Opinion: It’s time for Osborne to slow down cuts

Grant Prior 5 years ago
Share

Politicians hate U-turns. But history tells us they aren’t right even half the time so what’s wrong with changing your mind every once in a while?

george_osborne_aga_1014479c

And surely the time has come for at least a slight rethink over the spending cuts strategy in the light of recent grim figures for the economy.

All sectors seem to be wobbling, with construction the hardest hit of all according to the Government’s own numbers.

George Osborne’s great hope was that the private sector would pick up the slack as public spending was scaled back.

That seemed to be achievable in the early days of the coalition.

But the trend has run out of steam just as the cuts programme is starting to hit home properly.

Analysis of OJEU notices over recent weeks shows public work slowing to a trickle while the only booming area seems to be the highly specialised central London market.

The Chancellor can’t risk a run in the bond markets with a total about turn on his economic policies.

But Osborne can certainly slow things down to give contractors an option if private work is not coming through quick enough.

Suicide bidding and tender lists crammed with competing contractors are sure signs of too many firms chasing too little work.

And there is no light at the end of the tunnel if public work comes to a complete standstill and private clients are too worried about the economy to start new projects.

Most major contractors will be able to tough it out thanks to highly diversified operations here and abroad.

The real victims will be smaller, regional contractors and trade contractors who will be forced to lay off workers or close completely.

That again is a false economy for the country as workers who could be building a better UK are forced to draw the dole.

Osborne doesn’t have to admit his strategy is wrong.

Just that the timing is not 100% right and loosening the reins a little now could save an entire sector of the economy.

Latest news

Balfour resurrects Kilpatrick name for new M&E arm

New £300m revenue M&E business formed from merger of engineering services into engineering construction operation
2 hours ago

Great Ormond Street starts talks for £190m phase 4

Trust aims to appoint main contractor and design team in the Spring
7 hours ago

Galliford Try kicks-off London regen zone with £175m project

First major scheme in capital's Old Oak Common zone to start in the New Year
10 hours ago

Speedy offloads large plant fleet for £14m

Ardent Hire snaps up troubled firm's excavator, dumper and road roller fleet
11 hours ago

McAlpine wins £16m HQ for world’s biggest telescope

Work to start in December at University of Manchester’s Jodrell Bank site
11 hours ago

Three in race for £33m Strathclyde Uni sports and health complex

Balfour, BAM and Morgan Sindall in hunt for University's next Glasgow building project
17 hours ago

Essential Living goes modular for 23-storey PRS tower

Fast-tracked Creekside Wharf will be one of the country's tallest modular buildings
1 day ago

CITB warns apprenticeship levy to cut funding by 30%

Industry training board warns firms will be deterred from taking on apprentices
10 hours ago

Brickbats fly over looming brick shortage fears

Row kicks off after estate agents blame house price rises on lack of brick supply
17 hours ago

Betting Spy: Jeremy Corbyn can make us all money

Tories look a good thing at evens to win a majority at the next election
20 hours ago

Bam Mott JV green light for £36m Hull flood defences

Bam Nuttall/Mott MacDonald JV to shore up defences along a 7.5km stretch of the river
1 day ago

Government to miss new homes target by over 250,000

The Treasury is rumoured to be finalising plans for a fresh housing stimulus
1 day ago

Kier starts £48m Cambridge tech firm HQ expansion

ARM HQ expansion at Peterhouse Technology Park gets underway
1 day ago

Tube maintenance taken away from Amey in bid to save £80m

Transport for London to take work back in-house on Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines
2 days ago

Henry Boot bullish about post Brexit market

Developer and contractor sees no wobble in future work pipelines
1 day ago

Family Mosaic picks 17 firms for £500m build plan

Ardmore, Bouygues, Galliford Try and Willmott Dixon among preferred list
1 day ago

Immigration officers raid Liverpool Baltic Village site

Contractor W.I.S.E United faces fine of £20,000 for each worker if correct checks not carried out
1 day ago

Plans lodged for £150m Manchester PRS scheme

Work will start in Spring 2018, if planning is granted
1 day ago

Brookfield submits plan for 37-storey London city tower

Building work could start in summer 2018 after six-month demolition phase
2 days ago

Chinese cladding contractor facing HSE asbestos probe

Yuanda UK under spotlight over imported products
2 days ago

Carillion profit soars to £84m from support services

Blacklisting compensation to cost Carillion £10.5m
2 days ago

Just one week left to vote for best in construction

More than 10,000 votes in already for Enquirer awards: Book your places now
2 days ago

Costain profits dented by further losses on waste PFI

£11.4m hit on completing Manchester waste PFI plunges natural resources division into loss again
2 days ago

Robertson starts work on £333m Aberdeen conference centre

Green light for development by Henry Boot and Aberdeen City Council
2 days ago

Interserve wins £17m York University project

Piazza learning centre will be built on University's east campus
2 days ago

Revenue swoops on tax dodging tradesmen

Operation Dobbin catches 17 fraudsters to help level playing field for honest workers
2 days ago

Lendlease wins £200m contract to build Versace tower

50-storey luxury scheme designed in partnership with famous fashion house
3 days ago

BAM Construct nearly doubles profit to £13m

Mainstream building contracting business margin edges up to 0.6%
3 days ago

Balfour wins £42m London Nine Elms student tower

33-floor student tower kick-starts wider Vauxhall Square scheme
4 days ago

United Living looking for new subbies and suppliers

Meet the Buyer event in Northampton next week: Register now
3 days ago

Contractor services