Devon and Cornwall will be among the worst hit counties in England by Wednesday’s comprehensive spending review according to today’s Financial Times.
This confirms something some of us have been saying for some time, that because of our large elderly population, relatively low wages and higher than average proportion of public sector jobs the Westcountry will be hit hard by the ConLib Government’s policies.
The elderly tend to use public services like the NHS and social care more, so are likely to be more affected by cuts to these services. Also, people on low incomes depend on Government support in the form of tax credits or pension credit so will be hit more by cuts to the welfare budget.
At the same time, with the Government’s spin machine going into overdrive in the last few days – briefing out that schools spending will be protected as well as the NHS and cuts in defence less severe than expected, I wonder whether the Government’s bloodcurdling warnings of the last few months have been some massive softening up exercise, so that when the numbers are announced, they won’t be as ghastly as everyone’s expecting. If they protect more areas, they are either going to hit the unprotected departments even harder or admit that Labour has been right all along and the speed and degree of deficit reduction is not just unnecessary, but potentially damaging.