Sunday, 4 July 2010

Can they be serious? Should we be afraid?

The Sunday Telegraph is reporting that ministers have been ordered to find 40% cuts in their departmental budgets. The £113 billion cuts they already say they want (25% cuts across departments) is already too much for many economists, who say that it will slow down the recovery and maybe even put it into reverse.But now they appear to want even more cuts....

A 25% cut in any single department is savage in itself, and will be achieved only at the expense of great pain. It is unikley that only "inefficiencies" will be cut. Cuts of 25% will mean real cuts to services. In which case, it is hard to think of any public service that can stand a 40% cut without completely destroying its effectiveness.

So are the Tories and Lib Dems serious? Can they really be contemplating 40% cuts to Transport, Education, Local Government and other vital services? Is it a veiled threat to ministers to make them take the 25% figure more seriously? Or a bluff to make the eventual cuts seem almost benign? Could it be that the Tories are really determined to destroy the Welfare State?

Cuts of this size will decimate the public sector, and severely limit its ability to meet the needs of the population. Already libraries and local village halls are under threat as councils make small efficiency savings to meet the current budgets. If cuts of 25 % go through there will be mayhem. If 40% cuts are demanded, it will stretch the bounds of anything that has so far been considered possible.


  1. Of course it will put us into reverse. Looney government pandering to the markets. As if the markets actually were any more than someone's imagination, and a way for a lot of very rich people to get even richer.

    By their very definition, in markets, what goes up must come down and vice versa.

    But if they are going to shut down 40% of their departments I think that the ministers should take a 40% reduction in salary...after all they are hardly doing as much as they were before and as such shouldn't be paid as much.

    Actually, in some cases they should save 100% and just get rid of themselves altogether. They're no bloody use anyway!

  2. I find it interesting that every Tory government (and this is a Tory government in all but name) brings out the mantra "There is no altenative".

    But in this case there is an alternative, and their own Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has given the game away by saying that Labour's planned cuts would have been sufficient to cut the deficit "substantially" by 2015.

    What the so-called Liberals are doing by going along with the cuts is a mystery to me.