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Spending Review: Councils take the brunt

Nick Robinson | 12:53 UK time, Wednesday, 20 October 2010

The chancellor has just announced cuts in council spending by over a quarter over four years. He also announced that he was removing ring-fenced grants. It reminds me of the old Whitehall saying: "Governments with money centralise and claim the credit, those without decentralise and spread the blame".

Update 13:05: A fair cop?

Police budgets are to be cut by 14% over four years but the chancellor says his "aim is to avoid any reduction in the visibility and availability of police on our streets". That will only happen if the police agree to massive changes to cuts in their overtime and radical changes to their working practices.

I note that the chancellor is using annual cuts rather than four-year cumulative figures and that he is refusing to predict implied job losses - except that is for endorsing the document seen in Danny Alexander's car yesterday which repeats the Office of Budget Responsibility forecast of 490,000 public-sector job losses over four years.

Update 13:06: Carry on working

The chancellor's big surprise announcement is that the state pension age will rise for both men and women to 66 starting in 2020. This is actually later that George Osborne proposed in his "age of austerity" speech as shadow chancellor at the Tory conference in 2009 when he proposed that this change would begin in 2016.

This raises no money in this Parliament or this Spending Review. It hits women particularly hard. Perhaps that's why he favoured delay.

Update 13:13: Welfare cuts

The chancellor's announced a series of complex welfare cuts raising £7bn. It's worth remembering that £7bn is equivalent to £1,000 taken from seven million people so it will hurt a lot of people.

Just one example, the 12-month limit to those living on "sickness benefit" who are not deemed incapable of work will, in particular, hit older men who used to be in manual jobs who think they've paid their "stamps" - national insurance contributions - to be on a benefit other than the dole.

Update 13:38: The Department of Communities and Local Government says council "funding" is to be reduced by a quarter, not council "spending" since councils also have funding from council tax. They tell me that spending will fall by about 14% once you add that in.

Update 13:41: The big winner is...

Other than the NHS and overseas aid the big winner of this Spending Review is the schools budget in England.

Having said that "winning" means a departmental cut of "only" 3.4% in real terms over four years and only ensures that "spending per pupil does not fall". My post last Friday pointed out that, nevertheless, some schools may lose whilst others gain.

This was the meant to be the rabbit pulled from the chancellor's hat.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Councils are very good at spending other peoples money and taking the credit for success. They will simply take more money from those who live and work in their area. They can pretty much do what they like now that the gov has removed all sorts of checks and measures.

  • Comment number 2.

    why do we have to do all the cutting while the people making these disicion have made money by moveing there money to other countries too avoid paying taxes in this country get them to pay their way too not just the working /middle class

  • Comment number 3.

    Expect Labour to make big gains on Tories and Lib Dems elected to these councils when services become fewer and more costly.

  • Comment number 4.

    Good speech (politically) so far. I haven't learned anything that I didn't already know yet. Isn't it time to stop all these decisions being trailed so far in advance?

    Save some money on political commentators I think.

  • Comment number 5.

    Here come the shrouds and bleeding stumps. Up the revolution brothers!!

  • Comment number 6.

    While taking away council funding, Osborne just announced the UK will begin using Tax Increment Financing- local authorities fund projects by securing debt on future income growth (from Business Rates). Councils might have to cut stapler bills, but this could kick-start local infrastructure development.

  • Comment number 7.

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

  • Comment number 8.

    Yep, pretty cynical.

    Shift responsibility for a large section of what used to be in the NHS - old people - to the councils, then claim the councils are spending too much money and slash their budgets. At a later point, blame the wicked councils for all the old folk living in squalour.

    Meanwhile bertie doesn't want to cut anything essential like foreign aid or payments to the EU. Good judgement?

  • Comment number 9.

    I am very pleased to find no cuts in the science budget, notwithstanding my displeasure with much else in the higher education reforms.

  • Comment number 10.

    spell out what this means for women? I'll be 60 Feb 2011

  • Comment number 11.

