When will this government at last start cutting its wasteful spending, the money it has been squandering for years, and money that – surely – it is now seeing it cannot afford to throw around any longer?

We are now finally hearing admissions about the mammoth scale of government debt UK’s accumulated over the recent years and especially in the aftermath of the financial sector fiasco, and that Britain will be saddled with this debt for 20 years or more. Debt that both us and the next generation will have to shoulder and pay for through higher taxes whilst the government is stuggling to balance its books and finds that its income is lower than its expenditure. None of these forecasts make pretty reading, but let’s face it, we were all aware something of this magnitude was about to start unfolding.

Just some soundbites:

  • Britain’s net debt in Dec 08 stands at £697.5bn, or 47.5 % of our GDP, compared with £634bn  in Dec 07 (Dec 08, source – ONS)
  • The financial sector bailout cost us so far around £100bn (source – ONS)
  • The credit crunch on its own is anticipated to cost us £ 50bn a year (3.5% of GDP) in lost tax receipts and higher social security spending. 

Yet it still seems the government is in denial, up to very recently very vocally committed to spend their way out of the recession.

Labour have been on the spending spree with government finances since they came to power, and with the various bailout schemes underway, the total spend has now accelerated out of control.

Aren’t recessions meant to be a cathartic time? A time to acknowledge that something has gone massively wrong and correct things, clear out the dead wood, start afresh? If we’ve clocked up debts that we will struggle to pay in future, if we’ve managed to build a grotesquely over-inflated cash-draining public sector, and if there is now even talk – of UK plc’s possible insolvency and the risk of it having to turn to the IMF for help – should we not start in government’s own backyard and clear out the Augean stables of its past spending schemes as soon as our little legs can carry us there?

A few examples of candidates spring to mind:

  • Regional Development Authorities, whose aim is to “helping to create prosperity across England”,  have been in place for 9 years and achieved no measurable contribution to the economy – and boast a Chief exec figure larger than our PM
  • English Partnerships, another quasi-government organisation, duplicates the work of many other existing organisations and agencies whilst claiming to aim to reduce inefficiency – with another huge top exec salary
  • Various pressure groups such as Postwatch, National Consumer Council, Energywatch are costing many millions to run. Will we notice them if they vanish? (h/t to Emile Woolf’s suggestions)
  • SME assistance schemes like BusinessLink also overlapping in functions with other similar organisations, my personal favourite
  • The list can go on and on!

It’s time for a cull! Why are we not hearing that the government is addressing the problem that is so totally within its control?


Copyright 2009 by CuriouslyInspired