Will Tories match Labour's spending plans?

Interesting piece on ConHome saying that the Conservatives might drop their pledge to match Labour's spending plans from 2011. As ConHome says:

"At most there'll be a pledge to match spending for one extra year if the election is called in 2010.  ConservativeHome has campaigned against the renewal of the pledge and the overwhelming majority of Tory members oppose it.

"The decision has been taken for a number of reasons: The deterioration of the economy and the public finances; A need to create room for economy-boosting tax relief; A deep change in the public mood which now does not believe in the value of extra public spending."

Indeed. Public opinion has moved on a long way.  It’s not simply
newspaper headlines screaming that we are over-taxed and ripped-off by
the Government.  The following polling data is just the tip of the


    • A YouGov poll
      for the TPA in August last year, before the credit crunch, found that
      64 per cent thought that “the government spends too much and therefore
      taxes us too much”, with only 4 per cent thinking that “the government
      spends too little and therefore taxes us too little”. 


    • A YouGov poll
      in May this year found that only 2 per cent think they pay too little
      in taxes; 38 per cent think that “taxes should be cut even if it means
      some reduction in government services such as health, education and
      welfare” against 22 per cent who think that “Government services such
      as health education and welfare should be extended, even if it means
      some increase in taxes”; and 61 per cent would oppose a policy which
      required them personally to pay higher taxes in order to increase
      spending on public services such as health education and welfare,
      against 21 per cent who would support it.


  • 81 per cent think
    that at least £10 in every £100 of government spending is wasted, while
    53 per cent think at least £20 in every £100 spent by politicians goes
    down the drain.


This polling evidence suggests that a message along the lines of
“Ordinary families are having to tighten their belts and cut back on
luxuries; government and politicians should do the same” could be very
popular.  Now, in fact, may be the ideal time to carry out a shake-up
of the bloated public sector, and get popular support for doing so.


There are signs this is filtering through to the Tory leadership, perhaps alongside the threat of the Liberal Democrats stealing the tax-cutting mantle. As ConHome says:

"One aide to the Tory leader told ConservativeHome: "An incoming Conservative Government will inherit a desperately weak economy.  Most voters realise that the economic situation is dire and will respect the first political party that levels with them. Restraint in public spending is the most important manifestation of the needed honesty.""

Exactly. This would be a very welcome move from any party. We hope the Conservatives do go ahead and drop their commitment to match Labour's spending plans. It's just what the economy and hard-pressed taxpayers need.

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