Tuesday, 19 October 2010


On Wednesday, I will be posting as much analysis and info as I can on this thread. I'll link to any good articles and comment throughout the day. I hope you all join me on the comments section to share your first impressions and add any bits I miss.

I'll make a little prediction first though.

The drip, drip, drip of bad news has prepared the public well for the CSR. It has been unremitting since May. I'll have a little bet that on Wednesday, each horrific slash to the welfare system will be accompanied by some kind of "sweetener". On first impressions, Gideon will make you think "Oh, actually, that wasn't so bad".

If I were George though, I'd have some pretty decent plans for growth in the CSR and I'd hope to pull a few surprise rabbits out of my hat that everyone would love. I'd be hoping that after the months of bad news, any kind of "good stuff" would make the headlines over the cuts we already know about.

I'd hazard a guess that it will only be when independent think tanks start to unravel the figures and give their opinion, that we'll realise just how mean George has attempted to be.


  1. Sorry, comments thread wasn't working, so I had to repost. Here are the two comments that had already been posted:

    Blackburne said :

    Obviously I won't be able to post during the day, because some of us work. I agree that it's quite possible that the cuts won't be as bad as the leaks imply. Not all bad news so far, taking child benefit off higher-rate taxpayers won't bother most people.
    I hope he clamps down on anyone cheating the system, and brings in some sort of qualification (10 years' contributions?) before being able to claim anything. :)Blackburne

    Eoin said :

    I still can’t get my photo thing sorted sue :)

    ps... do you have a ball park figure in terms of % as to how big you think cuts will be?

  2. Eoin - I honestly haven't a clue any more. It looks like some departments will be practically wiped out with cuts of 60-80%, such as university/HE funding and social housing.
    I do think GO will have some good news he's been holding back.
    Do you still think he'll cut less than he said

  3. Sue, ( a repost from UKPR)

    Business & Skills

    Above are the departments that we know quite a bit regarding the detail of their proposed cuts. These departments cost £424bn annually. If leaked details regarding Education etc.. are to be believed as well as cuts to post 16yr old’s benefits etc.. then the total in omentary terms of savings from these departments is c. £21.4bn or in onetary terms 5%.

    Defence 37 2.775 7.5%
    Business 21.2 4.2 20%
    DWP 195 15 7.50%
    NHS 106.4 0 0%
    Overseas 7.7 0 0%
    Education 57.5 -0.5 -0.7%

    These depts. remain unkown in % terms…

    Transport 13.6
    Communities 33.6
    Culture 1.5
    Energy 3.1
    Justice 9.7
    Home Office 10.2

    These depts. account for £71.7bn

    Even if some of them hit a high % figure…. I am struggling to see where £62bn is going to come from, given that that is what is needed to reach the £83bn.

  4. I heard that primary and secondary education weren't to be hit, but aren't HE included in education above? If they are cut by up to 80% it will raise your figures?

    I imagine DWP will be much higher than 7.5% - there has been so much rhetoric preparing us, GO will surely look like he's backtracked if cuts aren't at least 25%?

    Otherwise, I'm with you, I haven't a clue where he thinks they're coming from.

  5. @Sue..........Quite right that primary and secondary, ( with reservations ) education will be largely left unscathed. But, IMO, we really need to examine the value of HE in its present form, of course in the sciences there has been progress, but this obsession with targets and dubious exam systems, ( multi choice...bloody ridiculous )To me it is an area that needs to justify every penny, or change radically.

  6. @ Ken

    "multi choice...bloody ridiculous"

    Really? I've not been out of the education system for that long, and I've no recollection whatsoever of multiple choice questions in exams?

    A lot of manure gets spoken about the education system, which is frustrating, as it makes it difficult for one to pick out the actual faults.

  7. @Mike...........www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6920/9/52.........Evidence of gender bias in true-false-abstain medical exams.
    Medical School University of Nottingham 2009.
    Men are far more successful in exams involving risk...........There are other examples, but I studied engineering in the 60s and questions required an answer with an explanation, we certainly weren't given options.

