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Where should the spending cuts axe fall?

10:44 UK time, Monday, 24 May 2010

Chancellor George Osborne has spelled out plans to cut £6.2 bn in spending to start rectifying the UK's finances. Are the cuts too much too soon?

The cuts are the first step in the coalition government's attempt to eliminate the UK's record deficit - likely to total £156bn this year - over the next five years. Budgets for IT, property, advertising and recruitment are expected to be cut and some quangos could be abolished.

But, Labour MP and former chief Treasury secretary, Liam Byrne, said he feared the government was taking a risk on the economy recovery by making the cuts too early.

Ministers admit the cuts will be "painful" and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has said its decisions will be "unpopular and controversial".

Where do you think savings should be made? Should the cuts be delayed to give the economy more time to recover? Do you work in the public sector?


This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Comments

Page 1 of 9

  • Comment number 1.

    Excellent so far, this is what I voted for, New Labour kicked out & a Coservative govrnment moderated by a sensible Liberal party.

  • Comment number 2.

    I am a civil servant and have seen the amount of waste over the past few years, some of the things we have/are spending money on are in my eyes criminal, it's about time somebody shook things up! Of course the knee jerk reaction from the (overpaid) top civil servants is to hit the lower paid by cutting allowances etc., rather than look at the real waste.

  • Comment number 3.

    Quite funny that ministers will have to walk or thumb a ride from now on.

    The Champagne socialists of Labour would never have made those cuts. We all know left wing totalitarians enjoy all the perks and allowing riff-raff to remain jobless, whilst the rest of us suffer the tax burden of their welfare/big government/nanny state.

    Now if only some more savings can be made, with this 'axe' falling smack bang on top of the BBC and cut them up into little pieces and consign the left wing to the dustbin of history.

  • Comment number 4.

    I'd quite like to see public sector pensions aligned with private sector pensions. I fail to understand why I should struggle to make my own pensions contributions and have to bear the whole of the risk in relation to my retirement pot while public sector workers only have to make minimal payments during their career to receive a guaranteed benefit at retirement based on the level of their final earnings. Putting the public sector onto defined contributions would seriously reduce the spending burden.

    Actually and in fairness, what I'd really like is for incentives to be reintroduced in the private sector to put pensions back to defined benefit. But I'm dreaming if I think that's going to happen.

  • Comment number 5.

    New Government same muddled thinking.Usual vested interests being protected? Why are we paying the bankers gambling debts anyway.
    Why don't we simply recover from them "all" expenses incurred from the "bail-out" Then perhaps the tax payer really will get their money back.

  • Comment number 6.

    So instead of raising national insurance by 1%; which would insure that everyone helped the debt problem, the government just want to cut the jobs of low paid public sector workers. How about forcing the banks to give their executive bonuses to reduce the debt? How about reducing executive pay in the public sector? Some of the executives, in public sector quango's, have other jobs in the private sector so they will not be so badly affected, if their quango's close, because they have an income and will be offered other roles from friends and coleagues in government! However the office workers will have no jobs to go to and will have to go on the unemployment list. In Schools/hospitals etc, the librarians, secretaries, laboratory technicians, assistants and cleaners are "public sector" workers and they get very low pay and will now have to work even harder because if people leave they will not get replaced. This will lead to anxiety and depression and increased sick time, which will cause many problems on front line services! This government has no understanding of the real life that real people live!!!!!

  • Comment number 7.

    Cuts need to be made in many places. We should follow the example of the Irish and reduce benefits.

    Child benefit should be abolished [that will stop abuses such as paying child benefit for children who do not even live in the UK] - If not abolished there should only be benefit for the first 1 or at most 2 children.

    There should be a cap on the maximum benefit available to a family [75% of what could be earned if working minimum wage for 40 hrs / week].

    Benefits should be provided electronically [and blocked so cannot be wasted on tobacco products].

    Prescription charges to be rationalied [no exemptions but price per item decreased]

  • Comment number 8.

    3. At 11:36am on 24 May 2010, SystemF wrote:

    Now if only some more savings can be made, with this 'axe' falling smack bang on top of the BBC and cut them up into little pieces and consign the left wing to the dustbin of history.

    -------

    Hooray!

    Then we can all pay for internet news services, be constantly bombarded by adverts and product placement all underpinned by ITV/SKY programming of the lowest common denominator.

    Secrets out System, your either some kind of rabid capitilist who resents the public receiving the excellent value for money represented by the pennies-a-day BBC, when they could be paying far more to a commercial enterprise or your'e Rupert Murdoch in disguise.

    Either way you don't give two hoots about anyone but yourself - but then hasn't that always been the Ideology of the Right?, once all the rhetoric is stripped away its every man for himself and dog-eat-dog.

  • Comment number 9.

    I strongly feel managers in the NHS should have been cut back.I was a nurse and the number of ex-business men walking around with clip boards with NO idea how a hospital should be run is quite staggering.

  • Comment number 10.

    This isn't a cut, its a shave.

    I'm afraid that the coalition is starting to believe it's own propaganda.

    It thinks that cuts and more cuts are all that is needed to revive the economy. They do not think about what happens after the cuts. If we repay all the money we owe just by cutting spending, then when the economy is free from debt, who is going to supply the growth we need to raise our standard of living to what it was? We will have to go back into debt to train people who are now being told we cannot afford to train today!

    The fault line in thatcherism was not that she eliminated non-jobs at £10 per hour, but that she had nothing in there place but jobs at £5 per hour. The tories were thrown out of office in 1997 by all those promised a high standard of living, and all they got was home repossessions, downsizing and low pay.

    When the real cuts begin (the ones that bleed) then the fireworks will start! Until then, this is just froth and spin.

  • Comment number 11.

    "But, Labour MP and former chief Treasury secretary, Liam Byrne, said he feared the government was taking a risk on the economy recovery by making the cuts too early. "

    What a silly little man this Byrne is.
    One minute he's leaving notes saying all the money is gone.
    Next he's saying cuts are a risk to the economy.
    The new govt is having to cut now, precisely because Byrne's crowd blew a favourable position pre-crisis while they were in office, and just carried on borrowing & spending when the crisis hit.
    Where does Byrne think the money is coming from? Maybe he thinks the UK can continue borrowing & spending. A chat with a bond trader will convince him otherwise if he has half a brain.

