Without wanting to dwell too much on those Scary Graphs from the IFS yesterday, there’s one political point that’s worth mulling about the ones that charted the future of departmental spending.
George Osborne knows that his ‘pain tomorrow’ approach means the years after 2015 are going to see even more cuts to public spending. He’s not the only one: it’s something that those Tory MPs who love a good plot believe is a key selling point for backbenchers who aren’t involved in the Coalition in any way, such as Adam Afriyie. One plotter told me recently that the trick would be for a post-2015 Tory majority or second-term Lib-Con coalition government to lose those who were at the top last time round, and a new figure could tell the nation that, as this Coalition did in 2010, things are so much worse than anyone realised, and that it’s time to hunker down for the really tough cuts that the last government avoided. Their argument is that anyone who was in this government can’t do that without fatally undermining the new administration.
Osborne’s stock rose this week with a Budget that satisfied enough of those Tories concerned mainly with the cost of living and competitiveness to keep quiet the irreconcilables in the party who believe that this government should be going much, much further. But the IFS showed yesterday that this Budget wasn’t one with a goal any bigger than keeping the Tories happy and trying to get through the next few months.Tags: Conservatives, George Osborne, UK politics