Frank Field MP
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Focus on outputs not inputs

One almost sympathises with the Prime Minister. No sooner had he started to promise cuts and cuts and cuts again than the difficulties the Government is going to experience - unless they face the issue head on - became glaringly obvious.

The Government is naturally enough committed to cutting waste and the Prime Minster promised to cut unnecessary programmes.

I can't believe I'm different from the average voter. If there are unnecessary programmes what the hell are we doing providing them?

The same is true when his faithful colleague Ed Balls wades into the debate. If there is £2 billion to be saved from cutting waste, again, why hasn't that already been implemented? It shows a pretty scant disregard for tax payers' money, many of whom in my constituency earn less than one ninth of his salary and still manage to raise two children.

If the Government is not going to drown in the stream of new rhetoric flowing over our political debate it better cut to the chase quickly.

The Government badly needs to say what our essential goals as a party are and be prepared to disengage from other objectives. Otherwise we will get pulled down into a debate that demands cuts across the board.

In this way, the cuts agenda allows a radical Government to set new objectives, while disengaging from some of its current activities.

The debate urgently needs to focus on the outcomes of taking money from taxpayers to achieve public good. Broughton Hall in Merseyside is a model of how the new politics must operate.

The school has benefited from Building Schools for the Future, but it has also revolutionised its results. If we take out the handful of young women who ceased to attend the school, every pupil barring one achieved 5 GCSEs - with over 60% of them including English and maths. Now look at the schools in your area, what were their results like?

Broughton Hall is the objective for reforming the public sector. Budgets should be frozen now and those public sector workers with the ability should be encouraged to gain greater and greater outputs with what will in fact be falling real budgets.

Broughton Hall has shown the way. The Government desperately needs to get on to this attack rather than literally offering to take an axe to waste. That is the plea I made in the House of Commons.

The next few weeks are crucial in deciding how Labour holds on to its rump vote. It will not do so by obfuscating. It needs to show just how radical a cuts programme can be.
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