    The first post must have been written by someone in central government who has been out of the real world for 30 years. Local Government have already been cut to the bone and the pips are squeaking. Any further cuts will reduce services. "Spending other people's money" means looking after you and your relatives when they are in need, collecting your rubbish, keeping your privileged environment up to the standard you expect, and educating your children. Hide behind your rainbow and criticise others.

  • Comment number 12.

    7#

    Hope you've got your bags of popcorn ready Saga, looks like postie is going to tick all your boxes and reprise all your favourite soundbites.

  • Comment number 13.

    Another brilliant response by Alan Johnson. A masterful appointment by Ed Miliband.

  • Comment number 14.

    Saga @ 7

    Oh dear - seems you're out of luck. Lots of wind and no progressiveness.

  • Comment number 15.

    "3. At 1:12pm on 20 Oct 2010, Thom Brooks wrote:
    Expect Labour to make big gains on Tories and Lib Dems elected to these councils when services become fewer and more costly."

    Only if people forget it was Labour's idiotic policies that led us into this mess.

    Only if people forget that on top of proflogate spending by central Government, Council Tax rose by an average of over 110% under Labour 1997-2010 (RPI during the same priod 41%).

    Only if voters really do miss their council's "5-a-Day Proactivity Health Co-ordinator"

    Only if there are a lot of voters wearing those lovely rose tinted 'look back' spectacles they hand out in academia.

  • Comment number 16.

    An increase in rail fares? Is this man serious? How can people possibly afford to pay more than the already ridiculously priced fares? Money being spent on roads, roads, roads. No investment in railways. Idiotic.

    Encouraging, though, to hear the amounts being invested in green technologies and a green bank. Interesting idea; has this been done elsewhere?

  • Comment number 17.

    Saga - still nothing but wind....

  • Comment number 18.

    "5. At 1:16pm on 20 Oct 2010, Fubar_Saunders wrote:
    Here come the shrouds and bleeding stumps. Up the revolution brothers!!"

    With the loudest baying from the left coming from the comfortably off left-wing inteligensia worried that the Ibsen season at the local theatre won't be subsidised by the council next year and they'll have to pay full price for their interval drinks.

  • Comment number 19.

    Sounds like cuts to prisons etc forecast in the leaks are correct.

    Thousands of criminals set free to offend again - all to finance massive wealth transfer to the spivs who fund the tories.

    Oops.

    Makes you wish you lived in a gated community.

  • Comment number 20.

    Postie is hammering Gideon! - gee whizz, it's a total mismatch. Still, the Chancellor has a heavy cold (I think*) so maybe we shouldn't read too much into it.

    * or let's hope he has, anyway, since we're all in trouble if this is him at 100% capacity.

  • Comment number 21.

    AndyC555:

    The only lunacy to be found is in the pages of today's spending review.

  • Comment number 22.

    "The chancellor has taken a "reckless gamble with people's livelihoods", claims Mr Johnson"

    As a former postman, it seems that Mr Johnson is living up to sterotypes by delivering the message 4 years late.

  • Comment number 23.

    13 Thom Brooks

    Another brilliant response by Alan Johnson. A masterful appointment by Ed Miliband.

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

    OBN on the way!

  • Comment number 24.

    Well, well the cat's out of the bag. All we had to do is scoop the £20billions a year in NHS savings and scrap Trident(and find other savings of £20-25billions a year*).

    Instead we are going to have 490,000 unemployed.


    At the last estimate, £16billions for Crossrail doesn't look good value. (*Efficiency savings from 25 different sources could be found at £1 billion each.E.g. Crime is down so less paperwork and police prescence is required)

    The last govt spent a fortune of billions getting the waiting lists down. Now the NHS has much less people to treat there should have been at least this level in savings.

    Clearly then, not all of us ''are in this together''.

    Trident ??

    Imagine going up to your employer, porridge bowl in hand, and asking for an extra £100/week, or £5k a year.

