Wednesday 20 October 2010

Comprehensive Spending Review Cuts

The phony war is over. George Osborne's Comprehensive Spending Review statement is the artillery barrage signalling the start of the shooting war. Far from striking a sombre note appropriate to the circumstances and despite Dave's handwringing, the Tory benches were in a chipper mood as the chancellor announced assault after assault on the social wage and the public sector.

Osborne prefaced his avalanche of cuts with the usual deficit deceptions. The Coalition's actions in the summer saw Britain "step from the brink". The cuts are designed to reduce the "waste and welfare we can no longer afford" and that we are stuck paying billions upon billions out to foreign creditors - even though the bulk of debt is domestically owned!

Measures introduced were

* Capital spending at £51bn, £49bn, £46bn and £47bn until 2014-15.

* Total public spend of £702bn, £712bn, £724bn, £740bn until 2014-15. In real term this is the same as at 2008.

* 3 principles - reform - fairness 'all in it together' 'broadest shoulders' - growth (prioritise those promoting growth)

* £6bn Whitehall savings with an estimated 490,000 job losses over four years (claims much will come from natural turnover). Believes private sector will take up the slack and cited 178,000 new jobs created over the last three months as an example of the economy's capacity to absorb the shock. Money to be provided for BigSoc projects.

* Treasury dept. budget to be reduced by a third. Cabinet office to find £55m savings.

* Civil List: a new settlement with one year cash freeze, 14% fall in 2012-13 royal household costs. Receive grant linked to proportion of crown estate income. How will the Queen survive?

* Decentralisation - recognises not all services need be provided by govt but can come from private or voluntary providers. Green light for further privatisations.

* Local government - councils face 7.1% reduction year on year. Reducing core grants to councils from 90 to 10. Funding available for council tax freeze. £2bn additional resources for social care by end of 2014-15 period.

* Housing benefits capped and entitlement reduced, new social housing tenants 80% of market rates. Will have the effect of pricing many claimants out of their communities.

* Military - 8% reduction by 2014-15.

* Police -4% reductions year on year without affecting frontline services. Fall by 4% each year. Counter-terrorism being maintained. Home office reduction by 6%. More reforms for streamlining justice system. £7bn budget by 2015. Ministry of Justice also 6% fall.

* Banks face more regulation. Bank of England in charge and independent commission on banking. Implementing code of banking practice which will see banks give up tax avoidance. Additional £900m to go after £7bn in tax fraud.

* Welfare: Crack down on estimated £5bn fraud. Pensionable retirement age of 66 brought forward to 2020 to save £5bn. Staggered increased progressive employee contributions to public sector pensions. £1.8bn savings 2014-15. 12 months limit for sickness benefit not deemed incapable of work. £2bn universal credit fund to make it work. Savings from cap on benefits at average wage resulting in a total welfare saving of £7bn savings.

* Universal benefits: No further change to child benefit apart from higher rate tax payers - £2.5bn saving. Keep universal benefits for elderly. Permanent increase in cold weather payments.

* NHS: Total health spending to rise above inflation. £114bn budget by 2014-15.

* £1.5bn Equitable Life pay out.

* Dept Business: Costs to fall by 7.1%. Maintain Post Offices, support for students. £4.6bn science funding frozen maintained by finding £320m worth of savings. £1bn committed to carbon capture and storage project. Another £1bn to offshore wind farms. £1bn green bank. 'Green Deal' incentives.

* Culture media and sport: 19 quangos to go and budget 15% reduction over four years. 41% admin costs reduction. Free entry to museums and galleries maintained. BBC to fully fund World Service and Monitor, and part fund S4C. Frozen license fee for six years. BBC to face a 16% budget saving in line with govt departments. Reducing online spend, no encroachment into local media markets, and contribute to superfast broadband.

* Dept of Transport: invest £30bn over next four years.

* £1bn regional growth fund.

* Schools budget rising from £35bn to £39bn. Replacing EMAs with targeted support. Five education quangos, to be scrapped with a one third reduction of admin. Money to be found for a £2.5bn pupil premium.

In his bullish reply, shadow chancellor Alan Johnson rightly labelled the Coalition cuts programme a "reckless gamble". In addition to the 490,000 public sector job losses, according to Price Waterhouse Cooper a further half million private sector jobs are at risk. Furthermore for every 100,000 lost jobs there is - assuming those people claim JSA - an additional half a billion cost.

