Monday, July 6, 2009

Debt reduction plan for the next government

Whitehall lines up ‘doomsday’ cutbacks

Secret “doomsday” plans for 20% cuts in public spending are being prepared by senior civil servants, who fear politicians are failing to confront the scale of the budget black hole. Whitehall mandarins have begun creating detailed dossiers containing reductions in expenditure that are far deeper than the more modest savings being proposed by Labour and Conservative politicians.

Posted by quiet guy @ 07:09 AM (1904 views)
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47 thoughts on “Debt reduction plan for the next government

  • We have Cameron’s Cuts……then we have Labour cuts.

    …Ooops, we are going to SPEND our way out of this crisis!

    When are our politicians going to run our country for the people’s benefit and not just political populism?

    Every week we award more “rights” to services and that increases the people needed to manage them – meanwhile we borrow more money!

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  • We have Cameron’s Cuts……then we have Labour cuts.

    …Ooops, we are going to SPEND our way out of this crisis!

    When are our politicians going to run our country for the people’s benefit and not just political populism?

    Every week we award more “rights” to services and that increases the people needed to manage them – meanwhile we borrow more money!

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  • japanese uncle says:

    We must watch carefuly so as not to allow the likes of ‘political correctness coordination strategy director’ with six digit salaries, to survive cops on beat, teachers, binmen, etc.

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  • yorkshireman says:

    JU – Spot on as usual. I agree and hope you are right, but it will be down to the six digit salary brigade to make the decisions, no doubt. Will they sacrifice themselves for the greater good ? I doubt it.

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  • Turkeys do not normally make plans for a better Christmas, unless it involves championing the cause of eating Chicken instead.

    In other words, govt depts are not making plans for the good of the nation, but to make sure that their own jobs and their own little empires are protected.

    Huge savings could be made by delegating work out of Whitehall, and giving more responsibilities to County, District, Town and Parish Councils. The closer democracy is to the people, the more efficient it gets.

    Great savings could also be made by restoring trust in Magistrates to deal appropriately with most offences, without higher officials constantly looking over their shoulders, and bossing them around.

    Hospitals should also be allowed to manage their own affairs, without constant interference from an over-staffed dept of health.

    If the staffing of the MOD were halved, I doubt anyone else would notice..

    The next government should glance at the neatly prepared dossier – and then chuck it in the bin..

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  • Actions for the greater good of the country as a whole and not for the prolonged existence in power of any political party and their leader. This is a major flaw in the management of this country.

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  • mark wadsworth says:

    What JU and UT say.

    Twenty per cent overall cut seems like a bare minimum, don’t forget that government spending as % of GDP has gone up from 36% ten years ago to nearly 50% today, i.e. cutting spending by ONE THIRD would only put us back to the late 1990s and not some horrible Victorian Dark Age where kids wandered the streets without shoes.

    PS, households and businesses would be able to spend (or save) their own way out of recession if regulatory and tax burden were slashed.

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  • letthemfall says:

    Uncle Tom and others

    You say that MOD staff could be halved without ill-effect, with staff reductions in other govt depts, but how do you know this? Is there evidence for this or is it just your gut feeling? No doubt we can all quote examples of pompous asses and clumsy service in the public sector, but equally we could all find plenty of incompetence in the private. Banks, for example; not just the financial shambles but simply getting through to a person on the phone. Without the public sector normal life would be impossible. And when one waits months for a medical appt, one is tempted to think insufficient money is spent on public services (I think I’m right in saying that Europe spends quite a bit more than us).

    However, I do agree that certain public sector jobs receive more than they’re worth. Just as in the private sector, the bosses have garnered large rewards while the average worker has done rather less well.

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  • stillthinking says:

    People are being fobbed off with cuts to the state sector. There are 21 million workers, and 6 million state workers. State workers are not the be all and end all of state spending. Currently the government spends 50% of GDP. Or 50% of 27 million workers. Or 100% of 14 million workers(around). So only 6/14 of government spending is on public employees, call that 50%.

    If 50% of state spending goes on state employees, and overall government spending needs to be cut 20%, then placing those savings entirely on state employees would really need a 40% cut.

    I think they will have to cut back on external contractors, so the cuts will actually show up as an increase in private sector unemployment, and also cut back on wealth redistribution policies. Given that unemployment/pensions are barely sufficient to survive on these days, and there aren’t any jobs to push the unemployed into anyway, then we would seem to be in a big pickle.

