Coffee House

Exclusive: Number 10’s plan to break the spending review log-jam

13 March 2013

4:43 PM

13 March 2013

4:43 PM

George Osborne yesterday set the date for completion of the 2015-16 spending review as 26 June. But it is hard to see how an agreement between the Treasury and the un-protected spending departments will be reached in the next 105 days.

The Tory branch of the National Union of Ministers want the welfare settlement reopened before their budgets are cut further. For their part, the Liberal Democrats remain resolutely opposed to more welfare reductions.


But I understand that the departing head of the Number 10 policy unit Paul Kirby has drawn up an alternative spending review plan which would break this log-jam. As I say in tomorrow’s Spectator, rather than simply looking at departmental budgets for savings, it looks at how the government could raise money by moving things into the private sector.

These privatisations would generate revenue; mitigating the need for deep reductions in the Home Office and Ministry of Defence budgets. This alternative spending review appeals to key figures in Number 10 who are seized with the importance of not going into the next election committed to cutting those Tory staples, the police and the armed forces.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • clare62

    examples please of the intended privatisations… otherwise the article is just too vague and speculative

  • Gold Bug

    How about moving everything into the private sector? Things might work as required then.

    • Daniel Maris

      Yes, all those private banks did very well didn’t they? Perhaps we can get Sir Fred back in to run the whole of the public sector.

      • Mark_ld

        The Banking crisis was created at source by the State central Banks creating a huge liquidity bubble , especially the FED. The private Banks were just the symptom of that.

  • Ryan Bourne

    Privatisations might be a good in themselves for efficiency, but you can’t close a structural deficit by selling things off for one time gains. The only way for this to make sense would be if the privatised industries had such an effect on growth or became so much more successful that they generated huge extra net revenues than now. Is this really likely when our deficit is as big as it is?

  • Kyle Harrison

    If the Lib Dems are so opposed to welfare cuts then maybe it should be their departments that take up the slack and cut more.

  • Tom Tom

    Bodyguards for Ministers could be outsourced to G4S. House of Commons catering could go to Sodexho. The MoD could fire its Whitehall Civil Servants. The Treasury could be outsourced to Goldman Sachs. The BBC could be privatised. RBS could be sold to China. London Underground could be sold to a Sovereign Wealth Fund. The House of Commons could display its sponsors logos so we would know which MPs have been bought

    • Vrai Telemachus

      You jest but these folk are already a long way down the road of privatising the health service and education
      May sound ok until you are ill and your local hospital has run out of money
      Or you are poor and are ambitious for your children and cannot afford more than 3GCSE’s
      Via facebookE6

      • Tom Tom

        GSCEs will be available from Kelloggs soon if you cut out the tokens

        • Simon Gothard

          They were under Labour.

    • Daniel Tubb

      Good ideas in that lot.

      I’m serious.

      • Russell

        Particularly the sale of the BBC.

        • DeadlyInArms

          To whom? The government doesn’t own them…

          • Russell

            The government didn’t own 3G or 4G either, but it sold.
            The taxpayers own the BBC and the licence fee payers pay part of the running costs, so the government can certainly sell the BBC buildings and franchise and with the blessing of the majority of taxpayers and licence fee payers (obviously not the labour loving lefties as they would lose their propaganda machine)

          • Tom Tom

            Didn’t own TSB Bank either

      • telemachus

        The treasury is already in thrall to Goldman Sachs