He’s right, Brown’s spending is the tightest since 00. But within that round are strange priorities. Money is being forcefed to an NHS that shows itself incapable of digesting it. And after the dreadful PISA study showing English schools are going backwards in literacy and numeracy, I’d also question if it’s wise to keep giving the LEAs so much money to squander.
I’d give more to the Home Office, which needs to build prisons instead of letting hundreds out to offend again on early release. I’d pay the police properly, honouring the arbitration panel like the Tories did in all their 18 years of office. Perhaps most of all, with the public finances getting worse by the month, I’d have cut the spending growth even more so we’d have to borrow less and be less exposed to the credit crunch.
In short, there’s a whole range of different ways to cook this omelette. And I would rather have liked a Tory party to be imaginative enough to say something other than “I’ll have what he’s having.”