What would Tories cut?
The Tories boast that they're being honest about the need for spending cuts but are they being honest about what they'll cut and what the impact will be?
That's a question I've been pursuing in an interview with the shadow chancellor George Osborne.
He claims that the prime minister is denying him the information he needs to decide where the axe should fall. A request for access to the detailed spending information available to ministers has been turned down.
The Tories wanted to see the COINS database - that stands for Combined Online Information System - which contains information about what's been spent in over 12,000 category headings.
Mr Osborne tells me that:
"Gordon Brown is denying to the opposition the information on individual spending items in the government Budget that would help us plan for government, help us plan for dealing with the debt crisis. He has denied us access to that information. That makes our life as an opposition more difficult, but more to the point for the country, it means the country doesn't know the truth about where their money is going."
Neverthless he promises that the Tories will in future "provide more and more details and examples of specific schemes" they'll cut.
The shadow chancellor also makes clear that the Tories are not committed to protecting spending on schools or the Sure Start programme. Earlier, the shadow schools secretary, Michael Gove, insisted that the Tories would protect what he called "front line spending" on schools.
Pressed on why the country should trust him - a young and privileged man - with this task, the shadow chancellor replies:
"We're going to protect the poorest, we're going to protect the vulnerable, but we're going to deal with the debt crisis because, let me say this, I've got young children, many people watching this programme have got young children, and it is not fair to leave them with our debt. We have to deal with the situation now and not leave the problem to another generation."
PS. For those who want the full quote on spending priorities:
Osborne: "We've taken a tough decision, which is to protect health spending - I could have put health spending into the pot - I'm also protecting international development spending because we've made some moral commitments to the rest of the world. That means..."
Robinson: Are you protecting schools?
Osborne: "I'm not protecting other areas at this stage."
Robinson: Are you protecting Sure Start?
Osborne: "I'm not protecting other areas. I'm not going to go into specific details of individual programs but I've made a positive decision and this is part of the choice that David Cameron and the modern Conservatives have made to protect health spending, to protect international development spending because we think those are important commitments for the kind of society we want (interruption)."
Update, 18:35: The Cabinet Office insist that the decision not to give the Tories the spending information they requested was taken by the cabinet secretary and not ministers after normal pre-election contacts between civil servants and opposition leaders.