by RAY FLEMING
IN my Whitehall days I was always amused by ministers who spoke about “pruning right back” activities in order to effect economies. They never seemed to realise that vigorous pruning is the prelude to renewed growth. George Osborne seems to understand the point well enough. To judge by yesterday's announcement on savings and by what is in prospect today and the rest of the week, he is driving a bulldozer rather than carrying a pair of secateurs. Of course, it is easy to ask why this or that project has been cut or uprooted instead of another one but it is a bit difficult to get one's mind round the announcement in a single day of 900 million pounds worth of cuts in the Business Department and the abandonment of Heathrow's planned third runway. I can remember very clearly how business opinion in the City of London and more widely throughout southern England argued that an additional runway at London's principal airport was essential for the healthy growth of Britain's economy. As for Vince Cable's department, one is surely entitled to wonder how far its 900 million pound hit is as much a blow at the departed Lord Mandelson and all he stood for as a balanced judgement that British business and industry does not need the kind of a strong supportive ministry which it has always been accustomed to.