  • Comment number 12.

    So "soundbite" politics is alive and well within the coalition.

    No evidence of careful targeting of "cuts", of amelioration of the inevitable effects of taking people out of the loop, of how it is intended to protect lower paid public service workers as distinct from ensuring that the higher paid are hit.

    The figures are out but the real process of delivery is not described or even proscribed. So when the demolition is done and the gaping holes left within the system uncovered how are these politicians going to respond? More productivity by public service workers who have been making up staff deficits for the past six years? Farming out contracts to the private sector when history demonstrates a far from happy return from that quarter?

    Unsatisfactory to say the least. Just more of the same from a lame and tame ConDem excuse of a government. Pathetic.

  • Comment number 13.

    4. At 11:38am on 24 May 2010, Scotch_Broth wrote:
    I'd quite like to see public sector pensions aligned with private sector pensions. I fail to understand why I should struggle to make my own pensions contributions and have to bear the whole of the risk in relation to my retirement pot while public sector workers only have to make minimal payments during their career to receive a guaranteed benefit at retirement based on the level of their final earnings. Putting the public sector onto defined contributions would seriously reduce the spending burden.


    ----

    If you feel so hard done by, why don't you go and work in the public sector - or did the very low average wage put you off?

  • Comment number 14.

    So the child catcher is taking money away from babies,the child trust fund,the most people valuable in our society and who can't fight back! Hypocrite and coward comes to mind. Remember these cuts are were a tory plan who only got 36% of the vote which means 64% of us voted against this.

  • Comment number 15.

    So much for the moderating influence of the Liberal Democrats. Rather than address the billions that are lost in tax avoidance every year by the rich, they decide to abolish the child trust fund, which to most people was an irrelevance, but was something that gave the poorest children in the country a start. Rob the poor to line the pockets of the rich. Same Old Tories!!!!!!

  • Comment number 16.

    The BBC is paid by the government to broadcast overseas radio in 32 foreign languages, plus two overseas television channels in Arabic and Persian. We could cut all this for starters.

  • Comment number 17.

    There should not so much cuts but savings. Integrate the Foreign Office with the Home Office,the Office of Work and Pensions with the Ministry of Health and Social Services the IT Systems could be integrated to communicate with relative interests in each State Office the required operations could be tasked from less Buildings and the Ministers and Secretaries and Staff could be reduced and could multitask there be Energy savings and staffing savings and as added efficiency there would be more team work and understanding of divisional problems The Banks should Pay back the the Taxpayers with Interest,they also be reformed into a culture of Business and National and Community Banks where they invest in Job creation and for the National Economic strength

  • Comment number 18.

    The one item that is not on the list that has really disappointed me is Foreign Aid.

    End it all now, after all how many countries chipped in a few quid when our banking system was about to collapse?

    Next step, recover all the money gifted by Bliar and Clown in debt relief - times are hard here now!

  • Comment number 19.

    Seeing as £6 billion represents less than 1% of GDP I can hardly see how this can damage any recovery.

    As fas as I'm concerned, a recovery based on "BORROWED" money is hardly a recovery.

    I'd like to see the Government be bolder, cuts across the board for ALL DEPARTMENTS, pay freezes for the Public Sector, increases in Public Sector Pension contributions, and at a local level I'd be more than happy to pay a few pounds more in Council Tax to protect services as long as its balanced by pay freezes locally.

    Before all you Labour lovers winge at my comments, I'd like to know how long you would have been prepared to allow New Labour carry on BORROWING to fund unsubsustainable services!

    Government finances are like your own, we have to live within our means, always!

  • Comment number 20.

    Not enough, too late. Labour should never have allowed this mess in the first place, they incompetence was truly unbelievable. There is so much watch in the public sector it really begs believe, so the Tories should be cutting back more now.

  • Comment number 21.

    Cut the subsidy for the pope's visit. The pope should pay for this, after all, he claims to have direct contact with the brilliant supernatural that created this beautiful planet. Surely, therefore, god could slip the pope a few bob in these difficult economic times. If his flock have to pitch in too, doesn't this tell you something? Maybe god's coffers are empty too, after paying to clean up the mess after all the earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, oil spills etc he's engineered since he created Earth 4.5 billion years ago.

  • Comment number 22.

    Last month the UK lost £8b. This year we will lose over £100b. How is cutting £6b going to help?

    The only possible cuts are in Defence and foreign aid to countries that don't need it, like India. Slashing imports, and increasing exports.

  • Comment number 23.

    The cuts seem to be common sense. It is hard to see how delaying these cuts could harm recovery.

    But keeping interest rates low is not good as it does nothing to attract investment.

  • Comment number 24.

    Happy so far.

    Whatever, cuts are going to hurt us all. However, this "waste" issue deserves a concerted effort, not by employing hugely priced consultants but simply reviving the old Organisation and Methods practice; work study if you like, applied to all levels of operation. THEN, GIVE THEM SUPPORT! As for consultants, I hear of them being hired but nothing is done with their recommendations... because they hurt. I hear of consultants whose aim is to get their feet in the door then expand their operations to many-times their original contract. Happened locally.

    You need people fighting the waste whose salaries are partially dependent on sensible long-term results. People committed to the task. It's a serious task that has to be done properly or services will suffer indirectly if not directly. None of this political slapstick, thank you.

  • Comment number 25.

    There is a lot of talk about job losses in the public sector. The subject might begin with consulting the staff. Department by department, given a need to save 'x' on staff costs, would the staff wish job losses to go ahead, or would they be willing across the board, instead, to accept a y% cut in wages?

  • Comment number 26.

    I still don't know why we have to have these cuts when we need to invest in manufacturing industries and stop propping up the bankers and the market.

    Of course the BBC is towing the banking line and preparing us all for massive cuts in welfare, health and education. Have you also noticed that BBC journalist/interviewers constantly say that 'we are all agreed that the cuts will have to be implented'. Likewise this board asks where the axe should fall, not whether, suggesting that economics, unlike any other science except climatology, deals with absolute certainties. That sounds suspicious.

  • Comment number 27.

    He's still not done anything about huge public sector index linked pensions, in the private sector we have seen our pensions ruined by Brown but we are still paying with our taxes for public sector pensions that seem to be ring fenced.

  • Comment number 28.

