Whether by design or by chance, (probably the latter), the one issue David Cameron would prefer not to talk about today will have slipped many people’s minds by the time of the evening headlines: Britain’s debt mountain.
But this does not mean that the issue will not revert to the top of the agenda in the coming months.
The issue was eclipsed mainly by the prime minister’s magisterial statement on the Hillsborough disaster, which is set to be the big political story of the day. The report’s revelations about doctored documents and attempts to smear the deceased were read out to a silent Commons straight after prime minister’s questions.
During PMQs itself Ed Miliband sought to nail down Cameron over the big debt issue but the prime minister successfully swerved away from the subject.
The government has two fiscal targets.
1] It intends to get rid of the structural deficit by the end of a five-year period. That has conveniently already slipped from 2015/15 to 2016/17.
2] Debt as a proportion of GDP should have fallen by 2015. Unfortunately for the coalition, this target is not flexible at all.
The PM’s spokesman insisted this morning that the fiscal mandate was still on track.
But Miliband repeatedly warned that the government was going to miss its Read more