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Public to get say on spending choices

Nick Robinson | 22:19 UK time, Monday, 7 June 2010

The Treasury will publish a document tomorrow which will invite the public to join a debate designed to produce a "fundamental re-evaluation of the role of government".

It will ask people to discuss whether the government needs to provide certain public services at all and whether someone else such as councils, voluntary organisations or companies, could do so more cheaply.

The idea has been copied from Canada which successfully cut its budget deficit in the 1990s.

The document will provide the framework for a debate involving government officials and ministers behind the scenes and consultations with, among others, business groups, trade unions and think tanks leading up to the unveiling of detailed spending cuts in the autumn.

The Budget in two weeks' time will set the government's spending totals for the next few years, but it will not outline the cuts to be made to individual programmes and departments.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Mmm... "a fundamental re-evaluation of the role of government"

    I think the truth is now coming out: the tories are taking up from where they left off last time. All this stuff about labour overspend is just smoke screen.

    Personally I think this is WORSE than Thatcher. She might have put millions of ordinary people out of work to transfer wealth to her rich backers, but at least the package included some positive aspects.

    With this lot we have the worst of labour political correctness (foreign aid ring fenced!) coupled with Thatchers economics.

    3 million unemployed by Christmas?

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    These cuts are going to hurt but they are fundamentally necessary. I agree that we need rapid action to reduce the national debt - we don’t want to spend more on interest payments than some essential services do we. The interest payment could be £70bn within five years.

    I have just written a short piece on my blog about this - read and discuss -

  • Comment number 4.

    Do you think all those "diversity awareness co-ordinators" are going to vote themselves out of a job? The problem is that the public sector is now unsustainably large, thanks to 13 years of labour bribing voters with our money. Of course there has been nothing like a proportional improvement in services.

    Unless we want to continue maxing out our national credit card with the IMF getting involved we need to trim the fat. now. We will be cleaning up the Brown mess for years.

  • Comment number 5.

    and it may bring a degree of unpopularity to the government AT FIRST but if the Canadian model is anything to go by they now hail their PM as the greatest since Pierre Trudeau (not sure of the spelling).

    Everyone I speak is quite excited and upbeat about the new government and their proposed measures.

    In the backs of our minds we really do know what's good for us - a bit like children - and we will thank the Coalition when we realise what they have done for us.

    Anybody who says otherwise is just a daft left winger living on another planet with their head in the sand. Mind you, they are slowly becoming extinct.

  • Comment number 6.

    We, the people of England, have been kicked from pillar-to-post for so long by our politicians that is very hard not to be very sceptical.

    Nevertheless, if this is genuine, then it marks a paradigm shift from what has gone before in England.

    For starters, if we are about to embark upon democratic reform, then it must be time to have a real bonfire of the QUANGO's.

  • Comment number 7.

    A lot of people used to complain (me included) that the previous government, just used to do whatever they wanted normally without taking other peoples advise. Maybe this means more of a return to listening to others opinions, and a move to a more common sense policy making where the voice of the majority is heard just as much as pressure groups.

    I may be being slightly idealistic there, but we can only hope.

  • Comment number 8.

    If you really want an understanding of what economic policy are about to be unleashed on us, read Naomi Kleins 'The Shock Doctrine'

    DC & the orange libs are pure Chicago school.

    They will use the crisis and ratachet up fear to allow them to transfer untold amounts of state (taxpayer) created jobs to the private sector for free. It will be wrapped up as your decision.

    Don't be surprised if within 10 years even state security is being run by an American or some other countries private army supplier.

    Remember no one will be able to say they didn't know what was being done.

  • Comment number 9.

    Much like turkeys voting for Christmas.

  • Comment number 10.

    The fairest way to cut is to reduce all civil servants pay across the board (and not to sack some).

    This will have to be accompanies by controls of a similar nature on the private sector.


    All reductions in expenditure or tax rises have the same net effect on disposable income - they cut it and this MUST be understood. What we are looking at (I hope) is some fair way to do it.

    Of course the absolute fairest way is to put up income tax and not cut any expenditure!

  • Comment number 11.

    Personally I could weep at the amount of money that I've seen squandered by the previous Govt. on my children. Endless 'initiatives', forms to fill out monitoring their eating and out-of-school activities (and a letter by the person employed at my expense to oversee this 'initiative'), money wasted on baby bonds that I didn't want or need but that should have been targeted at the poorest, even free books (again, should have been targeted at those who can't afford books). They threw money at us, partly out of a desire to control our lives and partly to buy our votes, and in the meantime those who really needed help have been largely left to sink. I really do think that a huge amount of money can be saved just by the Govt. ceasing to spend on things that aren't really any of its business. The question is, will the public go along with this in the understanding that we are grown-ups and need to show self-reliance, or have we all got so used to having our hand held (and our kids' books bought for us) that we are no longer prepared to look after ourselves?

  • Comment number 12.

    Some debate! The well heeled, articulate, on-line and pushy middle class get to say what benefits should be paid to the poor, unemployed and retired and what terms and conditions public sector workers should enjoy. This is just another re-presentation of Thatcher's rolling back the boundaries of the state managed in a more sophisticated way. Dont expect the Lib Dems to save you!

    And don't think this is all about reducing the deficit. It is about redistribution and wrong headed Micawber moneynomics.

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    Confused, confused, confused. When exactly will we know about the cuts? I thought that we'd know what we were facing on 22 June but apparently this is not the case.

    I wish the government would stop tormenting us with the horrors we're due to face and put an end to these uncertainties.

  • Comment number 15.

    Nick, this is a news report.

    Not sure what you earn but surely it's more than someone who compiles the news?

  • Comment number 16.

    I have a great idea where to save money and reduce unnecessary Government involvement and devolve government business/spending to other bodies.

    Scrap the BBC being a public service and let it raise money as a commercial enterprise. This would end the need for the Television Licence Fee.

