The CSR – key reactions

1:56 pm - October 20th 2010

by Sunny Hundal    

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I’m tracking interesting reactions from people, organisations and bloggers as they come in. Please feel free to add your links below.

From Crisis, charity for single homeless people:

Before the comprehensive spending review the coalition government made a clear pledge – that the cuts would be fair. That pledge has been broken. It is the poorest and most vulnerable adults who will suffer the most from the cuts announced today.

They face the prospect of a 50% reduction in the funding for social and affordable housing, less stability if they do manage to get hold of a home and fewer opportunities to gain the skills and education they need to help themselves.

Campaign for Better Transport:

In particular, the Department for Transport is cutting direct support for bus services by 20% and it looks like the support for local authorities for buses in rural areas has been cut completely.


We’re seeing sweeping cuts to services provided for the poorest and most vulnerable in our society, yet no serious cuts are being implemented to bring down the cost of the royal household.

Alan Travis (Guardian):

The Home Office say central government spending on police has been cut by 20%. Ministers are portraying this as only a 14% cut in police spending but that assumes that police authorities will levy a police precept as part of council tax to make up the difference. That, however, is only an assumption. The only fact we have today is that government funding for the police – Home Office and Department for Communities – has been cut by 20% in real terms.

Alistair Campbell:

Needless to say, in keeping with the media’s treatment of men in suits in shiny financial centres, the man in the suit in this particular shiny financial centre was not really pressed on this observation. It is worth however taking a closer look at what he said – dreadful for public, good for government.

Caroline Lucas on Green issues:

I’m not sure how the government can claim to be the greenest ever when the estimate is that if you add the Department of Energy and Climate Change and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs reductions combined then they are going to reduce by 47% in real terms over the next four years.

Ken Livingstone on what it means for London:

Boris Johnson has failed to protect London on housing, fares, childcare, police spending, housing benefit, regeneration, child benefit, and graduate debt.

In fact he showed the way, cutting police numbers by nearly five hundred officers, failing to give guarantees on local police teams, cutting the bus subsidy, reducing station staff jobs on the tube, putting up fares but axing the revenue from the western half of the congestion charge zone, and breaking his promises on affordable housing.

Burdz Eye View

So all those lone parents that are now being pushed into work and thrown off of benefit will have to find more to meet their childcare costs. God only knows how those in London whose housing benefit is also going to be scythed, will cope. What was that about making work pay Mr Osborne?

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Economy ,Fight the cuts

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Reader comments

I’m disabled and I mean disabled with a lesion of the spinal cord, I’m basically fucked if I voted labour or Tory.

Darling has agreed with the welfare reforms from the Tories.

So lets see whom do I vote for at the next election, it’s going to be very very hard job right now the Liberals have gone, labour more Tory in some idea’s then the Tories and the Tories make Thatcher look good……

smoke and mirrors.
Its just begun and will taske a while to work out the consequences.

Lots of the ‘cuts’ seem to be estimated on future savings. what happens when they are not met ?

There is still quite a ‘back of the fag packet ‘ feel to the CSR. for example The treasury has now realised that it was totting up the child benefit cuts wrongly (inckluding 16-18’s) so it now will bring in £2.5 Billion rather than the £1 Billion it thought last week.

the Defence review has a series of hidden nasties that are obscured by not announcing some things after 2015 for example there is a missing 20-30,000 (germany )troops that are not accounted for .

On the ‘ cowards flinch’ blog . Paul Cotteril had an excellent post on problems with the ‘fairness premium’. for example that 2 year olds are legally required to have 1:1 ratios of Staff (not the case for 3 year olds) – if this hasnt been realised then it puts the ‘fairness’ budget out by a significant sum.

The CSR was dominated by stuff that wasnt mentioned.

Heres the blog post

and two of the points he made..

“Second, there is the rather simple fact that two year olds have never been to school, and are not yet eligible for Free School Meals.

The government will therefore need to set up a new mechanism to draw forward the eligibility testing process (at least for children without older siblings) and to integrate this with a system of pre-school education provision which crosses the state, private and voluntary sectors, creating problems both for local authorities administering the scheme and for providers now expected to disaggregate claims to the local authority from fee payments from other families of two year olds.

