What is being cut?

Amidst all the over hyped media talk of cuts to come and massive public sector pain ahead, let’s spare a thought today for all those who have been living with cuts for many months. People in industry lost their jobs or suffered pay cuts in the deep 2008-9 recession. Savers have seen their income from deposits slashed by the low interest rate regime. Most people today in the private sector are accepting little or no pay increase at a time when prices are rising by 5.3%.

So far the spending cuts have been modest. We have not yet cut anything like as much as Ireland. Portugal and Spain, which now have lower deficits in relation to their economies. This autumn’s public spending review is going to have to identify less desirable spending as well as waste, to get on top of the problem.

It is always a good test for an MP saying such things to ask what he is prepared to see cut from his own area. Let me make two suggestions.

The first is I want to see the South East England Regional development Agency abolished. There have been words in some papers saying that maybe we will get a cut budget for this body rather than its removal. I have even had lobbying from another quango asking me to support SEEDA. Any quango which has the time and money to write to me in support of SEEDA should have its own budget and rationale examined. Getting rid of bodies like SEEDA should be easy in this climate.

The second is the case of a new secondary school for Wokingham Borough. This was placed in the Borough’s budget with an £80 m price tag owing to the large increase in homes required by the last government’s regional planners. The last government of course did not include any money to build the school, and I warned that I did not think if they stayed in office they would come up with any. I also warned during the election that I did not expect a new giovernment to be able to afford a new school in the next three years either. The Council now has the option instead of lowering the housing targets and getting by for longer without a new school.

The UK is battling to avoid the collapse in economies we are seeing in peripheral Euroland. Last night an Irish entrepreneur was telling me that many companies are going bust in Ireland. The phoenix companeis that arise in their place may cut wages and salaries by a third, and end up paying rent at half the previous level. That is savage.

We can avoid such a path. To do so we need to stay ahead of the markets in reducing the deficit. Reducing the deficit requires us all to be realistic about public spending. It also requires vigorous and sprightly private sector led revival, which in turn requires pro enterprise policies.


  1. Martyn
    May 27, 2010

    Why stop at SEEDA? Why not also axe other useless self-serving ‘organisations’ such as Tourism SE (TSE), the SE Economic Delivery Council (SEEDC), the SE England Intelligence Network (SEE-IN), the SE Centre for the Built Environment (SECBE), the Government Office of the SE (GOSE), the Regional Economic Forum (REF), the SE Regional Select Committee (SERSC), the SE Regional Grand Committee (SERGC), the Learning & Skills Council SE (LSCSE), the SE Partnership Board (SEEPB), the SE England Council (SEEC) and the SE Leaders Board (SEELB).
    The first test for each must be ‘what value do they add to the economy?” If the answer is little or none, disband them.
    And then do the same in the other regions of England…

    Reply: I have always said I want an end to unelected regional government in all its guises.

    1. John Wrexham
      May 29, 2010

      What a mind boggling number of acronyms? What do they all do? And who gets these cushy jobs far from the front line of the private or public sector?

      A quango is a quango wherever it is in the UK, so don't restrict your quango test just to england. of course, if we really wanted to cut our public sector debt, we'd cut free the biggest quango of all – northern ireland with its 75% public sector economy.

  2. Robert K, Oxford
    May 27, 2010

    Excellent. How about every MP doing the same exercise. Surely they are best placed to a) know about public spending excesses in their constituencies and b) bring this to the attention of David Laws.
    When companies seek to cut costs they make specific decisions on, for example, cutting back production, but they also make general pronouncements that every individual should be cost conscious. This has clear implications: I would guess that the majority of people employed in the private sector, myself included, have experienced a material reduction in income in the past two years, whether through short-time working, less overtime, lower commissions, smaller bonuses or, worst of all, redundancy.
    Also, I saw the other day that civil servants were now no longer going to be allowed to travel first class. It's blood-boiling. My company abolished business and first class travel years ago. Why, in the midst of a fiscal crisis, have we been paying higher taxes on our diminishing hard-won income and travel coach, so that the civil service can sprawl in first dreaming, no doubt, of their feather-bed pensions?

