Clegg in Wales: 'I can't promise you nirvana'

The DPM's words will do little to dampen Welsh anxiety over impending cuts
The DPM's words will do little to dampen Welsh anxiety over impending cuts

By Peter Wozniak

Nick Clegg has used his first visit as deputy prime minister to Wales to call for calm over the impending spending cuts.

The Liberal Democrat leader told the Welsh Assembly to expect difficult times, but not look at the spending review as an ideologically-driven apocalypse.

Of the spending review, Mr Clegg said "people should keep it in perspective".

He continued: "Even after all the decisions that we have to take which are difficult ones, we'll still be spending more money at the end of the period than we are now."

He did however acknowledge that Wales, and Britain as a whole, were in for painful economic times in the short-term, in a sign that he is bracing the government - and his party - for deep unpopularity.

Answering a question at a meeting in Cardiff on the coalition's plans, Mr Clegg added: "I'm not going to promise you nirvana next year. It's going to be tough before it gets better because of the decisions we're going to have to take."

The much-awaited details of the spending review will be announced by George Osborne on October 20th.

Both coalition parties can expect a dramatic drop in support, though both are staking their hopes on a long-term economic recovery by 2015 and the next general election.

Spending cuts are likely to hit Wales especially hard given the disproportionate size of the public sector compared to other parts of the country.

The Welsh Assembly is currently run by a coalition of Labour and Plaid Cymru, both of which have pledged to oppose the impact of cuts on Welsh budgets.


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