Despite Coalition rubbish about being "all in it together" this is a budget whose consequences fall disproportionately on working class shoulders (and working class women at that). To pretend a top banker or tax-dodging business owner might have to take one less holiday, an extra new car, or an additional summer home is in the same league as being turfed out of your community because of housing benefit changes or losing your job because it's "redundant" is risible and deeply insulting.

The Tories and LibDems are pleased as Punch with their work. But the cuts are not inevitable. The labour movement can defeat these cuts not because it's the right thing to do, but because it's necessary.


AndrewSouthLondon said...

Do you support your family by increasing the debt on your credit card each month? Then, why is that your prescription for this country?

I did a Sociology degree in the late Sixties and I never learned the cost of anything, or how it was paid for. It took he next forty years to learn that.

Your prescription is student-bar politics, entirely without a grip on reality. You bring your profession to ridicule.

Now delete this post, the fair minded free thinking even controversial hero you no doubt think you are...

Anonymous said...

Thats rubbish, so many people are seeking houses in London, all you will do is get people who are claiming housing benefit kicked out and people who can afford the rents moving in. market always ends up with the poor losing out.

Lawrence Shaw said...

So Andrew, what about the super rich who avoid tax? What about the banks we bailed out that are already back cracking open the champers and doling out bonuses?

Yes, lets just regurgitate the tabloid narrative about how the country has an imaginary giant credit card it has maxed out by providing too many jobs to greedy public sector workers and its as simple as that. Public = grubby and bad, private = virtuous and wonderful etc etc.

I suppose you also think its all Gordon Browns fault as well? A worldwide capitalist collapse can be pinned on the former prime minister of our small middle-ranking European country.

We've been through worse deficits than this and managed to set up the NHS, Welfare and build council houses in the process. The cuts presented yesterday are not some grim duty that must be carried out by Tories that would otherwise love to be lavishing cash on all sections of society - they are a calculated political decision designed to heap the biggest burden on those that can least afford it whilst allowing the richest to get off scott-free. It is also a massive macroeconomic gamble which, if it goes wrong, will take the country into a more severe depression than any of us could imagine.

Man in a Shed said...

Actually the cuts are inevitable - even Labour admit that ( or they did when they had someone half competent as Chancellor - clearly Darling not Brown ).

The question is about what and timing.

Of course there are those on the left who wish to destroy society as it exist today a force a revolution of the poor and dispossed ( which they intend to create ) to give the East German economic policy and repression another go.

The deficiet denying and debt deny are all part of that dispiocable strategy.

What happening today is because the country ran up massive debt ( not due to the deceitful spin Postman Pat gave us on the radio this morning about Lehman Bros ) but due to personal debts increasing and the govt running fueled by taxing the extra spending that resulted fromt he debt and asset bubble that then translated into the housing crisis. That was all Labour's fault.

You can stick to you delusions if you want but it is your political following that has brought this crisis and anyone who suffers should be on your conscience - if you have one.

So stop externalising the blame and start working on that full apology the left owes this country for the economic disaster it has delivered.

Anonymous said...

Man in the shed what a loan of tripe, to even think Blair was a lefty for god sake he carried on with Thatcherism so blame somebody blame her, as for Brown, the imbecile got in by doing deals it was the only way he knew he would get the nod.

I'm sorry but the left have been out of politics a very Long time.

Brother G said...

I love the fact that people like Andrew always have to round off their comments by daring the moderator to delete them, as if censoring the shit stream trickling down their slack-jawed face makes them some sort of martyr to the alter of free speech.

Incidentally Andrew, while you may not have learned the cost of anything in your degree, it is clearly the value of things which has gone over the heads of our current administration.

Robert said...

Man in a shed don't be fucking ridiculous.

1) Gordon Brown did not create the deficit. New Labour was obsessively fiscally conservative from its first days in office, wherein it cut spending to way below the levels of the Major years, only later plugging the gap which they themselves had created. Until the recession began, spending under New Labour was exactly the same as a proportion of GDP as it had been under the Tories. The deficit was caused by a shortfall of tax income produced by the recession.

