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Squeeze on industrial intervention and universities

Robert Peston | 09:03 UK time, Monday, 24 May 2010

The two main areas of cuts in the Business Department, to be announced later today, will be universities and industrial intervention.

I am expecting that funding for universities will be cut by around 3%.

BIS

And I also hear that there will be deep reductions in the budgets of the Regional Development Agencies for South East England and Eastern England - which may well be seen as the first step on the road to closure of these two agencies, whose aim is to provide support for business that is not available from the private sector.

In addition, a substantial saving is likely to be forced on the UK Strategic Investment Fund, a £750m fund that was the vehicle for French-style industrial intervention by the previous business secretary, Peter Mandelson.

The gross cut in spending at the Business Department will be £900m. But it will also receive £200m of new funding to support apprenticeships, so the net saving will £700 - or just over 3% of its £22bn annual budget.

One area regarded as strategically important for the UK's long term economic prospects, support for science, will be largely protected.

And there will also be protection of funding for further education and adult learning.

In other words, the new business secretary, Vince Cable, will be able to argue that the government is doing what it can to provide relevant vocational skills to those most vulnerable to becoming semi-permanently unemployed at this time of weakness in the British economy.

Also, the Regional Development Agencies in regions where the private sector is smaller and weaker than in the South - notably the North West, North East, Yorkshire and the West Midlands - will not be forced to make the kind of savings being forced on the South East and Eastern RDAs.

As for the squeeze on the UK Strategic Investment Fund, support for green technologies, such as tidal power, will be sustained.

Even so, most university vice chancellors already complain that they have inadequate funding, and will argue that the long-term competitiveness of the British economy will be put at risk by the 3% squeeze - especially since they'll fear that they'll be forced to take even bigger cuts later in the year.

Also, there will be squeals of anguish from those companies deprived of funding by the cuts in industrial intervention.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Shame to see development agencies go really - but they've been awful value for money.

  • Comment number 2.

    Even £20bn cuts are only 3%

    Most normal households have made these sort of adjustments, so why the panic over the Government doing the same with OUR MONEY

    Quite absurd

  • Comment number 3.

    Even so, most university vice chancellors already complain that they have inadequate funding, and will argue that the long-term competitiveness of the British economy will be put at risk by the 3% squeeze - especially since they'll fear that they'll be forced to take even bigger cuts later in the year.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Well cut the bogus and money wasting courses...
    Get more English students into English Universities ...
    Ensure that debts regarding University fees are repaid ...
    Ensure that foreign students pay more for the privilege of displacing an English or British student from and English/British University

    The English/British stand in ques becuase we have manners and discipline - we don't like to see foreigners jumping the education ques unless they are going to private education and paying for it themselves.

    Time for some of these Vice Chancellors to be sacked and replaced with those who understand fairness without having to produce a PhD to justify their position.

    If they can't find 3% - sack them all! Have a good clear out!

  • Comment number 4.

    This is scratching the surface. I would have started by scrapping the entire business department at £22B. We are £168B in the hole this year alone. Businesses know that if they want to get ahead they just need to meet Prince Andrew.

  • Comment number 5.

    I wonder if the government realises that nurses are now trained in universities and that cuts to universities have already had an impact on the number of nurses being trained. Without new nurses it will be impossible to meet the promise of protecting front line services - even if we poach all the (adequately ) trained nurses from abroad.

  • Comment number 6.

    University Cuts of just 3%!!!!!

    Radical thinking is needed.

    Try these thoughts for size: In these brutal economic times the country needs universities to train or prepare graduates for the kinds of careers that will contribute directly to the country;'s well-being.

    1. All students to pay the cost of tuition except for courses in the pure sciences, mathematics, foreign languages and mainstream engineering where these courses shall be free. (All 'ologies' to be charged at double fees.)

    2. Unless students can show they already have the firm offer of a job after they leave and graduate they cannot start any courses not covered as free above.

    3. All former polytechnics cease to be called universities and revert to their former status with a renewed commitment to vocational training (the same rules to fees apply as to universities.)

    4. All teaching to be done in small groups, with tutorials of no more than 4 students, lectures of no more than 150.

    5. Tenure in academic posts to be as the result of continuing teaching success.

    6. The Chief Exec/Vice Chancellor not to be paid more than 12 times the least well paid member of staff.

    If we want radical shouldn't we understand the brutal nature of what we will get!

    Is this what we really want?

    Can we actually afford more?

  • Comment number 7.

    The comments about Prince Andrew are a bit below the belt

    He does a good job for the UK

  • Comment number 8.

    3% cut? Worthy of your time to comment. Don't think so. Why not 30%

  • Comment number 9.

    I have two acquaintances in their mid twenties; one's a psychology graduate, the other has an engineering degree. Both are full time employees at McDonalds.

    Doesn't this indicate an imbalance in the market for universities? Perhaps if their were fewer University vice chancellors - fewer universities - we'd actually be producing the number of graduates pursuant to our economy. But then again, students don't inflate unemployment statistics - ahh, I get it now!

  • Comment number 10.

    3% cut on universities? Fairly predictable - a bunch of public school boys who all went to oxford obviously don't care if other people should have the same chance.

    Those young people with no university place can just go on the dole numbers instead. That will be much better.

    On the other hand 3% is not a big deal. Most universities were expecting this from lord snooty and co. They are just shifting the focus to overseas recruitment. Basically exporting the knowledge and skills that could have made the disunited kingdom competitive. When China starts researching/designing/developing/marketing it's own cars, aircraft etc from start to finish (not just manufacturing western designs) you will know how they got the skills.

    Not my idea of a good long term plan, but if the public schools boys want to go down that route, so be it.

  • Comment number 11.

    It would be nice to see a re-balancing of university funding at the same time as cuts are made in the overall level. The last government was far too wedded to increasing undergraduate numbers at the expense of quality. Funds should be cut from third rate universities offering courses whose graduates will mostly populate cold calling centres, burger kitchens and the like, and increases given to science and engineering departments, particularly in the more prestigious universities. The standard of its top universities is something in which the UK is still a world class competitor, and I believe it is vital to keep it that way, rather than indulging in the benign neglect practised in the past.

  • Comment number 12.

    Regional Development Agencies --- get rid of all of them!

    There is however a need to ensure that good idea from entrepreneurs are helped through to funding system. It is a very lonely activity trying to raise funding in the City for start-ups. Entrepreneurs are is a very very weak negotiating position and the banks and other institutions are almost completely unwilling to share any risk - this has to stop and the situation has got worse and worse over the last 30 years as the sources of funding have got more and more power.

    The great mistake is to believe that private equity companies are interested in early state development they are not. They are interested not in venture capital in any true sense but in exploiting the weakness of the owners of intellectual or business property for their own huge advantage. They contribute nothing, generally, and take everything - leaving noting except penury for the inventor of the better mousetrap. They are the most bloodthirsty and vicious part of the capitalist system. They prey on the weakest and the most vulnerable.

    The business department needs to redress this balance and this is about the only real role for government in business, but they must avoid picking winners - just stamp down on the abuse of entrepreneurs by vulture capitalists - but not so hard that they go away entirely! Perhaps the government owned banks could have a role here?

  • Comment number 13.

    I'm a contract researcher working in a university earning £26,000 who will be made redundant in October as a result of these cuts. So it looks like I will have to pay for greedy piggy bankers with my livelihood and loss of self esteem. Don't worry though, I won't lose my house because, at 38, I've never earned enough money to buy one and my (working class - yes - the term is still relevant) parents don't have any money to give me for a deposit.

    The whole thing is vile. Just disgusting.

  • Comment number 14.

    ALL RDAs should be abolished now; they are classic examples of "biging-up" very little. They're good at ticking boxes and producing worthless reports and, of course, pontification. Elected local authorities could easily do better but if they can't we can replace them.

  • Comment number 15.

    @3

    You're comments about foreign students seem misinformed. It's harder then ever to get a student visa and foreign students do pay many times what British students pay in fees. Which is as it should be since the taxpayer should only be subsidising British students.

    But those students pay their way so please let’s not jump on that bandwagon, it distracts from the real issues.


