Shadow chancellor George Osborne has said a Conservative government will always be "brutally honest" about cuts in public spending.
In a speech to bankers and economists, Mr Osborne said "Many people feel that the arguments for cutting spending are obscured by things like 'facts' and so-called 'knowledge'. I am here to tell you that will not be the case with a Tory government. We will tell you, straight out, you are screwed."
The deficit, expected to be one of the key themes of the general election, is expected to rise to £178bn this year.
"We'll shaft you. Right into the next fiscal planning period"
- Shadow Chancellor George Osborne
He went on to list the planned cuts in central funding: "Schools are things that should finance themselves- mine and David Cameron's did, so we can see considerable savings emerging. Bailouts for banks will stop- they'll have to make money the old fashioned way, by being utter bastards to customers and small businesses. Oh, and care for elderly people is stoppping too. They either shape up or ship out: enough of the lazing about in state-funded nursing homes watching Last of the Summer Wine."
During the speech he criticized Labour, saying they did not have a "credible" plan to deal with the deficit and this risked "sapping" confidence in the economy, a point hotly contested by Labour's Treasury Management Committee chair Frank Milsom.
"Mr Osborne seems to think that money is something that needs to be rationed, and that the government cannot just create more of it if they so choose. Well, I can tell him now that the Prime Minister disagrees entirely with this stance. Even as we speak, he is personally printing off a load of £50 notes for distribution to our hard-working families. Only a government of real strength can take the difficult decisions required to work the printing press, and the Tories have just admitted they just don't know which buttons to press to get the magic money- making machine started"