Owen Smith: Labour 'can't commit' to reversing spending cuts

Owen Smith MP says Labour are being 'realistic'

Related Stories

Labour will not commit to reversing further cuts expected to be announced in the UK government's spending review, Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith says.

However, he says Labour will borrow to invest in large building projects like new roads if it wins power in 2015.

The Welsh government is bracing itself for a "tough deal" from the review.

Conservative AM Byron Davies said he was "fully behind" the chancellor. Plaid Cymru's Bethan Jenkins said the Conservatives and Labour are "similar".

The chancellor is due to outline £11.5bn of savings across Whitehall in his spending review on Wednesday.

Start Quote

Everybody has to make savings... the Welsh government are no different. They have to make savings as well”

End Quote Byron Davies Conservative AM

Speaking on BBC1 Wales' Sunday Politics Wales show, Mr Smith, MP for Pontypridd, said Labour would inherit a £96bn deficit if it won the 2015 general election.

He said that "any prospective government, any opposition... needs to have a realistic and hard-headed view about what we will do to deal with it, and that means that we can't commit right now to reversing the further cuts that we anticipate seeing from George Osborne".

However, he added that Labour "would of course come to government with a radically different set of values and priorities and we would take radically different decisions about how we would reduce the deficit in tune with those values and in tune with our basic understanding of fairness".

He said that if he became Welsh secretary he would not be "rolling over in the way in which the current Welsh secretary is in simply accepting that Wales will have further cuts".

Mr Smith said his party would borrow to invest in projects that could help boost the economy and create growth.

The M4 relief road is expected to be one of the proposals the UK government will back in the spending round.

'Unprecedented deficit'

Conservative transport spokesman Byron Davies AM said he was "fully behind" the chancellor.

He added: "The fact is this coalition government, led by the Conservatives, we had a deficit which was unprecedented since the Second World War and we've cut that deficit by one third already.

"Everybody has to make savings... certain government departments will have to make savings and the Welsh government are no different. They have to make savings as well."

Plaid Cymru's South Wales West AM Ms Jenkins said Labour and the Conservatives were "very similar to each other".

She added: "I think it's totally hypocritical for Owen Smith to come here and say they need to be reasonable and realistic when they offered so much change, when currently they might as well be the Tory party."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

Features & Analysis

  • Dana Lone HillDana Lone Hill

    The Native American names that break Facebook rules

  • Painting from Rothschild collectionDark arts Watch

    The 50-year fight to recover paintings looted by the Nazis

  • Mukesh SinghNo remorse

    Delhi bus rapist says victim shouldn't have fought back

  • Signposts showing the US and UK flagsAn ocean apart

    How British misunderstanding of the US is growing

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • StudentsBull market

    Employers are snapping up students with this desirable degree


  • 3D model of Christ the Redeemer statueClick Watch

    Using drones to 3D map the famous Brazilian landmark Christ the Redeemer

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.