By politics.co.uk staff
An economic adviser to David Cameron has warned that spending cuts could be forced as high as £75 billion.
Michael Forsyth, who served as Scottish secretary under Margaret Thatcher, told a ConservativeIntelligence conference yesterday he believed public expenditure over the course of a parliament would have to be reduced by around £75 billion.
Lord Forsyth of Drumlean's views on managing the public finances remain well-respected in Tory circles. He recently chaired David Cameron's policy commission on tax.
"This is not going to be easy stuff," the Independent newspaper quoted him as saying.
"Taxes should not go up. Part of the problem is that taxes are far too high. The government is taking far too much.
"If we continue like this. we are actually going to destroy our economy. We have to face up to this and make these reductions."
Britain's structural deficit is being financed by dangerously high levels of borrowing, despite historically low levels of overall debt. Lord Forsyth said it would be possible to spend more if the economy recovered but said "at the moment there is a hole of £75 billion".
Chief secretary to the Treasury Liam Byrne responded with glee to Lord Forsyth's comments. He said the £75 billion of cuts referred to went "far beyond our plans".