back to article Darling promises IT cuts, years of pain

Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling has promised spending cuts in order to try and rein in rampant government spending, helped by a windfall tax on bankers' bonuses. In his last pre-budget report before the election, Darling promised £5bn in cuts from technology projects, outsourcing prison management and reforming …


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  1. SuperTim


    Will there be a tax on thunderbirds puppet lookylikeys? No? Funny that.

    Still, at least i get to pay 50p a month extra for my landline now. One assumes that this investment will suddenly procure me amazingly fast broadband, or as i suspect, no difference whatsoever.

  2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Welcome to Planet


    What is he smoking? I'd certainly like something.

    The whole thing is totally divorced from reality.

    Oh Yes there is an election due soon.

    The real shit will hit the fan (ie us joe public in the UK) after the election. No surprise there then.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time for the rats to

    desert the sinking ship.Personally I am learning Dutch and German!

    Most of the large businesses I have dealings with have moved abroad or are bringing in indians for a pittance and the small businesses such as my employer are being hammered by the tax man so badly that moving abroad is now something you do if you can ASAP.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      ...think it's a good choice? At least German?

      Once you learnt enough, read about StaSi 2.0 and all the other stuff which is going on there currently, especially regarding surveillance of the people...

      Germany isn't, imo, a good place to be either right now

  4. Tom Chiverton 1

    "So where is all this money coming from?"

    Nobody knows mate !

  5. David Adams

    It's all smoke and mirrors...

    The real pain will hit after the election.

    Whoever wins will have to raise taxes, no matter what they say in their manifesto.

  6. Gavin Park Weir
    Thumb Down

    Complete waste

    That is such a minor change in the status quo. 5bn cut in IT spending but over how long? The only thing now that can save the government deficit is if RBS and other banks we own somehow manage to gain in value and the gov can sell them to get our money back.

    Sadly all the good (I mean successful) bankers are going to leave and the non gov funded banks are going to make millions taking all the profitable business while we end up holding all the toxic debt.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Only 5BN?

    Heck, you can cut almost 1/2 that by cutting one project. The IMP. That's convervatively estimated at 2BN, others have estimated it as 10BN and it's totally worthless.

    What would the taxpayer feel the most in a negative way ? 2BN cut from the NHS or 2BN cut from IMP?

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      @AC: Yeah, evil banker scumbags

      Nothing to do with the governments of this world handing over trillions of dollars in bank aid and not putting strict plans in place to limit renumeration and bonuses. The only scumbags in this piece are in government.

      1. Jimmy Floyd


        Or, indeed, the billions that Joe Public are in debt - loans, mortgages and credit cards. Why should we blame the government for being rubbish with money when we the people are no better?

        Err, hang on - that sounds dangerously close to defending NuLab. So let's remember that Gordon had created a massive national debt even before all this kicked off. But since there wasn't boom, there was no point planning for the bust, eh Brownie?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That ain't gonna work

    This is not going to work. Unless we _REALLY_ outsource prison management. Unfortunately the previous winners of this contract before it was unsuccessfully in-sourced (Australia, Canada, etc) are no longer willing to run it. So I guess we should outsource it to Russia or even better some African countries like Zimbabwe are the sole viable options here. Otherwise it is only moving money from one pocket to another without an overall net effect.

  10. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Cost of bank bailout cut from £50bn to £10

    What? How?

  11. N2

    But we were all told

    "There will be no more return to boom & bust"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Boom and Bust

      Yes, one of Brown's classics. There is no need for boom and bust, economists are very clear on that point. However they are also very clear that the way to avoid boom and bust is to avoid boom and stick with steady growth. Brown obviously didn't read past the second paragraph of that particular chapter of "Economics for Dummies".

      But then this is a man who sees a growing population as a good thing because it will mean increased tax revenue. He's so dumb he can't see that it also means proportionately more public spending and a heavier burden on the welfare state, since jobs are very unlikely to increase at the same rate as the population, with the possible exception of the public sector. Ho hum.

      1. N2

        Gordon Clown

        Yep, agreed,

        By his own admission he 'wasnt very good at maths' and lack of any other suitable qualification seems to be a distinct advantage when applying for the post of chancellor under ZaNu Liebour.

        We have, regrettably suffered over 12 years of amateur economics where the main achievement is 'cooking the books to make things look good' with every statistic possible being bent to its limits.

        The 400 tons of gold sold to the Chinese at a knockdown $297 an ounce would now realise some $14.5 billion as opposed to the paltry rock bottom $3.8billion it was given away for (approx figures) just one example of complete financial folly by these clowns.