    1. John Wrexham
      May 29, 2010

      Local council staff have gone second class on trains for years and years. I am amazed anybody in the public sector still travels first class as surely it's not the job of tax payers to subsidise (even more than they do already) the airlines and train companies of Britain by paying the ridiculous fares that are charged when travelling first class. I'd leave that kind of wastefulness to the status conscious businessmen of the private sector.

  3. waramess
    May 27, 2010

    Lets just hope the Coalition keep cutting and don't resort to tax increases.

    Apart from the cost increases and income reductions you have already mentioned, every family in the country has so far seen or will shortly see their income drop by almost 30 percent as a result of devaluation of the pound that has already or will shortly feed through to the wider economy.

    Looking pretty bloody already and we have only just begun.

    1. Paul Hield
      May 28, 2010

      Tax cuts are job cuts… if the public sector was "crowding out" the private sector competing for employees then there is a case for public spending cuts. But in our current situation, spending cuts will not stimulate the economy, and tax rises would not damge it either, in fact tax rises would ensure that money kept flowing through the economy creating wealth in the process… its just that the wealth created would be more evenly spread with the additional benefts of the wealth created by those who are now heading for months/years of idleness on the dole. They may not be creating much wealth, but however inefficient government spending is, it has to be more efficient that sitting at home on the dole.

      1. waramess
        May 29, 2010

        Public sector jobs are a cost to the economy. Whether they are necessary or not they are a cost. Cut the jobs and reduce public sector spending whilst at the same time releasing labour to the free market.

        This can't be done seamlessly and there will be a period of time when unemployment will rise but, even with the hurdle of the minimum wage the unemployed will find work.

        Blame this miserable state of affairs not on the cutters but on those who employed such a vast number to the public sector in the first place.

        I'm afraid I cannot agree that tax increases would not adversely affect the economy; already the state is spending 53 percent out of one hundred percent of the nations income. At what point do you think damage would be done?

        Tax cuts must be the way forward combined with cutting government spending and to argue that you need to keep money circulating in the economy is only of interest if you wish to create a series of false bubbles.

        Shrink the size of the state and grow the size of the private sector, it is the only way to prosperity; allow the circulation of money to find its own level and let people become comfortable with spending again.

        Politicians and vested interests will not always be very happy with this because all they want is a quick fix but it is the soundest and most sure way out of the recession.

        1. Paul Hield
          June 1, 2010

          Gordon Brown was rightly accused over the NI hike of confusing the economy with the state. His policy of raising employer's NI would adversely affect employment (not so on the employee's side however). But I think you are also making a similar mistake, identifying the private sector with the entire economy.
          This may be because of imprecise use of the term "wealth creation", which may be contrasted to wealth accumulation. Using the broarder economist's definition of wealth creation, teaching a child to read is a form of wealth creation, it cannot by definition be of no value simply because the teacher was paid through taxes rather than school fees.
          So your assertion that "public sector jobs are a cost to the economy" is patently inadequate unless you choose your narrow definition of the economy.
          Our country needs to invest in capital, human and infrastructure. We must find ways to divert available cash away from consumption we cannot afford (because we have not earned it) and into investment. This requires clarity of thought, not the "sloganising" of issues.

          Reply: I agree with you that many public sector jobs are valuable and make an important contribution to our economy. However, the public sector is in massive deficit and needs more tax revenue to pay the bills. I am applying my mind to how we can raise that extra revenue from growth.

  4. Johnny Norfolk
    May 27, 2010

    The public sector needs the workersnot the other way round. Its just the same in Europe just far too big for their boots.and WE CAN'T AFFORD THEM ANYMORE

    1. Paul Hield
      May 28, 2010

      Neither the public nor private sectors have been able to find gainful employment for between 7 and 8 million of our fellow citizens. It outrageous that these many people are able to claim benefits from the state whilst doing nothing in return, it is even more outrageous that society has been unable (or in the case of the Tory right wing) unwilling to find the money (through taxes) to employ these people.

      True a taxpayer may not benfit directly when a child falling behind is taught to read by a classroom assistant, but society as a whole is made richer. And the taxes used to pay a classroom assistant will be respent in the economy, albeit for the benefit of the assistant and not the original tax payer.

