For those who take an interest in these things…here’s the link to Alistair Darling’s interview in the Times, and below is the part of the Prime Minister’s speech to the G20 today…
“Now, we have also made clear that over the following years we will invest in the future within a framework of sustainable public finances that we are all committed to achieve.
Because of the loss of tax revenue in all countries and necessary measures to support the economy, gross government debt ratios, as reported by the IMF, which were on average 80 per cent before the crisis began, are expected to rise to nearly 120 per cent in advanced countries. Although in the United Kingdom we start from the position that gross and net UK debts are relatively lower than many G7 and G20 countries, we’ve already made clear that we are committed to halving our fiscal deficit over the next five years, and to achieve this we have already pre-announced specific tax increases including raising the top rate of tax and reducing reliefs for those on highest incomes.
Alistair Darling and I have spoken, too, of hard choices needed in public spending over the coming years, and we won’t flinch from the difficult decisions that are necessary, and we will always act in accordance with our core values of fairness and responsibility, and to take just one example from decisions implemented this week, by finding new efficiency savings in our education budget we have been able to begin and finance a new guarantee to every school-leaver that instead of thousands being unemployed as in the last recession for long times, each of them will have the chance to receive training and work opportunities.
So our tough approach will be based on an approach that emphasises front line services – front line first – to shift resources from where we can achieve greater efficiency, reducing costs where we can, selling assets where we no longer need them and giving priorities to investment that can secure the jobs of the future and deliver improved front line services to the members of our public.”