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Time to Face Facts over Cuts: Roger Williams MP

2009 Medi 15 3:09 PM

Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for Wales Roger Williams MP has today spoken of the need to cut public expenditure after Lib Dem Shadow Chancellor Vince Cable released a pamphlet containing proposals to reduce the UK's deficit through cutting spending by the Westminster Government.

In the pamphlet he claims that the situation is very probably more serious than the Government's proposals for a fiscal tightening of 6.4% of GDP over eight years suggest. He argues that a fiscal consolidation of 8% of GDP over five years is more realistic, with the emphasis on controlling public spending, not higher taxes.

Nine specific areas of potential savings are identified as a start to a radical programme of reform including public sector pay, IT projects and Health service reform.

Commenting, Roger Williams said:

"All politicians must face up to the fact that we will need to cut spending to reduce the deficit, and they need to start outlining what they would cut, rather than making tokenistic gestures, or avoiding the issue altogether.

"While Brown and Cameron are playing hide and seek over cuts, Vince Cable has outlined a set of serious proposals that would make a major impact on reducing our levels of debt. This is by no means the full list of what needs to be done, and more hard choices will have to be made in the run-up to the general election, but this is an important first step.

"It is extremely disturbing that Wales faces cuts because of Labour's financial mismanagement in Whitehall.

"We know from Holtham that Wales is underfunded by £300 million a year through the Barnett Formula, which is why we must urgently replace Barnett with a needs-based assessment so that Wales is not hit the hardest when the cuts finally come.

"Everyone knows that whoever wins the election will have to make cuts. The choice is between seriously looking at our spending commitments, as the Liberal Democrats are doing, or focusing on soundbites and spin like Labour and the Tories."