On Andrew Marr’s Sunday programme David Cameron discussed the Conservative commitment to establish a new Office of Budget Responsibility. The Tory leader said that the taxpayer-funded Office would regularly produce an independent assessment of progress towards a balanced budget. It would be very politically difficult for a Conservative Government to ignore the Office’s assessments about spending control, he argued. In effect, said David Cameron, the Conservatives are imposing a "straightjacket" on themselves for when they hope to be in office.
Andrew Marr then quizzed David Cameron on the party’s spending plans but asked all the wrong questions. He focused on the period up until 2011 when the real issue is what Conservatives will do beyond then. Mr Cameron did, however, cast doubt on Gordon Brown’s ability to keep spending growth to 2%pa over the rest of the parliament. He argued that the PM’s speech to Labour in Manchester included a number of new spending pledges. There was a danger that Brown would pull the walls of the building down upon himself before he left office. "The scorched earth policy".
Asked about the looming nationalisation of Bradford & Bingley he said that he favoured Bank of England-led reconstruction rather than Labour’s rush-to-nationalisation. He did offer to work with Labour in a bipartisan way to introduce fast reform of deposit protection arrangements. On issue-after-issue (eg education and Trident) he said that the Tories have demonstrated a willingness to work with Labour in the national interest.
David Cameron said that there’ll be no easy and cheap bashing of the market from the Conservatives. Such bashing won’t save a job or help pay a mortgage. But Gordon Brown’s regulatory mechanism has comprehensively failed. Under a Conservative government, banks will be required to be better capitalised and he also noted other Bank of England reforms (as reported by ConHome yesterday).