Comprehensive Spending Review…oh how we’ve longed for you. 19% of spending over four years will be cut, with some of the high(read: low)lights being the Home Office (and policing) taking a 25% cut – fewer police will be out on the beat as a result – and a 20% cut in frontline prison and judicial staff. The BBC will also be cut down in size substantially, with a 6-year licence fee freeze and the World Service coming under the pay of the fee, rather than subsidised by government.
If like me you’re nowhere near (or even if you’re more than 10 years away from) retirement, you’re going to be working longer: the retirement age will be 66 by 2020. Local government will have to make do on less with 28% cuts in the next four years, while science stays safe on paper thanks to Vince Cable demanding a freeze and no further, but in reality loses out due to inflation.
Museums will still be free, but 15% cuts mean that something will have to give, so you might not be able to see quite as many artefacts as you used to, while the arts are cut by almost a third (though we were braced from that ever since the British Film Council was given the death knell). Strangely, sport is cut by the same amount (30%) even though we’re meant to be trying to top the medal table in two years time, and schools and the NHS have got off relatively scot-free as per pre-election promises, with funding rising in real terms year-on-year.
It’s difficult to be truly angry about the cuts: we knew it was coming, and it’s massively necessary. If though, you think you can do better, The Guardian have a tool you can play with to make your own swingeing cuts. With absolutely no thought and by clicking random buttons (cut funding to Scotland by 50%? Sure! Wales by 25%? Well Richard Hughes did annoy me in sixth form by being adamant that Wales was wholly independent of the rest of the UK) maybe you can get to the magic £49 billion that George Osborne announced today.
Fun facts for your own budgeting:
- you can double Osborne’s cuts by scrapping the NHS in its entirety for £100.2bn, though don’t expect an ambulance to come for you when you’re lynched by 65 million people;
- we’re paying £31bn in interest on our debts.
Check out my (not at all serious) review here – and show me your cuts in the comments below.