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  • Letthemfall,

    Ask any officer in the armed forces whether they think the MOD is overstaffed – I guarantee the reply..!

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  • letthemfall says:

    I looked up some figures the other day (can’t find the source now) which stated that UK spending in 2006 was 40% or so (compare 36% US) and is 43% in 2009 (that may well have been a forecast). So not sure where 50% comes from.

    As stillthinking says, not all expenditure is on workers. Military hardware, health service kit, etc eat up large amounts of money. Then there are the bank bailouts (which may or may not yield a return eventually). Cutting public spending usually has severe consequences, the brunt of which are borne by the poor. We’re in a difficult situation, but the solution (if there is one) is not simply a matter of slashing spending on presumed waste.

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  • letthemfall says:

    UT

    I’ll ask my neighbour – he’s a general so should have some idea. Were you in the services? (Sorry, I know that’s a personal question.)

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  • george monsoon says:

    Simplify the welfare state, and take away all the unwanted crap, that has generated “silly” job roles in the past 10 years.
    You could cut the DWP staff in half, and before anyone asks.. I have worked “with” these civil servants for over 5 years. ( I am not a civil servant myself, my company is contracted to support their computers)

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  • letthemfall says:

    george m

    Well, I imagine there are a few silly ones, but do these amount to anything significant in costs? Much of what I read is anecdotal. You can ask people who work in or with the public sector – army officers, Whitehall administrators – and they may express an opinion, but do these really reveal anything other than a few unavoidably limited views?

    “Cutting out the waste” has been a popular political slogan for many years in all parties. They’re still trying.

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  • “I’ll ask my neighbour – he’s a general so should have some idea. Were you in the services?”

    If he’s a General, he probably has a desk job at the MOD – try asking someone who still gets to handle a gun from time to time..

    I’ve not been in the services personally, but have strong commercial interests in explosives, with many military contacts.

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  • letthemfall says:

    I think he is at a desk now, but was in Afghanistan not so long ago. Mind you, would front line troops think they were overstaffed? They may say impolite things about their logistics people I suppose.

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  • Old Munchy was right….this site has become stale.
    Populist crepe about administration costs should be qualified with figures explaning the true percentage cost of that same management.
    Most of the buffoons writing this stuff in the daily redtops, couldn’t run a raffle.
    There is no genuine debate about possible solutions to the mess we find ourselves in, in these blogs…..just the same self interested bilge that got us here.
    Broon is a poor leader, but dave is shaping up no better……be careful what you wish for.
    Adios.

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  • @braindeed

    “the same self interested bilge that got us here.”

    Easy now. The property news is a bit slow at the moment and will probably stay that way for a while. Insults aren’t required.

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  • mark wadsworth says:

    @ Letthemfall, the 50% figure I read somewhere recently. Further, officially it’s crept up to 45% a year or two ago, add on unfunded public sector pensions, PFI, higher debt service costs in future, I do not doubt that 50% is “about right”.

    @ StillThinking, using the International Labour Organisation figures, taxpayer funded jobs are up from 6 million in 1997 to 8 million today. Given that there were a million too many back in 1997, that makes three million superfluous, which is indeed around 40% of taxpayer funded jobs. So what? Maths is maths, value for money is value for money.

    If we work backwards and add up all the useful public sector workers (armed forces, police, teachers, nurses, doctors, prison officers etc etc) we get to about two million, even if we allow another 150% for ‘back office’ stuff, surely we can manage with five million? That’s still one-in-six of all employees!!

    Speaking for myself, I don’t really mind these families who get £20,000 a year in benefits (or whatever) nearly as much as a single quangocrat and paper pusher who gets £30,000-plus. Sure, the welfare system needs to be simplfied, but the total welfare budget is just about the last place we should be looking to make cuts – it’s the staff at DWP and HMRC who should be culled.

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  • letthemfall says:

    mark w

    And there’s social workers, street cleaners & refuse collectors (mostly contracted out I suspect), govt scientists, hospital porters, council planning officers (I can hear you wince at that one) … a long list. And the administrators are useful too: where would a hospital be without the people who order materials, write to patients, allocate beds; the managers who run everything (actually I’m not keen on them either). The point is who is to say whether a particular job or set of jobs is superfluous? How do you demonstrate this? The HMRC are pretty efficient I think – rather too efficient one might say.

