LIBERAL Democrat business secretary Vince Cable warned yesterday that his party does not agree with its coalition partner on how to cut the deficit in the next parliament.
In the wake of the Autumn Statement, which saw chancellor George Osborne announce a sweeping overhaul of stamp duty tax, Cable called on the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) to spell out the differences between the two parties so that voters can see where the dividing lines are.
In a letter to OBR chairman Robert Chote, Cable called on the fiscal watchdog to mark out clearly the years in which firm spending commitments have been made, from those where political decisions will change the path of forecasts. In response, Chote advised the business secretary that he has made clear the difference in spending commitments between the Lib Dems and the Tories in a policy document published yesterday.
Both parties have agreed on a pledge to balance the budget by 2017/18 but disagree on how to get there. The Conservatives have made clear they intend to cut the deficit by reducing public spending, while Nick Clegg’s party is committed to increasing taxes. Yesterday, Clegg opted to travel to Cornwall rather than sit through the statement in the Commons. His decision came amid reports of a widening rift between the coalition leaders.