Peter Hoskin

Putting the “public” into “public spending cuts”

Putting the "public" into "public spending cuts"
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My old colleagues at Reform have put together a very useful analysis of the Canadian spending cuts programme - which got that country's debt-to-GDP ratio down by 20 percent during the late 1990s - over at Centre Right.  I'd suggest you read the whole thing, but this point deserves repeating:

"The key lesson from the Canadian reforms is that, as Andrew Haldenby recently argued, getting the public to support tough measures requires them to feel part of the process. This need for openness with the public contrasts with the approach of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who has argued that it would be a mistake for the Government to set departmental budgets for up to three years ahead at this time, and the Business Secretary Lord Mandelson, who has argued that plans for a department-by-department spending review ahead of the election have been abandoned." There are plenty of reasons for the next government to stage an emergency Budget/spending review as soon as they get into power next year, but encouraging public understanding for the measures necessary to deal with Brown's debt crisis is among the most important.  Especially as our debt-to-GDP ratio will need to be reduced by much more than 20 percent to be anything like sustainable.