Cabinet ministers have been ordered by the Treasury to plan for unprecedented cuts of 40% in their departmental budgets as the coalition widens the scope of its four-year austerity drive.Let us remember that this is all in the service of a complete fantasy: the idea that the invisible bond vigilantes will come in and punish the Sterling unless they try to fix budget issues that may hit 30 years from now IN THE MIDDLE OF A DEPRESSION.
The eye-watering demand from the chief secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, was sent this weekend to cabinet colleagues ahead of a week in which ministers will step up emergency cost-cutting across the public sector.
The only departments not included in the Treasury trawl will be health and international development, which have been "ringfenced" for the current parliament. Education and defence will also escape lightly. Alexander has told the education secretary, Michael Gove, and the defence secretary, Liam Fox, to plan for two scenarios – cuts to budgets of 10% at best and 20% at worst over four years. All other departments – including the Home Office, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Transport – have been ordered to produce plans showing the impact of cuts of 25%, and at worst 40%.
(But, of course, Defense will remain untouched. Since that's just how it works.)
The rich will become richer, and the poor will become desperate. Hell, they'll become homeless:
Ministers were also warned last night that the number of people classed as homeless in Britain could more than double because of "unfair" benefit cuts. The National Housing Federation, the body representing England's 1,200 not-for-profit housing associations, predicts that impending cuts to housing benefit will put a further 200,000 people at grave risk of homelessness and lead to a concentration of social problems in the most deprived areas of the country. Currently 140,000 people are classified as homeless in Britain.Great. It's Dickensian England with iPads. Everything old is (horribly) new again.