Right wing cuts would devastate vital services and cost jobs

Widely publicised proposals by the Institute of Directors and TaxPayers’ Alliance to “save £50 billion a year of public spending” came under attack today from a range of sources. The findings undermine comments by Miles Templeman, Director General of the Institute of Director’s that, “our list shows that large sums can be saved without hurting vital services.”

A 2-year pay freeze across the public sector to save £12.4 billion.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies record that, “Other things being equal, holding public sector pay below the levels available in the private sector is likely to lead to recruitment and retention difficulties and/or reductions in the quality of staff willing to work in the public sector.”

Indeed, the cut would impact the quarter of public sector levels working in poverty wages: 1.47 million public sector workers earn under £7 an hour.

Reduce by 10 per cent the non-frontline staff in health and schools and the size of the civil service to save £2.154 billion

These figures fail to take into account any of the efficiency savings already announced by the Government. In the IoD/TPA report there is no mention of the Treasury’s Operational Efficiency Programme which has delivered more than £26.5 billion in savings, and plans to deliver a further £35 billion by achieving greater efficiency in a number of cross-cutting areas. As there is no mention of this it is unclear whether the IoD/TPA are proposing a further 10 per cent on top.

The report records that there are 70,880 non-frontline staff in schools, 313,853 non-frontline staff in the NHS, and 526,000 civil servants. This implies 91,000 job losses.

Cut 10 percent from the budgets of non-ministerial departments to save £1.7 billion

The Crown Prosecution Service and the Serious Fraud Office are both non-ministerial departments. This would, therefore, result in the largest ever cut backs for these departments and could mean 10 per cent fewer serious crimes ever coming to justice.

Abolishing Sure Start to save £1.5 billion.

The IoD/TPA report claims that, “Sure Start schemes have not appeared to be helping disadvantaged children
do better in school and society.” But the March 2008 National Evaluation Report of Sure Start carried out by Birckbeck, Univerity of London found that:

“After taking into consideration pre-existing family and area characteristics, comparisons of children and families living in SSLP [Sure Start Local Programme] areas with those living in similar areas not receiving SSLPs revealed a variety of beneficial effects for children and families living in SSLP areas, when children were 3 years old. There were positive effects associated with SSLPs with respect to 7 of the 14 outcomes assessed.”

Report co-author Professor Edward Melhuish told Left Foot Forward that:

“Children who were exposed to fully functioning Sure Start programmes will just about now be coming up to taking their Key Stage 1 assessments. So the data that they are basing their conclusions on are children who are too old to experience fully functioning Sure Start programmes. Their comparisons are spurious.”

Abolishing all Sure Start budgets would also remove local authorities’ ability to provide any form of pre-school education, required under the 2004 Children Act.

Abolishing the Educational Maintenance Allowances to save £0.53 billion

An independent assessment by the Institute for Fiscal Studies found that:

“Males and females in relatively disadvantages areas did experience higher participation and attainment, and that these improvements are nontrivial relative to their base levels.”
This is actually corroborated by the IoD/TPA report which concedes that, “there has been an increase in the percentage of 16-18 year olds in education or training since the EMA was launched, from 75.7 per cent in 2004 to 79.7 per cent in 2008.”

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19 Responses to “Right wing cuts would devastate vital services and cost jobs”

  1. Will Straw

    Rightwing cuts from TaxPayers’ Alliance and IoD would cost >90,000 jobs & devastate key services http://tinyurl.com/tpa-cuts

  2. Matthew McGregor

    RT @wdjstraw Rightwing cuts from TaxPayers Alliance and IoD would cost >90,000 jobs & devastate key services http://tinyurl.com/tpa-cuts

  3. matthew bond

    Another superb blog. The Tories are enthusiastic about cutting jobs. Remember they find it easiest to govern when unemployment was high. Osborne’s appreciation of the 81 budget was a clear signal. Left us with double digit unemployment for a decade.
    Take care.

  4. Richard Watts

    RT @wdjstraw: Rightwing cuts from TaxPayers’ Alliance and IoD would cost 90,000 jobs & devastate key services:- http://tinyurl.com/tpa-cuts

  5. ToUChstone blog

    RT @Jessica_Asato: Brilliant analysis on why the IoD cuts programme would devastate public services @leftfootfwd: http://is.gd/397AF

  6. Mr Jabberwock

    “the Crown Prosecution Service and the Serious Fraud Office are both non-ministerial departments. This would, therefore, result in the largest ever cut backs for these departments and could mean 10 per cent fewer serious crimes ever coming to justice.”

    Well the “evidence based analysis” bit didn’t last long did it.

  7. William Goodwin

    Tell me Will, did you shed a tear when Woolworths closed? Or maybe you smiled when shots of bankers being told the bad news were printed the day after the Lehmann Brothers bank collapsed?

    In both these cases the business involved had been trading at levels way above their means for far too long and when the credit crunch hit, their dodgy finances caught up with them. The same is now true of the government. Cuts need to be made and blogs like this are just setting the left up for a bigger fall.

    Next year we have to cope with a £100+ billion shortfall in tax revenue to government outlay. Someone needs to find savings and if you don’t like these ones…propose your own.

    I genuinely want to see what a left foot forward savings plan would cut…

  8. willstraw

    Thanks for the comments. I don’t deny that the Government will have to make cuts the questions is (i) how quickly and (ii) what is the correct mix of spending cuts to tax rises.

