The Social Liberal Forum believes Nick Clegg’s newly promulgated policy to rely on spending cuts raises serious questions.
We believe that this policy has to take into account the following issues:
- It could require even deeper cuts in areas like affordable housing, schools and universities that are central for either the growth potential of our economy or to social harmony.
- Tax increases help the stronger in our society absorb more of the pain of deficit reduction. Taxation increases should not only come from individual taxpayers but can be obtained from sectors of the economy like the City of London that generates wealth that is disproportionate to their overall economic contribution.
- Spending cuts of the magnitude required pursuing this approach might result in substantial reductions in public sector employment, particularly in the regions that are more reliant on state funded jobs, like the Northeast.
A more balanced approach would be for tax increases, especially on the wealthiest sections of the economy to be accompanied by spending reductions spread over a period of eight years. We warmly support the party’s determination to resist premature spending cuts given the fragility of the recovery. However the country as a whole needs to weigh the importance of the composition and speed of any deficit reduction effort.