Fraser Nelson

The hole in our public finances

The hole in our public finances
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There is a problem hanging over British politics so big and ugly that no party wants to acknowledge it, far less discuss it: how far do we cut state spending?  Cameron's plan to outspend what he'll inherit from Brown is no longer viable. Since those decisions were taken, the UK tax base has collapsed. We can't go on forever bumming money off the Arabs and Chinese. There is a large, rusty bullet which a Conservative government will have to bite.

That's why ConservativeHome's fulsome analysis today is such an important contribution to the debate. It talks about £100bn of cuts, and this is by no means a fantastical scenario. I suspect Cameron will hope the IMF steps in to force these cuts on Brown as they did on Callaghan, thus saving the Tories the problem of being seen as the initiators of the radical cuts which will be necessary if Britain is to claw its way back to solvency.

The task facing a Conservative government will be not so much running the country as trying to save it. That's why the ConHome analysis makes for essential, if horribly bleak, reading.

Written byFraser Nelson

Fraser Nelson is the editor of The Spectator. He is also a columnist with The Daily Telegraph, a member of the advisory board of the Centre for Social Justice and the Centre for Policy Studies.

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