    Why ?? ''Well (according to the govt) we don't know what the world economy will look like in 20/50 years time.''

    This is the argument ascribed to Trident.
    How would your employer react ?? Isn't the govt an employer as well ??

    It's a perpetually immature argument because it has no ending.

    'Why, perhaps in a 100 years time, the Martians might come back...''.

    ...the foolocracy remains.

  • Comment number 25.

    11. At 1:34pm on 20 Oct 2010, ElbowofGod wrote:
    "The first post must have been written by someone in central government who has been out of the real world for 30 years. Local Government have already been cut to the bone and the pips are squeaking. Any further cuts will reduce services. "Spending other people's money" means looking after you and your relatives when they are in need, collecting your rubbish, keeping your privileged environment up to the standard you expect, and educating your children. Hide behind your rainbow and criticise others."

    And surely you work for a council if you think they're efficient and fair with their charging and spending.

    Councils have been charging ever larger bills to leaseholders and businesses, at a time when everyone needs to be cutting back. They often try to get away with charging for work and services in a way they are not entitled to do.

    Of course they have every right to charge for the services you mention and funding for such things should be protected if not increased. But the way ni which they gather such funding is deeply unfair and needs to be closely scrutinised, something which now won't happen apart from the occasional election.

  • Comment number 26.

    Saga - not a single statement from Johnson on cuting the deficit. Oh dear.

  • Comment number 27.

    Some serious wind-up merchants on here this afternoon...

  • Comment number 28.

    Of course local government can make savings. In the last year we have been visited twice by Environmental and H&S inspectors.Both times we had two officials on routine visits,when it only needed one. We even had the police call in by twos for local youth disorder when only one was required. Stop sending councillors away on junkets,twinning with numerous overseas cities, ours spent over a million pounds last year on expenses alone. We shall now see the 6 figure salaries of top executives being earned.

  • Comment number 29.

    7. At 1:18pm on 20 Oct 2010, sagamix wrote:

    From where I'm sitting (on a beanbag in my ante room), Chancellor Osborne has the look of someone reading something he doesn't really understand. Would prefer someone a little more on the ball in charge at such an important time. Hopefully, Alan Johnson will be better. Let's see.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I refer you to the response by Alan Johnson; not much financial content in there I feel. Johnson may understand politics and argument (he was a postal worker so he should) but there was not much grip on economics.

    No alternatives given within his emotive language, excellent politics, well played to his gallery but little to suggest that the shadow would make a good lead.

  • Comment number 30.

    Good review and a sensible long term approach.

    Only the socialists and the unions will find something impractical in this. But their record for practicality and reason has never been any good.

    A fair and decisive plan.

  • Comment number 31.

    Saga at 20

    'Postie is hammering Gideon!'

    I'll bet my (declining) pension that there isn't a paper in the land that gives that summary tomorrow - I hope you'll be honest enough to admit it or provide the link to show that I'm wrong

  • Comment number 32.

    Well, now we know. Many tough choices have had to be made, and I think that the Chancellor has been very fair in his attempt to spread the pain as evenly as possible. Still think though that the NHS spending should be looked at because I am sure that there are saving to be made without affecting services. The totally irresponsible spending spree by Brown to try and buy the election has cost this country dearly.

  • Comment number 33.

    This is more right -wing politicking....we are NOT 'all in it together'...it was the tory-class bankers that got the whole world into a mess with their fantasy money schemes...they've kept their ill-gotten gains while we foot the bill...and, as usual, the Tories (Thatcherite & very right-wing!)are indulging in their brand of class war by protecting their own whilst attacking the most vulnerable & implementing 'social darwinism'. At presnt , the whole political elite is despicable & what this country requires is a revolution...just like evry other European country had in the last 200 years. Perhaps then.we'd have a level playing field & a sense of citizenship;not being kept in fear by an 'aristocracy' of greed & self-interest.

  • Comment number 34.

    "The coalition says Labour is not keen to say what it would cut.

