29
Corkers
42
U-turns

  • Flood defence spending ‘faces 27% cut’ – The Observer, 21 Nov 2010
  • David Cameron forced into U-turn on flood defence spending cuts – The Guardian, 30 Nov 2012

In November 2010, it was revealed flood defence spending faced a ’27 per cent cut’.

The Observer reported:

“The department for the environment has said that funding over the next four years would be “just 8% less than our average yearly spend”.

But Lord Smith, the chairman of the Environment Agency, told the Observer that flood defence spending would be “cut in cash terms [by] about 27% and that will happen immediately”.

Smith said: “There will be communities that would – if funding had remained in place as at present – be starting flood defence work in a year or two years’ time that will now be delayed.”

Today, David Cameron u-turned on cuts to flood defences, The Guardian reporting:

The devastating flooding across Britain has forced David Cameron into a partial U-turn on deep cuts in flood defence spending, with the provision of an extra £120m.

The funding will allow 50 delayed schemes to go ahead, ministers said, but hundreds of projects remain without financial support. The Guardian has also learned that cuts are forcing the Environment Agency to stop or reduce the maintenance of some schemes…

The Environment Agency’s chairman, Lord Smith, said: “Recent events have reminded us forcibly of how traumatic the impact of flooding can be on people and businesses. This new funding is therefore extremely welcome.”

As Mary Creagh, Labour’s shadow environment secretary, said:

“This year’s floods have shown how shortsighted the government was to cut investment in flood defences. Even after today’s mini U-turn the government will still be spending less on flood defences next year than in 2008.”

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  • Impacts and Costs and Benefits of the Future Jobs Fund – DWP, 23 Nov 2012
  • DWP Work Programme Statistical Release – DWP, 27 Nov 2012
  • Prime Minister’s Questions – Left Foot Forward, 28 Nov 2012

At, PMQs today, David Cameron claimed:

“Our work experience programme is seeing half of the young people taking part getting into work – that is the same result as the Future Jobs Fund and it cost 20 times less – that is the truth – our programme is good value for taxpayers’ money, is getting people into work.”

However, statistics released yesterday by the DWP showed how badly the Work Programme had failed – with stats released by the DWP on Friday showing how big a success the Future Jobs Fund was. The Work Programme is not, as Cameron claimed today, delivering “the same result” as the Future Jobs Fund.

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  • David Cameron at Prime Minister’s Questions – Hansard, 17 Oct 2012
  • Energy bills row: Cameron clarifies his surprise announcement – The Spectator, 18 Oct 2012

At PMQs yesterday, David Cameron said:

“We have encouraged people to switch, which is one of the best ways to get energy bills down. I can announce… that we will be legislating so that energy companies have to give the lowest tariff to their customers.”

However, he quickly had to backtrack on his announcement, today saying:

“I want to be on the side of hard-pressed, hard-working families who often struggle to pay energy bills. That’s what I said in the House of Commons yesterday. We’re going to use the forthcoming legislation, the energy bill, coming up this year so that we make sure, we ensure that customers get the lowest tariffs. That’s what we’re going to do.”

Which is, as The Spectator points out, different to what he said in the Commons yesterday – yet another u-turn from our gaffe-prone, light on detail prime minister.

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  • David Cameron 2012 Tory Party conference speech – politics.co.uk, 10 Oct 2012
  • Poor families facing a ‘triple whammy’ of benefit, support and service cuts – The Guardian, 13 Dec 2011

In his 2012 Tory Party conference speech, David Cameron said:

“It’s us, the modern compassionate Conservative party, who are the real champions of fighting poverty in Britain today.”

However, looking at child poverty, last December the Child Poverty Action Group warned poor families are facing a “triple whammy” of benefit, support and service cuts. Indeed the Treasury was forced to admit another 100,000 children would be pushed into poverty as a result of the government’s policies, such as freezing the child element of the working tax credit, and research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies forecasts the number of children in poverty would rise by 800,000 by 2020 – despite the government signing up to Labour’s target of ending child poverty by that date.

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  • David Cameron 2012 Tory Party conference speech – politics.co.uk, 10 Oct 2012
  • IMF: Cuts hurt growth more than expected – Left Foot Forward, 9 Oct 2012

In his 2012 Tory Party conference speech, David Cameron said:

“Our deficit reduction plan is not an alternative to a growth plan: it’s the very foundation of our growth plan.”

