Easy money, tight money – a tale of two sectors

Money is still easy for the public sector. For all the talk of cuts, tight and tough public spending conditions and the need to rein in, the monetary easing has all been concentrated on providing huge sums of borrowed money for the public sector at interest rates below the rate the market would normally charge without the Bank’s interventions. For all the talk, there is no evidence yet beyond the reductions in allowable expenses for MPs and a few cuts for Higher Education that the public sector has truly got the message that it has to do more with less. Today’s announcement of “low” Council tax rises comes at the price of a further substantial increase in grant funding for Councils. Only some Councils are pressing on with business style changes to raise productivity and efficiency. Those that have done this well already have actually cut the Council tax, or managed without an increase for more than one year.

Meanwhile money is still very short and expensive for many businesses. The private sector has completely transformed its behaviour. In 2006-7 some individuals were taking out large mortgages and many businesses were taking out large loans during the last wild fling of the private sector credit boom. Today companies are repaying debts, husbanding profit and cashflow, keeping stocks low, and cancelling capital projects. Individuals are not moving home, not buying the first house, or moving up the housing ladder in anything like the numbers of three years ago. Some are paying off credit card debts and saving more. In 2006 the private sector had a small overall deficit of 0.6% of GDP. The surplus in 2009 was 10% of GDP, and is likely to be at least that again this year.

Banking regulators seem to want to perpetuate this hot and cold world. They have set regulations which mean the private sector has to keep on generating surpluses and repaying debts, to get the bank balance sheets back into the much more prudent shape the regulators belatedly want. Meanwhile the authorities say they might do some more quantitative easing if there is a threat of much dearer money for public borrowing.

This lop sided economy is not going to deliver a strong sustainable recovery. It is only a matter of time before markets impose stiff penalties on a government which is persisting in borrowing too much. The Uk needs a strong and growing private sector to get out of this mess. Curent banking policy, tax policy and the public sector deficit prevent this. All the time the public sector runs such a huge deficit, the private sector has to save more to offset it and finance it. Later on the private sector will be squeezed again by the higher taxes to pay for the excess debts. We need to change policy before it becomes a vicious circle we cannot easily break.

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43 Comments

  1. Bill
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    The private sector isn’t getting much help right now; this is just an additional burden.

    Like your style, but why don’t you have a word with your leader and convince him to be as explicit and forthright as you?
    He comes across as undecided when discussing policy.

    Mr Brown, on the other hand, comes across as tough, has firm proposals, resolute and knows what he stands for.

    (The fact that he has been a disastrous chancellor and PM and his policies will cause the currency to sink and inflation to take off are beside the point. People will gravitate to someone with conviction.)

  2. Bill
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Missed this off the start!

    Yet there are reports that Mr Cameron won’t cancel the increase in national insurance – a tax on jobs.

    • Stuart Fairney
      Posted February 24, 2010 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      No.

      If you refer to employers NI, this is not a tax on jobs; it is a tax on people's salaries, albeit a hidden invidious one. He is a rough example with easy maths. Say someone earns £100 a week, they might pay £25 income tax and £10 NI and take home £65 and think they pay 35% tax.

      They don't.

      If there is an employers NI charge of £11, then it costs the employer £111 to employ the person. He doesn't much care how the money is distributed between government and employee as long as the job is done.

      So the employee can command a salary of £111 of which the government plunders £46 and he is allowed to keep £65 and so even the low paid pay taxes over 40%. This is a hidden tax that most people don't fully appreciate. This also hurts people in jobs because when you ask for a pay rise the cost of employing you has already gone up so less is available to you.

      The employer wouldn't care of he paid the full £111 to the employee. The employee would probably like it. The government wouldn't.

      Guess which view prevails.

      • alan jutson
        Posted February 24, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        Stuart

        Agreed as I posted last week, the true rate of tax in this Country is over 75% when you take into account VAT, then tax on savings, then tax on inheritance etc, etc.

        Why is it that people cannot understand this ?

        Because it is delberately made to be complicated, so they have difficulty understanding it.

        Question most workers about the employer contribution they pay on their workers salary, and you would get a blank look.

        That is why the government do not like self employed people, as they are paid gross, unless you are in the building industry, and now have to comply with CIS Tax Scheme where 20% is now deducted from all labour payments, without any personal allowance being made, so you have to claim back the surplus you have paid each year.

      • Bob
        Posted February 24, 2010 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

        The employers NICs should be printed on the payslip so that employees can see what their real tax burden is.

        Gas station receipts should also show the cost of fuel, the duty and VAT separately so that the customer can see what proportion of the fuel price goes to the exchequer.

        This would be a start towards some "trans parent see" rather than the sneaky stealthy tricks which our bully boy PM is so addicted to.

        • Stuart Fairney
          Posted February 25, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

          That is a really good idea!

        • Stuart Fairney
          Posted February 26, 2010 at 6:25 am | Permalink

          This really is a great idea, a mandatory tax declaration policy.

          Have it on pay slips, petrol receipts, airline tickets, insurance premiums, of course all VAT, stamp duty and the council tax you actually have to pay that year when buying a house, have all businesses display the business rates they are forced to pay, also print the tax you pay at the supermarket and in the pub.

          This would be cheap to implement as most companies have electronic tills these days, it would cost the government nothing and it might move the agenda on somewhat to people actually liking tax cuts. Also, government just needs to be honest with people about how much money they are actually taking.

          As you say, it is Byzantine for a reason.

  3. waramess
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Slowly and almost imperceptibly the private sector will be progressively starved of investment by a public sector that insists it is right to continue consuming more.

    It is a big economy but for every one percent more the government consumes is one percent less for the private sector.

    Starving the private sector of funds to invest will reduce productivity which in turn will reduce the governments tax take and so we will see the Keynesian myth unravel.

    Can we really imagine a public sector consuming 100 percent of GDP in any one year? Then why should we tolerate it spending anything more than the barest sliver without imagining that it will not lead to a dilution of our domestic production?

    QE is a myth. The government might just as well print the stuff and then spend it, avoiding the messy business of having to pay interest to the Bof E and having to explain in tortured language its complexity.

    Now we have the IMF issuing a Keynesian dictat that will ensure the fate of the western world is to remain in recession for another decade or two and who will be there to rebut their fiction other than a few on-line bloggers.

    And who is listening to the views of Smith and Mises now that a whole generation or two of university graduates have been indoctrinated with the nonsense that is Keynes.

    You yourself appear to have been unable to bring the leadership of the Conservative Party round to non-Keynesian views so where do we go, now that all the economic gurus think the private sector is no more than an amusing sideshow?

  4. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    The only action we know has been taken and will be taken again this year is to increase taxation. That will have a further deleterious effect on the private sector. Not all businesses are exporters so how does that help growth? We hear a lot of talk about not acting too quickly to reduce the borrowing for fear of a double dip recession. This actually means no reduction in public spending whilst at the same time private incomes are being reduced by inflation, higher taxation and derisory interest rates on savings. This is the typical Labour response in such circumstances but we expect more from the Conservatives. Sadly, we aren't hearing it very clearly at the moment.
    I hope you were able to hear Frank Field's excellent contribution to the question of the dire state of our economy and immigration on 'Today'. If only we had MPs such as him and you running things we might have some optimism for the future of our country.

  5. Norman
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Reading the above post it seems there may yet be a glimmer of light for us. If I understand your post correctly it seems that the private sector has done a good job of balancing it's books and introducing efficiency savings.

    If the next PM can get a firm (and fast) grasp on public sector spending then the private sector may well be in a position to drive our recovery, helped by a favourable tax regime.

    Will the next PM be up to making these decisions? For all our sakes I hope so, the alternative is too ghastly to contemplate.

    • Bob
      Posted February 24, 2010 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

      Do you think that the Tories will continue chucking our money down the carbon credit glugger?

      This is another DC fixation that worries me.

  6. gac
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    The Public Sector certainly does not get the message, particularly local councils.

    Faced with having to 'save' money they do not divest themselves of meaningless jobs and functions and projects and initiatives, they close libraries, public toilets, social centres, go to fortnightly rubbish collection, etc instead. Things which directly diminish the quality of life of the taxpayers. Yet council tax will rise and for a pensioner by more than the meagre increase in the state pension. The well is dry and yet they still pump!

    People we elect as councillors are either clueless, in thrall to their executive, or both. Do the main parties ever vet these candidates before they are thrust upon the unsuspecting voter?

    Yes – they certainly do not get it!

    • Stuart Fairney
      Posted February 24, 2010 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      Just a small local example. My (I guess) county council. has just installed a speed warning sign. It doesn't take photos or actually catch speeders, just flashes annoyingly at you when you are doing 33mph.