    Even if 50% is about right, think about the value of public services. How would you measure the value in educating the population, the research of scientists, the maintenance of law? Incalculable. The public sector could be viewed as outstanding value. Yes, one could make it leaner and meaner, US style, where the rich portion of the population consume like the world is coming to an end, while its substantial poor sector live in varying degrees of poverty, more extreme than anything in the UK. And what might happen to the savings? Fed back into banking bonuses?

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  • goweresque says:

    The Tories should decree that only people earning over 25K per year will be cut from the public payroll. I bet you can find enough middle management in the State sector to cut at that level to find the 10-20% spending savings that are required. Leave the poor buggers at the bottom of the pyramid alone. They’re the ones who have to actually do something for their money, not just attend thousands of meetings per year, and write pointless memos.

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  • goweresque says:

    Oh, I just remembered, a lad I play cricket with told me his Dad is a Group Captain in the RAF, and there are only 60 Group captains in the entire RAF (he was boasting a bit!). I would be surprised if we have enough planes for one group let alone 60! A bit of a target for cuts methinks?

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  • shipbuilder says:

    The problem with cutbacks in times of recession is that they are inevitably knee-jerk and badly executed, leading to a reduction in service and quality. Large blue-chip private corporations are my experience in this regard, before anyone starts. The problem is usually down to bad management and short-termism. In the private sector, this short-termism is a result of the profit-driven way most corporations work, in the public, due to interference from politicians with their eye on the next election. Addressing these issues will solve many of the problems, in my opinion.
    Simply braying ‘it’s not fair’ and calling for public sector cuts in proportion to private rather stupidly ignores the very different roles that the public and private sectors have. Do we really want less police and longer waiting times in hospitals every time there is a recession? Let’s not be silly. This then highlights another problem in that our tax system is both over-complicated and too dependent on the economic cycle.
    What we need is the core public services all in public ownership and run as non-profit organisations focused on service, run using ‘lean’ principles, with charters and legislation to prevent interference by politicians. Ditch the snooping and interference in our lives and simplify the tax system – in my opinion, a citizens wage funded by LVT out of which services would be paid for at point of use would be most efficient and discourage waste.

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  • mark wadsworth says:

    @ LetThemFall, sure, you can extend the list as long as you want, but I doubt you’d get past three million. But the longer you extend the less margin of error you have for ‘other’ (and I offered a very generous 150% mark-up for ‘other’).

    There’s no dispute that the State creates huge value by exercising the core functions (primarily law and order, defence, but also street cleaning, refuse collection, flood defences), and the gains accrue directly to property owners (whose property would be nigh worthless in the absence of all this stuff) which is why the costs thereof (quite modest, certainly less than £100 billion a year, or one-sixth of government spending) should be covered by land value tax.

    And I’m not disputing for one second that the ‘output’ of teachers and nurses and doctors has value, but I doubt whether they ‘add value’ above and beyond the cost. How many people would anybody voluntarily pay £8,000 (the average full cost of a state school place) for a state school place? Apart from a handful of really good state schools, no they wouldn’t, they’d rather pay £8,000 for a private school place.

    There are about one million taxpayer funded jobs related to education, but only about half are actual teachers. I know from my kids’ private schools that the ratio of ‘back office staff’ to teachers is much lower – about one-to-four, certainly nowhere near one-to-one.

    And don’t sidetrack the debate by saying I am exercising in a ‘bash the poor’ exercise, I am not – if we had e.g. a taxpayer-funded voucher scheme instead of state provided education, then lower earners would be entitled as well, wouldn’t they? And that’s still redistribution from rich to poor, isn’t it? What hacks me off is diverting money intended to benefit “the poor” into the pockets of meddling quangista!! And tax cust needn’t be regressive, I have long argued that the tax-free personal allowance should be doubled, for example, and that means testing of benefits should be reduced/scrapped.

    @ Goweresque, that’s an excellent plan.

