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David Bailey: ‘My message to Sir Albert: Like George, you need a Plan B’

David Bailey: ‘My message to Sir Albert: Like George, you need a Plan B’

🕔25.Feb 2013

George Osborne’s ‘Plan A’ austerity drive is doing real damage to the UK economy. I have made it clear that Osborne should have had, and should now be implementing, ‘Plan B’.

Osborne’s austerity drive hits home particularly hard at the level of Birmingham City Council (BCC), which will see a like-for-like cash terms funding cut this year of £31.5m. This is on top of the £140m cut over the last two years. With a controllable expenditure of £1.3bn a year out of its £3.5bn turnover, BCC unsurprisingly now finds itself in a very difficult position thanks to central government cuts.

Despite this, I wish to offer a warning over the council itself cutting too far too fast based on a ‘Jaws of Doom’ narrative hyped up by Sir Albert Bore following a review of the financial situation he commissioned the University of Birmingham to undertake.

The latter was an academic review but its key terms of reference and evidence base, key assumptions and witnesses, were all essentially determined by BCC. Other academics could well have come to different conclusions.

The review was flawed due to its brief being so very long-term, considering revenue and cost pressures as far away as 2017 and 2020 even. It was speculating about the fiscal position well into the next parliament when we haven’t yet had the spending review for the next stage of this parliament. It really is pointless to speculate so far ahead.

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