knee jerk efficiencies

images0H4MJ1R5The news from yesterday that some £11Bn of efficiencies in MOD back office costs have been identified is the sort of announcement which deserves a fanfare. This is a significant sum and it would make a big dent in the funding of many of the public services that have been starved of funds in recent years. It comes just as we are about to hear from George Osborne on the spending review which we have been told will be a hard settlement. The sort of services that could benefit from this £11Bn would be mental health provision, services that meet the needs of homeless men and women, resources to address the needs of men and women who end up in the criminal justice system and get trapped into a cycle of behaviour that they find hard to break out of. The money could also be used to help fund affordable housing. The reason for suggesting these examples is that they are all services that impact on a few of the men and women who leave the armed forces and for one reason or another lack the capacity or resources to participate fully in society. However at the same time as the Government announced it had found such efficiencies after five years of looking, it announced it wants to spend an additional £12Bn of our money on Military Hardware and personnel including reinstating some of the resources that were jettisoned in the Strategic Defence and Security Review in 2010. Most other organisations faced with this sort of costly U turn would be embarrassed and they would also explain why they had made such a change. The fact that the savings will all be swallowed up on expanding the services and none will be available to help those whose lives have been damaged as a result of their own selfless actions is particularly sad in a nation whose Prime Minister has just laid poppies at the Cenotaph alongside veterans from previous military campaigns. Let us hope that the reports that he has already committed us to additional action in Syria and simply needs Parliament to rubber stamp his decision are untrue. The sum needed to sustain a war in Syria could make £11Bn seem modest in 5 years time.


About ianchisnall

I have a passion to see public policy made accessible everyone who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as in policies on health services and strategic planning.
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