    Mr Johnson also says for the first time Labour would back moves to ring-fence the NHS budget - a position the previous Health Secretary Andy Burnham has criticised."

    Oh yes, excellent job by Mr J. It's either no details of his own policies or agreement with the Coalition's in direct contradition to his own party's predessesor.

  • Comment number 35.

    well good on all the comments but still nobody getting off their backsides to demonstrate - married no kids I pay towards it all I see no benefit for me to even vote - unless you have children are claiming some benefit you will feel it - hello I am already here.

  • Comment number 36.

    Why in a modern society does the objective of having equal retirement ages for men and women by 2020!! "hit women particularly hard?" I think retiring 5 years earlier and living 5 years longer has been a good deal for women over the years to which men could ultimately aspire to.
    Regrettably the goal posts are now being moved in the opposite direction. I can't see how forcing men to work to 66 hits them any less hard or is my maths a little off beam??

  • Comment number 37.

    Postie reduced to reading pre-prepared soundbites as the 'cuts' are 19% - and Darling was going to cut by 20%

    So - Coaltion cuts by 5% (one twentieth) LESS than Labour were planning to do (all details completely missing, of course!).

    And that does not include the additional £14 billion that was to be spent on an MoD college in Wales.

    Mind-boggling stuff.

    Just wait until a Council shuts a library or Old People's Home, whilst still awarding their CEO twice Cameron's salary......

    The butchery HAS to come within Council HQs and begin at the top - anything else will lead to taxpayer's revolting at the next opportunity at the ballot-box and hanging the Socialists out to dry (preferably in public and by the short and curlies!)

  • Comment number 38.

    Good point about presentation of cuts as each year, a year or annual, rather than aggregated over 4 years. I don't get then why you are reporting on TV cuts as headlines showing each year rather than the full impact over the relevant years. It is confusing and I am sure many people will just think oh well it is only 4% a year and that is all they will pick up on - you should be going out of your way to make it clearer. I doubt too your constant references to over a Parliament will resonate much with people, loads of people won't know what that timescale is - just use plain English and say the number of years involved. I think that way then viewers will be much clearer as to the extent of the cuts.

    Would also be useful to show more clearly whether cuts are real terms or after an inflation overlay? Is say 4% a year for 4 years 16% or, if inflation is at 2% a year more like 24% in real terms if not included or 8% in cash terms if it is included. Again, think making that really clear will help everyone understand the impact area by area, which can easily be lost in the big aggregate figure that keeps going up each year over the 4 years.

  • Comment number 39.

    It is very disingenuous to say the NHS budget is being protected, one might even call it a blantant mistruth. The NHS is already having to put cuts in place to deliver £20 billion of savings that were demanded of it from before the General Election. This is resulting in significant management cost savings having to be found and already staff are being lost across the board. Add into the mix the current plans to scrap PCTs and SHAs in favour of GP Commissioning Consortia and the NHS will be contributing to the 490,000 public sector job losses, and an increased demand on the JSA benefit budget.

    Let no-one kid you that the NHS is immune from the cuts, we've just had to start them earlier than everyone else.

  • Comment number 40.

    Find myself despairing at Ed Miliband and Alan Johnson. Some good points made by both but this was an opportunity to hit a home run with the material just afforded them by Osborne's rampant ideological vandalism.

    I cannot help think that Miliband D. and Balls E. would have lasered the many grey areas of piffle apparent in that pathetic Spending Review statement.

  • Comment number 41.

    The appointment of Lord Hutton to review pensions and Labours choice of a completely inadequate shadow chancellor added to the way we have all been prepared for what was coming look like bloody good PR for the Tories and a terrible mistake by Labour.

    The public understand cuts were coming and were necessary (all parties agknowledge this) but not whether the quantum being proposed is needed. By not offering any kind of outline of why the quantum of the cuts will be damaging and that he would have introduced less agreesive measures at least on some key departmental areas (all would be unrealistic from opposition I think) he has no credibility. Suggesting we just cary on and things will work themselves out as its a reduction in tax receipts led us here ignores that its fairly unlikely in real terms we will be back to that level of receipts any time soon.