  8. Ken: Mulitple choice was being used by Nuffield in the late 60s and 70s I think, from my memories of dim and distant past.
    Well constructed multple choice questions are a good test and not easy.
    Over used and in a simplistic form they are less challenging of course and have been criticised in the current Edexcel GCSE Science, rightly in my view as too easy.

    But they certainly are not bloody ridiculous, and nothing new.

  9. One problem regarding exams, the exams boards are compteting with each other. Schools comapred by exam results. Schools therefore choose easiest exams. Exam board make more money.
    This is the problem with the market economy in education.

  10. @Pam......Hello. I just Googled multi choice answers in GCSE A level, and got: GCSE Biology.. choose from 4 answers, what is......? A whole sheet of ridiculous 4/1 bets.

  11. I think the idea that schools are set to escape cuts is a bit of a myth. Many schools have been cutting staff numbers for the last 6 months. There were lots of stories in the local paper about teachers retiring but there were almost no ads recruiting new teachers to replace them. Most schools have also stopped using supply teachers prefering instead to use cheaper unqualfied cover supervisors or dinner ladies to cover for absent staff.

  12. @My mother-in-law wins at bingo more than anyone on the planet, I'm going to get her to sit GCSE biology, with luck like her's she'll get an A*. :-)

  13. @Pam.......Sorry about the 'her's'. :-)

  14. Good multiple choice papers would have accounted for random guessing.
    I am no fan of 100% multiple choice papers, but they do serve a purpose in testing, in my subject at least. As with all methods, there will be good and bad design. It all depends on what you're trying to assess.

  15. @Pam............I'm just trying to get my 87yr old mother-in-law a degree in wine-tasting.......one sip, four guesses, she'd stagger home with a first. :-)

  16. Multiple choice questions can work. If the pass marks are well above 25%, it eliminates the chance of random guessing getting you through.
    Probability theory folks.
    Multiple choice also eliminates the possibility of the examiners falling into the 'read-my-mind' method of testing.
    Fill the gap;
    My car's crap because it's too _____
    A student writes 'FRENCH'
    Is that answer right or wrong?
    I have a French car and believe me I've said that a lot.
    Much better would be;
    Choose the correct answer;
    My car's crap because it's too _____
    A)olden B)age C)old D)elderly

    Erm ....why are we discussing multiple choice questions?

  17. So, here are some early leaks. If there's actually anything left to announce by tomorrow, I'll be amazed.

    -17,000 jobs will go in the armed forces
    -25,000 in the Ministry of Defence
    -BBC licence fee frozen for 6 years
    -Over 14,250 jobs lost at Ministry of Justice "front line is where the brunt of the cuts will be made”

    That's 56,250 jobs lost.

  18. -Social Housing budget to be cut by "More than 50%" The National Housing Federation said it had been told housing was likely to be one of the biggest losers in the Spending Review - with "doomsday" cuts anticipated which will see affordable housebuilding virtually grind to a halt.

    The federation, which represents England's housing associations, warned 50% cuts would "effectively shut the door on an entire generation of families on lower incomes by withdrawing billions of pounds worth of funding for affordable housing schemes".

    It also claimed more than 360,000 jobs would be lost in the construction industry every year if cuts on the scale being proposed were introduced."

    I don't know quite what to make of the last part of that quote - 360,000 jobs lost in construction EVERY YEAR??? Where on earth did that figure come from?? If it's anywhere near true it's disastrous.

  19. Looks as though the coalition has backed off from cutting Cold weather payments and Child benefit for over 16s, and there have been concessions in defence and education.

