Who do they think they are kidding?

Yesterday the Local Government Secretary was trying to tell us there will be no cuts in Council spending in the next couple of years. When challenged he could not give us any figures for 2011 and beyond, nor would he share with us what might come out of the 3 year spending review which Labour has delayed until after the Election. He just kept repeating the mantra that things would be tougher than in recent years when there had been substantial real increases in money available, and that every Council should concentrate on making themselves more efficient against the day when they know the settlements. He would neither confirm nor deny the Prime Minister’s statement at PMQs some time ago that there will no cuts.

Local government and some outside commentators are talking about cuts as large as 10-20%, based on the extent of the overspending in national budgets generally. These figures seem high, bearing in mind the importance of schools spending within local government totals, and the priority accorded to education spending by all three main parties. What is clear is that cuts are coming to Councils once the election is out of the way. The government made itself sound silly by trying to pretend this was not so, when their own plans to cut the deficit in half must require cuts from Councils as well as elsewhere.

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13 Comments

  1. Jonathan
    Posted March 2, 2010 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Rather than just talking about cuts there should be a better way of collecting revenue with each district keeping the majority of the taxes they raise, this will lead to some areas being more desireable and (shock horror) competition.

  2. alan jutson
    Posted March 2, 2010 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    The problem is John some people think that there will be/should be no cuts, and there is a lot of them that believe this nonesense.

  3. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted March 2, 2010 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    We know Labour ministers are mendacious and take us for fools. What about the Conservatives? What cuts are you planning for local government and for central government for that matter?

    • Richard Manns
      Posted March 2, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      Ask the currency markets; they think there'll be a difference between the 2, and they're betting billions on it.

  4. English Pensioner
    Posted March 2, 2010 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    As I pointed out in my own blog, depending on how you interpret the recent figures, the staff reductions will be about the same as the annual staff turnover due to retirement, etc. Thus there won't be any need for redundancies, a simple non-recruitment policy would bring about the proposed reduction. In my view, this is far from sufficient, particularly at the top.

    • Richard Manns
      Posted March 2, 2010 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      Well, this does present an unbridalled opportunity to strip out the rubbish.

      If they're going to go on strike to complain about job losses and pay freezes anyway, why not fire the accumulated uselessness into the bargain?

      After all, we'll be accused of all that anyway!

  5. rob webster
    Posted March 2, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Has everyone forgotten Labour's plan to overhaul council tax if they win the coming election? This is designed to raise billions in additional local taxation so that the profligacy of the last ten years can continue. If you have an extension, good sized garden, "partial" view of a field, or live in a low crime area with a few bus stops, expect between three and five hundred quid to go on your bill for 2011.

  6. Dan H.
    Posted March 2, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Look, the reason the Tories are dropping in the polls is simple: the average bloke in the street is pretty thick and needs things explaining in slow, simple terms.

    Get a campaign video explaining what Gordon got for the gold he sold way back when he flogged a load off cheap, and say what this gold would be worth now. SPELL IT OUT; make it abundantly clear that his decision was utterly hatstand barking mad and that he is solely to blame for this decision. This isn't mudslinging, this is objective reporting of facts (keep to just the facts, mind) and if he challenges this, challenge right back.

    Next, explain how printing money AKA Quantitative Easing works; something on the lines of "If you have this many pounds and you double the number of pounds out there, you halve the value of all of the pounds". Granted this is a gross simplification, but the average bloke in the street needs gross over-simplifications; pointing out that printing money is robbing him to give money to banks ought to get a few people frothing at the mouth.

    Carry on in this vein. Release the video snippets on Youtube or similar, but whatever you do, get the message out that Labour are robbing you out to the population, in simple quick terms.

    • alan jutson
      Posted March 2, 2010 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

      Dan

      Agreed the old saying "Keep It Simple Stupid" springs to mind.

      Those that complicate the issue are the stupid ones.

      That is why Labour are landing more hits, their message is more simple, is shorter and thus has greater impact.

      It may all be spin, half truths, or even downright lies, but it is easily understood and accepted by many, who do not dig beneath the surface of a soundbite.

  7. Mike Stallard
    Posted March 2, 2010 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    The trouble is this:
    Mr Brown and Mr Lowe, who directs his campaign, have skilfully deflected the election to a critique of Mr Cameron and George Osborne personally. They focus on details.
    Let's be honest, Mr Osborne does have the sheen of an Etonian even though he is not one.
    Mr Cameron has deliberately taken some unpopular moves already.
    We have, therefore forgotten Mr Brown's record.
    Allow me to remind you:
    Pensions stolen. Iraq where he sat on his hands and refused the money. Bloating the bureaucracy by one million new people. Hitting the depression clean broke. Now debauching the currency deliberately and (hat tip Dan Hannan) refusing to call an election even though the pound is in free fall.
    Is he incompetent? Or, worse…?

  8. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 2, 2010 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    I have a hunch that there is a lot more waste in central government than in local government.

  9. gac
    Posted March 3, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    If GB has an easy ride at Chilcot then watch the election call before he has to give a budget.

    If his carefully planned 'defence' that it was all to do with not following UN edicts fails to work then bet on May. He claims his support was nothing to do with WMD's (cos we now know he did not have any = hindsight Brown)

    I have often wondered how Saddam could be expected to give up his WMD's when he did not have any? Nobody believed him at the time – nobody!

  10. aion power leveling
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    There is obviously a lot to know about this.

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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