BBC BLOGS - See Also
« Previous | Main | Next »

Daily View: Spending cuts

Clare Spencer | 09:18 UK time, Monday, 5 July 2010

Commentators discuss the possibility of government departments cutting their budgets by 40%.

Eamonn Butler at the Adam Smith Institute argues that cuts of 25% would be "small beer":

"The national debt has doubled in ten years and will double in the next five, and quadruple by 2040. Debt interest alone on that amount would absorb a third of government spending... Money you couldn't then spend on public services. The choice is not make cuts or carry on, but make cuts now or even bigger cuts in the future."

In the Guardian Jackie Ashley suspects that the story isn't even true:

"The 'story' leaked to all newspapers yesterday about breathtakingly deep reductions in departmental budgets was a piece of shameless spin. It was a Treasury exercise to make a point - imagine how bad it could be - before settling on a lower figure. The transport secretary, Philip Hammond, admitted as much yesterday, when he said that he didn't expect any departments to see a 40% cut."

The Telegraph editorial argues that one area where it should be easy to cut budgets is policing:


"A start has actually been made. It was reported last month that Prince Andrew's daughters, Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice, have lost their 24-hour police protection, saving the taxpayer £500,000 a year. Why stop there? There must be a number of Royals and politicians enjoying police protection who are sufficiently obscure that it would be far-fetched to describe them as potential terrorist targets. As for
Mr Blair, perhaps he could make a contribution towards the cost of his bodyguards, particularly when so much of his travelling relates not to official duties, but to his own money-making activities."

Labour Lord Toby Harris argues in his blog that the cuts are not to do with the state of the economy but with right-wing ideology:

"It is rather as though Thatcher's children - aka Cameron, Osborne and Clegg - have a psychological drive not only to obtain parental approval, but a desire to achieve more than that parent - just as George W Bush seemed to feel he had to emulate his father's invasion of Iraq and then take that invasion one stage further to regime-change and beyond...
"So the debt is not as bad as suggested, the scale of the debt interest needing to be paid each year is not as serious as we have been told, and the UK's vulnerability in terms of refinancing and of overseas debt holdings is far less than the Coalition Government would have us believe. So it's not the economy, but ideology. And Tory ideology at that."

Julian Glover says in the Guardian that the coalition government should keep its confidence about the cuts despite protest from the left:

"You don't have to agree with the Daily Mail to understand that some people who get incapacity benefit don't deserve it, and some who could work don't; or that housing benefit has become a racket paying millions to private landlords. Labour cannot be allowed to get away with the idea that it stands as the defender of an outraged majority, victims of an ideologically extreme government.
"The left is beginning to smell like sour yoghurt, a long moan against the world as it is and how the last government left it."

Links in full

Eamonn Butler | Adam Smith Institute| 40% cuts?
Jackie Ashley| Guardian| These cuts won't only hit the scroungers. We'll all suffer
Telegraph| Police budgets can be cut without damage
Lord Toby Harris | "It's the ideology, stupid" is the Coalition Government's new mantra
Julian Glover | Guardian| The coalition must stay calm and ignore the sour yoghurt

More from this blog...

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.