Any Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) is a huge undertaking, if it is done properly. Every Department’s spending has to be reviewed and scrutinised (“Star-Chambered”), bids (“wish-lists”) are prepared and cuts (“efficiency savings”) negotiated. Crucial to any CSR is the set of assumptions used to determine the economic (and consequent fiscal) outlook. So does it make sense to embark on such an exercise when the world economy remains so turbulent and while the UK’s prospects (whilst better than many other countries) remain so uncertain? In case you are wondering, the answer is “No”.
To conduct such a CSR in the last few months before a General Election when the minds of Ministers (and for that matter civil servants – let alone Shadow Ministers) will be focused on that Election and its aftermath would be an exercise in utter futility.
So why the fuss? Perhaps, those making the most noise are those that are so used to being futile that they have come to enjoy that state far more than doing anything purposeful. Or am I being unfair?