    That would leave £145 in every household's finances to choose how they spend that money and people would still be able to watch terrestrial and satellite TV and tune into radio stations of which there are many and of varied content and just as good as the BBC provides.

    Aunty will not like it but life's not going to be easy for the next decade or so for any of us!

  • Comment number 17.


    Old Chinese Proverb:

    It is better to keep ones mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open ones mouth and remove all possible doubt.

    Guess which part of it you failed on...

  • Comment number 18.

    If its acase of the public being involved in the reduction of some of the last governments quangos s then its a winner in my book .
    Its no good some of you moaning that you might lose your jobs nu lab-our created unnecessarily in the first instant ,Your colleagues beneath you know who you are?
    genuine workers like nurses doctors surgeon's etc need not fear cuts their positions .
    There is a vast amount of waste in all departments and quite a few of you know what is going on.
    So get off your high horses and start to redress some of the wrongs implemented in the first instant. Morning all.

  • Comment number 19.

    I would imagine the Public will vote for slashing government waste and cutting red tape (plus a ruthless bearing down on Quangos), hence obviating the need for serious tax increases. They'll be looking to see big savings without damaging core services (a.k.a. "getting more for less") ... thus there will be widespread support for eliminating "non jobs" (e.g. not a brain surgeon) and for downsizing people in management roles, these latter known in the public sector as "bureaucrats".

  • Comment number 20.

    ooh Watriler - the politics of envy spewing forth?

  • Comment number 21.

    Simples CUT the Family Courts and CUT CAFCA-SS that will free up around 5-10 billion of public and private sector monies

    Shame is a lot of left Judges,Solicitors and Social Workers will be on the dole, BUT we will have a lot of happy Children again

  • Comment number 22.

    I've thought a lot about this, and it seems to me the ONLY way the deficit can be reduced in a meaningful way is a dual aproach - saving on spending accross the board, and raising income via taxation.

    Lower public sector pay will also reduce tax take, but it is a direct expenditure and will need to be reduced alongside other measures.

    A "sliding scale" of reductions seems the only fair system to me....along the lines of a percentage reduction per £10,000 of income, as detailed below.

    In this way, as income rises, so does the reduction, and its cumulative - so everyone pays the same on the rising levels - but the more you earn, the more levels you include, so it gets higher.

    It should be affordable as a percentage of disposable income - albeit unpopular and harsh. BUT better than mass redundancies or a Greek tragedy.

    1% for the first £10,000. ie, £100 annually
    2% for the second 10,000. = £200(+ £100)
    3% for the third £10,000. = £300 (+ £300)
    4% for the fourth £10,000 = £400 (+600)
    5% for the fifth £10,000 = £500 (+1000)

    etc etc. Perhaps cap the reduction at 10% per £10,000 - which would only be reached at £100,000 per year, and only payable on the last £10,000 - the first nine steps would be as above.

    So, if you earn £50,000 annually, you will drop to £48,500. Harsh but affordable. If you earn £20,000 then you drop to £19,700. £30,000 becomes £29,400 etc.

    I am sure all public sector workers would grumble - but surely its better to all suffr a bit, rather than tens of thousand losing ALL their income, and the others staying on the same wages - but with increased workload and in a resentful society as per Greece.

    The private sector should be addressed via the Tax system for a similar sliding scale of taxation to achieve the same pro-rata deductions.

    In effect, a tithe system - which has worked in the past - but you only get to 10% on the last £10K of 100,000.

  • Comment number 23.

    Nothing is easy.

    When tension starts mounting and you've lost count of the pennies you've missed ... just try hard and see why they're not worrying me, they're last on my list.

    Just take you life easy and stop all that worrying and be happy my way ... you'll find that the squeeze won't turn out so bad.

    You'll smile in a while and discover that ... nothing is easy.

    * With acknowledgements to Ian Anderson circa 1969.

  • Comment number 24.

    When a comment is "referred for further consideration", does that mean we can assume that the comment in question is only marginally crossing the BBC's line of stultifying political correctness ?

  • Comment number 25.

    Who are we paying the £70 billion in interest to - is it the IMF and similar entities? (I think conspiracy theorists might say that it's to the Chinese or the Saudis - I suppose anything's possible really.) Can't we (and all the other countries with debt problems) beg them to reduce the interest rate a bit?

  • Comment number 26.

    Why is foreign aid a sacred cow? Why are we giving away billions when we can't balance our own books, it's ludicrous. For instance, why are we giving close to a £billion to India who are a Nuclear power, have a Space programme and their Army, Airforce and Navy (with Nuclear Submarines and Aircraft Carriers) are all bigger than ours. Surely this should be re-evaluated or job losses in our country will become more insulting if it becomes clear we are funding the rest of the world as a priority. If I ran my finances in this way I’d soon be in jail.

  • Comment number 27.

    4. At 09:08am on 08 Jun 2010, DukeJake wrote:
    Do you think all those "diversity awareness co-ordinators" are going to vote themselves out of a job?

    Horrible thing is I think we are going to be keeping the "diversity awareness co-ordinators" whilst shutting down serious services

    Why is overseas aid protected whilst they are making 'painful' cuts to their own people? Why are they giving out high paid posts without real jobs ('minister without portfolio') to ethnic minorities? Why are they not cutting or ending payments to the EU?

    Could you imagine Thatcher paying more and more to the EU while cutting back in the UK?

  • Comment number 28.


    Seems like half a post Saga, unless you're about to turn a funny shade of blue and yellow... That would be a reasonable summary of what Joe and Jane Public would be expecting.... cant help feeling that theres a bit of that post missing where they get decried for being unthinking reactionary heretics who havent the faintest idea what they're on about....

  • Comment number 29.

    #11 - I agree witb you about the amount of money that has been wasted on children. All those leaky roofs that they all used to enjoy about 15 years ago, snatched away by those nasty Labour people. Why should kids be educated in new clean buildings with top class equipment eh?

    Same goes with health. A couple of decades ago, cancer patients used to have a nice character building year long wait to be seen by a consultant. Labour have gradually ruined all of that so now you only get a wait a fortnight - how cruel eh?

