I provided a link earlier today to Philip Stephens’ scoop on the Sir Gus O’Donnell memo asking for potential stimulus measures to have on standby if the economy deteriorates.
At this morning’s Downing Street press conference there was a hint that the memo had not gone down very well with senior cabinet ministers:
“Ministers have not asked for any advice on alternative approaches because we are very clear that our approach for the economy is the right one.”
The implication is clear: For Britain’s most senior civil servant to challenge the coalition orthodoxy – that the economy can emerge from the deepest cuts in decades unscathed – was unwelcome. Even as an exercise in contingency planning.
In fact the spokesman could not even confirm whether or not the paper existed. “It’s not normal process for us to go around confirming or otherwise that particular piece of advice, internal papers, exist or don’t exist.“