      1. Bernard
        May 28, 2010

        Hi Paul,

        I think the taxpayer can easily and directly see the benefit of teaching the failing child to read.

        If you look at the overall tax-take, and divide by the number of people in the country, you will very quickly see that 90% of UK citizens are net users of tax-funded services rather than net payers of tax. Astonishing, but true.

        If we can reverse a "net-taker" into a "net-payer", all tax payers will get a direct benefit. And that's much more likely if you can read!

        I think Mr Redwood might say that teaching children to read is like growing money. Setting up Regional Development Agencies in an attempt to decide which industries should thrive in each region – well, words fail me. Cut RDAs, not schools.

        Anyway, I liked your comment. The numbers of economically inactive are just eye-watering eh?

        Best regards,


      2. SJB
        May 28, 2010

        Do you remember Labour's 1997 election slogan of "Education, education, education," Paul? During their 13 years in government they poured billions into the state education system. But consider the outcome: "A fifth of teenagers leave school so illiterate and innumerate they are incapable of dealing with the challenges of everyday life, a study has found." http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/may/07/p

  5. Ken Adams
    May 27, 2010

    Funny I thought all the RDAs and Regional Assemblies were going to be abolished, that was certainly the argument advanced a little while ago??


    1. Chris H
      May 28, 2010

      I fear that these development agencies might cling on to life through the attitude and influence of the pro-Europe Liberal Democrats. My intuition keeps telling me that all the "proposals" to abolish this or that will actually be compromised; and that in fact the process of "abolition" will not happen in the way we expect. I also wonder whether Europe has now got its tentacles too far into the workings of the country to actually be able to carry out abolition at all. I recently had a tourist booklet through the post, celebrating the "nine regions of England"….hanged if I can remember who produced it now, because I threw it straight out…..but just goes to show how it's already creeping into people's lives.

  6. Demetrius
    May 27, 2010

    Just about right, there is a lot to go at and the sooner the better. What is little understood is the way so many of these agencies and other public sector bodies have been "feeding off" one another.

    This morning on BBC Digi News you were very patient and clear in dealing with the newsreader on the issue of CGT and tax rates. Is he really that thick or does he have to pretend to be because it is the BBC?

  7. Adam Collyer
    May 27, 2010

    Why on earth does it cost £80 million to build a school? That sounds like around four times too much to me.

    1. Paul Hield
      May 28, 2010

      How much does it cost to build a shopping mall?

    2. Mark
      May 28, 2010


  8. FaustiesBlog
    May 27, 2010

    Again, very sensible. The trouble with democracy is that people like to vote themselves a chunk of other people's money – which, as a libertarian, I don't believe they have the right to do.

    Were we all rational beings, putting the interests of the country, as a whole, ahead of our personal self interest, we would be thinking long-term, and not voting for short-term, personal gain.

    We are in this mess precisely because Labour purchased a client state (including immigrants) with our tax pounds. Now, that client state is so large, it has a massive proportion of the vote and is in danger of eating the goose that laid the golden eggs.

    It is right to slash and burn. We ought to become a nation of self-reliant, confident people who contribute to the economy and the stability of a nation. That way lies personal and national pride – as well as a higher standing in the world.

    Excellent article in the Times, John. I've never encountered such a clear argument on such a contentious issue.

    1. Paul Hield
      May 28, 2010

      Go ahead and create 7 million jobs, the private sector has not managed this in 30 years. In the mean time, stop paying people to do nothing and give them jobs to do.

      1. FaustiesBlog
        May 28, 2010

        Jobs in the public sector do not create wealth, and therefore, they cannot create growth. How do you think we might reduce the deficit, if we don't produce wealth? Where will the money come from?

        Where will the money come from to pay for those generous public sector jobs, which are merely make-work, and fundamentally useless?

        The reason the private sector hasn't created jobs in the last few years is because of the suffocating regulations that business have to comply with. No small business can afford to start up having to deal with that amount of regulation – and small businesses are where growth always start.

        I don't expect left-wingers to understand that principle, however.