    And you should hear the pensions down my way moaning about their winter fuel allowances - 'Why can't we be left to freeze like in the good old days?' they all say.

    As for the whining from all those parents who have to take advantage of the Sure Start facilities...

  • Comment number 30.

    #19 are you ok sagamix , thats a almost sensible post by you

  • Comment number 31.

    How about this for an idea - The PM makes a public appeal to whoever the debt is owed to (Banks I'm guessing for the majority) to wave the debt (or a percentage thereof) in return for spending that money instead on tackling climate change? We would still have to make the same cuts over the same time, but I for one would be happy to do this to help save our species rather than line the pockets of the already criminally wealthy minority. As for what do the banks get out of this? They get to 'sponsor' saving the species - surely a good PR move.

    It seems strange that as a species we are more concerned with paying/collecting dept than preventing our own extinction...

  • Comment number 32.

    Plenty of people are going to be hurt by these cuts, but realistically, we have no choice. The government spends way more than it can afford to, so carrying on as we are just isn't an option.

    So, where should the axe fall?

    My suggestion is to get rid of local government. I'm not sure if that would be enough by itself to balance the books, but it would certainly be a good start.

    Seriously, why do we need local government? Obviously some of the things that local government does need to be done, such as running schools and collecting rubbish. But wouldn't it be more efficient if such things were managed centrally? Especially if the government go ahead with their plan to take more schools out of the control of local authorities anyway.

    Other things that local governments do could no doubt just be cut altogether. My council has a "Diversity and Community Engagement Team". I have absolutely no idea what they do, but I'm willing to bet that the only people who would be inconvenienced if it ceased to exist would be the people who are employed in it.

    There is an argument that local councils give local people a say in how things are run in their area. If that actually worked in practice, there might be some merit to keeping local councils. But it doesn't. In general, voters just vote tribally for whichever party they have always voted for and politicians just do whatever they want anyway. If local people really had a say, I wonder how many councils would have decided to empty the bins once a fortnight?

    Local government employs huge numbers of people. You'd need a few more people in central government if you got rid of them all to take care of things like schools and rubbish collection, but I doubt that you'd need more than 10% of what we have at the moment.

  • Comment number 33.

    #16 The BBC should be prunted back to core with the licence fee (tax) being no more than £50pa.

    Long gone are the days of Celebs getting £6million for a chat show.

    No more news readers getting Millions per year.

    Downside is that ZaNU_Liebour might have less donation.

    Maybe the TAX status of some of these celebs should be more closly looked at as with reqard to IR35, as sustitution is not possible in there case ? AND for many the BBC is there only employer ?

    DK should get no more than £100K pa I know a lot of ex-caroline DJ that would do it for that money. And we could have some good music again no more play lists.

  • Comment number 34.

    Brilliant! They don't know who to throw overboard, so the passengers have to make the decision:
    'No, him!'
    'Not me, obviously...I'm far too important. Er...him!'
    'I know, let's form a committee - I'll be the diversity co-ordinator'

    Big Society? Pah!

  • Comment number 35.

    Folk DJ,

    "I am sure all public sector workers would grumble"

    Your idea is not the worst I've ever heard (quite slick, in fact) but "grumble" may be something of an understatement. This sort of "spread the pain" measure would have been slightly easier to push through if the hands on the tiller were still those of Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling, but too late for that now of course ... no real appetite for another election and Gordon has, in any event, retired from the fray. Ah well.

  • Comment number 36.

    looks like the blog police are starting to be cut already

  • Comment number 37.

    Start the cuts with those languishing in local councils, say I.

    In ours they spend millions on the chief executive and plush offices and uniforms (Labour controlled) mayoral cars and opulent events and dinners whilst leaving the roads in an appalling state.

    They also give council workers six weeks off bereavement leave!

    Whatever happened to the old Time and Motion studies? That combined with stringent audits used to sort 'em all out and shake 'em all up.

  • Comment number 38.

    Its interesting to note Nick that if you throw the gauntlet down some one will invariably pick it up, and you will get a good cross section of replys that you had previously forgotten about so perhaps some of the problems we discuss on your blog might be of assistance to the government of the day passed on with no cost involved to them in any way shape or form. owing two the poor state of the economy.

  • Comment number 39.

    #26 If nothing else was done for the last 3 years at least Duff Gordon and co shouls have looked at the overseas aid to see that "value for money" was being achieved.

    Did they not get large donations from a mittal charactor ?

    If the Tax burden in india is lower because of our donations and therefore Mittal can make more money and give to New labour then there should be arrests made against Duff Gordon and co

  • Comment number 40.

    Consulatation is a smokescreen for legitimising the massive cuts they will announce. They will listen, they will consult, and they will then cherry pick the cuts they were already planning and then blame it on the british public.

  • Comment number 41.

    an idea from Canada? wow! it must be brilliant. Not sure government by 'Have your say' is a good idea. The Mod Cons will probably have a list of ideas already and pick out ideas from the public(Tory fanatics) That they already have. Its another clever way of devolving responsibility for what they are going to do. Its a long list.

    You might as well ask Murdoch's parrot for advice.

  • Comment number 42.

    I note someone produced a sliding scale for salary reductions, starting at 1% for 10k increaing by 1% per each 10k............heres the problem with that. A part time worker in a well paid job lets say works 10 hours for their 10k( possibly a 2nd job) would lose 1%. Whereas a full time worker lets say 37 hours, who earns a very modest 20k would lose 3 times as much. How can that be fair?

  • Comment number 43.

    JC @ 6 wrote:
    We, the people of England, have been kicked from pillar-to-post for so long by our politicians that is very hard not to be very sceptical.


    I, a person of England, can honestly say that I have never been kicked by a politician. I don't even feel metaphorically kicked. What on earth are you talking about?

  • Comment number 44.

    Laura 28 and IR35 30,

    Just demonstrating my ability to descend into the mind of an ordinary person. A product of my oft mocked Swindon time.

