Alan Johnson MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, has said that Comprehensive Spending Review has already begun to unravel:
“This Spending Review is unravelling fast and revealing broken promises and empty words. Buried in the detail of the government’s plans are broken NHS promises by David Cameron, a squeeze on families double what the banks are being asked to pay and serious unanswered questions on how many jobs will be lost and how much the redundancies will cost the taxpayer.
“The coalition claim today’s announcement is fair, it is not. The Treasury’s own figures show the poorest in society will pay more to reduce the deficit than almost anyone else.
“This is a reckless gamble with people’s livelihoods and the case for it is unravelling fast.”
David Cameron promised above inflation increases every year for the NHS, but George Osborne has announced a below inflation rise, with no more money at all for next year. That also means a cash standstill for the NHS between 10/11 and 11/12 with no additional funding to allow the NHS to keep up with inflation.
The CSR document also confirms the coalition is scrapping measures the Conservatives had promised to protect, including one-to-one nursing care for cancer patients, free prescriptions for long-term conditions and the guarantee of one-week cancer tests.
The coalition is wrong to claim that today's announcement is fair. Even on the Treasury’s own figures, the poorest 10 per cent in society will pay more to reduce the deficit than almost anyone else.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies has already commented that the CSR is not as progressive as the coalition claim, like the June Budget it depends on measures already announced by Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling.
Analysis by Labour’s Shadow Treasury team shows that families with children will have to pay more than twice the amount, £4.89 billion in total, which banks are being asked to contribute under the CSR.
Police funding cuts of 20 per cent in the CSR will be impossible to achieve without massive cuts to the numbers of police on the street and programmes to fight crime and anti-social behaviour. They go far beyond what can be achieved through efficiency savings and better procurement.
There are serious unanswered questions on how many public sector redundancies there will be and how much the pay offs will cost the taxpayer. Last night a leaked Ministry of Justice memo revealed 14,000 redundancies with the brunt borne by the front line. The coalition must come clean on what the total cost across government will be.