    ___________________________________________________________________________
    2. At 11:21am on 24 May 2010, ELENAKL wrote:
    I am a civil servant and have seen the amount of waste over the past few years, some of the things we have/are spending money on are in my eyes criminal, it's about time somebody shook things up! Of course the knee jerk reaction from the (overpaid) top civil servants is to hit the lower paid by cutting allowances etc., rather than look at the real waste.
    ___________________________________________________________________________

    I totally agree.
    I don't undersatnd why so many people attribute a cut to frontline services to the decisions of government (past and present).
    Most of us realise that there must be a cut in expenditure to ensure that we reduce the deficit. How this is managed is for those government departments/quangos to determine. The big problem is that the higher eschelons of those organisations will look after each other, keep their higher paid management teams together and look to the more junior ranks for any cuts (this is the same with local government and the national health service).
    This is where the blame should come from and those opposition and media spin-doctors should quit fooling the gullible.

  • Comment number 29.

    Personally I'm sick of subsidising other people's children. Child benefit should be only be payable for the first two children and even then be means tested. Maternity pay needs to be looked at as well.

    That would save a small fortune and maybe make certain people reconsider having children as a hobby.

  • Comment number 30.

    All Departments will have to be thoroughly looked at and decide where their priorities lie.
    I'd certainly hope a quick start is made to reduce/cut benefit to those who have no desire to work, though they are perfectly healthy.
    Those who NEED benefits should be given more, at the expense of those milking the system.

  • Comment number 31.

    I'm sure that details about all the waste over the last 13 years will come out. It makes you wonder what sort of people can waste so much of other peoples money and have a clear conscience - oh yeah - conmen.
    They could scrap 2 thirds of the quangos and save about 30 billion a year. They could cut the number of managers in the NHS by half and have thousands more nurses etc. We'd be back in the black in no time.
    As long as the fat cats in whitehall take the brunt of these cuts and not front line services, the country will be alot better off.

  • Comment number 32.

    What we have seen here is a bit of politcal sleight of hand and expert spin.

    The cuts from central Government seem to be only 4bn with the rest coming from devolved or local government.

    The devovled Govt 704m can be deferred - so not really cuts to the public sector this year.

    And the question is where Local Government spending is to be cut, if Schools are protected then the sharpest axe is likely to fall on care services. Either that or we will see sharp rises in Council Tax next April.

  • Comment number 33.

    As far as I can see he hasn't been very specific about any of the cuts at all. I want breakdowns and acurate figures of what services will suffer and how many people will be unemployed as a consequence of these cuts. Until then I'm afraid any discussion is hypothetical.

  • Comment number 34.

    Good so far but more needs to be done on the family side of things less money for them it is there responsability to look after there family and the same with pensioners, As a pensioner myself most are to greedy and get more than they should our pot of gold has gone so we can not keep getting more out if it, Fairnes for all not more for some, everyone is equal and by the way a little bit more for the single working people who are taxed out of exitance. No doubt some will have a canary fit when they read this but as they say the truth hurts.

  • Comment number 35.

    No 6. You are quite obviously totally clueless about the defict built up by Labour. Why mention banker's bonuses, they wouldn't even plug a pin sized hole.
    It was said by Osbourne on the Today programme that a call centre set up by Labour with numerous employees had NEVER received a single phone call.
    These cuts will be a very good start to revitalise the economy and also show the rest of the world that the UK is now worth investing in.
    We need businessess that MAKE things for others to buy, this increases tax intake. The more new businessess there are, the more jobs are created to work for these businesses.

  • Comment number 36.

    How about fining all civil servants who know that money is been wasted year after year?

  • Comment number 37.

    "13. At 12:05pm on 24 May 2010, One wrote:

    If you feel so hard done by, why don't you go and work in the public sector - or did the very low average wage put you off?"


    Public sector wages are on average higher than private nowadays.

  • Comment number 38.

    I'm with #7

    If I go past or into our local post office at 09:00 on a weekday (when on a days holiday from work), the queue of scroungers outside is at least 10 people long.

    They go to the counter and walk away with wedges of cash only to walk into the fag/booze shop next door or the bookmakers.

    Why should they get free money? It simply isn't fair. Either make them work for it doing something menial, or in manufacturing, or reduce payments substantially. I expect many of them are on disability allowance but they seem to make it up the hill to the village without too many problems.

  • Comment number 39.

    The axe should fall on labour - they should be fully prosecuted and jailed for the damamge they have caused this country with thier careless, ignorant spending sprees.

  • Comment number 40.

    Top of the quango list for the axe should be the GTC (General Teaching Council)set up in 1998 by the last Labour administration.
    It's a total waste of space and more importantly public money as teachers are already represented by various union bodies and don't want to be forced to be a member of this sham organisation. It costs £33 per annum (although it increased this year) for membership per teacher - which is paid for by the government. It fulfils no other function than 'jobs for the boys' so scrap it, save the money and its one layer less of big brother to worry about.

  • Comment number 41.

    I was recently made redundant from a public service job after more than 30 years service. I personally had the knowledge and ability to bring in hundreds of thousands of pounds each year to the Government coffers. Far more than my pay and future pension.
    It is time those "employed" by the public sector, many of whom are in quangos, local government and in non-jobs created by Gormless Gordon realise that the rest of the population can't fund you anymore and like me you are going to have to go out into the real world and earn a living.

  • Comment number 42.

    The child trust fund is being scrapped under the new government, what im wondering is, is it being scrapped before or after Samantha Cameron has her baby?

  • Comment number 43.

    8. At 11:56am on 24 May 2010, One wrote:
    3. At 11:36am on 24 May 2010, SystemF wrote:

    Now if only some more savings can be made, with this 'axe' falling smack bang on top of the BBC and cut them up into little pieces and consign the left wing to the dustbin of history.

    -------

    Hooray!

    Then we can all pay for internet news services, be constantly bombarded by adverts and product placement all underpinned by ITV/SKY programming of the lowest common denominator.

    Secrets out System, your either some kind of rabid capitilist who resents the public receiving the excellent value for money represented by the pennies-a-day BBC, when they could be paying far more to a commercial enterprise or your'e Rupert Murdoch in disguise.

    Either way you don't give two hoots about anyone but yourself - but then hasn't that always been the Ideology of the Right?, once all the rhetoric is stripped away its every man for himself and dog-eat-dog.