  • Comment number 45.

    Okay, I will admit that I am a wussy southerner, but when I left school at 16 'life under Thatcher' for me meant a choice of free university education following my A levels or a choice of jobs paying on average £7k a year starting salary. My first house purchase came shortly after but - £70k for a period semi within walking distance of a mainline station, which we also sold on to a first time buyer, current value £180k.

    Now, I'm not here to laud Thatcherism, but can anyone tell me how my kids have even the slightest hope of getting off to the start that I did?

  • Comment number 46.

    Let's start by publishing the detailed costs of quangos over the last 13 years. Then publish how much tax revenue have been lost and given away by favourable tax rules under various nice sounding labels like "investment", non-dom status, etc.

  • Comment number 47.

    Does anyone know if they will publish the results of the consultation?

    Will we get a breakdown of what people wanted by %?

    I hope the will publish everything online. All names and addresses should be published alongside the individuals comments.

    Open & honest as most seem to be calling for. If you don't want your fellow countrymen to know where you stand then your proposal is deleted.

  • Comment number 48.

    27. At 10:48am on 08 Jun 2010, jon112uk wrote:
    4. At 09:08am on 08 Jun 2010, DukeJake wrote:
    Do you think all those "diversity awareness co-ordinators" are going to vote themselves out of a job?

    Horrible thing is I think we are going to be keeping the "diversity awareness co-ordinators" whilst shutting down serious services

    Why is overseas aid protected whilst they are making 'painful' cuts to their own people?


    Let me answer that one for you.

    Because if you cut past the constant whingeing about how hard the workshy people of this country have it, people in other countries are far, far worse off.

    I would be extatic if I felt the majority of my taxes to keep a starving child alive and with medical care, rather than overpaying an irrelevent jobsworth or worthless layabout, or funding ludicrous and unecessary schemes designed to take away choice and inhibit personal freedoms.

    Why do you think a starving child is less worthy of our investment? Because he/ she doesn't live in this country?

    You need to re examine your priorities methinks.

  • Comment number 49.


    If you're looking for a Titanic analogy, I think you'd find that Labour would have built the vessel years late, over budget and without the requisite numbers of lifeboats, which upon striking the iceberg, which the nasty tory demon Thatcher left there floating in the middle of the Atlantic, with the help of the Republican party, they would have all dressed up in womens clothing and been the first in the lifeboats and sailing away into the distance without a word of contrition... leaving the rest stranded and ready to drown...

  • Comment number 50.

    29. At 10:56am on 08 Jun 2010, MarkSOSH wrote:
    #11 - I agree witb you about the amount of money that has been wasted on children. All those leaky roofs that they all used to enjoy about 15 years ago, snatched away by those nasty Labour people. Why should kids be educated in new clean buildings with top class equipment eh?



    Schools 15 years ago were much better than today. They educated our children better, and produced better people.

    You don't know what you are talking about.

  • Comment number 51.

    "This sort of "spread the pain" measure would have been slightly easier to push through if the hands on the tiller were still those of Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling"

    How on earth do you work that out mate? Seriously?

  • Comment number 52.

    43. At 11:48am on 08 Jun 2010, pdavies65 wrote:
    JC @ 6 wrote:
    We, the people of England, have been kicked from pillar-to-post for so long by our politicians that is very hard not to be very sceptical.


    I, a person of England, can honestly say that I have never been kicked by a politician. I don't even feel metaphorically kicked. What on earth are you talking about?


    Clearly you've never tried to egg John Prescott.

  • Comment number 53.

    If one accepts, for the sake of argument, at least, that the indisputably parlous condition of the UK's public finances requires at this juncture an austerity plan such as the UK coalition government is preparing, it may be as well to be acutely aware at the outset that even embarking on such an apparently unavoidable course of action in this case may be unlikely to produce a satisfactory result, at least in the short term, the medium term and even quite some considerable distance into the long term.

    The context in which this policy is to be implemented is crucial, of course. The global financial system not having been subjected to necessary reforms, European governments are digging themselves into the great systemic crisis which began in 2007, as they are now faced with the apparent necessity of implementing rigorous budget-reduction programmes which cannot but open the door to a long economic depression, if the Cassandras of informed economic analysis are to be believed, Professor Nouriel Roubini and Dr Paul Jorion pre-eminently, both of whom predicted the financial crisis long before it happened. In conversation with Dr Jorion at the recent Zermatt summit, Dr Roubini expressed the view that a further serious recession is to be expected and even went so far as to say that there is now a more than 50 per cent chance of a worse crisis than the one experienced in the 1930s.

    European governments are, then, engaged in a process which is considered by respected analysts to amount to creating conditions in which the present crisis will get worse before it can get better. One of the ways in which it will be worse is that these governments are no longer in a position to respond to it in such a way as to cushion their economies and populations against its worst effects to the extent to which they were able to do this at an earlier stage.

    The German and UK governments are promising blood, toil, tears and sweat, as Theodore Roosevelt put it in an address to the US Naval War College in 1897, repeated more memorably by Winston Churchill in the Blighty legislature on May 13th 1940. Backs are up against the wall, in other words, following the decision of the G20 finance ministers not to wait any longer for an economic upturn before getting on with reducing the enormous public debt which their governments took on to an unsustainable degree to rescue financial institutions. This process is being referred to as fiscal consolidation, but, whether you call a spade a shovel or a shovel a spade, it still comes down to the same thing: there is an awful lot of digging to be done, and the hole will get deeper before you can get out of it.

    Not wishing to increase taxes, for reasons which are as well understood as they will be misunderstood, no doubt, Prime Minister Cameron is going to set about reducing government expenditure, proposing cuts in welfare spending and redundancies and salary reductions in the public sector. Unfortunately, maintenance of high levels of government spending and welfare support is a mechanism which has been operated with some success so as to prevent the recession from turning into a depression so far by maintaining a level of demand in the economy which would not otherwise have been possible in the circumstances.

