From the TUC

Public spending cuts: the left emerges victorious in the first round of the battle

08 Feb 2010, by Guest in Economics, Politics, Public services

Back when cuts mania was all the rage during the conference season of 2009, only the TUC, others on the left and serious commentators like Martin Wolf argued that cuts came with major economic consequences.  The TUC argued particularly strongly that to start measures to address the deficit when the economy was still fragile threatened a double dip recession.  These views were of course rejected by the small state right in the form of the Institute of Directors, the Taxpayers Alliance and the Conservative Party itself.

Now it seems a new consensus has emerged in line with the view that cutting while the economy is weak is a recipe for disaster.  All three main parties now agree on this since the Conservatives announced over the weekend they would not take any significant deficit measures until 2011.

The big fight now is to convince the parties that after 2011 the sensible approach is to address the deficit through economic growth and innovative taxation policies rather than by destroying the quality of public services and chucking thousands of public servants on to the dole.  This will again be rejected as insufficiently tough etc. etc. but the same was said back in September 2009.

We can make a good start by pointing to the current cuts in Higher Education. This is a disaster for the long-term future of the UK economy which will have to rely heavily on the strength of its knowledge led sectors to compete in the global marketplace.  We are playing off short-term fiscal policy against long-term economic policy – a massive error which will do nothing to benefit the public finances, let alone the economy, in coming years and decades.

4 Responses to Public spending cuts: the left emerges victorious in the first round of the battle

  1. Tweets that mention Public spending cuts: the left emerges victorious in the first round of the battle | ToUChstone blog: A public policy blog from the TUC — Topsy.com
    Feb 8th 2010, 2:00 pm

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ToUChstone blog, TUC news and Stronger Unions, TUCGlobal. TUCGlobal said: RT @touchstoneblog: Public spending cuts: the left emerges victorious in the first round of the battle http://bit.ly/cniY5F […]

  2. boilermaker
    Feb 8th 2010, 3:25 pm

    I don’t understand.

    The second paragraph says that ‘a consensus has emerged’ that cuts are a bad idea right now.

    But the fourth paragraph refers to the massive, vicious, disastrous cuts in Higher Education.

    We may have regained some small ground since ‘cuts mania’ but deficit fetishism is still going to be the dominant theme of the election campaign.

  3. Adam Lent

    Adam Lent
    Feb 8th 2010, 5:40 pm

    Boilermaker: Apologies – sloppy use of language on my part. We don’t know the exact detail on the HE cuts yet but, as indicated in The Guardian article I linked to, they will probably roll out over the next three years rather than happen immediately.

    I agree the new consensus on this is only one step forward but given that the talk not so long ago was of “urgent” and deep cuts in 2010/11, this is a small but significant victory.

  4. Branson on the deficit: Virgin’ on the idiotic | ToUChstone blog: A public policy blog from the TUC
    Feb 17th 2010, 9:59 am

    […] there we were thinking the debate had moved on a bit, with all three main parties now agreeing it better to hold off on major cuts until at least 2011. […]