    John Humphries feels that "A lot of it feel like it has been done on the back of a fag packet in the last few days"

  20. Sue.....He said something similar about Gordon's 10p tax rate cock-up, Humphries says that sort of thing, you expect that sort of insightfulness from a man earning a million quid a year plus a final salary pension scheme, paid for, of course, by us. :-)

  21. Humphries was certainly no friend of Labour when they were in power.
    I do worry that he's right about this though, it's something I've felt since long before the election. Maggie would never had allowed the gaffs and poor planning, the missed details and anomalies that we've seen from the coalition so far.
    At a time of such great change and hardship, it would be reassuring to know that they'd thought things through

  22. Sue.....Well they've had enough time to prepare the main stuff, detail is always timeconsuming and, of course, where the devil lies. I would counsel a degree of caution, but it's a tough call, too many conflicting interests and a fundamental difference in strategy (cut slow vs cut fast)don't make it any easier.

  23. In total, 490,000 jobs will go in the public sector. Unthinkable.
    This seen from actual spending review through the windows of Danny Alexander's car!!

  24. 100/120,000 PA through natural wastage, retirement etc., should soften the blow a bit.

  25. It's absolutely confirmed that these cannot all go through natural wastage, there will be sackings. Encouraging to see there are plans to offer shorter hours instead though.

  26. Capital spending to hover around 50 billion a year - a little higher than set out in budget.

  27. 6 billion of Whitehall savings instead of 3 billion. 490,000 jobs lost over 4 years, much not redundancies, but there will be some.

  28. Cabinet office reduced by 55 million
    100 million transition fund to ease hardship

    Treasury dept down by 33%

    Local government 7.1% a year for 54 years = 28%
    Revenue grants no longer ring-fenced. NHS confederation warns this will have a knock on effect for the NHS.

    Social Care will go up by 1 billion by year 4
    2 Billion extra in all

    Social Housing - Existing tenants unchanged, but new tenants will now pay 80% market rent. funding the building of 150,000 new social houses.

    Defence - MoD to be cut by 8%

  29. International Development ringfenced, but now much more to be filtered towards war areas.

  30. Police spending down by 4% a year or 16% overall

    Home office down by 6% a year or 24%
    Reduction of legal aid bill, courts to close.

    Banks - Bonuses offensive. Regulation overhauled, Bank of England now in charge. "Keep Britain competitive for financial services"
    All banks to implement code of practise on taxation.
    900 million to go to tackling fraud in tax evasion. Aim to collect 7 billion in fraud

    Benefit cheat clampdown.
    Welfare - Pension age will go to 66 by 2020, 4 years earlier than planned
    Public Service pensions - Must be a rise in contributions, lower paid protected, highest earners pay more, wait until next spring for details.
    1.8 billion in savings a year by 2014/15
    MPs pensions to change too.

  31. Welfare - Universal credit to replace all out of work benefits. Introduced over 2 parliaments, 2 Billion to fund it.
    DWP savings - Time limit jobseekers 1 year
    Council tax reduction of 10%
    DLA reduced in care
    Pension credit linited for 4 years
    Tax credits frozen for three years
    Working Tax Credit now 24 hours
    Cap on benefits no-one will receive more than the average worker
    Savings of 7 billion a year (on top of the 11 billion already announced)
    Child element of CTC however increased by £30 in 2011/12 and then £50 in 2012/13
    No further changes to child benefit, but those families with a higher rate taxpayer will lose child benefit.
    Free eye test, bus passes, TV licences & winter fuel allowances untouched.
    Cold weather payments will be made permanent

    NHS - commitment to ring fence NHS honoured. Spending will go up (remember however that this is on an ageing population and increased demand, not necessarily on funding what will be needed)

  32. HE - Funding for apprenticeships but university funding slashed.


    1 Billion only for Green investment bank. (Hoping for 7 Billion)

    DEFRA cut by 8% a year or 32% over parliament

    Culture - 41% cut in administrative costs, cuts of 15% overall. Free museums kept.

    (Amazing how much of what Labour did they have to keep........ Still, glad to see it)

    Olympic funding untouched.

    BBC - Budget frozen for 6 years and will fund World Service (£340 million savings a year)
    BBC therefore facing a massive squeeze. Equals a 16% saving over parliament lifetime.