  • Comment number 16.

    It would appear that some posters above are not familiar with the fees paid by students attending UK Universities. UK and EU students all pay the same fees (just as our students do should they wish to study in Europe).

    Overseas students, e.g. China, India etc. all pay considerably higher fees (£14k+). The reason there are so many overseas students at UK universities is they are very profitable and effectively subsidise the UK students education.

    Debt collection by the Universities is generally very effective - you don't get your degree until you pay up.

    3% cut is not impossible to achieve - efficiencies can be found, income sources can be widened to compensate (Research, Overseas students, consultancy, short courses etc.) BUT to allow effective planning Universities need to know the size and nature of cuts they can expect for the next few years.

  • Comment number 17.

    "The two main areas of cuts in the Business Department, to be announced later today, will be universities and industrial intervention."

    Well off course they are - I mean our 'clever' leaders wouldn't want the population to educate themselves for they might realise how incredibly stupid and 'surplus to requirements' politicians are.

    "WE SUPPORT THE CABIN CREW - WE SUPPORT THE CABIN CREW"

    Still rinning in my ears - did you see Tony Woodley's face? - He looked rather cross don't you think?

    The politicans can announce all the cuts they want - and guess what folks, the market will react positively the harsher the announced cuts - but they will fall again once the unions reveal their actions to combat this robbery of taxpayer money by the banks - just as they did in Greece and Spain.

    The majority of Britain's may be prepared to sit back and be ruled by a corporatised fascist state - but there are enough of us (resistance) who will ensure this does not happen.

    Without labour - there is no profit - without profit there is no Capitalism - without Capitalism there is only freedom.

    Fortunately the 'Tory dominated Liberal coallition' is following a neo-liberal policy slighty towards the right, which differs from the slightly left Neo-liberal policy of the Labour party (or the one the Liberals had before they sold it for power)

    This means the end will come quicker - which is probably a good thing. Better to go into battle with the known enemy who represents the Bourgoisie, than have to delay the inevitable by thinking you're going in with the Labour party working class traitors.

    The actions of the pinnacle of the bourgoisie this weekend - following greed and corruption of a certain royal - should merely emphasise how this 'class' view the rest of us.
    As the bourgoiseie leapt to defend the actions of one of theirs with claims of "she looked stress", and mentioning of her charity work as an excuse for accepting more than a lifetimes wages for many of us - as a bribe for business.

    See the difference between them and us - no ordinary man would defend those actions - who would have the audacity to turn up to an 'self awarding' ceremony to collect your 'prize' following your outrageous greed?

    Bankers, Royals, Members of Parliament - don't you see how they are all cut from the same cloth?

    Thieves - every last one of them.

  • Comment number 18.

    To think that overseas students "are taking the place" from British students is quite misplaced; overseas students indeed pay tuition fees which are well above their share of the expenses to run the courses.

  • Comment number 19.

    nautonier wrote: The English/British stand in ques becuase we have manners and discipline - we don't like to see foreigners jumping the education ques unless they are going to private education and paying for it themselves.
    ***********************************************
    Obviously you don't know the importance of overseas students to the UK universities. Without these foreigners, half universities would have closed now.

    At the present, universities make loss for recruiting each home student because of insufficient funding from the government. It is only these overseas students (with their £10+ fees) who make universities survive till now.

  • Comment number 20.

    @KevinB: Let's just hope it's not one of your family that is surplus to requirements when they cut 300,000 jobs.

    @nautonier: Foreign students already pay more than British students. What's a "que"?

  • Comment number 21.

    What a disgrace, if this country cannot provide free quality education to everyone whilst at the same time finding resources to bail out banksters.

    Let the dumbing down of the peasants start NOW.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again - this country never progressed socially further than feudalism!

  • Comment number 22.

    #6 JfH

    what is an 'ology'?

    Hydr'ology' - an engineering discipline managing water resources - rather important in an biosystem entirely dependent on the supply of water for survival.
    Ge'ology' - an applied science heavily used in such minor industries as petroleum and mining, and providing specialists to construction companies.

    Both very scientific and lots of engineering involved

    Don't use generic terms to cover all your biases

  • Comment number 23.

    On the University front we should do a few things, high on the list is to cut the chancellors wage bills, they are ridiculously high, secondly we should be charging a higher fee for international students, and third, we should measure the real term value to the economy of each subject and charge a higher fee for the lowest value subject....i.e. like Media Studies and Sports Science!!!!

  • Comment number 24.

    Isn't it time that the government and society in general is honest with young people and imparts the following advice:

    Not everyone will gain a successful high powered career.

    The problem with society is that people think it is their god given right to university and a good job without putting in any effort. Make all university courses tailored towards jobs and business. Stop fluffy degrees and get real that some of us have to work at McDonalds and manual work and can have quite a nice life thank you very much. Young people are unfairly and inaccurately given the impression there are unlimited high powered jobs out there which sets them up for a feeling of failure and depression. Time to take the rose tinted glasses off our lives. Be happy with your lot or work a whole lot harder to achieve what you want.

  • Comment number 25.

    @#5 MisterA

    Nurses do get trained in Universities, but the funding comes from the NHS so cuts to universities will not affect nurse training.

    Personally, I think 3% cut from Universities will be a good thing. Again, due to overwhelming paperwork and PR, these institutions are bloated with administrators and non productive staff, oh and vastly overpaid chancellors etc, that don't actually do anything except glad hand and 'ambassador' to other institutions.

    As with the NHS, cut out the waste and all the 'jobs for jobs sake' and the saving will be huge.

  • Comment number 26.

    7. At 09:42am on 24 May 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    "The comments about Prince Andrew are a bit below the belt

    He does a good job for the UK"

    Oh a royalist too? - well can you justify what Prince Andrew does? - or can you not see through the tears in your eyes as you instantly well up at first sight of the man.

    You may think Prince Andrew 'does a lot for business' - I say business would, did and will carry on without him - it doesn't need an expensive royal flying around the world talking to rich men about money.

    It's people like KevinB who keep this system goiong. Their devotion to the idea that "some are just better then other" is why the Bourgoisie still exist.

    He comes on here and complains about Gordon Browns spending, but not a word about the mammouth cost of the royal family (and don't make statements about 'bringing tourists into the country' unless you can back them up with facts) - no, we only like to complain about Gordon's spending on Hospitals, Schools and other socially useful things.

    Don't forget whilst you are all cheering the cutting of civil servants first class travel (to which I have no objections) - that we pay for the Royals and all their entourage to travel first class every time!

    ...and in some cases we pay for an entire private jet for them to use - so they don't have to sit with the riff-raff (that's you and me folks)

    It's time the country split into those who have a idolisation of the rich fantasy and those who don't.

    So much for 'some animals are more equal than others' - at least in Orwell's book it was forced upon them - in today's society the sychophants are simply lining up to get a whiff of the masters tailcoat as he passes by.

    Slaves - each and every one of them.

  • Comment number 27.

    nautonier wrote:

    "Well cut the bogus and money wasting courses...
    Get more English students into English Universities ...
    Ensure that debts regarding University fees are repaid ...
    Ensure that foreign students pay more for the privilege of displacing an English or British student from and English/British University

    The English/British stand in ques becuase we have manners and discipline - we don't like to see foreigners jumping the education ques unless they are going to private education and paying for it themselves.

    Time for some of these Vice Chancellors to be sacked and replaced with those who understand fairness without having to produce a PhD to justify their position.

    If they can't find 3% - sack them all! Have a good clear out!"

    You are obviously ignorant to the economics of Universities. First of all foreign students are paying much MUCH more already. Secondly this has the opposite effect than the one you want; it forces Universities (especially in the light of cuts) to take on more foreign students because they can't pay the bills with the capped fees for home students. You're telling the vice chancellors to find the 3% from somewhere ... well it's going to be from overseas students!

    With regard to the money wasting courses, most Universities profit from their engineering and science faculties for example, but use that to bankroll the massive losses made on the arts faculties. If we cut the money wasting courses then Universities would just become nurseries for managers, accountants, lawyers, bankers and consultants.