    2. Bassey

      So what what are you complaining about?

      They've successfully removed the "Boom". Promise kept :)

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    This country is f*cked....

    ....that is all.

  13. Anonymous Cowherd 3

    It's lucky there's an election coming around

    Labour have done their bit by coming in to completely ruin the economy.

    Now it's time for the Conservatives to come in and fix it so that Ed Balls can bring New New Labour back in 2025 and piss the country's hard earned wealth up the wall again.

    1. Bassey

      Yeah, great

      Fix the economy but destroy the country. Were you actually around 13 years ago? Do you remember the 18 month NHS waiting lists? The non-existent trains? Class sizes averaging near 40? Bugger all nurses? Bugger all police? Under-paid teachers? Rampant crime? Schools crumbling? Shitty Victorian hospitals?

      People really do have short memories.

      15 years ago I was worrying about if I'd die before I ever got to see a GP. Today, people's biggest worry seems to be whether or not their data appears on some f-ing database. You really are taking the piss, you lot! It's a bit of extra tax for a few years. Contrary to what back-hander Dave and his public school-boy mates like to tell us, the sky really ISN'T falling down.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        People really do have short memories... @Bassey

        I remember another 15 years back when the electricity used to to go off and my parents would have to light candles to see by. That was a old fashioned labour government failing to get a grip on the situation.

        15 years ago, I never worried about seeing a GP, nor about crime. saw my GP, was never mugged.

        Schools are still crumbling, though despite "education education ....."

      2. N2

        13 years ago

        The socialists were handed a financially sound country, with everything going for it & they completely ruined it.

        Gordon Clown by his own admission "isnt very good at maths" why in Gods name was this man given the job of chancellor? but there will be no more boom and bust. Correct on one Gordy, there was no boom, but did we ever have a bust. Thats the problem with socialists, sooner or later they always run out of some one elses money.

        Yes, NHS waiting lists were long because the figures wernt fiddled, they were a lot cleaner than the shit tips they are now & you actually left hospotal alive.

        Class sizes were not 40 & teachers actually had control of their pupils rather than being ground into the dirt by the unrelenting mindless paperwork they have now, just in case OFSTED turn up tomorrow & parents diddnt treat the school like a glorified baby sitting service, issuing law suits like confetti. We had far more police who were actually respected because they diddnt piss off motorists and any one else who the could conveniently catch, unlike the police of today and crime wasnt rampant.

        Socialism very nearly ruined this country in the seventies if your memory goes back that far & I for one, never want to see a socialist government for as long as I live & will haunt the bastards when I die.

        Unfortunately the sort of society you wish to live in also failed at the end of the cold war, im sure youd feel perfectly at home in a hole in the ground, preferably somewhere near Chernobyl.

    2. N2

      2025 is fine by me

      Ill be long gone abroad by then!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Peepul, peepul! Peepul!

    This is a bit like a responsible adult picking up the tab of an errant child.

    Here it is government: a big bill.

    Here it is bankers: yeah, you can keep the lot?

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Encourage those Patent Trolls

    So having a patent is taxed at 10% but actually developing something with it is taxed at 20%.

    What's a company to do...

  16. Stef 4


    "He expects this to bring in £500m"

    Oh, well, problem solved them. An extra £500million will fix the country in minutes.

    In my job (and indeed, in many people's jobs I would guess), bonus are given as a reward for good performance. Not so in the banking fraternity it seems.

    1. David Adams

      Re: Bonuses - Devils advocate/pedant etc

      "bonus are given as a reward for good performance. Not so in the banking fraternity it seems"

      They have been performing well, the FTSE is up 30% from the bottom of the market and they have been making massive profits this year.

      By your definition, they are entitled to the huge bonuses.

      What your point should be, is that they weren't penalised sufficiently when the Banking system tanked last year.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Keep it up!

    Brilliant! Keep this up guys, I moved to Spain in the heydays of the £ being lovely and strong against the €.

    The rate this gvt are going, it's getting cheaper and cheaper for me to pop back to visit family. So it's not all bad! :p

    Here's to Nu-Lab!

  18. TeeCee Gold badge

    Typical. Bloody typical.

    So if you can afford a brand new car, the government chips in and gives you a tax break 'cos it's more efficient. Everyone else gets to pay ever increasing fuel and car tax.

    If you can afford a brand new boiler, the government chips in 'cos it's more efficient. Everyone else gets to pay ever increasing "green" taxes on their gas.

