Osborne Cuts Opposition Funding

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Hidden away towards the back of the Autumn Statement was the section on “Reducing the cost of politics”, which consists of a modest 19% reduction in Short money allocations. This means the taxpayer-funded wedge to which opposition parties are entitled will be cut by millions. Good news for the taxpayer, bad news for the already massively in debt Labour Party.

Below is the sum each party was previously due to receive in each year of this parliament. In brackets is what a 19% cut would potentially look like:

Labour: £6.2 million (£1,178,000 CUT)

SNP: £1.2 million (£228,000 CUT)

UKIP: £650,000 (£123,500 CUT)

LibDems:  £540,000 (£102,600 CUT)

Greens: £212,000 (£40,280 CUT)

A handy benefit of being a Chancellor with an eye on the next election is you can severely wound your opponents where it hurts: in the pocket…

Out-of-the-Loop Chris Bryant Hasn’t a Clue

As Guido revealed in this week’s Sun on Sunday:

“The BBC has announced 1,000 jobs are to go as part of a £150 million round of cuts. These job losses would cover just £50 million of the sum, however, leaving another £100 million awaiting Aunty’s axe.

Guido hears that the BBC’s little-watched 24-hour News Channel is in the firing line, with plans afoot to shift the operation online and stop broadcasting on telly. BBC bosses are waiting until this week’s budget before a final decision.”

A story which caused a certain degree of scepticism from the impeccably dis-connected Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport:

That would be our double-sourced drivel from senior BBC sources. 48 hours later, Media Guardian confirms Guido’s Sun exclusive:

“The BBC is considering making its news channel online only following a similar cost-cutting move for its BBC3 TV channel, it has emerged.

Work had already started on assessing the impact of making the news channel online only before the government unveiled a surprise licence fee settlement on Monday… A final decision about the channel has yet to be made.”

As Guido explained, the Beeb has a £100 million spending black hole to fill. Media Guardian reports the News Channel’s overall costs are just over £100 million:

“In the last BBC annual report, it said the channel’s production costs were £26.8m, while its newsgathering costs were £21.2m. In addition, the news channel spent £48.7m on content, £8m on distribution and £9.5m on infrastructure/support in 2013/14 and taking it online only would prove cheaper for the BBC, which is looking to make savings.”

If Chris needs any further help with his brief, he knows where to come…

UPDATE:  The Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Chris Bryant tweets:

New Government Spending Cuts in Full

Osborne says there will be an extra £3 billion in efficiency savings and £1.5 billion coming in from selling off the rest of Royal Mail. This is how it breaks down:

To put into context, the deficit is £73 billion this year…

Poll: Labour Won’t Deliver “Programme British People Want”

How many relaunches is that now? Ed Miliband’s big speech on the economy today is being tipped by sympathetic quarters of the press as showing Labour are serious about reducing the deficit, so at least there’s no chance he will forget to mention it this time. Yet Ed is also going to attack the Tories for planning to cut spending to “1930s levels”, insisting “That is not our programme, that will never be our programme, and I do not believe it is the programme the British people want”. Just one problem: a ComRes poll for ITV out last night shows that this is the “programme the British people want”. 33% support cutting spending to 1930s levels, 26% oppose. Another great relaunch success…

Osborne’s Kwasi NHS Spending Pledge

Kwasi Kwarteng isn’t backing down from his comments splashed in the Indy that NHS spending will have to be cut to clear the deficit:

“My general point was that if you’re going to have a serious debate about deficit reduction, everything has to be on the table. Now I’m not saying we’re going to cut the NHS, what I am saying is that there’s a serious deficit problem and you have to start thinking quite radical things if you are serious about dealing with the deficit. The alternative is to keep borrowing money indefinitely.”

Osborne has just announced £3 billion worth of extra cash for the NHS…

Dave’s Barrister Brother Backed Legal Aid Cuts Strike

As Guido revealed in yesterday’s Sun column, Dave’s barrister brother was sympathetic to Friday’s strike over Government cuts to the legal aid budget that will leave some junior lawyers paid less than the minimum wage. Alexander Cameron’s case was not sitting on the strike day so he did not picket. But a source at his London chambers tells Guido: “He would not have gone to court even if his case had been sitting.”

Environment Agency Massively Over-Staffed
Arguably World’s Most Bloated Quango

ea0prospect

Prospect, the union which represents workers at the Environment Agency, is taking the opportunity of the floods to protest job cuts – “The government must call an immediate moratorium on 1,500 job cuts in the Environment Agency in the light of the flooding that has swept the UK this winter” – as if that would stop the rain. 1,500 job cuts sounds like a lot until you realise that it is only 10% of the bloated workforce.

Bloated? Well it is by international comparisons. Equivalent quangos in the rest of the world are much smaller, the Environment Agency for England alone has more staff than the Canadian, Danish, French, German, Swedish and Austrian equivalents, combined!

Only the US Environmental Protection Agency has more staff, (15,913 versus 11,200) hardly surprising given the US is some eighty times larger than the UK with six times the population. According to a whistle blower, blogging for Inside the Environment Agency“, based on international comparisons it has 9,000 too many and a billion plus budget that should be slashed in half. Some serious Treasury axe wielding required here…

Ed Ballses Up Brillo Interview

Under pressure from Brillo earlier, Balls coughed that he believed “the cuts are deeper than they need to be” for the spending review. Meanwhile spinners were pushing the line that Labour will stick to spending cuts if elected in 2015. Which was even on the rather unfortunate ticker scrolling along the bottom of the screen while Balls was speaking. So these cuts are too deep but Labour will stick to them, eh?

Here is the video:

This is What Austerity Looks Like

The Chancellor has revealed how much the UK will spend in 2015/16: £745 billion. For the first time we have an accurate picture of the widespread devastation that Osborne’s austerity agenda has wrought:

At the next election, the Coalition will […]

+ READ MORE +

First Picture of Liam Byrne’s Infamous “No Money” Note

Turns out it was “I’m afraid there is no money”, not “I’m afraid there is no money left”.

If we’re being pedantic…

Via ITV

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Rich’s Monday Morning View

20130624-000549.jpg[…]

+ READ MORE +

Patten’s DCMS Anguish

Things must be bad for the increasingly troubled Department for Culture Media and Sport when a loathed Chairman of the BBC has to ride to your defence. Chris Patten told a Press Gallery lunch that the department must not be […]

+ READ MORE +



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