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Putting the biscuits on a very high shelf

Fraser Nelson gives his verdict on the first of the Tory financial reforms, announced in today's News of the World.

Under the plans, revealed here, there is to be an Office of Budget Responsibility to ensure government doesn’t break certain spending or borrowing limits, as part of a new “Debt Responsibility Mechanism”.

As George Osborne says: “We will call time on Gordon Brown's age of financial irresponsibility and put in place an independent system that will allow a referee, if you like, to show a yellow card to a Chancellor and Prime Minister if they are stepping out of line.”

This sounds to me like the political equivalent of storing biscuits in a cupboard very high up in the kitchen because you can’t trust yourself not to eat them.

If Cameron doesn’t want to borrow above a certain amount, can’t he just pledge not to in his manifesto?

I suppose it’s encouraging that even Cameron doesn’t trust even Tory ministers not to overspend.

I would have much sympathy with him on that point. I’m heading off to Birmingham later this morning, and hope to hear more details about this intriguing policy later.

Read more of Fraser's analysis at The Spectator's Coffee House blog



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