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  • shipbuilder says:

    There are improvements to be made in the public sector, just as there are in the private. The difference between good companies and bad is how well they are run. I don’t believe that there is huge evidence to suggest that the public sector is any worse than many large private sector organisations – much public over-spending is due to the use of and over-charging by private contractors. Also frequently ignored in the tedious ‘wealth creating’ arguments is the fact that for many companies, public sector spending makes up a large and more importantly, steady, part of their order book.
    Yet another frequently ignored point is the value to private industry of healthy employees, law and order, infrastructure and so on. Has a value ever been put on these things? If not, it could just as easily be argued that perhaps there is a shortage of public funds because the private sector don’t pay enough for the value they receive from public services. Of course there’s too much grey in that argument for many people to consider.

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  • For anyone talking about officers in the Armed forces:

    http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/cm75/7516/7516.pdf

    On page 23 the graph shows that there has been a surplus of officers in the army for the last 5 years. How about trimming some of this particular fat to save a few pounds here or there.

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  • Groweresque – so if someone earns < £25k per year and then gets promoted through loyal service, hard work etc then you advocate an automatic cull? Its all a bit logan's run isnt it?

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  • letthemfall says:

    mark w

    I didn’t accuse you of bashing the poor. I offer the US as an example where the public sector plays a smaller role, and I suggest that to go down that route would lead to even greater inequalities here of the kind we see in the US. That would be a backward step, and it’s relevant to the debate.

    Some of those education jobs go to administering the system in which private schools operate. You can’t run schools with teachers alone, or they would have little time to teach. If your free market idea was implemented nothing would improve; the number of good schools would not change overnight, unless more money was forthcoming.

    It seems your argument against a money-wasting public sector hinges on the belief in the existence of grey meeting-attending, pointless memo-writing (to paraphrase goweresque, who incidentally has no plan) “meddling quangistas”. But do they really exist?

    As shipbuilder says, there is not really any evidence to support this stance. There is no fundamental reason to think one sector of the economy is inherently inferior to the other. And frankly I’m not convinced direct financial comparisons are meaningful or useful.

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  • I think the point of the public v the private sector is this. Rightly or wrongly unproductive resources (including people) in the private sector are dispensed with when profits and margins are squeezed because of a lack of demand. Yes they may employ “holidays” or cuts in overtime etc instead of outright falls BUT the result is the same.

    For the public sector the jobs are much more likely to be reduced less quickly because the yardstick employed is not one of profit but one of value for money service, (and i didnt even put value for money in quotes). In addition the public sector employees are much more likely to be retrained / moved sideways etc.

    Im not saying one is correct and one isnt – although i do think you should be able to dispense with unproductive staff (after they have been proved to be unproductive in > 1 departments). Of course thats a luxury that some private companies cannot have because their raison d’etre is to make a profit which by definition means being productive.

    Yes in the past they may have allocated too much in terms of rewards to their staff, but they can turn that round pretty quickly. Of course there are injustices of getting rid of the “wrong” people in both sectors.

    At the end of the day their must be a balance between the % of the economy that provides services (i mean the public sector) and that uses tax revenue to provide those services AND the revenue actually raised to pay for those (the private sector). While its true the private sector would have a tough time without the public sector, in a non comunist country the public sector cannot exist without the public sector..

    Now if you do advocate a communist state then thats a different issue.

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  • “in a non comunist country the public sector cannot exist without the public sector.” – silly me “in a non comunist country the public sector cannot exist without the PRIVATE sector..

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  • shipbuilder says:

    techieman – I think that essentially we all agree, although when you talk of a completely state-controlled economy, that is not necessarily communism. The argument comes down to, as you say – what level of public services are required, what money is required to pay for them and who should pay it?
    To me it is that simple, yet what is frustrating is that few seem to be able to view it as such without letting their prejudices interfere. One can argue that the public sector is bloated, yet one can also argue that the private sector does not pay enough tax. No-one really has the figures to make a sound judgement.

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  • letthemfall says:

    On the other hand, techieman, the demand for public services is not subject to the level of variation of that of the private. Indeed, in some areas it is rising steadily – health for example. Things change less rapidly so manpower can more easily be adjusted by natural wastage, though I’ve known of redundancies and sackings.

    Bear in mind, also, that it is not just a case of the private sector paying the public for services: it works the other way round too. We have one economy and society, and the two sectors are equally important. But I know you know that because you’re a reasonable chap!

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  • techieman said…I think the point of the public v the private sector is this. Rightly or wrongly unproductive resources (including people) in the private sector are dispensed with when profits and margins are squeezed because of a lack of demand.

