Labour split on cuts row

<!--StartFragment--> DIVISIONS at the top of the Labour Party emerged yesterday over whether it would protect health and education from spending cuts after the next general election.<br /><br />The government is under pressure from shadow chancellor George Osborne who called for all politicians to have the &ldquo;honesty&rdquo; to admit there would be public spending cuts as a result of the financial crisis.<br /><br />Osborne added it is &ldquo;ridiculous to pretend there won&rsquo;t be cuts&rdquo; in the future. The Conservative party said &ndash; apart from education, health and overseas aid budgets &ndash; it will cut government spending by 10 per cent between 2011 and 2015.<br /><br />But schools secretary Ed Balls said: &ldquo;If we can get the economy right, as I believe we are doing, I think we can see spending on schools and hospitals rising in real terms after 2011.&rdquo;<br /><br />But this appeared to be contradicted by chief secretary to the Treasury Liam Byrne later.<br /><br />Asked about Balls&rsquo;s remarks, Byrne pointed out there was an &ldquo;if&rdquo; in Balls&rsquo;s sentence, adding: &ldquo;The chancellor will set out the position in the forthcoming Pre-Budget Report.&rdquo;<br /><br />Analysts say Labour&rsquo;s current spending commitments amount to a seven per cent cut in departmental spending between 2011 and 2014. <!--EndFragment-->