Cable maps out Lib Dem cuts15 September 2009
Vince Cable has outlined Liberal Democrat plans to cut public spending, in what is arguably the most detailed package of suggestions on the topic from any of the main parties.
"The time for generalities is over," the Lib Dem Treasury spokesman said, before launching the proposals in a Reform think tank publication.
"Instead, we need serious proposals for cutting public spending and tackling the UK's budget deficit."
The former Shell employee proposes zero overall growth in public sector pay, saving £2.4 billion a year, and a 25 per cent reduction in the pay of staff earning over £100,000. Civil servants would also face a salary freeze.
The retirement age would be raised and employee contributions to public sector pensions increased.
The Eurofighter jet upgrade would be scrapped, saving £5 billion. So would Trident - a longtime Lib Dem policy - and the A400M transport plane.
Education quangos, allegedly costing up to £600 million a year, would also face the scrap, and strategic health authorities would suffer as well.
"We need to debate when, how and where the cuts will come," Mr Cable said.
"Undoubtedly more are required to meet the exacting fiscal disciplines but asking the British public for their vote at the next election means being upfront from the outset about what government should and should not be spending its money on."
The proposals come as the prime minister prepares to face the TUC conference this afternoon.
Cuts are at the heart of the political agenda, with Peter Mandelson trying to contrast Labour's reasoned approach with the potential for savage front-line cuts under the Tories.