Popular squeezes - brilliant wheezes?


Announcements made today were designed for the year 2015. That is not just when the next round of spending cuts will begin. It is, of course, the year of the next general election.

George Osborne used his Spending Review to try to snatch political victory from the jaws of economic defeat - to win the argument about the need to cut government spending even while having to admit that yet more cuts were not in the original version of Plan A.

The chancellor believes the debate is now on his terms and his territory.

He can scarcely believe that he can announce plans for almost 150,000 job losses and a further squeeze on public sector pay as well as deep cuts to councils, universities and the police while generating so little political fuss.

What he hopes will cause a fuss is proposals for a new cap on half of welfare spending to come in on the eve of that election and a populist squeeze on jobseekers who sign on quickly or who can't speak English.

Mr Osborne thinks the politics is under control. The one thing that hasn't been brought under control, of course, is the economy, which is why today's announcements were needed in the first place.

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

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  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    Rich folks wont feel any pain from the spending cuts, its the less fortunate who will suffer. The big question to be answered is whether the plans will affect the way people vote. I still cannot understand why the country can afford to pour money into foreign aid yet has plans that in effect reduce our standards of living, makes the vast majority financially less well off.

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    The Tory Party are a bunch of posh boys who think they know how to run the country and are totally out of their depth and have no ideas. They bash the poor and working families, they try to divide and rule, they give massive tax breaks to the rich and punish the vulnerable in society who can do little to defend themselves. Stop foreign aid and stop driving millions of people into deep poverty.

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    Paul @ 10. The Speaker has had to intervene several times to ask Cameron to start answering the questions. Could it be explored whether a vote of no confidence can be arranged, as he's failing to be answerable to the House? I know previous PM's have had similar, if lesser, failings, but that does not make it right.

    The Toreis can refer to 'intensive care', as it doesn't actually mean anything!

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    Re Osborne's comments regarding Jobseeker's Allowance. With waiting time now to be 7 days (calendar/working?) the claimant must also jump set hoops such as producing a CV, etc in that time

    Osborne explained the unemployed should be thinking about work & not benefits but if these stipulations are correct nothing has changed. Just 4 days payments saved by the state!

    Nasty, vindictive comments!

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    Chris 24 / Andy 28

    I may be wrong (politics is a funny old game after all) but it's unlikely.

    A Lab/Lib coalition, mark my words.

    Not just words either, I have my money down.

    No way I'd do that if I wasn't close to certain since I disapprove of gambling - especially on life or death matters such as results of UK general elections.


Comments 5 of 67



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