Peter Hoskin

Where are the cuts?

Where are the cuts?
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John Redwood has entered the debate with a unique argument: spending isn't being cut. He points to figures in the Budget which show "current" spending rising from around £600 billion now to around £700 billion in 2015. As Alex says, that suggests an increase of 15 percent over five years – hardly what anyone would describe as a cut. And there's a similar picture for "total" spending, which will rise from around £670 billion to £737.5 billion.  

Yet it's worth pointing out that Redwood isn't using inflation-adjusted figures (aka, "real terms" figures). If you do that, then there are cuts to be seen in both current and total spending:


And that's before we get onto another component of total spending – capital spending – which Redwood admits is being cut:


Having said all that, the broad thrust of Redwood's point remains: a bird's-eye view of the spending cuts may not be as severe as many people expect. But try telling that to those departments which have to slash over a quarter of their budgets in coming years.