Labour and the Conservatives yesterday accused each other of confusion, disarray and chaos when it comes to each other’s future plans for spending and cuts.
The Libdems ran out of Thesaurus alternatives before their turn came, but to compensate for this, Nick Clegg said that the Liberal Democrats would guarantee extra funding “come what may” to reduce school class sizes.
In order to clarify Labour’s tax rise and spending cut plans, a group of 40 Labour MPs signed a statement calling for Labour’s upcoming election campaign to pursue a “radical wealth redistribution programme.” Heartened by this, Gordon Brown said he would use the launch of a Green Paper on the future of the Armed Forces to redistribute billions of pounds of extra defence spending towards aircraft carriers and fast jets.
Gordon also promised to put mutualism and co-operatives at the heart of Labour’s election manifesto, up to but not including the entire banking system and all plc companies. He promised to ask Ed Miliband to work with the Co-operative Party, and Mr Miliband is hoping he forgets all about it.
Offering another different emphasis again, Lord Mandelson said stringent cuts were the order of the day, and told the Universities that by asking them to tighten their belts, he was giving them the opportunity to get better and better without turning any students away. He did not say among whom the lost monies would be redistributed.
Even votes are to be redistributed. Reports were rife that the Government will ask MPs to vote next week on changes to the electoral system.
Conservatives attacked the plans as desperate, and the Lib Dems criticised the suggestions for being nowhere near desperate enough.
Nick Clegg told a hastily-summoned press conference that only a level of desperation redistributing every third vote to his Party would be acceptable. The same 40 Labour MPs signed another statement calling for Labour’s upcoming election campaign to eschew a ‘radical vote redistribution programme’.
But the picture on State health provision was much clearer. New figures from the ONS suggested that 500,000 patients are released too early from hospital every year, leading to a rise in emergency re-admissions. And an investigation by the Daily Telegraph found that one out of hours GP was responsible for 650,000 of them.
The GP concerned will be severely censured, and asked to account for the missing 150,000
While admitting that hospital discharge and primary care systems were not working ‘at optimum efficiency’, Andy Burnham announced government initiatives to halve the number of smokers by 2020. Among the many plans under discussion is one to stop people smoking near entrances to buildings.
Yellow lines will be drawn around every building in Britain. If smokers move further away from buildings, they will sometimes have to stand in the road. The AA said it would campaign to protect its members from the harmful effects of pedestrians standing in the road smoking fags. The Health & Safety Executive plans to insist that in-road smokers stick to low-tar brands and learn the Green Cross Code.
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