The Tory cut narrative vacuum

George Parker of the FT says today:

George Osborne, the chancellor of the exchequer, has ordered most ministers to carry out the most fundamental review of public spending seen in Britain for a generation, including options for departmental budget cuts of up to 40 per cent.

Perhaps I’m missing something, but the Tories are not defining what waste is, they are not telling council leaders how to cut between 25 and 40 per cent, they are just identifying waste as something to be gotten rid of, for the sake of oncoming and harsh austerity measures.

Now, it’s not likely that I’m going to agree with how they define waste, but this so far is only judged by some of the non departmental bodies they have cut, which I wouldn’t have necessarily seen as wasteful, sharing the opinion of Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, who said recently :

“The seemingly arbitrary way in which the QCDA and other bodies are being culled without any critical analysis of the impact of removing these functions is not acceptable.

“To put staff at the QCDA on notice of dismissal before the legislation to remove their function has been considered by Parliament is an arrogant and reckless way to conduct Government business.

“The decision is not supported by any detail of how core functions undertaken by the QCDA will be carried out in future and at what cost.”

These cuts to funding show the same level of thinking than do saying to council leaders you get on with it.

Of course what the Tories will say is this is an expression of their trust for local leaders, and my goodness do they want that, when you think how much pressure will be put on local workers set to lose their jobs expressing dismay at the Tories’ budget package.

The Tories don’t appear to have cut on the basis of waste alone, VAT rises seem ideological, they haven’t signed up to any local spending programme such as Total Place to show some method to their madness, but they do look like they are passing the buck to councils themselves.

The choice of choosing between 25 and 40 per cent cuts seems like being shown a table full knives for which one can choose from to stab out ones own eyes.

Lets not skirt about, Tory austerity measures will be laden with ideology, the emergency budget demonstrated that, but yet ways in which to cut waste from local budgets is met with a central vacuum. No matter how dishonest, I wish the Tories would stick with a narrative already.

(I have started using the Tories where I should be using Tory/Lib Dem coalition government quite naturally now, funny that).


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