    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I do think that while System F can be extremist, we should be able to opt out of receivng the BBC and not pay the licence fee. I do not believe that we should be taxed unilateraly for a service some people do not use, i for one mostly watch sky channels.

  • Comment number 44.

    A well know expression springs to mind with the attitude of this new government towards the deficit and current fragile growth:

    "Bull in a china shop"

    I think we're heading for a REAL mess!

  • Comment number 45.

    So once again they, the conservatives, say that high unemployment is a price worth paying to reduce the budget deficit. Let's hope they don't now turn around and blame the unemployed for being lazy scum, as they did before in the 1980's and 1990's, when it's their policies that are choosing to make them unemployed now (as opposed to supporting the economy until it's growth is assured).

    I heard figures this morning talking about 300,000 job cuts - that's 300,000 people not having money to spend in the private sector. That's three hundred thousand more claims for job seekers allowance, housing and council tax benefit.

  • Comment number 46.

    The cuts are looking just fine, none of them affect me. So result! I'm not looking forward to the tax rises though.

  • Comment number 47.

    If Labour hadn't screwed up the economy through their spend, spend, spend mentality then little of this would be necessary. Don't blame the current government for the failings of the last. They'll cut what needs to be cut and we're just going to have to grit our teeth, knuckle down and get on with rebuilding this economy instead of relying on the government to sort our lives out for us.

  • Comment number 48.

    Its only a start. When are we going to see the real thing? I mean real savings like closing the final salary pension scheme for the civil servent and MPs. This alone would save over 700bn.

  • Comment number 49.

    adelaide wrote:
    "...Some of the executives, in public sector quango's, have other jobs in the private sector so they will not be so badly affected, if their quango's close, because they have an income and will be offered other roles from friends and coleagues in government! However the office workers will have no jobs to go to and will have to go on the unemployment list...."

    Too bad. A worthless job is a worthless job.
    Tough times are ahead. Increasingly, taxes will be needed to support the essentials, health education etc.
    Quangos are not essentials, they are a 'nice to have' from the free spending Labour days.
    The 'nice to have' areas disappeared from most of the private sector years ago; the public sector will see the same over the next few years.





  • Comment number 50.

    There should be restrictions / ceilings to the amount people can sue for damages particularly when NHS, Police etc are choosing to pay out so much rather than meet the expense of legal fees to fight the case. I agree where there has been serious breaches, but the whole thing needs to be reviewed with a move away from the ambulance chasing salesmen

  • Comment number 51.

    Re 13.

    When will someone at the BBC kindly point out that average pay in the public sector is now higher than that in the private sector , thanks to Brown's largesse. Will they also explain to some of those who post on HYS that the deficit has not been primarily been caused by bailing out the banks, but by government spending far more than its tax revenues on benefits, schemes, pay increases to public sector workers and the rest.

  • Comment number 52.

    There are lots of savings that can, and should be made. Unfortunately they will lead to job losses, but why should the public sector be protected when the private sector hasn't, particularly as many of the jobs that will go are the nice to have jobs that a country can afford in boom times not a recession.
    Universities for example should be cut. We already have too many people going to university, running up debts which will be a millstone round their necks for the next twenty years, and in a lot of cases will never be repaid. Many students go to university simply because there isn't anything else for them to do. For example my son went to Leeds Met, and now is seriouly considering giving up as the standard of his course is abysmal. Out of 38 who started the course, only 8 remain. He has also finished for the year and it's only mid May. If my son does give up he is lumbered with a debt of £7k. With hindsight he shouldn't have gone, but too many vested interests in him going. The universities want students as they get more funds, and the college where he was at before pushed people towards university as this was one of their targets.
    My wife who is in the NHS also believes there are too many managers on silly salaries. She made me laugh over the weekend when she told me that a lot of the managers suddenly are having Clinical added to their job titles, although they are nothing to do with the clinical side, presumably because the Government has said that clinical jobs will not be cut. I suppose it's worth a try.

  • Comment number 53.

    13. At 12:05pm on 24 May 2010, One wrote:
    If you feel so hard done by, why don't you go and work in the public sector - or did the very low average wage put you off?
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Workers in the public sector are now being paid more than £2,000 extra a year compared with employees in the private sector, after public sector pay continued to race ahead of inflation.
    The average public sector worker was paid £23,660 a year, compared with private sector workers who were paid £21,528 a year, in the three months to the end of November.
    (Source: Daily Telegraph).

    The Public sector is paid more and has far far better pensions. Time for change. We can no longer afford a public sector as large and as bloated as the one we currently have.


  • Comment number 54.

    How pathetic, they've done hardly anything more than the labour party would have done had they remained in office. Yet they got into power by promising drastic cuts.
    All change but no change, different faces same lies.
    There is massive scope for savings within the civil service, much of local government in particular is a blatant waste of taxpayers money, incompentence is the norm where I live, plus thousands of unnecessary quangoes.

  • Comment number 55.

    This coalition is doomed to failure. It amazes me the number of people on this site who think that the cuts are great no doubt supporters of the Conservative Party. These cuts are savage and brutal as befits the Conservatives who are still the same old nasty party that they have always been. Perhaps if they were to cut out their own personal wealth it would be a start. David Cameron does not have a proper mandate as he had to depend on the Liberal Democrats to get into power. He has no mandate in Scotland, no mandate in Wales, no mandate in Northern Ireland and he did not even get a majority in England. That tells you quite a bit really.....

  • Comment number 56.

    One way to raise a lot of money is to charge people for their food in hospitals. If they werent ill they would be paying for their breakfast, lunch and dinner so why shouldnt they pay something towards the cost while in hospital. Obviously, those on specific benefits would receive some kind of dispensation or exemption from this but otherwise I cant see a problem with the idea. I've tried to determine the total number of nights spent in UK hospitals in a year but cannot. However, Help the Aged says that people over 65 spent 6.5m nights in hospital in, I think, 2002. Assume that now the total number is say 20m for all people and that they would have spent on average between £5 and £10 for food each day and there's a huge saving to be made.

  • Comment number 57.

    How about cutting the monstorous piece of "art" planned for the olympics? Actually while at it cancel all spending on pictures/paintings/statues/sculpture/landscaping and any other "nice to have" features at all government buildings or government funded projects?

