These spending plans are not strategic

Mark Littlewood writes for Prospect Magazine

George Osborne’s prolonged, almost agonised, efforts to eliminate the budget deficit are now definitely of the “salami slicing” rather than “strategic” variety.

In his spending review today, he was trying to squeeze just a little bit of cash from a multitude of different sources. The lessons from other countries – most notably Canada and New Zealand – have been that a successful fiscal consolidation requires a government to decide which areas of government activity it is going to extinguish altogether, rather than falling back on the old chestnut of “efficiency savings” and seeking to trim state expenditure in a wide range of departments by a fraction or on the margins.

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