Vince Cable today suggested the Conservatives were "lying" by promising they could fix the budget deficit without raising taxes.
In a speech at the Liberal Democrats’ party conference , the Business Secretary accused the Tories of being “obsessed” with spending cuts, adding that he did not support their plan to make £25bn worth of further cuts.
Cable delivered a withering put down on the two main parties, claiming the Tories were reinventing themselves as “UKIP without the beer” while Labour were offering “French socialism without the sex.”
However, it was his coalition partners who faced the brunt of the criticism. Cable claimed key public services had already been “cut to the bone” by spending cuts which he argued the Tories see “as a way of destroying public service and the welfare state, which they detest”.
The Tories’ proposal to take another £25 billion or more out of welfare and unprotected Government departments will do great harm to valuable services: to imagine otherwise is fantasy. I will categorically not go along with this.So you might ask what is the alternative? The truth is more taxes will be needed. To contribute to deficit reduction and also to address unacceptable inequalities. Any politician who tells you that the next Government can balance the budget and avoid tax increases is lying to you.
Last week David Cameron pledged to increase the tax-free personal allowance by £2,000 and raise the 40 per cent income tax band to £50,000, should the Tories win at the general election next year. The tax cuts will come at a cost of around £7bn.
Cable also used today's speech as an opportunity to position his party’s immigration policy against his coalition partners, who he also described as being in possession of a “born to rule arrogance”.
Our party has a massive responsibility: to be the voice of sanity, seriousness and sense; standing up to the purveyors of panic, prejudice and pessimism...Now our responsibility as Liberal Democrats is to tell the uncomfortable truth: that the vast majority of migrants coming to the UK from inside or outside the EU have brought tangible benefits to the economy, importing valuable skills and strengthening our civic culture. Of course immigration does have to be controlled at the point of entry and exit. And we must deal with abuse and crack down on benefit tourism.
You can watch the speech in full in the video below: