Labour launches Zero-Based Review of public spending

Labour launches Zero-Based Review of public spending

Labour is today launching the first phase of its Zero-Based Review of public spending – a root and branch review of every pound the government spends from the bottom up.

In a foreword to the phase 1 discussion document being published today, Ed Miliband, Ed Balls and Chris Leslie say:

“Over three years into this Conservative-led government, Britain’s families are paying the price for the failure of the Chancellor’s economic policies.

“He has overseen the slowest recovery for over 100 years, and as a result families have seen prices rising faster than wages in 41 out of the 42 months that David Cameron has been Prime Minister. Crucially these failures on growth and living standards have meant failure on deficit reduction too.

“So the next Labour government must start planning now to meet the challenge we will face. We can now expect to inherit an economy with families under real financial pressure, businesses that have lost vital opportunities to invest, and public finances in poor shape, despite deep cuts to key public services.

“Where this government’s failure on growth over the last three years has led to their failure on the deficit, the next Labour government will rise to the challenge: action to deliver a strong recovery that is built to last, which works for working people and delivers rising living standards for all; and reform of our public services alongside a tough deficit reduction plan.

“Action now to deliver stronger growth is even more vital if we are to meet the challenge. And it remains the best way to mitigate the scale of the cuts the Government says it has to make to public services in 2015-16 and beyond.

“Even if growth comes in considerably higher than currently forecast, the situation we will inherit requires the next Labour government to govern in a very different way to those which have gone before. We can expect to inherit plans for further deep cuts to departmental budgets at a time when the deficit will still be large and the national debt rising.

“At the time of the 2010 Spending Review, the Office for Budget Responsibility forecast that the deficit would fall to £18bn in 2015-16. It is now forecast to be £79bn – over £60bn higher than planned – even with the further deep cuts in public spending which the Chancellor has programmed in for 2015-16.

“Delivering our Labour goals – supporting families and communities, tackling disadvantage, spreading educational opportunity, safeguarding our NHS, investing for the future – will be more difficult than at any time in our living memory, certainly since the post-war Labour government of 1945. But it can be done.

“And it will make our economic task – to raise living standards, increase growth and wealth creation by building a reformed One Nation economy where we use, and invest in, the talents and industry of all and not just some – even more vital.

“These are issues which we are addressing in our Zero-Based Review – a root and branch review of every pound the government spends from the bottom up – which Labour has begun in opposition and will complete in our first year in office. We will ruthlessly prioritise public spending and deliver service reform and improvements rather than just salami slicing budgets and watching services deteriorate.

“As we have said before, the last Labour government did not spend every pound of public money well. And neither is this government doing so. Indeed many of its short-term cuts will end up costing more in the long term

“We in the Labour Party value the huge contribution that public services – and public service – make to the strength of our economy and the fairness and stability of our society.

“We celebrate the excellence of our teachers and school support staff, the service of our police officers and non-police staff; and the quality of care that our doctors, nurses and health workers deliver – and the universal service that our publicly funded NHS delivers.

“But it is the duty of government to continually look to improve services, to make difficult choices about priorities and to get maximum value for every pound of taxpayer money it spends. That duty will be all the more central for the next Labour government, in an era when there is less money around.

“Labour’s Zero-Based Review will enable us to meet the challenge we face.”

The document can be downloaded here:

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Posted December 19th, 2013 by Ed's team