Nice they admit they are just trouble-shooters for the financiers though…
David Cameron may be forced to stage a rapid post-election budget to calm the markets and prevent a drop in Britain’s credit rating in the first days of a Tory government, Philip Hammond, the shadow Treasury chief secretary, warns in a Guardian interview today.
Anticipating an era of deep short-term cuts in public spending, Hammond urges voters to give the Conservatives a big majority so a new government can act boldly to cut the public debt, warning that the public finances are in such a state “the worst outcome for Britain would be an unclear political result at the election”.
Hammond, destined to be the man to rein in public spending if the Tories gain power, also concedes he is “likely to become a great figure to pin up on the dartboard, and throw darts at. I am sure there will be short-term pain and brickbats.”
But he argues: “It is absolutely not the case that people in the public services are dreading this, or saying ‘oh my God, what is going to happen?’ ” He claims civil servants are preparing to make cuts without waiting for instructions from on high. “There is a sense of liberation that we are going to empower public sector professionals to undertake the reform.”
Setting out Tory ideas, Hammond discloses there will have to be a budget either soon after a spring election, or in the autumn, so the Conservatives can start to rein in public spending next year.
He warns that Britain’s credit-worthiness could be downgraded, pushing the economy into crisis. Such a move, which has been threatened by the international credit rating agency Standard and Poor’s, would make it much more expensive to pay back the national debt, which this week reached a record £799bn.