Labour ‘cannot afford to undo coalition spending cuts in next government’

Labour ‘cannot afford to undo coalition spending cuts in next government’

Shadow chief treasury secretary says spending decisions will be toughest faced by incoming Labour government in a generation.

Labour cannot afford to undo the coalition’s cuts in the next government and must expect to be unpopular, one of the party’s most senior finance spokesmen will say on Friday.

Chris Leslie, the shadow chief secretary to the treasury, will say some of the spending decisions “will be the toughest faced by an incoming Labour government for a generation” if Ed Miliband wins the next election.

In a message addressed to his own party as much as potential voters, the MP in charge of reviewing Labour’s spending plans will say he is “not heading into this expecting popularity, quite the opposite”.

“We won’t be able to undo the cuts that have been felt in recent years, and I know that this will be disappointing for many people. A more limited pot of money will have to be spent on a smaller number of priorities. Lower priorities will get less.”

All government departments in the next Labour government will face fundamental questions as never before, he will say.

Leslie’s speech at the Institute of Chartered Accountants is an update on Labour’s “zero-based” spending review, which is a pledge to examine every prospective penny of public spending. He will say Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor, and Jon Cruddas, who is in charge of reviewing policy, entirely agree that ideas for the next government have to be “funded and achievable” in the tight economic circumstances.

He will say that Labour does not disagree with the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats about the scale of the challenge facing the economy, but he will stress Labour’s different ways of confronting the problem and highlight examples of poor coalition decisions.

  • The Guardian, 

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