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The unintended consequences of ring-fencing

George Osbourne and his colleagues haven't given this spending review enough thought

By Tony Dolphin  

(© arbo)

It would seem reasonable to expect any government that was implementing a substantial restructuring of public services to do so only after a major in-depth review, asking fundamental questions about the economic and social priorities of the time. Yet, while today’s announcement of public spending plans for 2015-16 is another step in the biggest restructuring of the UK’s public sector since the 1940s, no such review has taken place.

The result is a somewhat arbitrary reallocation of…

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