It’s been a looong time since I posted here, as my attention is mostly focused elsewhere. However I’ve been toying with a post for a few days, commenting on the recent Spending Review. I’ve begun and deleted more than a few times until I received the following email. This says what I wanted with much more clarity and detail than I could manage. Sadly the mail is not on the web so I have taken the liberty of repeating it in full below:
‘Cuts? What cuts?’ - Dominic Lawson, The Sunday Times
‘Britain will still be spending a real £200bn more than it was 15 years before. How draconian is that?’ – The Daily Telegraph
‘I am indebted to Tim Morgan, global head of research at broker Tullett Prebon, for an excellent paper’ – Bill Jamieson, Scotland on Sunday
‘Despite all the screams and waving of bloody stumps we’ll be subjected to this week, these cuts overall are pretty modest’ – Burning Our Money
Politics.co.uk - “Osborne’s cuts modest”
In this report, Dr Morgan showed that:
- Government spending in 2015-16 will be £686 billion in real terms. Spending then will be higher than it was in 2009.
- Spending in unprotected departments will fall in real terms over the period – but only by 7%.
Considering the 53% real terms increase in government spending between 1999-2000 and 2009-10, this level of cuts should not be described as swingeing, savage or draconian. They are modest.
The full text of the report can be downloaded from here. And please let me have a postal address if you would like a hard copy.
The debate on the CSR seems to have moved on, over the last few weeks, from extreme fear of cuts to an acceptance that these cuts are not only essential but also represent a comparatively modest reversal of past excesses. We would like to think that this paper – and the impact it has had in the media – has played some part in that trend.
Dominic Lawson in The Sunday Times - “Relax: These cuts are just a scratch”
David Smith in The Sunday Times – “Economic Outlook: Osborne’s best chance to put a lid on our debt”
John Redwood in The Times – “Cuts? What cuts? Public spending is rising” (unattributed but headline copied from CPS press release)
The Daily Telegraph – “Spending cuts have Boomtown Rats squealing, but America’s blues are a bigger threat”
The Daily Telegraph – “Bonfire of quangos ‘is a smokescreen that will cost money’”
Jeremy Warner in The Daily Telegraph – “Spending Review 2010: Whether shower or hurricane, George Osborne’s cuts will leave us cold”
Terry Smith in The Daily Telegraph – “The Chancellor should consider Churchill’s wise words on taxation” (“If you believe the propaganda emanating from The Guardian and the BBC you are no doubt expecting massive cuts to public spending. If so, you will be disappointed”)
The Guardian - “George Osborne’s coming spending cuts are ‘modest’, says thinktank”
The Financial Times - “British people are terrified, by George” (“[Osborne] may even have to suppress a smirk at the dispatch box if he opts to come clean and explain that the whole thing was an almighty wind-up.”)
Leading article in The Evening Standard – “Despite the pain, we can take these cuts”
Evening Standard – “George Osborne’s spending review cuts ‘not savage but imperative’”
Daily Mail – “Business will flourish if the state gets out of the way” (“For the Labour Party, at least some in the Labour Party, the diet should always start tomorrow.”)
Daily Mirror – “Cuts will be ‘modest and essential’”
Daily Express – “Cuts will be ‘modest and essential’“
Daily Star – “Cuts will be ‘modest and essential’”
Recorder“Osborne cuts ‘modest and essential’”
Bill Jamieson in Scotland on Sunday, “It’s touch and go on return to recession”
Scotland on Sunday – “Spending Review: What’s for the chop?” (“…this does not, as some have suggested, mean that the country is being plunged into financial Armageddon.”)
Allister Heath (Editor’s Letter) in City AM, “Osborne’s cuts are relatively modest” (“It’s time for a reality check.”)
A summary of the paper was carried in the major news bulletin throughout the day of publication.
The author was also interviewed on the Today programme (in a debate with Anatole Kaletsky) and on the BBC 10 o’clock news.
George Bridges, Conservative Home – “The cuts will hurt, but the latest CPS analysis suggests spending will only return to 2009 levels” (“So going back to 2006 might mean putting the state on a diet for a few years.”)
Talkcarswell.com – “George Bridges is a great man”
George Trefgarne, Coffee House (The Spectator) – “The true scale of the cuts” (This was one of the most-read blogs as measured by bothPolitics.co.uk and Coffee House)
Stephanie Flanders, BBC Economics Editor on BBC blog – “Spending cuts: Molehill and mountain” (“It is about reversing a small-ish part of the relentless upward march in government spending… The fact that it should take such a gargantuan effort to achieve even this merely demonstrates quite how relentless that upward march can be…”)
Taxresearch.org.uk – “The Cuts are real – but there is a real alternative”
Straight Statistic – “How deep are the cuts, really?”
Wales Home“Acceptable in the Eighties”(“It also requires centre left politicians to realise that no one is going to take them seriously until they develop a credible alternative economic narrative.”)
Press Association – “Cuts will be ‘modest and essential’”(story carried by 92 local newspapers)
Burning Our Money – “Shrinking Shears”
Solihull News – “Osborne cuts ‘modest and essential’”
sopo.com – “George Osborne’s coming spending cuts are ‘modest’, says thinktank”
Not A Sheep – “Those “slashing cuts” in proportion” (“The Labour/BBC narrative is of slashing cuts, the truth is of course somewhat at variance.”)
Yahoo News – “Osborne’s cuts ‘modest’”
Daily Finance – “Coalition cuts ‘modest’ says think-tank”
24dash.com – “Osborne spending cuts ‘not savage but imperative’” (“Warnings of savage reductions in the size of the state following next week’s spending review are overblown”)
Public Service - “Cuts are actually modest” (“The level of cuts…shouldn’t be described as swingeing, savage or draconian”)