Upwardly mobile public spending

 

           The last few weeks have heard the airwaves and the election platforms resound with discussion of the cuts. I feel it is time just to remind all involved in the crucial debate over trying to get our deficit down what the government’s planned numbers show.

              In June 2010 the new Coalition government pledged to increase current public spending from £600 billion in the last Labour year to £693 billion in 2014-15. They planned to borrow an additional £451 billion over five years, on top of the large inherited debt. Whilst this meant reducing the growth in Labour’s future spending  plans, it was not a severe proposal given the dire financial circumstances of the country.

             In March 2011 the second Coalition budget raised planned 2014-15 current spending to £695 billion, and planned to increase total spending over the four years up to and including  2014-15 by £34 billion compared to the June 2010 plans. I saw no comment at the time of the budget on this relaxation.  It means additional public borrowing of £485 billion over the five years.

           The plan to reduce the deficit rests heavily on the assumption that the government will collect £171 billion more in tax in 2014-15 that Labour collected in its last year.This in turn rests on the forecast that the economy will grow at 2.9% in 2013-14  and again in 2014-15.

             Most commentators write about the strategy saying it is risky because it cuts public spending too far and too fast. As the figures show, there is a risk that revenues will not grow as quickly as forecast. Given the large amount that has to be borrowed even if everything goes according to plan, we need to remember the risks on the other side of the argument.

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44 Comments

  1. lifelogic
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Why on earth should be get any growth at all and particularly any growth in taxes. Cameron’s main signals to industry (through expensive energy, over regulation and absurdly high & counter productive tax rate and no normal banking) are do not come to the UK and leave if you are here already leave. Particularly as he clearly has no small state pro-industry beliefs in his body. He is also further handicapped by the Liberals and to cap it all we have Labour to look forwards to within four years.

  2. Posted May 8, 2011 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood. Please take a look at this book (short PDF) http://www.eureferendumcampaign.com/Controversies_files/ControversiesBook.pdf

    It seems to me that we should all be actively seeking to remove ourselves from the EU as soon as possible. It’s just not in our national interest. We’ve lost too much freedom, democracy and money. It’s a dead duck!

    • lifelogic
      Posted May 8, 2011 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

      Indeed Liberation (of much of Europe) day tomorrow now stolen and sullied (like the Choral Symphony’s final movement) by the EU to become “Europe day”.

      I assume they mean a grand peoples celebration of the undemocratic regulatory and tax oppression. Also its domination by over paid unaccountable and over pensioned EU bureaucrats. All doubtless cheered on by Cameron, Clegg, Kinnock, Major, Patten, Blair, Brown and the rest.

      I cannot see it being very popular. Is this perhaps why Cameron wants to move my favourite bank holiday, the early May, one perhaps? If so why did he not say so?

  3. Stuart Fairney
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    There are those who genuinely believe going into more deb tis the way to get out of debt and those who simply know nothing else and have a Micawberish determination to press on.

    And there are those who know the game is almost up and are now taking the last opportunity to loot the borrowings. On the rare occasions I talk of these things,I ask those calling for ‘stimulus spending’ how high the deficit is. No-one has ever known and when I explain the head goes firmly in the sand.

    Even the ‘tory’ budget is just slightly slower suicide.

    • Javelin
      Posted May 8, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      It depend what’s committing suicide. The Tory budget won’t bankrupt the country but it wont raise living standards or the standard of living much either. It’s not to the Tory advantage to cut any deeper because to do so would give Labour the chance of a viable budget that would not cause a bankruptcy. At the moment they are deeply contradictory – they can’t say the cuts are too deep AND not offer a viable alternative. Ed Milliband has stupidly painted himself and his party into a corner.

      My question is how can Osborne help the UK and keep the Labour Party pinned in. I guess investment tax breaks and changing the culture of entitlement and political correctness.

      • Stuart Fairney
        Posted May 8, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

        So tory strategy then, is to be Labour in office to stalemate Labour and retain office. What is the point of the conservative party then?

