>I’ve just watched the Osborne press conference and it looks as though my faith in him is vindicated. Expect the sniping from Labour and the msm to be stepped up a notch!
What I gleaned from it is that 20m workers earning less than £43k pa will receive a tax cut by the simple expediency of raising the Nat.Ins threshold. It will be offset by cutting an already-identified £6bn waste in govt spending immediately rather than waiting until next year (the latter being Labour’s stated option – but if the savings are there to be made now, why wait a year before winkling out the waste?). This is on top of savings of £7bn announced last year at the Tory Conference = £13bn total. It must be stressed that all these savings are as a result of cutting dead wood and wasteful expenditure; not one front-line public sector job will be lost.
Cut taxes: cut wasteful spending. It’s a good start and it seems like a winner to me.
As well as raising the NI threshold Osborne also said that defence spending would be protected for the first year while the Strategic Defence Review is carried out.
Channel 4’s Ask the Chancellors debate is at 8pm this evening and there will be live blogs/chats galore plus instant audience reaction via the tv red button.
UPDATE: This from ConHome:
“The Conservatives plan to start (and expand) an anti-waste programme that the Government does not intend to implement until next year. They have been advised that this is possible by the Government’s own former efficiency advisors – Sir Peter Gershon and Dr Martin Reid – both of whom have been advising the Conservatives. They advise that £12bn of savings are possible in 2010* if five areas of spending are tackled:
- A halt to new spending on IT projects and cancellation of existing ones that are not going to work;
- Renegotiation of all state-private contracts in the same way that the private sector has been renegotiating to cut costs – Philip Hammond said many suppliers that had been talking to the Conservatives said existing contracts were sub-optimal;
- Controlling recruitment. Productivity was up 20% in the private service sector but it’s fallen in the public sector. As non-frontline vacancies arise they should not automatically be filled;
- The brake needs to be put on discretionary spending including travel and office consumables;
- Reductions in public sector property costs.
£6bn of these savings will be used to avoid most of the NI rise. The other £6bn will be re-invested in the NHS, the overseas aid budget AND defence.”