2) The Tories are not compelled to respond to the deficit in the way that they are doing. No one is forcing them to engage in this ruthless 'fiscal consolidation'. The yield is still low, most of the debt maturation is a long way off, and most of the creditors are based in the UK. There's no need to pay off the deficit at this stage. Every indication is that it's exactly the wrong thing to do, from a point of view of growth and economic sustainability. Even the most traditionally neoliberal economic pundits such as Martin Wolf and Joseph Stiglitz are making this point. The situation of other countries that have imposed austerity - notably Greece, Ireland, the Baltic states, etc - is proving their point in practise. Conversely an enormous stimulus in Australia has played a role, alongside a mineral boom, in protecting that country from the main effects of the recession. Those countries that have engaged in stimulus, notably the US and China, have recovered faster and more strongly than those who have not. The larger the stimulus relative to GDP, the speedier and stronger the recovery.

3) Even if it was necessary to engage in fiscal consolidation, it would not be necessary to do so by means of cuts. Cutting the deficit could be achieved by a number of ways, notably through investment to promote growth and therefore revive tax revenues. There's also the possibility of a different mix of cuts and taxes - more redistributive taxes on the rich, combined with deeper cuts to undesirable forms of spending such as military aggression and the decisive abandonment of nuclear weapons, for example. There are a whole range of options, going from the savage (which the Tories have alighed on) to the relatively humane and socially just.

Don't you dare come on here and say why blame the Tories? We blame the Tories because they are to blame - and not only they, but their friends in industry and banking who helped caused this crisis, who are backing their cuts, and who stand to benefit from them. We blame the Tories because they are wretched, nasty, vindictive bastards, class warriors out to batter the poor. We blame the Tories because not to do so would be stupid and masochistic.

You complete tosser

Chris said...

Jeez the Tory misinformation ministry is out in force!

AndrewSouthLondon said,

“Do you support your family by increasing the debt on your credit card each month?”

Well private debt is actually way bigger than public debt, so it would seem most people do!!!
But if you were in trouble financially and you had rich parents, you may ask them for some money first. After all that is what families are for!! So if we use your family analogy as the nation as family, let us solve this cash crisis by asking our wealthy relatives to shoulder the burden. They wouldn’t want to see us suffering would they?

“I did a Sociology degree in the late Sixties and I never learned the cost of anything”

Being rich also engenders that sort of mentality.
If we drastically reduce the wealth of the ‘elite’ by making them pay for the crisis then they will begin to learn the true cost of things and everyone is a winner!!

On the cuts, what a bad day for big capital!!! Though judging by their smiling faces you would never believe it, like big capital were ever going to oppose this carnage. Carnage that I accurately predicted months ago. Incidentally the CBI is delighted with the review. I said that the Tories would do a deal with defence and they did, I said local government would face a reduction of at least 25% and they have!! I said the only sections of capital that would actively oppose these cuts would be those directly affected by them and again I was correct. The resposne by the majority of the left has been to see these cuts for the class war that they are, a tiny minority are playing these cuts down. They do this because they were predicting big capital would oppose these cuts and put their own dogma before the interests of the class. The pathetic sectarians.

Anonymous said...

And of course the Bank of England are now demanding people spend, because if they do not we really are looking at another recession double dip call it what you like.

The problem is the financial sector has caused most of this, but sadly whom ever you blame the risk game was played by all political parties this has been coming for a very long time.

Boffy said...


It would only be sectarian if those of us who try to analyse the reality of economic and social relations, and come to a conclusion about them, then refused to back workers actions because workers choose a different course of action. Some socialists were guilty of that over the LOR dispute, for instance. I certainly wasn't.

Nor, in concluding that the Cuts are not in the interests of Big Capital have I let that in any way prevent me from arguing that worekrs should organise to resist the Cuts, to occupy buildings under threat etc., or to attend meetings to mobilise such action. I fail to see how that is sectarian!

On the other hand we have yet to hear from you any detail of any resolutions you have put to your union Branch, what Public meetings you have attended to resist the Cuts and so on. Of course, for you to do so would mean you having to step outside your cloak of anonymity.

In actual fact, not only are the Cuts against the interests of Big Capital, but also the statements last week from organisations representing even small Capital demonstrates that there is even concern at that level. Michael portillo last night said he sees thinks they will have to back off. Costas Lapivitas said in an interview today that the fact that the Tories Cuts were less than they had originally being threatening showed that much of what they had been about was an ideological offensive. Others on the left have also admitted that at least in part the Tories have boxed themselves into a corner.