    If you can afford to install a wind turbine/solar panels/microgenerator, you can flog spare 'leccy to the grid and the government gives you a tax break on that too. Everyone else gets fuck all.

    Or, put another way, the rich get richer and everyone else can go fuck themselves.

    1. Seventh of 7th

      Accomplices after the fact.

      Indeed. Power corrupts & absolute power costs twice as much as it used to. God forbid they should pay for it themselves.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This Government...

    ...have spent the last twelve years increasing taxes (usually by stealth) and bragged about their increases in public spending. The sad fact is that they don't see the difference between increased spending and better performance. They don't see the difference between setting a target and hitting the target.

    So now they're going to curb public spending are they? Great. Over the last decade or so they've indiscriminately thrown money at almost every problem and because they had no real plan for that money it's generally been spent on the wrong things. Usually high profile things or keep-a-low-profile things like management salaries, bonuses and other perks. The end result being that the ROI has usually been at best disappointing and at worst negative. However when they cut spending are they really going to make sure the cuts will be where they are needed, or are they going to allow managers to make cuts where they are least warranted in order to keep the money for their high profile projects or their perks?

    If this government were going to stay in power for more than six months I would say this one was heading for once catastrophic failure. Fortunately both the tories and lib dems (some chance) have stated that they will have an emergency budget as soon as they can after winning the next election. Which is as close as they will probably get to saying "Brown and Darling have made the biggest fuckup of the public purse since Edward Longshanks".

  20. Gordon is not a Moron

    Anyone else see a loop-hole in the banking super tax?

    Have £25k bonus every month, which cover the first 300k, stick the rest in share options that become free of cap gains tax after 3 years. Still I suppose it makes for good banker bashing headlines in the press.

  21. Gaius


    Let's put this into perspective: The 175Bn deficit is about 15 months spending on the welfare state. I don't think anyone who pays their taxes would be too worried if it just "went away" for a while. The only person who'd suffer is Jeremy Kyle, bereft of his audience...

    1. Tony S


      The $175 Bn is for the current spending deficit. It doesn't include the rest of the National Debt run up previously.

      The saving of £12 Bn is a drop in the bucket - and I read somewhere recently (sorry can't remember the source) that the interest on the money outstanding is more than is being spent on any public service except the NHS. At the current rate of expenditure vs tax revenue, the debt will continue to grow to the point that in 2017 (if I remember correctly), the interest on the amount owed will be the single biggest government expense in any tax year.

      (and that doesn't allow for the pension black hole either)

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Hang on a minute...

    Darling wants to save money by making more services available on-line. And in order to do this he is cutting IT? Have I got my various headlines mixed up?

    I've already expressed my outrage at Mandelbrot for spending my money (whether via taxes or ISP price hikes) for a solution that won't work in order to appease a music industry that clearly likes money off the back of talented people ...

    ... and there the secret lies ... there is an election coming ... my chance to kick mandelflop out on to the street.

  23. JP19

    Same old FuLab

    They claim they can't cut public spending because it will slow down recovery and the mountain of debt we sit on will continue to grow for years.

    At the same time they increase taxes especially the tax on jobs - National Insurance which will cut private spending and slow down recovery.

    Same old FuLab all they really care about is making sure they and not you get to spend your money.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    One states it again...

    The government have stepped in to make matters right or at least put steps into position to make things right and to do so mindful of the UK public.

    If the government spent £whatever billion trying to put it right you can bet anything you wish that £whatever billion minus 50% for gross civil servant inefficiencies that it will still impact severely on UK public to the tune of some billions of GBP.

    What I increasingly find difficult to understand is the attitude or view that if the government did not spend mega-billions of GBP then the problem would somehow have been solved.

    The problem would still exist but it would be a less well managed problem and a less well managed problem of many billions of GBP is going to hurt probably more than its managed version.

    Perhaps the problem is that success of government spending is allowing some a false sense of security?

  25. John Square

    It's enough to make you weep.

    I'm not sure I can add any more. I'd like it if the cuts went further though. As it is, it feels a little like someone who owes the bank millions in mortgage arrears is declaring all their problms over because they've found a fiver in an old pair of jeans.

    One thing: punitive taxes on potentially productive parts of the economy is a fucking dumb idea.

    Be that patents or bankers*.

    I must admit, though, Darling at least looks like he's trying. Brown doesn't appear to even be in the same universe as the rest of us.

    *even though my normal position is that no-one should earn that much money except me, and possibly my wife.

