Monday, November 29, 1999

Cameron govt to audit Labour govt spending

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Prasun Sonwalkar London, May 16 (PTI) Stating that the previous Labour government had indulged in "crazy" spending decision, Prime Minister David Cameron today announced an audit of accounts during the last year of the Gordon Brown administration. In his first television interview after taking over as Prime Minister of a coalition government, Cameron told the BBC that the audit would be officially launched on Monday by the new Office of Budget Responsibility. He also said there would be a crackdown on top civil service pay and bonuses. He said: "What we have seen so far are just individual examples of very bad procedures and bad behaviour, spending decisions taken in the last year or so of the Labour government that no rational government would have done - giving something like 75 percent of senior civil servants bonuses after everything that''s happened in the current year". He added: "That''s not a fiscal stimulus. It is a crazy thing to do. We are beginning to find individual decisions like that." According to him, the the coalition between his Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats would last, and said the Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, who is now the deputy prime minister, would be part of his "inner circle" and have a say in hiring and firing ministers. On his plans to fix the term of parliament, he said the time had come in Britain to move in this direction. Several MPs have expressed concern over his plan to introduce a fixed-term, five-year parliament, with a 55 percent majority of lawmakers needed to dissolve it. Cameron said: "I''m the first prime minister in British history to give up the right, independently, to go to the Queen and ask for a dissolution at a time of my choosing. This is a big surrender of prime ministerial power. I think it''s a really good thing". He said if you have a fixed-term parliament, "you have to have some form of mechanism of actually making sure it is a fixed-term parliament." PTI PS.

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