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Suffering, but more expected
10:31am Wednesday 20th March 2013 in Talking Business
AS if the public sector hasn’t suffered enough cuts under this Government, the Chancellor is expected to use today’s Budget to further squeeze public sector pay and spending.
Ministers were told this week to find an extra £2.5bn of savings from their departmental budgets to fund capital projects designed to deliver growth. Health, schools, overseas aid and HM Revenue and Customs were the only areas left untouched by the latest round of cuts.
No one can accuse George Osborne of being afraid of scaling back spending, but his efforts to jump start the economy have been pitiful. With only a couple of years until the coalition faces the electorate, today’s budget is one of the last chances for Mr Osborne to show that he can do more than strike a red pen through a balance sheet.
BOOKMAKER Ladbrokes is offering odds on which buzz words Mr Osborne will use during today’s Budget speech. A stingy evens is on offer for anyone fancying a flutter on “stimulus” or “budget for growth” making an appearance.
Those seeking more generous payouts may fancy a few quid on him uttering the phrases “we’re in this together” (3-1), “green shoots” (6-1) or the highly unlikely “no Plan B” (16-1). You can also get 16-1 on Ken Clarke falling asleep during the speech and Business Secretary Vince Cable being caught shaking his head in disagreement is priced at 20-1.
Mr Osborne still being Chancellor at the next election is at 4-11. Those odds could shorten significantly if he fails to impress this afternoon.
NEWS that a division of Samsung has snapped up famous Darlington engineering firm Whessoe Projects came as a relief to staff at the firm, which has suffered a dip in recent years.
The business, which designs and makes storage tanks for the energy industry, can trace its roots to 1790. Its chances of surviving for many years to come have been boosted by the deal that will see the firm triple its workforce to more than 150 over the next five years.
Samsung C&C (Construction and Trading) is delighted to have bought a piece of North-East industrial. Steve Kim, who has become Whessoe’s new chief executive, said the firm’s proud heritage had been a key reason behind the deal. We’ll be watching with interest to see if Samsung lives up to its promise to invest millions and take Whessoe forward. I wish them well.
CONGRATULATIONS to my erstwhile colleague Owen McAteer and the team at Darlington Borough Council for winning national acclaim at an awards ceremony last week. Their work on the Foundation for Jobs Campaign, which has boosted job opportunities for young people across the borough, took the Local Economic Partnership Award at the annual Local Government Chronicle Awards.
Interesting to see that despite austere times for local authorities, organisers could find enough cash to hire a room at the Grosvenor House Hotel on London’s Park Lane – where a starter can set you back up to £30 – and pay BBC TV presenter Alexander Armstrong to host. So, there is money in the public sector after all.