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The trouble ahead

March 1, 2010

There is plenty of speculation in today’s papers, news websites and on the BBC about a forthcoming night of the long knives for public spending, particularly on council services. Depending on what you read, the figures are anything between 25,000 and 170,000 jobs at risk.

So why the big figures all of a sudden?

Local authorities have been looking at their budgets ever since the Institute for Fiscal Studies started projecting the savings needed to reduce the deficit of £178 billion.

That’s £178 billion the government spends more than it earns, threatening an inflationary debt spiral, which could even turn into hyper inflation that makes savings worthless. Long before that happens the UK will go bust.

Now the financial markets are getting in on the misery. Sterling dipped below the important psychological barrier of $1.50 this morning as fears over the size of the debt puts pressure on the pound.

As Mark O’Sullivan of Currencies Direct says: “A bailout of Greece would leave the UK extremely vulnerable with its huge level of debt, a fact which our politicians seem determined to ignore. The markets need convincing that UK debt can be reduced.

“As the pound drops, the currency markets appear to have run out of patience. Sterling could be staring over the edge of the abyss.”  

There will be those who wonder what all this has got to do with planning.

Well there won’t be so much if the economy is lying in ruins. Yet given that planners are responsible for everything from tackling climate change, beating terrorism and solving the obesity epidemic at least this will be one crisis that can’t be laid at the planning system’s door.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Necropolis permalink
    March 1, 2010 8:16 pm

    Ironically, the survey’s showed Planning to be one of the three services least likely to be impacted by spending cuts.

    And yet somehow I don’t have faith.

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