    Not sure I agree with this entirely. I spent a long time working for a FTSE 100 business employing over 100,000 people. I always thought the company would be far more productive with about a 30% headcount cull. The reason they never did it was the same as in the public sector… Nobody at the top had balls big enough to hand out the bad news. So while customers were getting fed up of trying to find out who to talk to, and shareholders were getting fed up with the sheer scale of costs, the CEO and those around him were busy trying to look like the good guy. The CEO got canned in the end – so did his successor.

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  • LTF – i have probably over-simplified things. I agree [thats a first :-)] that “it works the other way round too” – eg. Private provision for IT services purchased by the Public Sector. But i think my overall point is that you cant have a public sector on its own without it being funded by taxes. Yes people that work in the public sector do pay taxes but its a net outflow (sorry probably stating the bleedin obvious) that must be paid for by taxes of people and corporations (based on profit) in the private sector.

    For what its worth I dont really have a prejudice (dispite what i might have previously written) against public sector employees. Although its true, some of the most jobsworth and laziest people i know do or did work for councils (and they have a warped sense of society and their own self worth) some of the most energetic and clever people i know too work for the public sector.

    Its funny though, one that i am thinking of in particular works for a school and does five or six different tasks, and works long hours and gets no overtime pay, and is actually quite poorly paid (IMO). Whereas the lazy type went for an industrial tribunal at the drop of a hat, was “sick” for years and retired through stress. When he saw what i did close up (you know buy that sell that) and saw how much i had at stake he nearly fainted! Im not saying im brilliant at what i do, but i have put in – mostly in the past – silly hours.

    BTW i dont know if a while back you were having a go at me for being a hypocrite while i was in a two way tussle with Braindead and Le Crunch (RIP) for saying that i dont resort to name calling. If that was the case (i.e. i did employ an expletive when responding to you) i really cant remeber it, but if i did i apologise unreservedly to you.

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  • Timmy – yes you are right! Im glad you mentioned this. I have made the point before that when the profits are rolling in then alot of companies have allowed “waste” in their organisation. However when the going gets tough the private sector “gets rid of” more easily, Darwinian really.

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  • Timmy – unless it was BT…. obviously… thats a law unto itself!

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  • letthemfall says:

    techieman
    I don’t think it’s a question of the private sector paying for the public. One can imagine the entire economy being state-owned (even though it would be undesirable), with workers producing all they do now. Taxes are really contributions to the cost of shared and essential services.

    I suspect councils contain a fair few of the type you describe, though I don’t have too much experience with them. My limited contact with councils has been partly good, partly not so good.

    On your last point, I wasn’t involved. Was that the time when brain-er-ded came out with the rude acrostics? I didn’t think you’d ever used expletives (more than I can say for a few people who visit this site) so you’ve shattered my illusions. Anyway, it wasn’t to me (unless I wasn’t looking) but thanks anyway. Really I know you kinda like me.

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  • @letthemfall

    “I don’t think it’s a question of the private sector paying for the public.”

    If the private sector isn’t paying for the public sector, then who is? Apart from the aberration of North Sea Oil, there is no such thing as free money. The bigger the public sector bill, then the greater the burden on private tax payers. I think our public sector si far too big and must be reduced if our country is to be prosperous.

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  • Letthemfall says:

    quiet guy
    You may as well ask who or what is paying for the private sector. The work of the private sector produces goods and services of value to society (leaving aside the performance of banks of late). Likewise the public sector – mostly services these days. Money, as we know, is a system of exchange; the payment is in the goods and services. Taxes are used to pay for shared services, in proportion (in theory) to an individuals income so that people without much money have access to essential services too.

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  • shipbuilder says:

    To me, it boils down to this – the economy is made up of goods manufacturers and service providers. In the public sector should be those who provide ‘essential’ services – utilities such as water, infrastructure, electricity, some might include money. They should be efficiently run, customer first and not for profit.
    The private sector should be the manufacturers and other services – although the only parts of the private sector that are ‘wealth creating’ and therefore providing revenue to pay for all the other services, are those that export goods/services outside the country.
    The ideal is that taxes automatically adjust to cover the services provided, although (as far as I know) Marx put forward the idea that publically owned companies are more efficient because all of the net profit goes to the public, rather than just a % of it in tax.
    The eternal debate is as to which works best. In my view, neither totally private nor totally public economies have been proven one way or the other because both have been perverted by those in power seeking to centralise and funnel wealth to the top.
    Given the current state of play, I would suggest that a mixed economy is the best compromise, as outlined above. Then, of course, the debate is around what is an essential service.
    My experience in process improvement and lean manufacturing etc. in the private sector suggests that a company can be run well irrespective of whether it is private or public. The most efficient model for a company currently available works primarily from a customer service point of view and profit is secondary.

