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Fox to urge scrapping of protected spending

Then Defence Secretary Liam Fox pictured in 2011. Credit: Empics

Senior Conservative Liam Fox is expected to bring Tory austerity divisions to the fore today with a direct call for the Chancellor to drop protected spending for schools, aid and the NHS.

The former Defence Secretary's intervention, which comes less than a fortnight before George Osborne's Budget, echoes concerns raised by many of the party's backbenchers over the way funding has been ring-fenced for three Whitehall departments.

According to The Times, Dr Fox will say: "I believe that in leaving money in people's pockets, economic activity will follow. People will buy houses, invest for their future or just go shopping.

"We should gradually move towards the reduction - or even abolition - of the taxes where the state not only taxes the same money on multiple occasions but discourages the very behaviour that would lead to a more responsible society."