        And I am not at all certain the UK won’t find itself in trouble in a few years. If I may, Greece defaults/reschedules (very high probability in my view) and Portugal and Ireland think why are we paying debts when we can ignore them. As the UK national debt mounts Sterling is shorted and interest rates have to be increased to attract loan monies and prevent more inflation from imported goods but that tips the economy back into serious recession and investors simply don’t believe growth predictions and debt pay-back projections. Consequently, Mr Osborne (or whoever it is at the time) finds himself trotting off to the IMF.

        In 1920 the US found itself in serious recession. Far from stimulus spending they halved state spending in two years in cash terms. By 1922 the economy was off to the races again. Contrast that with Japan that has tried two decades of stimulus and only has huge debts to show for it.

        No, Mr O should cut, cut and cut again, that’s the narrative the BBC is running anyway, so he/we may as well benefit from actual spending reductions. If we went back to 1997 spending levels, guess what rate income tax would be?

        ZERO ~ sounds like an election winner to me.

        • Javelin
          Posted May 9, 2011 at 7:20 am | Permalink

          I’m not making Tory policy, just commenting on it.

  4. Johnny Norfolk
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    You never see this side from the BBC, all they do is frighten the public to try and and have them vote for their Labour friends again.
    I bet they love you at the BBC John.

    • REPay
      Posted May 9, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      Spot on the real story is the lack of cuts…doesn’t suit the back to Thatcher theme at the Beeb. (I notice that the 1980’s are always short-handed by the BBC as a period of strife and cuts when it was the only period of economic regeneration since WW2.

  5. acorn
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    ” … we need to remember the risks on the other side of the argument.”

    The following from MS, I think supports your argument. I have linked to the printer version to improve its chances of getting through moderation. The two UK notes start about halfway down the page.

    http://www.morganstanley.com/views/gef/print.html

    Amateur macro-economists should recall that headline GDP is quoted at market prices; this makes deficit calculations smaller as a percentage. This measure includes government spending and you can boost this number for political purposes, by shifting your tax base from direct taxes, like income tax, to indirect taxes like VAT. There is an EU stated aim for member states to gradually shift their tax bases to indirect taxation.

  6. Duyfken
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    I am unsure whether there is an implied criticism of government policy in reminding us of “the risks on the other side of the argument.” Do you believe the forecasts are wrong and the public spending should be curbed much more? If so, would you care to particularise and give some figures you have in mind for the reduction in deficit?

    Certainly, I feel uncomfortable with the soft approach which is apparent from the Treasury, and speculate that this stems from Tory Ministers forever trying to placate the Lib Dems.

    I also deprecate the way our money is frittered on unnecessary overseas “aid” and EU contributions and bail-outs, and wonder just how much both our borrowing and the annual deficit could be reduced were this leakage of funds blocked.

    Reoply: yes, I have made clear that I would spend less, identifying Euro subsidies, Euro budget and overseas aid as three areas for reduction. I would nto have added £34 billion to spendign and borrowign in the 2nd budget.

  7. Alte Fritz
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    The real wonder is why you never hear Conservatives saying this when interviewd or on panel debates.

  8. JimF
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    John
    Inflation predictions need to be added to your figures for us to provide comment. Whether real cost of living inflation lingers at 7-10% or sinks to 2% fundamentally alters any arguments here.
    8% 2%
    1.00 1.00 2010
    1.08 1.02 2011
    1.17 1.04 2012
    1.26 1.06 2013
    1.36 1.08 2014
    1.47 1.10 2015

  9. alan jutson
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    I simply wish the Government would be honest about its spending and tax programme, and that the media would report such accurately.

  10. Javelin
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    I absolutely agree.

    Growth is much poorer than predicted because Government, Personal and Corporate deficits in the West are having to be reduced, which reduces GDP and reduces taxes. Plus for Corporates it reduces future investment. Plus previous Government spending reduced competitiveness and sustainable jobs. Economists don’t really look ahead for negative feedback loops. I’ve always thought the growth forecasts were far to optimistic because these negative feedbacks were not built in. I’d also add that low interest rates have the effect of slowing down downturns, and making upturns much further away – I don’t completely understand why this happens but it does because of relative choices.

