Insights from the UK and beyond
Cameron calls time on cheap beer
Where can you get the cheapest pint in London? In a bar in parliament, according to David Cameron.
Cameron said a pint of Fosters in bars sells for only 2.10 pounds in Westminster, little over half of what you would pay outside the confines of parliament.
But it will be farewell to cheap beer and subdisided salads if Cameron gets into power.
That may go down well with voters but is unlikely to win Cameron many new friends among MPs, officials and, dare I say it, journalists working at Westminster.
Ministers’ salaries will also be cut by five percent and then frozen and the number of MPs cut from 650 to 585 if the Tories get their way.
Cameron himself conceded that the measures he plans are trifling when compared with the size of the government defict of 175 billion pounds. But he reckons it is vital for government to set the tone for the new era of austerity we face.
The whole debate on public spending has an air of phoney war about it. We all know there will be spending cuts — but neither Labour nor the Conservatives are really nailing their colours to the mast.
So are the Conservatives setting the right tone with their planned assault on Westminster’s pay and perks, or is just cheap populism masking the failure to tackle the real issues?