  9. StevenL
    May 27, 2010

    "Reducing the deficit requires us all to be realistic about public spending" (JR)

    The thing is, most of the people in town halls and quangoland that are responsible for spending money don't live anywhere near the real world.

    Some of them are still hiring people!

  10. Matt
    May 27, 2010

    But neither of these are cuts in your specific area John. The school hasn't been allocated money and so the money cannot be "cut" – unless you are utilising some pretty dodgy accounting practice. You seem to be using this as another angle to have a dig at the housing allocations. I'd still like to know if they're not going to built in Wokingham then where are they to be built – there is still enormous under supply of housing in the UK.

    I agree SEEDA could be cut with little impact but would you not still need some body responsible for regional planning? Berkshire local authorities are really too small to manage such a role.

    1. John Wrexham
      May 29, 2010

      Housing is being purposely kept in short supply as everyone knows that it was only the housing bubble that created the illusion of prosperity last time and our political class don't appear to have any better ideas on how to get UK plc back into the black and to pay our way in the world. Can you imagine any other product where the people who have it could purposely create a system that denies that same product to other people in order to increase their own wealth. such a system is many things, but it is not the free market.

      The last government overly relied on consumer confidence based on house values to keep the economy going. Surely the coalition can't be going to make the same mistake!

  11. Trevor
    May 27, 2010

    I am a bit puzzled – has the need for new housing gone away? If so, where – or are you just passing the buck on the problem. A new school will be needed somewhere.

    1. Mark
      May 28, 2010

      Control immigration and provide better support for families rather than encouraging family atomisation, and the need for more houses drops fast – apart from replacing the hamster hutch slums that pass for housing these days.

  12. Acorn
    May 27, 2010

    I have a basic objection to being double taxed. The vast majority of my investments were payed for with directly taxed money. My company pension wasn't, but Gordon found a way round that. I use up my ISA allowance every year. I expect some bugger will snatch that away before long. Why do these b*****ds hate me so much?

    PS. Can you delay the CGT rise for three months. I have to give my tenants two months notice to piss off. I will buy them tents as a going away present 🙂

    BTW. If you want to see some engineering effort on an oil spill, have a look at Kent Well's Tech Update video at BP. I want to be a sub-sea ROV driver when I grow up.

  13. Mike Stallard
    May 27, 2010

    I happen to be part of the "vulnerable" because I am an OAP.
    How do I cut back?
    1. The National Health. I have been recently offered two extremely expensive procedures which I could do without, so I did.
    2. Local schools. I worked out that at the moment, every single person in UK is being given about £2,000 a year for their education! This includes OAPs like myself and all the people who have already reached 18 years old. If only a fraction of this money were spent in the right place – on the schools themselves – let me guess: perhaps £9,000 per pupil might be spent direct. Our local school is being "gifted" (ie wasted) £25,000,000 in the next few years so that it can become "eco friendly".
    3. The fuel allowance I regard as pure cheek. The bus pass I could do without too.

    PS. Congratulations – today you made the Leader of the Telegraph! And with a picture too! And the letter!

  14. GeoffH
    May 27, 2010

    I post here because I fear any comment on the CGT thread will now be missed.

    May I make a suggestion?

    I'm sure you'll agree that the press are nothing but mischief makers when covering your comments both in the House, in interview and here on any changes in the CGT regime.

    And since I'm certain that you never intended to pose your comments and suggestion as 'threat' or a 'split' in the coalition it would, I feel, be helpful if you preface these things with "This is not a threat or hint at rebellion but comments posed in a constructive manner…." or some such. And repeat it at the beginning of every interview.

    Eventually the message will get through.

    Ask your pal David Davis to do the same.

  15. Lola
    May 27, 2010

    How about the MP's pension scheme? To set an example for what has to happen in the public sector.

  16. no one
    May 27, 2010

    isnt wokingham where they had a local referendum a few years ago asking the public if they wanted a – to spend lots on schools, b – to spend medium on school, or c – spend as little as possible on schools

    and didnt the public vote massively in favour of spend as little as possible?

    and didnt the local politicos ignore this and go ahead and spend lots anyway?

    you couldnt make it up

    tell me ive made a mistake and my memory is fading?