    So, for the time being, Blighty will be going downhill, and the Labour Party will be claiming that this would not have happened if it had remained in office. This claim would be more credible if the credit-rating agencies can be believed to be likely not to downgrade the UK's AAA rating if austerity measures are not now taken and if the Labour Party had accepted the invitation of other parties to form a Progressive Alliance administration instead of withdrawing to the sidelines to complain about measures which its massively flawed stewardship of the UK economy and mishandling of the financial and economic crises have made necessary.

    Certainly, as Mr Cameron has indicated, the Blighty way of life can now be expected to change over a period of years as the UK struggles to put its house in order and to find a way of accommodating itself to its reduced status in the world, as economic power drains away from it to the Continent and from the West to the East, and as political power within the UK is further devolved and diffused, the Labour Party in Scotland already gearing up to work for that outcome and First Minister Salmond preparing to submit his demands for fiscal autonomy and borrowing powers to protect Scotland against the worst effects of the UK austerity plan.

    People are asking where the axe should fall. It will fall all over the place . . . except, perhaps, on the UK's nuclear deterrent, which was already regarded as unaffordable and unnecessary. First Minister Salmond wants Trident out of Scotland, and he will push harder for that now. Why do you want nuclear missiles, anyway? What possible justification can there be for two highly expensive nuclear deterrents sitting alongside one another in the UK and France. It is not as if you need to defend yourself against military aggression from France, after all. Honestly. If reason prevails, the two deterrents will be combined and the costs shared. If reason prevails . . .

  • Comment number 54.

    @ 42 - \i take your point - but the hourly/weekly/monthly/annual pay rates are down to what you do, not how ong you do it.

    A "tithe" on total earnings is the only way forward - unless you start to pay cleaners an hourly rate that is similar to Surgeons...

    You're right in stating a well paid job done for a short time pays more than a lower scale job done for longer hours - but that is simply "the going rate" - a whole other discussion there - differentials are huge nowadays....too big by far.

    Also, for too many years the public sector has pointed to industry to justify Managers/Dept heads salary - and industry points right back, looking at the eholidays/pensions/facilities and we get a spiral of competing claims that results in the leader of our local council (and several senior managers) being paid more to run (relatively) small, local budgest than we pay Cabinet Ministers to do the same job nationally.

    I may be wrong, but if the Parks Dept in Oldham is "harder" rto run than the depsrtment of XXXX, then something is wrong. Overseeing a few dozen schools in a mill town is, I am sure, a full time, skilled and stressfull job......but is it worth more to the public purse than the NATIONAL minister ??

    Then consider how many other Head of XXXXXX are earning six figure sums in every town.......

    But, its where we introduce a sling scale of reductions and claw some back.

  • Comment number 55.

    I think we all knew Cameron's "Big society" was a euphemism for "small state". I for one won't miss the state hoovering up all the tax and wasting it on pet projects, interfering with peoples' lives, adding pointless red tape and creating thousands of non-jobs. In the private sector we've been feeling the pain of the recession for a couple of years now whilst the public sector has been cushioned by borrowing from the labour government (buying votes with borrowed money, in effect). time to feel some of the pain, my public sector friends ;(

  • Comment number 56.

    I can't bring myself to trust wet-behind-the-ears Osborne.

    We're moving towards this country being governed by children and their whimsies/foibles.

  • Comment number 57.

    "44. At 11:55am on 08 Jun 2010, sagamix wrote:
    Laura 28 and IR35 30,

    Just demonstrating my ability to descend into the mind of an ordinary person."

    Ah, those 'ordinary' people. What must it be like to feel that you are above the 'ordinary' person? No doubt you wanted those 'ordinary' people to vote for Brown & Labour but beyond that, you seem to think little of them if you feel you are 'descending' into their minds. One wonders where it is you think you are 'descending 'from.

    I wonder if you call ordinary people 'bigots' when you think the microphone is off?

  • Comment number 58.

    44. At 11:55am on 08 Jun 2010, sagamix wrote:

    Laura 28 and IR35 30,

    Just demonstrating my ability to descend into the mind of an ordinary person. A product of my oft mocked Swindon time.
    Such a descent is not to be taken lightly Saga, its not altogether a pleasant place to be.

    The mind of the ordinary person, I mean, not Swindon... although in fairness, it hardly ranks much higher. Xanadu it aint.

  • Comment number 59.


    So, you're not in favour then, DH? ;-)

  • Comment number 60.

    #44 Just a shame your mate Duff Gordon could not have done that

  • Comment number 61.

    One of the questions to be put to the general public should be similar to the one that Andrew Neil put to the union representative this morning on Daily Politics.

    Do they want £70 billion pounds of their hard earned tax money to be paid to bondholders each year just for lending the government money to pay for public services we cannot afford?

    What public services would they like to keep if we cut the debt and saved those billions of pounds?

    The union representative didn't have an answer but I'm sure many of her union members will have.

    Think how many jobs and businesses could be created with £70 billion pounds.

  • Comment number 62.

    If Osbourne is after ideas, how about making damned sure that everyone pays the correct amount of tax, and that all the clever little loopholes that those at the top of the tree utilise to make sure they pay as little as possible are closed off.

    And when Cameron says that 'we're all in this together', let him and the other millionaires in the cabinet demonstrate exactly how they are paying the same proportion of their income, and suffering the same proportional loss of services as the rest of us lesser mortals.

    Then they need to face down all the whingers moaning about CGT going up. These are people who have borrowed money to buy properties and then only want to pay 10% tax on the benefits when they come to sell.

  • Comment number 63.

    Why not cut child benefit for the third & subsequent children? We need to rein in our population explosion anyway, so why encourage scroungers to have endless children with limitless benefits?

  • Comment number 64.

    Good idea. Shame about the timing. We needed to do this before the Budget. Apologies if this repeats other posts.

