Azara Blog: Osborne wants to screw Whitehall and men in their fifties

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Date published: 2009/10/08

The BBC says:

A public sector pay freeze and a rise in the state pension age are among the measures needed to sort out the UK's finances, George Osborne has said.

The shadow chancellor also outlined plans to target Whitehall costs and axe child trust funds for the better off.

He told the Tory conference "we're all in this together" and said that the measures would save £7bn a year.

The BBC's Nick Robinson called it a "calculated gamble" that they would be rewarded for honesty about pain ahead.

But, said Robinson, they know that when the then shadow chancellor John Smith tried the same tactic in 1992 he was applauded for his honesty - but ultimately blamed for his party's election defeat.
He also vowed to cut the cost of Whitehall - proposing to slash departmental budgets by a third during the lifetime of Parliament, a move he said would save £3bn.
Mr Osborne also confirmed plans revealed on Monday to bring forward a rise in the age at which men can claim a state pension to 66 from 2016, up to ten years earlier than planned.

Osborne only touched the surface, and only time will tell how extensive the Tory slash and burn approach will go. It will be interesting to see how they will allegedly cut the "cost of Whitehall" by a third, so whether that just involves moving more costs into quangos and the like. The last Tory government didn't exactly do a good job reducing the size of government.

And the pension announcement was a bit of a public relations disaster. First of all, when discussing this on Radio 4 the day after, Cameron did not even seem to know that women and men currently have different pension ages. And after much huffing and puffing, the Tories seemed to settle on the wonderfully sexist position that men (in their fifties) will be the main losers under their proposals.

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