Posts Tagged ‘comprehensive spending review’

Ten hard truths for Labour

27/07/2015, 06:16:26 PM

Following Tristram Hunt’s call for “a summer of hard truths” Labour Uncut is running a short series laying them out. Here’s Kevin Meagher with his top ten.

1. Fundraising must be the next leader’s top priority. The party is broke and its funding base in the affiliated trade unions looks increasingly precarious. Miliband hated raising money and avoided doing so. The next leader will find it occupies more of their time than anything else. That’s if they’re serious about running a political party.

2. Manage effectively. No-one in politics can line-manage. They really can’t. Decisions are subject to constant change because competing courtiers love sticking their oar in. And no-one takes responsibility for things because no-one wants to be left holding a problem when the music stops. (That’s why the “Edstone” passed through ten planning meetings without anyone pointing out how mental it was). And because virtually no-one in politics has ever worked anywhere else, they think this dysfunctional way of operating is normal. Blair, Brown and Miliband were all hopeless managers in their own ways. The next leader needs to learn to delegate and performance-manage his or her team. Let the general-secretary run the party machine and if they’re crap, sack them. Oh, and stop hiring inexperienced kids for important roles that they then guff up. Radical idea: advertise key jobs and hire the best applicants.

3. Avoid expensive US consultants. The hero worship of US politics by seemingly everyone who works for the party is actually closer to a creepy infatuation. Its staggering no-one on the NEC had the decency to demand that “Obama guru” David Axelrod repay the £300,000 he was paid for contributing nothing of value to the election campaign he was supposed to be masterminding. It could have funded another dozen organisers on the ground. (Members should remember this and take it out on the dozy NEC reps responsible for agreeing to hire him). For future reference, the party has enough talent and experience to run its own campaigns and doesn’t need any more Yank snake oil salesmen. (more…)

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Poor communities will be cut more than rich

15/11/2010, 05:07:53 PM

by Michael Dugher

After the comprehensive spending review, the institute for fiscal studies said that the government’s policies will hit the poorest families harder than the better off. It said that the tax and benefit changes were “regressive”, and would have a greater impact, relative to income, on people at the lower end of the scale. David Cameron says “we’re all in this together”, but as various reports will show in the coming weeks, how badly affected you are depends on where you live.

Key to this unfairness are the cuts in funding to local authorities, who all face reductions of seven per cent a year. But this will not mean that all local authorities will face equal cuts in their budgets. The reductions in central government grant will clearly have a much bigger impact on those councils who serve more deprived areas. In areas like my own in Barnsley, needs are higher but the council tax base is lower. If you are more reliant on central government funding and raise less funding locally, you will not have the capacity to recover funding shortfalls. (more…)

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CSR analysis: cuts and confusion are the reality behind the Tories’ tough talk on defence

02/11/2010, 03:18:56 PM

by Andy Bagnall

The strategic defence and security review was cleverly timed. By publishing it the day before the comprehensive spending review, one day of bad headlines about defence cuts was quickly eclipsed by reports of the wider savagery being unleashed against our public services.

Casual observers might remember little more than the Tory-Lib Dem government’s perverse plans to build new aircraft carriers but retire the Harrier planes that fly from them, ten years before buying replacements. More interested analysts might even have been musing on the last time a Tory government decided to dispense with carrier strike capability, in 1981. (A year later, Argentina invaded the Falklands and the policy evaporated). But then we were deluged with the news of welfare cuts, arts cuts, housing cuts, any-kind-of-cut-you-can-think-of cuts. And the plane-less carriers disappeared from the horizon. (more…)

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Anthony Painter sees life’s winners making losers by the million

20/10/2010, 05:09:18 PM

Spending cuts at this rate are unnecessary. Everyone who isn’t a Machiavellian Osborne-ite or an ethically empty Liberal Democrat frontbencher knows that. These strutting macho men (and Teresa May and the other one in Defra) in their 40s are ripping apart the ties that bind and the life chances of millions. They gleefully gamble on growth because they always have been and always will be winners, no matter what the level of unemployment. At least now there is no doubt where these self-imagined Flashmans are coming from.

It’s one thing to take to hack away at the roots of the good society with cockiness and bravado. It’s another to dissemble, dodge, and mislead every step of the way. They know what they are doing. They are sure they are right- when are they anything but right?

So why not tell it straight? This spending review document takes spin into a new stratosphere. New Labour? Communications amateurs. These guys are something else.

You don’t have to delve very deep into the document before you discover all the tricks of presentation that the modern politician has at their disposal. By the second page of the executive summary we are told that the UK is to remain a world leader in science despite only maintaining the cash budget over the next four years. I’ll remove your leg but in cash terms you’ll still have two. Sure Start the same: maintained in cash terms. Perhaps Gideon would be willing to exchange his trust fund for its 1950 cash value? It’s the same after all.


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We must be honest so that we can be distinctive on the deficit, says Jonathan Todd

19/10/2010, 02:30:34 PM

SOCIAL and economic debates on tax and spend run through the messages George Osborne will project tomorrow: his actions are fair (the social debate), best for the economy (the economic debate), and necessary, which intersects both debates. Clarity, and Labour’s cause, is aided by disentangling these strands.

Deficit reduction strategies need not only beginnings (start this year, next or when?), endings (completed in this parliament or next?), and content (tax and cuts mix?), but, crucially, they must also say what this content means for tax and spend in each year of this parliament. Political debate has so far failed carefully to pick over budgetary consequences from year to year.

There are opportunities for Labour in this examination. The government plans that cuts will account for three-quarters of the deficit reduction by 2014. However, next year, half the fiscal consolidation comes from tax rises. That spending cuts are intended to take greater strain over the longer-run has obscured the fact that 2011 sees ominous tax rises: increases in VAT and national-insurance. (more…)

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