Calling all cliches: Cautious welcomes

Dan Atkinson, whose work so often graces these pages, also writes a blog at This Is Money, where he referred recently to campaigning groups ‘who demand X measure – either more spending or more repressive laws, or both – from the authorities and once it is (inevitably) granted, give what is always described as “a cautious welcome” before adding that it “does not go far enough”.’

Which made us wonder whether he wasn’t being a little cruel in teasing such worthy campaigners. So we looked back at the newspaper coverage of George Osborne’s autumn statement to see if there were any truth in this idea of a welcoming caution:

  • ‘The Chancellor has promised to protect the UK’s pounds sterling 4.7bn annual science budget against inflation until 2020… But the move was given a cautious welcome by the scientific community, which described it as a step in the right direction but bemoaned the failure of the Government to increase the amount it spends on science.’ – Daily Mail 26 November 2015
  • ‘Business leaders gave a cautious welcome to George Osborne’s plans to boost Britain’s economic growth – but warned of a “sting in the tail” from a new apprenticeship levy.’ – Express 26 November 2015
  • ‘John Allan, the national chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses, gave a cautious welcome.’ – Times 26 November 2015
  • ‘The legal profession gave a cautious welcome to the Spending Review. Alistair MacDonald QC, chairman of the Bar Council, said: “Investment to modernise courts and tribunals is vital to the successful reform of our criminal justice system, and today’s Ministry of Justice settlement safeguards the £700m announced earlier this year.” But he said proposed overall resource savings of 15 per cent and a 50 per cent cut in the MoJ’s administrative budget “are obviously a big concern”.’ – Financial Times 26 November 2015
  • ‘As a senior sister in an accident and emergency department at a hospital in Kent, Liz Taylor is on the frontline of NHS services. Taylor, 46, gave a cautious welcome to the chancellor’s announcement of extra funding for NHS England and the move to lift a cap on recruitment numbers by making student nurses pay for their own training through loans rather than grants or bursaries.’ – Guardian 26 November 2015


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