    One problem to address is the vested political interest in certain areas of the public sector. I suspect that doing away with any area of expenditure will naturally provoke outrage, protests and, possibly disruption and demonstration. *

    It is interesting that GO is planning to do the cuts via a 'Star Chamber' committee. Do I recall the Canadian cuts were carried out by one person and that the success was, in part, down to that. Committees can be split, distracted, diverted, bo outsiders' 'cases' but even by themselves. An individual who is geared to produce cuts and says NO is not quite so vulnerable.

    The 'Star Chamber' was tried, if I recall correctly, by Thatcher and its success was somewhat limited.

    * As I post R4 WATO is rolling out a line of folk saying "You can't cut this!".

  • Comment number 65.

    I am a government employed Blue Sky Thinking Consultant and I sincerely hope the Tories will not cut funding for our organisation "My Blue Sky". We help people think clearly, and utilise such methods as lying on your back and indeed looking at the blue sky to assist in the decision making process. I even have a degree from the University of Creative Arts and Designs.

    Only kidding. They can all rot!

  • Comment number 66.

    #43 I have been metaforically kicked by many politicians of the ZaNU_Liebour variety for being a just being a decent "father"

  • Comment number 67.

    "29. At 10:56am on 08 Jun 2010, MarkSOSH wrote:
    #11 - I agree witb you about the amount of money that has been wasted on children. All those leaky roofs that they all used to enjoy about 15 years ago, snatched away by those nasty Labour people. Why should kids be educated in new clean buildings with top class equipment eh?"

    i've asked around amongst people educated during the 1980's & 1990's. None can remember a leaking roof. I'm sure that there were one or two. Probably still are.

    What is clear is that we are falling down international educational tables. Well below the levels achieved 15 or 20 years ago.

    Could it be that a new book every 5 minutes isn't as important as a teacher not bogged down with endless red-tape?

  • Comment number 68.

    where is Duff Gordon , though he wouls at least be defending his position or was it that he had no trunks on after all

  • Comment number 69.

    A young first year teacher told me how upset she was that she'd been told that she was expected to take six days sick leave although she wasn't sick.

    This was something that had been negotiated by her union.

    What on earth is going on in the public services and how many of these sicky days are taken overall and at what cost?

    Perhaps its time the union representatives came out of denial and took a few lessons in affordability.

  • Comment number 70.


    Interesting, but with two quandries.

    First, you say about sustaining the level of demand that would otherwise not have been there. Fine, all well and good, almost like keeping a patient on a life support system. Unless you're happy for it to lie there like a cabbage for the rest of its days, at some point, you're going to have to let the patient breathe for itself.

    Secondly the progressive alliance. Sorry, but it would have been such a hotch potch, based on the same arguably discredited political theology that it could never have worked, nothing would ever have been agreed and the same situation would have resulted. Lots of digging and maybe even longer before you saw any benefits from it. You're already saying it that Salmond is preparing to submit demands in an attempt to shield Scotland from the austerity package that the rest of us will have to face. It would never have worked.

    Regardless of where Trident is based, I happen to agree with you on that front. Such a decision would mean a major rethinking of the UK's position in the world and we should be ready to accept that and move on. Giving the Scots and the Welsh full independence and therefore fiscal autonomy, likewise. No point beating around the bush, time to get on with it and let them go.

  • Comment number 71.

    I'll tell you one place where the axe should fall.

    Pre-moderators on BBC News blogs, thats where.

    You wait for upto three hours, on a daily basis, for your thoughts and utterances to be "moderated", something they dont even do on other blogs in the same organisation, whilst they're on endless fag breaks and even then, you end up being subjected to in house censorship.

    Sack the bloody lot of them, I say.

  • Comment number 72.

    "56. At 12:38pm on 08 Jun 2010, doctor bob wrote:
    I can't bring myself to trust wet-behind-the-ears Osborne.

    We're moving towards this country being governed by children and their whimsies/foibles."

    A sign, I am afraid, that you are getting old. Osborne is 43. At the same age:

    Cromwell when the English civil war started.
    Napoleon had been French emperor for 5 years.
    Anatoly Karpov was world chess champion
    JF Kennedy was US president.
    Tony Blair was leader of the opposition.

    What are you looking for? a bunch of geriatrics with no interest in the country's future because they won't be in it?

    Never mind, time to start really worrying is when judges start to look young.

  • Comment number 73.

    GHM @ 52 wrote:
    Clearly you've never tried to egg John Prescott.


    You're absolutely right.

    (Just thought I'd take this once-in-a-lifetime chance to respond to one of your posts in that way.)

    By the way, I hope you've been well. Haven't posted for a while, have you? Or maybe I missed a few.

  • Comment number 74.

    1. At 08:31am on 08 Jun 2010, jon112uk wrote

    Given unemployment is nearer 5 million in the UK today (all those 'sickness benefit claimants'? than 3 million, where would those jobs come from?

    At LEAST another 2 million public-sector workers need to lose their jobs within 12 months if we are going to get our economy movng again.

  • Comment number 75.

    I lived in Canada all through the 70s, 80s and 90. I experienced what Trudeau did to Canada - spent recklessly, massively increased the federal government ("A strong central government", he called it), and brought in vast numbers of third world immigrants to bolster the federal Liberals vote (nothing wrong with immigrants per se - Canada is a country of immigrants - but these were people with no education, no job prospects, etc, while people with needed skills from developed countries were denied entry).

    Sound familar? So a huge re-alignment of the economy was certainly required, especially once Canada's public debt was downgraded to junk status, and the CAD$ sunk to under USD$0.60. Nowhere to go but up!

    But one thing I can say - the massive pain was actually not that bad! Yes, our garbage was collected every two weeks (and we had to buy a tag for each bag collected), our roads did deteriorate after each winter more than usual, we did cut back on foreign aid (take note Mr Cameron), and it took 3 weeks instead of one week to get a passport. But we soon adjusted - became more self-sufficient, more careful how we drove over bad roads, conserved more and became less wasteful, and so on. In short, we survived.

  • Comment number 76.

