Labour pours another £11bn of poison into the wells
A fortnight ago William Hague compared Labour to a defeated army that poisoned the wells of the country it was retreating from.
The Independent reports the latest stage of Labour's attempt to handcuff any incoming Tory government to its impossible spending plans:
"Despite the looming squeeze on public spending, ministers are trying to push through several massive computer contracts before ballot day, which is widely expected on 6 May. The "break clauses" in some deals may make them very expensive to cancel, locking in the new government."
The Independent reports that last-ditch spending commitments planned by the Government include:
- "approving local supplier contracts for the controversial £12.7bn NHS electronic patient records scheme, the largest computer project in the UK, which the Tories would dismantle;
- signing a £1bn logistics software contract for the Ministry of Defence;
- speeding up a £600m contract to run new personal pension accounts due to start in 2012;
- completing an £800m agreement for communications equipment and services at the Serious Organised Crime Agency;
- starting to print the 30 million forms for the 2011 census, even though the Tories have said they would scale back the £482m project."
The Independent criticises Labour in his leader column:
"With an election looming, although not yet officially called, ministers ought to be pushing through no long-term commercial contracts, and certainly none that an incoming administration would seek to unwind. Labour ministers appear to be exploiting a loophole in our constitution and the Conservatives are justified in being aggrieved."