James Forsyth

A difference in emphasis<br />

A difference in emphasis<br />
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Pete has already highlighted Sir Gus O’Donnell’s interview with The Times, but I was struck by the difference in emphasis between O’Donnell and Brown during his appearance before the Select Committee heads this morning.

Here’s how O’Donnell talked about Canada and its example of 20 percent cuts this morning:

“Asked whether he agreed with a policy adopted in Canada, where spending was cut by 20 per cent and some departments had much deeper cuts than others, he said: “You could envisage a situation where you go for deeper dives on this, most certainly.”

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Sir Gus suggested that lessons could be learnt from the Canadian Government, which cut its spending by 20 per cent over four years to lift the country out of its 1990s recession. Several Canadian politicians have held seminars in London recently, attended mainly by Shadow Cabinet ministers and officials. “There are some lessons for us . . . it was certainly an interesting model,” the Cabinet Secretary said.”

And this is what Brown said (via Andrew Sparrow) when asked about newspaper reports that the civil service was looking at twenty percent cuts:

‘Leigh says it would be "disastrous" if there was no proper planning for spending cuts. He quotes from a Sunday Times report saying civil servants are drawing up plans for 20% spending cuts.

Brown says Leigh should not believe everything he reads in the paper. That report was "totally ridiculous".’

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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