  26. The Jase


    I assume that this 50p tax means this "super-fast" broadband is going to be publically owned and not flogged off within the next 15-20 years? I assume that it will have nothing to do with that private company called BT? If not we will have to set Europe on the government (again) because its an unfair advantage to BT.

  27. Billy 8

    It's not all bad news...

    "Bingo Duty" is being reduced from 22% to 20%! Silver linings and all that... ;-)

  28. Sam Liddicott


    cancel all govt IT projects and leave the EU.

    Books balanced.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    unemployment your hand Gordon!

    I have been fortunate to have 3 contracts this year, 2 for the same people... totalling 12 months.

    The other was done while i was technically working for the first (with their permission of course and on free time).

    Due to a change in the enforcement of IR35, my employer cannot extend me again beyond the 12 months completed so far.

    I am not concerned about finding more work as i am an IT contractor, but it does seem like i am being forced to change jobs despite both me and my current employer being happy for my work to carry on. Well done HMRC / Darling et all, we are really a very rich arrogant country when we can legislate to stop people paying taxes!!!

    BTW, i am using the opportunity to get the hell out of this stinking island, and taking my (not insubstantial) tax contributions with me!!!!

  30. JP19

    Boiler replacement - why a £500 boiler cost £3000

    I happen to have an old not very efficient gas boiler. Why wouldn't I want to replace it with a more efficient unit and save some money? Here is a good rant about why effing stupid safety and eco wank regulation means there is a good chance I won't break even on a boiler replacement in its lifetime, and it misses new regulation on flue location with possible large costs.

  31. MinionZero

    @leaving us to ponder where the other £4.5bn of cuts are likely to come from.

    They could save a lot just from scrapping ID Cards ... So it will be very interesting if they still cling to their need for ID cards.

    By the way, £5B is nothing. All this savings work is simply to make the £178B this year look somehow better???!

    I want to know where they are (or we are) going to find £178B!!? ... They have dropped us in an impossible hole to get out of. The politicians have run the country the same way the bankers ran their businesses. They all got rich fast, whilst arrogantly spending, gambling and wasting everyones money, and yet now they expect the public to pay for it all.

    It shows they are basically a bunch of arrogant crooks, but as politicians control the law, then they get to choose what they consider illegal, so they won't make laws to punish irresponsible arrogant politicians.

    None of the people responsible should be allowed to stay rich from virtually bankrupting Britain. They have already robbed us all blind. Yet we are all the ones who will have to suffer the punishment of repaying it all for years. :(

    1. Mike Richards


      'I want to know where they are (or we are) going to find £178B!!? '

      Well, I really shouldn't tell you, but I've caught a glimpse of the next Labour manifesto; and; (promise you won't tell anyone now), New Labour are essentially going to revolutionise economics. The Treasury has recently had a lovely email from a Mrs. Abacha of Acacia Avenue, Lagos: 'I know this might come to you as a surprise, but please do accept it in good faith and treat as a matter of urgency with utmost confidentiality. I have a business proposition for you involving the sum of $ONE TRILLIONS DOLLARS!!!!'

      If Labour win the next election, the very lovely Hazel Blears will be on the next plane to West Africa carrying a briefcase containing the Crown Jewels which will be needed for security or something.

      There's also something about us each taking in one another's washing as a top-down-grass-roots-generational-wealth-generation-incentivisation-opportunity-initiative type thingy.

      Britain - where the economy's like Iceland's - only without the fish.

  32. Mike Richards

    UK vs. France and Germany

    The UK's economy is about the same size as France's; a little smaller than Germany's. It's hard to directly compare taxes but levels across business and personal taxation are pretty much in the same ballpark.

    If you go to either of those countries, public services work, the education systems aren't in permanent crisis, the roads aren't crumbling and you can pretty much guarantee your train or bus will turn up.

    So what are they doing right that Britain isn't?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They use the thing in their heads

      called brains.

      Most likely that's it

      Granted, not all's perfect there either, but yes, things do work over there.

    2. MarcF

      If you ask me...

      What France are doing right: Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, First Lady

      What we are doing wrong: Katie Price, still on TV

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh look, a title!

    If I refuse to pay that 50p rip-off, will they cut me off from the net?

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    us vs France and Germany

    @mike richards

    >>>So what are they doing right that Britain isn't?

    And the trains and buses are more frequent and cheaper.

    Well for a start the bloody trains and buses don't leak money to the fat shareholders who own the businesses that can't fail to make money in a system where you pretty much have to be to have your franchise taken away from you.

    I don't even travel by train very much now a days and I'm really really angry about our public transport, every time I see a fu**ing advert telling me to drive less or take the train, I want to shout at them, "I would if I could, but they are expensive and rubbish, and I have to have a car to get to work".

