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Brown finally utters the C-word [Sep. 15th, 2009|03:49 pm]
Today in Politics
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Gordon Brown finally committed himself to public spending cuts in his speech to the TUC conference in Liverpool this afternoon. True, he sugared the pill by promising the unions a few goodies such as (long planned) legislation to protect agency workers. But he used the C-word seven times, saying: "Labour will cut costs, cut inefficiencies, cut unnecessary programmes and cut lower priority budgets." However, he also promised to protect the vital frontline services on which people depend.
Before the summer break, the PM was reluctant to talk of  "cuts", as it blurred his favourite dividing line of "Labour investment versus Tory cuts." But he has been dragged into a new position by the Chancellor Alistair Darling, with a bit of extra prodding by Lord Mandelson. They hope Brown's new language will enable Labour to take the fight to the Tories on the central issue of public spending.
The Tories, who never believed Brown would promise "cuts," are changing tack, claiming victory on the grounds that they have been calling for cuts for months. The real winner today was Darling. Not bad for someone who the PM tried to oust from the Treasury in June but who didn't blink first.