Gordo is doing his last Pre-Budget Report today, and the spending pre-brief is that he'll be pumping vast new lakes of money into education.
There's a useful summary of his overall record here, but just focusing on spending, key points to watch out for are:
- Education- since 1996-97 Brown has already increased spending by a massive 50% in real terms, or 1% of GDP. The results have been dismal. Forget those rigged exam tables: 23% of Britain's secondary schools are failing, and a million kids are being educated in substandard schools. We estimate that the direct cost of this failure is £9bn (eg see this blog)- and that's ignoring the broader economic costs of an uneducated workforce. The problem is not lack of money- it's lack of choice and competition.
- Training and skills- taxpayers already spend £9bn pa on the state skills industry, yet employers think it's so useless they spend another £20bn pa of their own money on providing training they can direct (see this blog and this). In reality of course, much of the £9bn is simply trying to repair the grotesque damage inflicted by state schools that have failed to ensure everyone masters the 3Rs
- Gershon "efficiency" programme- sadly Gordo has spoiled this joke by releasing it early (see here), but he'll repeat the ludicrous claim to be two-thirds the way to his final cuts target (eg 55,000 civil service posts gone- despite the fact that ONS stats only show a net reduction of 11,000). Should still be worth a small titter.
And what will he have to say about the extra funds needed to build more prisons and shore up the pants Home Office? Tricky, since he already announced their budget was to be frozen post-2008.
This morning on R4 Today he was interviewed following an open letter composed and read by campaigning pensioner Albert Venison of the Devon Pensioners' Action Forum. Albert let him have it with both barrels about how he's made many pensioners poorer and more dependent on state hand-outs etc.
Unfortunately, instead of letting D Day vet Albert have a go at Gordo directly, Mr Naughty intermediated himself to ask the follow-up questions. And he was entirely unable/unwilling to land any punches on slithery Brown.
Let's hope Dave does a better job at lunchtime.