I don't usually agree with Op-Ed pieces in the Daily Telegraph.
This morning, however, there is a very good piece from Philip Johnston.
He points out that the repeated promises -over decades- from politicians of all stripes to make "efficiency savings" are actually impossible to deliver without a radical reform of the system of public expenditure.
The Civil Service is only interested in controlling the costs of expenditure in the current system. They are not interested in whether the system should be changed or even whether much of what government is prescribing is actually necessary at all.
What today's Pre-Budget report is going to show is that the British cupboard- apart from some mouldy crumbs of envy taxes- is totally empty. Unless we tackle the systemic costs of the public sector we are going to face even more rapid economic decline.
Over the long term, the burden of sustaining an extraordinary wasteful state sector is going to fall on a declining number of increasingly impoverished private pension holders. There is no option: in the 19th century, at the height of the British Empire, the state sector represented 10% of GDP, after the First World War it had grown to 20%. After the Second War, it was close to half. In the past year it has grown by 11% to just a shade under 60%, but that does not include a £500 billion unfunded state pension liability. The size of the British public sector is now quite close to that of a Communist state such as East Germany.
It is not sustainable.
We are reaching the end of the road.