Despite What You Hear, Osborne is Not On Course

Norman Lamont has been wheeled out as one eye is turned to tomorrow’s budget. He claims.

“In many ways, the best Budget the Chancellor could introduce would be one that did nothing.  The Chancellor has courageously set out his strategy over five years, moving Britain back towards budget balance, largely through expenditure cuts but also with some tax increases.  The overwhelming important task is to stick to that strategy.”

That’s the Christmas card list sorted, but John Redwood has pointed out a few inconvenient truths in the last few days. Take a glance at the numbers for the next few years compared to the last year of Labour:

“Total spending plus £71 billion a year, Total tax revenue plus £176 billion a year, 5 years additional state borrowing £440 billion.”

Osborne is hardly the axeman. And nor are his Cabinet colleagues it seems. Redwood has put together a database of how the departments are getting on, specifically the promise to cut staff overheads by 30%:

“So far, they have lost around 4% of their staff numbers in an eight month period. This suggests the overall annual rate of  leavers is 6%. What is surprising is they have replaced half of these, meaning that the overall numbers are only down around 2%.”

Chris Huhne’s Department of Climate Change has seen its numbers increase, Pickles has managed to hire 263 new staff to replace 266 who left. Only Defence and the Home Office have made any real headway in the last few months:

Some three thousand people left the MOD and yet 1,700 of the posts have been re-filled. And that’s in the department making the most headway… The 30% target is still miles off.




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Quote of the Day

George Osborne paraphrases Boris, telling the FT:

“If the ball came loose at the back of the scrum, I wouldn’t fumble it”

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