  17. Paul A
    May 27, 2010

    I agree SEEDA must go and soon

  18. Nick Macorison
    May 27, 2010

    Yet again a very interesting article John.

    When one hears stories of cuts in private sector businesses of 10% – 15%, it is horrifying that the Opposition complain of cuts of less than 1%!!!! its simply shocking

    I think it would be a very good idea, as robert from oxford suggested, if all MPs could look at their constituencies, and look at things which could be cut.

    Look forward to seeing you on Question time tonight

    Best Wishes

    Nick Macorison

    1. John Wrexham
      May 29, 2010

      MPs aren't unique sources of wisdom, so why should they be the arbiters of where the cuts are made? Petty dictators are no solution. Considering most MPs are elected with less than 50% of the vote, they don't even represent a majority of people who vote, let alone the population as a whole. MPs should press their case with the relevant government ministers or councils. If they can't persuade their front benchers, then perhaps they need to take another look at their arguments.

  19. John C
    May 27, 2010

    I really hope that Cameron abides by his promise to publish all public spending over £25,000 on the web. (And force local councils, police and Quangos to do the same.)

    It might seem like a minor thing but I am convinced it could have a huge impact on wasteful spending. This assumes that the detail published is honest and not put into meaningless 'Yes minister' categories / classifications so we can't tell what the money was actually spent on.

    There should be no need for the overpaid members of IPSA to control MPs' expenses. A simple on-line publication of every claim made (including those rejected) is the best way to ensure that no MP makes a silly claim.

    Imagine trying to justify to the local newspaper your claim for a £5,000 TV? Imagine trying to justify claiming £400 per month for food – without receipts? Exactly! No-one would make such a claim.

  20. Ex Liverpool rioter
    May 28, 2010

    WE do seem to be in a "Phoney war"…….lots of talk very little action. Ok only 2 weeks in but i would have thought we seen more detail by now.

    Can't help but think of the Wilson gov of 1967, Wilson tried to blag his way (White heat etc) but Jim Calahan dropped him in it. Both should have devalued when they 1st took office.

    I feel VERY strongly that we will be forced at some point to devalue. I hate the idea of "DC" having to go on TV & talk about the "Pound in your pocket"…….

    I feel VERY strongly that DC & co are on the right path, little or NO tax for those @ the bottom & SAVING & investment must no longer be dirty words.

    1. John Wrexham
      May 29, 2010

      We don't need to devalue, we don't have exchange controls any more and the pound has already dropped in value. The pound in your pocket is worth a lot less than it did a few years back, but with the euro losing value, it may stage a revival. Perhaps we could go Chinese and purposely undervalue our currency in order to make imports more expensive and increase our businesses' international competitiveness?

      1. Ex Liverpool rioter
        May 29, 2010

        Thanks for your thoughts………….however the drop in the value of the £ is just the start…….think about it. Brown has bankupted our banks, we are almost out of Northsea oil & gas,…..the Ponzi/casico banking fraud is almost over……….

        We got 15% of our earnings from "The City"…….that sum is going to be cut by a massive amout. We will as i say be almost out of Oil & Gas thus we lost the income we had exporting it & now we need to pay EVER larger sums to import it.

        What do we export?

        200 K cars a year…….not much else. Brown allowed just about everything else to be "offshored" away.

        Once the FED stops surpporting the £ (German minster said yeasaday that they have been doing so)…..& we return to the REAL World……..as a Bankupt people with little to export…..

        As Jim Rogers has said "The £ will crash, it will go to less than a $".


  21. English Pensioner
    May 28, 2010

    What about the "charities" set up by Labour and funded (main)ly from the Public purse?
    Typical are the following which received (little-ed)of their income from public donations and the rest from the government
    Action on Smoking and Health
    Alcohol Concern
    National Voices

    These are just three that I have been made aware of, I'm sure there are many more. And while cuts are being made, what about the Charity Commission itself, which seems to have developed into a politically correct left wing organisation?

  22. Paul Hield
    May 28, 2010

    Sorry Teressa, the "Nasty Party" has not gone away. They just held their tongues till after the election.

