Thinktank eyes painful spending cuts

By Alex Stevenson

Proposals to slash the deficit through drastic spending cuts have been put forward by the Reform thinktank.

The Conservative party’s manifesto outlined £1 of tax rises for every £4 of reduced public expenditure. Today’s report from Reform went much further, preferring £1 of tax rises for every £8 of spending cuts.

“The priorities of the new parliament are to put the UK on course to eliminate the budget deficit and to improve the performance of the economy so that it returns to real growth,” the report stated.

“This will not be pain free. Yet not acting to reduce the deficit will delay the inevitable and mean that, when reform is finally undertaken, expenditure cuts and tax rises would have to go further and deeper than otherwise.

“The choice is some pain today or greater pain tomorrow.”

On health, the report proposes “lower pay and a lower headcount”. Britain’s schools should be shorn of teaching assistants. Civil servants’ employee pensions contributions should be increased.

It also proposes abolishing the 50p rate of income tax, however, preferring taxation to be “based on economic efficiency” through the reduction of national insurance contributions.