      Oh, and it is installed 135 metres* from the exit of a roundabout on a 'stretch' of road which is 225 metres between roundabouts.

      It is simply not possible to exceed the speed limit significantly as there isn't enough road! I've also lived in this area for about ten years and never seen or heard of an accident of any kind.

      Oh and it's now broken** so presumably this will incur further costs. This is not a public sector looking to cut costs.

      * I checked this on an OS map

      ** No, it wasn't me who broke it in a fit of righteous anger.

      • Norman
        Posted February 24, 2010 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

        A similar tale to report here, which was got my back up but I've never found the correct occasion to rant about it. About 4 months ago an extremely sturdy sign of the type lit by a matrix of high powered lights went up on one side of the single carriageway road that serves my town.

        Great, I thought, this will warn of any accidents, icy conditions, etc. on my commute. From the look of it I'd imagine the cost as five figures (plus ongoing maintenance) but at least it has some purpose I thought.

        In the four months it has been in operation it has displayed the message 'Don't drink and drive' apart from a few days at the start when it said 'Frustration causes accident' – whether this frustration was caused by anger at councils profligacy I can't say.

        There have been days when the road has been closed by icy conditions but not a mention of these appear so I expect this message will stay in perpetuity.

      • Sir Graphus
        Posted February 24, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

        And here's another example. My council has just installed a traffic calming scheme. They could have diverted this money to repair all the holes in the road, but no, they'll be on the look out for more money for that task; they needed to spend the traffic calming budget before it was taken away; they deliberately spend unnecessary money while they still can, so that the vital work, road repairs, will be harder to cut next year. This is wilful waste. It's disgraceful that councillors and managers have colluded to waste the public's money in this way.

        The public sector knows the party is soon to be over, but is determined to carry on as long as possible. In a couple of years, we'll look at the period 2008-10 and curse central and local govt for not starting earlier.

      • alan jutson
        Posted February 24, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

        Stuart.

        Well at least you are being spared coloured tarmac.

        Our Council is spreading different coloured road surfaces onto tarmac (not rolled in, so it falls off after a couple of years) we now have red, green and beige road surfaces as well as the standard black, we also have a proliferation of white lines and kiddies drawings (official Kiddies drawings) on some road signs.

        Place looks like toytown, and same as you, maintainace costs are thus made much more expensive for future years.

  7. English Pensioner
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    According to the BBC radio news this morning, the average council tax rise will be 2%, because the average government grant has been increased by 4%. No one seems to ask the question as to why council costs, every year, rise by an amount far in excess of inflation.
    Surely it is time that councils were prevented by increasing their expenditure by a higher percentage than the percentage annual increase in the State Pension.

  8. alan jutson
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    John

    I have to say I admire your determination to try and continue to expose the financial failings of this Government, but you seem to one of very few voices within your Party. The majority just seem to act like the Governments lap dogs and shrug their shoulders.

    The latest news in the Press today suggests that even the IMF is coming under Gordons spell, suggesting that many Governments should delay cuts until 2011 for fear of a double dip.

    I have to say I dispair at the thought of us not cutting Public expenditure in a measured and considered fashion for yet another year, as it simply means the final bill will be higher, and the pain longer.

    Given the quite honestly pathetic performance of the Conservative Party over the last 2-3 years, I would seriously be thinking of voting for another party if you were not my MP.

  9. Sally C.
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    'The Uk needs a strong and growing private sector to get out of this mess. Current banking policy, tax policy and the public sector deficit prevent this. All the time the public sector runs such a huge deficit, the private sector has to save more to offset it and finance it. Later on the private sector will be squeezed again by the higher taxes to pay for the excess debts. We need to change policy before it becomes a vicious circle we cannot easily break.'

    Correct. Aside from the obvious immediate measures of cutting corporate taxes and cutting public spending, with regard to youth unemployment, we need to scrap the minimum wage for the under 25s, and cut the unemployment benefits normally payable to that age group. We also have to get the banking sector under control. The current MPC is not up to the task. We really need someone like Paul Volker to come in and make proposals. He might be open to offers.

    • waramess
      Posted February 24, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      Maybe we also need someone to explain to the electorate what blunt instruments government spending and taxation are.

      Private sector invests to produce, employs, seeks first to sell within own economy-cheapest, steals from existing imports, creates employment with distributors and retailers, looks overseas to use surplus capacity, creating more employment.

