In the debates about what the government’s fiscal policy should be, how wise Danny Alexander is and whether or not the Liberal Democrats are sticking to what they previously believed, there are two policies from the party’s general election manifesto which are often forgotten.
(In fact, I’ve not seen anyone quote them though given what I read, hear or watch is only a small fraction of what is said, I’m happy to believe some people have remembered them; any links would though be interesting so please do share.)
Liberal Democrats were committed to big deficit cuts
A Comprehensive Spending Review of all departments would be conducted with the objective of identifying the remaining cuts [on top of those earlier identified] needed to, at a minimum, halve the deﬁcit by 2013–14.
Liberal Democrats were committed to cross-party agreement on deficit figures
We will establish a Council on Financial Stability, involving representatives of all parties, the Governor of the Bank of England, and the Chair of the Financial Services Authority. This group would agree the timeframe and scale of a deﬁcit reduction plan to set the framework (though not the detail) for the Comprehensive Spending Review and seek to promote it externally and domestically. Any such agreement would be without prejudice to parties retaining and advocating distinctive views on a wide range of issues, such as fair taxes and spending priorities.