    ... so while I may agree with some of your sentiments, your suggested solutions are ridiculous.

  • Comment number 28.

    Regional development and business support are truly the legacy of Michael Heseltine. It was he who created the Training & Enterprise Councils that expanded Heseltine's Quangos so vigorously. They were promoted up to being Regional Councils and have proved just as expensive and ineffective.
    The same Michael Heseltine who helped form the giant Metropolitan and County Council areas (Local Government Act 1972) that are to be revised as parts of the Conservative Government's plans for a radical re-distribution of voting areas. This time though, the Council areas will continue to be permitted to remain unequal because that suits his Party's power bases. It's just the need to co-terminate boundaries that will be changed.
    It'll certainly cost lots of dosh to make those changes - just as it did to create them.
    It's called 'moving the furniture around'.

  • Comment number 29.

    Replace the rating systen with a 1% land tax, payable by all - including churches and other religious buildings.
    Stop all payments - for whatever purpose - to religious bodies.
    Stop the various abuses of the system of payments to those not in work.
    Re-nationalise the railways, paying only token compensation based on the price paid at privatisation.
    Raise road fund licences for heavy goods vehicles to the point necessary to pay for the road and infrastructure damage they cause.
    Introduce an additional graded income tax on bonuses paid to employees.

  • Comment number 30.

    Nautonier, Foreign students typically pay GBP 7000 to 8000 as fees per year and spend an equal sum on their living expenses. Doubt you could milk them for more except in a few top Universities. Probably the fees are already higher in those.
    I am in full agreement with John from Hendon on the need to provide greater support for tech entrepreneurs in terms of funding etc. This is possibly the greatest differentiation between Silicon Valley and other wannabees.

  • Comment number 31.

    The RDAs are all about self preservation of their little empires. The actual amout of real innovation that flows through them is about nil yet they cost a fortune. Grant money flows like water for really stupid concepts that meet criteria for funding that is almost unbelievable.

    RDAs are a combination of a gravy train and merry-go-round. This country should take a stakeholding in innovation and develop regional or national panels made up of people who actually know what they are doing.

    What is crazy is that it doesnt matter how clever or innovative or practical or valuable an idea is, unless the I.P. can be properly protected it is a 100% waste of time, effort and money.

    Mllions of pounds has been wasted by RDAs supporting 'bright ideas' that cannot be legally protected but because the applicant uses all the right buzz words, phrases and worse still, Powerpoint, another folly starts.

  • Comment number 32.

    To take Nautonier (3) to task - Actually it's the revenue that comes from overseas students that helps to subsidise the higher education system. Students from England pay no more £3,225 whilst those from overseas can pay anywhere between £5,000 to £20,000 per year.

    Additionally, this 3% cut is just the start of things - prepare for many, many more cuts over the next five years.

  • Comment number 33.

    I hope to see SEEDA go. It's stipulation that an arbitary amount of houses needed to be built, regardless of demand, was absurd. Its website is full of waffle an unproven/unprovable information. Not everything was bad obviously, but overall poor value for money. I declare my interest from the outset.
    nopwod.blogspot.com

  • Comment number 34.

    @nautonier:

    British Universities should teach a number of things, spelling included. Which one was yours? You seem to fail to appreciate the economic import of UK universities, and the essential role played by foreign students: they already pay more than UK students, and many universities can guarantee better education to their British students precisely because of the financial input of foreign students (overseas recruitment is now essential to any good university). Even EU students, who do not always pay fees (horror, horror!), contribute to the economy: they live in a foreign country, supporting local business in the cities where they study, always at greater costs than if they had studied in their own countries of origin. Your 'British jobs for British people/British Universities for British people' is a populist slogan that has made its time: there are thousands of Brits that live, work and study outside of Britain. Should they all be sent back to their Fatherland, or you are championing the classic double standard? Such lines of reasoning are racist and short-sighted. Universities have their problems, and they need to be addressed comprehensively (the increasing high salaries of their managers being only one of them), but keeping Britain for the British will not be a solution.

  • Comment number 35.

    I completely agree that a greater focus and funding should be on engineering. In this recession all the engineers including myself who graduated in 2009 have got engineering jobs. The added value to society is great and the employment prospects are good. Industry involvement with these degrees quite good, but could be improved. Programs such as the Engineering Doctorate has proven that high industrial involvement works and provides world leading graduates.

  • Comment number 36.

    #10 jon112uk

    You missed a great opportunity to tell us your long term plan... or did you just want to have a go at the public school toffs?

    Maybe you were thinking of taking a bigger lead from China.... a little extreme poverty always generates an enthusiasm for work..... no min wage, no regard for worker safety, no holidays and no benefits when you’re out of work can keep your cost base down....

    It’s not the Universities that made China, nor will they be the reason it grows as a world economic power. China is what it is because people like you who seem to care so much about the rights of people in the UK, wouldn’t put your hands in your pocket and buy UK products. You don’t want to fund the holiday entitlement, the sick benefits, the min wage, etc...... You’d rather not pay it if you could!!!!

  • Comment number 37.

    Let guess what the universities are going to react:

    They are going to recuite more overseas students as their fees (£10K+) are three times to the home students (3K. As a result, less home students are going into the universities. This in turn will increase the unemployment and the govermemnt has to pay more benefits. At the end, the cut will be much less than people thinks and could be worse than no cut in the worse scenario.

  • Comment number 38.

    "6. At 09:41am on 24 May 2010, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    2. Unless students can show they already have the firm offer of a job after they leave and graduate they cannot start any courses not covered as free above."

    What reputable business offers a job to someone in 4 years time with no strings attached? This equates to saying - if you have 'connections' fine, otherwise no chance, however good you are.

  • Comment number 39.

    Everyone keeps talking about entrepreneurs - but most of these are only concerned with their own bank balances and yes... this is what is needed as they will create jobs etc.
    Entrepreneurs cannot move a couple of million off government dole ques into employment ... or do this quickly i.e. within a couple of years ... this is the problem.
    Large scale employer ORGANISATIONAL skills are now needed more than entrepreneurial skills such as providing everyone with a government job (who wants one ... or receive zero government benefits?) - Even if it is just tidying litter off the street ... but still a vital service.
    Nothing new about that kind of idea - what I think would be a new idea, would be reflect the 'economic and social good' of having the streets cleaned as being reflected as an adjustment in UK GDP.
    Similarly, public job schemes which reduce crime can have a social good and an economic effect (reduced costs of policing) and because these kind of activities does can have a low/zero transactional benefit in terms of £'s GDP - this would not show full socio-economic good value in normal GDP calculations.
    There are more ways of being radical than simply spending money 'here' or 'there' instead of somewhere else - the radical element can also be in describing what the effect is of what is being done. In other words, good government policies which do not have a transactional output or which have a reduced transactional output are arguably still worth being shown in GDP as there may still be an economic way of measuring the added value of socio-economic improvement and outputs of activities which do not themselves have a commensurate transactional value.
    However, it is vital that only a responsible government would be able to measure equivalent socio-economic benefits for GDP calculations. Hence this would not have been suitable for the previous policy bereft and corrupted Labour government.
    The importance of this thinking is that it would enable a government to pursue a full programme of mass employment schemes without loss of GDP transactional value.
    In other words, for too long not all GDP transactions are good for the nation and its finances - sometimes it is better to lose some GDP value in the pursuit of socio -economic objectives ... such as full employment.
    The important bit to top up GDP with the measure of benefit that has been achieved - providing that there is a sensible way of measuring the output achieved by the alternative policy and that the addition is properly accounted for and isolated within the GDP statistics.

    Would this make a difference?

    If this GDP work addition policy had been applied over the last two years - our government could have put a couple of million people back into work and shown that the UK had worked itself out of recession into real growth in terms of very favourable GDP figures.

    Simples - PhD not needed - it is common sense!


  • Comment number 40.

    John_from_Hendon

    "All students to pay the cost of tuition except for courses in the pure sciences, [snip] (All 'ologies' to be charged at double fees.)"

    biology?

  • Comment number 41.