    A freeze on recruitment is a start, next cut overtime on all government employees except armed forces FRONT LINE and emergancy services FRONT LINE

  • Comment number 58.

    The waste in the public sector is a good starting point.

    And the obscene amount given away in benefits to the workshy millions should be where the next cuts should be. It simply defies belief how many benefits Labour created over the last 13 years to keep people out of work.

  • Comment number 59.

    There are approximately 31 million income tax payers in the UK. £6.2 billion equates to just over £16 per tax payer per month, or £4 a week, or 57p a day.

    I'm sure I can stand to lose 57p of government service today.

  • Comment number 60.

    13. At 12:05pm on 24 May 2010, One wrote:
    4. At 11:38am on 24 May 2010, Scotch_Broth wrote:
    I'd quite like to see public sector pensions aligned with private sector pensions. I fail to understand why I should struggle to make my own pensions contributions and have to bear the whole of the risk in relation to my retirement pot while public sector workers only have to make minimal payments during their career to receive a guaranteed benefit at retirement based on the level of their final earnings. Putting the public sector onto defined contributions would seriously reduce the spending burden.


    ----

    If you feel so hard done by, why don't you go and work in the public sector - or did the very low average wage put you off?

    I am in fact on below the average wage and am in the public sector, final salary pensions were ceased for anyone who joined civil service after 2007. Please get your facts right, before posting drivel about public sector pensions! And BTW they are not gold plated either, certainly not at my grade!

  • Comment number 61.

    Savage the numbers of public sector employees - most Council "workers" for example are paid to float around doing nothing, to keep them off the unemployed register.

    Limit the pay of public sector employees. Excessive earnings to be chopped back down to fit the new scale.

    Slash benefit - issue supermarket tokens (no tobacco or alcohol) instead. Make people do community work for their supermarket tokens, so that the taxpayer is getting something in return for this charity.

    Get rid of all quangos / special interest groups.

    Stop international aid. Why are we all panicking about an "age of austerity" and yet saying International development must be protected at the same time? Shouldnt we get our own house in order first, before splashing out overseas?

    Also - I wonder how quickly we would clear our deficit, if we were not throwing 45-odd million per day down the EU drain.

  • Comment number 62.

    Excellent news. lets hope this is just the start. As a top rate tax payer I'm sick of subsiding bureaucrats to push paper around and hand my money to scroungers.
    Good job osborne!

  • Comment number 63.

    The foreign aid budget should be immediately axed. It is ludicrous for a country drowning in debt to be sending £10 billion per year to pay for another country's space program!!! Let the third world take care of it's own.

  • Comment number 64.

    Well I work for one of the Goverment's IT programs so that's probebly my job gone.

    Still some cuts need to be made on the amount of overpayed managers for the NHS. Less suits more doctors. The same could be said for the police and just about every other service. Then we might see some recovery in those sectors atlest.

  • Comment number 65.

    It does seem that they are targeting the lower income and younger people here. 670m out of education is a big chunk out of an already ailing system, particularly in Wales!

  • Comment number 66.

    4. At 11:38am on 24 May 2010, Scotch_Broth wrote:
    I'd quite like to see public sector pensions aligned with private sector pensions.

    Lets put some clarity into this shall we?

    Public sector workers contribute to their pension directly from their pay just as private sector workers do.

    The average "stay" for a public sector pension contributor is 6 years - usually because they leave for better paid private sector jobs. ^ yrs contributions would hardly make for a lavish pension even with "final salary" conection mainly because the final salry is rarely very high - hence people leave for the private sector. The average pension for a public sector female worker is "600 per annum.

    The money paid in contributions by workers supports the private secotr (including banks and 49 of the top UK companies) to the tune of 7 billion pounds. Scrap the pension and all those shares would need to be liquidated meaning the end of many UK private sector companies.

  • Comment number 67.

    Agree with 10., this is not a cut but a shave.

    Some of the numbers are scary, but they do not represent anything near what needs to be done.

    What I am interested in is whether this coalition has the stomach to tackle real structural issues. The key is 'structural': this means fundamental re-engineering is required, not just piecemeal round the edges rubbish. And so far, I have not seen any great ideas....to do that, need to see:

    - Public sector pay (10% cut across the board; note = a % so better paid take bigger cut....think people miss that on occasion)
    - Examination of PFI's
    - Major reductions in liabilities for the benefits system.
    - Reviewing services provided by the NHS (and to manage associated expectations). This is not just hitting managers (who manages the changes, eh? And as for the problem being managers with clipboards, really? I do not think so...).
    - All Government procurement
    - Structural review at Local Authority Level (look at some of those org charts!)
    - PENSIONS!

    However, balance this against any real benefit about making public sector works redundant. There will be headline savings (nice headlines, Govt taking action, our heroes and so on....). But then deduct:

    - tax paid by public sector workers
    - Redundancy payable to public sector works (huge!)
    - Benefits payable to people who cannot get a job
    - Loss of VAT for people now without purchasing power
    - Loss of private sector income arising from public sector workers buying things....
    - Etc

    What you need, somehow, is the transition of all of that capability over to wealth generation in a managed way....i.e. a deliberate programme...do not just cut at one end, and hope the market picks up the slack....

    I am dreaming, they will chase the headlines and try to stay popular...


  • Comment number 68.

    So far, so good, a positive step in the right direction as we all try to unravel ourselves from Labour lunacy. Auntie beeb asks "Will they work", secretly hoping they won't. Yes, Auntie they will work, and they are just a start. We just HAD to cut spending. So far, much to the horror and chagrin of the BBC, this coalition is broadly on track, and look Auntie! they haven't got us into one single unnecessary and costly war so far!

  • Comment number 69.

    Is it finally possible that they're easing up on how I have to pay for everyone else to have children? Sounds good to me. Pay for your own kids!

    I see this as a start, not a final solution. Once cuts in the waste in the public sector take place hopefully they'll then start making people pay into their own pensions properly. After that some real public/private partnerships (with open quotes and costings placed on a website for all to see so we can monitor what is going on) to correct the idiocy that goes on in IT spending, nationalisation of the communications network so all companies have a fair go at the system, and also a removal of all benefit and tax relief for organised religions. Make them pay like the cults they are.