    Here is a classic example of special pleading on behalf of the rich who have already taken a greater share of the wealth created by society and now have money to spare for investments but don't want to pay their share of tax on the income generated when those investments appreciate in value.

    True there may be some benefit in attracting foreign investors here by offering them no tax, but that is just starting a race to the bottom, other counties can do the same, so no long term advantage will acrue…. except that the already wealthy will have created another way to avoid paying tax.

    1. M.A.N.
      May 28, 2010

      How do you know how much 'people have to spare'?. -You can almost sense the seething socilaists have for any money that isnt redistributed 'for the common good'. I can see no downsides to having rich people living here in the uk tax free. The bulk of thier earnings are probably not earnt here anyway. They CHOOSE to live here, what part of that dont you understand. The amount some of these individuals spend in London is staggering. Private schools, universities, restaurants, cars, helicopter charters, taxis, limos, take aways, clothes etc,. Sorry to spoil your egalitarian dream but rich people need to pass on as much as possible to their heirs for the whole cycle to start again. Its never been any different . Unpalatable as it may be to you , most people want more money. There must be prizes in life.

    2. Jamess
      May 28, 2010

      The "rich" might not have spent the effort finding and making a product or service that would be sufficiently good that society would be willing to voluntarily pay money for if they knew that their money was going to be involuntarily taken away and "invested" in subsidising those who sold and made a product or service no one would willingly depart with money for.

      1. Paul Hield
        May 29, 2010

        Whether you are rich depends rather more on your bargaining power than on the value your efforts create. A doctor is not paid 10x a sewage worker because the doctor's efforts lead to a greater increase in life expectancy than clean drinking water. No, a doctor is paid well because having skills in short supply he has greater bargaining power.

        Bill Gates did not write "Windows" because he thought he would become fabulously wealthy, he was probably amazed at his good fortune and at the outset would have beed delighted to learn that he'd make even a few $million.

        As a highly skilled aerospace engineer I design products worth hundreds of £millions, but cannot secure my share of the value I create because of my weak bargaining position. But that does not deter me from making enormous contributions to the wealth of our nation.

        Are health care workers being subsidised to do jobs "no one would willingly depart with money for", or class room asistants teaching kids with learning difficulties, or those who empty our bins, clean our streets, fight fires, catch criminals, defend the nation, research diseases. It is just not true that public spending is of no value. True the rich could probably look after themselves. But as Warren Buffet freely admits, in another era he would have been the weakling left out to die in the cold. He knows it is only the society within which he lives that enables him to accumulate his wealth.

        1. Jamess
          May 29, 2010

          Of course not all public spending is of no value. Doctors and nurses are doing jobs which people would willingly depart with money for (hence in most instances health care could be happily provided by the private sector).

          Some jobs need to be performed by the public sector (justice, defence etc) but where the private sector can take over it is likely to do a better job than the private sector, after all if job security lies in pleasing the customer, the private sector will seek to serve the public, whilst the public sector will seek to please Whitehall.

          If the majority of people want to help the poor (and the success of charities in the UK demonstrate that they want to) they will give voluntarily to charities helping the poor, and we don't need government to take taxes, skim off a bit for themselves, and give the remaining money away to those who most need it/are most likely to vote for them.

        2. M.A.N.
          May 30, 2010

          I can come to no other conclusion other than you are a fool. Why do socialists think they speak for other peoples money?. How the hell do you know Bill gates didnt want to be rich. You are envious of thier wealth, simple as that. By the way you do not have a right to 'secure' any part of what you produce, its that mindset that got us into the trouble were in now. If you are so 'highly skilled', start your own business, you do not have any right to your employers wealth, you are a commodity, if you wern't employed someone esle would be in your place. Public spending should be just enough to do the job, no more. Brown increased it to an unsustainable size, oh and guess what hes going to clear off and let someone else sort it out. Brilliant.

    3. John Wrexham
      May 29, 2010

      Paul, you are right. There are a lot of vested interests pleading for special treatment so that you get the ridiculous situation where buy to let landlords are taxed less on their profits than people going out to work in the real economy.

