Chancellor Alistair Darling is expected to announce some £15bn of spending cuts over the next few years when he delivers his Budget statement.
He will say the money can be found by making Whitehall more efficient.
This is ducking the issues. For politicians to suggest that you can deliver the same services or achieve the same results with substantially fewer resource inputs is no longer credible. What happens in practice is that when staff leave they are not replaced. Service levels crumble in an unplanned way and morale hits bottom.
If politicians want to make savings, they really have to face up to the difficult business of stating what tasks and what policies they are prepared to dispense with, instead of pretending that they can wave a magic wand to dispel inefficiencies.