The administrative problems the tax authorities may have had in deciding which higher rates taxpayers remained eligible for child benefit, had their been a semblance of fairness in Osborne’s announcement last week, would be small in comparison, and at least taken up by people used to dealing with such complexities, rather than by childcare providers who, frankly, have better things to do in already difficult times.

Third, and perhaps most pernicious of all, is that childcare providers will be asked to add to their capacity to cater for only a percentage of the possible additional number of children.

This might be ok, if it were not for the fact that current legislation requires very different staff to child ratios for two year old and three/four year olds (open pdf for details).

Two year olds need one staff member for every children, while three/four year olds need one for either every 8 or every 13 (depending on staff qualifications). Perhaps crazy, but true.

As a result, many childcare providers, including many that currently focus wholly on 3-4 year old pre-school education in morning only settings, will face a major problem. They may not be able to afford the additional staffing for a relatively small number of children, but may be required to do so by the administering local authority as part of their overall Nursery Edcuation Grant package, or feel that they have to in order to ensure the flow of two year olds into the three/four year old provision a year later (generally parents stick with provision they know and habve learned to trust).

I think these problems are multiplied all across the CSR. We have no idea how much yet.

oh and heres an article about the ‘missing troops’

5. astateofdenmark

Thoughts? Is that it? I thought LibCon said this would be the end of the world.

I’m still here. I’m still alive!

How is this possible?

You told me there would be dead bodies in the streets.

What’s going on?

have we all died and gone to heaven?

7. Chaise Guevara

@ 6

Blanco, kindly point me to the post claiming that the announcement of the CSR would lead to instant street-death. is well worth a quick read w/rt the defence portion of the CSR, at least.

TBH, the whole thing raised more questions than it answered. What’s going to happen with EMA? For me, that was actually the difference between being entering employment with a GCSE or a degree. Replaced is the term… but with what?

The trivialising, jocular, mocking responses from some contributors above are, pardon my language, fucking obscene. This is one of the most savage attacks on the welfare state since it was formed. It’s cutting away at a fifth of the total budget, losing about half a million public sector jobs. It’s particularly and perniciously directed against the poorest, with £7bn coming out of income replacement benefits, and almost 30% coming out of local council budgets – social housing being one victim of this slash and burn approach. It’s also a budget that deskills the labour market, with 40% cuts in higher education (that’s where a lot of the cuts in the business department come from) and 40,000 teaching jobs lost. No matter what way the government spins it, this budget is going to hit the poorest hardest. Joking about the fact that there aren’t dead bodies on the streets at this point is despicable.

I’m still here. I’m still alive!

How is this possible?

Really? With the drivel you come out with you could have fooled me.

Am updating with more links now…

You’re no stranger to drivel, Hundal.

– extending the local housing allowance single room restriction from aged under 25 to under 35
– removing the housing revenue account ring-fence
– abandoning the national rent formula for social housing and moving to 80% of market rents
– ‘flexible’ tenancies

All huge changes, mostly awful, and mostly not connected to cutting debt.

Also dropping local area agreements. Central government is now giving something like 800 billion a year to local authorities with absolutely no supervision. Some councils will spend the money wisely, most will spunk their services up the walls completely, and central government has absolutely no monitoring or auditing mechanism in place.

“Some councils will spend the money wisely, most will spunk their services up the walls completely”

A fine argument for cutting funding there…!

If you were wondering how Osborne’s lie about progressive cuts has been built, keep reading.

HMT have, to their credit, published detailed distributional analysis. But their analysis of spending cuts by quintile (p95) looks at “Changes in benefits in kind as a percentage of 2010-11 benefits in kind”. This shows that cuts target higher income benefits in kind to a greater extent (3.3% for poorest v 9.5% for richest).

However, what this ignores is the fact that benefits-in-kind make up a far higher proportion of the lowest quintile’s income.

According to the ONS, these benefits in kind make up 47% of the final income of the lowest quintile and only 6% of the final income of the highest quintile. Plainly the spending cuts will hit the poorest far harder (table 6 http:/

And that’s without taking into account the fact benefit cuts (cash benefits make up 45% lowest quintile gross income and 1% highest quintile gross income) and VAT rises (VAT takes up 10.7% lowest quintile disposable income and 5.5% highest quintile) are measures disproportionately affecting the poor too.

