Tory controlled Barnet council offer a glimpse into the future gutting of the welfare state likely to take place after the next election when the Conservatives will almost certainly win power;
A leading Conservative council is using the business model of budget airlines, Ryanair and easyJet, to inspire a radical reform of public service provision which is being seen as a blueprint for Tory government.
The practices of the no-frills airlines, who charge customers extra for services which were once considered part of the standard fare, are being emulated by the London borough of Barnet as it embarks on “a relentless drive for efficiency”. A spokesman for the council has unofficially dubbed the project “EasyCouncil”.
The Institute of Fiscal Studies estimates the next government will cut spending on public services by 2.3% a year from 2011. It will be the tightest spending period since 1977 and Barnet expects its overall funding could be reduced by as much as 15% in the coming years. The Labour opposition warned the strategy would result in a less fair society. “The examples of Ryanair and easyJet send the message that the council is there to do the barest minimum at the lowest cost and if you want anything else, you will have to pay extra,” said Alison Moore, the Labour group leader. “That will not promote an equitable society or open up opportunity more widely. – guardian.co.uk
Cuts in public spending during a downturn? We all know how that should pan out as government remains one of the few drivers in demand while private orgs are counting their losses. We also know it will be the poorer sections of society who will pay for the economic downturn, created by those who will continue to enjoy high living standards and would rather not pay towards a more equitable society (which in the medium to long term is in their best interest).
That’s liberal economics and the religion of ‘market forces’ for you.