    Next I'd like to see them change child benefit so it cannot be spent on luxury items like alcohol, tobacco, or used to get cash.

  • Comment number 70.

    Why is there no mention of the DFID (oveaseas aid) cuts.
    I am all for helping the less well off but, and there is always a but.
    If I were thousands of pounds in debt and was borrowing money to give to someone else I would be called irresponsible. So why is it the Government do it and are called prudent.
    Just a few of the countries that benefit:-
    Yemen..£37 million, India (who have more millionaires than Britain £1 billion, Pakistan £665 million, China, YES China £40 million, Oil rich Nigeria £120 million, and of course the EU £4 billion which is being increased to £6 billion next year.
    Don't take my word for it go see for yourself. It's all on the departments web site.

  • Comment number 71.

    A previous contributor stated - "I'd quite like to see public sector pensions aligned with private sector pensions. I fail to understand why I should struggle to make my own pensions contributions and have to bear the whole of the risk in relation to my retirement pot while public sector workers only have to make minimal payments during their career to receive a guaranteed benefit at retirement based on the level of their final earnings. Putting the public sector onto defined contributions would seriously reduce the spending burden".

    I would like to firstly say that public sector workers do contribute a significant amount towards their pensions and, contrary to the belief of some in the UK pay our taxes as well.

    Public sector pensions are good but they only form a part of the overall remuneration package. You will find in a 'like for like' comparison that public sector workers have inferior, often vastly inferior salaries (I probably earn £5-7K a year less than equivalent in private sector). So if public sector pensions are to be made significantly inferior then I expect a significant increase in salary to compensate.

    I would ask every worker in the UK to please not fall for the devisive tactics of big business and try to fight for decent pensions, salaries and benefits for all workers in both the public and private sector.

  • Comment number 72.

    Here we go. The Tories are back, cutting money from those who need it most, rather than those who can afford it. Same old party, just with a new kid pushed to the front. This time next year, there'll be riots again, mark my words.

  • Comment number 73.

    "15. At 12:08pm on 24 May 2010, David wrote:
    So much for the moderating influence of the Liberal Democrats. Rather than address the billions that are lost in tax avoidance every year by the rich, they decide to abolish the child trust fund, which to most people was an irrelevance, but was something that gave the poorest children in the country a start. Rob the poor to line the pockets of the rich. Same Old Tories!!!!!!"

    Same old Labour supporter, expects everyone to be able to do just what they please and the rest of us to pick up the tab.

    Maybe these poeple having kids should have considred the cost before having them.

  • Comment number 74.

    Cutting money to universitys and education will start a new cycle of poverty.... people cant get into higher education they become part of the unemployed and rely on benefits then the same will happen to their kids and the government by trying to cut spending will end up spending all its money on benefits not university and education ....... seems illogical to me

  • Comment number 75.

    "I fail to understand why I should struggle to make my own pensions contributions and have to bear the whole of the risk in relation to my retirement pot while public sector workers only have to make minimal payments during their career to receive a guaranteed benefit at retirement based on the level of their final earnings.
    Scotch_Broth"
    ----------------------------------
    Not entirely sure what you mean by 'minimal payments'. I pay 6.4% of my salary (before tax) into my public service pension and I do not consider that to be 'minimal'. What percentage do you pay into your private sector one?
    I do understand the controversy that surrounds public service pensions but, as has been said many times before, to simply focus on the pension without looking at overall pay and conditions of service is unfair. The vast majority of public servants have no opportunity to earn bonuses and, as a teacher, I cannot earn any overtime no matter how much time I put into the job. Extra curricular activities are unpaid and taking a group of children camping for the weekend, for example, requires about 48 hours of unpaid overtime - often with very little sleep as an added extra!

  • Comment number 76.

    Pareto analysis shows that 80% of spend is for 20% of the work force i.e the top earners. If you cut these I'm sure few would be on the dole and become a drain on resources.
    However as ususl it will be the 80% of low paid workers who will get cut there will be 10 time more of these on the dole so in the long the run the cost would be greater than keeping them in work contributing to the economy.
    Confusious would say No work, no spend, no spend, no shops, no shops, manufacture, no manufacture, no export, no export, no import, no import, no food, no food, no civilisation, no civilisation you die.

  • Comment number 77.

    As a so called civil servant working in the Dept of justice(prison),we have year on year not only had to enjure cuts and make huge savings in what are very tight budjets, we are also continually delivering all the the key performance targets set by our political masters under the threat that if we fail to deliver we will be moved to the the likes of GSL or Serco. So these cuts come as no suprise whats so ever we are a very easy target the public wont get upset at prison officers losing there jobs or or having to put up with being assaulted, the later is now a regular occurance.

    What is glaring is that once the NHS has again being spared any buget cuts what so ever, we all know that there are huge amounts wasted every year in the NHS and iam not talking about pay for the rank and file workers but so called managers etc, how oftern have we read reports of this hospital not perfoming that hospital wasting resorses, well i think its time for the chancellors axe to make its way to the Dept for Health and save the the tax payer some more money.

    There is another area were money is no object and thats the legal aid buget. In my line of work we have Prisoners getting there solicitors to write letters to prison governors to ask about prisoners cell moves, property and even wy there client has not been issued with more clean socks. All of these letters generate a huge income to solicitors, each one of these when answered and the solicitor writes back thanking you for the reply and then the comunication with the client will eventually cost the tax payer in the region of £200 to £300.

    We have to accept that times are going to be tough and that savings have to be made by one and all but lets all make the savings not just the easy targets, the vote losers need to make cuts too.

  • Comment number 78.

    I am pleased with what I have heard. Ministers are cutting their own perks and taking some of the pain. I am glad that the child trust fund has been scrapped it always seemed very unfair of Labour to force singles and childfree couples to pay for other peoples saving schemes via the tax system.

  • Comment number 79.

    It is clear that many people are going to regurgitate the old political biases they have without any idea of what they are talking about.

    I an 50+ and work in Local Government in Scotland. We have been preparing for deep cuts to cover this year and the next 3.

    No matter who won the election, the cuts were inevitable. The only difference was in the timing.

    We have already cut the fat, so now we have to consider cutting services and increasing charges. all of these will be unpopular and may result in protests from the people affected. We may have to take legal action as people have in the past gone to court when facilities are threatened with closure.

