Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The first cut is the deepest

There's nothing to celebrate about the government's deficit reduction plan. The billing that this was the moment that the public sector workers would learn their fate was always fanciful - it's not government by Radio 5 Live. There will be much to work through now, and much more detail to implement. But there is some comfort in the fact they're getting on with it. It had to happen. Every party supposedly understands the need to make the cuts. The question the Labour Party can't answer is which departmental spending cuts would they support now, and which ones  they wouldn't implement. That's the beauty of opposition though. It's not a privilege afforded to the Liberal Democrats, many of whom aren't naturally inclined to govern, just to make speeches.But they're now going to have their resolve tested.

Speaking of which, these set piece occasions always skim the surface and lead to pundits uttering the inevitable - "the devil is in the detail." 

Science budgets are protected, but the projects that were named were all in the South. It hopefully tilts the argument towards carbon capture and other green technologies being centred on the North.

There was a nod in the direction of rail improvements, but with price increases for tickets. The projects that have been identified initially were for electrification. I'm not sure that's the best use of resources. What about the Todmorden Curve, or the small improvements for massive gain that the Northern Hub will deliver? Details, details.

And what about those exciting plans for Local Enterprise Partnerships? They must have been in his speech when the sound went down. Or maybe not.

No comments: