quinta-feira, maio 13, 2004
Yes Minister - fiction or truth?
Civil service spending cuts have become a real life farce in Tony Blair's back yard
The Economy Drive: Take One
Minister for Administrative Affairs Jim Hacker is accused of wasting government money in the civil service.
Permanent secretary Sir Humphrey Appleby tells him there is no way to slim down the civil service because of his government's continuous stream of new legislation.
Hacker sends his political adviser Frank Weisel to find examples of government waste. Sir Humphrey is determined to prevent spending cuts in his department and devises Operation Hairshirt, a plan to cause Hacker to feel the effect of spending cuts personally.
When Weisel reports, Sir Humphrey presents a rational explanation for every example and proposes to cut luxuries, starting with Hacker's chauffeur-driven car and private office.
Sir Humphrey eventually comes to Hacker's rescue by proposing to axe the vacancies in the Bureaucratic Watchdog Office.
As a real spending cut, he proposes to cut out tea ladies. "The public doesn't know anything about wasting government money," he tells Hacker. "We're the experts."
The Economy Drive: Take Two
Prime Minister Tony Blair asks Sir Peter Gershon, outgoing head of the Office of Government Commerce, to find ways of cutting government waste.
Nicknamed HMS Gershon by Treasury hands because he sails in and out of rooms, Sir Peter says cutting 80,000 civil service jobs would save £10 billion-£15 billion a year.
Sir Peter feels the 400 local authority purchasers could be reduced to 40, 10 or as few as four. Organisations collecting local taxes and paying housing benefit could also be slimmed.
Senior civil servants warn public sector job cuts could be difficult to achieve. At the Home Office, proposals to reduce the headcount from 3,200 to 2,950 had somehow resulted in it rising to 4,900. A new £311m headquarters will not be big enough.
Blair presses ahead, despite warnings of an electoral backlash. As an example of the need to cut costs, the job centre at Wingate in his own Sedgefield, County Durham, constituency, is to be closed. Five staff are to lose their jobs. "We won't be afraid to take tough decisions," says a Treasury spokesman.
posted by Miguel Noronha 12:17 da tarde
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