How much money do we save when we leave the EU?

I see some contributors here are out to belittle the amount of money we save when we leave the EU. Let me set out the official figures again:

OBR March 2018  p217 EU financial settlement


2019 figures (assuming we still pay full amount that year)

GNI based contribution   17.7bn Euro

VAT payments to EU         3.4bn Euro

Own resources (customs)   3.8bnEuro


UK rebate      4.7bn Euro

Public sector receipts  (money back)  6.3bn Euro

NET CONTRIBUTION   (Gross payments minus rebate and cash back) 13.9bn E   (£12bn)

We could save all this if we leave with no  deal or an improved deal. If we leave with Withdrawal commitments we will save all this once the transition and leaving payment is over.



Posted in Uncategorized | 25 Comments

The Bank succeeds in slowing money and credit – nothing to do with Brexit

The Bank of England has taken a lot of action to tighten money and credit since early last year. As this gets little attention I thought it might be helpful to remind people what it has done:


  1. Increased rates from 0.25% to 0.5%
  2. Cancelled the Term Funding Scheme which allowed banks to borrow at low rates to lend on to the UK economy  (£127bn used by end of scheme in April 2018)
  3. Increased Counter Cyclical Capital Buffer banks have to hold to 1% from November 2018 to reduce bank lending for any given amount of bank capital
  4. Toughened “prudent affordability limits” on home loans
  5. Imposed new tight limits of mortgages above 4.5 times income
  6. Warned against credit card zero interest rate promotions
  7. Required tougher standards for car loans related to future value of vehicle
  8. Warned that Central London office properties were expensive
  9. Set out to “tighten consumer credit conditions”

Given this, as predicted here, it is not surprising the UK economy has slowed. Similar action is not being taken in the USA or the Eurozone. The Eurozone continues with zero interest rates and still more Quantitative easing. The USA is deregulating banks to allow more credit, and undertaking a major fiscal stimulus  though it is raising rates.

Posted in Uncategorized | 103 Comments

Health spending, tax and that Brexit dividend

There has been a long running argument within government over health spending and how to pay for future increases. That is why I wrote about efficiency and quality last week, and set out the case against a hypothecated health tax sometime ago on this site.

I am pleased to report that the idea for a hypothecated new Health Tax seems to have been dropped. I explained how such a tax  would not  be enough on its own, how there would still be plenty of arguments about how much extra money the NHS needed as well as the hypothecated tax, and how you cannot throttle back health care simply because one particular tax has fallen short.

I am also pleased to report that those of us who argued a substantial part of the Brexit dividend should be used to meet increased future health costs have also been  persuasive. There will be an extra £12bn a year available for spending and tax cuts once we have terminated our payments., I am in favour of doing this immediately  after March 29 next year, unless the EU suddenly comes up with a good deal which is worth letting them have a bit more of our money after we have left.

There is still work to  be done on whether there is any need for extra borrowing. That will depend on how fast the economy grows and how quickly the revenue increases. Lowering tax rates would help raise more revenue in several cases, which would be a welcome boost to the economy with beneficial consequences for future spending. When the US is going for a top Income Tax rate of 37% and  Italy for a top rate of 20% the UK needs to stay competitive to ensure enough well paid and successful business people stay here and pay their taxes here to help our public services. The UK economy needs a fiscal boost to offset the monetary tightening administered by the authorities since March 2017.

It is also important to grant increased spending for the NHS on the basis of something for something for something. Just granting a blanket increase could result in wasteful spending, as we saw in the big increases in the middle Labour years before they had to slash public spending generally after the crash.

Posted in Uncategorized | 187 Comments

The nature of this site

Sone of you have written in suggesting I post less on this site in order to have more time to moderate. Some of you have written in with your own views on what this site is or should be . Maybe it would help you if I told you what I think this site is.

This site is not a conventional MP website. Such sites are paid for by the taxpayer and present the MPs work in a favourable light. They are not allowed to be party political. This site is paid for by me and ranges beyond my work as an MP, though it does cover the ways I am seeking to influence the national debate in the interests of my constituents, and has local pages for constituents.

This site is not a Conservative party site. It does not reproduce the party line as this is readily available on official party sites. If I disagree with the party line or am trying to amend it  I will say so here. The pieces are  often about things where there is no party lines, or are about controversies raging prior to the formation of a party or government line. It is of course a site written by someone who does support the Conservative party and takes the whip.

This is not a Brexit website, though all the time press and Parliament are preoccupied by the Brexit process this site will provide commentary on that.

