The government’s paradox on spending

 

           Listening to Mr Clegg this morning, I was struck by the central paradox. He said the most important thing the government was doing was a short term fix to cut the deficit. He rightly argued that getting on top of the deficit was essential for economic growth and stability in the future.  At the same time he wanted to stress that the government has just restored the earnings link for pensioners, and introduced more spending in schools for certain pupils through the enhanced pupil premia. Good news is higher spending, yet if you are serious about getting the deficit down you need to spend less.

           In an age of  deficit reduction politicians have to find things other than higher public spending which please voters. We need a culture where giving voters greater freedoms is a good in itself, and where we talk about the results of public spending rather than the quantities of it. Our political language does not seem yet to have accommodated the good news of doing more for less. Cutting bureaucracy by removing requirements is a way to get people on side and cut the deficit at the same time.

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58 Comments

  1. Robert Eve
    Posted April 11, 2011 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Keep saying it John.

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 11, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

      It seems very out of character for Cameron to attack the so called black community and its general under achievement in gaining places at Oxford in this childish way – why is he doing it and what solutions does he propose?

  2. Tim Almond
    Posted April 11, 2011 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    This is why Lansley’s reforms are so crucial. Not just in improving health, but in shining a light on the benefits of people having a choice rather than using government for everything.

    What you have to do is to come up with a language that talks of reward, that for instance, the government has taken away a meal out with my family by rescuing the Portugeuse economy from it’s own incompetence. Or that paying for the Olympics means you can’t take your family on a weekend away.

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 11, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      But you will be able to observe the empty white elephant stadia for year to come.

  3. Pete Chown
    Posted April 11, 2011 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    How about leaving the EU? That would be a (very large) spending cut, and it would please voters.

    Reply: Is that why the voters keep voting for pro EU parties and candidates?

    • APL
      Posted April 11, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      JR: “Is that why the voters keep voting for pro EU parties and candidates?”

      Finally, John Redwood recognises the Tory party as currently incarnated is a Pro European Union party.

      Then it is for people like you John, loyal Tories despite the betrayal of our country by your party to do something about the rotten hulk of the Tory party!

      Reply: I was talking about the majority who vote for Labour and Lib Dems. Some of us Conservatives do vote against more integration and make the case for a different relationship with the EU

      • Simon
        Posted April 11, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

        John ,

        You at least make an effort to find out what we think .

        Pompous Kenneth Clarke and his ilk clearly do not think the electorate have anything to say worth listening to .

        Oh that we could reinstate the death penalty for treason and make examples of a few of them .

        • lifelogic
          Posted April 11, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

          We would have to get out of the EU first – not that I would want to see any capital punishment – not even for Ken Clarke or Fred Goodwin.

          A 100% selective pension tax would be sufficient.

      • JimF
        Posted April 11, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

        I think they don’t so much vote for the EU as vote for that nice (as-was) Mr Clegg and his “changed politics” and the nice hand-outs of that Mr Brown and his party. I’m pretty sure that a Labour or Lib Dem party which said “we’ll leave the EU and increase your child benefit/jobseekers allowance/tax credits/state pension instead of paying for the EU” would enjoy an increased level of support.

      • APL
        Posted April 11, 2011 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

        JR: “Some of us Conservatives do vote against more integration and make the case for a different relationship with the EU”

        The important word in your sentence Mr Redwood is ‘Some’.

        I am afraid your movement to change the Party from within is a failure. It has been ever since you first articulated such a strategy. The likes of Clarke, Cameron and May have a stranglehold on the party, they even select the candidates under the guise of equality and ‘representation of minorities’. The more the central party controls the type and caliber of candidate the more control the Party exerts over its MPs.

        You could be equally influential on the Tory Party if you left it. That is to say have no influence at all. But the leaving of the party might cause tremor, who knows three or four similar minded independent conservatives could have more influence outside the party than you currently wield inside.

        Reply: I do not agree

        • Simon
          Posted April 13, 2011 at 9:50 am | Permalink

          Quote “The more the central party controls the type and caliber of candidate the more control the Party exerts over its MPs.”

          Thanks for hilighting the link between the decline in quality of MP’s of the three main parties with the increase in power the party exerts over them .