    #53 Concorde, Sepecat Jaguar but not Tornaso or EFA because the French
    wanted control of the important parts, which a totally agree with just they should be in UK hands.

    We should Pull all UK defence sites out of scotland see how samond likes that then.

    Me thinks that the reason labour pulled out of the "PA" was that the game was up for them and did not wanted to be associated with cuts worse than thatcher etc.

    And thats where DC was wrong he could have held out and forced the PA into governement and then the do the cuts where there would have been a 14/10/2010 election. we would have been another 5 months with more labour choas and spending called cuts , I resone that he put country first and is going to try a sort the mess passed on by Duff Gordon,

    where is MR Brown defending what ?

  • Comment number 77.

    what should be publsihed is a detailed breakdown of spending per
    county,region and constituency and determine why some areas are favoured over others

  • Comment number 78.

    I should like to see a detailed cost-benefit examination of the activities of the Forestry Commission with a view to closing them down or substantialy reducing their size, or terms of reference. They fail the public in taking action against developers that infinge Regulations concerning the amount of timber that can be felled without seeking prior permission of the Forestry Commission.

    A recent response to me by their Director concerning the reported illegal felling of trees - i.e. exceeding 5 cu m per quarter without prior permission - was that the Regulation was introduced during WW2 and was no longer appropriate. The Regulation had not been repealed and it is not in the gift of the Forestry Commission to mis-apply the Regulation regarding the limit on legal felling. Nevertheless, after remonstration they sent two officers to measure and confirm that the felling had exceeded the legal maximum by a substantial amount. However, there was no action taken to apply a suitable penalty on the perpetrator - such as replanting trees felled - despite having been supplied with comprehensive photographic evidence of the extent of the felling (ca 40 mature trees).

    I suspect that this is the tip of a very expensive and unchallenged iceberg that begs to be evaluated in a cost-benefit assessment with a view to identifying a further contribution to reducing the national debt at this time either by narrowing the terms of reference of the Forestry Commission, or removing the cost burden of their continued and ineffectual existence.

  • Comment number 79.


    "How on earth do you work that out mate? Seriously?"

    Well, because Labour are naturally more public sector friendly (too much so, say some - wrongly) and thus would be better placed to get away with things like cutting public sector pay & benefits. It's like if I'm walking along the High Street with a bag of roast chestnuts - pretend it's winter for a second - and somebody swoops in and steals one, I'm going to be more sanguine about that if it turns out to be my best friend and he's done it with a jaunty grin, as opposed to it being some guy I don't like to start with - have never liked - and who's now giving me a unsavoury gesture.

  • Comment number 80.

    #"# 2. At 08:47am on 08 Jun 2010, BringOnLauraKuenssberg wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules."
    Or because the mods decided that the user name might offend Nick?

    post this if you dare, mods!

  • Comment number 81.

    How many billions did the previous government spend on their stockpile of "Swine Flu" vaccine which never got used?

    Perhaps they can flog it all to China.

  • Comment number 82.

    You don't need state of the art school rooms or even indoor toilets to produce geniuses.

    The schools I went to had none of that. What they DID have was brilliant teachers and brilliant parents. That cost nothing.

    Most of the children did fantastically well and went on to become very happy and successful adults.

  • Comment number 83.

    Stop the likes of the Beckhams and others in their bracket from receiving child benefit - it is am embarrassment to them to receive it.

    Stop the likes of David Dimbleby and others in his bracket receiving winter fuel allowance. It is an embarrassment to them to receive it.

    Everybody knew the above years ago, except of course the previous government who liked to play fast and loose with public money in order, they thought, to gain popularity.

  • Comment number 84.

    Call Me Dave has said we are all in this together so it's hardly surprising he wants to involve 'ordinary people'.

    So lets fast forward a few months when the 'ordinary people' have made their views known. Kicked into touch comes to mind but at least the 'ordinary people' will have been consulted.

    Call Me Dave can then say look what happens when you involve 'ordinary people' but at least they've had their say.

    We all know why the 'ordinary people' will be consulted. This sham of a Government does'nt have a mandate and will have to be nice the 'ordinary people' for a wee while anyway.

  • Comment number 85.

    In one huge national company I worked for (household name and very successful to this day) all the staff were encouraged to enter into a suggestions scheme. Those whose ideas were adopted to save the company money - be it from saving on stationery and running costs, to various procedures on the working methods, maintenance and fabric of the building, you name it were given an M and S voucher.

    I can tell you it brought forth a flowering of wonderful ideas for cost efficiency savings.

  • Comment number 86.

    #64 seems like the Labour propganda machine is going into overdrive,

    you should have seen kirsty Walk on Newsnight last week going on about the overseas development aid budget and india and china , as if this had not been happening in the previosu 13 years.

    BBC should be ashamed

  • Comment number 87.

    50. At 12:21pm on 08 Jun 2010, greatHayemaker wrote:


    Schools 15 years ago were much better than today. They educate our children better, and produced better people.

    You don't know what you are talking about."

    'They educate our children better'!!!???

    Like you, you mean!!!

    Thanks greatHayemaker, that's superb stuff - beyond parody!

  • Comment number 88.

    how about cuts to the moderation time

  • Comment number 89.

    andy @ heinz

    "you seem to think little of them if you feel you are 'descending' into their minds. One wonders where it is you think you are 'descending' from."

    No, I didn't mean it that way. Not from On High or anything - Campo Correcto is only slightly above sea level. Just enough to prevent a flood risk. No, it's more a simple exercise in empathy; it's the ability to "go in". Samantha Cameron, for example, nobody would call her an ordinary person, but I can get in there too ... right now she's thinking about all this "surprise" from her husband (about the deficit), and this urge to "consult" the public, and she's wondering what on earth happened to the man she married.

  • Comment number 90.

    Whilst it will take time to weed out unwanted/un-necessary QUANGOS why not make the max. salary £50k for members and restrict them to only one salary even if they work on more than one group. This would save the country a tremendous amount whilst the Gov't deals with over 1100 of these expensive organisations!

  • Comment number 91.

