After much stalemate in the debate over Britain’s economic direction, aggravated mainly by Gordon Brown’s insistence on avoiding cuts and maintaining high spending levels, the Prime Minister admitted in his speech to the Trades Union Conference yesterday that spending cuts will be needed.
Brown, rattling off his rather uninspiring speech, declared that while he would “cut costs, cut inefficiencies, cut unnecessary programmes and cut lower priority budgets“, he would not “support cuts in the vital front-line services on which people depend“.
However, despite the media hype of this moment for Brown’s TUC speech, the admission is still distinctly underwhelming. Brown hasn’t actually changed from his previous economic position of robotically pushing the “Labour investment/Tory cuts” dividing line as, by promising to preserve “vital front-line services“, he has set up his future attacks against the Conservatives to revolve around scare-mongering, like Brown did in June when he claimed that the Conservatives’ economic approach would result in: “44,000 fewer teachers, 15,000 fewer police, 10,000 fewer soldiers and, each year, 32,000 fewer university places“.
It is a pity that Brown makes his volte-face about cuts only after Conservative pressure, it merely reinforces the perception that the Prime Minister is a ditherer.
(Also, Conservativehome.com have produced this sleek video that skewers Brown for his U-turn over investment and spending cuts: here )