Spending Review: Election starts here?


This is the week when a blank political canvas starts to be filled.

...the week when we get a picture of where the Treasury axe on spending falls next.

...the week when the parties rehearse the arguments and slogans which we'll hear from now until the next election.

One reason the chancellor's about to unveil plans now for further cuts which won't begin for another two years is politics.

George Osborne, who is of course also the Tories' chief strategist, wants voters to force Labour to answer this question: "So, what would you cut?"

Labour saw that trap coming, which is why the party recently announced that they'd match the coalition's day-to-day departmental spending totals (although they would still borrow up to £10bn more to spend on infrastructure).

Tomorrow we will learn which government departments, if not necessarily which programmes, will face cuts amounting to £11.5bn in 2015 - that's an average of 8% per department which hasn't been ring-fenced.*

George Osborne has made clear that, despite a flurry of newspaper stories, the schools budget will be protected, along with the NHS and overseas aid.

In a dry run for tomorrow's announcements in the Commons Ed Balls argued that the need for yet more cuts was the consequence of the failure of the coalition's economic policies. The chancellor replied that trusting Labour with the books would be like trusting Dracula with running a blood bank.

Ah well. Only 97 weeks to go until we all get to go to the polls again to choose our government.

* International development has been protected, as has spending on health and schools in England.

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 136.

    How long now..before the real gideon inspired riots start

  • rate this

    Comment number 135.

    How long does it take a chancellor to say he`s failed? 50 minutes

    All chancellor`s are political,thats not his problem.Having defined the economic situation as a product of government overspending he`s consistently attacked the wrong target which is the structure of the UK economy

    Low investment,low skill,low productivity,corrupt banks.Germany succeeds for precisely the opposite reasons

  • rate this

    Comment number 134.

    Just seen P.McLoughlin's statement noted by BBC: HS2 may be £10bn over-budget!


    Hate to say 'We told you so!'

  • rate this

    Comment number 133.

    @130 Andy
    That's the problem now with UK politics. Lots of stuff done just to put other party (parties) in difficult position.

    Far better for GO to become electable for doing good for all. He could, if he wanted, put Labour out of sight for decades but the push'n'pull process almost guarantees 'the other lot will get back in' for their go.

  • rate this

    Comment number 132.

    #122 mods can u hurry up it was posted 45++ mins ago got no idea why you have pulled it as a result and cannot redo , is it yr way of squeing the debate ???????????????????

  • rate this

    Comment number 131.

    #121 is it ok for the like of large Indian industrialist to avoid tax in the own country and the UK then the UK has to at the taxpayers expense to provide AID to INDIA

  • rate this

    Comment number 130.

    Be interesting to see which of Osborne's ideas Miliband rejects. Will he;

    Guarantee public sector workers a pay rise even when they've done nothing to deserve it and the country can't afford it?
    Give winter fuel allowance to those living in the Cayman Islands?
    Borrow even more money?
    Allow people who can't speak English to get benefits after 3 days?


  • rate this

    Comment number 129.

    #121 as a former contractor did you volunteer to pay the extra tax then as its unfair as per the HMG website?
    so if I pay the extra tax am i ellagable for all the benifits and expenses that a "permie" would get then,

    think contractors would die then along with the flexibile of the compaines that use them

  • rate this

    Comment number 128.

    We need new rail line but not HS2.

    Sorry GO has caved in to 'vanity project fraternity' in N.Lab & Con parties because, after realistic statements about rail, I thought he'd want to show himself in more sensible&electable light.

    Would have thought conventional line (it's freight capacity that is really needed), work starting same time or before HS2, would be in use sooner&for less £

  • rate this

    Comment number 127.

    strange ANDYC555 and IR35 getting heavily moded but BA et al r not

    more BBC-PRAVDA bias from the mouth piece of the Labour Party

    PS 4 13 years Labour did nothing about tax so called tax aviodance perhaps they were happy with the situation

  • rate this

    Comment number 126.

    "121.Brentford Activist
    I used to be a contractor, I know how my accountant reduced my tax bill.
    Please back up your argument with facts/references"

    I used to be a Tax Inspector. I am currently a tax advisor and have a total of 26 years experience in the tax profession. I say IR35 was anti intermediaries.

    Please back up YOUR argument that it was anti dividends with facts/references.

  • rate this

    Comment number 125.

    #121 so its oK for

    Margarate HODGE
    Ken Livingstone

    and Many at the BBC to avoid tax?

  • rate this

    Comment number 124.

    121.Brentford Activist

    IR35 was about intermediaries - http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/ir35/

    the clue being it's called "intermediaries legislation"

    The point is it is perfectly legal for a company owner to pay him/her self dividends and IR35 would NOT stop that unless the company was the only thing that prevented an employer/employee relationship between contractor and worker.

  • rate this

    Comment number 123.

    And finally, WHO OWNS "HS2 LIMITED"

    £32 billion wasted

    1,000,000 new affordable homes instead please.

    If we do have to go ahead with HS2 lets make the line straight through the middle of Chipping Norton, that's the quickest route to Birmingham from London

  • Comment number 122.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 121.

    andyc555 #117
    I used to be a contractor, I know how my accountant reduced my tax bill.
    Please back up your argument with facts/references.

    The Chancellor has promised to spend an extra £300bn in 2015 on infrastructure when he will not be in office. Would be nice if they won and had to live up to more broken promises. G.O. would be in his element having to live on his off-shore trust-fund

  • Comment number 120.

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

  • Comment number 119.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 118.

    Cameron and Osborne can`t help where they came from,it`s what thy`ve become that`s objectionable.

    One is Woosterish only slightly better than being Pooterish,the other is toe curlingly villanous like a character in an a provincial pantomime.

    Time to man up and face the music chaps.With Ukip yapping at your heels and the QE magic money tree fading along with your options.

  • rate this

    Comment number 117.

    "107.Brentford Activist
    So you pay yourself minimum wage, no NI and claim the rest as Dividends. Hence the need for IR35"

    Are you referring to Ken Livingston?

    Anyway that is NOT what IR35 was implemented to counter. It was set up to counter the use of companies as intermediaries between workers and employers. Trumpeted to bring in £300m a year, it bought in £9m over 6 years.


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