    As for schools and health, every where you go you will find people moaning, just check out the health tax in Germany, it would make your pips squeak.

    Just remember how much you wanted them when super rich "Dave Boy Tory" rides into town with his posse, in their Limos, nobody (well not many) are voting for them, they will vote against the others.

    It will not get any better, any more than it did when Maggie came into power, I guess you young one's don't remember inflation so high that goods went up in price weekly, but I do, and

    Dave-boy rich kid will be going on about the trickle down effect, the only thing that will trickle down will be warm, wet and smell of processed vintage port.

    So for all you wealthy IT people it will be ok for the less well off you will smell of Piss.

    Paris 'cos like either major party she will fuck you and run away with the money.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    bank tax

    So the bankers are still going to get their bonuses, but they won't have to pay the extra tax on them, the bank will....and who owns the bank?

    As windfall taxes go this is pretty stupid to say the least, all it does is increase the cost of the bonuses to the banks without impacting the people earning the bonuses at all. So now RBS will be paying out 1.5bn in bonuses plus 50% tax on the portion over 25k which means less value in the business for shareholders. Though the 50% goes to the Treasury who gave them the money in the first place as a bailout, it's all just moving buckets around.

    Maybe they had a joke competition in the Treasury on what's the stupidest way to tax bank bonuses and someone mistook it for a policy document.

  36. Martin 6 Silver badge

    @Anyone else see a loop-hole in the banking super tax?

    Already happened in the USA.

    The fed put a limit on the amount of cash bonuses so it wouldn't look bad getting $M handouts while being banks were being bailed out.

    So they all got their bonuses paid in shares, priced at the bottom of the crash - and now worth 50-100% more than the cash would have been.

    The result is that this is the highest bonus year on Wall st ever !

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Everyone apart from Labour

    could secede and form a new Nation. Then the debt is with Labour as it should be.

    We just create a new currency, buy it with the pound, we could call it Sterling, then the labour lot is left with the pound and the debt. Simple.

    I have a news letter, for those who find these ideas intriguing and wish to subscribe.

  38. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Down


    "I remember another 15 years back when the electricity used to to go off and my parents would have to light candles to see by"

    Wow that sounds really bad. Truly heart rending stuff. What country were you in at the time?

    I ask because 15 years ago in the UK (1994) they were in the middle of a Conservative goernvment lead (IIRC) by John Major. No power cuts but plenty of cash for questions. The sort of power cuts you appear to be describing were a feature of the miners strike in 1974. Still only 20 years difference

    This sort of anti-nostalgic BS does not really seem too helpful to me. Reg readers have enough reasons to want them out.

  39. Mark 65


    "Darling claimed government action had already reduced the impact of the recession on British families."

    Is that before or after every taxpayer ended up effectively with a GBP 30k debt?

  40. Tony Paulazzo

    There is one way...

    Eat the rich, tell the rest of the world to FOAD, go back to an agrarian lifestyle but with wind and sun power for heat and lighting - destroy all televisions and use barter rather than money. Elect me as the king for I would be a wise and just king and...

    Or make greed illegal.

    Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely!

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There is another way

    Get the IT'ers to slow down or even switch off some of the bankers systems which will force them back to old fashioned paper based systems. At least we'd have some sort of audit trail to see who was doing what.

    Only joking.

  42. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    Darling promises years of pain.

    But only *after* you re-elect us and we've given you some goodies to encourage people to vote for us first.

    I think early deep pain might be better than long, drawn out pain.

  43. Michael Dunn

    Oh, boy!

    He said investment in technology and bio-tech industries would help the recovery and avoid a lost generation of unemployed young people.

    So a whole generation of illiterate and innumerate school leavers will be able to take up posts as molecular biologists, C++ programmers, network engineers? Who's he trying to kid?

    Yeah, I've got a copy of the human genome printout in the pocket - but I can read it.

  44. Michael Dunn

    Language skills

    Personally I am learning Dutch and German!

    You'll probably find Mandarin more useful.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Michelle Knight wrote:

    ... and there the secret lies ... there is an election coming ... my chance to kick mandelflop out on to the street.

    Won't work, Michelle, Mandelbrot isn't up for election, and has let it be known he'd work for the Tories.

    Why wasn't he prosecuted when he misrepresented his financial position on a mortgage application? ASny Joe soap would have been, but this is "The Party of the People", as they used to say. Obviously he has the goods on someone. I just wonder who(m)?

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