  33. 14 Billion invested in railways over parliament
    Rise in fares of RPI + 3% (ouch)

    "Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police Peter Fahy - who speaks on workforce issues for the Association of Chief Police Officers - tells BBC News the cuts to policing are broadly in line with expectations. He says the cuts will affect front-line policing and there is "no question" there will be fewer police officers after four years."

    **University funding cut by 7.1% a year or 28.4%

    Train to gain scheme abolished

    Education - Pupil Premium 2.5 billion (Thought it was going to be 7 billion???)
    No cuts to primary and secondary education. Real terms increase every year. Cash funding per pupil not cut.

    Sure start protected in cash terms. 15 hours care for all disadvantages 2 year olds.

    Administration cut by 33% Capital building cut.
    Building schools for Future fund cut.

    1 Billion funding for Carbon Capture Plant (Was to be 4)

    PHEW!!! Done,

    Now over to Alan Johnson....

  34. Government are "deficit deceivers"

    Myth no 1 - Greatest WORLD recession in a generation is all the fault of Labour

    "Brought Britain back from the brink of bankruptcy" When crisis hit our debt was 2nd lowest in G7. Interest rates have actually been falling since beginning of the year NOT when Tories took over.

    Conservatives didn't call for reduced public spending or more regulation before the crisis.

    The Tories argued we were spending TOO LITTLE. Not spending enough on NHS or education!! until well after the crash of Lehman's.

  35. "We do need to bring the deficit down"

    but today is a "reckless gamble" that could "stifle recovery"

    If we hadn't run a deficit people would have lost their jobs, their homes and their savings. The Libs argued this during the election. "Then the deputy PM discovered Greece" lol

    "One Nation Tory" because Ireland, Scotland and Wales don't support need for these scale of cuts, lol

    Just like GO today, Irish finance minister said HIS plans had backing of markets and IMF - 4 months later they slid back into recession.

  36. Frontline services must be protected.
    Support moves to ringfence NHS, but 2-3 Billion taken from budget to re-organise was not in manifestos and they promised "no top down reorganisation"

    Teachers are already losing their jobs.

    There are doubts over the NHS budget, AJ asked Osborne to confirm.

    Starting point for deficit reduction should be jobs, jobs, jobs.

    14,000 jobs to go in justice dept, 11,000 in front line.

    What will total redundancy bill be for Public Sector? They have the figures and ought to share them with the house.

    "There IS an alternative"

    Their cuts not the same as ours would have been.
    "We came into this budget with department cuts at HALF the level they now prepare."

    We were looking for a much more gradual reduction that would not stifle such fragile growth.

  37. Carl Emmergson from the IFS on live now - the measures that are newly announced hit lower earners hardest, but using announcements made by Labour, overall spending plans hit the richer harder, he says.

  38. http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/Politics/Spending-Review-2010-Britains-Poorest-10-Hit-Hardest-By-Cuts/Article/201010315762417?f=rss

    Sky's take on the CSR

  39. http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/oct/20/spending-review-loss-teaching-jobs

    Also many education support services to school age children ( I am one of them) are not funded byt the schools budget but from the local LEA.
    These are bound to be hit, thus damaging prospects of vulnerable in society.

    While the Tories say they are ring fencing the NHS, it is effectively being cut as insufficient costs to keep up with health inflationary costs.

    This is because of the bankers made a mess in a greedy, capitalist system and ordinary, hardworking are being asked to pay. It is at the very least immoral.

  40. Sky headlines - Spending Review - Poor Take Biggest Hit
    BBC - Pension age will rise sooner
    Independent - David Blanchflower - Double Dip is now inevitable

    Pam, it's all very depressing.
    This was Osbornes last chance in the limelight, his last chance to pin it all on Labour.
    From today, he will be judged on outcomes and his plans are a mess.
    From now on the narrative is unremitting - job losses, homelessness, wards closing.
    I have no idea what the polls will do short term, but I know for sure where they'll be at in 6 months.

