Speaking to the at Ilford South Labour General Committee on Thursday night Mike Gapes MP said “In his Budget, the Chancellor Alistair Darling set out Labour’s choices. We will secure the recovery – not put it at risk. We will build a future based on growth and jobs – not leave people to a decade of austerity. We have a clear plan to halve the deficit while protecting frontline services – the Conservatives refuse to match our pledge and continue to conceal their plan. The message from Alistair was clear - we will make these choices in a fair way – standing up for the many, not the few. This is the choice that the country – and Ilford South faces in just a few short weeks time.
In Ilford, like the rest of the country, the recovery is still in its infancy. We believe, as do economists and businesses all over Britain and the world, that the worst possible course to take now would be to slam on the brakes through the cuts this year proposed by the Conservatives. So we will keep helping businesses, families and the unemployed until recovery is secured. I believe that people in Ilford want a government that is on their side and fighting for a fairer future. So we will put economic growth first, to ensure that people have the skills and jobs they need to succeed in the world and their children have the opportunities to get on and get ahead. That is why we continue investing in growth. Once growth is secure, then of course we will cut the borrowing that we needed to make to get Britain through the recession. We have a clear plan that is the most ambitious in the G7. The Budget announced that debt will be £100 billion lower by 2013/14 than forecast at Budget 09. But we will push on to halve the deficit by 2013/14. This means cutting borrowing by £78bn. £19bn of that comes from increased taxes, £38bn comes from cuts to public spending. The rest will come from return to growth in the economy. And while we bring borrowing down, we will protect vital frontline services – in health, education and police numbers.
This means services like Sure Start – there are 14 Sure Starts in Redbridge and 543 in London as a whole. It means the 32904 police officers in London an increase of 6227 on 1997. And it means protecting the fantastic gains we’ve made in the health service. There are now 45486 more NHS staff in London than there were in 1997, and waiting times have fallen dramatically, with just 10431 patients waiting 13 weeks for in-patient treatment, compared to 89954 in 1997.
I believe that people in Ilford want a government which stands up for the many – not the few. That’s why the greatest burden will be carried by those with the broadest shoulders. In our Deficit Reduction Plan 60% of the taxes are paid by the richest 5%. In contrast the Tories are cutting Child Tax Credits and Child Trust Funds for families on modest incomes so they can promise £200,000 for the 3000 richest estates. There are 574000 Child Trust Fund accounts in London region and 7727 in Ilford South.
In contrast. the Tories’ economic policies are dangerous and incoherent. If elected, they would wreck the recovery and preside over a decade of austerity that would damage Britain for the long term. Their plans to cut public spending and tax business investment would wreck the recovery. They refuse to tell anyone what their cuts would be in just a few months time or in the years to come. All they will say is they will cut further and faster. But if they halved the deficit in 3 years instead of 4, for example, they would need to find a further £26 billion – equivalent to over half the schools budget or rise in VAT to 23%.
Incredibly, just weeks away from an election, David Cameron is still refusing to answer even the most basic questions. How much are they planning to cut from spending in 2010/11? They won’t say. How quickly would they halve the deficit? They won’t say. By how much would they reduce the structural deficit? They won’t say.
Unlike Labour, David Cameron can’t answer a single one of these questions and neither can the Tories here in Ilford South. People will rightly conclude they either haven’t got a clue what to do or they’re deliberately concealing their plans from the British people. That’s up to the Tories. In the Budget, we set out our plan. It is time for the Tories to come clean.