So what was it? That non-ringfenced departmental budgets would remain "pretty much flat" rather than receiving significant, if not sufficient, cuts. As Fraser demonstrated yesterday, there were spending cuts hidden in the Budget and we'll see the full extent of those as soon as the IFS processes the numbers later today. Last time around, after April's Budget, they calculated cuts of 7 percent across three years. Thanks to a few more ringfenced budgets here and there, those cuts could even be deeper this time around.
Of course, these cuts aren't a bad thing in and of themselves. They – and a lot more – will be necessary to deal with the fiscal crisis. It's just dispiriting that our government would prefer we didn't know about them.