Monday, 24 May 2010

Where's the meat then, George?

George Osborne made great play at his outdoor press conference this morning about how he was being much more open about the efficiencies than Labour ever were.

No more hiding behind vagaries of “efficiency savings”.

The message does not seem to have got through to all government departments though.

The Department for Communities and Local Government will be saving £362m in cuts in grants to local government.

Asked which grants, I was told: “You might have to wait until the Budget.”

That would take us to the end of June – almost three full months into this financial year. Until then presumably, councils must twiddle their thumbs and wait to be told if the money John Denham, John Healey et al promised just a few weeks ago will ever turn up.

Over at Defra, £162 million in cuts are planned, including vagaries like “limiting recruitment and reducing the number of non-permanent staff; operational savings in IT, estates and procurement; and savings within the delivery of selected programmes”.

Again details hard to come by.

The Department for Transport promises to make savings on “the deferral of £54m that would have been spent on lower priority schemes”.

The Department for Business pledges “£82 million from efficiencies in Universities”.

Fingers crossed that by the end of the day there is a bit more meat on these bones.

At present, it looks like a vegetarian’s feast.


  1. A vagary is not something that is vague. It is "an extravagant or erratic notion or action". Or perhaps that is precisely what you menat!

  2. Were you really trying to convey that the budget would be good for us, help us live 5 years longer and keep us fit and healthy? Vegetarian feasts can be extremely extravagant affairs - usually low in fat, high in nutrition. I assume this isn't what you meant at all?

    As albertmbankment points out, some really poor word selection in this post.