BBC BLOGS - Nick Robinson's Newslog
« Previous | Main | Next »

Spending Review: The devil in the detail

Nick Robinson | 14:06 UK time, Wednesday, 20 October 2010

I'm just beginning to dig thought the detailed briefings supplied by government departments and will post details as I get them.

Here's the first - there'll be 3,000 fewer prisoners in four years time than there are now.

And the second - rail fares up 3% more than RPI inflation from 2012.

And the third - council tax benefit down by 10% and councils able to decide who gets it.

And the fourth - 40% cut in higher education.

And the fifth - flood defences cut by 15%.

And sixthly - Sport England and UK Sport cut by 30%.

That's just spinning through what the government is choosing to highlight but gives an indication of what else will be unearthed in the paperwork in the weeks, months and indeed years to come.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Good on you Nick, Bad Al would be proud of you. You'll get cramp in your arms before long at this rate.

  • Comment number 2.

    It would be good to see more consistency in RPI via CPI for changes in revenue and outgoings.
    RPI is nearly always higher and gets used for most changes to revenue and charges.
    CPI is the new paradigm for changes to outgoings.
    Fair to all I expect!

  • Comment number 3.

    Three thousand fewer prisoners is a risky commitment, politically. Unless there's a sudden and very unlikely reduction in crime, the only options are (1) more lenient sentences, 2) non-custodial alternatives 3) letting prisoners out early. All of these are hard to sell to the public, particularly the Tory-voting contingent.

  • Comment number 4.

    3000 criminals let loose to predate on the rest of us.

    Fewer police with less resources.

    So much for the 'party of law and order' - even people sick enough to be tories must be disapointed with this sad shower.

  • Comment number 5.

    What? No new baby tax? How very dare they...

    No new pensioner taxes? What is this? A newlabour warm and cuddly 'don't you dare talk down the economy' spending review?

    Missed opportunities to smash the helpless everywhere. I shall be voting for the General Pinochet Rivalists Dream Workers Support the Bashing of the Poor party at the next election.

    ps: does Postie do numbers or just one liners?

    And I thought it was a great time to be a tory...

  • Comment number 6.

    Nick,

    Curate's egg then, really.

    I like the overseas aid increase, also support the CB removal from HR taxpayers.

    Then this ... "there'll be 3,000 fewer prisoners in four years time than there are now." ... is fabulous. Not sure how they can know for sure that crime will fall to this extent but I'm happy to go with it. If it just refers to being a bit more lenient with people who are convicted of offences - prioritising rehabilitation over punishment, for example - then I go with that too.

    So, okay so far.

    But then there's THIS:

    "40% cut in higher education."

    Which is short-sighted vandalism.

  • Comment number 7.

    I wonder what a public blinded by Daily Mail headlines about benefit cheats would make of Michael Meacher's comments.

    "That still leaves around £92bn debt outstanding. The second alternative way of meeting the deficit is through tax increases. The Government is indeed proposing this itself in putting up VAT to 20 per cent in January. But this regressive tax will hit the poor hardest and may well choke off any fragile recovery there is. Both these downsides would be avoided if the tax increases were directed at the very richest. That is entirely fair when many of them were directly responsible themselves for the financial crash and when their gain in wealth over the last decade and a half has been stupendous. The Sunday Times Rich List - a sort of X Factor for capitalists - recently showed that the richest thousand, just 1,000 persons, had almost quadrupled their wealth over this period to £370bn, and that in the last year alone when most of the nation were having to pull in their belts, their wealth expanded by a cool £77bn.

    The most obvious way to ensure a fair contribution from this hyper-rich elite is by making them pay the due taxes they have been avoiding or evading in tax havens for decades."

    I doubt we'll ever know as the Daily Mail and the BBC wont be reporting them.

  • Comment number 8.

    Ah, jon, you're back.... figured you'd be clinging onto the coat tails of the other yappy dogs, barking away....

  • Comment number 9.

    Nick, can you tell us more about the pension change. My wife and I are 65 in 2020. will we have to work longer

  • Comment number 10.

    The mantra from the PM is that no person on welfare benefits should earn more than someone in work.

    Well, what about no banker should earn more in bonuses than a person on welfare benefits. We're all in it together as they say.

  • Comment number 11.

