The topic for this discussion organised in co-operation with PwC, was the Draft Programme for Government 2011-15 which, along with the associated economic and investment strategies, aims "to build a shared and better future for all". The question for discussion was: With wider economic problems intensifying, what will be needed to deliver on its commitments and how should we set about its implementation?
Delivering the Programme for Government will involve many challenges. Public spending is set to fall faster over the next five years than at any time since the Second World War. Austerity in the public sector is, it seems, with us for the foreseeable future. The wider economy will have to contend with wage and pension cuts now or soon, and there are welfare cuts to come. An ageing population will bring additional pressures and there is now the prospect of yet further big spending cuts to come in 2015-16 with even bigger cuts the following year. In short, we have to think of the present situation not as an event, as something to be got over, but as a process demanding fresh thinking and real innovation.