Only Labour will protect public services, says Brown

Author: By Andrew Woodcock and Joe Churcher, PA

Speaking on the first day of Labour’s last annual conference before the
election in Brighton, Mr Brown said that there was a “huge difference”
between his approach and that of David Cameron’s Tories, even though he has
now accepted the need for cuts.

While the Tories would start cutting state spending now, Labour would delay
reductions until after the recession has ended, he said. And he said no
other country in the world was following the Conservative strategy of
cutting spending during the downturn.

Mr Brown told BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show: “That is really the political divide.
We are determined to protect frontline services – all the advances we have
made in schools and hospitals and policing.

“I think you will find that on the opposite side, there is a determination to
have blanket public spending cuts which would be bad for the economy and bad
for the public services.”

He added: “There is a huge difference. Let’s be clear, the Conservatives would
have cut £5 billion this year – they wouldn’t have supported the programme
to take us out of recession. We would still be even more deeply in recession
under the Conservatives, unemployment would be higher, deficits would be
higher, debt would be higher, more small businesses would go under.

“As far as the future is concerned, they would cut £30 billion next year. So
you start from a proposition that the Conservatives are cutting now and they
would cut massively next year, even before we are absolutely sure we are out
of recession.

“There is no country in the world doing what the Conservatives are proposing,
because every country has been persuaded by our argument that we have got to
make sure we get investment to get out of recession.

“The difference then is that we protect frontline services, while they cut
them. That’s the simple answer to the question.”

Mr Brown said he would use his conference speech to set out how he would deal
with “the whole future of our economy and the whole future of our society.

“My fight is for the future of Britain, my fight is for an economy that
delivers jobs that are sustained, my fight is for a society where, in an
insecure world, people are far clearer about the responsibilities they owe
to people as well as clear about the rights they have.”

The PM said he expected to see figures “pretty soon” that would show his
economic policy was working to bring the UK out of recession.

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