Osborne is plainly a liar trying to weasel out of taking responsibility for the impact his cuts will actually have

blanco, cjcj

Your just not dead yet. There’s still time.

We got off light in this CSR. If these people had their way, even I would be going ‘left’..’left’ ..’left’ ‘centre’ ‘left’ in the political arena.

What a contemptible piece of shit Osborne has proved himself to be, babbling away to disguise the enormous cuts at the weakest and most vulnerable while not hurting the Tory key vote anywhere near as much and not so much as scratching the billionaires who own the party. This will be the worst country in Europe to be poor in and if you’re disabled now’s the time for that trip to Dignitas.

If I was locked in a room with the front bench and a fully loaded Glock (I can daydream, can’t I) I’d put all seventeen bullets into Osborne, just to make sure

If I was locked in a room with the front bench and a fully loaded Glock (I can daydream, can’t I) I’d put all seventeen bullets into Osborne, just to make sure

You lefties really are a bit peculiar.

Something that will hurt the poor:

2.73 The Government will consult on major reforms to the legal aid system to deliver access to justice at lower cost to the taxpayer. This will involve taking tough choices about the types of case that should receive public funding, and focusing support on those who need it most. The reforms will also increase competition in the market and reform remuneration for providers to ensure the legal aid system is effective and affordable. (page 56)

There is a good Guardian leader here on how this could affect liberty – “Real freedom requires not just notional rights, but the means to enforce them” – and a letter from legal aid lawyers*.

Incidentally, here is a link to the Spending Review website – commentators don’t seem to be linking to it (BBC always fails to do this kind of thing imv).

* I predict a comment along the lines of “legal aid lawyers defend legal aid; Bear Catholic”. Please don’t disappoint.


Have you considered seeking professional help ?

If I was locked in a room with the front bench and a fully loaded Glock (I can daydream, can’t I) I’d put all seventeen bullets into Osborne, just to make sure

That’s the problem with some lefties: you’d spend the entire bullet budget in one go.

Yes you should keep two bullets for Blair and brown.

@ 22

See posting 18 for analysis and 20 for guidance

24. the a&e charge nurse

[6] “I’m still here. I’m still alive!
How is this possible?
You told me there would be dead bodies in the streets.
What’s going on?
have we all died and gone to heaven?”

The cuts haven’t personally affected YOU immediately so there’s nothing for anybody else to worry about?
Glad we cleared up that bit of logic-fail.

@20 yes, I’d consider subcontracting to a reasonably priced hitman, do you know one?

Further to my comment @19, a recent opinion piece about legal aid, and why it’s important.

@16 – from the piece in that Speccie report on Merseyside Fire Service

“The steady improvements in fire numbers and fire deaths were not a strong enough argument to prevent the fire brigade union calling a strike, in 2006, over changes in working arrangements. Of around 1,000 officers at that time, 800 went on strike and 200 stayed at work. Those 200 officers were enough to run the service at full capacity.”

28. Shatterface

You should always save the last bullet for yourself.

Did people learn nothing from The Mist?

I’m not a lefty I’m a full blown commie……Lefties are mostly Tories in disguise.

@25 Certainly not, that’s privatisation of the worst sort. Are you also a closet tory ?

31. Chaise Guevara

@ 24 a&e charge nurse

“The cuts haven’t personally affected YOU immediately so there’s nothing for anybody else to worry about”

Ah, the Conservative election slogan!

32. the a&e charge nurse

[31] well, once the effects of these measures really begin to hit home on a mass scale (Blanco aside, of course) I’m sure Dave & George will have to come up with something?

33. Chaise Guevara


Actually, I think the original’s a bit long-winded. How about:

“Don’t worry about Blanco. He’s fine.
Vote Conservative.”


Have you not been paying attention? The Tories have been using their 2015 election slogan since they “won” the last one – It’s All Labour’s Fault.

What the LDs will come up with though, that’s the £1 (inflation adjusted) question.

OT: just wading through the whole report as ever the devil is in the detail. Good to see NHS and education increases. Bad to see half a million thrown on the dole (and Sure Start, EMA, benefits in general, etc slashed).