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 11, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      People have no choice with the current party structures and the voting system and they are forced to vote with one vote on a panache of issues. Also the Tories and Cameron pretended to be Euro sceptic and many were taken in by Cast Iron’s carefully worded promises. A bit like a good second hand care salesman.

    • James Matthews
      Posted April 11, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      Voters keep voting for pro EU parties and candidates because they are told that to do anything else is to waste their vote and mostly they believe it because, under FPTP with two rich duopoly parties, it is pretty much true. They thus vote to keep out the party the most dislike, rather than the policies they actually want. Note, however, how much better UKIP does in proportional (ish) European elections.

      AV may change that a little, though I am sure John hopes it won’t.

      Reply: I want change, but not the kind that makes it even more likely we have log jammed Parliaments with more Lib dem MPs.

      • lifelogic
        Posted April 11, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

        I certainly do not want AV it will not help to give a decisive government and that is needed we will just get endless compromise with socialism.

        The only hope, slim though it is, is a sensible Tory party soon.

        • Anthony Harrison
          Posted April 13, 2011 at 9:21 am | Permalink

          I fear that hope is not so much slim as barely visible through the Hubble Space Telescope. Many of us decided years ago that the Tories were a lost cause; I am especially disappointed that people of the calibre of John Redwood persist in their loyalty to that party. I do sometimes wonder what John’s motivation is, apart from loyalty to his constituents, in clinging to this raft built from the wreckage while Cameron steers in the wrong direction using a bent pole…

          • lifelogic
            Posted April 15, 2011 at 6:34 am | Permalink

            But the alternatives have have no hope whatever of being in power.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted April 11, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

      We poor old voters aren’t given the choice. UKIP isn’t a viable party and the Conservatives lied and lied when in opposition. Do you really want me to vote EDL or BNP?

      • Anthony Harrison
        Posted April 13, 2011 at 9:23 am | Permalink

        UKIP will instantly become viable if more people vote for it. Nearly a million did so last May, and I hope profoundly that UKIP will do well this May – well enough to build further its electoral significance and put the frighteners on Cameron & Co.

    • Pete Chown
      Posted April 12, 2011 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      When deciding how to vote in an election, people have to consider all kinds of things, not just the EU. That, I think, is the reason why most people voted for pro-EU parties last time.

      Angus Reid did a poll last December that asked only about EU membership. In a hypothetical referendum on membership, 27% would vote for Britain to remain a member, while 48% would vote for Britain to leave. (The remainder didn’t know or would not vote.)

      That was the reason I said leaving the EU would be popular.

  4. startledcod
    Posted April 11, 2011 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Hear, hear. One of your sharpest posts John.

    Real de-regulation is a zero cost, to the state, boost for everyone; trusting individuals who are almost inherently honest and good. In fact de-regulation could reduce the cost to the state by reassigning or losing the staff currently paid to ensure compliance with and enforce pointless rules.

    You are spot on about changing the language of government too. Keep up the good work.

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 11, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

      Quite right – since many in the state sector do rather worse than just doing no good they actually inconvenience real productive workers. Countless examples exist. This is a win win win situation if these jobs and regulations go.

      The problem is the private sector can do things for years on end that serve no purpose, inconvenience many and cost a fortune. There is no control beyond MPs and that is clearly no real control at all. What do the MPs, in general, care about this waste not one jot until they run out of taxpayers money!

      • lifelogic
        Posted April 11, 2011 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

        I meant the “state sector” not the “private sector” though in fact regulations often make the private sector do pointless things too. That is why it can be win, win, win often just to fire people and cut the pointless regulations.

  5. acorn
    Posted April 11, 2011 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Previously at the EU. (JR; please don’t let Lifelogic read this, I fear for his blood pressure). 😉

    (refers to a site which reports MEPs travel privileges. )

    Keep in mind that it is possible to become a millionaire in five years as an MEP.

    • APL
      Posted April 11, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      acorn: “Keep in mind that it is possible to become a millionaire in five years as an MEP.”

      Who to choose from? We are spoilt for choice. Just now, I can think of two sitting in the Lords collecting the pension from the EU and anticipating a pension from Westminster too.

      • lifelogic
        Posted April 11, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

        A few nice earners on the side like BBC trustees too.

        • APL
          Posted April 11, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

          lifelogic: “A few nice earners on the side like BBC trustees too.”