    I still don’t believe George Osborne has got real control of public spending – the annual March spending splurge to use the budget up just shows that central Government can’t control it’s own spending – it would never be allowed to happen in a large corporate. I simply don’t believe that taxes will rise to count for 80% of deficit reduction.

  11. NickW
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    What assumptions were made about inflation between now and 2014-2015?

    What effect will it have if inflation is double the rate assumed in the projections, as seems likely?

  12. oldtimer
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Quite. On present evidence there is no way that current tax and subsidy policies will deliver the tax revenues which the government hopes to raise. I believe that, for international businesses, the UK remains a risky investment prospect. It seems that most UK politicians, yourself an honourablke exception, have their heads firmly implanted in the sand.

    • Stuart Fairney
      Posted May 8, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

      Why would they care? They will all be paid, most will be re-elected on dismal turnouts, almost none offer real alternatives. I honestly think that like Zanu PF, most of ’em know they are spouting destructive nonsense but it is in their personal interest not to rock the boat.

  13. Peter
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    What the figures show is that the coalition plan to tax the productive part of the economy to the absolute limit to fund out of control spending on the unproductive and inefficient public sector. They should actually be making very large cuts in expenditure as most small businesses have had to do. There are at least 2 million people paid from taxation (or spurious fees and charges) that are not needed and wouldn’t be missed. All overseas military empire building should cease. Contributions to fund the EU should be massively curtailed (or better still leave it). The NHS should be completely overhauled by allowing the patients to choose where they want to get their treatment- including foreign hospitals- which would take the power away from the NHS machine and mean they’d have to compete for patients. Together with a similar system for education that would save billions and raise standards.
    None of this is likely or even possible as the Coalition is not fundamentally different to Labour. They all believe in the nanny state and always try to enlarge it in power and cost.

  14. forthurst
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    People will believe more or less anything they are told by the media as the on-going ‘revelations’ from Pakistan and elsewhere amply demonstrate.

    It’s time to call ltime on the BBC’s total detachment from its Charter. It is quite clear that the BBC has become dangerously infested at the production level with people who are not symapathic to our country or our way of life. It should hardly be surprising, therefore, that every utterence by this organisation is weighed in the balance to determine not truth or falsehood or balance or imbalance, but ehether it goes toward furthering their own political and cultural objectives.

    • Stuart Fairney
      Posted May 8, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

      Well said. If there was an honest desire for actual change the Beeboids would be privatised tomorrow.

      It is left alone. QED.

  15. Posted May 8, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    I’ve given up bothering to explain this to people, I find you are largely just wasting your breath. People hear what they want to hear and believe what they want to believe.

    When you explain this to people there just hear you talking nonsense and believe you are a bit nuts.

    • alan jutson
      Posted May 9, 2011 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Steven

      Yes I have tried as well, people simply look on bemused, and do not belive that the present government is actually spending more than Labour.

  16. Damien
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    George Osborne on the Marr program was questioned if we would have to contribute further to Greece on the news from last Friday that the Greeks were renegotiating their bailout terms. Understandably he could not guarantee that the UK would not, and this in turn raises the expectation that Portugal and Ireland may follow suit if the Greeks are successful. The amounts are in the £billions and would put further pressure on the ability to stick with the budget.

    At best growth will be anemic going on the recent falling car sales and as the austerity measures impact so also will tax revenues. Last weeks falls in commodity prices reflects more about the volatility of the market and anxiety that the recovery is faltering. JP Morgan released a forecast on Friday for average oil this year of $150 with a peak of $200. Paying that price for oil would put economies at rise of a double dip recession and possibly further QE.

    It may be that we will have to inflate our way through these next few years to erode the increases in public spending outlined above, both here and abroad. There is no alternative if tax revenues fall and the LibDems are successful in watering down the austerity measures of the budget. PIMCO are saying that as the west monitises its debt that the value of gold will rise steeply as investors seek safe haven.

    One thing is clear is that interest rate increases are not expected in this year given the fragile recovery. If so this would allow the banks to ‘extend and pretend’ to borrowers who are treading water but is this really a good thing? Unlike the US we seem unwilling to allow the market to correct itself to buy more time. The new bank stress tests results are due out soon so we should have a clearer picture of the real state of the sector.