    Left Foot Forward has shown in previous posts that, the Osborne/Cameron approach of racing to balance the budget, as practiced in Ireland would be catastrophic: http://www.leftfootforward.org/2009/09/irelands-budget-balancing-hurts-economy/

    That the Conservative Party’s own figures show that we are well placed to absorb deficits for a few more years: http://www.leftfootforward.org/2009/09/conservative-research-shows-theres-no-debt-crisis/

    Indeed, the quicker we get out the recession the quicker the deficit will come down as tax receipts go up and benefit payments go down

    That said, we have showed how there is 60% support for some tax rises to help close the long run deficit: http://www.leftfootforward.org/2009/07/majority-support-tax-increases/

    In answer to your direct question, I welcome the IoD/TPA starting a debate on this but it is disingenuous of them to claim that “large sums can be saved without hurting vital services.” Polly Toynbee in today’s Guardian had some good suggestions of ways to cut the deficit that that I think would be fair: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/sep/11/cameron-economy-tax-and-spend

  9. Web links for 11th September 2009 | ToUChstone blog: A public policy blog from the TUC

    […] Right wing cuts would devastate vital services and cost jobs Left Foot Forwards looks the TPA and IoD report […]

  10. The Earl

    What’s the matter, Will? Couldn’t take my criticism of you? Obviously not, otherwise my previous post would not have been removed. You Lefties are a dreadful shower of idealists that are incapable of listening to perfectly reasonable, ‘right wing’ policies to curtail our vast and bloated public sector.

  11. willstraw

    @The Earl. I removed your comment because I regarded it as offensive. It’s reprinted in full here so others can make their mind up. I have clarified our comments policy on the About page.

    And if you’re interested in the the 60% number on tax rises read the article I linked to. The numbers are from a Times/Populus poll.

    “What a pile of crap- “Right wing cuts would devastate vital services and cost jobs”. Have you read the report? There is a rationale for each and every one of the proposed cuts. And where the Hell did you get the statistic that 60% of the population supports tax rises over cuts? That’s a bloody lie, and you damn well know it. Aside the fact that countless reports have been produced by so many organisations proving that reduced public spending (as opposed to tax rises) is a much better way to control any deficit without damaging economic growth. This whole Left Foot Forward project is a pathetic racket. Crawl back under the cave where you came from, Will.

  12. Liberal Conspiracy » Is Cameron really trusted on public services?

    […] This week the new Left Foot Forward blog exposed how right wing cuts would devastate vital services and cost jobs. […]

  13. Mark M

    “This implies 91,000 job losses”

    So what? If government can do the same job with fewer staff then why shouldn’t it? Any private company would. It is not the job of the government to employ people in order to keep unemployment figures down. If a job doesn’t need doing, then you don’t need to employ someone for it. One reason we are borrowing well over 10% of GDP this year is because the public sector has been making up jobs to employ people into for years.

  14. Alex

    Watched a very interesting news article / debate this morning on sky news (shudder), between the TUC’s head economist and a guy from the “Taxpayers Alliance” (I most certainly opt out of that alliance)

    How the right can expect the deficit to decease when they propose sacking people, which leads to – less tax revenue, more benefit payments, less disposable income in private hands therefore less private spending therefore more job loses in the service industry therefore start the sequence again.

    Even Thatcher took 6 years to reduce the deficit even though she was cutting all over the place, why, because of the millions that were left the dole and incapacity benefit.

    Leave the poor behind is their motto and unfortunately we are going to give them the perfect chance after next year and I fear the election after.

    Goodwin – scrapping trident is a good start.

  15. LFF brief: universal benefits | Left Foot Forward

    […] IoD/TPA report has a greater saving of £8.45 billion from abolishing both Child Benefit and the Child Trust Fund […]

  16. Caroline Sick Of The Lies

    I thought this was supposed to be an evidence based blog Will. You seemed to be a “pretty straight kind of guy” on Sky News last night but this is typical New Labour spin. You have no evidence that Right Wing cuts will do anything, either good or bad. Nobody has. It’s just speculation. If people knew the real effects of decisions on a state level then we wouldn’t be in a recession now.

    What we do know is that Labour has racked up the largest debt our country has ever had and the highest unemployment and lies and spins to try and wriggle out of the truth. No more Boom and Bust. Tory Cuts. Tory Toffs. Anything but their own (dire) position.

    It’s always the same – Labour wreck the country leaving massive unemployment and huge debts and the Tories come in to clean up the mess. It’s always never Labour’s fault but some global problem they couldn’t have predicted. 10p tax on the poor? That’s Labour for you.

  17. In defence of Sure Start | Left Foot Forward

    […] TaxPayers’ Alliance have responded to Left Foot Forward’s post on Friday about the TPA and Institute of Directors’ proposals to make £50 billion in public […]

  18. willstraw

    Hi Caroline,

    Thanks for your comment. I’m sorry you don’t think this blog is evidence-based. We went to great care to ensure that we linked to all source material.

    I’m afraid you’re also wrong to say that “Labour has racked up the largest debt our country has ever seen.” As Will Hutton pointed out in the Observer this weekend, “since 1750 the national debt has always been proportionally higher than this, except for two 40-year periods – one at the end of the 19th century and the other from the 1970s until now.” http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/sep/13/budget-national-debt-will-hutton

    Richard Murphy has a graph on his blog making the same point: http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2009/09/09/uk-debt-dont-lie/

    There is a meaningful debate to be had here and we are trying to add to it not obscure.

    Best wishes,


  19. Adam Tait

    RT @leftfootfwd: Right wing cuts would devastate vital services and cost jobs http://t.co/AG0Ty7VN

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