My soapbox moment relates to the UK economy but could apply equally to many of the countries that are experiencing economic difficulties just now.
Many parts of England and all of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are heavily dependent on the public sector for jobs. With budget cuts the UK government is telling councils and government departments that they must hack huge sums of their budgets. It sounds sensible at first until you realise that:
- The departments left behind cannot actually provide a proper service anyway
- The so called Big Society cannot plug the gaps
- The private sector cannot create jobs at the rate that the government is cutting them
- More people will end up unemployed and claiming benefits
- More unemployed equals less money spent in shops and other businesses
Does it have to be this way? What if we kept employment artificially high in the public sector but made it more capable of doing more and providing better services or slimming itself down through efficiency rather than surgery. Could we not have a situation where:
- We improve the performance of the public sector
- The Big Society can do its work without being stretched to breaking point
- We do not rely on the private sector but both sectors work together for economic prosperity
- There is no steep rise in people claiming benefit
- We continue to spend in our businesses and on the high street
I am no economist and someone far cleverer would need to do the maths but I do wonder if anyone has really considered the possible alternatives. Mr Cameron says there is no Plan B. I disagree, there are many possibilities but not all will be compatible with coalition policy.