Coalition attacks Labour’s record ahead of Whitehall budget cuts

THE COALITION yesterday turned its fire on Labour’s economic record ahead of tomorrow’s spending review in a bid to justify the next round of government cuts.

Chancellor George Osborne will tomorrow set out the government’s spending review for 2015-16, detailing which departments will see their budget cut by as much as 10 per cent.

In a well-timed attack, senior Liberal Democrat David Laws yesterday released the first photo of a letter left behind by Labour’s outgoing Treasury secretary Liam Byrne in 2010.

The correspondence, which has been held up as an example of the party’s profligacy, reads: “Dear Chief Secretary. I’m afraid there is no money. Kind regards – and good luck. Liam.”

Laws has described the letter in the past but had previously resisted calls to release it.

Meanwhile, the Conservatives claimed Labour want to return to an age of “more spending, more borrowing and more debt”.

Yesterday the government pre-empted its own spending announcement by unveiling a £200m package to boost its scheme to deal with troublesome families. The programme, which the coalition claims will be able to help an extra 400,000 households, targets “high-risk” families with a history of unemployment, drug abuse and absence from school.

During spending review negotiations ministers privately complained that the extra funding for the Prime Minister-backed initiative was sourced by raiding already over-stretched budgets.