Adam Boulton of Sky did a fantastic job of pressing Lord Mandelson today on where Labour would cut the budget. Reading out the list of illustrative cuts developed for the FT “deficit buster” online tool, Boulton asks what Labour would be able to avoid.
Mandelson’s answer? “When I last looked, neither the Institute for Fiscal Studies nor the Financial Times were standing in this election.” See Paul Waugh for the heckle of the day. Read more
The FT’s expert election panel will occasionally be giving their thoughts on the big news stories of the campaign. Below is Matthew Taylor’s take on how Labour can – and must- rejuvenate the policy agenda.
Matthew Taylor, former director of policy to Tony Blair:
If Labour trails in a bad third next week, a divided, demoralised and impoverished Party could easily go into a long term decline, becoming a Party whose highest realistic aspiration is to a be a minority partner in a future coalition.
Finally, today it looks like policy is on the agenda. Labour has to keep it there until the debate on Thursday and then hope that Gordon Brown can win on home territory (there are, after all, still many voters who do not warm to Brown but will on probing agree he is the best on experience and on protecting the interests of ordinary families). With a little wind in its sails Labour might yet breach the 30 per cent barrier within sight of being the largest party. This would change the dynamic of the last week. Read more
Here’s a couple of insights from developing our deficit buster tool. They both seem to chime with the Institute for Fiscal Studies report today, which concludes that tax rises will almost certainly be imposed alongside the deepest cuts since Thatcher:
1) The political incentive will be to go faster and deeper Read more
The podcasts, which are hosted by Robert Shrimsley, will be recorded every Monday and Friday for the duration of the campaign – see the full list in the UK election podcast archive. Read more