    I suspect the shadow chancellors hands are tioed by his leader and his parties repositioning closer to the unions again. Isay that as suggesting the cuts you would make would add weight to that proportion being necessary and in reality the unions are arguing little if any change is needed, I understand them wanting to do so its what they are therefore to protect there members but if thats whats tying labour hands they'll pay big time in the long run.

    Might be wrong but there arguements look weak and trying to tie in outside factors that may be leading to it as can't believe for a second they don't have plenty talented guys behind the scenes analysing the spending situation.

  • Comment number 42.

    The interesting point of the extent to which 'front line' services can exist without adequate funding for council based 'back office' was addressed today as if it hasn't already happened and as if you can't find the evidence to see the impact. For example, if your child is in a state school and has dyslexia, autism or a learning difficult they are taught by the front line teacher, however, the training, support and diagnosis will come from a team including an Educational Psychologist working for the council. Educational Psychology Services have been (in anticipation of the budget) savagely cut and in many councils are effecively privatised. Training for Educational Psychologists has been frozen (so none will be trained this year) and in some LEAs there is a two year waiting list.

  • Comment number 43.

    20. sagamix
    'Postie is hammering Gideon! - gee whizz, it's a total mismatch. Still, the Chancellor has a heavy cold (I think*) so maybe we shouldn't read too much into it.
    * or let's hope he has, anyway, since we're all in trouble if this is him at 100% capacity.'

    Certainly nowhere near as soporific as Darling but unfortunately far less gravitas and substance.

  • Comment number 44.

    The chancellor's announcement regarding applying a twelve month maximum time limit will add further confusion for those applying or receiving this benefit. It is already poorly administered by dwp and the reliance on ATOS in conducting medical assessments has lead to many genuine disabled applicants being wrongly assessed as ' Limited Capability' for work and having to go through a stressful appeals process.

    It is already a farcical benefit system which is not fairly applied.

    What then is the chancellor suggesting will happen after 12 months to the genuine disabled who are in this middle benefit ESA group?

  • Comment number 45.

    At 1:12pm on 20 Oct 2010, Thom Brooks

    Brooksie old boy, now what would a Yank know?? : P

    My concern will be the implications behind removing restrictions on the ability of Councils to borrow - I sincerely hope they are more reserved than our national government. Indebted councils + removed restrictions on rates = hefty increases in Council Tax.

    Let's not forget the impact of public sector job losses in local areas - less people in work means more people claiming JSA and not paying rates.

  • Comment number 46.

    "sagamix wrote:

    From where I'm sitting (on a beanbag in my ante room)"

    Your mum's ante room.

    Your mum's beanbag?

    Why would anyone think you were sat on anything else? A product of a long gone era which now only a few drop-outs and students are adherants of.

    Don't get too comfortable, you may need your mum's help to get back up.

  • Comment number 47.

    "27. At 2:01pm on 20 Oct 2010, Fubar_Saunders wrote:
    Some serious wind-up merchants on here this afternoon..."

    No doubt flung on here by Labour central office.

    If they still have an office. Probably Labour central beanbag by now.

  • Comment number 48.

    "It's worth remembering that £7bn is equivalent to £1,000 taken from seven million people". Nick, do us a favour and, instead of showing us how to do basic arithmetic, would you please do some research and lay out for us to what extent this reverses/eliminates the public spending increases that Labour brought in since they came to power? I appreciate that pointing out that "will hurt a lot of people" is nice and glib and doesn't require any effort on your part (other than the ability to divide a round seven figure number by 1,000) but it would be nice to know whether, after that £7bn cut, the amount of money we spend on welfare is still far larger (in real terms) than it was in 1996.

    KTHX!

  • Comment number 49.

