In the UK the coalition government has embarked on a massive drive to reduce spending and implement budget cuts to regain control of the huge national debt.
Many believe the cuts are going over the top and will hamper any economic recovery. They have been warned cutting back on services are just one bitter pill too many to swallow.
Not a day goes by without the news reporting of a library being threatened with closure, a council cutting jobs and youth clubs closing down. Salford council is set to shed hundreds of jobs under plans to save £39m over three years. In Lincolnshire councils are predicting they will have to cut the equivalent of 1,400 full-time staff in the next five years. Its description of the cutbacks have been described as "eye-watering".
Chief executive of Nottingham County Council, Mick Burrows has said his said the authority is facing financial pressures "unprecedented in its history".
Gemma wrote recently about Scottish council considering a four day school week after budget cuts. Great how the non-educated delinquents (NEDS) will thrive under that for future generations - I can't wait to find out! NOT!
We have already seen violence and disorder from students who are facing an annual £9000 bill just to go to university.
On Tuesday (Feb 8, 2011) Manchester City Council revealed it would slash £109m ($180m) from its budget.
In fact in just one day - on Tuesday - I noticed North Yorkshire County Council to close nine care homes and shed 300 jobs, City of York Council to lose 170 jobs to save £21m,
North Yorkshire Police to cut up to 350 staff jobs and Slough Borough Council agrees to cut 80 jobs. Oh and I almost forgot, Hammersmith and Fulham Council to sell eight buildings.
The list goes on and on and a snapshot of daily life under these cuts in services will have an impact so severe it will counter-balance the good it intends in cutting the budget deficit.
Growth in the economy is impossible when this level of austerity exists. Confidence is shattered beyond all hope and if growth figures don't show a positive figure when they are released for the first quarter of 2011 in April then we will be back in recession. The last quarter of 2010 saw negative growth of -0.5 per cent. George Osbourne blamed the weather. He blamed it not once in an interview but a staggering 24 times.
I would like to remind Mr Osbourne those figures are representative of the last quarter - October, November and December. There was nothing wrong with the weather during October and November. True December was bitterly cold, the coldest for 100 years but even in mild Decembers we see little or no growth in the final two weeks anyway of the month as every one shuts down for Christmas.
I know many of my friends and family said they were going to spend less this Christmas because it will be a year of huge austerity and swingeing cuts. So, perhaps Mr Osbourne, a climate of fear has been responsible for the shrinking of the economy.