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What is a frontline service?

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Chris Mason Chris Mason | 23:12 UK time, Monday, 26 July 2010

Day One of 5 live Drive's Down The Deficit and we are in the Broad Street Mall in Reading. What savings would people here suggest to trim the amount of our taxes spent on schools, hospitals and the police?

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Listen again to Monday's programme here https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00t7dzs

Outside the 99p discount store, there were plenty of ideas. Trisha told me Police Community Support Officers are a waste of money. Dave suggested charging people to see the doctor-"to stop whingers always turning up."

But there was noagreement on what counts as the politicians' favourite for being protected - so called front line services. One person's sacred cow was another's sacrificial lamb.

Matthew Sinclair from the Taxpayers Alliance was with us here, and suggested a 10 percent cut in administration in the health service could save 1billion a year.

And the think tank the Social Market Foundation has costed up Dave's idea of charging to see your GP. At £20 a visit, excluding the poorest, that would save around 1bn.

Giving GPs and consultants a 10 percent paycut and then freezing their salaries for 5 years would save £1.3bn - by 2016.

Add those all together and you reach £3bn. And even with some cuts in education and the police our figure still doesnt make much of a dent in a national overdraft of £156bn.

Next stop Rutland on Tuesday to look at foreign affairs. Here's a thought to ponder: do we need the RAF?

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