If you are stuck for something to do, you could have a go at the DIY spending review on the IFS website. It allows you to increase or cut public spending and then to allocate what you have left between the government departments. It also tells you whether or not your plans will require tax increases. According to the IFS, even if spending just keeps pace with inflation the government will need to raise taxes.
The game might be a little disappointing for those on the libertarian right, some of whom read this blog from time to time. It doesn’t allow you to make drastic cuts and lay off half the civil service. The most you can do is cut by 2.5% per year. Mind you, even that, after taking off the debt repayments, would slash your departmental budgets by over 20% by 2013-14.
As well as being fun in a geeky sort of way, the model helps put the debate about spending into context and shows the tough choices that whoever wins the next election will have to make. Anyway, the nights are drawing in and what better way to spend them than playing at being Chancellor.
Go on, give it a go; you know you want to.