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Clegg calls for redirection of wasteful public spending as Brown returns from Summit

November 17, 2008 5:19 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg called upon the Government to redirect public spending towards the things that people really need in a recession, following the Prime Minister's statement on the G20 Summit in the House of Commons.

Describing the Prime Minister as "incapable of differentiating between good public spending and bad public spending", Nick Clegg criticised rumours that the Government will borrow to fund a fiscal stimulus, suggesting instead, that closure of tax loopholes for the very wealthy "could pay for a big permanent tax cut". He called upon the Prime Minister to redirect public spending projects doomed for failure and instead invest in "infrastructure that the country needs."

"The right thing to borrow for is not short-term cash bribes, but long-term capital investment in infrastructure that the country needs in any case. Does he agree that extra borrowing can be justified only to fund green energy, sustainable transport and the homes we need for a sustainable economic recovery.

"Why in the teeth of this recession, does he still want to waste £13 billion of the public's money on an NHS computer system that will not work, £12 billion of it on a surveillance database that no one wants and £5 billion on ID cards that no one needs?

"I know that in the past the Prime Minister has struggled to distinguish between cutting public spending and redirecting it as we want, but will he now accept that my party's plans to redirect wasteful spending to things that people really need in a recession - such as homes, child care, education, training and fairer taxes - is the right thing to do?"

Read Nick Clegg's full response to Gordon Brown's statement here