    WOTW wrote:

    "The majority of Britain's may be prepared to sit back and be ruled by a corporatised fascist state - but there are enough of us (resistance) who will ensure this does not happen."

    No, there aren't enough of you. The majority of people who voted in the recent election voted for one of the parties that is now in government. And the use of the term 'fascist' to describe the political system in this country is neither accurate nor constructive.

    "Without labour - there is no profit - without profit there is no Capitalism - without Capitalism there is only freedom."

    Like the "freedoms" that people had (and continue to have) in socialist utopias the world over?

  • Comment number 42.

    #13. At 09:55am on 24 May 2010, Annie wrote:

    "../cut hard-luck story/.. The whole thing is vile. Just disgusting."

    Welcome to the real world!

  • Comment number 43.

    lets stop pussy footing around all this is just a token gesture i would like to see the future of our kids protected if they want to go to uni fine as long as it is not travel & tourism or media studies and such like lesser qualifications just so they dont join the workforce for 3 extra years

    what needs to be done (and we all know its coming) is to start on the benefits system. tax credits or to use their real purpose redistribution of wealth credit need cuuting back why should those who work or who have had the misfortune to lose their job (then find the system doent help them)pay to keep people at home we all know people in our street / road who say they dont work cause they will lose their tax credits, well they should lose them anyway. we as a country cannot squeeze those that work any harder to keep people at home as we the tax payer dont have any money left

    secondly govt spending such as train to gain a beuraucratict tick box exercise where companies can claim large sums of money for training an employee to do the job they were employed to do in the first place is emoral and something we cannot afford anymore

  • Comment number 44.


    Universities can certainly take more cuts than 3%. We send 50% of 18-year-olds to university, when nowhere near 50% of job vacancies require graduates. The recent expansion of universities has been little more than a method to move youngsters off the dole queue.

    Another problem is that 'soft' and 'hard' subjects all receive the same level of state subsidy. I'd like to see 'soft' subjects attract little or no subsidy, transferring the money to fully support students doing 'hard' subjects. Maybe have a sliding scale going from medicine/engineering/law/maths etc all the way down to David Beckham Studies and the like, with state subsidy of the courses dropping from 100% to zero.


  • Comment number 45.

    @ invigilator:

    What are your sources to be able to say that arts and humanities make losses, and sciences do not? (and therefore sciences bail out humanities). Many scientific subjects are more teaching intensive and require expensive equipment. Training a student in medicine is more expensive than one in literature or history. Do you have numbers, or you are just speculating that this may be the case? Language teaching is closer to science--it is more intensive and costly--but are we sure that this is a good reason to get rid of it?

  • Comment number 46.

    #17 & #26 writingsonthewall

    Fear not my friend, for they know not what they do, and they know not what's coming. Otherwise they would be very afraid.

  • Comment number 47.

    Cutting expenditure is one thing, what about collecting taxes due. Todate all I have heard is passing remarks about tax avoidance being clamped down on, whilst government advisers are flogging schemes so the richer can avoid paying their dues.How about really clamping down on schemes, the people who use them and flog them (ie if you use a scheme you do not get a knighthood etc and if you flog them you do not get any work from the public purse) Does anyone think that footballers are paying their fair share or even BBC employees for that matter!

  • Comment number 48.

    Whilst there is an overburden of 'quangos' doing no more than blather, I've heard that BECTA is to go - unlike many bodies they do an excellent job in promoting the use of technology in education and providing top-notch resources for teachers to use in the classroom. (No, I don't work there although as an e-learning specialist I have contributed some materials to the resource bank.)

    I bet nobody thought to ask a teacher what is useful for education and what is not!

  • Comment number 49.

    ...and a couple of points that need clearing up in this world of lies being sent out by those who claim the cuts are "in our interest".

    A lot is made of the inefficiency of the public sector - and many times there are points made that we should cut inefficiency and waste in the public sector.
    Fine - but what about the private sector? who is managing the waste in that area?

    Well it's supposed to be the market, that drives down prices and improves efficiency.

    However - as someone who works in the private sector - within finance - I can assure you that no such efficiency is taking place, whether it be market driven of legislator driven - it's simply no happening.

    The financial sector is tasked with 1 thing - the efficient allocation of resources - that is all the money they lend represents (and that is what it is used to buy) .
    However when you look at the size of the financial sector - it's far bigger than the 'resource allocation' that the state provided in the Soviet Union and it appears the financial sectorr has failed in it's primary role.

    This is yet another comparison between private and public which the media and consequently the people - fail to see.

    Secondly, I think the approach of the coallition merely demonstrates their lack of understanding of Economics. Does George Osbourne really think he can cut the public sector jobs, pay down the deficit and cut taxes by a significant margin to encourage his analagy of private sector growth - all within the space of 2 years? That sort of turnaround is going to take a lot longer than that - surely it would be better to cut taxes first, stimulate the private sector and then cut the public sector?

    ...it's almost as if they want to stir up the public sector into a revoutionary state...

  • Comment number 50.

    so let me get this straight, the Financial sector bet all on black and lost, they go running to Daddy get bailed out, then charge us for doing so, ruining our savings, holding countries to ransom as they make eye watering amounts betting on currency devaluation, and debt mounted upon debt

    and because of this (dont forget that they blame you for all the personal debt you may have bad bad people) everyone else will have to how do you put it Robert, "take a haircut"
    and that as Paul Daniels would say is Magic

    I see AIG have been let off the hook as well there is a suprise

  • Comment number 51.

    #22. p45builder wrote:

    "#6 JfH

    what is an 'ology'?

    Don't use generic terms to cover all your biases"

    I think you know very well what I mean! You will recall the advert for BT sometime ago when the Maureen Lipman character Beattie says, as consolation to her nephew, - 'oh you got and ology' when he rings in despair having failed everything else at 'O' level - I think it was sociology, wasn't it!

    You have my deepest sympathies if you have, or teach, an ology!!!! May I introduce you to a character that I am sure will not be in a BT advert M. Dole Queue. (sorry couldn't resist it!!!)

  • Comment number 52.

    #38. JA wrote:

    "#6. John_from_Hendon wrote:

    2. Unless students can show they already have the firm offer of a job after they leave and graduate they cannot start any courses not covered as free above."

    What reputable business offers a job to someone in 4 years time with no strings attached? This equates to saying - if you have 'connections' fine, otherwise no chance, however good you are."


    The Army does, and several large companies used to pre-recruit school leavers into their organisations and help with University costs.

    My point is that we must prioritise - but note my final two lines in #6. I asked is that what we want?

  • Comment number 53.

    #40. bonzodog wrote:

    "John_from_Hendon

    "All students to pay the cost of tuition except for courses in the pure sciences, [snip] (All 'ologies' to be charged at double fees.)"

    biology?"


    See #51....

  • Comment number 54.

    This was inevitable and probably far less than anticipated! But here's a question, most people will know of some graduates that have a degree of some sort but whose current choice of job is below that of their qualifications ironically some are quite content. Pray tell me why they wasted all that time and energy? Was the challenge merely to attain the diploma / posed photo and get their parents off their backs? I'm quite sure if I had these same accreditations I'd be looking to use my knowledge to its fullest, and seek out greater resposibilities and challenges associated with attainments.

  • Comment number 55.

    20. At 10:03am on 24 May 2010, RJTysoe wrote:
    @KevinB: Let's just hope it's not one of your family that is surplus to requirements when they cut 300,000 jobs.

    Nope

    I am not, thanks for caring though

  • Comment number 56.

    @John_from_Hendon no.6

    Very confused post, certain "ologies" are pure science e.g Histology not to mention Biology which is sort of important if you're ever ill (as Biology is the basis of Medicine). Whilst I agree with your points 4, 5 and 6 the rest of post is complete rubbish.

    Offers of jobs are usually made dependent of class of degree obtained, so a person who gains a third gets a job whereas a first never went to university because they couldn't get a job offer before university despite that being a minimum of three years in the past.

  • Comment number 57.

    # 7. At 09:42am on 24 May 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    > The comments about Prince Andrew are a bit below the
    > belt. He does a good job for the UK

    So he should, for £250K a year. Who does he think he is - a banker?




