Labour "uncomfortable" after Osborne invokes national debt as reason for welfare cuts

Chancellor George Osborne's warning that further spending cuts will be required has put the opposition in an "uncomfortable position", a senior public affairs specialist has said.

Chancellor George Osborne: welfare cuts needed
Chancellor George Osborne: welfare cuts needed

Public affairs agency Interel director John Fearn, who leads the agency’s financial and business services sector, said Osborne’s announcement that welfare would be targeted for cuts was "provocative".

Osborne said in a speech in Birmingham this morning that £12bn in spending cuts would be needed in the first two years of the next Parliament.

He suggested welfare savings could be made by cutting housing benefit for under-25s and restricting council housing for those earning over £65,000 a year.

Osborne added that he would not target benefits to pensioners because the savings there would be relatively small.

"Osborne’s invocation of the national debt (at 91 per cent GDP) rather than the deficit to justify the cuts puts Labour in an uncomfortable position: Miliband and Balls won’t cut further, but cutting less brings accusations of profligacy," Fearn said.

He added that the approach would appeal to Conservative voters. "One might have expected the Chancellor to be more positive on the back of good national growth figures recently. But Osborne’s sombre tone is intended to portray a man telling it straight; he is being ‘open with us’, eschewing ‘easy answers’ to make ‘difficult decisions’ in the national interest.

"Doom and gloom alone don’t win votes though so his messages on tax, alongside Cameron’s promise yesterday to protect the state pension, will appeal to core Conservative voters."

 

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Latest Articles

Max Clifford trial jury to reconvene tomorrow after majority verdicts direction

Max Clifford trial jury to reconvene tomorrow after majority verdicts direction

The jury in the trial of celebrity publicist Max Clifford on 11 charges of indecent assault has been sent home for the day after being told by the judge earlier this afternoon that he will now accept majority verdicts.

Labour "fooling themselves" over plans to combat attacks on Miliband

Labour "fooling themselves" over plans to combat attacks on Miliband

Conservative-leaning public affairs experts have questioned the value of Labour's adoption of US-style campaigning tactics in the wake of the opposition hiring election strategist David Axelrod.

PLMR appoints Professor Tim Morris as non-executive director

The vet who helped establish the British Horseracing Authority's anti-doping and animal welfare programme has joined PLMR as a non-executive director.