James Forsyth

Reading between Laws’ lines

Reading between Laws’ lines
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In The Guardian today, David Laws argues for increasing funding for the pupil premium to £5 billion in the next parliament. But, revealingly, rather than talking about achieving this through the Liberal Democrat manifesto, Laws want to secure the increase this side of the next election and so writes about how it relies on persuading George Osborne of the premiums’ worth.

Laws appears to be putting down a marker that increased funding for the premium needs to be part of Osborne’s pre-election spending review which should be in autumn 2014.

If everything goes according to the coalition’s economic plan, the coalition will be able to announce plans to cut taxes and increase spending in the months before the next election. I suspect that, as with the spending review, schools and hospitals will be the big public service winners from this.

On the tax side, the Tories, having spent three elections struggling against Gordon Brown’s ability to set the baseline, will try and use the pre-election spending review and Budget to force Labour to either economically surrender or go into the next election proposing higher direct taxes on the middle classes.