  41. Sue: Have had to leave UKPR else I be permanenlty on the step. Am amazed at somepositive repsonses.
    In real term the NHS will be hit as will education.
    I teach sick children so am involved closely with both NHS and education, and we are not funded by school budget.

  42. Back to the 80s. :-(
    Why is Sky seemingly negative about the CSR? I thought they would be supportive.

  43. @Sue.........We will never agree on the reason behind all this, but I don't think that the end of the world is nigh. We have to get back to the problem, viewed from there the solution was always going to be tough....we have to be realistic, and also fair on the nation as a whole, unfortunately this nation is divided, your side, and my side, I'm optimistic about the future now, you aren't. I have just been visited by an American friend who said he wished that they had someone with the guts to do what Osborne has just done, that is, to tackle the problem rather than skirt round it.

  44. I know, Eoin panics!! Don't fret.
    He was predicting the cuts announced wouldn't be nearly this big too. He's built Osborne up to be some kind of genius, but just like the budget, most of what he announced was smoke and mirrors.
    It'll all come crashing down soon enough and from now on, every single day, every job lost, every drop in growth will be down to him.
    Most of it now will be down to how the media report everything.
    It'll take a few weeks for it all to be digested, cogitated and spat back out, but spit it they will.
    My big fear was that he would actually stick to Labour spending plans and do the decent thing, but he hasn't (though of course it would have been better for the country if he had)
    The big elephant in the room is that Tories are FURIOUS over the defence budget, really furious. There will be and endless drip drip about useless aircraft carriers with no aircraft and harrowing stories of squaddies on the dole.

  45. Julian - See my comment about furious Tories.

    Ken - It all has to be water tight. Fingers-crossed-economics.

  46. Ken: There is plenty of poverty in the States -the majority of Americans cannot afford to travel here so I do not think your friend typical.

  47. Sue
    Yes. Where on Earth is Roland when you need him?

  48. @Pam.......No, my friend would certainly not appreciate the term, 'typical' applied to him, he runs a business in Boston employing over 1500 people.

  49. It's that age old question Ken - will what's good for business be good for the country?
    I think we'd both agree that to meet the OBR targets, GO needs at least a dollop of goodwill from business in return - they need to invest, take on staff and up manufacturing and exports.
    I'd be interested to know (genuine question) if your friend would be prepared to give up a hefty slice of his profits to ensure that we really were "all in it together"

    Would he take on extra staff? Train them where the training budget had been slashed, invest in new plant machinery? Or would he just be glad his profits were now secure?

    (I think perhaps an honest answer to that question is unlikely unless your friend is a saint ;) )

  50. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/oct/20/spending-review-state-services

  51. Olympic spending is safe, but sports funding is cut by a third.

    Bye bye gold medals.

  52. This from the Telegraph. A gloomy view of today's markets, not altogether fair. They are obviously not happy with Mr O

    David Frost, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: "Now that the Spending Review is complete, our message to Government is that it is now time for a clear strategy for growth – which in turn will give companies, and especially small and medium-sized enterprises, the confidence to invest."
    He said businesses and government had to work together to deliver a real year for growth in 2011. "This is the only way that the private sector will be able to take up the slack," he said.
    This was echoed by John Walker, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses. He said: "The small business community continues to have a vital part to play in driving a credible recovery and taking on new members of staff to help tackle unemployment, so it is now vital the Government puts a small business programme for growth into action immediately."
    He said small firms were at tipping point and lacked the confidence to take on the 500,000 people that will be made redundant as a result of these cuts.

    link : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/spending-review/8076077/Spending-Review-2010-George-Osborne-leaves-markets-unmoved.html

  53. @Sue.........I'm sure that my friend would be only too happy to share a profit at the moment, he came over here to try to raise money for his business.....having failed in the US, so, if you've got access to $10 mil, sing out, I'm on the case as well. As an afterthought...Dragons Den ? :-)

  54. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/health-spending-will-top-inflation-but-nhs-pledges-dropped-2111882.html

    And if Eoin ever comes for a chat, here's the first of the smoke and mirrors stories.