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back to article Darling forces ministers to draw up spending hit lists

Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling has asked ministers to start drawing up hit lists to show what their departments will do to slash government spending. Saddled with massive debt of £178bn and with promises to ringfence spending on education, the NHS, police and overseas development spending, the government needs big …

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Coat

Obvious

ID cards?

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Go

My I add my list to the discussion

Scrap ID cards

Scrap the NHS IT project and sue the contractors for incompetence.

Sack EDS and all the other IT consultants.

Mandate F/OSS and open standards for all new IT projects.

Advertise on billboards, on TV ( saving ITV into the bargain), and in the national and local press the creation of a load of IT jobs working on F/OSS projects for the Government (stimulating the UK IT industry)

Teach children proper IT skills in class, not just how to use MS Word.

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Paris Hilton

Slight problem with list

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Sack EDS and all other IT consultants

Mandate F/OSS and open standards for all new IT projects.

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Ah, but who would be available to implement these new projects?

Oh yes, the previously sacked consultants thus not stimulating anything. In fact, as they'd almost certainly be taking pay cuts (or perhaps the gov't will just use offshore contractors to save even more) I'd suggest it would actually depress the economy.

Paris - 'cause she knows how to really stimulate

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Megaphone

So...

...that'll be another chunk of the science budget then. And the Chief Execs of the Research Councils can be hung out to dry to making decisions based on large cuts to their budgets that have to fall SOMEWHERE.

Of course the somewhere where they'll fall won't be in the RC Shared Service Centre with is now predicted to come in at 300% of its original £40m budget and at least 12 months behind schedule. Too much "efficiency" to be gained there... at least Gordon would like to think so.

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Stop

How much money is the government spending...

...on Windows, MS Office and associated licenses? I'd wager a fair packet could be saved by switching to OpenOffice, even if they stick to the same OS. And I'd be a *very* disgruntled tax payer if I learnt my tax cash was being spent on pointless upgrades of XP/Office 2003 to Windows 7/Office 2010!

As has already been pointed out, the ID cards scheme should appear near the top of the scrap heap...

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Trident looking at £28Bn

Re-negotiated PFI deals to stop so many porkers dipping their snouts in this trough?

Eurofighter?

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Anonymous Coward

IT

How about cutting the £26bn overspend on IT projects!

Ok, the money's already been spent.

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Maths...

The debt is a lot more than £178Bn, that's the deficit for 1 year.

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Pensions and welfare

We can all see where easy cuts can be made especially the immoral benefits that some people claim.... we all know the middle classes will take it all with cuts to their services and taxes. Welcome to the world of 1970 with socialism at its heart.

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Anonymous Coward

IT in schools

> Teach children proper IT skills in class, not just how to use MS Word.

If only they did teach them how to use MS Word ... my son in Y9 knows how to highlight text and change font/font size/colour (+ how to spend hours googling for the correct photo to add rather than writing the actual text) ... but has NO concept of how to use styles to do basic formatting.

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Ahhh...

but do the teachers know how to use styles ?

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How about:

Cancel outright NHS IT, ID Cards, IMP, implementation of variable speed limit zones on motorways, child protection database. I'm sire we can add to this list. Anything that is hubris, pointless or an unneccesary invasion of privacy.

Mandate the purchase of open standards compliant systems, rather than mandating purchases from specific suppliers.

Build teams of freelance IT contractors instead of consultancies (daily billing rates halved immediately) and retain cntractors based on their individual performance (so the chaff does get kicked out)

Stop all PPP/Outsourcing (short term pain for long term financial gain)

Close all national and local government indexed linked final salary pension schemes, replacing them with money purchase which is what the majority of us have. Eat your own dogfood!

Add new mandatory contract terms to all national and local government contracts:

- 0% of the work goes overseas

- all company income from the UK taxed within the UK

Make it so, Mr Data.

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Flame

£178Bn debt != £178Bn cuts!

How about stopping any bank taking any profit until they have paid back what they borrowed (with interest) after screwing up the economy in the first place!

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Big Brother

Easy

1. Bring the troops home from Helmund

2. Scrap the aircraft carrier project. Carriers are to protect surface ships, and we havn't got any.

3. Scrap the arts council. Small beer, I know, but a lot of noise!

4. Scrap the Olympics. I never wanted it anyway

5. Turn remaining RAF camps in Lincolnshire into housing for asylum seekers. Stop paying rent to private landlords for them

6. Scrap the NHS IT & ID card schemes.

7. Double road tax on Lorries, to get goods back on the railways. charge a per-dieum road tax for foriegn lorries while in the country

8. Tear up the treaty of rome and tell the EU to get stuffed for their money

9. Tell the welsh and scots that if they want full independence they can have it, otherwise we are going to shut down their toy parliaments and scrap the barnett formula while we are at it.

