Today's Times editorial says that George Osborne must continue to reduce spending. This is particularly urgent given yesterday's awful borrowing figures; the public finances are not in a good shape and more needs to be done to correct that. Next week's Spending Review will be difficult for the Chancellor, given he is hamstrung by Manifesto commitments and ring-fences, something that the Times highlights today:
Mr Osborne needs to stick to his strategy and bear down on the deficit with steep spending cuts. He and the prime minister have made the job more difficult by ringfencing various budgets from the need to make savings. The burden of economies will necessarily fall disproportionately on other government departments if Mr Osborne is to deliver his aim of taking £17.9 billion in real terms out of public services by 2019-20 and £12 billion from social security. Tough as the task is, it needs to be done.
As well as making savings, improving efficiency and cutting out waste, we should be looking at ways to permanently re-think the scope of government. Our Spending Plan should be essential reading in the Treasury.