Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Spending Review : "this is what they came into politics for"

Shadow Chancellor Alan Johnson has denounced spending cuts plans as a "reckless gamble with people's livelihoods".

Responding to George Osborne's Spending Review, he accused ministers of "throwing people out of work".

Amid noisy scenes in the Commons he declared: "We've seen people cheering the deepest cuts to public spending in living memory. "For some members opposite this is their ideological objective ... this is what they came into politics for."

The shadow chancellor acknowledged the "deficit has to be paid down" but said: "Today's reckless gamble with people's livelihoods runs the risk of stifling the fragile recovery."

He said the last CSR took place in 2007. Was George Osborne arguing for reduced public spending then, he asks. No. Osborne was arguing for more public spending then, Johnson says. And far from calling for regulation of the banks, the Tories were calling for deregulation of the banks. John Redwood had written a report for the party recommending this, he says.

Johnson mocked the Lib Dems for changing their stance on whether cuts would be justified this year. He said Nick Clegg changed his mind between the ballot box closing and the door of the ministerial car opening.

He also pointed out that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland do not support Osborne's stance on the deficit. "Perhaps that's why he calls himself a one-nation Tory," he says.