    On the staffing side, there is a policy of no compulsory redundancy (at the moment). But there are efficiency exercises and restructuring where post go. There is no recruitment other than for specific jobs that need special skills. There is a risk that those with the most experience or those that are ambitious will leave due to early retirement of lack of opportunity.

    So who is going to run the Councils then?

  • Comment number 80.

    Now if only some more savings can be made, with this 'axe' falling smack bang on top of the BBC and cut them up into little pieces and consign the left wing to the dustbin of history.


    Oh yes, very clever, so you thank broadcasting in the hands of someone like Murdoch will be better. Everything carefully edited and aimed at the lowest level of intellegent life. Just look at fox news and see what you would get.

  • Comment number 81.

    Personally I'm sick of subsidising other people's children. Child benefit should be only be payable for the first two children and even then be means tested. Maternity pay needs to be looked at as well.

    That would save a small fortune and maybe make certain people reconsider having children as a hobby.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Maybe you should move to China and help with the one child policy, should only the wealthy have children because no-one else can afford them like the old days when only the wealthy could afford to send their children to university.

    Grow up and realise it is not all about you!!!

  • Comment number 82.

    As to this not making much difference - they're just warming up!
    This was a signal to their Etonian/Harrovian classmates in the City that they are serious about cuts - to buy time and reduce the cost of existing borrowings.
    It is galling, like the vast majority of the ordinary punters, to be subject to a pay-freeze or worse, while the people who made all the bog-ups (MPs who voted for military invasions and claimed immoral expenses; bankers who flogged instruments while betting they would fail; privatised industries that need more subsidy than ever; etc) while the elite constantly cite "we have to attract the top talent" in order to justify their increased telephone number salaries and bonuses. What? You mean like the talent that got us into this mess???
    It's awfully easy to see the current chaos summarised as - "we, the rulers, need your money to pay for our mistakes - and we cannot be held liable for previous or any future mistakes"
    Anyone remember the bankers' bleats when Darling had the effrontary to tax their bonuses? Bet you my last fiver that won't be repeated in this parliament.

  • Comment number 83.

    So the child catcher,sorry chancellor, is taking money away from babies,the child trust fund,the most valuable people in our society and who can't fight back! Hypocrite and coward comes to mind. Remember these cuts are were a tory plan who only got 36% of the vote which means 64% of us voted against this.

  • Comment number 84.

    Since the mid eighties the so-called executives salaries have risen way beyond any other incomes throughout Britain. In effect, once the unions powers had been curbed, the parasites heading companies had free rein over what they paid themselves. It's still going on at BA, all I've heard in BA's proposed restructuring is pay cuts for everyone but that smarmy guy walsh and the shareholders. So, how about taking a step back to the mid eighties, ascertain what all executive and senior officials salaries where then, apply the average pay percentage award in their relative businesses over the period to now and then cut their salaries to fit. Also, stop all bonuses, any business consists of a vast array of workers that make the business what it is, not just the man at the top. If the ordinary worker doesn't qualify for a bonus, then neither should anyone else. Stop share options unless you pay for them, and bring in line pensions with those of the ordinary worker. Take those actions throughout the country, particularly in the NHS, councils and Whitehall and we'll be out of debt at the end of the year.

  • Comment number 85.

    Comment 14: "Remember these cuts are were a tory plan who only got 36% of the vote which means 64% of us voted against this."

    I bet you didn't apply that calculation when Labour won power three elections running with far less than half the vote?

    And as for the Child Trust Fund being abolished, a significant number of recipients are those in unstable relationships or no relationship at all, so perhaps making it marginally less attractive for teenage girls to get pregnant could actually be a good thing.

  • Comment number 86.

    No-one should be allowed to work for the government in any capacity whatsoever for more than two days a week.
    So instead of 1 employee we could have 2.5 to 3 part time employees.

    This would help to spread government job welfare throughout the population and mitigate our culture of no-incentive-to-better-yourself which has helped to destroy our productivity.

    No government pension either.
    A max pro-rata wage of 20k for these two days a week you do.

    The other 3-4 days a week need to be spent in the private sector, working.
    All our government geniuses need to be unleashed at the global economy. Britain has a huge welfare culture and vast numbers of well educated middle class people are spending their entire lives sucking from the taxpayers teat.

    Education. Law. Medicine. Local Authorities. the list of highly educated zero productivity middle class drones is endless.

    The armed forces and Parliament should be the sole exceptions.

    Upping the tax free level to 10k is a great idea by Clegg.
    We need to encourage people to avoid welfare at the bottom of the employment market and give them that self esteem and self respect which comes from being financially independent.

  • Comment number 87.

    No single word on how will this government boost jobs instead all about sacking more people. This government has got everything all wrong. We have just about started seeing some green shoots as the economy recovers and this government will force a drought. Welcome to a double dip recession boys!! This government also needs to spell out by when it will take the ownership of the state of the economy and stop blaming the previous government. Is it 6 months, 9 months .... Can we have a date please Chancellor!

  • Comment number 88.

    This is what I voted for-I wanted a balanced House of Commons because the problem in the past, in my view, has been that legislation, devised out of the obsessions of the executive has been rammed through the Commons on a three line whip without any proper debate or true representation of the people. At least they will now have the debate if only internally and this will be better than the wheeler dealing and manipulation of the past. However I still think the Elephant in the room is the cost of energy because without a plentiful supply of cheap energy for Industry the economy will not prosper and nothing Politicians promise can be achieved. Note that £6Billion savings will be needed for 26 years to pay back £156Bilion.

  • Comment number 89.

    It sounds as if the priorities of the new government are similar to those of the old government. Cut University education but spend even more on neo imperialism in the Middle east, for example.

    Is it a coincidence that these are also the priorities advocated by the right wing popular press?

  • Comment number 90.

    To Andrew Lye, yes I agree about benefits but the fact remains that there is a hard core of people who are simply unemployable owing to being illiterate both in terms of reading ability and verbal skills. Many come from families who have never worked for the same reason. They haVe no problem breeding but this is about the sum total of their skills.
    To No. 38, I always avoid our PO on a Monday morning for the same reason and it is always the same people who are first in the queue, take money and then buy a handful of scratch cards and a load of unhealthy junk food.

  • Comment number 91.

