My plan to cut government spending

Now, we all know how budgets work in bureaucracies. You amble along and then see the end of the budget year approaching.

OMG! We have budget available to spend! Quick, quick buy something!

For if we don\’t spend our budget this year then next year\’s will be cut.

So, allow the bureaucracy to bumble along (well, make the cuts you can of course as well) and then 60 days before the end of the budget year (early Feb 2011 say) simply freeze all spending.

OK, so you\’ve a bit of a problem in defining what is ongoing necessary expenditure and what is simply spending to use up the budget but that\’s not insurmountable.

Then the next year budgets can be set at the amount including the savings on spending that didn\’t happen in those 60 days.

You can only do this once of course and you can\’t preannounce it.

But it is one way to take a slice off the base cost of the whole shooting match.

19 thoughts on “My plan to cut government spending”

  1. Or you could take a look at the previous years budget for monthly expenditure and planned expenditure; find the point where spending starts accelerating to meet the full budget and cap the current budget to a what was spent at that acceleration point (or less).

    Or you could take a look at all the previous spending on projects over, say, the last five years, decide what were worthwhile spend and work your budget figures from that, rather than from the information provided by people who have been receiving ‘performance bonuses’ for self-serving performances against the public interest (assuming the public don’t want a thought-police state).

    Basically, work from what has actually happened rather than from what is promised by the self-serving (although if voters had taken this approach I think the untrustworthiness of the main parties would have given a UKIP or BNP majority).

  2. My 4 part plan:

    1. Decide what is and isn’t neccessary.
    2. Give procurement people a hefty kick up the arse, an armful of stationery catalogues and some incentives to save money.
    3. Freeze public spending across the board for the life of the Parliament.
    4. Instruct management that they are free to accommodate inflation by cutting running costs and stopping or scaling back the things that are not deemed neccesary.

    By far the biggest problem is that no-one in Westminster or Whitehall can do point 1. They are not prepared to shoulder that responsibility for saying tattoo removal, sex-changes, elective cosmetic surgery etc are no longer NHS business. That nannying people about smoking, drinking, driving, exercise, nappies, community cohesion, equality and diversity nonsense and whatnot are no longer the State’s business. That management consultants will from this day forth be seen as evidence of incompetence by the management that brought them in. That away days for senior staff to go on networking jollies are not a wise use of tax revenues.

    Too many vested interests working against that ever happening.

  3. Or give the department concerned its allocation with a list of “must do” objectives, plus some which are “do if you can”, and a bonus scheme for handing back unspent budget money.

    If they don’t do the “must do” with the budget available, start firing people. If they do the “must dos” (for which no bonus) and then manage from the same pot to tackle some “do if you cans” there may be a small bonus, but not as good a one as for handing money back for netting off against next year’s allocation.

  4. Gareth,

    That management consultants will from this day forth be seen as evidence of incompetence by the management that brought them in.

    Definitely. Too easy to blame the consultants rather than the twat who keeps hiring large consultancies with a history of fucking up projects.

  5. “would be a ten-year surge in inflation — 1970’s style.”

    Immediately resulting in a ten year surge in interest rates. Do you think lenders are stupid?

  6. how about the minister responsible looks at the last 5 years of Private Eye, as well as Wat Tyler on Burning our money or the Tax Payers Alliance, or frankly any researched critical comments on their department, holds a star chamber then acts accordingly. It’s not as if this incompetence and waste hasn’t already been documented….

  7. Or longer term allow say 5% carry-over- would at least get the money spent on things that the civil servants think are valuable, rather than things nobody thinks worthwhile. And its not unknown for contractors to announce late February that they can’t actually supply that which was ordered before the end of march- leaving government officials the choice of budget cuts next year (because they got by without this) or wasting it- and funding the works from next years budget.
    Tell me folks- do you take a budget cut if you fail to spend your income?

  8. “Immediately resulting in a ten year surge in interest rates.”

    Eh? Existing government bonds are long-term and fixed-income, so no.

  9. One way to reduce spending is to ask departments to fully justify everything they do. And when they do justify it, to ask them again if they could do without it and would it stop them from working.

    From http://www.hillsdale.edu/news/imprimis/archive/issue.asp?year=2004&month=04

    “Let me share with you one last story: The Department of Transportation came to us one day and said they needed to increase the fees for driver’s licenses. When we asked why, they said that the cost of relicensing wasn’t being fully recovered at the current fee levels. Then we asked why we should be doing this sort of thing at all. The transportation people clearly thought that was a very stupid question: Everybody needs a driver’s license, they said. I then pointed out that I received mine when I was fifteen and asked them: “What is it about relicensing that in any way tests driver competency?” We gave them ten days to think this over. At one point they suggested to us that the police need driver’s licenses for identification purposes. We responded that this was the purpose of an identity card, not a driver’s license. Finally they admitted that they could think of no good reason for what they were doing—so we abolished the whole process! Now a driver’s license is good until a person is 74 years old, after which he must get an annual medical test to ensure he is still competent to drive. So not only did we not need new fees, we abolished a whole department. That’s what I mean by thinking differently.”

  10. Once again, a misunderstanding of bureaucracy
    leads to a related misunderstanding of their propensity to spend toward the end of a given fiscal year.

    A bureaucracy has a mission or purpose, a hierarchy or several, each with limitations of its function and authority, and finally, a budget set either by the legislature or, after them, by the supervising bureaucratic unit.

    The mission goals are always set for greater delivery of results than is actually possible, given the personnel and budget; the most evident truth is that a bureaucracy with leftover money is a bureaucracy that’s failed to do as much of its job as it could have–had it spent more doing just what it did usually. Either that, or if there were actually no more left for them to do, why their job must be complete, they must need be decommissioned (or at least have their budget cut. (Can’t have that, eh?) It’s simply a characteristic of bureaucracies to operate in such manner. If you want better or more cost-effective performance–that’s a job for the appropriations function of the legislature. To expect innovation, initiative, or cost-cutting measures from within a bureaucracy is, again
    to misunderstand their purpose and function.

  11. Rupert Chamberlain

    We have an opportunity to withdraw child benefit from the wellfare system now that we have other child related benefits. This would relieve those who ‘earn’ higher incomes the trouble of drawing small amounts of cash 2 or 3 times a year to take on holiday.

  12. Rupert Chamberlain

    When economic pressures start to effect our daily lives, we need alternative therapies to balance the negatives. like disbanding the preditary organisations ‘contracted traffic management’ that make visiting our towns a misery.

  13. Rupert Chamberlain

    We should give an imigration amnesty to anybody who has been self supporting for more than 2/3/4/5 years. Anybody else who wants to come to this country should have to prove that they can be supported until they have paid into the system for 2/3/4/5 years

  14. Rupert Chamberlain

    Benefits should be paid on a pro-rata basis, Part-time work/ part benefits. full benefits/part-time community work.

  15. Rupert Chamberlain

    Drug/nicotine dependent individuals should register their ‘illness’ with their GP to facilitate access to subsequent supplies, (certificate of addiction) benefits would be to improve health and cut drug related crime (prohibition never works)

  16. Rupert Chamberlain

    All the Afghan opiates should be purchase by the government to sell to other countries, for legitmate health uses. That way we could treat our own addicts in a controlled system of rehabilitation. (and make loads of cash to offset the oil prices)

  17. Rupert Chamberlain

    Purchasing the Poppy crop from Afghanistan would also deprive the Taliban and other anti-western organisations the means to raise funds and maintain the conflict in that part of the world. This would save £ billions, the cost of managing a sustained conflict

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