Letter: Treasury priorities in making spending cuts

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Sir: David Lister is right to question the priorities of a Treasury which needs to cut pounds 10bn off its pounds 50bn PSBR deficit (report, 15 June) but spends undue time and effort imposing cuts of pounds 5m on clients such as the Arts Council. Others suffer in the same way, namely the BBC World Service, also threatened with a pounds 5m cut from 1994.

Everyone knows that such cuts do real, measurable, predictable and avoidable damage to the institutions concerned. Everyone knows that footling cuts of pounds 5m are irrelevant to the Treasury's search for the big cuts. They are in any case usually 'lost in the roundings' in Treasury calculations, so why persist in them? A sense of priorities, driven by a review of options which the Treasury always enjoins others to consider before taking any decision, would consider as option one: 'Do nothing.' In these cases it would mean, leave well alone.

Yours sincerely,


President, Wolfson College