‘Slashing for its own sake’: Cable slams Tory cuts
Vince Cable opened up a new gulf in the coalition government last night, as he warned his party would not support George Osborne's plans for £30 billion more cuts in the next parliament.
The chancellor hopes to put a new "charter for fiscal responsibility" before parliament later this year, spelling out dramatic new cuts to welfare and the public sector in the next parliament.
However, Cable said some of the plans had the "whiff of ideology" about them and would not be backed by the Liberal Democrats.
"Some of the proposals to extend deep spending cuts on departments and welfare far into the next parliament have more than a whiff of ideology: slashing for its own sake," he said last night.
"Undoubtedly some on the Conservative side of the coalition see fiscal consolidation as a cover for an ideologically driven small state agenda."
He suggested that further deep cuts were not necessary when the economy was recovering.
"Indeed, it is one thing to respond to a record deficit after a long period of rising public spending, as we have since 2010.
"It is quite another to continue cutting hard from a position where the debt burden is falling and when spending has been under pressure for half a decade."
He also warned that the government's policies risked fuelling another boom and bust.
"The big question now is whether and how recent growth and optimism can be translated into long-term sustainable, balanced recovery without repeating the mistakes of the past.
"We cannot risk another property-linked boom-bust cycle which has done so much damage before, notably in the financial crash in 2008."
Cable's comments come as the Lib Dems spell out their plans for a new 'raid on the wealthy' in their next manifesto.
Under proposals being drawn up by chief secretary to the treasury Danny Alexander, the party would introduce a new "mansion tax" on multimillion pound properties, and reduce the amount people can save tax-free on their pensions.
Labour previously suggested they would support a mansion tax and the proposals could form the basis of a potential coalition agreement in 2015.