    My multi-millionaire former landlord (private sector) will be so pleased to see that his winter fuel allowance hasn't been scrapped. What with the 2-3 foreign holidays he takes every year the extra spending money will really help. "We're all in this together" - my foot!

  • Comment number 50.

    Suck it up people. Two terms of Labour incompetancy with very little care as to our long term economic future. Loath this review if you want (it's never going to be perfect) but at least someone's got the bottle to try and address the ridiculous situation that has left our nation on the brink of bankruptcy.

    If you want to have a whinge, maybe aim it at Blair, Brown, Milliband and their other back-patting cronies who left us in such bad shape that it'll take at least 5 years of misery to get us back to a position where we are not an economic joke.

  • Comment number 51.

    I`m confused, the welfare cuts.i.e. ESA according to the chancellor,quote " except those on Disability living allowance". If a person aged 60,on DLA,incapacity benefit,winter fuel payment and pension credit,how does it affect this particular group?

    They often speak about protecting the vunerable and the disabled,it does cause people like myself to worry and wonder how I will be affected especially when the ESA letters come out which is a questionaire.

  • Comment number 52.

    Nobody is confessing to conservative bankers over speculating on dodgy deals, earning six figure bonuses. Whilst conservative shadow ministers were calling for more deregulation of banking systems!
    Everyone should be aware that all government departments waste money on a massive scale, regardless of who is in power. What we need is politicians to stop arguing like children and govern our country and end the waste.
    Why is it always the people at the bottom who suffer the mismanagement of those in power.

  • Comment number 53.

    "Why in a modern society does the objective of having equal retirement ages for men and women by 2020!! "hit women particularly hard?" "

    Because its only ok for the equality tubthumping wallahs if those who are being affected are white, middle class and male. Anyone else, they're being discriminated against.

  • Comment number 54.

    33#

    ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.................

  • Comment number 55.

    Yes, you are right, the pension age changes will hit women particularly hard and at the same time as equal pay seems to going into reverse. I think a chart or table showing how this is going to be implemented from 2018 to 2020 would be useful, a couple months here, followed by a couple of months there seems a bit vague. As for all the rest we will have to see how it's introduced before we know the impact. Regards, etc.

  • Comment number 56.

    "I hope you'll be honest enough to admit it or provide the link to show that I'm wrong"

    Be prepared for a very long wait.


    And lots of tumbleweed.

  • Comment number 57.

    Being a low paid Civil Servant it would be interesting to know if any of the 490,000 jobs they plan to cut are MP's. If it is right across the boundaries as he says then surely they should be included. On their salaries plus all the expenses they get why should they not be. I'm expected to cover the work of people that leave my department so why not cut there numbers by giving them bigger constituencies to run.

  • Comment number 58.

    We are all serfs now....oh yeah, apart from our lords & masters;not forgetting their apologists and gloating, toadying supporters.The aristos must be howling with laughter in their centrally heated stables.Well...you've got to look out for the livestock,haven't you?Let's all look forward to huddling round the fires of our despair...now that we we're all definitely in IT together!

  • Comment number 59.

    Which ever way you look at it, the money has to come from somewhere to pay back the deficit. I am not surprised that this is going to hit the poorest 10-20% of the population.

    The increase in the retirement age confounds me. We seem to be turning the clocks back to a time when you worked until you died. What next government sponsored euthanasia. Surely is it cheaper to give a retirement pension to an individual or a couple, than it is to pay housing benefit and other subsidies to out of work younger people with families. Let the older people retire and free up jobs for the younger workers.

  • Comment number 60.

    #45 Turbulent_Times

    I couldn't have said it better myself. It will be interesting to see how things pan out...

  • Comment number 61.