    Des Lavender @ 63 wrote:
    Why not cut child benefit for the third & subsequent children? We need to rein in our population explosion anyway, so why encourage scroungers to have endless children with limitless benefits?


    I agree that couples should not have more children than they can afford to support. But poor families who have three children despite this measure would be that much poorer, wouldn't they? And the children would suffer, not just the parents. Are you totally at ease with that consequence?

  • Comment number 92.


    "Giving the Scots and the Welsh full independence. No point beating around the bush, time to get on with it and let them go."

    Scotland and Wales would have to vote for that. Doubtful at present.

  • Comment number 93.

    There seem to be a moderation colleration between blogs that are friendly to labour ie they get through fast or once that are not that get through much much slower, to the point where it is almost pointless
    posting anything, which in itself favour labour.

    Ie most on this blog today seem to favour and understand the need for Cuts which is why is is running slow

    its a sinister form of sensorship one of many employed by the BBC another is "balance" when it suits them

  • Comment number 94.

    Nick R speaks about Cameron emulating Canada with these cuts, but Cameron will not be popular for it, as the Canadian prime minister who implemented the cuts in Canada was.
    This country has a serious problem with tribalism in politics. "Tory cuts" and "back to the 80's" betray a childish way of thinking.
    What people should be saying is; "How can we as a country cut effectively and prudently?" and "How did this situation come about so we can prevent it in future"

    Furthermore, in my humble opinion, a few places for the person with the scissors to start:
    - QUANGO's - bred out of laziness, now pointless
    - Overseas aid - if we can't afford our own bill, why are we picking up other countries'?
    - Increase the price of alcohol in supermarkets only - protects the normal bloke having a social pint, yet curbs binge drinking
    - Make community service a requirement to claim Jobseekers - will flush out the scroungers, and can save a bit of cash for councils.

    Won't pay off the whole bill, but they came off the top of my head

  • Comment number 95.

    One of the great failings of every government is to recognise when a job is done or at least almost done. Often extra staff are needed when a new initiative or direction is being introduced, but once it is up and running the size of the staff needed can be reduced. What in fact happens is that these staff generate tweaks and minor changes with the intention of improving things. These improvements are genuine but are they really necessary or cost effective?

    I'm taking over the H&S responsibility for a local voluntary group. All the necessary proceedures are satisfactory, but it has taken me some time to check it all as there was a lack of transparency and clarity. This is no longer an issue. I now have a choice do I leave well alone or do I justify my existence by running a tea cup stacking course because a cup fell off the draining board narrowly missing someone's toes?

    As a volunteer the answer is simple. But if it was my livlihood with increasing unemployment I am not so sure what my actions would be.

    My other thought is about 'sharing your pain'. For example: It is quite right that the government car pool is being reduced in size. But having the experience of sitting down with a driver who has given 20 years of his life to a job and telling him/her that they are no longer needed would be an experience that all our political leaders should have.

  • Comment number 96.

    "62. At 1:06pm on 08 Jun 2010, MarkSOSH wrote:
    If Osbourne is after ideas, how about making damned sure that everyone pays the correct amount of tax, and that all the clever little loopholes that those at the top of the tree utilise to make sure they pay as little as possible are closed off."

    My job is to make sure people pay the right amount of tax, so I welcome your support.

    Incidently, what 'loopholes' are you referring to? Or did you just hear the word on the radio? It seems of late that any tax law the Government (both the last and this) don't like, they describe as a 'loophole'.

  • Comment number 97.

    48. At 12:19pm on 08 Jun 2010, greatHayemaker
    (Overseas aid ring-fenced whilst UK spending cut)

    "...Why do you think a starving child is less worthy of our investment? Because he/ she doesn't live in this country?...."

    Yes. Quite simply I think that starving child is the responsibility of their own government, not ours.

    I also acknowledge your counter-argument.

    However, if Cameron and co. believe foreigners are more important than the people of their own country, then do not tell me that they are showing 'change' from the political correctness of labour.

    They sound like the worst possible combination: Thatcher's economics and labour's political correctness.

  • Comment number 98.

    71. At 1:58pm on 08 Jun 2010, BringOnLauraKuenssberg wrote:
    I'll tell you one place where the axe should fall.

    Pre-moderators on BBC News blogs, thats where.

    Sack the bloody lot of them, I say.

    I think pre-moderation is automatic - just scanning for rude words such as **D***C***G etc. It's later moderation that often takes a long time these days.
    If we sack the bloody lot of them, there won't be a blog at all though, will there? Nowhere for the wit, fantasy, cynicism, hatred, Robin's grunts, the occasional insight or relevant comment.
    And we've just had the blog up for a whole week with someone moderating it fairly promtly day and night.
    Perhaps Mr Grumpy's got his hat on today? Mmmmm?

  • Comment number 99.

    # 29 Mark, I'm talking about my kids, not some nonsense about children sapping the country dry. Why should my kids be given free books when our house is awash with them? Why do I need a childrens' bond when I can afford to save for my children already? Why do I get endless reams of paper from the Govt telling me what my kids should and shouldn't be eating when actually I know that already? Why do I need to tell my local authority what activites my kids do outside of school?

    Sure Start - great idea. So why has been expanded so that instead of targeting those who need it, the middle classes are taking advantage of its services for free?

    I would much rather that instead of getting free books and 'free' money (actually part of my tax take given back to me with bells on), that my taxes were used to go to those kids who really do need assistance, to those families who don't have books and can never save. We don't need Govt. handouts and it is to the shame of this country that whilst me and mine were having cash chucked at us there were children still living - and dying - in poverty.

  • Comment number 100.

    Foolishly, I assumed that government's were elected to govern. Now it seems we are to be consulted on every 'difficult' decision no doubt to free the Tory's of any blame - much as they have done with the Lib Dems.
    I suppose the next 'consultation' will be when someone is found guilty of murder and the Home Secretary appears on the steps of the Old Bailey and asks "shall we hang him or lock him up?"


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