    This is no time to be a teenager. Further education unaffordable, cuts in benefits, a laughable 150,000 affordable homes and no long term council homes, which could easily be absorbed in my county alone, mass unemployment. The solution to everything is 'get a job' but with mass cuts in jobs all that will greet them is the ugly aftermath of the scramble ahead of them, leaving them no openings that make use of their education - perhaps a few jobs caring for the elderly or mentally ill in residential care might be available. The banks won't lend so they can't start a business. I am going to advise my 2 talented intelligent lads to take off to Asia or Australasia as soon as they get the chance - there's nothing left for them here.

  • Comment number 12.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 13.

    5#

    Hah, good one.

  • Comment number 14.

    . At 2:48pm on 20 Oct 2010, Fubar_Saunders wrote:
    Ah, jon, you're back.... figured you'd be clinging onto the coat tails of the other yappy dogs, barking away....

    ==================

    Hey, fubar - in case you hadn't noticed I'm ahead of the yappie dogs. You are so slow you aren't keeping track of the new threads.

    We never got an answer on this one - are you in favour of freeing criminals from jail?


    (...and if Belgium is an hour ahead of us poor souls in the disunited kingdom, how come we weren't blessed with your first post until 10.00? Can't you private sector types keep up with the pace?)

  • Comment number 15.

    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 16.

    6. At 2:38pm on 20 Oct 2010, sagamix wrote:

    But then there's THIS:

    "40% cut in higher education."

    Which is short-sighted vandalism
    ================================================

    Actually it's more like a 70% cut to university teaching funding - but don't worry too much.

    The rich will still be able to afford any fee oxbridge want to charge the next lot of tory overlords for their PPE degrees.

    Clegg is ensuring that students too weak to legitimately be in a university will be funded by the tax payer. We are already working hard to dumb down the courses even more in preparation.

    The universities are intending to make up the short fall by selling everything the disunited kingdom ever knew to thousands of Chinese engineering, science and business students. I think it's called a 'knowledge based economy' - our knowledge forms the basis of their economy.

    Wow - if I was sick enough to be a tory I'd be seriously disapointed by this shower.

  • Comment number 17.

    You're doing a good job Nick. I guess there are going to be lots of little shocks in the detail here and the government are hoping that there will be so much that it's not possible to be outraged about everything.
    Personally I think that a dusting of cuts and tax across all members of society is the only way to do this - i can take the pain as long as everyone else does too. I can see this being a successful policy for the coalition - as long as we get some decent growth soon.

  • Comment number 18.

    10. At 2:51pm on 20 Oct 2010, Gooblinho wrote:

    The mantra from the PM is that no person on welfare benefits should earn more than someone in work.

    Well, what about no banker should earn more in bonuses than a person on welfare benefits. We're all in it together as they say.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    And they say that education hasnt been dumbed down..... jeez.....

  • Comment number 19.

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

  • Comment number 20.

    Good point, Gooblinho.

    But you miss the REAL point: the bankers didn't cause the crisis, WE DID. Or else... how can you explain that WE are paying and they are not?

    So, we have to pay. And even better, families with children, have to pay (child benefits, tuition fees...).

  • Comment number 21.

    15. At 3:20pm on 20 Oct 2010, Thom Brooks wrote:
    "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 BofE is cranking up the printing presses too, prepare for an even more devalued sterling...

  • Comment number 22.

    Well done George! Cuts more like 19% not the 24% we were led to believe!

    I for one am really confident in a successful well educated man being our Chancellor!

    Those who support the postman need to see a psychiatrist!

  • Comment number 23.

    Will the socialists on these posts please stop talking down the economy.

    You fly in the face of the wishes of your deputy leaderenne La Harman who spent several months decrying the baby eating tory party for talking down the economy.

    Now please start talking it up. Everyone cna have a job; it's just a question of whether you are prepared to go back into domestic service or not.

    It's a great time to be a tory...

  • Comment number 24.

    "15. At 3:20pm on 20 Oct 2010, Thom Brooks wrote:
    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...?"

    Jeez, I bet you were accusing the Tories of trying to talk down the economy a few months back weren't you?

    Yes, down a wopping great 8.21 points (or 0.14%) at present. Definitely worth trying to draw a conclusion on that.

    If it goes up by more than 10 points tomorrow, I'd going to declare the Dawning Of The Age Of the Liberation Of Man and that man will be set free from toil for evermore!

  • Comment number 25.

    15/24

    REJOICE MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS!

    FTSE up 4.98

  • Comment number 26.