This is not a business website. It refuses adverts or sponsorship and does not promote any individual company interest.

The idea of the site is to provide insight, commentary and a contribution to the national debate, laced with pieces about topics I am interested in that may be of interest to others. I have, for example, run pieces about historical events and anniversaries,about cultural events,  pieces about continental politics , and insights into the global economy.

I am still happy to post the views of others who want to extend the debate or add their own facts and perceptions. I will, however, simply delete pieces which may offend others, are potentially libellous or repetitiously unpleasant. Two people who try to contribute have all their pieces binned as their descriptors could give offence.  I am going to bin more submissions from the one or two who disagree with anything I write and seek to undermine any positive idea or action. I also do sometimes bin long and potentially worthwhile submissions  if they come from someone who has already published more than I have written that day on my site and has laced the comment with references that need checking.If the workload gets too high on busy days I will post fewer incoming messages but will not stop my own postings as I need to keep people informed.

I do not knowingly post false allegations about anyone, including about myself.  Those who have tried to post false allegations about me will be able to find the true position in what I have written here.

Posted in Uncategorized | 117 Comments

The EU needs a new migration policy

The recent refusal of the new Italian government to accept a boat carrying many migrants has thrown into sharp contrast varying attitudes on the continent to this vexed issue. Mrs Merkel who used to speak for Germany and the EU still thinks the EU should welcome in all who want to come. The newly constrained Mrs Merkel trying to keep together a coalition of opposites on this as so much else after her bad defeat in the election is having to compromise and toughen her position. Her one time allies, the CSU, are in open disagreement from inside government.

The Italian government and the German AFD Opposition, along with the CSU, challenge the idea behind the EU humanitarian policy of picking up anyone from the Med who is seeking to come to the EU and delivering them safely to Italy or Greece. Doesnt this, they ask, just encourage more nasty get rich quick people smugglers to take their money and embark migrants on unsafe boats in the knowledge they will soon be picked up by EU naval vessels? Why are economic migrants brought to the EU if they do not have permits rather than be returned to the last safe country they left? On the other side Mrs Merkel points out that the EU is a group of decent nations who come to the humanitarian aid of those in peril on the sea, however this has come about. Indeed at the peak of the recent migration Mrs Merkel went further and saw the migrants as a plus for a strong German economy in need of extra labour.

The large number of migrants places demands on housing, infrastructure and public services. Electors in Eastern Europe, Germany, Italy and elsewhere are voting in larger numbers for restrictions on migrant numbers. The EU has allowed countries to build big walls and border fences to arrest the flows, and has helped finance a very long Turkish border defence now there is free movement between Turkey and the EU. Mr Salvini in Italy and the CSU in Germany are now in a position to demand change. Meanwhile the UK can get on with designing a new border system which is generous to asylum seekers, helpful to business needing skilled people, but capable of delivering the controlled migration Mrs May has always promised us.

Posted in Uncategorized | 86 Comments

Quality and efficiency are allies, not enemies

There is still plenty of work to do to raise efficiency and quality in various public services. Some in the public sector seem to think efficiency means cuts, and cuts means lower quality. That is not the way to do it. Doing things efficiently should mean doing them better.

If you get something right first time you avoid the costs of changing and remedying, or the even bigger costs of having to apologise and compensate if the good or service has gone out in bad shape. If you harness more machine and computing power to a good programme design you can improve accuracy and quality whilst speeding up the process and cutting its cost. Modern digital technology offers huge scope to both raise quality and cut costs if done well. It also offers new ways to mess things up and to make life more difficult for the consumer.

Let’s take the case of NHS supplies. A good system would cut down stockholding of drugs and specialised food products in the system, reducing waste from poor holding and handling, and from items going out of date. More just in time deliveries to hospitals, surgeries and users would reduce the amount of medicine or specialist food that is tipped away as unwanted when a patient recovers. Some hospitals still do not have computer controlled drug dispensing, with suitable controls over what is administered, when and in what quantities. Doing it through a drugs trolley with staff members reading the notes and then finding the medicine leaves more scope for error than a system based on a patients computer record and computerised handling of the required drugs. I have talked before about the return and reuse of hardware like wheelchairs, crutches and other aids.

There is the direction and use of manpower. Public service personnel are crucial to successful public services. Their dedication and professional skill are the essence of much of it. Not only do they need proper computer and machine back up to do their jobs, but they also need intelligent direction of effort by management who see where they are needed and can make their best input. Some managers do this well, but there needs to be a constant effort to ensure personnel are well deployed. I have seen cases where two health visitors have turned up to an elderly person facing a problem, only to discover neither of them could resolve the query. Home visits are important but are expensive, so it is crucial the preparation for them directs the right manpower to the right home to sort the issue.