          Oh yes. I was being a little partisan. It’s true the cancer runs across party lines.

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 11, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      I would not mind MPs getting rich if they did an efficient jobs not wasting money.

      Although I tend to think they should not have special tax laws as they currently do.

      I cannot help feel, that rather like the D.G. at the BBC, unpaid ones would do a far better job. Paid ones end taking the party line and ignore voters out of a pathetic career self interest.

  6. oldtimer
    Posted April 11, 2011 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    If Mr Clegg “… said the most important thing the government was doing was a short term fix to cut the deficit” then he is surely mistaken in thinking that this is a short term operation. The issue at hand is not just the deficit but also the public debt, which continues to balloon upwards for the projected life of this Parliament. It will require from 5 to 10 years to sort it out – that does not sound short term to me.

    • alan jutson
      Posted April 11, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      Oldtimer

      Ref “short term fix”

      This comment really does show that the Liberal Democrates do not like being part of this Deficit reduction programme (giving out realistic news about the Government having to live within its means) at all, and the sooner they can start spending money again, on their own pet projects, then the better they will like it.

      The sooner this government and all political parties, get the message that we do not want them in our lives, organising and arranging almost everything at enourmous cost, the better.

      I simply do not want politicians to try and bribe me, for my vote, with my money, it is obscene and dishonest !

      The target for government spending should be to ge down to 20% of GDP and no more, it was this figure many, many decades ago before we had government interference and control on almost everything.

  7. Martin Ryder
    Posted April 11, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood

    Your comment on the public voting for pro-EU parties.

    I voted Conservative because I believed that a Conservative government would be EU-sceptic and would push back against the European Commission and tell them that we consider the British Parliament to be superior to all other legislatures where British Law was concerned and that Parliament would reject EU directives, etc if we did not approve of them.

    However the British Parliament, led by the Conservatives, does not believe that it is superior. It believes that it is a super-county council that must do everything that the EU Commission, and its lapdog the EU Parliament, tells it to do. I watched the recent parliamentary debate and was very disappointed at the way that the Conservative party MPs behaved and voted. They were jeering at those who voted for the UK against the EU.

    So who do I vote for? I understand that the Conservatives have the albatross of the Liberal Democrats hanging around their necks but I do not see any spark of independence in the Conservative members of the Cabinet. Labour and the Liberal Democrats are appalling people and there is no way that I could vote for them.

    The obvious answer to my question is UKIP but they are unlikely to ever form a government, or even form part of a coalition, basically because the party has no people of sufficient stature to form a goverment and the electorate are aware of this. I do not wish to waste my vote and so will only vote UKIP in the European elections.

    So who do I vote for?

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted April 11, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      The ‘Albatross’ seems rather convenient.

      Mr Redwood. There are plenty of cuts which the people would love to be made. I can’t see your party ever making them though. Too many leftist tendencies.

      Perhaps the lack of resistance to AV from Mr Cameron is because he quite likes being in a coalition.

    • JoolsB
      Posted April 12, 2011 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      I’m sure this is a dilemma for a lot of Conservative voters. We are being taken for granted because where else do we go? I have voted Conservative all my life and was a party member until I resigned in disgust at the supine bunch of MPs representing us who won’t stand up for us against Europe or against the discrimination against their own, the very people who voted for them, the English who are bearing the brunt of the cuts whilst the rest of the UK is still spending and yet not one MP with an English seat is standing up for us and asking why only their constituents now pay prescription charges or why only English students will pay £9,000 a year to go to university. They daren’t even mention the words England or Europe. It seems Mr. Cameron is more interested in pleasing his Lib Dem chums & the Celtic nations than his constituents. I think a lot of people will vote UKIP next time, I know I will.

  8. REPay
    Posted April 11, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    As I suggested to Tory HQ when i worked there briefly in 2005 they should start talking about the sustainability of public services (code for salaries and pensions) and public finances. That way they use more positive language than the cut and spend vocab of today.

    If people realized how unstainable the public sector is we would not live in the fantasy world of Ed Balls where everything will go back to normal and we can continue to spend, spend, spend…

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 11, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      Good old Balls’s (and BBC) “economics” pay people in labour areas to dig holes and fill them in again (if they can bury a few private wealthy capitalist businesses in the process so much the better). That way can can continue to spend and lift the economy just as you can lift yourself up by putting your shoe laces.

