Missed opportunities in Rishi Sunak’s spending review | Economic policy
If the chancellor really wants to balance the books (Rishi Sunak says Covid economic emergency has only just begun, 25 November), he could stop shelling out money to consultants for doing (badly) the jobs that the government itself should do. He could halt funding of environmentally damaging vanity projects like HS2. Then he could stop subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, which destroy any prospect of meeting zero-carbon targets. In the longer term, we could follow the French example and make big tech companies pay their fair share of tax. But it’s so much easier to cut overseas aid and screw the public servants who have kept the country running while the government has been busy ladling out money to its friends.
• When Rishi Sunak said that ideology doesn’t work (Editorial, 25 November), he was acknowledging that Tory economic ideology doesn’t work. He has almost daily added to the stimulus funding that looks modelled on Rooseveltian New Dealism. That did work – because jobs were created by government at the same time as the stimulus was provided. Now is the time to create a National Care Service by aligning and converting the benefits system with training into an expanded and fairly paid care workforce similar to the US Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s.
Sue Rabbitt Roff
• The chancellor’s failure to mention Brexit in his spending review shows that shifting the blame for the ensuing damage has begun: Covid first, and then the EU. Most alarming is the fact that a no-deal Brexit, which will do the most harm to the economy, is also the outcome that will do the least harm to the government. The economic hardships of Brexit will then be blamed on the EU’s intransigence.
• Last Friday the prime minister called on the G20 nations to stick to their commitment to do “whatever it takes to overcome the pandemic and protect lives and livelihoods” and also to make “bold pledges” to protect the planet. On Wednesday his government announced that expenditure on international aid would be cut from 0.7% to 0.5% of