A historic round of cost-cutting measures has been announced by the British government in an effort to shore up investor confidence and avoid another Greek-style sovereign debt crisis.

Here are some of the important cuts being made:

490,000 are public sector jobs being axed.

Departmental budgets being cut by an average 19% over the next four years.

Police forces are to receive a 4% cut in funding.

Retirement age set to rise from 65 to 66.

The bank levy will be made permanent, though the exact details of the plan are yet to be made clear.

An interesting piece by Hamish McRae appeared in Wednesday’s Independent UK. In it, he explores whether the spending cuts are a case of mopping up after the last government or a re-casting of the role of government in the Western world:

“You can look at this in two ways. You can see it as a course correction, a violent one to be sure, but one essentially made necessary by past errors. This is the idea that we have to get back on track, that doing so will be painful, but that when we do all will be hunky dory. Or you can see it as something quite new, the early stumbling stages along a path towards redefining the role of government itself – what the state in a Western society does for its citizens, and what it does not or indeed cannot do.”