Reducing the size of the State and encouraging private enterprise is a good thing. The dominance of public sector spending on the UK economy, on particular sectors and in particular towns and cities shows far too much dependence on the State and taxation and not enough enterprise and jobs generated by people, businesses, and communities themselves. If this is to be done it should be as a deliberate thought out principled policy approach not as a part of an emergency budget to correct the deluded spending plans of a bankrupt Labour Government and curtail an unsustainable deficit.
The Chancellor, George Osborne's talk of 25% spending cuts in his emergency budget seemed drastic. I presumed this was a deliberate strategy to talk up the scale of potential cuts to ensure that Government departments, agencies and quangoes, local Councils and publicly funded bodies did not as usual simply ignore or greatly limit the requirement for 'efficiency savings'. 25% cuts would show the coalition was serious about tackling the scale of the problem and show that departments and Councils had to take it seriously. The idea of actually achieving 25% spending cuts in a short time period is obviously too drastic as even the most hardened Monetarist must be able to see. This kind of shock to spending in the economy could make the crisis worse. Thus George Osborne's talk of cuts of up to 40% seems entirely unrealistic and ideologically rather than economically driven. The Government should come clean and say that this may be a long term aim but it is not what they are actually trying to achieve to deal with the recession. Short term Government assistance for the economy is needed, while reminding the public sector it is not business as usual and reminding business that it is not Government's job to bail the private sector out per se.
Increasing the amount of money that people can choose to spend themselves rather than it being given to the State is a good thing in general as it increases freedom and choice. At the same time the State can usefully both create jobs to keep people with the means to survive during a recession, to keep the economy going, to carry out necessary public works and improvements. There are many public service jobs that need doing that those who are unemployed and on incapacity benefits could do which would ensure them giving something back to the community in return for taxpayers paying for them.
There is nothing wrong with people who are being paid for by taxpayers being required to do work of benefit to the community. I would prefer this to be in improving their local area or in the voluntary sector but there is nothing in principle worse than what Labour and Tory Governments have allowed for thirty years of families being paid for and allowed not to work. That benefits no one and increases resentment of both those who are being given a free ride but can't get a step up, and of those who are working and struggling or working hard and paying for those who aren't.