Around 50,000 jobs will be lost in Britain this year as a result of the Conservative—Liberal Democratic coalition government’s 6.2—billion—pound reduction in public spending, sending shock—waves among public sector establishments.
Chancellor George Osborne and treasury chief secretary David Laws said yesterday that these cuts are “only the first step” towards repairing Britain’s public finances and “even tougher” measures will follow later this year.
Among the most controversial announcements, the university budget will be slashed by 200 million pounds, while the local council grants will slashed by 1.2 billion pounds.
Other measures include cancellation of 10,000 planned university places, scrapping of the 250—pound ‘baby bonds’ for the newborns and a complete freeze on civil service recruitment.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies noted that the first swathe of savings is less than a tenth of what is necessary to balance the books, while experts pointed that leaving vacant civil service jobs unfilled and reducing state spending will cost between 50,000 and 100,000 jobs this year alone.
Militant unions have already threatened a coordinated wave of the 1970s—style strikes and tool—downs to slam the drastic measures including the 1.5—billion pound cut in spending on consultancy and travel, and scrapping of first—class travel for officials.
Police will bear the brunt of 367 million pounds in home office savings.
The Times editorial said the new government is showing strength of will and seriousness in tackling the nation’s most urgent problem——restoration of the public finances.
The Daily Telegraph editorial said there is a refreshing straightforwardness to yesterday’s announcement by Mr. Osborne and law of the 6.25—billion pound efficiency savings they have identified in this year’s government budgets.
“Gone were the smoke and mirrors so beloved of the last government and in their place is a welcome burst of candour about the scale of the crisis in the public finances,” the editorial said.
With public debt jumping at a rate of 3 billion pound a week, the monumental task of paying it off can only succeed if the government is honest about the sacrifices that lie ahead, it said.