, arent they?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 325.

    322 I asked if you had independent sources. I have pointed you to one - the UCL (University of London) study which suggests a very small net benefit accruing. University income from overseas students (large chunk of migration) similar. However if you suggest others do so - pointing me at an e-petition statement from an anti immigration pressure group is not independent nor is it research.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 324.

    @320
    on 317
    Saga,
    The Germans have reached a point (on more than one occasion, I think) where they have had to limit migration during the last 40 years or so. If a country that size & with that successful an economy has to say to potential guestworkers: "Sorry - not now." then is it not more likely that we might put up the 'House Full' signs every now & then?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 323.

    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/19658

    Just as health service professionals warn that the NHS is close to breaking point owing to increased levels of demand.

    Still time to sign the e-petition as proposed by Migration Watch - who do some very good work but significantly under-estimate the different cost categories and full adverse effects of of UK immigration.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 322.

    316.Whistling Neil
    You're obviously pro mass UK immigration & if you disagree with my analysis you have every opportunity to provide your own analysis of why you seem to be saying that the benefits of mass UK immigration outweigh 'the costs'.

    Migration watch e-petition says it all - taking UK population to 70 million will require SEVEN cities the size of Birmingham to be built.

    Silence ...

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 321.

    @231
    There is no doubt that the politicians obsession with 'climate change' & 'green' is costing us money. So why persist?

    The climate change farce was effectively knocked on the head by Norman Baker MP last weekend. Canute-ism costs. It was a tax scam. It's dead. Time to dispose of the remains.

    Another hard fact to face: politicians & environmentalists cannot control the climate.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 320.

    snuff

    312: Yes I'm confusing political pragmatism with practicality, that's what I'm doing. But being pragmatic they're the same thing, aren't they? In practice, I mean.

    317: I accept that point. I'm pro-immigration, hold no truck with bug-eyed nonsense such as 'it costs us a bomb' and 'taking our jobs and houses' and 'we're full up' etc etc, but yes the boom masked some structural problems.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 319.

    318. mgoulden
    Hi. For me personally I find it utterly vicious. Not only do we see the poorest and most vulnerable shouldering the brunt of cuts and austerity we then see a reduction in funding of their only viable source of advice. People really in distress and worried sick.
    Thank you so much for the work you do.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 318.

    #315
    I work for CAB & it's a sign of the times, I'm afraid. Local Authorities must find huge savings, so have slashed all of their various budgets, including to the voluntary advice sector. But don't worry, the private sector will recover eventually; in the meantime, govt will carry on its scorched earth policy re the economy. Crazy.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 317.

    @301
    Saga, it's not worse to losing out to a 'local'. It costs us because we chose-rightly imv-to support the unempl. thru' our Benefits system.

    In 'biggest boom' (longest period of sustained growth) in UK economic history (post'97) we maintained highest ever level of unemployed during a boom, both visible & invisible, ie. economically inactive. That was supported by the Benefits system.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 316.

    304 Additionally, you do precisely what I said politicians do simplify - you said people want largest cuts in immigration and not services, as if it were an either or choice, it isn't.
    You can cut immigration to zero and it will not change the need to adjust spending and make cuts, you also will find as the coalition has , it is far easier to say it than actually do it.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 315.

    308 fb
    Drove a lady to CAB last week (local drop in service hadn't been staffed for weeks due to cutbacks). No bus fare to go to next town. Needed advice, lost job, debt, debt collectors. Financial institutions advertise the CAB on letters as a reference for debt advice. Huge increase in demand for CAB services (only source of advice for many desperately worried people) and yet they are cut back.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 314.

    More public sector cuts = madness.
    GDP = Private Sector Spending + Public Sector Spending + (Exports - Imports)
    Spending = Investment = Consumption
    Government = Bunch of idiots

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 313.

    304 Then point to some independent sources where I can go educate myself then, I have looked around but all the studies I have found come up with slight positive benefits to immigration, such as the UCL study.
    I am not an immigrant - I did emigrate for a time but came back and brought one with me permanently, but don't worry since we both are in the 10% bracket it hasn't cost you a penny.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 312.

    @258
    Saga,
    1. size of Birmingham not like Birmingham or exact replica of Birmingham, great though that city is!
    2. are you confusing practicality with political pragmatism? ;-)

    @252
    Does warm the heart but is it before benefits subsidy or after?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 311.

    In Germany immigration is on the increase (more so now with the problems besetting felllow EU members) and as over here it's a divisive topic.
    However their economy still easily assimilates, in fact demands, increasing immigrant labour.

    That's probably because they have an economy.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 310.

    302 I simply quoted the numbers at you. It is obvious from the original quote, because it said so (and the ONS source since you can't be bothered to look anything up yourself) that the number is households.
    Any decline would be good news , why you cannot be happy that 1.7million households proportionately spend less on fuel is mystifying. Almost as if you wish more hardship to prove your point.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 309.

    306.sagamix
    303

    (You don't think 4m migrants just 'stole' 4m jobs from already-here-ers do you?)

    +
    YES
    YES
    YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

    Cuts for British families while the immigrants flood in to be subsiidised?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 308.

    221 Lefty - other bloggers will be delighted that I'm not going to show and tell on compassion. I think that would be indulgent and in my case embarassingly meagre. Suffice it to say that whilst its insufficient, its non zero. I do not need an intermediary. Substance - I think it was the term 'vicious austerity drive' that set me wondering if you were working on a ballanced score card.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 307.

    I have no problem with some immigrants coming to UK providing they pay for themselves or b sponsored & not in any way subsidised by tax payer - since 1997 no's have ramped up & caused too many problems to list in 400 chs. UK is full up in terms of govt service provision as all infrastructure is creaking & UK can't afford new infrastructure for 62 m population never mind 70m & 80m & 100m population

 

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