  • Comment number 58.

    7. At 09:42am on 24 May 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    "The comments about Prince Andrew are a bit below the belt

    He does a good job for the UK"

    Oh a royalist too? - well can you justify what Prince Andrew does? - or can you not see through the tears in your eyes as you instantly well up at first sight of the man.

    You may think Prince Andrew 'does a lot for business' - I say business would, did and will carry on without him - it doesn't need an expensive royal flying around the world talking to rich men about money.

    It's people like KevinB who keep this system goiong. Their devotion to the idea that "some are just better then other" is why the Bourgoisie still exist.

    He comes on here and complains about Gordon Browns spending, but not a word about the mammouth cost of the royal family (and don't make statements about 'bringing tourists into the country' unless you can back them up with facts) - no, we only like to complain about Gordon's spending on Hospitals, Schools and other socially useful things.

    Don't forget whilst you are all cheering the cutting of civil servants first class travel (to which I have no objections) - that we pay for the Royals and all their entourage to travel first class every time!

    ...and in some cases we pay for an entire private jet for them to use - so they don't have to sit with the riff-raff (that's you and me folks)

    It's time the country split into those who have a idolisation of the rich fantasy and those who don't.

    So much for 'some animals are more equal than others' - at least in Orwell's book it was forced upon them - in today's society the sychophants are simply lining up to get a whiff of the masters tailcoat as he passes by.

    Slaves - each and every one of them.


    You are an odious and rather foolish man

    I am not particularly Royalist as it happens, although don't let the facts get in the way of your absurd rant

    You really do not to either get a chip on the other shoulder, or engage your brain prior to posting your garbage

  • Comment number 59.

    41. At 10:43am on 24 May 2010, rbs_temp wrote:

    "No, there aren't enough of you. The majority of people who voted in the recent election voted for one of the parties that is now in government. And the use of the term 'fascist' to describe the political system in this country is neither accurate nor constructive."

    ...and what choice did they have? It seems to me when the electorate had the chance - the majority decided not to participate and we saw a large swing to a party who were attracting votes for not being the other two!

    You need to assess who you're talking about when you talk about 'the majority of people' - because they are not.

    "Like the "freedoms" that people had (and continue to have) in socialist utopias the world over?"

    ...and what freedom do you have? The freedom to starve? The freedom to be homeless? The freedom to try and 'have it all' and yet end up with nothing?

    Don't preach to me about freedom - you wouldn't know it if it walked around the corner and slapped you right in the face!

    "Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini

    Which is exactly where we are today - or have you not noticed the combination of state and private sector recently?

    When a fascist describes fascism to you then your should listen - it's the only useful thing a fascist will tell you.

    Don't think those poor voters made any difference - they will soon work out where voting gets you - at which point they will resort to other means.

    ...and don't worry about 'numbers' - each day there is more greed uncovered, each day another family is thrown into the street, each day a teacher, doctor or nurse worries about their jobs - the numbers increase...

    Still - there's no point telling you all this - this is "only a recession" - right?

  • Comment number 60.

    46. At 10:49am on 24 May 2010, NorthSeaHalibut wrote:
    #17 & #26 writingsonthewall

    Fear not my friend, for they know not what they do, and they know not what's coming. Otherwise they would be very afraid.

    Is that supposed to be scary?

    The world doesn't owe you a living

  • Comment number 61.

    Why are our universities paying for the screw-ups by those bankers? I don't get it - why not get rid of many bankers (who are useless), and leave the universities alone?


  • Comment number 62.

    When will people like WOTW realise that the majority are NOT anarchists aching for a revolution?

    You are in a minority, and need to act like that instead of talking the loudest and thinking you have the most to say

  • Comment number 63.

    46. At 10:49am on 24 May 2010, NorthSeaHalibut wrote:

    "#17 & #26 writingsonthewall

    Fear not my friend, for they know not what they do, and they know not what's coming. Otherwise they would be very afraid."

    I am only trying to warn them - I will feel guilty when they are turning up on my doorstep asking me why my lights still work and why I have food in my working fridge and they don't because the supermarkets are empty and the power is off.

    It's very sad that so many will suffer - I sincerely hope it won't be as bad as I am expecting as there will be many people who regret not heeding the warnings which have been coming from all sources - not just my (possibly) insane writings.

  • Comment number 64.

    Assuming the economy reaches its 3% growth targets, the government still needs to make cuts of this scale or larger every 6 months for the next 5 years.

    These are the quick and easy cuts so strap in and hold tight, its going to be a bumpy ride.

  • Comment number 65.

    Robert - I hear that RDA employees have been told that they will be closed by 2012. Any truth in this?

  • Comment number 66.

    6. John_from_Hendon wrote:
    All former polytechnics cease to be called universities and revert to their former status with a renewed commitment to vocational training (the same rules to fees apply as to universities.)
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Margrot Thatcher is responsible for changing the poly's into Nu-Uni's. She did it partly out of spite when Oxbridge lefties wouldn't give her the Honurary Degree usually bestowed on every Prime Minister.

    As for the proposed cuts; well to me £6 Billion from £160 Billion isn't a cut, it's a shave.

    The problem is our economy has now been turned over almost exclusivly to the financial sector, 'financialisation'. No more manufacturing, no more tourism, it's only the city that's bringing in any money.

    The one quotation I have read that I think will be close to the mark is from the Govenor of the Bank of England who said something like 'whoever introduces the required cuts, will be so unpopular they will be voted out of office for a generation'.

    Like thatcher (who in 1979 was on a crusade to turn the country against socialism and make us all share-owning little tories) the coalition will be 'cruising for a brusing' if it brings in cuts in front line services, which to make any sort of impact on the £160 Billion, it must do.

  • Comment number 67.

    Why is it that politicians think they know better than well respected economists?

    1. Keynes would be turning in his grave: you don't stimulate an economy by making cuts. Making cuts will send us in a downward spiral.

    2. Why separate the investment banking arms our our banks from the retail arms?

    For a start, the two banks that went under - one (Lehman) did not have a retail arm and the other (northern Rock) didn't have a 'casino' arm.

    RBS and Lloyds did get in trouble: but that was more through misguided merger decisions leaving them woefully under-capitalized, rather than having both investment and retail activities - that's why banks like Barclays, HSBC and Standard Chartered (who all have substantial retail and investment businesses)are not doing at all badly, thank you very much.

  • Comment number 68.

    " 26. At 10:16am on 24 May 2010, writingsonthewall wrote:
    7. At 09:42am on 24 May 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    "The comments about Prince Andrew are a bit below the belt

    He does a good job for the UK"

    Oh a royalist too? - well can you justify what Prince Andrew does? - or can you not see through the tears in your eyes as you instantly well up at first sight of the man. "

    Prince Andrew has done more for his countrymen than most of the population. Shall we use as a small example his flying into the smoke as the Sir Galahad was burning, using the downdraft from his helicopter to make sure the life rafts did not drift back into the burning hull, knowing that there was still insufficient aircover should the Argentinaian Air Force return? That feat alone, like many of the feats that the armed forces perform daily, earn him the need not to jusitfy who or what he is.

  • Comment number 69.

    Robert,
    ‘One area regarded as strategically important for the UK's long term economic prospects, support for science, will be largely protected.’
    I am confused, direct university funding comes from a different budget to that of research grants which goes to the research councils. So which is being protected? Is it both?

    As a physicist I must confess I have a vested interest although I don’t work for a university.

    27. At 10:17am on 24 May 2010, Invigiator wrote:
    ‘With regard to the money wasting courses, most Universities profit from their engineering and science faculties for example, but use that to bankroll the massive losses made on the arts faculties. If we cut the money wasting courses then Universities would just become nurseries for managers, accountants, lawyers, bankers and consultants.’

    Personally, I don’t understand the desire to obtain a degree you’ll never use. However, I admit it is frustrating to see universities become more and more seen as businesses rather than education facilities – I mean why do they not come under the education budget?