Bad to see half a million thrown on the dole…

This is a bit of a misreading I’d have thought. Given that there are about 5 million state employees, ordinary wastage will see about half a million leave each year – retirement, moving on, downsizing etc. If, over the four years of the plan, 400,000 are recruited each year to replace them, then that half a million reduction will be reached without making anyone redundant at all.

Even if there are specific areas of redundancy, I’d have thought the majority of job losses will be through not replacing – like the deputy DG of the BBC. He’s resigning and not being replaced. One job down, and no-one ‘thrown on the dole’.

Ted – if you just come here to plug a silly and facile TPA report, you will be banned.

37. Shatterface

Do the public sector job cuts include those on temporary contracts which will not be renewed or will that be extra?

@ 36

Really ? and there’s me thinking we Liberals are a ‘broad church’ who are willing to engage with any level or extremity. Oh well, I must be wrong. NB it’s clearly not in your gift to recognise it yet but I’m not your enemy.

“losses will be through not replacing”

Sometimes in practice that increases costs – at the lower level staff get replaced with agency “temps” (people who end up being full time staff on the same pay, but hired through an agency who get stupid fees), and at the higher level it can sometimes lead to people being promoted above their station. Also some essential work then gets subcontracted to consultants. There is also the issue of not recruiting now for graduate/junior positions means further problems down the line as people who would have gone into the sector prepare for other opportunities. It’s far better to have an “each case judged by itself” approach to replacing staff rather than a blanket ban.

It’s far better to have an “each case judged by itself” approach to replacing staff rather than a blanket ban

I’m sure there’ll be exactly that – there’s not an official recruitment freeze is there?

41. Chaise Guevara

@ 34

They have been milking that one even more than your average incoming government, tis true.

42. Gaf the Horse

Seeing the huge cuts in benefits made me think of this

“Hitting people who can’t hit back”

43. Luis Enrique

is there anything offsetting the social housing cuts? (more social housing by private providers?) – lenin should recall that the university cuts are being offset by higher fees (not that that’s a good thing, just that portraying things as an outright cut is false).

I’d like to know more about where that £7bn savings from the welfare bill is coming from.

@39 Planeshift

Of course, temp. agency staff don’t get public sector pensions. Instant saving, kerching!

45. Luis Enrique

apropos of not very much (if I had my own blog…)

here is a neat idea – Labour should adopt this, put it on every P60 or whatever it’s called:

and while they’re at it, they could put the age-adjusted income distribution on your tax return and show you where you position is in it.

The ‘schools rise’ could be a bit of a red herring.

To protect schools the rest of DCSF is getting a 12% cut , that provides a lot of funding for services that schools use/rely on e.g Personal, Pastoral and social stuff like Drugs , Sex , Inclusion etc. for the Sports academies that are also getting hit by losing status that can add up to quite a hit to a school.

Youth offending teams ( remember youth offenders ? you know the ones that are often in the media) are usually funded by DCSF ( -12%) local govt (-28%) and the ministry of justice ( – 23%).
Apart from the risk of crime rising , big cuts to YOTs could also create a knock on of greater use of prisons because their emphasis is heavily toward preventing and delaying custodial sentancing

NHS protected? They’re getting increases in payments and increases in duties too (via transfers of things previously funded by councils).

Will the increase in work be fully funded, or is money shifted about to hide the cuts? As with the BBC and the extra funding commitments (BBCWorld, free licenses) they have had to take on.

I’m haven’t time to work through the details, but it looks bad.

PS, luis! Get a blog.

“PS, luis! Get a blog.”


what cuts?

“what cuts?”

Yes! We must encourage the righties to keep parroting “what cuts, there are nominal increases in spending, the state will still be quite big etc etc etc” because it makes them look really really really out of touch.

51. Chaise Guevara

“PS, luis! Get a blog.”


I think lefties are making a big mistake with feverish apocalyptic warnings about the fiscal retrenchment. The economy and civil society is not going to collapse with this consolidation. Your credibility will be damaged when the warnings turn out to be exaggerated. It is the stuff of fantasy to believe that Labour would not also be trying to get state spending back to its previous trajectory.