      Government spends money on goods or employment, money spent mainly on overseas products and that's that.

      That is why we need to urgently cut the size of government and, as you rightly say cut taxes to the private sector as well as gettting rid of the minimum wage and any remaining Keynesian influences within government, including Merv.

      Why the heck do the Tories have such difficulty in getting this accross to the electorate when Brown and Co manage to spin Keynesian nonsense so easily?

      And, what's the betting the Tories increase taxes when they take office. Can't they see that it is another burden on the private sector whose capacity to invest and produce is the way in which governments of all colours are paid?

      I really don't know what the Tory party stands for any more and I suspect neither do they.

  10. Guy de Moubray
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Does anybody remember James Callaghan's remark in 1976 ( I think it was) " we have learned that we cannot spend our way out of a recession"? Many people seem to believe that Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal got the Americans out of the depression by public spending. Not so. Roosevelt frequently spoke of the need to cut public spending and cut taxes, but did the opposite. He so antagonised business that in †he end his New Deal delayed recovery from the Depression. In 1939 unemployment was barely lower than in 1932. I recommend you to read "New Deal Or Raw Deal" – How FDR's Economic Legacy has Damaged America by Burton Folsom Jr.

  11. Andrew Duffin
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    "no evidence yet…that the public sector has truly got the message that it has to do more with less."

    More with less?

    You think the Public Sector should do more?

    Sorry, but I disagree, and further I think the Public Sector trying to do everything, but everything, is one of the major causes of our problems.

    The correct approach would be that the Public Sector has to do a lot LESS than they do now, with very very much less funding than they have now.

    Below 30% of gdp would be a good start. Below 20% would be better. Any other money we manage to make could then

  12. Andrew Duffin
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    be used for productive purposes.

    (Sorry, hit Enter too soon)

  13. waramess
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    I listened to the Darling interview with Randall a little earlier today.

    Darling gave the example of a person spending a little less at the local grocery store and the manager having to lay off two assistants as a result, as an example in order to justify government spending.

    Who will tell Darling that we do not want more domestic consumption any more than we want to stimulate non-UK production?

    Who is nailing these misconceptions? Clearly not the Conservative leadership.

    There is a great fallacy at the root of governments economic thinking and there is nobody on our side revealing to the public at large what it is.

    • John Wood
      Posted February 25, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      Have you ever witnessed the anger of the good shopkeeper, James Goodfellow, when his careless son happened to break a pane of glass? If you have been present at such a scene, you will most assuredly bear witness to the fact, that every one of the spectators, were there even thirty of them, by common consent apparently, offered the unfortunate owner this invariable consolation—"It is an ill wind that blows nobody good. Everybody must live, and what would become of the glaziers if panes of glass were never broken?"

      Now, this form of condolence contains an entire theory, which it will be well to show up in this simple case, seeing that it is precisely the same as that which, unhappily, regulates the greater part of our economical institutions.

      Suppose it cost six francs to repair the damage, and you say that the accident brings six francs to the glazier's trade—that it encourages that trade to the amount of six francs—I grant it; I have not a word to say against it; you reason justly. The glazier comes, performs his task, receives his six francs, rubs his hands, and, in his heart, blesses the careless child. All this is that which is seen.

      But if, on the other hand, you come to the conclusion, as is too often the case, that it is a good thing to break windows, that it causes money to circulate, and that the encouragement of industry in general will be the result of it, you will oblige me to call out, "Stop there! Your theory is confined to that which is seen; it takes no account of that which is not seen."

      It is not seen that as our shopkeeper has spent six francs upon one thing, he cannot spend them upon another. It is not seen that if he had not had a window to replace, he would, perhaps, have replaced his old shoes, or added another book to his library. In short, he would have employed his six francs in some way, which this accident has prevented

      • waramess
        Posted March 3, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps in this instance Darling might dwell on the concept that there is no consumption before production and production comes from investment which ultimately comes from savings.

        The question we might ask of the government is whether it matters a jot that the shopkeeper mends his window or buys a new pair of shoes or fires a shop assistant in order that he can pay for the repair. None of this should matter.

        What matters is investment; that is what the government should be stimulating by reducing the share of the national wealth consumed by government and returning it to the private sector through a reduction in corporation taxes.

