Message to Nick Clegg: spread the pain, don’t just cut services

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.

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2 comments on “Message to Nick Clegg: spread the pain, don’t just cut services
  1. Liberal Neil says:

    I don’t think you are right to describe the policy as ‘rely on spending cuts’. The Lib Dem manifesto is a combination of reductions in spending COMBINED WITH a significant shift in the burden of taxation from poor to rich and on to pollution.

    It is also the case that cuts in sending do not necessarily mean cuts in services.

    For example, if we axed OFSTED tomorrow it would be a spending cut but would not reduce public services one iota. Indeed the immediate improvement in the morale of teachers might mean an improvement in service!

    Personally I am all in favour of cutting public spending which adds no value to the services people get, particularly if it is part of a package that hands money to the low paid.

  2. James Graham says:

    Neil,

    What you say is true but you can only cut so much in public spending before eating into services.

    Our main concern is that Clegg has emphasised that the Lib Dems would focus only on spending cuts and not consider tax rises, something even the Tories don’t rule out. I’m not sure that’s the line agreed by the manifesto group and it certainly isn’t one we would agree with.

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