Posted in Uncategorized | 80 Comments

The benefits of Brexit

The Prime Minister tells us the government is committed to Brexit and wishes to deliver the benefits it can bring. That is good news.

I look forward to early news from the government on the following.

First, I want to know how all the money saved is going to be spent, and a sense of urgency in getting us out of financial commitments as soon as possible. I have set out my own suggestions for increased spending on health, social care and other priorities. Spending that money at home gives a 0.6% GDP boost and saves us a lot of money on our balance of payments deficit.

Second, I want to see our new fishing policy as we become an independent coastal state. We need a policy that is kinder to our fish and our fishermen, and which lands more the fish caught in the UK for UK consumption.

Third, I want to see a new migration and borders policy which is fair between EU and non EU migrants, and assists the government in hitting its targets for levels of migration.

Fourth, I want to see the Trade Department roll over the current EU trade agreements with other countries into UK agreements and make good progress on negotiating good agreements with more of the 90% of the non EU world that does not have a trade agreement with the EU. I want the UK to offer reduced tariffs and barriers to developing countries in return for more market access for ourselves.

Fifth I want to see tax cuts in areas where we cannot cut taxes at the moment, including the abolition of VAT on green products and domestic fuel.

Sixth I want to hear what our global agenda will be as we regain our vote and voice on a number of important international bodies.

Posted in Uncategorized | 233 Comments

Postings to this site

I have been extremely busy for the last two days with a lot of activity in the Commons and many votes to attend to.

I am currently unable to handle the volume of postings from some people, and the length of many postings. Where people have posted many and long postings I am deleting some to reduce the backlog. Some people do get away with a lot of short postings, because I moderate the short ones first. I do not delete based on whether they are pro or anti. I do delete posts that make unfair or unproven allegations against anyone, whatever their politics.

Posted in Uncategorized | 39 Comments

In the customs doldrums – again

The House of Commons keeps returning to the issue of customs. Yesterday the Opposition decided to spend virtually the whole day once again rehearsing the same old arguments.

Labour presented it latest version of its policy. Apparently they want to be in a customs union with the EU but not in The Customs Union the EU already has. They want a “strong single market deal based on shared regulations and shared institutions” which sounds much like staying in The single market, but assume “freedom of movement will end”. Gone are all the fine words of the Labour Manifesto setting out how the UK will have a distinctive independent trade policy after Brexit. It is difficult to see how this latest view would ever be negotiable with an Institution which has always said belonging to the customs union and single market comes with the four freedoms attached, including freedom of movement. It also requires payment of budget contributions and acceptance of the European Court’s supremacy. It also led to a massive Labour rebellion on one of the votes.

Why has Labour changed its stance from the General Election, which was to back Brexit and set out on an independent path? We were told yesterday again that they are worried that manufacturers running just in time systems in the UK will not be able to import parts from the continent if we leave. How bizarre! UK manufacturers runs complex supply chains with just in time deliveries at the moment using parts from outside the EU, and that works fine! The continental suppliers would have every incentive to carry on supplying in time, as their jobs and income depend on it. Why do Remain MPs now pretend we did not know we were voting to leave the single market and customs union, when both official campaigns in the referendum told us just that and actually agreed on this point!

Meanwhile the government seeks to negotiate smooth border arrangements and sensible customs arrangements. It would be a good idea for the Uk to offer tariff free trade and see if the EU does want that or not. Some wrongly say they have not yet invented the computer systems to handle customs charges without stopping trucks at borders and working it out on a calculator there and then. They need to go and visit a large trucking firm and see that there are already smooth ways of paying customs dues on line with electronic filings which we and the rest of the EU use for the non EU trade which does attract customs dues.

Posted in Uncategorized | 133 Comments

Walk outs from Parliament over the EU

The SNP walk out today over an EU debate reminded some MPs of the previous walk out by Nick Clegg for the Liberal Democrats in February 2008. Then Speaker Martin refused to allow debate on one of their amendments which wanted an In/Out referendum on the EU. As Nick Clegg said “It is time to give the British people a real referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union” . That idea did not go too well for him or his party. I still treasure the yellow leaflet they sent out telling me it was vital the “British people have a say in a real referendum”.

Posted in Uncategorized | 44 Comments
  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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