Thursday, July 15, 2010

Budget cut of 25% will 'deny justice', warns Crown Prosecution Service.

The Crown Prosecution Service have told the attorney general's office that a cut of 25% to it's budget will "damage frontline services" and "delay and possibly deny justice".

That should simply go without saying. The fact that Osborne plucked the figure of 25% out of his ass is clear. Quite how the Crown Prosecution Service or the courts are supposed to function having lost a quarter of their revenue is something which Osborne appears to not have even considered.

The CPS also says the "indicative" 40% reduction the chancellor, George Osborne, is demanding of every Whitehall department would mean "a fundamental change in the government policy on prosecution of criminal offences" if the CPS were not to be in breach of its statutory obligations.The document gives the first indication from any Whitehall department of the impact of the 25% and 40% indicative cuts in budgets.

The "restricted: management" document is a draft submission on the 2010 spending review from the CPS for discussion with the attorney general, Dominic Grieve, last Thursday. The formal submission is due to be delivered to the Treasury on Friday , with negotiations due to continue over the summer and a final settlement to be reached in October covering the next three years.

The document reveals that every Whitehall department is being asked a set list of Treasury questions aimed at determining whether an "activity" is essential to government priorities: can it be targeted to those most in need; can it be provided by a "non-state provider"; and if so, can it be done on a payment-by-results basis?

Once again we see that the Tories - and they are shamefully being assisted in this nonsense by Clegg's Liberal Democrats - are seeking to use the deficit as an excuse to cut back the state and have state functions taken over by private enterprise. That's got nothing to do with budget deficits and everything to do with Tory ideology.

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, said he feared the CPS's plans were just a snapshot of what was currently happening across Whitehall. "Plans are being drawn up with no thought for the devastating effects on public services," he said. "Our public prosecution service is a crucial part of the justice system, and cuts on this scale, coupled with plans to close more than 100 magistrates courts, make it virtually impossible for the staff that remain to adequately deal with workloads and prosecute cases effectively."

The draft submission from the CPS says that a "business transformation" programme will lead to job cuts of 1,820, 22% of the total CPS staff, over the next four years.

The Tories used to pride themselves as the party of Law and Order but Osborne's cuts will make processing criminals through the courts harder than ever to achieve.
The document says: "To move beyond the forecast cost reduction will damage the delivery of frontline services, delay and possibly deny justice and increase inefficiency and costs throughout the criminal justice system." It adds that the request for a "structured cost reduction" of 40% agreed by the cabinet only a fortnight ago would mean a further reduction in staff numbers of around 1,300 at an additional cost of £70m, which would also need full Treasury funding.
The figures Osborne is quoting were always unrealistic. I mean, are we seriously arguing that ALL Whitehall departments can find 25% waste in their services and cut them without cutting the quality of the service they provide? That has always struck me as ludicrous.

Osborne didn't deliver a budget, he delivered us a piece of far right wing ideology.

The Crown Prosecution Service are only the first to spell out what Osborne's plans would really mean were they ever to be put into effect.

In reply to the set list of Treasury questions, the CPS says local bodies could take over some of the CPS's role but this would put delivery standards at significant risk, and potentially generate inconsistency in charging decisions, introducing "postcode justice".

It says that some activities, such as witness care, could be undertaken by a "non-state provider", but the security risks would outweigh any small financial gain.

As I say, this isn't really about financial gain, it's about privatising whatever can be privatised. All in the name of deficit reduction. But, go back to Thatcher, and you will see that this is what the Tories always do, deficit or no deficit.

Click here for full article.


daveawayfromhome said...

America has been in the grip of privitization fever for a couple of decades and I can tell you right now, it does not save a single dime. It merely trades government "waste" for private profit, transferring money from the people who do the work (and do it for less in the private sector) to the management and shareholders. It is a scam of the highest order.

Kel said...

We saw all this during the days of Reagan and Thatcher, Dave.

The Tories never learn from their mistakes. They're ideologues.