      A first in PPE at Keeble and a zoologist farther I understand! What do these Universities teach in economics? Could his father also not have explained basic evolution to him?

      I think the only explanation is that he has some socialist “thinking” genes rather than normal rational ones. I assume for some good vestigial evolutionary reason – perhaps Richard Dawkins could suggest why this often so destructive gene “socialist thinking gene” arose and why it persists so commonly.

  9. BobE
    Posted April 11, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    If enough of us vote UKIP then they would attract the right people. We just need to get to the tipping point. But it might solve itself if the Euro goes belly up, so chin up.

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 11, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      If AV goes through (unlikely) there will be very many UKIP first votes Tory and others second I suspect as it is likely to be closer to the voting in the EURO elections where UKIP were third.

      • BobE
        Posted April 11, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

        Its better in a safe Tory seat to vote Labour First and UKIP second. That will give the UKIP candidate the best chance. If you vote UKIP first then the safe candidate might get through so its important to sink the first vote below 50%.

  10. Rupert Lescott
    Posted April 11, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Excellent points, John – they raise the underlying point that, unfortunately, the Right has yet to summon the courage to frame the debate in its own terms, rather than those determined by the Left. For example, ‘cuts’ ( we can discuss whether these are actually occurring elsewhere) being ‘the fault’ of someone, rather than ‘thanks to’ someone.

    We must argue on our terms, not cede an important element of the argument to others.

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 11, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      Indeed we must frame the debate properly (the opposite of the habitual BBC framing).

      It is highly moral to keep your own money and use it wisely rather than give it to the state to waste or buy votes or use to inconvenience us, or give to the feckless, or spend on green religions or pointless wars or big state propaganda.

      The moral thing is to use your money well directly – it benefits all if you do.

      Cut out the middle man (applies to banking too).

    • norman
      Posted April 11, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

      The problem is that we have already ceded the argument lock, stock and barrel to the left, thus we are left arguing about trivialities. Should we cut spending by 0.6% or 0.3% (when the deficit is around 25%)? Should we spend (waste IMHO) £6bn extra on a ‘no child left behind’ scheme (that in the USA achieved, with the uncanny ‘success’ that only governments thinking they can pick winners manage, the record of leaving more children behind than ever) or should we spend it somewhere else? Should we cut defence spending by £x bn or £(x+2) bn? Should we raise NI by 2% or 3%? Should we raise NHS spending by £y bn or £(2*y) bn?

      Michael Gove and Eric Pickles stand out as people getting things done (IDS reforms had potential but his hands were tied by the ‘fairness’ doctrine as well as a task that would make Hercules balk) but on the whole we’re reduced to arguing about degrees of statism.

  11. Mike Fowle
    Posted April 11, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Fully agree, but…

    A teacher (and NUT official) who took part in the march the other weekend was featured all over my local paper, saying that there was no need for any cuts at all. Children are seen regularly demonstrating against library closures in Suffolk. When children are brought up like this, it is not surprising that it is so difficult to make headway with economic realism.

  12. James Matthews
    Posted April 11, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Does no one else wonder whether restoring the earnings link for pensions at a time when inflation appears to be outstripping increases in earnings is quite the deal it is cracked up to be?

  13. Mike Stallard
    Posted April 11, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    I have written a villanelle for you and your readers which will do something to announce the good news about cutting bureaucracy:

    The unseen, nosy few
    in nameless millions hide
    with nothing much to do.

    They silent, nameless grew
    as cancer grows inside
    the unseen, nosy few.

    Controlling me and you
    (You trusted and they lied)
    with nothing much to do

    Their skill was that they knew
    reformers’ hands are tied
    the unseen, nosy few.

    They stick to “work” like glue
    we pay them in their pride
    with nothing much to do

    The parties, red and blue,
    must keep them on their side
    the unseen nosy few
    with nothing much to do.

    There – that’s a first!

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted April 11, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

      This is the first time that I have ever seen Professor C Northcote Parkinson’s dictum about the Civil Service “Work expands to fill the time available.” expressed in poetic form.

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 11, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      Pretty good keep at it.

