Peter Hoskin

The coalition’s spending cuts are forcing Labour into a corner

The coalition's spending cuts are forcing Labour into a corner
Text settings

It's becoming a familiar drill: another morning in Westminster accompanied by new spending cuts from the government.  Today, it's the schools budget which is being trimmed to the tune of £1.5 billion, with the cancellation of Labour's plan to rebuild some 700 schools.  But there are also reports of cuts to civil service pay-offs, and even of legislation to make it tougher for the unions to protest those cuts.  After yesterday's news, the Treasury is clearly on a roll.

Of course, the main political reason for all this early activity is that the coalition hopes to get much of it out of the way while the public is still on side.  But I'm sure it's also designed with an eye on the Labour leadership contest.  As Julian Glover points out in a very readable column this morning, the best that Labour can manage from their unofficial stasis is kneejerk anger, designed to appeal to the left.  And the longer that continues, the harder they will find it to enter the proper fiscal debate in future.