Even some Tory Councils like Barnet are now getting the jitters at the prospect of what they will mean for them. The reality is that for months you have been telling us that 25%-40% Cuts were literally about to happen. Its clear they are not. As I argued some time ago, the Tories have weighted the Cuts to an attack on Welfare Benefits. The Cuts in Local Government will not really begin until the next financial year, and its clear that the Tories are looking to the idea of offering the option of pay cuts to Public sector workers as an alternative to actual closure of services. Analysis of the Cuts also suggests that they are trying to backload them to avoid too much damage early on - which is not likely now to work.

I would argue that some of the changes introduced does represent the success Big capital has had on pushing its interests. But, whether or not, the reality remains that a recession and social instability is not in the interests of Big Capital.

Chris said...

I said councils would face at least 25% cuts, you said I would have no way of knowing this but in the last month the 25% figure became common currency. Everyone was quoting that figure. In actuality the cuts are worse at 28.4% and with inflation factored in even worse. The cuts in capital are also staggering, only a pathetic sectarian would try to play down the level of cuts and what an attack on working people they represent. But for some the class is secondary to defending their own flawed analysis. Most left wing sites, papers etc realise the scale of what we are seeing.

The CSR cuts are actually being front loaded, in that the biggest % drop will be in 2011/2012. So the exact opposite of what you say, I know this because I have spent the end of last week analysing the figures. Where your ‘analysis’ comes from god only knows.

Here is a link to the LGA analysis, which states that the cuts are “significantly front-loaded”. So when you say that ”Analysis of the Cuts also suggests that they are trying to backload them to avoid too much damage early on”, that is the actual direct opposite of the truth!!! And you say I am a troll who provides misleading information!!!!

The argument isn’t about whether the cuts are objectively good or bad for the interests of ‘big capital’, that depends on who you speak to, the argument is, will big capital, as you claimed, try to undermine these cuts behind the scenes. The answer I argue is NO. The profile of the cuts in Local government does give the ‘coalition’ some room for manoeuvre and flexibility but that is to be expected. And the Liberals are more with New Labour on a more phased cut so I think some negotiation behind the scenes is reflected in the review. None of this means the ideological offensive has been watered down in any way and that unless working people oppose these cuts they are coming in full and that this is just the beginning if they get their way.

It is not true to say the cuts will begin next year, the cuts to balance the 2010/11 settlement are happening right now! I know because people have already left!! Budgets have been top sliced!! We have had reviews of various areas and already some ‘cross cutting’ savings have been implemented to car allowance, agency, supplies and services and overtime budgets. Reviews of asset management, finance, legal, business support is ongoing and approaching a conclusion. Clegg has even been urging councils to slow down the pace of cuts!! In my authority there are no planned pay cuts, only pay freezes. To implement pay cuts on people earning in the main less that 20k per year is problematical to say the least. The only way pay cuts could work that would have a real impact to avoid significant service cuts is if the higher earning employees had their wages cut but this will not happen and service cuts will be drastic, very drastic. People should not be fooled into thinking anything else.

Oh and everyone predicted massive cuts to Welfare.


I always enjoy reading your blog and find it thought-provoking. Something I haven't seen mentioned much in the media but which is important to me is the injustice of the changes to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Osborne (et al) talk as if it is easy to get this benefit and stay on it at the moment which it certainly is not.

Thank you for mentioning the gendered element of the cuts. There is a gender element to the ESA situation as well. Many of the conditions which are fluctuating and difficult to both diagnose and 'prove' to benefit agencies are more likely to be suffered by women e.g. M.S., rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and M.E. The proposed changes would make it even harder for those suffering from these debilitating conditions to claim the benefits to which they are entitled. It makes me so angry and I wish I had the energy to fight it more but like many in my position I don't. Please keep arguing for those unable to fight for themselves.


Also, you have probably seen this already but in case others haven't, IPPR report on 'cutting the deficit':

Chris said...


Maybe you could start knitting some anti austerity items?

That would scare em!

Boffy said...

Everyone has known that Cuts of 25% were being talked about. How on Earth can you claim to have had some pre-knowledge about this??? In fact, the talk was of Cuts up to 40%. The point is that months ago you were talking about these Cuts of that amount being imminent, that there was no time to discuss anything in relation to strategy etc. No doubt why despite telling us about your intimate involvement in helping the LG bosses to plan these Cuts, you were even confused as to whether your own Council had agreed to close 4 or 15 Bowling Greens at a meeting you had attended.