    Further to 6, and continuing in non-partisan vein of applauding what I can, I quite like the single (means tested) benefit. Also "making work pay" - defined as (i) a full time job always paying more in hand than benefits, and (ii) someone in a full time job shouldn't be claiming anything. I only support this, however, if it's achieved by increasing the rewards of work at the lower end of the pay spectrum - e.g. substantially higher minimum wage and personal allowance - not by reducing benefits paid to individuals in need. No-one lives the life of riley on the dole or the sick. Saving on the aggregate welfare bill is a worthy aim if coming about via more people in work, but not otherwise.

  • Comment number 27.

    Bring on the winter iof dis-content...

    Everybody get yourselfs hocked up to the eyeballs to get through xmas and dont pay it back....

    Hell the bankers get away with it mps fiddling there expenses get away with it....

    But what now a total attack on the poorest in society not forgetting the sick and inferm.....

    Social housing to pay 80% of market value in rent whats all that about you may aswell have a mortgage you cannot get now this is a time bomb waiting to explode....

    Can anyone actually remember the thatchers years in the 80s when if you went out to work to come to find your house had been burgled for its video recorder these time will return under this joke of a government...

    And nick clegg your career in politics is nearing a very premature end lol!!!!!turncoat or what......

    Whats wrong with the backbone in this country why cant we be like the french and stand up and be counted oh i forgot the backbone in this country aint english anymore....

    Bring on the strike protests etc.....

    enough said....
    regards

  • Comment number 28.

    16#

    If you were sick enough to be a tory mate, the party would probably have put you out of their misery.

  • Comment number 29.

    my post 19 how did it break house rules please explain i was only saying what people think or are the moderators tory aswell....

  • Comment number 30.

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

  • Comment number 31.

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

  • Comment number 32.

    Some of the commentariat say that we, the general public, think 'everything' is a priority and that we often have the opinion that everyone deserves support {from Government}.

    They then say that for that reason, the deficit is our fault, yes, us the general public, because we complain bitterly if any of the services that are provided by the Government are reduced or otherwise made unavailable.

    By logical extension of that argument, the fiscal mess is OUR fault and thus we are all in it together.

    This blogger challenges that assertion and states that we elect politicians to behave responsibly and not to run up huge debts 'on our behalf', simply because we desire more services from the Government.

    We, the general public, are 'in it together' but only because of irresponsible politicans and the debts that they have incurred over the past few decades.

    To suggest otherwise is disingenuous in the extreme.

  • Comment number 33.

    29#

    Oh god, not another one...


    ZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • Comment number 34.

    sagamix 6

    ""40% cut in higher education." Which is short-sighted vandalism."

    I find it difficult to agree with you there, not that I tried all that hard, of course.

    There would be a lot of room for criticism if these cuts had been taken across the board, but the detail is that the science and engineering budget is being held constant, and the reduction applies to the rest - arts and humanities. Something that has been shown time and again is that we overproduce in these areas. There are simply not enough jobs to justify the vast number of non-science graduates that we push out of the universities. The biggest problem of all is with those students who aren't good enough to get 2-1 honours or better - they aren't terribly good at their specialist subject, and they aren't very good at anything else either. As shown this very week, for this big group, their career expectations are actually worse than if they had left education at 18. It is ludicrous that an education system that, it is claimed, we should be proud of, should produce big groups of people who are actually harmed by their education! If the effect of these cuts is to reduce the number of places available in non-science subjects for weaker students (and, of course, it is), then that is really good news.

    So, these cuts have significant positive benefit. Not vandalism at all - quite the reverse.

  • Comment number 35.

    15/24/25

    HOLY SWEET RAPTURE OF THE ALMIGHT LORD - FOR HE HAS COME A SECOND TIME AND TAKEN US TO THE MOUNTAIN AND SET US FREE!!!!!!!

    FTSE up 9.90







    I'll stop now, promise. Just making a point.

  • Comment number 36.

    69. At 3:01pm on 20 Oct 2010, Laughatthetories wrote:
    "Andy
    Your phrase:
    "Don't like Sky, don't pay for Sky.

    Don't like the BBC.....er....ah...I see...there's the difference, then."

    does seem to indicate that you begrudge having to pay the licence fee. Or do you enjoy having to pay for things you don't like?
    I think more clarity and less sneering would help."

    It indicates no such thing.

    If you read "I don't like" into what I write then would it not also "indicate" that I didn't like Sky?

    If you read "if you don't like" into what I've written then clearly I am just showing that with Sky there is a choice and with the BBC there is not so questions of Bias and value for money are not comparable.