    I disagree with your point about cutting loss-making Arts courses means universities would suffer. Leaving aside the profit and loss claims you make which is nonsense, scientific research is incredibly expensive (and often loss-making) but we are a bit short of money so we must prioritize. (Even within science we are already prioritizing which fields should be funded –alternative energy sources (i.e. fusion) becoming an important one.

    This is becoming a fundamental sign of what lies ahead for the UK. Can we compete anymore? George Osborne and most economists believe that once BRIC nations mature and develop, they will import more UK made goods and trade will be more balanced again. However, if we can’t innovate, their eventual custom will go elsewhere (if they don’t develop new high end technology themselves – we are training them after all).
    Final point, the 3% cut is just the beginning. It will be 3% on top of this again next year if not more!

  • Comment number 70.

    Why does the BBC feel that union representatives should be put on the news to respond to every government statement? All they do is protect their own interests, fair enough, but they do not generate any ideas how to deal with the deficit. It is time for a real discussion and that means ideas and sacrifices from everyone. Many of us have already taken pay cuts, reduction in hours over last 2 years, time for others to contribute

  • Comment number 71.

    # 13. At 09:55am on 24 May 2010, Annie wrote:

    > it looks like I will have to pay for greedy piggy bankers with
    > my livelihood and loss of self esteem.

    Hold on in there, Annie. We're going to stick to these bankers,
    once and for all, when people realise how much they've been ripped
    off. We will have our pound of flesh from these creeps, but you
    gotta be strong for the time being, while we prepare the ground.

    The paper-shuffling, money-grubbing bankers shall all pay though
    the nose for this, mark my words.

  • Comment number 72.

    >> The gross cut in spending at the Business Department will be £900m. But it will also receive £200m of new funding to support apprenticeships, so the net saving will £700 - or just over 3% of its £22bn annual budget.

    So, the net saving will be £700??

  • Comment number 73.

    Why don't we just run up a huge deficit, so big that when we default on our debt, the consequences would be so enourmous that the banks would have to bail out the UK government to prevent a world wide banking collapse?

    Heck, isn't that what the banks did to us a couple of years back?

  • Comment number 74.

    48. At 10:51am on 24 May 2010, Megan

    I think the most revealing fact is that the 'crackdown on quangos' is only going to reduce the deficit by £500 Million.

    Whilst this seems like a lot to you and me - in Govt. spending terms this is nothing, less than a 12th of the Navy budget.

    So much for pre-election piffle about savings through efficiency. I mean if quangos were such a big target you would have expected a little more than a poor £500 Million wouldn't you?

    Once again - post election - the lies are revealed. There is no big quango spend - and some of them are probably quite useful - but the gullibility of the general public and the insistence of the media to 'repeat, repeat, repeat' results in this incorrect belief.

  • Comment number 75.

    #3. At 09:35am on 24 May 2010, nautonier wrote:
    "Well cut the bogus and money wasting courses...
    Get more English students into English Universities ...
    Ensure that debts regarding University fees are repaid ...
    Ensure that foreign students pay more for the privilege of displacing an English or British student from and English/British University

    The English/British stand in ques becuase we have manners and discipline - we don't like to see foreigners jumping the education ques unless they are going to private education and paying for it themselves.

    Time for some of these Vice Chancellors to be sacked and replaced with those who understand fairness without having to produce a PhD to justify their position.

    If they can't find 3% - sack them all! Have a good clear out!"

    I don't knoiw where you get your information from, but overseas students already pay 5x what a domestic student pays. Additionally extra money comes in to the university from EU funding. Universities like overseas funding and the reason why you see so many foreign students is because they are the only thing stopping the universities going down the pan. The UK average salary for a Vice Chancellor is almost the same as the PM's and all of the top 20 UK uni's VC's earn considerably more.
    Repayment of debts only happens when the graduate starts earning enough to be able to pay it back. With the glut of graduates (including those with "bogus" degrees) unable to find work in the current climate, repayment of debt seems unlikely.

    If you're going to rant about things you have no connection with, at least get your facts straight

  • Comment number 76.


    Last year the budget deficit was estimated at around £175 billion, but come in around £156 billion.

    That tends to suggest that whoever’s doing the predicting isn’t very good at it, or alternatively the cuts started last year, but didn’t find there way into the mainstream media.

    In any event cut they will, but likely ‘gently does it’ to avoid the backlash.

    I still believe that to a large extent, they’re planning to print their way out of this mess.

  • Comment number 77.

    55. At 11:04am on 24 May 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    "Nope

    I am not, thanks for caring though"

    I'M ALRIGHT JACK ALERT - I'M ALRIGHT JACK ALERT - I'M ALRIGHT JACK ALERT - I'M ALRIGHT JACK ALERT - I'M ALRIGHT JACK ALERT - I'M ALRIGHT JACK ALERT - I'M ALRIGHT JACK ALERT

    When KevinB is begging for food on the streets - lets make sure we show him the same concern.

    Do you not realise the following of self interest is guaranteed to lead to the extinbtion of man?

    Still - what do you care - you'll be dead by then - or still hoping for some scrps from the masters table.

    Never mind, maybe one of your 'royal friends' will help you out - accepting charity from others to survive - oh dear, what ever happened to your freedom?

  • Comment number 78.

    "61. At 11:09am on 24 May 2010, Jacques Cartier wrote:
    Why are our universities paying for the screw-ups by those bankers? I don't get it - why not get rid of many bankers (who are useless), and leave the universities alone?"

    Jacques, as many have said, the bank bailouts are a minor amount in the overall debt/deficit. Yes, they took money, but the previous government were borrowing from approx. 2000 onwards - perhaps that was the real millenium bug

  • Comment number 79.

    I still think the coalition should have started at the top and done away with the House of Lords. Every country of the Isles now has it own parliament and of course we have our Euro buddies overseas costing us all a fortune. So basically we've got politicians coming out of our ears.

    We all know there have to be cuts, so getting rid of the unelected 'ermine boys' would make all our sacrifices a bit easier to stomach.

  • Comment number 80.

    On the subject of fees for foreign students at British universities:

    I accept that their fees are higher than those for home students, but it is likely that the amount they pay in their own currencies will have fallen appreciably because of the fall in the value of the pound. There should therefore be some scope for increasing the foreign student's fees in sterling terms to compensate. You can see this as a UK export (of the education) which is benefitting from the fall in the pound's value.

  • Comment number 81.

    I’ve haven’t read all the other comments. My thoughts are without going in to deep of the whys and what nots.

    It seems to me to strange to cut funding to organisations / projects which are engine of Growth to the UK economy rather than consuming growth.

    Just complete quick exercise, There are a 150 NHS Primary Care Trusts. Do we need that many organisations?

    Assuming the Average Costs of the following Posts

    Chief Executive - £150,000
    Finance Director - £110,000
    Other Directors – Say on average 6 Directors at each organisations on a average of £100,000 – Total of £600,000.

    At a 150 Organisations, that is a total of £129 million. That doesn’t include all the organisation costs and duplication there are within all the PCT.

    I would suggest that these costs are very conservative as I would not expect to include the Pension Costs of paying for Final Salary Pension Scheme.

    I appreciate that some of the Quango’s are a waste of money, but I would consider that University are engines of growth.

    Maybe we should all come up with our own savings strategies and submitted them, after all we are all tax payers!

  • Comment number 82.

    Ref the closing of East/South and South East Development Agencies - here we go again, the South is supposedly too rich to be allowed help. Why can help not be targeted at disadvantaged areas, why does everyone in the South/South East and East have to suffer?? Of course I understand the need for the Conservatives to fund the North, they will need votes to try to stay in power at the next election. We hear alot about discrimination, but not when it is the South/ S East or East which cops it!

  • Comment number 83.

    With uni's we could stop the students in leeds enrolling in liverpool for a course that is available in leeds and a student in liverpool enrolling in leeds for a course which is available in liverpool students could then keep their expenses down by not having to pay 52 weeks rent for 20 weeks tenancy which would also release well needed housing

  • Comment number 84.

    Everyone here is commenting on the likely effects on education, but I haven't seen one comment expressing a concern about the effects on academic research. Could this be because everyone knows that most professors, faced with a 3% cut in total funding, will cut the teaching budget by 6% in order to protect their research budgets?

