George Osborne should freeze all non-discretionary spending in the next parliament and "share the proceeds of growth" between tax cuts and deficit reduction.
So said the former defence secretary and backbench Tory MP Liam Fox this morning. The former Conservative leadership contender flipped the phrase once used by David Cameron to argue that tax revenue should be split between tax cuts and public spending.
Fox's advice to the chancellor would leave only the defence department and certain forms of obligatory social spending protected from further spending cuts. He labelled the chancellor's final Budget of the parliament "reassuringly uninteresting" and praised Osborne's restraint in not splurging billions of pounds on pre-election gimmicks.
Speaking at the event hosted by the Institute of Economic Affairs and the Taxpayers' Alliance, Fox told the audience the language around the government's economic plan needed to change if it was to find favour with the public.
He said "austerity is virtually a pejorative term"and the "living within your means" was a more affective message. Fox said the Conservatives needed to take measures to stop the same income being taxed several times and "Gordon Brown's economic OCD" when it came to complicating the tax code needed to be rolled back.
Fox was pleased that the personal allowance was not raised too much and the tax base wasn't dramatically narrowed. The Tory MP said he worried about a situation where a majority consistently voted for higher taxes on a minority.