£7bn 363 colleges 4.2m learners 263,257 staff

Spend to Save

I got off the train at Brentwood, and set off into the gloom to the very far end of the car park. It was only when I swung my bag from one hand to the other to get my car keys out, that I realised I was lugging a carrier bag of plants from the Caledonian Road  market  and not my suitcase which was where I had left it, in the overhead rack., and disappearing off to Southend-on-Sea. Where it disappeared.

I didn’t lose much of any great value. However, my toilet bag had a pair of scissors which always seemed just right the right shape for my toes, and the family pair which I will have to use now are far too fiddly. Other stuff is proving remarkably difficult to replace – my old razor isn’t made any more, so I bought a wind-up rechargeable one which is OK, but!

No doubt I will get used to the replacements, and my toe nails and sideburns will be as well-groomed as they were before, or even better, but it isn’t until things are gone that you realise their value.

This week has seen a cluster of stories about organisations having to face up to the possibility that they may have to leave suitcases of money on the government’s train as it speeds off towards Deficit-on-Sea

Monday. Universities were first off the mark, with a warning from the Russell Group that reducing their budget by 12.5% from £7.2bn to £6.3bn would be very damaging, and that 30 HE institutions could disappear.

Tuesday saw the Royal United Services Institute think tank Future Defence Review paper, which suggested that the numbers of armed forces personnel would shrink by 20% by 2016 as budget cuts started to work through the MoD.

Thursday and the Charity Finance Directors Group looked at the effect on the Third Sector , where £11bn of their £33bn  income comes from a variety of Government departments, either through contracted work or grants. The Group looked closely at the effects of the general 3% budget tightening forecast already in the 09 Budget, and also at the near future, concentrating on the impact of protecting NHS spending on non-NHS spending.

Not a lot from education – although a commercial  IT provider’s “survey” of the type beloved of morning television “showed” 80% of schools facing real IT budget cuts, and “looking at outsourcing”

Another straw in the wind is the Northern Ireland domestic budget has now been set [ hugely complicated by a problem of non-introduction of water charges ] with cuts of £400m, but with a £26m “Invest to Save Fund” to help departments with the upfront costs required to make savings.

How much should we put into a college’s “Spend to Save” even at this stage of the financial year?
And what would we spend it on?
What will we put in the financial suitcase that we will have to leave on the train to Deficit-on-Sea?


January 15, 2010 - Posted by | austerity funding | , ,

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