  17. Susan
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    It is a massive risk, with high taxation in Britain, that the growth needed to achieve a recovery will happen. Tax needs to be lowered and Government spending cuts much deeper, if the growth aims are to be met, is much more in line, I would have thought, with seeing the UK fiscal problem brought under control.

    I believe what the Election proved was something quite different than the media are claiming. The Conservative vote held up in England but the Lib/Dems were punished, so it is said, for broken promises. This is not as I see it. I think the Electorate in England is very concerned about Britain’s debt and see the Lib/Dems in the Coalition as the ones who are holding back the required cuts to Government spending. If this were not the case, the Conservatives would have also been punished for actions taken within this Coalition. This can further be proved by Labour only appealing to their core vote throughout England in the Elections. If the cuts are unpopular with the majority of the Electorate, as is claimed so often by the media, Labour would have done much better. The public, have in fact, given the Conservatives a mandate to bring spending under control if they choose to read the signals this Election has given them. If Cameron now decides to give concessions to the Lib/Dems because of their Election defeat, this will see the good will of the public soon begin to erode.

    As to the Scottish result. This was inevitable, having lived in Scotland, I know the Scottish has leant over time that they can have their cake and eat it if they vote for Salmond. Whilst they do not want Independence in great numbers, they know the UK Government will always make concessions at the expense of the English tax payer the more support Salmond gets. This is now never more true with a PM who is such a Unionist and has no voting base in Scotland. Therefore, they voted in droves for Salmond. It is therefore time, for England to have its voice on Independence heard, as I believe there is now an appetite for English Independence. There has never been a better opportunity for the Conservative party to become the party of choice in England through English Independence than ever before. Losing the devolved Government would also go some way to achieving the ambition of cutting all these costly layers of Government.

    The Lib/Dems are unlikely to be a viable force in UK politics for quite some time, and are therefore the weaker partner in the Coalition. This could enable the Conservatives to push the anti EU agenda forward, now that the pro Lib/Dems are so weakened. This again would be extremely popular with the English voter who would normally see themselves more in line with the UKIP agenda. I see no reason in fact, why Cameron could not get out of the Coalition agreement and go for a early Election, he would never have a better chance of winning.

    The opportunities are there for Cameron, however I doubt he has the courage or will to take them.

    • Jon Burgess
      Posted May 8, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

      All of your comments are based on the assumption that Cameron is in some way held back from being a proper conservative by those pesky Lib Dems:
      Cuts need to be much tougher
      taxes need to be lower
      push an anti EU agenda (if only!)
      I agree these are all things the conservatives should favour, but ….they don’t. They actually like being in bed with the Lib Dems. Cameron, Osborne, Gove, the lot of them, share the same narrow range of views as the rest of the professional political class. Have you not noticed? Cameron has singularly failed to push an anti EU agenda. It’s as though he only said all that stuff about referendums to get elected…

      My advice is don’t waste you vote on them again.

      • Susan
        Posted May 9, 2011 at 8:32 am | Permalink

        Jon
        I personally do not disagree with anything you have said. I am merely pointing out why I believe the English electorate voted as they did. The top elite of the Conservative party, I again agree are too far left to achieve what should be the true aims of the Conservative party, thus my last comment on Cameron. However, how much are they in tune with the rest of the Conservative Party is the question. My aim on here is not to undermine the Conservative Party, that would be pointless, my aim is to put over what the traditional Conservative voter out there is actually thinking. I do believe that the electorate in England sees the need for cuts, I also do believe, to a certain extent they see the Lib/Dems as the ones holding back these policies in the Coalition. That was the intention I guess. Cameron now has a great opportunity to make the necessary changes to ensure the Conservatives win the next election and put the UK back on its feet. Will he take them, no I do not believe he will, for exactly the reasons you have said.

        BTW what makes you think I voted Conservative.

        • Jon Burgess
          Posted May 10, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

          I guess I no longer believe that the conservatives have any real intention of offering conservative policies any more. If anyone should suggest such a thing Cameron will point out that they only did as well as they did last time round because of his ‘move to the centre’ (translation: lurch to the left). What matters here is that the conservative leadership and cabinet members and ‘movers and shakers’ think like Cameron, or are part of his clique. They determine who the future candidates are, control promotion within the parliamentary party and so control what the party has to say and think.

