Jonathan Simons

If education is a priority, where’s the cash?

The UK sets spending targets for aid and defence – so why not add education to the mix to show that the government will ‘defend the next generation’

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When I worked in the Treasury, there were two unwritten rules about public spending. One was that ring-fenced budgeting was a bad idea, because it restricted government (read: Treasury) flexibility. The other was that targets based on a set amount of money being spent were also a bad idea, because they contributed to the notion that inputs were what mattered, not outputs, and hampered efforts to drive efficiency.

So, here’s an idea. The UK has two areas where it sets a firm spending commitment: 0.7 per cent of GDP on aid (to meet the UN target) and 2 per cent of GDP on defence (to meet the ...

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