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Daily View: Public spending cuts

Clare Spencer | 09:35 UK time, Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Gordon BrownCommentators are deliberating the merits of yesterday's announcement by Gordon Brown of public spending cuts.

The Independent's leading article expressed disbelief that the plans will reduce costs substantially:

"Yet it is misleading for politicians - of any stripe - to imply that the present deficit can be substantially reduced through relatively painless efficiency savings. Fiscal consolidation will mean cuts not just in how the Government spends money, but in what it spends it on. This means that entire programmes will need to be delayed or abandoned."

The Telegraph leader column says Gordon Brown's proposal to onlyu cut the highest-paid jobs is depressing:

"Yet every party clings to the fiction that most of these six million jobs are sacrosanct - that, come what may, 'front-line services' will be protected. This is not possible and it is dishonest to claim otherwise."

The Daily Mail editorial sees the cuts as inadequate and motivated by pre-election political posturing:

"The fact he fails to acknowledge is that it's highly unlikely Labour will still be in power six months from now.
So his promises about the next four years are all but meaningless."

Jeremy Warner in the Telegraph says the cuts fail to cut the mustard:

"If you can neither tax nor borrow your way to oblivion, your only option is to spend less. Regrettably, this is not going to be achieved through cutting back on public sector excess, which is the fiscal equivalent of merely swapping your drinking habits from champagne to Prosecco."

Bernard Gray in the Times believes there are big savings to be made:

"Some claim that public services are already highly efficient, yet the electorate instinctively doubts this. In polls, a clear majority now favours cutting expenditure instead of raising taxes, yet, at the same time, voters say that they want to retain good services. In my view this is not just an attempt by the public to have their cake and eat it. Voters know that more can be squeezed from the current cash."

Links in full

Independent | A taste of cuts to come, but still no substance
Bernard Gray | Times | You can have good services and save cash
Telegraph | Only tough public sector reform will ease our debt
Daily Mail | Tell us the truth about spending cuts and tax increases
Jeremy Warner | Telegraph | PM's spending assault fails to cut the mustard
Iain Dale's Diary | Brown's Up tp His Old Tricks (Again)
Paul Staines | Guido Fawkes' blog | Brown's cuts are trivial
James Forsyth | Spectator | An efficient response
Stephanie Blankenburg | Guardian | Don't believe the deficit hype

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