    "I think more clarity and less sneering would help."

    Oh dear. Issums upset at the sneering? You started off accusing me of knowing "costs not values", so it's OK for you to dish out insults but not when you receive them back?

    Grow up.

  • Comment number 37.

    40% cut in higher education - you're on your own kids. Don't expect any support from government, it's the law of the jungle from now on - Darwinian economics. But please don't call it fair.

    An aircraft carrier with no aircraft - sorry, just can't get over it..

  • Comment number 38.

    But then there's THIS:

    "40% cut in higher education."

    Which is short-sighted vandalism
    ================================================

    Actually it's more like a 70% cut to university teaching funding - but don't worry too much.

    The rich will still be able to afford any fee oxbridge want to charge the next lot of tory overlords for their PPE degrees.

    Clegg is ensuring that students too weak to legitimately be in a university will be funded by the tax payer. We are already working hard to dumb down the courses even more in preparation.

    The universities are intending to make up the short fall by selling everything the disunited kingdom ever knew to thousands of Chinese engineering, science and business students. I think it's called a 'knowledge based economy' - our knowledge forms the basis of their economy.

    Wow - if I was sick enough to be a tory I'd be seriously disapointed by this shower.

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


    Regardless of political allegiances (yours makes you sound bitter and is not helping your cause), cuts are a necessary measure all over the world in the current climate, so it's time to face up to them and get on with it.

  • Comment number 39.

    Didn't they try this before in the 1980s ? Two recessions (not global) and at the end public spending as a % of GDP about the same as when they started...

    Ah,well lets give it another bash, see what happens...

  • Comment number 40.

    doh @ 29

    But he's just there for the period in opposition, least this part of it. Horses for courses.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Opposition or not credibility remians paramount. Just ask Cameron where his majority went if you beleive credibility in oppostion carries no standing.

  • Comment number 41.

    JR @ 34

    Not sure about your "science uber alles" attitude but will leave for now. Big fan of science, me, I will say that. Watching Doctor Who later this evening, as it happens. But no, I'm more interested in your point that the cuts don't impact science (inc maths?) and engineering faculties. What makes you say this? (it's not in accordance with what I'm hearing from my people - but they could be wrong, it's happened before).

  • Comment number 42.

    "I'll stop now, promise." - 35

    No don't do that, Andy, we're all enjoying it. Always room for you and your comedy on here. Nobody wants serious and insightful political commentary the whole of the time.

  • Comment number 43.

    34. At 4:02pm on 20 Oct 2010, jrperry

    Not sure where you get the idea this is going to eliminate those 'weaker' students.

    Clegg is intending to fund the 'disadvantaged' ones out of your taxes.

    The universities are already working out how to attract the students who will still get the state dosh. Dumbing down has gone into overdrive.

    I'm trying to work out a course where someone who can barely read and write can still have a 100% chance of a 2.1 or 1st without having to attend a single lecture. Degree by text message? I'm sure it can be done.

  • Comment number 44.

    15. At 1:37pm on 20 Oct 2010, AndyC555 wrote (on the councils blog):
    "Only if people forget it was Labour's idiotic policies that led us into this mess."

    WHAT! The banks caused this. Lehmann brothers started a global collapse in the banking sector which caused a chain reaction in all economies across the world. Banking GREED caused a global depression. FACT. Another point to mention is that Labour were only in power in the UK, so if your theory is correct, why was the the entire planet's ecomony affected?


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

    490,000 council jobs lost! Same old tories - there's half a million more jobless for a start. Those 490,000 people will be a massive drain on the country's finances. Instead of working and paying tax, they will be jobless, unable to find a job and claiming benefit. What a great idea! NOT!!

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

    Well, unfortunately there were a lot of voters wearing those lovely rose tinted 'look back' spectacles at the last general election. They forgot the massive damage the last tory govt did to the uk between 1979 and 1997. SIGH!!

  • Comment number 45.

    "Everyone can have a job; it's just a question of whether you are prepared to go back into domestic service or not." - 23

    Particularly cutting piece of anti government satire, Robin. You after a first team jersey or more just showing me what you can do?

  • Comment number 46.

    What about the £8.3 billion (net) June's 'emergency' Budget showed we'll hand over to the EU this financial year - even more in future years? Don't tell me councils, welfare, defence etc. etc. are all getting slashed and that £8.3bn isn't being touched? Especially bearing in mind the EU's terrible reputation for waste and fraud - it ought to be top of the list for belt-tightening. Leaving that area of public spending untouched would be an extraordinary display of faulty priority-setting by Osborne. What is the justification, and is it credible? I doubt it. Shouldn't agreements made in 2005 be reviewed now, in line with changed times? This is an 'emergency', isn't it? Certainly looks from the scale of the cuts to everything else like it is.

