Public Finance, 25 November 2015

Researcher Amy Finch argued in Public Finance that the Chancellor may have wanted to send a “message of “bold reform”, against “retrenchment” but that message was undermined by “larger-than-expected projections on tax receipts which, instead of using to push for even greater public sector productivity, he used to take pressure off police budgets and continue the government’s unsustainable subsidy to wealthy pensioners through the triple lock.”

In particular, the protection of police budgets will undermine productivity gains made over the past five years, and will negatively impact other areas of the public sector:

“The surprise announcement was in relation to police budgets, which will not be cut. Policing was the productivity ‘good news’ story of the last Parliament. Over the last five years, the full time police workforce was cut by around 15%, but crime fell and victim satisfaction rose. Preventing and responding to terrorist attacks is vital, but this does not negate the potential for further efficiency savings. This reactionary approach will be felt across the public sector, as other departments are asked to take a greater proportion of the cuts.”

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