Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Conservatives' magic pot of money

I came down to London yesterday and found a Conservative leaflet waiting for me when I got to my flat. Having now read through it, I am amazed at the claims they make for paying for their spending commitments. And in some cases I am amazed at the spending commitments which have no explanation as to how they will be financed.

Take for example this so-called policy: "Conservatives will "protect spending on the NHS but cut the salaries of Government ministers and cut the number of MPs."

So, cutting ministerial salaries and the number of MPs will free up the billions needed to protect the NHS budget? Have the Conservatives been guilty of putting the decimal point in the wrong place again? Their proposal at most would save a few million quid. Their spending commitment runs to billions. And just how will cutting the number of MPs save any cash at all in the coming Parliament? A cut to the number of MPs could only come into effect at the election afterwards. It seems the Conservatives either have a magic pot of money that keeps refilling itself with cash from nowhere, or they are treating the British public as if they were stupid.

Here's another interesting spending plan. Anyone going into an NHS hospital would be able to have a room of their own. How many MPs will they have to get rid of to pay for that? The proposal would mean a restructuring of every hospital at the cost of billions of pounds. It would also mean fewer beds as individual rooms take up far more space than beds in wards. So for a vast outlay, under the Conservatives even fewer patients would be treated.

Then of course there is the Tory plan to turn marriage into a tax avoidance scheme. How many billions will that cost?

Let's just hope that all this shallow Tory drivel falls apart under the scrutiny of a general election.
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