15 Mar 2009

The SNP Myth of the £500m cut and related matters

From Today's Scotland in Sunday

"Finance Secretary John Swinney is warning public sector chiefs that their budgets face being frozen until 2014, as the UK Treasury attempts to rein in spending. After inflation, the freeze would be equivalent to a 10% cut in spending on education, health and transport in Scotland, threatening every school, hospital and road project in the country.

Ministers have so far restricted themselves to predictions of a £500m cutback in spending in 2010, but Swinney has now privately prepared a longer-term analysis ahead of the UK Government's budget in April.

It predicts there will be no extra cash coming to Scotland from the Treasury until the middle of the next decade.The Finance Secretary is now demanding that massive savings be made across the public sector before the cuts kick in next year."

I usually support the SNP, little time for Labour

But on this latest spin, and on the ever repeated single transferable excuse of the current £500 million pound "cut", the SNP is just playing the politics of grievance.

Do they not understand basic Kenysian economics? - if you spend your way out of a recession, the consequences of this are restraints on public spending as you move out of it. This is the case the world over, would be the case in an independent Scotland, any kind of Scotland you care to imagine - except the Disneyland version,

As for the £500 million pound cut - it only applies to efficiency savings on existing programmes - a 1% reduction spread over three years, applied UK wide to all spending department in the face of a deflationary recession in which the private sector and voluntary sectors are typically taking cuts of 10% or more. And Government department wise, John Swinney has the easiest of tasks - the Scottish Civil Service is the most inefficient and flabby part of the entire regime.

There is no net cut. UK Government spending keeps rising and will rise even more in April's budget. Is the SNP not following what Brown is pushing for through the G20 ? A worldwide reflationary package which could see a £100bn increase in UK public spending, with close to £10bn of new money coming to Scotland. Yet John Swinney and his team are briefing on "cuts" They are either just thick or deliberately misleading. Take your pick?

This ain't serious politics for serious times - just posturing, getting excuses in early over the shambles, nae the myth, that is the Scottish Futures Trust. And no attempt whatsoever to deal with the blatant waste of resources and inherent inefficiency of the Scottish Civil service which is the real drain on everything - how, for example, a much hyped £100 million boost to affordable housing in Scotland has actually led to falling output. The system is than bad ( how Labour squandered billions on increased NHS spending to see it asked up by more pen pushers and a near doubling in doctors wages) Yet John Swinney seems to be protecting this system and chooses instead to lambast "London Labour" about non existent "cuts". Cuts, when Darling is provably - the Tories would say recklessly - increasing public spending

I do despair sometimes at the sheer dishonestly of some of the nats in high places, and the sheer gullibility of all the Nat bloggers who will no doubt condemn me as a "unionist stooge".

Go look at the figures? Go keep a copy of your own posts and remind yourself how stupid you will look on Budget day, 22 April.

Independent Scotland? Independent brains would be a start


subrosa Sunday, March 15, 2009  

That's a nice photo of John Swinney you've got there. Possibly taken after one of his sponsored cycle runs.

As a Nat blogger I don't consider myself gullible but I do know I'd rather have the finances of Scotland in John Swinney's hands than Gordon Brown's or Alistair Darling's. Something called trust I think it's called.

As I leave the financial intricacies of government funding to people like yourself who understand it far more than I desire to, may I say you've done a good job stating your case.

Alan Smart Sunday, March 15, 2009  

I like John Swinney - one of the best of them. And I am sure he would make an excllenet Chancellor of an Indpendent Scotland

But we aint there yet, and until we are I think he has an obligation - especilly in the face of such a slump - to make the best of a bad set up

I supect he woudl agree with much of what i say if not my conclusions. But I think the all party failure of 10 years of devolution has been the inabilty of anyone to take on the Scittish Civil service - a shower so institutionally useless they have to be experienced to be fully beliwved.

Think of the worst council in scotland, and then think five times worse and you kinda got it. With a snobby, know it all attitude thrown in

But the unionists can kind of adfford to tolerate this - they are so unambitious. And the inefficiency of the scottish civil service almost uniquely expains these figures which indicate health spending, education spending etc in Scotland up to 20% higher than england. You can argue with the detail , but essentially true. But 20% better? No way. 20% more inefficiently ran and you kind of got my point

Not only is the dead hand of these mandarins holding us all back now, but it is the ulimate obstacle to scottish independence. Independent, we could not afford to carry this baggage. dead weight, dead hand. So sort it John - difficult i know due to vested interest, (labour controlled) trade union crocodile tears etc. But essential if we are to liberate our people, our land, ourselves

subrosa Sunday, March 15, 2009  

I like John too and as I said I trust him - that's not a blind comment it's from knowing how he works. Aye I agree with you about the Civil Service these days. It seems there are no qualifications required for some civil service jobs these days but I remember when a teenager many in school around the ages of 16-17 sat civil service exams which took days.

It's not only the Civil Service which needs a clear out, quangos like VisitScotland needs cleared from top to bottom but it's a bit late for that now because so many are voting with their feet and setting up independent businesses of their own to promote tourism in Scotland. Best thing because then that awful quango won't have the money to pay for these unqualified posers.

JuanKerr.com Sunday, March 15, 2009  

Aye agree this is starting the greeting before the cards been delt. Allthough it could be just prudent housekeeping ahead of the expected cuts and the hootsmon is spinning it as a "rammy with westminster" article, we all know Westminster are going to be scrooge and cant afford it after Browns disaster.

Remember , given past escapades, labour are going tospin this as a "bwoken promith" , perhaps swinney is just reminding everybody before the inevitable two faced tirade. And getting in their first.

Alan Smart Sunday, March 15, 2009  

Subrosa- dont start me on visitsctland

they are uselesss too, worse than useless in many instances

but difficult though it may be to belive - and ive woked with them both - if i had to chosee, id chose visitscotland over the mainline scottisg civil service. Proveial Richard Branson compared with teh real mandarins - and only £300m to wated not £33b and rising

Administrator Sunday, March 15, 2009  

I wouldn't play poker with Swinney.

subrosa Sunday, March 15, 2009  

I wonder why Monty, do tell...

Apologies for mentioning VS but I have to deal with these people on a regular basis and it's their attitude and incompetence which narks me.

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