      Bring on the mansion tax and raise the personal tax allowance so that no one earning less than someone working full time on the minimum wage pays tax. With higher personal tax allowances, we could start scrapping these bureaucratic tax credits. Both these changes would benefit businesses too.

      The other question is why do we have to rely on foreign investors to pull us out of the hole we have dug ourselves. Is the entrepreneurial spirit in the UK completely dead?

  23. Rare Breed
    May 28, 2010


    If it is of any consolation I've just been talking to public sector worker who has spoken of "emails" that have ordered a freeze on spending any more money on existing commitments with Zero increase in indiviual contracts. Those contracts inthe pipeline are either being shelved or paired down to the bare minimum. If its not in the pipelien yet then the pipeline is being closed.

    This has only just happened this week.


  24. StevenL
    May 28, 2010

    "… the “Nasty Party” has not gone away. They just held their tongues till after the election."

    Whatever. At least the BANKRUPTCY PARTY have gone away.

    You know what, I'm kind of liking this coalition, the debates we're having, people serious about sorting out all the various problems. I have no problem having these discussions with Lib Dems, Tories, UKIPers, even the thick ex-labour voters that vote BNP now have some genuine grievances on housing and immigration that I'm happy to discuss with them.

    Labour, however, should be ostracised from the debate for say, I dunno, one year. GO AWAY!

  25. John Wrexham
    May 29, 2010

    When it comes to cuts, let's start at the top:

    MPs to be paid twice or three times the median UK salary.
    Ministers to be paid three or four times the median UK salary.

    When UK plc does well, their pay goes up and when the country's economy performs poorly their pay goes down. Governments, ministers and politicians constantly claim they are the ones who run the economy and have thew policies to turn it around, prove it. I am afraid I am very sceptical that they are in charge at all.

  26. CatherineM
    May 29, 2010

    It is sad to think that the cuts will result in job losses but those made unemployed should remember who created their invariably non-job in the first place, the Labour government. Many of us working in the private sector have lived with the threat of job losses all our lives, even during the boom years as as management looked to create an ever more efficient, lean organisation. Travel invariably has to be justified and pre-approved and expenses tightly scrutinised. Non-performers are shown the door early, as are those with high sick or absentee records. The idea that people can be hired to man phones that rarely ring is also inceivable in the private sector. It looks to me as though public sector workers are now getting a taste of what the rest of us have lived with for years. Yet we don't have the benefit of that nice fat public-paid-for pension at the end of it.

  27. Tim Carpenter (Liber
    May 29, 2010

    The bald fact is we could not, cannot and will not be able to afford the massive State apparatus that we now have and many vested interests have become accustomed to.

    Cutting QANGOs and especially the "enemy within the gates" that are the Regional Agencies and their incestuous inter-linking entities* is all fine and dandy but merely scratches the surface.

    We need to cut expenditure by £150bln – 20-25% – before we even touch the debt built up by Brown. Forget blaming "bankers"**, "Bankers" did not blow that money on overheads, PFIs and rentals masquerading as "investment". If all the spending was "investment" why does the spending persist year on year? Gordon Brown was deceiving the public who, I think, mostly wanted to be deceived. He did not fool me for a moment. Imagine if a Financial Director or CEO presented rentals and overheads as "investment" to the Board, the Taxman or to Shareholders. Someone should see if Brown as a case to answer in court.

    The biggest problem is Vested Interests and it will need resolve and clear explanations about the consequences of inaction. I totally agree we need a business-friendly tax regime. We need low corporate taxes, low or zero capital gains taxes and minimal regulation. We need to make the UK the HK of Europe.

    The only way to create real jobs is for people inside and outside of the UK want to buy what we produce. They will only do that if it is better value than the competition. Any Union that puts jobs before productivity and viability is piddling into their own bathwater in the hope of warming it up.

    p.s. I did enjoy our appearance on QT.

    * if such bodies add value to business, then they should be truly independent, not granted any form of monopoly and self-funding from subscriptions.
    **I would rather Northern Rock was left to be sold for a penny than for the State to show it blinked first, which it did and thus we saw the Bankers react as any self-interested group would. There is no use the Left getting on any high horse, for the Unions have exploited a blinking government many times in the past!

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