From the TUC

The consequences of Mr Osborne

06 Aug 2010, by in Economics

Over at Left Foot Forward I’ve tried to summarise what we have learnt by producing Cuts Watch, listing some of the worst cuts and categorising them. Moving from analysis to criticism, the Other Taxpayers Alliance and Red Pepper have just published Countering the Cuts Myths, setting out facts and arguments to use against some of the commonest arguments for the cuts. (And while I’m at it, let me remind you about our own All Pain No Gain, which people have found pretty useful.)

3 Responses to The consequences of Mr Osborne

  1. Cllr AB
    Aug 6th 2010, 10:56 am

    Hi Richard,

    Avid reader of the blog for years, thanks for all the work you and the team do highlighting areas of social policy not always analysed elsewhere.

    Quick question on which I would appreciate thoughts. I’m a cabinet member on a local authority (Labour controlled, since you ask). We’ve just done a budget exercise looking at 20, 30 and 40% cuts over four years, with the pain frontloaded. The gap between what we spend now and what we will have to spend in future years in any of these scenarios is wide.

    I do not want to cut services. I did not come into politics to cut anything – although getting value for money on day-to-day activities to release funds for regeneration etc is something I do see as part of my role. I do not have the option of pointing out that cuts are not necessary – the income my authority will receive is reducing, whether I like it or not. So my job is now to do my best by our citizens in our city, and use my political beliefs to guide the recommendations I make to my colleagues about what I cut.

    To give you an idea of the dilemmas I face: you’ll probably feature my authority – in time – on CutsWatch, as our voluntary sector grants are up at the end of the FY, and I can’t imagine that, when faced with a choice between keeping our wet hostel open or keeping our modern art gallery open, we’d choose to put 60 alcohol- and drugs-dependent homeless people on the streets. And so the removal of our grant from the gallery, which will precipitate the removal of the gearing grant from the Arts Council, will result in the closure of the gallery. And that will be a Cut – but actually, you and I probably agree, in the circumstances, that it’s a better cut than the alternative.

    Of course, there are other things to do. We’ve already competitively tendered waste (it was won by the in-house bid, led by management and the unions, hurrah), so there’s nothing to come from there. We’ve transferred leisure to a social enterprise, so nothing to come from there. We’re rationalising buildings, sweating assets, hiking car park fees like there’s no tomorrow, and luckily, not being a London authority, we’re not bound by this ridiculous notion that council tax should never rise. We’ll do all the things you have to – centralising invoices, shedding a layer of management etc etc. But it won’t be enough – not to meet the figures we’re modelling.

    So, in addition to opposing cuts per se, I would strongly appreciate your thoughts on the situation of local government – particularly those bits of local government, which, like me and my collleagues, came into it to decrease poverty and increase prosperity in the cities we love.

  2. Tweets that mention The consequences of Mr Osborne | ToUChstone blog: A public policy blog from the TUC — Topsy.com
    Aug 6th 2010, 2:08 pm

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ToUChstone blog, paul thomas. paul thomas said: RT @touchstoneblog The consequences of Mr Osborne http://bit.ly/b20gDv #condem cut tax gap and make the rich pay especially the banks […]

  3. Richard Exell

    Richard
    Aug 6th 2010, 4:41 pm

    I do appreciate how difficult the situation you’re in is. One of the things we’ve emphasised on this blog is that local government is being hit particularly hard by spending cuts. When we feature individual local authorities’ cuts one of our objectives is to highlight the fact that £6.2 billion can’t be saved by waste and that implementing central cuts inevitably leads to service and job cuts. Our story yesterday about what is happening to Connexions services included a quote from Slough Borough Council, making a similar point.
    As for advice, you might be interested in this article from LabourList: http://www.labourlist.org/how-should-labour-councils-manage-the-cuts The author and comment posters might be useful contacts.