          I truly hope anyone who did vote for Cameron learns from it and doesn’t choose to do so again (and apologies for assuming that you did); if only people would stop voting along the old tribal party lines – they just don’t exist anymore; the only choice the media ever pushes is varying degrees of leftness. Unfortunately people will still vote Tory because they will never vote labour and vice versa (they just don’t get that they are voting labour, just the blue version of it).

          The only answer I can see is real conservatives like Mr Redwood here need to leave the conservative party and join UKIP en masse, stand for re-election in their constituancies, and return to the Commons with thumping great majorities. That way UKIP could have 20 or 30 MPs and the media would have to provide more of a platform for UKIP views and policies.

          Any chance of that happening, though?

    • sjb
      Posted May 8, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

      Susan writes: “Whilst they [Scotland] do not want Independence in great numbers […]”

      I think polls in the past put support at about a third of the electorate. However, after the (unexpected) scale of the SNP’s recent victory it will be interesting to see what the next batch of opinion polls show.

      Susan writes: “[The Conservatives pushing an anti-EU agenda] would be extremely popular with the English voter who would normally see themselves more in line with the UKIP agenda.”

      First, I don’t think the Conservative Party is anti-EU. For instance, if Cameron had not struck a deal with the LibDems last May would the decisions taken since vis-a-vis the EU been significantly different? Second, when electoral opportunities occur, I see no evidence that English voters favour the UKIP agenda. How many by-elections have they won? In the 2005 & 2009 European elections they achieved about a 16% share of the vote. Admittedly a good result for a minor party, but if the electorate were as anti-EU as is so often claimed then surely they would have taken these opportunities to register their disapproval. As I recall, the turnout was poor, too.

      • Susan
        Posted May 9, 2011 at 9:47 am | Permalink

        sjb

        I lived in Scotland for some time, therefore it is natural for me to take an interest in Scottish politics. The people of Scotland voted as they did this time, more to keep Salmond as First Minister than they did to have the SNP in overall power. Salmond may not be universally liked in Scotland, but he is admired as a politician. The Scottish know that he is more likely to gain more power for Scotland within the Union than anyone else on offer. The Scottish will never vote Conservative, therefore the choice was down to Labour or the SNP, as the Lib/Dems are finished as a political force for now. Gray as the Labour leader was seen as a very weak option compared to Salmond and far too close in policy to the UK Government. Most Scots do understand that they cannot afford Independence, but they also know much can be gained from the Unionist Parties in the UK Government, who are desperate to keep the Union together. Salmond on past performance has always been able to deliver concessions for Scotland by the threat of Independence. Unfortunately for Salmond he will now have to address the budget cuts which must be made, and this time he will not have anyone to blame for his errors. Having told untruths to the Scottish electorate before the Election, on how he will address the pressing issues of up to 70% public sector in some areas and the necessary reforms to services needed, this could spell trouble for the future. Salmond, with the hubris he has, will believe he can yet again squeeze more money out of the English taxpayer. Who knows on past performance he could be right. Salmond was also able to gain the Scottish business vote because Labour were seen as a poor option and the tax on the oil and gas industry by Osborne played badly. As of course, Aberdeen is the oil capital of the UK. However, I do not believe there is any appetite for Independence amongst Scottish voters. It is really up to England to push the Independence agenda and put Salmond in his place. Scotland with such a small population has had too much voice in the Union for far too long. Cutting Scotlands over large budget would help Wales and the Northern cities of England who are much more in need than Scotland in my opinion.

        In the end all the devolved Governments should be given the option in or out of the Union. If the vote is to stay in, which I am pretty confident it would be, they should then be made to cut all the layers of Government which devolution has brought and is costing so much. Would any UK Government have the courage to do this, no I doubt it.

        As to UKIP and the EU. I realise that I should have said the publics view is more in line with the UKIP agenda on this issue only. UKIP is a very small party with little influence in our voting system, that is why they do not have an established voting base. However, if any Government were to give the public a vote on in or out of the EU, I think the vote would be to come out. My point was, that if the Conservatives continue to go against the public on this issue and the EU keeps making demands on budget and taking more of the UKs power to act as an Independent Country, I think the Conservative vote will start to be eroded.

