Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Business
  2. Economics
19 October 2010updated 27 Sep 2015 2:11am

Danny Alexander accidentally reveals CSR

Photograph of CSR briefing reveals that public-sector workers will be asked to reduce hours to save

By Samira Shackle

Danny Alexander has been caught out by an expert paparazzo lens that snapped what appears to be a brief for tomorrow’s Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR).

It might not be quite as bad as Bob Quick‘s blunder, but it is certainly embarrassing for the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, particularly because the brief – which is essentially a collection of lines for ministers to take in response to questions – contains details not meant for the public.

The key revelations in the document relate to public-sector jobs. It says the Office for Budget Responsibility will next month confirm its estimate of 490,000 public-sector job losses by 2014/15. This is not surprising.

“Government will do everything they can to mitigate the impact of redundancies,” the document says, going on to outline “voluntary deals with staff on pay restraint or reduced hours in order to save jobs”.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

As Paul Waugh (who also has a very magnified version) notes:

Content from our partners
Transport is the core of levelling up
The forgotten crisis: How businesses can boost biodiversity
Small businesses can be the backbone of our national recovery

That one line could give the powerful public-sector unions a major headache. They won’t want effective pay cuts through reduced hours, but they know that may be better than job cuts.

The photograph also reveals that the government is pushing for a 30 per cent emissions target with the EU, and pledges £2.9bn for international climate finance.


David Cameron was also photographed today holding a draft of the Strategic Defence and Security Review showing that the MoD could face 6 per cent cuts. This has prompted speculation in some quarters that the leaks were a deliberate attempt to soften the blow ahead of tomorrow’s full announcement.