Do Cameron and Osborne disagree on the public finances?
In a Parliamentary debate today George Osborne was pretty clear on the Tory plans for the deficit. He would make a “really significant reduction” in the deficit in the life of one parliament even if that meant causing “pain”. He also rejected the idea of cutting taxes in order to encourage growth when pressed on this issue by another MP. What is strange is that this does not seem entirely in line with the speech Cameron gave on the deficit earlier this week.
The Cameron speech not only fudged the issue of whether the Tories’ first Budget would actually start reducing the deficit or just lay out clear plans but also specifically highlighted the cutting of business taxes as being a key feature of their “Emergency Growth Budget”. Could it be that a disagreement over how tough to be on the deficit inside the Conservative Party is going public?
Maybe it was significant that on rejecting the idea of lowering taxes to encourage growth, Osborne pointedly remarked: “I am a fiscal conservative, as is the leader of my party.”