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The Comprehensive Spending Review

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If you want to make enemies, try to change something.  ~Woodrow Wilson

Today at 12.30pm the Chancellor will set out the Government's 4-year spending plans to try and drag the UK out of the financial mire it is currently in. He is going to make a lot of enemies in what's shaping to be a brutal day for the public sector. The media is awash with speculation and innuendo as to who is getting what and more importantly for most public workers, who is not getting what. We'll have a full review here as soon as we hear but for now, a recap of the most what most commentators are predicting:

  • The loss of 500,000 public sector jobs as the Government seeks to cut the public sector wage bill;
  • 2-year wage freeze for remaining public sector workers;
  • £13 billion of cuts to welfare;
  • Plans to cut £80 billion from public spending over the next 4 years.

There is also speculation that the Government will need to raise taxes over the course of parliament but as of yet there is little indication this is accurate.

With such savage cuts lined up, are we in for a repeat of the 78/79 Winter of Discontent? Who knows, but it is worth noting that there is very likely no sympathy in the private sector for such a move by public sector unions. And this is a shame for rank and file public servants without whom society does not function; I certainly would never accuse a teacher or nurse of being overpaid. On the contrary, they are probably underpaid but the numerous articles in the press highlighting how much top public sector bosses are earning and highlighting how excessive middle management has become in the public sector has probably ingrained in the public an impression of fat-cattery amongst the public sector in general even where it is not warranted against frontline staff.

We'll know in a few hours how bad the news is.