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Minister Warns Brown Over Spending Cutbacks

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http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/polit...ks-1743347.html

Lord Adonis, the Secretary of State for Transport , has become the first senior minister to launch an offensive against cuts to his major spending plans, ruling out any withdrawal of support for his ambitious high-speed rail line despite growing pressure on the Government to cut some big projects.

In an interview with The Independent, Lord Adonis issues a clear message to sceptics as well as to the Prime Minister that he will not tolerate any attempt to sacrifice the high-speed line, which could cost the public around £8bn.

It comes as pressure grows on Gordon Brown from his own party to "come clean" over spending and admit that some sacred cows will have to go. Data released by the Centre for Economics and Business Research today suggests that around £100bn in tax rises and spending cuts will be needed by 2018 to restore the public finances.

The Prime Minister's support for a high-speed rail line, ultimately linking London to Glasgow, was central to the deal that saw Lord Adonis move to the Department for Transport (DfT) last year. Allies believe he could walk out of Mr Brown's Cabinet should backing for the project waver. The Government's spending plans beyond 2011 remain a mystery, though the Chancellor, Alistair Darling, has promised that more details of future spending will be laid out ahead of the next election. Mr Brown has said that "hard choices" will have to be made, but has stubbornly refused to reveal where spending cuts will come.

However, Lord Adonis signalled that he will not compromise over his chosen pet project, despite the prospect of a decade of spending cuts. "High-speed rail is a long-term project. The fact that we have constrained finances for the next few years shouldn't lead us to constrain our ambition," Lord Adonis said. "On the contrary. What we're planning for is the infrastructure we will need over the next generation. We won't be spending serious money on it for at least five years. The bane of infrastructure planning in this country has been the failure to think for the long term and to cancel projects because of very short-term funding constraints."

The jockeying among ministers for a major slice of a limited pot of money is set to kick off in earnest after the Pre-Budget Report in the autumn, when Mr Darling will announce his projections for the economy. The Independent understands that some tentative discussions over future spending plans have begun at an official level.

Currently, several departments are working on the basis that they will continue to be looked upon favourably by the Treasury. Officials at Ed Balls' Department for Children, Schools and Families are hoping that the Government's pledge to raise the compulsory age for education or training to 17 in 2013 and 18 two years later will save them from major cuts. However, the Secretary of State for International Development Douglas Alexander's aid budget is only guaranteed to rise until 2013. No commitments have been made beyond then.

Doubts over the future of high-speed rail have increased over recent weeks, with Britain's transport budget already under intense pressure – and it could yet be raided further to prop up other departments. The recession has triggered clauses committing the Government to help rail companies cover losses in expected revenue, while the renationalisation of the East-coast mainline rail franchise also looks set to leave a hole in the DfT's accounts running into hundreds of millions of pounds.

But Lord Adonis said that "neglect on the part of successive governments" had left Britain's transport infrastructure lagging behind that of other countries. "I believe passionately that we will only become a thoroughly modern country when we have a thoroughly modern transport system," he said. "Developing the plan for high-speed rail is as big a reform as we have carried out. The Prime Minister is absolutely committed to that, too. If we are going to be a successful country in the 21st century, we are going to need a modern rail system that must include high-speed rail between our major conurbations."

Money has been squandered for too long. Now the cutbacks have to come we have run out of money.

What's the betting all the favoured dept have Brown's lackies at the helm?

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Guest KingCharles1st

So what would you rather do with 8 Billion-

some bit of train track

Some city bonuses

Some juicy QE

Answers on a postcard.

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Guest KingCharles1st
So what would you rather do with 8 Billion-

some bit of train track

Some city bonuses

Some juicy QE

Answers on a postcard.

OH BOLLO CKS I just realised that option 1 & 3 cancel each other out, leaving... :lol:

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http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/polit...ks-1743347.html

Money has been squandered for too long. Now the cutbacks have to come we have run out of money.

What's the betting all the favoured dept have Brown's lackies at the helm?

A more accurate comment would be

Money has been squandered for too long. Now the public spending has to come we have run out of money.

The government should be embarking on large infrastructure projects to maintain employment and economic activity during a depression but this (or the next) government is forced to do the exact opposite because they squandered all the money during a boom.

We are totally farked

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There is another factor that seems to affect the UK when it comes to large infra-structure investment. Everything seems to take three times as long as it does in other countries (and consequently a lot more expensive). How long before this high speed train line to Edinburgh actually gets built? France, Germany, Spain etc have been putting down loads of high speed rail lines, often with far more difficult terrain. The planning process may be the reason, but it results in long delays and thus higher costs.

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There is another factor that seems to affect the UK when it comes to large infra-structure investment. Everything seems to take three times as long as it does in other countries (and consequently a lot more expensive). How long before this high speed train line to Edinburgh actually gets built? France, Germany, Spain etc have been putting down loads of high speed rail lines, often with far more difficult terrain. The planning process may be the reason, but it results in long delays and thus higher costs.

I've noticed this on some embankment work in Shropshire. Massive amounts of machinery, roads diverted, dozens of portacabins and portaloos and only about 5 men working. Its been going on for months. I'm sure the Victorians would have done it with picks and shovels in a week.

Also even the most minor roadworks like repairing a curb seems to need traffic controls, portable toilets, rest and leisure facilities and several truckloads of earth moving equipment with very little evidence of anyone actually working.

I presume the "elfin safety" legislation which everyone else ignores is responsible.

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