Economy 11 June 2010 Tory minister admits: cuts will hit the poorest hardest Local government minister says: “Those in greatest need ultimately bear the burden of paying off the Sign up for our weekly email * Print HTML David Cameron and George Osborne may claim that "we're all in this together", but the truth is that the poorest, as ever, will be hardest hit by the government's "painful" spending cuts. Thankfully, there are still some Tory ministers willing to state the unvarnished truth. Asked by MPs why northern cities were losing millions more than southern areas, Bob Neill, the new local government minister, replied: Those in greatest need ultimately bear the burden of paying off the debt. Neill might want to explain this to our Deputy Prime Minister, who talks so fondly of "progressive austerity" and insists that he will prevent a repeat of the "savage" cuts of the 1980s. This despite the fact that spending actually rose under Thatcher. In almost all periods of fiscal retrenchment, it is those most dependent on the state -- the poor, the young, the elderly, the infirm -- who suffer the most. Clegg's plans to fend off a new north-south divide are already looking hopelessly ambitious. Special subscription offer: Get 12 issues for £12 plus a free copy of Andy Beckett's "When the Lights Went Out". › CommentPlus: pick of the papers George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman. Subscribe from just £1 per issue More Related articles What the debate over troops on the streets is missing The problems with ending encryption to fight terrorism How long will general election campaigning be suspended after the Manchester attack?