How to run a country: The 2015 Spending Review


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Tony Blair’s governments reformed public services to give opportunity to those that needed it most. David Cameron’s first government sought to control public spending as the UK emerged from the financial crisis. The new Government has the chance to embed these reforms and to put the UK on a genuinely new path. That path would make decisions on public spending today in order to deliver sustainable public finances for years to come. It would recast the traditional shape of public services around the outcomes that society needs them to deliver. It would measure public service budgets not just by spending and “cuts” but by their return on investment, in particular for the most disadvantaged people. This would be a new era for the welfare state, leaving behind the idea that sustainable public finances and greater opportunity are mutually exclusive.

The prize is very great. Policies which deliver better education, employment and sound public finances will demonstrably raise the wellbeing of people and society. The new Government has rightly said that prosperity is necessary but not sufficient. A ‘one nation’ society, with new opportunities for the most disadvantaged, has to go hand in hand. The Spending Review will be the Government’s most important moment in this Parliament to get these policies right.

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