Posts Tagged ‘CSR’

CSR analysis: the government’s green boasts were vain and idle

03/11/2010, 03:00:12 PM

by ffinlo Costain

Announcements leading up to the comprehensive spending review (CSR) and the review itself were the first opportunity to really test the Tory-Lib Dem government’s sincerity about tackling climate change. As the dust settles we can assess the result.

Labour’s warm front scheme, which provided grants for homeowners to insulate their lofts and cavity walls, is to be killed off. Thousands have benefited from reduced insulation costs, with grants worth around £300 delivered at council level. The result was widespread energy savings. The government’s green deal will replace this scheme. Instead of grants, homeowners will be offered loans to buy goods and services from businesses like B&Q and Tesco to make their homes more energy efficient.

But if many of those living in fuel poverty failed to take the opportunity to insulate their houses when most of the cost was paid for, it seems unlikely they’ll chose to insulate when they have to fund the full cost themselves. The measure also fails to help those living in un-insulated short-term rented accommodation. (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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John Woodcock finds glimmers of hope amid the grey

25/10/2010, 09:00:00 AM

And so we charge on into the new landscape. It is cold and bleak. And it is dominated by the comprehensive spending review.

While I am not as pessimistic as some Uncut contributors (you, Dan Hodges) about how the announcement played out last week, we shouldn’t for a moment think it was a good week for the Labour party, or, more importantly, for the country.

Even accounting for a little slanting of questions and selective reporting of the answers, the YouGov poll in last week’s Sun was sobering. Taken after the CSR announcement, it suggested that 47 per cent of respondents blamed the last Labour government for the programme of cuts compared to 17 per cent who blamed the Tory-Lib Dem coalition that is making them, and 20 per cent who cast a plague on both our houses. Sure, respondents didn’t get the option to blame the bankers – but even accounting for that bias, the figures suggest that the Tory message machine is having some considerable success. (more…)

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The CSR was a political disaster for Labour, says Dan Hodges

22/10/2010, 09:00:17 AM

We fell into a trap. The CSR saw us out-thought, out-spun and out-positioned. First casualty of Osborne’s cuts: the Labour party.

There will be others. Those set to lose their jobs, their benefits, their housing. We will weep for them. Some of us will march for them. Though, wisely, not our leader. We will rage at the injustice.

It will achieve nothing. Neil was right. He has got his party back. A party of protest, not influence.

Wednesday was a slow motion car crash. For months people have been warning that our failure to articulate a coherent position on deficit reduction would cost us dear. Dismissed as siren voices, they were ignored. So we drove, unblinking, into the wall. (more…)

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Criminal justice: Amanda Ramsay says a bad situation just got worse

21/10/2010, 11:30:27 AM

One comprehensive spending review (CSR) commentator dared to ponder: would Labour have landed a more Brown-like ‘clunking fist’ on George Osborne had Ed Balls been the shadow chancellor? No. The man of the moment for Labour was Alan Johnson and he did not disappoint, delivering a deft performance in response to the cuts.

Balls took to the post-announcement airwaves, making his mark as shadow home secretary, characteristically quick to challenge his opposite number, Theresa May, over huge 20% cuts to the policing budget, predicting “massive cuts in police numbers” and a “very dangerous situation for public safety.”
Add the 20% cuts to policing and the massive 23% cuts at the ministry of justice and public order and the social ramifications of the CSR loom enormous. Not that you would know this from either the mainstream or social media discussion.

Ahead of the game, the police federation had already described the anticipated wide-scale cuts in police numbers as heralding “Christmas for criminals”. Labour’s Tony McNulty, a former home office minister, was also quick to conclude that “these cuts, to the crown prosecution service (CPS), courts and probation, will have a huge impact on policing”. (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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The Tories aren’t winners, so don’t let them write our history, says Michael Dugher

18/10/2010, 09:00:45 AM

Nixon once said that the moment the public begin to complain about the message is the moment that some of the public have heard the message. At 1230 on Wednesday, George Osborne will get to his feet at the dispatch box to announce the outcomes of the comprehensive spending review.  Even if the precise measures contained in the review were only finalised late at night over recent days, his script was agreed months ago. With tedious repetition, Osborne will once again blame all of the country’s woes on the size of the deficit. He will say that Labour’s legacy, in terms of the public finances, was the product of reckless irresponsibility, “profligacy” and waste – and that the Tory-Lib Dem government is determined to “clean up the mess” Labour left behind. This, of course, is a complete untruth. But if Labour does not confront this argument, there is a danger that the message will not only be heard, but believed. (more…)

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