The decision on whether or not to proceed with a committed project is a complex one. It involves consideration of a range of factors such as:
- Immediate affordability;
- Long term affordability;
- Whether delays will yield actual savings;
- Whether it is the right project for the present time;
- Whether the project will meet future requirements;
- The project’s connection with other projects or policy areas;
- How urgent are other calls on public or corporate finances.
A decision to delay or cancel a project without reference to wider policy issues or requirements can generate more problems than it solves. Therefore, decisions on spending should be made with reference to the bigger picture.
Of particular concern is the potential impact on private sector competitiveness. Private industries that traditionally depend on the public sector for a significant proportion of their business can be impacted particularly badly by cuts to public programmes. This can cause – in the short term at least – wider issues such as job loss.