Ed Balls challenges George Osborne over £70 billion cuts risk to the NHS
Yesterday the Conservative Party failed to contest Labour's analysis which shows that Tory plans for the next Parliament would mean £70 billion of cuts - cuts which are unprecedented, extreme and almost impossible to deliver. Their plans create a real risk that the Chancellor will be forced to break his promise to ringfence the NHS.
The independent Institute for Fiscal Studies supported much of Labour's analysis, with its Director Paul Johnson telling BBC News, "if you look at the last Autumn Statement, it does say the Government is looking for a £20-odd billion surplus by the end of the next Parliament. And the Conservatives have said they want £10 billion-worth of tax cuts. You put all of that together and it's not very difficult to come to a world in which you are looking at £50-60-70 billion of spending cuts over that period."
Labour's Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls last night wrote to George Osborne challenging him to confirm that his spending plans would mean £70 billion of cuts, and asking whether he will proceed with them or cut the NHS instead.
The Conservatives now owe the British people some honesty and clarity over their extreme and risky plans.
Labour has a better plan, to build a strong economic foundation and balance the books.
• We will cut the deficit every year with a surplus on the current budget and falling national debt as soon as possible in the next Parliament.
• We will fund our promises: every spending and tax commitment in our manifesto will be fully funded.
• We will change our economy: tackle the cost of living crisis with stronger and more balanced growth to increase tax revenues, including with an £8 minium wage.
• We will share the burden fairly: those with the broadest shoulders bearing the greatest burden by clamping down on tax avoidance, reversing the Tory tax cut for millionaires, and a Mansion Tax on homes over £2 million to save and transform the NHS.
• We will cap social security: addressing the root causes of welfare spending by getting 200,000 homes built a year and tough decisions like scrapping Winter Fuel Payments for the richest pensioners and capping Child Benefit rises.
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