    Bit of a let-down, non event, anticlimax. There we were, hair shirts ready to be donned and do our bit for Blighty, and George goes and spoils it all. Everything was really, realy bad and awful. Wolf at the door! Desperate times! Brink of bankruptcy! Then what does he do? He waves his magic wand (the one that gets rid of problems that you have invented yourself) and in five short months he sorts it out. No need for draconian cuts after all. Things aren't so bad. More modest cuts will do. He seemed to say even less than Labour had asked for.
    Makes perfect sense really. You can't trust a word that leaves a politician's mouth.
    BTW if anyone's worried there are still measures here that will cause serious grief for some. Lets hope they're not too seroiusly inconvenienced, unnecessarily, by the Coalition's game playing.
    AJ 1 GO 0 on performance.

  • Comment number 62.

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

  • Comment number 63.

    ""Just one example, the 12-month limit to those living on "sickness benefit" who are not deemed incapable of work will, in particular, hit older men who used to be in manual jobs who think they've paid their "stamps" - national insurance contributions - to be on a benefit other than the dole.""

    Honestly Nick, hasn't that old chestnut been done to death? Most of these 'middle aged men shifted to incapacity to massage the unemployment figures' have already RETIRED in the 25 years since it was policy and therefore no longer receive Incapacity Benefit. That's probably why Danny Alexander told The Scotsman that the 2.5million figure for people on IB was exactly the same at the END of Labour's 13 years as it was when they got into office!

    Who it WILL hit are disabled people previously on IB who go through the farce of next year's forced 'migration' to ESA. Only the most disabled are currently even getting through to the work group thanks to the risable Work Capability Assessment, most will be shunted straight onto Jobseekers Allowance while they appeal. This just means a lot of couples where one is disabled and one working will be splitting up, putting MORE pressure onto the housing benefit budget to cover TWO households (that's what has happened in Australia already). Just great for promoting family life, though I suppose if you're disabled you shouldn't HAVE a family...

  • Comment number 64.

    doh @ 29

    But he's just there for the period in opposition, least this part of it. Horses for courses.

  • Comment number 65.

    Why should women retire 5 yrs earlier than men? The average age gap between men and women in a marriage is 5 yrs. It makes sense that they should retire at the same time and spend their final years together.

  • Comment number 66.

    sighs @ 31

    I'll take that bet. "Postie hammers Gideon" will be the exact headline in tomorrow's FT.

  • Comment number 67.

    Firstly, around 400k public jobs are forecast to go. personally, I can think of about 650 which should be the first! Given that many senior civil servants earn well in excess of TEN TIMES the salary of some of the 'junior' grades (the guys who actually do the work whilst the seniors are enjoying junkets and expenses), would it not be better to dispose of 40K senior public employess?

  • Comment number 68.

    These deep cuts were meant to reassure markets. FTSE has slowly dropped from an early (and low) high to a loss at present. More to come...?

    The problem with taking a gamble is sometimes you lose: Osborne's roll of the dice may make us all losers.

  • Comment number 69.

    Being a low paid Civil Servant it would be interesting to know if any of the 490,000 jobs they plan to cut are MP's. If it is right across the boundaries as he says then surely they should be included. On their salaries plus all the expenses they get why should they not be. I'm expected to cover the work of people that leave my department so why not cut there numbers by giving them bigger constituencies to run.
    ---------------------------
    Didn't David Cameron say in his election manifesto that there were too many MP's and this should be streamlined?

  • Comment number 70.

    I note that £900 million is being provided to the Inland Revenue to investigate tax evasion and fraud whilst the budget of HMR Revenue Customs is being cut by 15%.
    Does this make sense or does the Chancellor not know that IR is part of HMRC ? Mr Osborne please explain.

  • Comment number 71.

    A lot of the comments here suggest that the Government is somehow unaware of the problems these cuts will cause. It is not. These measures have been taken out of necessity because the country has been living beyond its means for many years. Under Labour public spending DOUBLED. And we have very little to show for it because most of the money has been swallowed up by bureaucracy and has not been reflected in significant improvements to public services. Today's announcements will mean a gradual return to the levels of spending we had a few years ago. They will certainly mean thousands of job losses and real hardship for many. But borrowing even more money instead, as Labour suggests, would simply postpone the day the reckoning. So I support most of the measures put forward by George Osborne, tough though they may be.
    However, I do believe it would have been a good thing to lower the threshold at which higher-rate tax is paid and to increase this to 60p in the pound or perhaps even higher for those earning more than £70,000 a year. This could be a temporary measure, with a guarantee that rates would be reduced after, say, three years. If the Government is intent on fairness it should demonstrate that the greatest burden will fall to those who can most afford it. However, I cannot see any government imposing measures which would hit the finances of its own members — especially when their expenses have just been cut back!

