THE Liberal Democrats would not hike taxes in the event of an economic downturn, party leader Charles Kennedy said today.
Mr Kennedy said the party did not share concerns about an "apocalyptic" black hole in the public finances, but would rein in spending if necessary.
He emphasised that - unlike Labour and the Tories - the Lib Dems' expenditure plans had a "cushion" in the form of a contingency fund.
The party would set aside 10% of its total spending commitments in the next parliament, amounting to £4.7 billion of £47.6 billion by 2009/10.
The fund would come into play if the Liberal Democrats' higher rate tax does not yield the projected £5 billion a year.