Lib Dem shadow chancellor Matthew Taylor urged the government to maintain existing expenditure levels as a counter measure despite the risk that tax revenues seem likely to fall.
He told delegates at his party’s Bournemouth conference that cuts now would provoke ‘a disaster’, adding: ‘At a time when falling confidence may mean a slump in personal consumption and private investment, this government investment is an essential cushion against recession.
‘Providing the long term growth assumptions are realistic, as they are, not only are the spending plans sustainable, they are the best defence the government has against a slump.’
Taylor warned against demands for cuts from new Tory shadow chancellor Michael Howard, reminding delegates of the attack in which former shadow home secretary Anne Widdecombe described Howard as having ‘something of the night’ about him.
He said cuts now would be ‘the worst possible error’ that chancellor Gordon Brown could make.
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