It is wrong to oppose every cut. Should we celebrate wasting money sending people to prison because it provides employment opportunities for prison officers? Every prison closed down should be celebrated. I am quite happy for them to spend less money on the police. Not because I am anti-police but because it is a waste of money. The raising of the retirement age does not go far enough. They should have raised it to 67 and brought it in sooner. Things could have been much worse if they had slashed capital expenditure. So it looks like they are actually listening to advice. Now if only they would dump the VAT rise things would be much better.

Please feel free to add your links below.

Here’s the view from mental health services…

…and from social services.

54. Luis Enrique

(thank you very much. not until I submit my PhD. until then I am determined only to waste approximately 6 hours a day reading and commenting).

Returning to a quote at the top of this thread: “The government will therefore need to set up a new mechanism to draw forward the eligibility testing process (at least for children without older siblings) and to integrate this with a system of pre-school education provision which crosses the state, private and voluntary sectors, creating problems both for local authorities administering the scheme and for providers now expected to disaggregate claims to the local authority from fee payments from other families of two year olds.”

Try to recite that sentence without breathing in.

The CSR is a discussion document that parliament will review. Given that total rejection is implausible, reform must be conducted within its bounds, that if you want to spend money you have to save money elsewhere. Some smart MPs might deliver the goods.

The quote to which I drew attention will never get results.

56. Luis Enrique

Richard W

I agree there’s an awful lot of hyperbole and silly dire predictions about … but the cuts might look pretty apocalyptic if you’re reliant on welfare. Even if the cuts won’t wreck society or the economy* it’s worth lefties making a noise on that subject. It’s not as if anybody else will.

* and wouldn’t you say there’s a chance the ‘negative multiplier’ regarding GDP and employment could be larger than t’condems think?

has to laugh to see left outside living up to the stereotype…..the state is aiming to contract by HOW MUCH!!!!!

has to laugh to see left outside living up to the stereotype…..the state is aiming to contract by HOW MUCH!!!!!

Yeah, stupid left wingers… providing answers to your questions!

59. Arthur Seaton

Time to follow the French example. Are the British capable of growing a spine?

@ 56. Luis Enrique

I think it would be much more fruitful for them to concentrate on the human cost when people at the bottomish are negatively impacted. Publicising real world examples would be good politics. However, just opposing reductions in spending for the sake of opposing is not the way to go. Should I weep for folks earning double the median wage losing child benefit? Is asking commuters to pay something nearer the real cost for their travel unreasonable? Likewise I hardly think it cruel to ask public sector workers to contribute more towards their pensions when they are living longer. A case by case basis makes more sense to oppose than the macro numbers.

A prospective negative multiplier effect on the economy is an interesting thought. However, over the last six months everyone seems to have gone quiet on multipliers. Although I think the IMF had something to say a few weeks ago. I generally ignore their forecasts. With the multiplier in mind it is worth pointing out that in cash terms spending is going to be higher. As you know all the OBR and Chancellor projections depend on what level of growth they can achieve. If the economy achieves the trend growth of 2.5% RGDP before the next election. The apocalyptic warnings will look silly that is why it is crazy to make them.

61. Chris Baldwin

This spending review is a disgrace. George Osborne should resign.

What really annoys me, though, is that this is only happening for one reason – the Lib Dems are allowing it. They could have prevented this by refusing to join the coalition – we’d have got a Tory minority government that would have had to govern consensually. Instead we get the second coming of Thatcherism. Fantastic…

I’m sorry, but how, in any way shape or form are any of the above “key reactions?”

I’ll let this fight hang itself; I wanted to say that the cynic in me says that the increase on international aid is the cover with which Gideon is using his fairness tag.

Every time a Tory minister spoke about child benefit, they said that you have to have some losers, and those particular losers were single parents on £44k as opposed to the two parents on £43k still receiving. Their admission is the cuts will be unfair; and unfair is what they are.

Why else would Osborne skip at record pace, with a sore throat, through the 291 words that best described the social security issue – which hit the poor hardest – and for why?

Well, he kind of admitted it didn’t he; so as to avoid capital flight. The bottom line is that we, as a country, are at the beck and call of who The Work Foundation call the “top pay club” – entry to which is so difficult it almost certainly isn’t earned. When there is no more political will in the bank to oppose this club, and we all get it in the ear, then we have to use the reserves; and we are those reserves.

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