But, whilst you've told us about all the meetings with Chief Execs to plan these Cuts, you have still to tell us of any motions you have put to your Branch, to provide any specific details of anti-Cuts meetings you have attended etc. But, that would require you abandoning your convenient anonymity.

Anyone with any sense knew that 25% Cuts were not going to be implemented IMMEDIATELY. You did not seem to understand that. The Cuts have been backloaded. Very little of the Cuts are happening this year, despite your previous statements.

Who is playing down the scale of the Cuts? I'm certainly not. Who has been putting forward methods of opposing them such as Occupations etc? Me. What practical solutions have you put forward? Only if we were to beleive you proposals to your Chief Executive of what and how best to Cut!!!

The Cuts to Welfare have been bigger than was predicted, and one reason is because it is easier to Cut than the actual State apparatus. The London Fire dispute demonstrates the tactic being employed of cutting wages and conditions, and sacking people unless they sign. That was also the strategy reportedly outlined in the document that Alexander had on his lap.

Of course, it makes a significant difference whether Big Capital will try to modify the Cuts behind the scenes. It signifies a potential weakness that workers can exploit. The logic of your position is actually that the Cuts are necessary. Most economists including bouregois economists do not beleive that to be the case.

Chris said...

Then why are the LGA claiming the cuts are significantly front loaded? Why is Clegg asking coucils to slow down? You from the beginning have said this level of cuts would not happen and I said that unless the working class provided resistance the cuts were inevitable. You were wrong, big capital has not ridden to the rescue. So far the resistance has yet to materialise.

Significant cuts are happening in this year, you are wrong to say they are not. Many people have left on voluntary severance. In just one department in my local authority 100 people have already been approved for voluntary severance already. These savings are being used to balance the 10/11 shortfall, an issue you seem laughably ignorant of. I say laughably because you are posing as expert on the subject. You cannot build analysis on flawed foundations; it will inevitably lead to errors. As a Marxist you should have higher standards, you are a disgrace to the profession!

So where are we at currently?

We are currently attempting to balance the 2010/2011 budget, what some will not realise is that the cut in 2010/2011, while not of the levels in the CSR, still presented quite a challenge. The 2010/2011 funding gap has still not been closed and is being closed by a whole host of methods. Some of the savings taken for 2010/2011 actually refer to the CSR, so the actual savings to be found are higher than the CSR would indicate. Therefore LA’s have to find considerable savings in this financial year. Next year the CSR target will have to be closed on top of the shortfall in 2010/2011. I.e. The total value of savings taken in 2010/2011 from 2011/2012 items still need finding in 2011/2012!

Practically, aside from the numerous reviews to specific services and the pay freeze, we are currently looking again at the cuts offered as part of the 10/25/30% cut scenarios. We are tagging each cut to determine if it requires a ’policy’ decision, i.e. elected members decision or is a ‘management’ decision, i.e. does not need elected members. Those marked management are to be offered up without delay.

The cuts are reality comrades, they are no longer abstract. The message needs spreading loud and clear, no room for muddying the waters, this is war. Not between populists on the one side and big capital/advanced workers on the other but a war against workers. If we cannot mobilise the troops this battle is lost.

You are wrong to say that the logic of my position is the cuts are necessary, that is a figment of your imagination. As I said I am not arguing if these cuts are good or bad for 'Big capital', I am arguing that 'big capital' will not oppose them. Actually I think I reject the whole 'big capital' think this and 'small' capital think that line of argument but that is a debate I can do without.

I prefer anonymity with people like you around but rest assured I am doing my work via the trade union.

Boffy said...

Spoken like a real troll!

1. You do not even seem to be aware that the LGA's Press Release refers only to Local Government! But, even that shows that the majority of the Cuts fall in the last three years, NOT in this year which is what you were arguing only weeks ago. In fact, you didn't even seem to realise a few weeks ago that the 25% figure referred to a four year period, and not to an immediate cut! But, then in your fantasies you were advising your Chief exec on Cuts, and sat through a meeting where you weren't sure if you'd recommended the closure of 4 Bowling Greens or 15.

