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Guardian - Jackie Ashley - Beware the coming storm: cuts will break this coalition

The Institute for Government is right on the button, however, when it says the coalition needs a much clearer and tougher sense of priorities. The original agreement was a laundry list from both sides. Now, in the middle of economic woes, with a big funding crisis looming, laundry lists are ridiculous. Get the big things right, and the rest can be ignored. So this week, Cameron and Clegg will be shoulder to shoulder again, talking about new infrastructure spending - rail investment - to try to get the economy moving. It will be more piety than hard numbers, one suspects, but at least it's the right subject.

As the Lib Dem blogger Mark Pack has spotted - and the same signals are coming from Tory ministers - the Treasury wants to bring forward the next spending review from 2014 to next year. He calls this the coming storm, and he's right.

Why? Last week the Office for Budget Responsibility argued that another £17bn of cuts or tax rises are needed by 2017 to get public debt back on a sustainable trajectory. Many of us would argue that this is yet another example of the disastrous mishandling of the economy so far, and the utter failure of the money-printing programme from the Bank of England in getting real loans to real companies. But the Tories will argue that, in effect, things have turned out so badly they've got to be made still worse. And the Lib Dems will eye the consequences with total horror. For all the sound and fury recently about Lords reform, it may well be the economy, in the end, that breaks the coalition.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jul 16th, 2012 at 12:34:39 PM EST

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