10. Charge parents for schooling used as child minding. Stop giving them vouchers.

11. Charge for NHS maternity care. Pregancy is not a disease.

12. Increase unemployment pay but require at least two days a week of community service organised by unemployed managers

13. Tax all bankers at 100% on earnings above 700K

14. Double the road tax for second cars in a household.

15. scrap income tax. Put it /all/ on VAT. Including local VAT for local taxes. You can't have a black economy if people aren't paying income tax.

16. Tax banks on the difference between deposit rates and loan rates

17. All able-bodied adults to be recruited into snow clearing teams in the winter. Each team resonsible for 1 day in 5 of pavement and road clearing using their own shovels. The army to do bits between towns.

18. double VAT on satellite TV subscriptions and films not made in the UK.

19. Legalise and tax all drugs

20. Legalise and tax brothels.

and next week, my plans for invading Mars!

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FAIL

"7. Double road tax on Lorries, to get goods back on the railways"

You had me until there. The road tax on a lorry is already up to £1800; and where are all these magic railways between every factory, warehouse and shop which would be required?

What possible benefit to anything would "get(ting) goods back on the railways" be? You do realise that the average 'natural' consignment of goods is smaller than a lorry in size anyway? Should the likes of Sainsburys wait until an entire trainload of food is required at a particular store before restocking?

Do you actually have any idea how industry or logistics work AT ALL?

13: The point of that would be what? The 'bankers' would just f'ing leave and then pay no UK tax at all.

15: So you want to both impose a 100% income tax on some people (who you don't like) AND abolish income tax????

16: Already exists, they (like every other company) pay tax on profits already.

17: We pay tax to supposedly pay dedicated snow-clearers in winter. That money appears to have been spent on other things....

19,20: Yes, yes, yes.

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Anonymous Coward

Fragile What??

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=192

You understand that the little uptick is not a recovery it's a slowing down of the rate of collapse. Fragile recovery???? Are you shitting me? Did he even say that?

Inflation is above targets and rising. That's because as you print money, the perceived value of sterling drops and so the cost of imports rises which feeds through to prices on an economy that is a net importer like the UK:

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?ID=19

You have NOT turned the corner on GDP growth, government does NOT have control over spending and the choices Gordon the Gopher made did NOT get him the blip needed to be elected.

Keynesian economics is incoherent drivel. Print and spend should NEVER have been done. You can magic money out of thin air, but you cannot magic 'value' out of thin air.

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Note this is *roughly* £178Bn PA for the *next* 5 years

With regard to Robert E A Harvey's I definitely like points 18-20. This should generate the sort of serious wonga HMG will be needing

It will also create quite a large pool of plod who can be applied to real crime. Scrapping the *very* nice pension arrangements enjoyed by *senior* civil servants, judges, MPs (not the front line mice in the jobcentre) etc should also release a nice piece of change.

But to keep a sense of perspective. The UK "Fiscal stimulus" was (at c1.5% of GDP) the *smallest* of the the G7 economies. *Everyone* else put in *more*. I rather doubt *quite* so much of theirs went to 1 sector (banking).

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Smallest of G7?

"The UK "Fiscal stimulus" was (at c1.5% of GDP) the *smallest* of the the G7 economies."

1.5% of GDP would be £25Billion or so, are you discounting his bailouts as fiscal stimulus and the BOE money printing, currently at £200 billion or so.

I quite like BBC's introduction to QE semantics here and pointing to the legal issues with BOE actions:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7924506.stm

"Why are the UK's actions different from 1920s Germany and Zimbabwe?"

"Printing money can be defined as the central bank financing of government debts. This is what happened in both 1920s Germany and Zimbabwe and what the British government will insist it is not doing, although the short-term effect is similar."

"According to the Maastricht Treaty, EU member states are not allowed to finance their public deficits by printing money. That is one reason why the Bank of England will buy government bonds from financial institutions, not directly from the government."

"The Bank believes this form of QE is different because it is "printing money" as part of monetary policy - to prevent deflation. It is not printing money to help the government finance its deficit. "

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It forces up the price of government bonds by creating a false market in those bonds. It makes bugger all difference if you interject a middleman broker. It does not make it any more legal.

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Happy

@Eluva Pushova

"1.5% of GDP would be £25Billion or so, are you discounting his bailouts as fiscal stimulus and the BOE money printing, currently at £200 billion or so."

Neither, merely quoting one of the news commentators on this. IIRC correctly a substantial part of the bank support package was not *actual* cash but "loan guarantees," effectively government signing a credit note to make good if the bank defaulted. It was mereley to give some idea of the scale involved. Wheather not enough was put in, or put in the wrong place, is something I think will be discussed for quite a while yet.

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Anonymous Coward

@Robert E A Harvey

Carriers are not there to protect surface ships. Surface ships are most often protected by guided missile systems which can get airborne much faster, travel at higher speed and result in a higher kill rate than a piloted aircraft.

In the American model of a battle fleet, the carrier is the most important resource there is in the Navy and the other ships are there to protect *it*.

Carriers exist to project military force by air: helicopters and fighters/bombers.

Other types of ship exist for different roles, but include air defence, bombing of land targets using artillery shells, and guided weapons.

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