A common theme I have identified in Brent's budget options is that many of them appear to be very hard to deliver. Nowhere is this more true than in the proposed changes around benefit processing.
This assumes that, under the inspired leadership of Iain Duncan Smith, we can all rely universal credit going forward as planned. Given that everyone apart from the minister thinks universal credit is going to be a disaster, this does not inspire me with confidence. Nonetheless, Brent proposes reducing capacity on the assumption that switching people to electronic claiming will work and happen on time. This despite the fact that so far nothing of the kind has happened.
It further worries me that Council reserves are earmarked specifically in advance. Effectively, that means they are not really reserves, but allocated resources for specific spending. In other words, the level of reserves is being cut for an entirely predictable one off expenditure. That is a misuse of reserves.