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Jonathan Dimbleby

By Rat Outzipape

This is the text of an email sent into today's (27/03/2010) Any Answers. I have corrected to typos apart from any in the quote - for which I am not responsible, of course.

Cutting costs:- the intelligent way

I have these figures from the Adam Smith Institute.

Great Britain has gross public debt of $1tn, unfunded pension obligations to civil servants of more than £6.5tn, similar obligations to all UK residents of £4.3tn and "off-the-books" PFI obligations of $700bn: all up more than 8.9x GDP, before uncounted "off-the-books" healthcare obligations. *

But Britain admits to borrowings of only 72% of GDP.

Politicians find it impossible to face the real issues. Governments (the USA, Britain) have encouraged spending and loans to risky borrowers. While they vilify the banking industry they do not face their own part in this over the last half century. Politicians like quick gains that end up costing us dear.

In my own field of software engineering I have direct experience of money squandered in failing IT on a make work basis. I have had direct contact with millions of pounds being wasted. My estimate is that in many areas costs of IT provision could be less than one tenth. This could amount to billions every year. But government doesn't give Civil Servants teeth to manage these contracts. Teeth means specialised back up that studies the issues (lawyers, economists but not those tainted by the industry) and skilled teams of Civil Servants. This has implications to how the impending cuts are to be made. Squandering money makes shamefully bad engineering decisions that mount up future problems and costs, again for us the tax payers.

Adam Saltiel

*"Cameron's bank levy". To be published


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