Ever since the General election the Conservatives have attempted to brand Labour as the party which is known for wasteful expenditure. Similarly they have sought to represent their own party and the coalition government more generally as a highly efficient operation which is not wasting public money. This has been one of the central tenets of the public discourse about politics and the economy for more than two years and the Conservative approach to this matter has found a widespread echo in the media.
But the truth is that this widely accepted representation of public expenditure and the relative position of each of the political parties was almost wholly incorrect.
Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, has today claimed that the Government has reduced the number of quangos, or non-government public bodies.
Responding to the claims, Jon Trickett MP, Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Office Minister, said:
“This so-called clampdown is not what it seems. The true picture of David Cameron’s government is of a failed economic plan which has delivered a double-dip recession and £150 billion more borrowing than they planned.
Jon Trickett MP, Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Office Minister, responding to the Government’s claim to be cutting the cost of government said:
“For all their talk of savings, this Tory-led Government’s failures are costing this country dear. David Cameron and George Osborne have delivered a double-dip recession made in Downing Street, and they are already having to borrow £150 billion more than they planned over the Parliament – the cost of their failed economic plan.
The British civil service is widely admired and rightly so for its core values of honesty, impartiality, and professionalism. However, in terms of accountability, management culture, and increased flexibility there is always much more to do.
Labour will support and indeed welcome sensible reforms such as improving management culture, information systems and skills development, but the point of reform after all is to make something better than it was before and until we see more detail it is not clear how far these reforms will move us forward.
The Government today announced their Civil Service Reform White Paper to Parliament. In my role as Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office, I responded for Labour and the full text of my speech is below:
“I thank the Minister for his courtesy in providing me with an advance copy of the plan, and for taking some time to explain his thinking.