1. July 2 2013: Sir Jeremy Heywood, Britain’s most senior civil servant said, “Britain is in a 20 year battle to rebalance the economy, returning the country to financial health
a. Sir Jeremy Heywood also suggested that the cuts made to public services to date were not sufficient and that austerity measures would have to continue for “at least” another four years. The comments from the Cabinet Secretary will have a sobering effect on ministers, who were buoyed last week by the announcement from the Office of National Statistics that Britain had avoided a double-dip recession last year.
b. They will also be noted by all three major parties as they draw up their manifestos for the 2015 general election. Sir Jeremy said that the cuts pushed through by the Coalition did not go nearly far enough. He said that there was a “very long way to go” and added: “This is not a two-year project or a five-year project. This is a 10-year project, a 20-year generational battle to beef up the economy in ways that we have not seen for many, many decades.” Sir Jeremy, who is close to Prime Minister David Cameron, was making a speech to an audience of civil servants at Civil Service Live in West London.
c. Sir Jeremy told the civil servants: “There is a very, very long way to go. We were reminded only last week that the economy as a whole remains about 4 per cent below the size that it was in 2008. “Five years on from the bottom of the recession we have still not even near recovered all the output we lost in that terribly deep recession that we suffered in 2007-08. “Those are really daunting numbers that just show the size of the challenge; there is no alternative.” Sir Jeremy said that rebalancing the economy away from financial services and more in favour of manufacturing was “much easier said than done”. He made clear that the cuts introduced by Chancellor George Osborne had not gone far enough because the deficit was still rising.
d. He told his audience of about 200 Whitehall officials: “All the civil servants in the room will be well aware that the last three or four years have been tough. There have been years of austerity, years of pay freezes, of pay restraint; every part of government has been told by ministers — and rightly so — to hunt out waste and tackle inefficiencies. “But despite all these efforts we have made over the last three years … our debt/GDP ratio is still rising, debt interest payments are rising. “There is still an enormous amount of work to get that deficit down to a balanced level to get the debt/GDP level falling rather than rising.” Sir Jeremy praised the “remarkably smooth” spending round for 2015-16 which was unveiled by Mr Osborne last week but warned that austerity would go on until 2017, and possibly longer.
e. Despite his gloomy assessment, Sir Jeremy said that for Mark Carney, the new Bank of England Governor, it was a, “good time to join”. Describing the Canadian as “the world’s most impressive central banker”, he said that it showed Britain’s “self confidence” that it could have a “foreigner come to work in such an important symbol of the country as its central bank. He added: “We will give him every support he needs.”
2. September 26 2014: Britain faces five more years of cuts, head of civil service warns
a. Britain faces five more years of public sector cuts which are likely to prove “even harder” than those which have already been made, the outgoing head of the civil service has said. Sir Bob Kerslake, who stepped down as head of the home civil service as part of a Whitehall shake-up ordered by David Cameron in July warned that the, “easier savings” had already been made and staff are, “looking for some relief”. In an address at the Institute for Government, a think tank, he said: “The first five years have been challenging but the second five years are likely to prove even harder for three reasons. The easier savings have already been made. We are likely to be doing it against a background of a growing economy and greater competition for good staff. The sense of urgency that underpinned the first savings programme will be reduced.
b. Sir Bob, who will remain permanent secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government until he retires at 60 in February, said the plan devised in 2012 when he took office was supposed to amount to, “radical change” and he felt the service had “excelled” in delivering it. He said: “I have gone on at length about these drivers because I think they provide the enduring reasons for change and reform that go beyond current individuals and even governments. “The civil service is not and never was broken. But if it wants to stay relevant and be the best it can be, it must continue to reform. “Let me move on to the question ‘How far have we got?’ In short, I think that a great deal has been delivered that the civil service should take great pride in.” Sir Bob was replaced as head of the home civil service by cabinet secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood.
Martin Carter commented: ‘The easier savings have already been made’ What rubbish:
i. 850 ‘Lords’, including another tranche of unheard-of Lib/Dem councillors recently given an undeserved sinecure for life?
ii. Councillors drawing millions of pounds a year in, “allowances” for merely being locally elected representatives with responsibility for ensuring even more highly paid council officers do their jobs properly (if only).
iii. Unsackable police and crime commissioners (and their cronies appointed as deputies from the political lists) drawing £70,000+ a year.
iv. Up to six layers of governance over the lives of every individual in the UK.
v. Vanity projects all over the UK, including loss-making entertainments activities and venues, hopeless transport schemes and spending on little performance areas in front of town halls and civic halls.
There is plenty of fat to keep trimming away at, without even beginning to impact on front line services. But as long as it’s paid politicians who are doing the cutting, the front line services will be chopped every time. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/11122896/Britain-faces-five-more-years-of-cuts-head-of-civil-service-warns.html
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