Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

My Faltering Steps to Spending Cuts

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

My Faltering Steps to Spending Cuts

Article excerpt


IT has been a week of faltering first steps in my household, as one-year-old Charlie discovered that he could let go of the furniture and boldly go across the middle of the room towards the smiling adult with the outstretched arms.

Naturally there have been mishaps along the way and I have belatedly come to appreciate the origin of that useful phrase "trying to run before you can walk".

Words that spring to mind every time Education Secretary Michael Gove pops up in the media, stuck in the bottom of his hole yet still ferociously digging.

Not that I am without sympathy for those in the Government charged with finding savings in their departmental budgets. It finally dawned on me a couple of weeks ago that I have been living vastly beyond my means for years and that the only solutions were to increase my income by about 60% or cut expenditure by a third. That will be the spending cuts, then, won't it? I duly drew up a list of things I could do without, but none has yet got past the family vetting committee. Cancelling my eye-wateringly expensive private health insurance looked like a no-brainer to me, particularly as the small print carefully excludes pretty much any problem I seem likely to develop, but Mrs Hann remains to be convinced. I might go down with blackwater fever right after cancelling my direct debit and it would be like forgetting to buy a lottery ticket on the day when your usual numbers finally hit the jackpot.

The only foreign holiday I have taken in the last decade was my honeymoon, and I would gladly never take another, but my wife feels the urge to go somewhere reliably sunny in September and even I cannot claim that she is necessarily going to get through a bottle of Soltan in Scarborough towards the end of the summer season. But tough choices, as they say, are going to have to be made. …

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