These very words will live to see the coalition via Ken Clarke to regret saying Britain’s middle classes do not know what is about to hit them, Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke has warned.
The Conservative minister said Middle England did not appreciate how hard the Government’s spending cuts would affect their lives – but that would change this year once the cutbacks are felt.
Mr Clarke warned that there would be “no quick rebound” and it would be a “long haul” before the economy gets back to normal.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, he said: “One reason we’re going to get some political difficulty is that (while) the public knows we’ve got to do something about it, I don’t think Middle England has quite taken on board the scale of the problem.
“That will emerge as the cuts start coming home this year. We’ve got to get on with it [but] it’s going to be very difficult. If someone says it’s not as bad as all that, I say (they) just don’t realise the calamitous position we’re in.
I don’t think Middle England has quite taken on board the scale of the problem. That will emerge as the cuts start coming home this year.
Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke
“We’re in for a long haul to get back to normality. There are so many uncertainties internationally, and I do not see a quick rebound.”
Mr Clarke was chancellor of the exchequer in the last Conservative government.
Meanwhile, the country’s biggest union will stage a huge rally later to launch a campaign against “catastrophic” cuts and thousands of job losses in youth services.
Unite warned that one in four youth services such as volunteering projects and youth clubs in England faced spending cuts of up to 30%.
Some local authorities, including those in Norfolk, Suffolk, Buckinghamshire and Manchester, were planning to axe youth services altogether after having central government funding slashed, said the union.
Around 1,000 young people, some as young as 12, are expected to join today’s protest in Solihull, West Midlands.