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  • @Letthemfall,

    Private companies must compete to make money or they go bust (as you say, leaving aside the performance of banks of late.) Public sector organisations generally consume money without competition and sometime seem to think their role is to make life as hard as possible for their ‘customers’. I’ve seen a lot more sloth, waste and destructive bureaucracy in the public sector compared to the private sector over my working life. They simply aren’t the same. Few would object to paying fair tax for, say, emergency services and road maintenance but we’ve gone well beyond that now, it seems to me.

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  • shipbuilder says:

    quiet guy – so what to do? Are you making an argument for privatisation?
    To me what is lacking in the public sector is the sense of service to others that individualist consumerism has wrung out of us. Yet that sense is also lacking in the private sector. One of the most efficient companies in the world – Toyota – was originally envisaged as a service to the community. It’s business model, copied by many others, is customer-based, first and foremost. When others, mainly in the US, have tried to emulate their business model for profit first, they have failed. This is what my experience in the private sector has taught me and hence why I see things differently.

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  • LTF – i kinda like people that express a different view to my own but only when they can back that up with sound reasoning. I freely admit i don’t have all the answers – no one does and life is, after all, a learning experience. Having said that i have to agree with Quiet Guy this time, in reality in this country the profits made by the private sector do pay for the public services via tax. Of course that’s not the full story because the government can engage in deficit spending. Ideally they would be smoothing out the vagaries of the business cycle by maintaining core services, and restricting the deficit when tax revenues are buoyant and increasing em when tax revenues decline – which doesnt neccesarily mean cutting, sort of keeping things on an even keel.

    Of course everyone in society wants to be well off but i think the problem is the labour boys have gone a bit OTT on their spending. Do i think the tories would have done any better in restricting spending? Maybe a bit but not much. I suppose the reason Gordy didnt save anything for a rainy day is because he had solved the Boom Bust cycle. That ego and his pronouncement, im afraid, will be his epitaph.

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  • @shipbuilder

    “Are you making an argument for privatisation?”

    I’m arguing for a smaller state. Easier said that done, I know.

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  • shipbuilder says:

    44. quiet guy said…

    “@shipbuilder

    “Are you making an argument for privatisation?”

    I’m arguing for a smaller state. Easier said that done, I know.”

    To me the best organisations are made up of people passionate about providing the best for their customer, organised in the most efficient way. In the private sector, this is the best way to long-term sustainable profit.
    In the public sector, this will provide the best value service to the public and will, in all likelihood, be smaller than current.
    I think that the loss of such people in both sectors has been the cause of the problems we now see – people with no loyalty or passion for anything but themselves and money, starting from the top in parliament.

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  • Back to the article, if the report is factual and presumably written from a practical and pragmatic viewpoint why does it need to be kept locked away till three weeks before an election and why will they be colour-coded: blue paper for a Conservative victory, red for Labour and yellow for a hung parliament with the Liberal Democrats holding the balance of power.

    If we are up sh1t creek without a paddle then surely party political ballocks doesn’t matter anymore.

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  • mark wadsworth says:

    @ LTF, “the demand for public services is not subject to the level of variation of that of the private. Indeed, in some areas it is rising steadily – health for example”

    Why is ‘health’ of necessity a ‘public service’? Do you mean publicly FUNDED or publicly PROVIDED? Those are two quite distinct concepts.

    I think we can learn a lot from most European countries, where they have, broadly speaking, universal healthcare free at point of use paid for with taxpayer funded vouchers – the big difference being that PROVIDERS are competing providers. These providers are not necessarily some evil corporations, they are partnerships, local doctors, churches, charities, universities, trade unions, health insurance companies and so on, and in terms of patient outcomes-to-cost as % of GDP they are MILES (or indeed kilometres) ahead of the UK. Believe me, I lived in Germany, they are streets ahead.

    In fact, most UK GP’s are private/self-employed, but state funded (and they treat patients like shit, unlike a German GP).

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