Fraser Nelson

The Tories’ current plans would leave national debt 60% higher than it is today

The Tories' current plans would leave national debt 60% higher than it is today
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I had a text a while ago saying "you doing Gordon Brown's work for him then?" and that was from someone who had not the seen graphic which the News of the World designed to go with my column today. I know many CoffeeHousers will take it as prima facie case of treason, but I'm afraid my sole loyalty is to The Spectator (1828) Party and these things have to be said.

Cameron's original poster claimed a baby born in Britain is saddled with £17,000 of Brown's debt. Under the plans the Tories are pursuing - ie, raise spending

regardless of the tax base - this figure would be £27,000 by the end of a Tory government. Cameron is right to campaign on Brown's debt, but he can't expect people like me not to point out that his plans would leave national debt at least 60pc higher than it is today (see graph below).

So by the end of a Tory government, about a £200bn of the £960bn national debt would have been run up by a Tory government that refused "to live within its

means" (as George Osborne said yesterday). Does it make it any difference to that baby to know that the Tories saddled him with debt with a heavier heart than Brown would have done?

As I said last week, Cameron had best tread carefully before denouncing Brown's policies if he intends to confine himself to Brown's intellectual parameters. I suspect that the Tories will eventually say "all bets are off" and scrap the "no cuts" pledge. But for now, while they have no intention of reducing debt in their first term, they'd be advised not to give any impression to the contrary.

P.S. I'm off to the Middle East until Thursday, so I won't be blogging as much. And this also means you can be as rude about me as you like in the comments.

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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