        Consumption is a blunt instrument although it may not seem so to the man who obtains employment from it. Investment is where real employment and wealth is created and it is here that the government should be focusing.

        Printing money and breaking shop windows to stimulate consumption and employment is a nonsense, cutting the size of government will do the trick.

  14. no one
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    I note that Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office and Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Francis Maude MP has been giving comments under Chatham House rules on opening up government IT procurement to India-based players bringing more Indian nationals into the UK and off shoring more government work to India

    Frankly if the Conservatives only ideas for "efficiency" are (to encoruage into the country ed) more Indian nationals and moving more of our work to India then I think the Conservatives deserve to loose the election

    • Simon
      Posted February 25, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      Mr Redwood , would you care to address No One's point please ?

      I'm a database designer with over 20 years in I.T. living in Mr Redwood's constituency .

      (Negative comments on Indian workers removed-ed)
      Guess which category of I.T. workers Mr Maude would likely end up with ?

      There is no shortage of skilled I.T. workers in the U.K and if £35-£45k per annum for a good analyst programmer is considered too much then there is no business case for the project in the first place .

      An associate of mine worked as a salesman for Computer Associates and kept telling me how the NHS were easy pickings and made no use of their massive buying power .

      And on a local level it's a shambols , local policies for I.T. and local policies for waste recycling are an anathema .

      If government could see past the big multi-national I.T. consultancies who continually let them down and engage smaller outfits in the U.K then they might start obtaining value for money .

      Reply: I will ask Mr Maude what he thinks about all this.

      • no one
        Posted February 26, 2010 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

        John,

        It really needs to be explicit in the Conservative immigration policy that the handing out of intra company visas to the Indian outsourcers is going to stop. The immigration policy is so lacking in substance. Why no words about stopping abuse of student visas, currently students fail exams on purpose to get a visa extension and so much more. Why nothing about sham marriages in the policy on the Conservative website?

        Where we do issue work visas to non-EC nationals we should demand reciprocal arrangements. If I work in India or the USA, as examples, I do not get free healthcare or education for my kids, and its a lot harder for a Brit to get a work visa to India than it is for Indian nationals to work here. I see no reason at all why we are funding healthcare and state education for non-EC workers and their families here. I also see no reason why they get tax concessions which mean many pay little tax and national insurance.

        The current rules are a joke because they are not enforced. I can tell you for free that Indian nationals are used in the IT and Telco business simply because they are cheap! They are "supposed" to be on lower quartile salaries here according to the visa rules, but they are not even on that.

        (allegations removed-ed)
        I know thousands of people in the IT and Telco business and none (not even the Indian nationals) think current UK policy makes sense.

        As for encouraging off shoring work to India, especially public sector work where sensitive data is likely to be involved, it's not the way to do it.

        (Emotive language removed)
        IT business was a business which brought mega bucks into this country, we really were world leaders, up there with the best of the USA, and we are throwing our lead away, all in the space of a few years.

        Really really the Conservatives need to get their act together.

        Good luck, do let us know how you get on. And a straight answer would be good, not smoke and mirrors.

        Thanks

  15. backofanenvelope
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    We need a government that:

    1. Has a plan.
    2. Has a mandate to execute that plan.
    3. Has the time to execute it.

    Obviously, a general election will answer points 2 & 3. The problem is – what plan do the Labour & Conservative parties have? Search me.

  16. Demetrius
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    There is turbulence about and it is going to start getting very bumpy. The trouble is that Flight UK has neither parachutes nor inflatables.

    • Sir Graphus
      Posted February 25, 2010 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      But we have an in-flight movie to take our minds off it, so that's OK.

  17. gac
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    This may be off topic but at PMQ's today Mr Cameron asked why the GPD today (latest statistics) was lower than 5 years ago something that had never happened previously.

    Mr Brown said he was wrong and GPD was higher than in 2005.

    But did anybody see Jack Straw's reaction to what Mr Brown said? He clearly thought Brown was wrong and sought confirmation from the Chancellor. I think Alistair knew Brown was wrong too!

    Rep[ly: i think Mr Brown answered re 1997 rather than 2005

  18. Simon D
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    It is not just a question of cuts. The public sector does not use assets efficiently. Network Rail (NR) had several years notice that Eurostar was moving from Waterloo to St. Pancras and had ample opportunity to formulate a plan to redevelop the redundant Eurostar terminal. No work has been done to make use of this redundant site which is a prime piece of real estate. At Clapham Junction NR is taking months and months to instal much needed passenger lifts. Most days there is no sign of any work happening on the half completed project and frequently no workmen can be seen on the site.