  14. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted April 11, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    “the good news of doing more for less” will not be celebrated by public sector workers. The policy does appear to be beginning to work. Hays, one of London’s biggest recruitment agencies, is reporting a fall in public sector vacancies and a rise in private sector vacancies. Meanwhile, the recovery staggers on.

  15. Iain Gill
    Posted April 11, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    The public sector is so full of waste
    I’ve seen a road where new 60 mph signs are going up AND chicanes are being installed to force cars to slow down to crawling speed, either it’s safe to do 60 or its not, if it is you don’t need chicanes, if it’s not put a different number on the signs before digging the road up and putting chicanes in, it’s just such a ridiculous waste of money
    We have hospitals employing a dozen staff just to deflect complaints and try and find reasons to reject the complaints
    The number of people outside the Scottish parliament crawling into chauffer driven limos is outrageous
    The number of Eurostar 1st class carriages full of people on the public payroll getting their train fare paid by us
    we have hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals on work visas paying no national insurance, getting large tax dispensations, getting free education for their children, with family clogging up the nhs, this is such a big drain on uk resources
    These need targeting first

  16. Javelin
    Posted April 11, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    You hear the opposite side of the same paradox listening to Yvette Cooper – who says “we (Government) need to spend more to make more jobs” . But these jobs are jobs that are based on borrowed money not on investment. There are some returns on investment og Government spending. But nobody wants to enumerate them.

  17. Kenneth
    Posted April 11, 2011 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    The paradox results from the coalition having one foot in reality whilst feeling obliged to keep the other foot in the BBC’s fantasy world where public spending cuts are always reported as bad news.

  18. JimF
    Posted April 11, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    It does sound as though Mr Clegg and his party are addicted to debt in the way that Labour were, but are prepared, in this marriage of convenience, to temporarily suspend their habit.
    You are going to have a fight on your hands to live within our means once Clegg and his friends agree that his (Osborne’s) remedies have done their work and we can now resume the feast.
    The LibDems will be heralding the victory that their keeping us out of the Euro and reducing the deficit were all their brave ideas, and have allowed us to enjoy a new decade of LibDem prosperity.

  19. JoolsB
    Posted April 12, 2011 at 12:47 am | Permalink

    Well John, I am all for the cuts, they are absolutely necessary to get the country back on it’s feet again after Labour’s disastrous 13 years of incompetence but as a lifelong Conservative voter and someone who actively campaigned for the party last year, I am disgusted that m0st of the cuts will only affect England. I thought we were all in this together but obviously not. Last week, on April Fools Day appropriately, prescription charges were increased in England on the very same day they were abolished in Scotland, joining Wales & NI where they are already abolished. Only English students will pay £9,000 tuition fees which will, without doubt, deter our brightest and gifted youngsters from modest backgrounds from now going and add to that, only English students will see their EMA scrapped whilst UK taxes will still continue to provide it for students from every other part of the UK. The list is endless and to add insult to injury, Mr. Cameron has said the cuts will be worse in England – why?, when England gets the least amount spent on it already thanks to the skewed Barnett Formula, reform of which has now been kicked into the long grass along with Mr. Cameron’s promise to resolve the West Lothian Question. No wonder the devolved nations can continue to spend, spend, spend on things which are denied to the England and what are our elected politicians with English seats doing to stand up for their constituents against this discrimination – absolutely nothing. They are even afraid to mention the word England, deliberately trying to imply the cuts will affect the whole UK which they will not. This is causing growing resentment in England and I doubt those in the Westminster bubble are even aware of it. Blair & Brown treated England with contempt – what I don’t understand is why the Conservatives, put there by the English, are carrying on where they left off. Until the Tories address the unfair Barnett formula, the WLQ and the EQ, they have lost my vote and I don’t doubt the votes of many of their core voters.

    • Mike Fowle
      Posted April 12, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

      That is a good point. The coalition will have to address it sooner or later, surely, however much they may want to hold the union together.

  20. Mike Fowle
    Posted April 12, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    If you want a lighthearted look at the incompetence and waste of the public sector, I recommend Twenty Twelve, the comedy on BBC4 (yes, on the BBC of all places). It is not only very witty and amusing but it captures in a genial fashion how public sector workers bumble through their lives.

  21. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 12:31 am | Permalink

    “In an age of deficit reduction politicians have to find things other than higher public spending which please voters” – absolutely agree.