2. A look at the CSR proposals as a whole shows that the smallest cuts occur this year, contrary to what you were arguing. The changes in Child Benefit do not come in until 2013-14. Other Benefit changes will require new administrtaive procedures to be introduced, and, for example, with the introduction of Means Testing to ESA, that will only apply 12 months after people have been moved from IB, and re-assessed.

3. I never said that Big Capital would ride to the rescue. I never argued that workers did not need to organise resistance. Where you claim to have been providing professional advice on what and how to Cut, I have been attending Meetings to oppose the Cuts e.g. here. I argued that the Cuts were not in the interests of Big Capital, and that they would use their influecne behind the scenes within the State apparatus as a result. That does not at all mena the kind of superficial nonsense you imply that this would mean the Tories openly scrapping their stated plans. Thatcher kept up the rhetoric even as the size of the State continued to expand.

The logic of your argument is indeed that the Cuts are necessary, because if not there is no reason that Big Capital would be supporting something, which so immediately negatively affects it!

4. Let us indeed look at where we are. For nearly forty years I have been a revolutionary and Labour Movement activist, holding pretty much every position you can think of, as well as being involved in a list of campaigns and struggles as long as your arm. What do we know about you? Bugger all. What evidence do we have of your activity? Bugger all again, other than your claims to be some hot shot accountant, troubleshooting around the country talking to Chief Executives, and advising on what Cuts to make! What we also know is that most of your activity seems to be to come here and attack me, in terms that a rational debate amongst comrades would preclude. How is it that I can have these debates with other comrades without them descending to the kind of insinuations you make. How is it that Comrades at the Commune recommended my series of blogs on “Socialist Strategy” as suggested background reading and so on here.

All of that tells me you are a troll and a fantasist.

5. You still can provide us with absolutely no verifiable evidence that you have done anything to oppose the Cuts, or even that you have a real identity separate from that you currently present here. Your statement that you prefer your anonymity with people like me around is typical troll speak. What is that supposed to mean? Until such time as you can provide verifiable details that you have a real identity as well as that you currently write udner here, with verifiable proof of what motions you have put to your union Branch, and so on, I shall continue to treat you for what I believe you to be, a troll and a fantasist, and to ignore you. I suggest others do the same.

Chris said...

“You do not even seem to be aware that the LGA's Press Release refers only to Local Government!”

Boffy you are unreal. If you had actually bothered to read anything I have written you would realise that I have made it abundantly clear that I have stressed I am only talking about Local government!! Because that is where I work. I have made no predictions about other cuts, except to say that I expected a deal on defence and the police. Though it seems only Defence have been given a reprieve.
So now you twist that completely by saying I am unaware that the LGA site was only referring to Local government. Jesus wept!

None of this surprises me as it is abundantly clear to me that instead of looking at the facts and drawing conclusions, you do the opposite. You establish the conclusion first and then grope around for facts to fit. This can be seen in your view of Boris Johnson’s latest remarks, instead of seeing this in the context of the mayoral elections you stick to the Boris as the puppet of big capital, when in actual fact it is pure electoral opportunism at play, i.e. populism!! So how do you explain the contradiction between Boris opposing the ‘populist’ measures of Cameron on the basis of populism???

You claim ‘big capital’ will be upset that all its cheap labour will disappear from London but then tell us one reason ‘big capital’ is against these cuts is because it wants a highly educated workforce! Just which is it, do big capital want a ready supply of dishwashers or graduates?
You are alone on the left in thinking big capital will oppose these cuts, this is because yours is a view without any solid basis of evidence. If some sites are citing you then they must be as removed from reality as you, I can only put it down to laziness on their part. That doesn’t mean I dismiss everything you say on the subject just that I cannot let your assertions go unchallenged. I think your underplaying of the level of these cuts is a criminally cavalier attitude given the scale of what we seeing. You are putting your own dogma before the class, pathetic sectarianism.

“But, even that shows that the majority of the Cuts fall in the last three years”

It says the cuts are ‘significantly front loaded and they are. The problem is you are painfully ignorant of what is actually happening in local government, your views on inefficiency showed you were 20 years behind the times. Many L.A.’s are not waiting to year 4; they are making the structural changes right now!! This is why service reviews are taking place. You are painfully unaware of the challenge to close the 2010/2011 budget gap. Local authorities are resorting to desperate measures to balance the budget, such as offering all staff voluntary severance. I don’t care how famous you think you are, the fact is that your analysis is built on ignorance and that is the definition of trolling.