The public sector organisation I work for is of course discussing the impending cuts. And my bit of it was discussing them at a planning meeting today. A Banx Cartoon in the FT I saw later showed a pollster asking "what cuts would you like to see imposed on someone else?" Very apposite.
Naturally, people look for cuts ("efficiency savings") outside their own department - ie as far away from them as possible. They don't want to lose their job, of course.
When times are good, the tendency is to concern ourselves less with efficiency and more with employment. The inefficiency keeps people in work. We haven't got robots - for an example - sweeping the streets partly because it would deprive a person of a job. When times are bad, and the cuts come, we cut jobs and risk cutting essential services with them. If we were truly being "efficient", we would have had our robot road sweepers in place and they would carry on sweeping the streets, but if we cut human road sweepers, the streets don't get swept.
Robot road sweepers are an example of technological unemployment which is a good thing in a resource based economy, as the cybernation (machines and computers doing things) is more efficient and frees up humans to do what only they can do and/or what they actually want to do. The main thing getting in the way of this is our monetary system.