    Speaking of Public Spending … I found this site the other day:
    http://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/budget_ukgs.php

    It gives data on past, present and projected UK Government spending.

    If you click on the graph icon to the right of “Health Care”, a graph pops up displaying an increasing amount of spending towards 2015, but the amount of increases are slowing. This will be the desire of the Government to “Reform” the NHS.

    The Education graphs shows a slowing down of spending. Other Spending graphs – such as welfare and protection, show a flattening out and then a decline in spending.

    Now here’s the point of my comment:
    Both “Interest Payments” and “Defence” show a continuing increase at the same or even rate than previous years.

    Interest Payments are £43.3 billion (that’s without paying down the debt.) These are projected to increase to £63 billion by 2015.

    Defence spending is £45.7 billion – set to increase to £55 billion (less than the projected Interest Payments).

    It has been stated by groups such as “Positive Money” that the Financial Industry contributes £50 billion pounds to the UK economy.

    But when factoring in Government Subsidies (paid for by Tax payers) and the way Private Banks create new money (and then charge interest on it) thereby inflating the money supply causing reduced purchasing power to tax payers – they receive anything from £57 billion to £100 billion pounds causing a potential net loss to the Uk of £50 billion.

    Exactly who are we paying this Interest to? China perhaps? Or Russia?

    Why is the Defence Budget going up in these times when the NHS is being asked to cut back, British Industry is being starved of finance and Pensioners are being forced into poverty dues to diminishing returns on their savings?

  22. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 12:50 am | Permalink

    I think the public is with on this Mr Redwood, unfortunately the Government isn’t.

    The so called “Humanitarian Intervention” in Libya is really an undeclared War on Libya. When British Military Ships and Personnel are used to fire Depleted Uranium rounds on people of another Country – it’s generally known as a “War”.

    Now Wars cost money. Sending a Torando Fighter Jet – without any weapons -costs £35,000 an hour (when including maintence costs, personnel, ground crew, ATC etc).

    “Libya costing Britain £3 million a day”

    “Based on the total amount spent on British air intervention in the Kosovo conflict, the Royal United Services Institute has calculated the cost to the tax payer of the Libyan campaign could reach £100 million within four to six weeks.”

    “This includes Britain’s share of over 120 cruise missiles fired at Libyan positions since Saturday night. These cost over £500,000 each. However their use is likely to decrease now that military planners have satisfied themselves that Gaddafi’s air defences have been effectively destroyed. ”

    Of course – this does not include the potential loss or damage to hardware, loss of life to UK service men and women, costs of medical treatment to injured personnel coming home and rehabilitation required.

    Another factor – which probably hasn’t been factored in as a cost to the tax payers are the rebuilding costs as we will be expected to rebuild all the stuff we are now spending millions of pounds blowing up.

    So before we are lectured about how voters like politicians spending money, who exactley voted for tax payers money to be thrown at Libya? What day did David Cameron allow a free vote in the House of Commons to gain public support to launch the UK in yet another War? And why has David Cameron got such a cosy relationship with Arms Dealers or is he just following in the footsteps og Tony Blair who helped supply Libya with all it’s weapons which are now being used to kill it’s own population.

    Reply: Most MPs did vote for this action, with Labour choosing to back the government.

    • Conrad Jones (Cheam)
      Posted April 14, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for your reply.

      I have placed another comment in “What is the end game in Libya?”

      Yes – you are correct – there was a vote. But I couldn’t believe how many MPs
      voted for Military Action in Libya.
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-12816279

      I’m to see that at least you abstained. Thank you for that at least.

  23. T French
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    These are excellent well made points that need further development and discussion within the political class. Let us hope they do so.

  24. FredDibnahsLoveChild
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    John,

    It seems clear the LibDem “half” of the Coalition are unreformed state interventionists. I’ve just been reading on the the BIS website the announcment on the first stage of the Regional Growth Fund (RGF).

    It seems that Clegg, Alexander and Cable are largely responsible for selecting and then doling out £1.4bn of state handouts/subsidies to private industry, that they have decided will provide the best employment opportunities.

    Haven’t they heard that “picking winners” is a failed and discredited policy (e.g. DeLorean)?

    And who in their right mind would give Clegg and Alexander £1.4bn to play with – they are by far the least qualified to decide anything regarding real-world manufacturing industry.

  • 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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