        • sjb
          Posted May 11, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

          Sue writes: “[…] if any Government were to give the public a vote on in or out of the EU, I think the vote would be to come out.”

          I am not so sure. What is common to the 1975 referendum on withdrawing from the EEC and the recent AV referendum is that the side advocating change started out ahead in opinion polls but come the vote the public overwhelmingly chose the status quo.

  18. Mike Stallard
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    I do not know what is going wrong with the government.
    As you prove above there are no spending cuts at all – just slight growth in expenditure/debt/deficit. Meanwhile we gallantly go to war in Libya and stand by the Euro which is rapidly collapsing. Our aircraft carriers will have no planes and down here at local level there is absolutely no evidence at all of any cut backs – except on the BBC.
    The NHS reforms seems to be on hold.
    The free schools movement has changed into an exercise in form filling.
    I have lost sight of IDS and the vital Welfare Reforms in the long grass somewhere.

    Meanwhile we are fed irrelevancies: Reform of the House of Lords, A/V. And the EU relentlessly reaches out for more like a huge cancer in the gut.

    • APL
      Posted May 9, 2011 at 12:01 am | Permalink

      Mike Stallard: “I do not know what is going wrong with the government.”

      If you are looking at the rag-tag shadow theatre in Westminster, they are not our government. Our government is in Brussels. To understand the role Cameron willingly plays is to realize he and the whole Westminster circus are nothing but a cipher.

  19. DennisA
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    Devolution was Blair’s strategy to break up the UK and make the devolved nations feel grateful to the EU for EU funding, which in effect is our own money. English independence would help that agenda even further forward.

    Talk of spending cuts is meaningless when, without popular sanction, the government embarks on yet another foreign adventure with no future. Where did the money come from to go throwing “million pounds a pop” missiles at Gaddafi? We are broke and yet we throw more away. On top of that we waste another £100 million on a referendum on voting, when Parliament is helpless in the face of EU directives that we have to turn into law.

    • Jon Burgess
      Posted May 8, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps now everyone can see what a waste of time voting for Cameron really was. Do you really think it would be any different if the Tory’s had won a majority?

      I don’t doubt Mr Redwood’s conservative credentials but Cameron and his front bench are liberal leftists, they have successfully moved the conservative party to the left and hope to create a new centre left liberal consensus. You, Mr Redwood have been marginalised in your own party and very few of your party colleagues share your views.

      There is now nothing of note to separate conservative policy, labour policy or lib dem policy. They just fight over the odd £10 billion less they might spend over the next five years.

      A change in UK politics is needed, and the old tribal loyalties no longer do the trick – thanks to the professional politicians taking over the choice of candidates; they will only favour those who think like them.

      The electorate would welcome a truly conservative opposition to this threat of a left consensus. Are you up for it yet Mr Redwood?

    • sjb
      Posted May 8, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

      You may be surprised to learn that Northern Ireland “has an [annual] £8 billion subvention over and above what is raised in taxation.” – per Owen Patterson (now Secretary of State for Northern Ireland). As far as I know, those funds are provided entirely by British taxpayers – not the EU.
      http://conservativehome.blogs.com/platform/2008/03/owen-paterson-m.html (see Tuesday 18th March entry)

    • Susan
      Posted May 9, 2011 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      Dennis

      It is my understanding that Blair did not believe in the devolution agenda. It was the more Scottish members of the party who persuaded him, such as Gordon Brown, Donald Dewar, John Reid and others.

      It seems on this issue Blair did have it right. However, now the damage is done, it would be very wrong to continue with this unfair system the UK have. It is now necessary for either the devolved Countries to accept they are part of the Union and cut the layers of Government, which are so costly, that devolution has caused, or for England to go Independent itself. After all devolution is meant to lead to Independence, if this is not going to happen, there is no need for devolved Parliaments. The devolved Countries cannot continue to have what they want at the expense of the English taxpayer.

