Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tightening the belt

Listening to: 'Leaving Blues' by Bombay Bicycle Club [Flaws]

So today, I sat down at my PC in the office and watched the Chancellor George Osborne outline the proposed budget cuts in the government's Spending Review...while eating my home-made ham, cheese and mustard sandwiches. Yup, gone are the days of popping over to Boots for a lunchtime Meal Deal (sandwiches, drink and chocolate for £2.99, for the uninitiated)...Cambridge City Council has decided that since I've passed the four-year mark of my current degree, it's time for me to start paying Council Tax. As a result, my expenses have increased overnight by £96 per month. Now the easy thing to do would be to ask my parents to increase my allowance...but I decided that wouldn't be fair. They didn't budget for me to be in my fifth (?!) year of a PhD...I was supposed to be fully employed by now. So I'm cutting down. The first thing to go was internet on my's not like I used it much anyway. And I started using the Dialog website to send free SMS to SL. Next up was's actually quite nice to have fresh sandwiches, although I've decided I hate Hovis with a passion. I could make better bread, and I don't even know how to make bread! I'm yet to see exactly how much I'll save, but it should be a substantial amount. I'm also cutting down on socialising in a big way. No meeting up for coffee (unless it's with someone who's working and therefore likely to buy my coffee out of sympathy ;-) ) and no going out to dinner. To be fair, I don't have time anyway. Finally, and possibly most obviously, no shopping. So the £50 black boots (well, £40 with student discount) that I've been eyeing at Dorothy Perkins will have to wait, as will the amazing debut album by the XX and the Season 1 DVD of Glee (which I had planned as a post-PhD treat). Things will change after submission, when I find myself a part-time job somewhere, but for now, this is it.

But like I said at the beginning, I'm not the only one cutting down. The Coalition is aiming to save £84bn with these budget cuts/freezes, and a lot of people are unhappy. I am, perhaps surprisingly, less unhappy than I thought I'd be. The pre-Review rumour mill speculated that funding for science would be cut by 25%. That's over a billion pounds less than what we're getting at the moment, and what we're getting right now is definitely not enough. Scientists and engineers around the UK decided to fight for the future of research in this country, and around 36,000 signed the Science is Vital petition. There was also a protest. Now I generally don't agree with protests 'cos I think they're a lot of fart and no shit, but I think in this case, the protest was complemented by enough constructive action to make it worthwhile. I dunno if it was the petition, the protest, or the support from Britain's eminent scientists...but Whitehall listened. Instead of a 25% cut, the science funding budget has been frozen. Of course this means there'll be about a 10% reduction in spending because of inflation, efficiency savings etc., but compared to what we were faced with, this is good news. I'm not opposed to all cuts, 'cos I think something has to be done about the deficit, but this seems like a fair decision. And we all know how much the Coalition likes the word 'fair'.

1 comment:

  1. Dude! I know what you mean. I am so broke and definitely need to tighten my belt - I even got a second job but thaa is a rant yet to come! :S


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