  • Comment number 47.

    Still no mention on the BBC of the £3.5bn stealth carbon tax! That's how much the scrapping of the CRC scheme recycling payments will cost British businesses.

  • Comment number 48.

    40% cut in higher education may well be a BIG positive as it will make students really think about what course they want to do and what it will cost them and what sort of job they will get at the end and therefore manage their level of spend whislt they are studying.

    if this means a 50% at uni to a 30% at uni drop and those 20% going looking for jobs that are being done by non-UK national then that will be a very good idea.

    Then those at uni can go and do jobs like strawberry picking etc.
    I did many jobs whilst studing , did be no harm made me appreiate what money really means.

  • Comment number 49.

    37. At 4:23pm on 20 Oct 2010, Laughatthetories wrote:
    40% cut in higher education - you're on your own kids. Don't expect any support from government, it's the law of the jungle from now on - Darwinian economics. But please don't call it fair.

    An aircraft carrier with no aircraft - sorry, just can't get over it..

    ============

    LaughATT, you're like the child who sticks a knife in another childs football, then sits on the side and laughs at them when they try to play with it.

    Lets just remember for a moment why we're going through all this right. Or are you too pathetic to be honest - even with yourself.

  • Comment number 50.

    I thought Labour were thoroughly inept today. Alan Johnson's performance was abysmal and 'Big Ed' didn't look too good at PMQ's either. Little Ed (Balls) is pretty quite these days too.

    You can criticise particular aspects of the measures but, if you do, you have to put some alternative proposals on the table. Talking about more taxation from banks and higher NI doesn't answer where expenditure cuts would be imposed. The electorate needs to know what Labour would have done otherwise there is nothing to discuss.

  • Comment number 51.

    If the last government's spending was responsible for our economic problems, doe's anyone know why 'Wallpaper George' is planning to have the same proportion of national income taken in taxation, in 2015, as that which applied just prior to the global crises?
    Has the looney right on the Tory backbenches lost their bottle?

  • Comment number 52.

    Some good measures in the spending review, but the Coalition have not been brave enough. Far too much politics was used to decide policy. Increasing overseas aid was a mistake and not including the NHS for cuts an even bigger error of judgement. Banking bashing caused the City to take a rather dim view of Osbornes anouncements. Any punitive measures for taxation of banks must have Global agreement, otherwise it puts Britain at a disadvantage.

    Rather foolish not to cut child benefit for those over 16 years old, this was a political move rather than a sensible one. A lot of the money made from cuts was then thrown away on silly measures, such as extra pupil premiums for poorer children in education. This will not improve life chances for poor children. Home enviroment does this, and if parents do not care nor will the children, no matter how much money is thrown at it.

    Britains justice system was a mess under Labour and under this new Coalition is still a mess.

    Welfare cuts did not go far enough, and there was a lot of thin policy there, which could lead to hidden costs if the Coalition do not get it right.

    Osborne should have used some money to encourage growth in the economy, other than new road and rail projects which take time to develop.

    The Labour Government did cause Britains problems, no matter what you believe about the need to increase the deficit to get through recession. During 13 years the Labour Government did not use the money in the boom times to create jobs and wealth in the private sector, to spread growth throughout the UK. Instead they used the money, exclusively earned by the financial sector, to overspend and create jobs in the public sector, causing deficits year on year. This meant that should there be a crisis in the financial sector, the only growth area, Britain would be very exposed. Brown allowed Britains economy to be run almost entirely on easy credit, both Government and private.

    Ed Miliband and Alan Johnson gave a very poor performance today, I thought. I would live in fear if Johnson was actually in charge of Britains economy.

  • Comment number 53.

    39 craigmarlpool

    Didn't they try this before in the 1980s ? Two recessions (not global) and at the end public spending as a % of GDP about the same as when they started...

    Ah,well lets give it another bash, see what happens...

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

    No they didn't - Thatcher increased public spending in real terms by an average of 1.1% p.a. during her term in office.

    Between 1997 and 2005 under Labour, UK had the second largest increase in public spending (as a % of national income) in the OECD, with only South Korea ahead of us. Look where it has left us.

 

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.