  20. Bazman
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    It’s interesting that the richest people in the country have seen their wealth grow by 18% in the past year, while in most cases wages have remained the same or fallen over the last ten years. How has that happened?

    • Posted May 9, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      Because the journalists don’t actually know how much money they have so they base it on the valuations of the companies and property they own.

      The stock market and exclusive property has probably risen by 18% on average, so the ‘rich list’ works on that basis.

    • lifelogic
      Posted May 10, 2011 at 4:37 am | Permalink

      The sensibly rich tend to have international investments/interest which have done well as the pound declined. While the UK job market has declined too due to Labour’s over taxation, over regulation, daft energy policy and generally very bad government.

      Also wages have been further depressed by uncontrolled labour immigration from the EU and elsewhere.

      Simple as that.

  21. Posted May 8, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    The trouble is that left wing media sees public spending cuts as bad news.

    When the Labour Party increased taxes to spend on the NHS in 2002 the BBC hailed this as a good thing.

    Here is the proof with a Pravda-style graphic at the top showing happy NHS staff and patients.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/1934690.stm

    Then – as now – there is no symmetry.

    If money is being moved then for every loser there is a winner and vice versa. For this reason surely government financial matters should be reported neutrally.

    The BBC failed to do this in 2002 and fails to do this in 2011.

    I am afraid ministers appear to be complicit presumably as they are worried about coalition unity or perhaps because they feel it is not worth trying to put a case knowing it will be faced with a hostile BBC.

  22. BobE
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    The snake is eating its own tail

  23. S Whitfield
    Posted May 9, 2011 at 1:16 am | Permalink

    So what you are saying Mr Redwood , is that the’ cuts’ are actually reductions in the rate at which spending is increasing. This begs several questions :-

    1. If we are in such a mess with a 1 trillion national dept and increasing, why can’t we make do with current levels of spendings ?.Or reduce public spending if there is so much waste ?

    2.Why is this information (that spending is increasing) being withheld from the public. The ‘Cuts’ aren’t in the sense that most people recognise.

    3.Why are Labour councils cutting front line services and blaming it on the ‘Tory cuts’ when the budget is increasing ?. Why does nobody on the front bench use this argument to attack Labour? or is it an agreed policy at cabinet meetings to hush it up ?

    4.Is the real nature of the ‘cuts’ being deliberately disguised because it does not fit in with the ‘tough’ image Cameron and Osbourne want to portray as saviours of the economy. They are actually quite timid and lilly livered if what you say is true and confirms my belief that they despise many at the core of the Conservative party. Doesn’t such a deception imply they are rather cynical and have an arrogant disregard for the truth.

    5. Will anyone, speak loudly and publically to highlight this issue in the commons?..or would that be too politically inconvenient to the ruling elite ?

    6. The claim that the deficit can be eliminated in one parliment is based on generous growth rates in the economy. Why is this assertion presented as fact by Mr Osbourne when it is based on flaky growth predictions ?

    Looking forward to hearing your views on these matters

    Reply: I regularly explain the figures both in and outside the Commons. The public sector is quite capable of delivering some unpopular cuts whilst spending more.

  24. Javelin
    Posted May 9, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Just come out of an interesting day with a lot guys trying to predict the future. My own contribution was a Greece being assimilated by Europe and the Italian banks going pop. The story goes that in July 2103 the EU/Gevenment buyers of bonds become preferred, meaning up until then non-preferred buyers will be asking alot more. In fact I think rates on Greek bonds are going to go into orbit. In fact they wont shed their deficit and will become entirely dependent on the EU for every nond issue. Looking at the strings attached to the lower rates obtained by Portugal (and wanted by Ireland) they too are entangling themselves in the web. The real gotcha comes after 2013 when it will be the rich EU states that will be held to ransom by the EU – with the demand “either pay for these PIGS bonds via the EU or the PIGS that your banks are dependent of gets it”. So Germany, France, Spain and the UK will cough up for “the greater good” – hoisting the tax payer with huge debts to the EU. The problem in the mix are the Italian banks and Government – who really have no rich friends (debtors) to bail them out. All this time house prices will be falking in the EU and banks wi be getting weaker and more vunerable to a bond credit event. It all looks very ugly.

  • About John Redwood


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

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