The chancellor is set to unveil detailed spending analysis by Treasury officials of the policies Labour has already announced, which Osborne will say run to billions of extra pounds in 2015-16 alone. He is also expected to accuse Labour of lacking fiscal discipline and economic competence, a core message for the Conservative election machine.
Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, Chris Leslie, last night hit back, accusing the Conservatives of making unfunded promises of their own. “Labour has made no unfunded commitments. In fact the Institute for Fiscal Studies said last month that we had the most cautious approach and, unlike the parties, had promised no net giveaways,” he said.
Osborne will be flanked by senior cabinet minsters for the press conference, including William Hague, Sajid Javid, Nicky Morgan and Theresa May. The spending analysis marks the start of the general election campaign period, following the launch of posters by both Labour and the Conservatives.
Last night a Conservative spokesman said the Prime Minister will not be attending the report launch as he is keen to avoid being the sole focus of the election campaign. Instead, David Cameron is expected to use his top ministerial team in the weeks ahead to show off the variety of ministers and MPs in the current government.
“The evidence we will produce shows that Labour have not demonstrated the fiscal discipline or economic competence that earns an opposition the credibility to form a government. The chaos of unfunded spending promises, higher taxes and more borrowing offered by Labour is a risk to economic recovery,” a spokesman added.
The move comes after Cameron hinted yesterday that he would like to hold an EU referendum vote before his 2017 deadline.