    This sort of inefficiency is repeated all over the public sector. The private sector could not carry on like this and still remain solvent.

    My guess is that the public sector is also particularly inefficient in the way it uses offices and a big chunk of public sector office accommodation could be closed and sold off if the will existed to do something about it.

    However, nothing of this kind will be on the Government's radar. Just spin about 'Tory cuts'.

  19. Mike Stallard
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    You have been (rightly) saying this for months.
    Down here in the Fens, there are two young men of late teens whom I know.
    (XXX) comes from Poland to escape his Dad who is a farmer of 150 hectaires. (XXX) had to spend all day ploughing and helping out, so he escaped. Last week, he arrived in my lesson an hour and a half late. His hair was covered in snow. He had been running in case he missed anything. He told me that all day he had been working cutting brussels sprouts in the snow. He was tired but he wanted to learn English.
    (YYY) lives here and his Dad works in a factory. His Mum works for Social Services. He is currently unemployed having left school with no qualifications. He has a regular girl friend who comes to stay with him from time to time in his parents' house. He spends most of his time in front of the Computer playing "football".
    This evening there is to be a programme on all this by the sacred Ewan Davis. 9 p.m, I believe.
    So much for Equality. So much for Helping the Vulnerable Members of our (whose?) Society…..

  20. Michael Taylor
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    Also worth pointing out that with a private sector savings surplus of c10% of GDP, the moment it becomes clear that there's a determination for the deficit to be tamed, the stockmarket will soar.

    This in turn will allow genuine monetary growth to begin again (via the substitution of deposits for non-deposit financial assets), and the start of the recovery. Sterling can also be expected to firm. In time, the combination of sustained monetary growth (based on substitution, not credit growth) and a 'wealth effect' from the stockmarket will provide the underpinnings for domestic recovery.

    This type of dynamic is observed time and time again throughout the world – indeed, hedge funds seek out precisely these types of opportunities because the economic reaction is so predictably repeated.

    The only trouble is. . . . you need a leader who really is prepared to wrestle the fiscal giant to the ground. Let's hope your guy is up to the task.

    I write this, incidentally, also to try and give some courage to those in the Conservative Party who are inclined to buy into the 'can't cut before recovery arrives' tactic that has worked so well for Japan since 1990.

  21. Lola
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    "Later on the private sector will be squeezed again by the higher taxes to pay for the excess debts.". Y'see. There you go again. It is totally clear that the UK is overtaxed, especially on businesses, sales and personal income. So that's everything then. Raising taxes will destroy more wealth and strangle more marginal businesses. In particular increasing VAT will depress business income by the equivalent amount of the rise. Why? Well, do you ever pay more for soemthing than its value to you?

    So, the only way out of Brown's mess is to increase GDP. This means business making more money. Rasing taxes will (a) strangle business and (b) drive even more of it abroad.

    Why is it so hard to state starightforwardly that government spending of taxpayers hard earned has to be cut, quickly, and taxes have also to be cut to release us to grow the economy. Why?

  22. JimF
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    Surely this vicious circle is the path to Communism. A combination of punitive taxes and inhibitions on the private sector and growing the public sector on the back of what is left of it must eventually lead us to Communism.

  23. gac
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    Re my previous post – my apologies for thick finger syndrome – it should be GDP

    Do I qualify for a seat on the Labour front bench?

  24. Andrew Williams
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    Good example of easy money for public sector is Woking Council today paying £68m for shopping centre. Why?

  25. DBC Reed
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    We live in a mixed economy of public and private sectors where the deficiencies of one are rectified by the other. Cut public services to the bone and you will rob the private sector of customers ,both institutions and individuals who work as public servants.
    Ultimately both public and private sector workers are paid out of the nation's money supply , the public sector in a roundabout way
    via taxation.There is no logical reason why public servants should n't be directly paid (to whatever extent) out of Quantitative Easing or some other method by which the Government issues its own money instead of paying the banks to do it for them.

  26. Anguiano4340
    Posted March 4, 2010 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    That was quite nice, thanks a lot! I'll have to check out some of the other posts too…

  27. Stainless Steel Frid
    Posted May 14, 2010 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    This was a well thought documentation; you have covered a lot of points here.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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