There is no doubt that this budget has stopped the rot in terms of the build up of public spending and borrowing. However, we should not be complacent and it does not provide the springboard for the rebalancing between the state and the private sector that I had hoped for.
Much is made of the headline spending cuts figure of about £130bn. However, we must not forget that this is the level of cuts in previous projected increases in expenditure. Real terms total spending will remain more or less constant over the next five years.
As far as public sector workers are concerned, perhaps the biggest item is the two year pay freeze – though the Public Sector Pensions Commission might have some more shocks in store. This pay freeze will bring public sector pay – adjusted for skills – roughly into line with private sector pay, though there is still a big gap in pension provision.
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