However, only yesterday, an IMF report found the coalition’s cuts had hurt growth more than expected.

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  • David Cameron 2012 Tory Party conference speech – politics.co.uk, 10 Oct 2012
  • We’ll soon forget the David Cameron ‘veto’ that never was – The Daily Telegraph, 17 Dec 2011

In his 2012 Tory Party conference speech, David Cameron said:

“I said no – Britain comes first – and I vetoed that EU treaty.”

However, this was the veto that never was, the treaty still went ahead; even the Eurosceptic Daily Telegraph said it “may be the most misrepresented event in recent political history”.

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  • David Cameron 2012 Tory Party conference speech – politics.co.uk, 10 Oct 2012
  • Cam shame over NHS waiting lists: 60,000 more patients hit by NHS cuts and shake-ups – Daily Mirror, 20 Aug 2012
  • Monthly NHS Hospital and Community Health Service (HCHS) Workforce Statistics in England – NHS, 25 Sep 2012

In his 2012 Tory Party conference speech, David Cameron said:

“I’ll tell you what is down. Waiting lists – down. Mixed wards – down. The number of managers – down. Bureaucratic targets – down. Hospital infections – down. And what’s up? The number of doctors, the number of dentists, the number of midwives, the number of operations carried out in our NHS.”

However, the number of people stuck on NHS waiting lists has grown by more than 2,000 every month since David Cameron became PM. Furthermore, 5,500 nurses have been cut since the General Election, that’s 220 nurses a month – that would explain why there was no mention of them.

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  • David Cameron 2012 Tory Party conference speech – politics.co.uk, 10 Oct 2012
  • Public Spending Statistics, July 2012, Table 1.9 – HM Treasury, Jul 2012

In his 2012 Tory Party conference speech, David Cameron said:

“We made a big decision to protect the NHS from spending cuts.”

However, the NHS budget has been cut two years running. Official Treasury figures confirm that since 2009/10 NHS spending has fallen from £105,073 million to £104,333 million in real terms.

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  • David Cameron 2012 Tory Party conference speech – politics.co.uk, 10 Oct 2012
  • Con 2012: Cameron’s speech corkers – Left Foot Forward, 10 Oct 2012

In his 2012 Tory Party conference speech, David Cameron began by saying:

“Here was the challenge: To make an insolvent nation solvent again.”

However, the definition of insolvency is “the inability of a debtor to pay their debt” – Britain was not insolvent in 2010.

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  • Commuters face rail fare hikes of at least 6% next year – The Guardian, 24 Jun 2012
  • Rail fares to be capped at lower level, David Cameron announces – The Guardian, 7 Oct 2012

In June, the government confirmed it would reinstate a planned fare rise of 3% above inflation from January – leaving commuters facing fare hikes of 6-11 per cent next year.

The Guardian reported:

Ministers had limited the rise to 1% rate this year to ease the financial strain on commuters but the Department of Transport has now confirmed the return to 3% above inflation, which is currently running at 3%. It means rail fares will increase by 6% on average and up to 11% in the most extreme cases.

The decision to defer the planned higher rates was introduced by the transport secretary Justine Greening in a move calculated to lessen the political impact of fare hikes – the most controversial cost-cutting move by the Department for Transport (DfT) since the coalition began.

Labour claimed the move showed that the coalition is “out of touch” with families struggling with the rising cost of living. The Department for Transport said the long-term ambition was to reduce fares.

However, today, at the start of Tory party conference, David Cameron has indicated a u-turn on rail fares, promising to cap them at 1% above inflation rather than 3%, as The Guardian reports:

David Cameron has promised to cap rail fares at a lower level than planned for two more years as the battle for Britain’s “squeezed middle” heats up.

Kicking off the Conservative party conference in Birmingham, the prime minister said rises in regulated rail fares and London bus and tube tickets would be capped at the RPI rate of inflation plus 1%, rather than the RPI plus 3% formula that had been set out in the 2010 spending review…

The move signifies another u-turn from the coalition government, having indicated in June that fares would rise at 3% above inflation from January. As inflation was running at around 3%, rail fares were due to increase by 6% on average and up to 11% in the most extreme cases. But that was met with almost universal opposition. Even train operators were against it, fearing it would alienate passengers.

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