Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Fiscal Nimbyism

It's becoming evident that the public response to the proposed cuts in public expenditure is what is called 'Fiscal Nimbyism': I'm in favour of cuts, provided they don't affect me. It is also reminiscent of an old joke about the British: they want Swedish public services and American taxes.

Whilst one can understand the electoral pressures that lead the National Health Service to be treated as a sacred cow, it is questionable whether it is sensible to fence off a fifth of the budget in this way. Of course, there will be cuts in the NHS: the so-called 'efficiency savings' will see to that.

But isn't it time to have a more fundamental debate about how we deliver health care that gets beyond complaining about the number of administrators?


Anonymous said...


I agree. If there is to be the comprehensive review of public expenditure that the current fiscal situation requires then everything should be on the table. Ringfencing any government department is foolish. We need to have a proper debate about the level of free health care that the country can afford, not just today but moving into the future. Just as we need to have a debate about the development budget, including a rigorous assessment of how effective the Department for International Development has been over the last thirteen years.

Wyn Grant said...

It appears that getting on for half of the development budget goes to various international organisations such as the FAO in Rome. The International Development Secretary is reviewing whether these sums offer value for money.