Magazine article Public Finance

Personal Is Political

Magazine article Public Finance

Personal Is Political

Article excerpt

Something has to give. With the public finances in disarray, a number of big-ticket' public projects face cancellation whoever wins the next general election.

David Cameron has warned, in a speech that emphasised thrift, that a Conservative government would scrap identity cards and the children's database. Meanwhile, leading Blairites, such as Stephen Byers, have called for the Trident nuclear replacement programme to be shelved.

Fans of regional assemblies, Sure Start Crossrail and child poverty targets might also face disappointment in the years ahead.

Efficiency savings' can only get you so far, as this week's special issue on performance management shows. You can get more from less, but in the end the state will have to decide what its priorities are.

According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, we face two Parliaments of pain and real-terms spending cuts of 2.3% from 2011. Normal service will not be resumed for some time - if ever.

One unexpected casualty of the new age of austerity is likely to be the government's choice and personalisation agenda. This central element of its public sector reforms did not merit any mention in the Budget speech. …

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