    After all, as everyone working in the sector knows, the primary interest of most academics is research, not teaching.

    Wouldn't it be nice for the students and the economy if this changed? While no big fan of OFSTED, please, please, come and do some objective ratings of University teaching!

  • Comment number 85.

    58. At 11:06am on 24 May 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    "You are an odious and rather foolish man"

    Did you say somthing brother slave? - abusing your fellow slaves won't get you anywhere - for we are all in irons - no man's irons are 'looser than another' and nor do you curry any favour with the slave masters to prevent the whipping when it comes - no matter how much your brain tells you so.

    "I am not particularly Royalist as it happens, although don't let the facts get in the way of your absurd rant"

    ..but you do enjoy defending Prince Andrew against the 'unfair' criticism - and you claimed that he "did a good job" - well I've got news for you royalist - The Royals don't work - they are part of this 'bloated public sector' you love to criticise to frequently

    "You really do not to either get a chip on the other shoulder, or engage your brain prior to posting your garbage"

    It seems the garbage is all yours - I mean suggesting the royals work - who ever heard such nonsense??

  • Comment number 86.

    The big money eating elephant in the room is our war in Afghanistan/Pakistan. The amount of cash required to equip, train, transport, pay and of course payouts to family who have lost loved ones is immense. Combined with the fact that we are not winning and have lost any moral justification(thanks America) does beg the questions can we afford it and should we even be there?

    Anyway the point I was actually going to make is that my employer supplies some government funded groups and the new(less than 2 years) procurement process is a huge issue. It FORCES us to inflate costs on small orders so there is a discount on large orders that as a small English company we can't do anyway. It took weeks of paperwork none of which was to do with the products but all to do with would we employ someone who doesn't speak English! and what is our policy on a great many things that aren't an issue to companys under 1000 or so employees(there is 5 of us yes 5).
    And the best bit is they take commission on sales to government departments even if we supplied them before therefore increasing the cost, oh and they even asked us to calculate the savings they have helped to make. the answer was -7%. scale this up across the procurement budget for all departments(I have no idea if the situation is even similar) and the 6.2BN of cuts could look allot bigger without actually taking any money out.

  • Comment number 87.

    Well these cuts aren't nice but unfortunately are unaviodable if we are remotely serious about getting the defecit under control before it is too late.

    People should remember this day as the start of the clear up of Labour's mess - the return to sound and stable economic management of the UK economy - the first time in 10 years.

    But 6bn is only half the cost of the failed NHS database and half the 15% VAT cut bribe - squandered by the Red party, shame on them. Bankrupt nation and industrial unrest - yet again the Labour legacy - will we ever learn??


    I don't know how Liam Byrne dares to show his face the sheer brass neck of the man.

  • Comment number 88.

    Instead of cutting funding to uni's and legal aid etc... why not stop making very expensive bombs? Warships too could be scrapped along with the expensive planes that drop the bombs saving much more than we need. Instead of spending really silly money killing foreigners in their own country why not wait until, if at all the threat is real, they invade us then tackle them, at least that way we are sure to get the right ones. I keep hearing that we need a strong military to protect us and our interests abroad. What interests do we have abroad that need protecting? Most people, including Annie comment 13 above, have nothing at home or abroad worth protecting. All this BS about fighting al-q'aeda abroad to prevent the fight happening here. If there was such an organisation with frightening terror cells waiting to cause devestation at home and abroad I'm sure Tony Blair would be toast by now. If anything there are lots of really cheesed off arabs/muslims who see the illegal war in Iraq and ongoing war against the palestinians (and soon in Iran?) as proof positive that the west is out to get them. Their natural reaction, quite rightly, is one of fight back. This country could be made great again but it isn't going to happen by spending ridiculous money on unnecessary war jollys that cheese off the natives. It seems we have to be in Afganistan to uphold the myth of the terror threat and nothing more. I also believe building 7 at the world trade centre was brought down by controlled demolition and not as a result of fire, the government's line. See it for yourself on youtube and decide for yourselves. So an expensive unnecessary ongoing war that is only benefiting arms manufacturers and their shareholders that we are paying for. It really stinks and is as morally corrupt as can be found! Where are the good people?

  • Comment number 89.

    60. At 11:08am on 24 May 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    "Is that supposed to be scary?"

    Not for you clearly - the fools always rush in where the angels fear to tread.

    "The world doesn't owe you a living"

    Well considering the world does not function without labour - then I would say it's not about 'owing' a living, but rather the world needs people like me to have a living in order for it to flourish.

    ...or have you written me off as a 'public sector layabout' - or even better a 'benefits scrounger'.

    Sorry - but I have paid more tax than our prime minister - and I am younger than him. Don't lecture me about who owes what.

  • Comment number 90.

    49. At 10:53am on 24 May 2010, writingsonthewall wrote:
    >surely it would be better to cut taxes first, stimulate the private >sector and then cut the public sector?

    - The only conclusion I can draw from this is that you wish the government to borrow / print a lot more money in the interim period. An *interesting* approach and not one being mooted elsewhere. I wish you luck in trying to persuade others to take that line at the moment..


    61. At 11:09am on 24 May 2010, Jacques Cartier wrote:
    >Why are our universities paying for the screw-ups by those bankers?

    - Maybe the banking rescue is only a tiny fraction of our overall debt. It doesn't seem fair that Joe public is picking up a lot of bills one way or another, at this moment. However I can't see any option. I'm sure the Universities can tighten their belts like the rest of us.

  • Comment number 91.

    I wish people would stop making out that the thought that some people might not get into university is some sort of evil.

    University is supposed to be for the 'top' (for some definition of that word) people intellectually. So, that means that those who aren't 'top' won't get places. It used to be like that - it's always been like that. It makes no sense to try to make it so that anyone who wants to go can go, even if they're not up to it - otherwise you devalue degrees.

    (Yes, this is 'elitist' - but that's what Universities are meant to be - but elitist based on intellect, not based on money)

    It used to be that the 'top 10%' or so went to University, now it is the 'above average 50%' that go.

    As long as there are enough graduates coming out to fill needs, then there are enough people going to university. It may be that 10% was too small a number - but 40 or 50% is seriously too many.

    At the moment, there are far too many graduates - hence there are too many people going to university.

    You don't need a degree to work at MacDonalds, or at Tesco's stacking shelves, or to get JSA.

  • Comment number 92.

    #60. At 11:08am on 24 May 2010, Kevinb wrote:
    46. At 10:49am on 24 May 2010, NorthSeaHalibut wrote:
    #17 & #26 writingsonthewall

    "Fear not my friend, for they know not what they do, and they know not what's coming. Otherwise they would be very afraid.

    Is that supposed to be scary?

    The world doesn't owe you a living"


    Agreed - I was quite happily earning one, as I have done all my life since I left college in 1979 without any period of unemployment whatsoever, then hey presto the capitalist gamble failed and I'm going to lose my job for no resason of my doing.

    Don't accuse me of expecting a living out of nothing sunshine, I've grafted all my life. So being used to graft when I can no longer earn a living grafting I will divert my energy elsehwere - protest.

    You really don't know what's going on do you.

  • Comment number 93.

    "Everyone keeps talking about entrepreneurs - but most of these are only concerned with their own bank balances"

    Broadly speaking, nautonier, that's right, but (as you say) in doing so, entrepreneurs create jobs and GDP. And as we wait to see what happens to CGT on June 22 the incentive to become an entrepreneur is fast vanishing - why take significant personal risks with your own money, and commit yourself to spending several years of your life building a business (I have never worked as hard, or been under as much stress, as during the time when I have owned my own business) if the returns you get are taxed at the same rate as if you'd had a nice secure job working for some PLC?

    BTW, I am an entrepreneur who also has a PhD from a UK university; as well as creating jobs in the UK, and generating millions a year in export revenue, in corporation taxes alone the business has repaid to the country the cost of my education many times over.

  • Comment number 94.

    6. At 11:34am on 24 May 2010, Dempster wrote:

    Last year the budget deficit was estimated at around £175 billion, but come in around £156 billion.

