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Amendment of the Law

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:41 pm on 24th March 2011.

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Photo of Edward Balls Edward Balls Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer 1:41 pm, 24th March 2011

I think the rise in VAT was a mistake, and I think the hon. Gentleman used to agree. I think that spending cuts this year are a mistake, and I think he used to agree with that too. I would halve the deficit over four years, and borrowing would have come in £20 billion lower—[ Interruption. ] I will answer the question. I set out more detailed spending cuts—in schools—than any other Cabinet Minister at that time. We said we would cut £1 billion from policing, and, for example, that we would go ahead with the disability living allowance gateway reforms. However, the scale and pace of the Government’s cuts are too deep and too fast, which is destabilising our economy. We were right to say, “Don’t make the cuts until the recovery is secure.

If you make cuts on this scale before the recovery is secure, what do you end up with? No recovery at all.” That is the situation today.