Does it matter that the Tories can’t spell out how they’d fund the tax cuts they announced at their party conference this week? Labour has launched a clock which monitors how long it’s been since David Cameron promised these cuts without any detail on how they’d pay for them. But last night on BBC This Week, Tom Watson summed up why the Tories feel they can make this attack:
‘I don’t think we can be more austere than the Tories now: I thought those freezes were cruel last week and will have very bad social consequences and the Labour party doesn’t believe in that, and so we’ve got to make a different play.
‘I also thought it was a political risk of Osborne to pitch for uncosted tax cuts but he’ll get away with it because people believe the Tories are actually better with their money and the other parties.’
This is why the Tories can afford unfunded tax cuts politically: even if it knocks a few points off their poll lead on the economy, they’ll still be ahead. And the problem for Labour is that fighting on the two-year welfare freeze that Osborne announced will contribute to the Conservative attack line that Ed Miliband’s party is still soft on the benefits bill.