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Description: but warned a Labour minority supported by the SNP would be "deeply unstable

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Osborne denies campaign too negative
« on: April 23, 2015, 01:00:33 PM »



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Osborne denies campaign too negative

Election 2015: George Osborne denies Tory campaign too negative




Osborne and Miliband

Chancellor George Osborne has denied the Conservative election campaign is too negative, telling BBC Radio 4 he is "confident" it is "going well".

He told Today the "vast bulk" of his party's campaign was positive, but warned a Labour minority supported by the SNP would be "deeply unstable".

Meanwhile Labour will claim later the Tories are planning "the biggest cuts anywhere in the developed world".

And the Institute for Fiscal Studies will publish an assessment of pledges.

It will release its analysis of the policies presented by the Conservatives, Labour, the Lib Dems and the SNP.

BBC political correspondent Ben Geoghegan said it was "unlikely to settle what are some of the most contested issues in this election campaign".

In other election news:

The IFS has previously said the differences between Labour and the Conservatives' deficit reduction strategies were "pretty stark".

The Conservatives are planning an overall budget surplus by 2019-20. Labour would deliver a surplus only on the current budget and allow higher spending on investment.

'Promoting the positive'

Ahead of the publication of the IFS assessment, Mr Osborne told Today he "did not accept" the Tory campaign had too negative a focus.

He said: "The vast bulk of our campaign is promoting the positive."

He added: "Today we are setting out more of our plans for working people in different parts of the regions.

"We've got a very positive message about what we can do and of course a track record that proves we can deliver."

His comments came shortly before figures showed government borrowing fell to £7.4bn in March, taking the total for the financial year to £87.3bn.

That is below the £90.2bn borrowing figure estimated in March's Budget by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility.

But he also repeated warnings about SNP influence on a Labour minority government.

Labour leader Ed Miliband has ruled out a formal coalition with the SNP if his party falls short of a majority on 7 May, but the Conservatives say there could be a looser arrangement with Labour relying on SNP support to win Commons votes.

Mr Osborne said: "They would rely on this deeply unstable block in parliament of Scottish nationalists who would negotiate vote-by-vote, budget resolution by budget resolution, forcing higher borrowing, higher taxes, deep political instability."

He said the SNP leadership would be the "stronger force" in such an arrangement and their demands would cause higher interest rates and lead to a cut in incomes.

'Real cost'

The chancellor also used an interview in the Daily Telegraph to cite a Treasury estimate of the SNP's spending plans that said they would trigger an extra £6bn in debt interest payments.

"There's a real cost for families," Mr Osborne told the Telegraph.

"It's equivalent to just over £350 per family."

Labour called the chancellor's comments "ludicrous" and said they were "based on old figures".

Labour highlighted an analysis from the International Monetary Fund, claiming it showed Conservative cuts planned for the next three years would be "bigger than anywhere else among the world's 33 advanced economies".

Mr Miliband will claim spending cuts outlined in last month's Budget would be "double the pace next year than this year".

At an NHS rally in Leeds, he will say: "The Tories are committed to the most extreme spending plans of any political party in generations.

"It is a plan so extreme that far from protecting the NHS they would end up cutting the NHS."


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