    Want to save money? Stop giving child benefit to ALL and lower the threshold of child tax credit to £12,000 PA. GIving benefits to those earning £50k is just plain moronic, and was liebours way of bribing voters.
    Stop mass immigration.
    Make prisoners work to self sustain prisons. No work no food.
    Drastically cut benefits, and add a time limit to unemployment payouts
    where there is no illness/disability.

  • Comment number 92.

    38. At 12:21pm on 24 May 2010, cjashton wrote:
    I'm with #7

    If I go past or into our local post office at 09:00 on a weekday (when on a days holiday from work), the queue of scroungers outside is at least 10 people long.

    They go to the counter and walk away with wedges of cash only to walk into the fag/booze shop next door or the bookmakers.

    Why should they get free money? It simply isn't fair. Either make them work for it doing something menial, or in manufacturing, or reduce payments substantially. I expect many of them are on disability allowance but they seem to make it up the hill to the village without too many problems.

    ..........................................................

    This new goverment like all those that have gone before them are not willing to do anything about the scroungers in five years time there will be millions who have lost their jobs and finding it a struggle but the scroungers on £500 a week will still be there breeding the next lot of scroungers to sting the tax-payer

  • Comment number 93.

    Government has been bloated for years and all the cuts put forward by George Osborne today could have been taken long ago by New Labour, which would have reduced our National Debt considerably.

    Given that steps are being taken to reduce waste, step two will be about taxation.We all know that taxes must increase but we don't know which ones will increase and by how much, which is what we will find out in the emergency budget.

    Step three appears to be reviewing spending that will bite into services but I'm wondering how they will do this without putting people on the dole, which will be counter productive as it increases expenditure.

    George Osborne like New Labour seems to be relying on growth in the private sector to reduce unemployment, which is a critical part of getting the economy back on track.However, it's not clear how this will occur and it's also not clear what happens if that growth does not come.

    It will be interesting to see what happens.

  • Comment number 94.

    We need to make cuts to spending - agreed, but how can the government have made a considered assessment of the proposed cuts in the last 10 days?

    To those suggesting cutting benefits:
    1. Where are the jobs that these people are expected to get to pay their bills?
    2. If you cut peoples benefits they will turn to other methods of obtaining money, do we want to encourage a credit economy? I thought not!!
    3. Crime will increase if people feel that they are being disadvantaged.
    4. I notice that the police service has been protected from cuts.

    Education is the way out of poverty and social deprivation, make benefits dependent on acheiving educational goals. This does not mean degrees, etc. but merely set standards of literacy and numeracy.

    Conclusion:
    The cuts are necessary, but the government need to realise the inmplications of making drastic cuts to the benefits system.

  • Comment number 95.

    Don't believe the spin that Mr.Osborne et al "found" these savings in just 1 week. Spending reviews have been undertaken for some time in, and in many cases efficiency initiatives are already being implemented by, many govt depts.

    At a social level I'm very concerned about how the the £6 billion, and the deeper cuts that will be announced in the upcoming budget, might be reflected in job losses (in direct staff, in companies that provide services/products directly to govt depts/orgns, and to the wider econmomy that relies on the spending from the afore-mentioned).

  • Comment number 96.

    I would love to return my child trust fund for my 3 kids but can't seem to do that. I have never even set up accounts for them - it was done on my behalf. We don't pay into it and nor does anyone else in my family. It's a waste of tax payer money administering this program let alone the upfront £250 per child. And since the recession each account has lost money. Perhaps the new government could set something up so if there is anyone like me out there we can return the cash.

  • Comment number 97.

    We all knew this was coming.
    Everyone that voted Tory knew what they were doing.

    It is a sad state of affairs though when the Turncoat Liberal Democrats join the 'cut' bandwagon. Why do we have to have a Tory and Lib Dem at every press briefing. Osbourne is the Chancellor, he's the man I want to see on the screen, not some third rate party that failed to gain any seats.

    Perhaps the Tories need to invest in manufacturing in the UK, the very things the Tories destroyed.

    All that will happen with these cuts, is that the Public Sector will strike against it. Weeks of standoff at what cost to the UK taxpayer?

    I'm all for 'streamlining' the Public Sector, back room staff with far too little to do and too much time to do it in. However, these 'cuts' amount to nothing much.

    Perhaps the targets should have been to abolish all bonuses within the Public Sector. No targets = no bonus. Backroom support should be reduced massively in order to relieve the front line services we all depend upon.

    I agree with a lot here that overseas aid should be stopped until we can manage our own finances. I wonder how much interest we pay on helping other countries that don't need our support (albeit some still do).

    Re-open the mines, start manufacturing our own wind turbines et al. Make people proud - alas - they are politicians - what do they know.

  • Comment number 98.

    Do any of you people barting the bankers......still......have any idea what we do in banks? I don't just leave my comfy civil service or local Government job (paid for with my taxes and with your lovely goldplated pensions thanks very much) at 5pm and go home for the evening. I work from home, weekends, bank holidays, early in the morning. You people have no idea what we do and still you're banging on about a couple of people who make million pound plus bonuses. I earn every single penny of my bonus ten-fold. We year on year are asked to make 10% savings across the board, sometimes more, like all households and companies are doing at the moment, why the hoo-haa how the cushy job brigade are being asked to do the same? And lets not forget who let the Banks regulate themselves...Mr Brown whilst he was being courted nad lobbid by them when Chancellor. 13 years of Laabour madness has all but destroyed this country.

  • Comment number 99.

    A good and essential start in reducing the mountain of debt that is Labour's only legacy.
    I think that this Govt needs to start with a clean sheet of paper, and say that next year's public spending is going to be 20% lower than this year's and then battle out the priorities to try and leave health and education with sufficient funds (this is not to say savings cannot be made in both areas).
    In my view top of the list for the chop has to be public sector pensions, QUANGO's, and then welfare payments.
    We must change attitudes - people think they are owed a living, well time to realise for some people you must earn it.

  • Comment number 100.

    One must also realise that just because the NHS and other departments are 'ring-fenced' re: budgets, it does not mean there will not be a large amounts of redundancies to safe money.

    'At-risk' letters went out in the NHS the week before the general election.

    People in the NHS will suffer as will the level of service given to the public due to these losses hence 'in real-terms' the NHS will suffer from cuts even if the government say no budget cuts will be made.

 

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