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On October 20 2010, the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Finance Secretary) of the United Kingdom outlined the government budget in a speech in Parliament. He dwelled on mainly two principles of economics: the causal relationship between our choices today and their consequences years from today and the fact that any choices we make involve opportunity costs. The speech was reported most accurately by The Economist, a premier newspaper published in the United Kingdom.
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Mr. George Osborne's main thrust was budget cut of $137billion over the next four years. He explained in his speech the need to accumulate "savings" in the reduction of welfare and defense budgets. Mr. Osborne however reduced cuts in the defense budget because that would leave the UK unable to assert herself on the global scene were huge cuts to limit its capability to project power. Clearly, the benefit of such a choice lies in the future.
Mr. Osborne outlined what he called 'doing more with less'. However, the opportunity cost in all these cuts announced remain in the areas of implementing preventive justice due to the low budget allocated the Ministry of Justice, for instance.
Through the Chancellor's speech, we learn of a Britain that seeks a leaner government, ready to shed off the burden placed on it when it committed itself to a bloated civil service and a costly welfare system considered a safety net for endowed pensioners in the previous government. However, the government's austerity measures may not wait for long without bringing out their consequences in the open. The opportunity cost here is almost one million civil servants who will be redundant as a direct result.
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The United Kingdom has made hard and expensive choices in slashing government budgetary allocations in the areas of welfare, defense and in the civil service. The action by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. George Osborne has brought into the open the consequences as well as the opportunity cost. Cutting the coat according to your size is alright, but it has its drawbacks, as the Chancellor outlined in his speech.