Sacred cows must be sacrificed
Vince Cable has today published a report on how to cut Government spending. He doesn’t mince his words. Rather he makes clear what we all, in our heart of hearts, know to be the case; Government cuts are inevitable and will be painful for us all.
He’s right to be frank, and he’s right to say that most people will understand why cuts are needed. Up and down the country, as people are being made redundant, accepting pay-freezes or being forced to work fewer hours, they are making difficult decisions about the difference between what they want and what they need. They understand that, in hard times, Government must do the same.
As for his ‘shopping list’ of cuts – there’s little to disagree with. Paring back the cumbersome quangocracy in education and health won’t just save hundreds of millions of pounds, it will also reduce the bureaucratic burden on teachers, doctors and nurses. Holding off on public sector pay increases is a necessary sacrifice when the balance book is so precarious.
Most important though is Dr Cable’s insistence that no area of spending can be ring-fenced, that there are no sacred cows. Rather than playing a game of one-upmanship, over who will insulate various services from reality, politicians should follow Vince’s lead. In times as tough and as inhospitable as these no department should be exempt from the soul searching and self-examination that root out efficiencies for the hard-pressed taxpayer.