So there will be 490,000 job losses in the public sector, then. That will always make headlines, especially when we know about it because a minister left his copy of the CSR open and it was photographed, as Danny Alexander did.
It is a large number but unfortunately no more than was expected; it accounts for about 8% of public sector employment.
We are now living in what the governor of the Bank of England calls Sober times (Saving, Orderly Budgets and Equitable Rebalancing), so the effects of the hangover could have been worse. For example, those in transport will be especially pleased, at least in the short to medium term, as capital spending on transport increases by 5% over the next two years.
However, many contractors will be waiting for the transport minister’s list of projects that will go ahead, which should be announced next week – especially given that many of the projects the chancellor listed were already onsite.
Final confirmation was given to the £16bn Crossrail project although you won’t be surprised to hear that it will finish in 2019/20 rather than 2017 as design changes and cost savings are implemented.
My big call prior to the spending review was that health capital spending would fall despite the government stating many times previously that spending on the NHS and international development would be ringfenced from cuts.
This was always unlikely in my opinion given that we have reached the end of a cycle of new hospitals and clinics, and of a period in which investment in health increased threefold in 14 years.
Health capital spending is going to fall from £5.4bn in 2009/10 to £4.4bn in 2011/12, a 19% cut in just two years. As for housing, I’ll leave that to Brian Green to break the bad news to you about that.