    That tends to suggest that whoever’s doing the predicting isn’t very good at it, or alternatively the cuts started last year, but didn’t find there way into the mainstream media.

    In any event cut they will, but likely ‘gently does it’ to avoid the backlash.

    I still believe that to a large extent, they’re planning to print their way out of this mess.

    Some taxes were higher than expected...eg VAT on petrol, so it isn't just poor forecasting

  • Comment number 95.

    62. At 11:10am on 24 May 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    "When will people like WOTW realise that the majority are NOT anarchists aching for a revolution?"

    ...that's what you think - most people are anarchists and they all want a revolution (where do you think their desired 'change' will come from? - switching one set of Neo-liberals for another?) - once the pubolic realise that their votes in the last election changed nothing - then they will start looking for other ways of getting the change they desire.

    "You are in a minority, and need to act like that instead of talking the loudest and thinking you have the most to say"

    ...and how does a minority 'act' - oppressed? downtrodden? should I shut up and get on with it and stop moaning?

    That's the easy way out - the self interested, self indulgent way.

    When will people like KevinB realise they are in the minority - the majority of people don't want slavery - and yet this is what you think is the majority view.

    Lets ask "everyone" shall we?

    Who here wants to be a slave to corporate fascism? - because that's where the middle of the road politics is taking you.

    Answers on a postcard to
    KevinB
    Tory Central office
    Embankment
    London

  • Comment number 96.

    77. At 11:34am on 24 May 2010, writingsonthewall wrote:
    55. At 11:04am on 24 May 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    "Nope

    I am not, thanks for caring though"

    I'M ALRIGHT JACK ALERT - I'M ALRIGHT JACK ALERT - I'M ALRIGHT JACK ALERT - I'M ALRIGHT JACK ALERT - I'M ALRIGHT JACK ALERT - I'M ALRIGHT JACK ALERT - I'M ALRIGHT JACK ALERT

    When KevinB is begging for food on the streets - lets make sure we show him the same concern.

    Do you not realise the following of self interest is guaranteed to lead to the extinbtion of man?

    Still - what do you care - you'll be dead by then - or still hoping for some scrps from the masters table.

    Never mind, maybe one of your 'royal friends' will help you out - accepting charity from others to survive - oh dear, what ever happened to your freedom?

    You really are quite a sad, empty man, with nothing to say that doesn't involve envy or spite

    You berate me for "I'm alright Jack" despite me never saying anything of the kind, yet earlier boast of having a full fridge while others starve

    So, hypocritical, inconsistent, as well as all the other faults

    Oh dear

    You have achieved what that sets you apart from the rest of us?

    Apart from talking rubbish

  • Comment number 97.

    69 newblogger wrote:
    Personally, I don’t understand the desire to obtain a degree you’ll never use.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    I once worked alongside a administration clerk, mother of 3, who had a degree. If you looked at her qualifications she was obviously over qualified for what she was doing.

    But employers today only want people with degrees, even for mundane jobs.
    I read a pamphlet for young people on careers advice, detailing what qualifications you required for various jobs. One national computer shop said that it's 'technical assistants' required a degree in computing. Well I know of one young man who builds his own computors was turned down for a job by them, not because he didn't have a degree, it was because he made the mistake of thinking the job role was to help people, when the computer shop said it was just selling stuff.

    If you cut people going to universities, will that make them more employable? I don't think so. Yes we can laugh (or cry) when we read about some micky-mouse degree. But few young people take them up, they are keenly aware of employment prospects for most courses.

    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 their 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.

  • Comment number 98.

    Take cover, everyone, they're just getting warmed up!
    This is just the money you could see them sticking on post-it notes on the Tory-party fridge.
    These are largley political cuts that they would have made regardless of the deficit. Note, especially, the reduction in idustrial intervention, based on the French model, run by Mandelson. If ever there was a budget that got up a Tory's nose, it would be anything conjoined with the words "Mandelson" and "French".
    They've stuck the knife into further education, in an effort to ensure that only the "right" people get to decent unis, keeping the Helots desperate enough to take on any job they throw from the high table.

    And they can argue they have a mandate to cut. So, like I say, take cover. And if you are in the public sector - do yourself a favour and
    get your CV up to date: then see if the Yanks are looking for any more white Mexicans.

  • Comment number 99.

    68. At 11:22am on 24 May 2010, yam yzf wrote:

    "Prince Andrew has done more for his countrymen than most of the population. Shall we use as a small example his flying into the smoke as the Sir Galahad was burning, using the downdraft from his helicopter to make sure the life rafts did not drift back into the burning hull, knowing that there was still insufficient aircover should the Argentinaian Air Force return? That feat alone, like many of the feats that the armed forces perform daily, earn him the need not to jusitfy who or what he is."

    That is truly pathetic - and probably about as accurate as Hillary Clinton's "arriving in Sarejavo under fire".

    One minimal act of bravery doesn't go any distance to the number of lives lost during that pointless war. I wonder how many widows of the Falklands would agree with the so-called bravery of Prince Andrew in his 5 minute stint in a chopper above the Falklands knowing the price their loved ones paid.

  • Comment number 100.

    34. At 10:29am on 24 May 2010, expat71 wrote:

    @nautonier:

    British Universities should teach a number of things, spelling included. Which one was yours? You seem to fail to appreciate the economic import of UK universities, and the essential role played by foreign students: they already pay more than UK students, and many universities can guarantee better education to their British students precisely because of the financial input of foreign students (overseas recruitment is now essential to any good university). Even EU students, who do not always pay fees (horror, horror!), contribute to the economy: they live in a foreign country, supporting local business in the cities where they study, always at greater costs than if they had studied in their own countries of origin. Your 'British jobs for British people/British Universities for British people' is a populist slogan that has made its time: there are thousands of Brits that live, work and study outside of Britain. Should they all be sent back to their Fatherland, or you are championing the classic double standard? Such lines of reasoning are racist and short-sighted. Universities have their problems, and they need to be addressed comprehensively (the increasing high salaries of their managers being only one of them), but keeping Britain for the British will not be a solution.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    I don't know who you are - you might be an immigrant for all I know - but there are many English students with maximum AS/A level credits who have been declined entry to English British Universities over the last few years because of the University policies of filling up with more and more foreign students.

    You seem to have a problem with the concept of fairness and whoever you are or wherever you come from I think that you must be racist if you discriminate against English/British students in this manner by expecting them to be repeatedly denied from a University place in their own country. Having hundreds and thousands of British students displaced from British Universities by foreigners so that ex-pats can keep up their luxury lifestyles and justify their own pampered existence is nonsense - and as an ex-pat myself - I can say the siuation is long overdue for review.

    You stand out at as the yellow striped racist, I'm afraid - the one's who think that they are doing too well to give young Brits their own chance - try getting your facts right and start by showing some authentic details of an overseas country that is allowing large numbers of British students to displace students from publicly funded education in their own, home country?

    If Britain is to recover economically it needs to ensure that British Universities train more British students to assist the British economy - and that is their right in their own country - that is my right in my own country to demand that also. This means that e.g. British junior doctors should not have to get jobs overseas because the NHS is full of foreign doctors.

    British jobs for British workers and British University places for British students is the whispered slogan that got Goondog Trillionaire sent back to Kirkaldy, Fife.

    But I welcome your racist back stabbing post - that is what we need to stir people into defending their British jobs and University places in their own country. But now ... please show us the statistics/facts to back up your claims - I very much doubt you will find anything to back up your idle nasty rhetoric.

    The worst racists in my experience are the cowardly, yellow striped back stab variety that will not do anything to help and actively discriminate against young Brits secure a future for themselves, in their own country - by always in shouting in favour of foreigners taking their opportunities.

    Foreign students should pay a lot more and they should be much reduced in numbers and not be funded by the British taxpayer. The perceived economic benefits of having foreign students does not refelct the damage that their presence does to young British people in their own country in terms of reduced access to University and job availability.

    Some countries have genuine skill shortages and many international comparisons are nonsense because of widely differing economic and social conditions - but let us see your evidence to back up your claims?

    Simples!

 

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