Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Tories U-Turning Before They Get to Power

Little over a year ago George Osbourne promised that the Conservatives wouldn't make cuts in public expenditure. It was seen as a similar pledge to the one Labour made back in the lead up to 1997 not to increase the level of tax set by the Tories and therefore as a major plank to lure disheartened voters from the other side. Well unlike the political convictions so loved by Gordon Brown or an Iron Lady these Tories are for turning and haven't even had the removal vans turn up to turf Gordon et al out of Downing Street yet, at least Gordon didn't go back on his no more taxes pledge until he started issuing budgets.

Now Osbourne has said he is likely to inherit and "economic mess" well we can all many of us can see that around us. Those of us who can see it know that many of those who are worse off will need help from the public purse. However, he goes on to say that he will not give details until after the Government set public expenditure budgets up to 2014 next summer of what he says will be a "tonal change" over his policy to match that spending until 2011. The Conservative have long made clear that they will aim to share the proceeds of growth, yet as Mr Osbourne is facing a potential shrinkage in the economy it is not clear how as he claims he will free cash to cut taxes and reduce debt.

He's also hinted at scaling back the Tories early eagerness for green taxes, even though he says, "I think green taxes are a very powerful tool in tackling climate change.[But the] case is made much more difficult by Gordon Brown and Labour because they have used them as stealth taxes, by which I mean they don't replace some other tax." So why isn't he going to be able to make a case for them, or was he planning to introduce them stealthily himself instead of being up front about it. Maybe Caroline Lucas is right that Labour and the Tories have borrowed environmental rhetoric merely to dump it when the nay-sayers (most specifically those in the Conservative Party) are claiming it is hard to be green in a credit crunch.

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