  • Comment number 72.

    At 2:45pm on 20 Oct 2010, Fubar_Saunders wrote:
    33#

    ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.................
    -------------------------------------------------------------
    Yes, George's oratory had the same effect on me.

  • Comment number 73.

    58. At 2:59pm on 20 Oct 2010, Mike wrote:

    We are all serfs now....oh yeah, apart from our lords & masters;not forgetting their apologists and gloating, toadying supporters.The aristos must be howling with laughter in their centrally heated stables.Well...you've got to look out for the livestock,haven't you?Let's all look forward to huddling round the fires of our despair...now that we we're all definitely in IT together!
    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    Nice try at tubthumping but still boring.


    ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • Comment number 74.

    Scandinavia has high tax and high returns of those tax when you need them, how is this done, as the American model is clearly broke?

  • Comment number 75.

    As was once said; Will the last one to leave turn the lights off!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 76.

    Why cant we cut OVERSEAS aid as we need the moneyn here FIRST! Its our money in taxes.
    Sick and tired of looking after the rest of the world when we are sick!

  • Comment number 77.

    40. EdenRooms wrote:

    'Find myself despairing at Ed Miliband and Alan Johnson. Some good points made by both but this was an opportunity to hit a home run with the material just afforded them by Osborne's rampant ideological vandalism.
    I cannot help think that Miliband D. and Balls E. would have lasered the many grey areas of piffle apparent in that pathetic Spending Review statement.'

    Agree. Looked like the 'B' team in there. The whole opposition response was flat. Difficult when you don't have much prepared by way of alternatives or if you're coming off the back of a failed government, but at least Ed Balls would have been tougher and more analytical, and roused the troops.
    Soft ride for Osborne, although I'm sure it's going to get much harder over the coming weeks as his plans are exposed to more scrutiny by more able economists.

  • Comment number 78.

    Osbourne's endless boasts we have moved the 'economy out of the danger zone' an end to the deficit, putting us back on track reminded me of 'no more boom and bust' and 'the longest period of sustained growth in British History' that Brown used to say ad nauseum. It will come back to haunt Osbourne the same way as it did Brown.
    It will be the effects of this review that emerge over the next year or so that will determine public opinion on the fairness of it all -not what anyone says today.
    Osbourne quoting everything on a per annum basis was a classic Brown device 4% cuts per annum to the police budget sounds a lot better than a 16% cut.
    I've always been quite happy to pay my tax (I'm a higher rate taxpayer)in the clear understanding that I should contribute my share even for child benefit when I do not have children. All part of my methodist value set I guess. I do find this constant refrain of why should people pay taxes for this that and the other a bit of a desperate arguement.
    It will be interesting to see if Osbourne keeps to his word and plans or will we get a Lawson moment and electoral panic when it all goes wrong and Cameron forces him to create a boom in 2014.















  • Comment number 79.

    it is about time we had a responseable govenment, i just hope we get all the idle people off benifits and back to work, i am glad the bus passes were kept and the winter fuel allowance. regards umpire663

  • Comment number 80.

    I may be naieve here but my two points are that (1) if I get into untrollable, heavy debt, the sound advice I would get would surely not be "spend some more young man and ignore it" and (2) Labour are beyond belief when criticising a solution to a desperate situation that was brought about on their watch. The public told them at the general election that they were no longer prepared to accept their solutions and voted them out. End of. Come back when this Govt has tried and the end result is known. Democracy rocks!

 

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