Monday, 18 October 2010

United Kingdom: cuts

Coming. Ready or not

There are now just two days to go before the UK Government announces the framework for its spending cuts for public services..

The health service is a Holy Cow, and will not be cut. Nor will overseas aid. Nor will schools. In fact schools will receive a little more, 'for children from poorer backgrounds'.

There will be no such protection for education as a whole, and the continuing (rising) costs of schools will have to be covered from other areas of the education budget. Within education, perhaps administration, perhaps even 'statementing', will have to cut their cloth. Outside education other services will have to bear their share of the extra strain.

We shall not know precise details of any of this on Wednesday. Ministers announce the big spending picture – that is how much money there will be to spend and the broad policy guidelines for what it is spent on. It will be up to people lower down the tree to work out specifically whose services, whose jobs will go (including, in many cases, their own).

To a large part these measures will have already been decided. The next month will see the brown envelopes beginning to arrive (i.e. notification  that jobs are being abolished). Soon too we shall be seeing the first knock-on effects in the wider economy, including presumably in contracted-out services and charities. It certainly will not be 'all over by Christmas' but it will certainly be well under way. Whatever the technical economic definitions, many institutions and individuals will be experiencing their own double-dip recession.

More doubtless soon.

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