Magazine article Public Finance

'We Need to See Government Books'

Magazine article Public Finance

'We Need to See Government Books'

Article excerpt

The Conservatives will not set out their public spending plans because they 'haven't seen the books', shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Philip Hammond told Public Finance at the CIPFA conference in Manchester.

Hammond was coy about how his party aimed to reduce the government deficit and restore the public finances in his June 25 speech - although he reiterated that 'the brunt of the burden is going to have to be borne by public spending".

He told delegates: 'Anyone with a calculator and a copy of the Budget Red Book can work out the implications of the fiscal crisis themselves.'

But Hammond told PF he could not spell out where the Conservatives would make cutbacks because the party did not have sufficient information about the government's finances. We genuinely haven't seen the books,' he said.

The party is able to discuss potential changes to the machinery of government with senior civil servants, he said. But on fiscal matters, Sve don't get any briefing' and there is 'no access' to Treasury information except that in the public domain. …

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