Nick Clegg labelled the Budget an ‘obituary’ and a ‘giving-up Budget’.
He said its most shocking failure was its inability to tackle the banking
system. Clegg said the failure to get banks to guarantee their lending was the
‘absolute centrepiece’ of Labour’s financial mismanagement, and expressed
cynicism over the lending objectives for Lloyds and RBS (£90bn in total).
He also argued that high street banking should have been split from
investment banking, to ensure that banks could never return to their old ways.
Clegg added that the Budget’s figures were built on unlikely growth figures
for next year, adhering to the view they would be around 2% rather than
Darling’s 3.25% projection.
Clegg lambasted projected cuts as ‘insubstantial waffle’, which lacked
detail. He said that in contrast the Liberal Democrats had clear plans for £15bn
cuts, which included rejecting plans for ID cards, and making Trident cutbacks.
He also criticised the chancellor’s silence on the issue of affordable
housing, though welcoming the reforms to stamp duty.
However the Conservatives also came under fire, with Clegg saying they
provided barely a ‘fig-leaf’ of detail to back up their claims. He alleged that
the two parties were the same, and that that neither was being straight with the
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