Labour’s attacks on spending have backfired as the spotlight turns on their internal contradictions on cuts.
Treasury Ministers say there will be “extremely painful” cuts under Labour, but Gordon Brown says spending will carry on rising.
Treasury figures already imply 17% cuts in non-protected departments under Labour, but Gordon Brown keeps adding new protected areas without saying where the money is coming from.
The National Audit Office say that Labour’s defence plans are already “unaffordable”, and Bob Ainsworth has announced defence cuts, but today Gordon Brown is promising more spending on defence. If Labour are now protecting defence spending then cuts in other departments will be more than 20%.
Ed Balls says education spending will carry on rising, but Alistair Darling claims he has only protected “front line” schools spending.
Peter Mandelson says you can’t make cuts this year but is cutting more than £300 million from his own Department this year.
Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown disagree over what to do if growth is stronger than expected – Darling says he wants to cut the deficit but Brown says he wants more spending.
Today Peter Mandelson couldn’t decide whether to attack the Conservatives for cutting too soon or for cutting too little. Perhaps he should spend more time filling the vacuum at the heart of Labour policy.
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