I have been asked to produce some ideas on reducing needless or wasteful public spending, and getting the deficit down, for a closed session at party conference. I thought I would try some of them out here first, before deciding which main ideas to concentrate on at the event.
My first set of proposals seeks justice for UK citizens compared to others. The main aim of UK public spending should be to look after and support UK citizens. There is a danger of allowing soft touch UK.
1. Anyone travelling to the UK should be told that if they need NHS services whilst they are here, they will be charged the cost of the provision. They will be advised either to come with health insurance, as most travellers to the USA take, or to come with a credit or debit card that can be used should they need hospital or doctor service. The NHS should require the card or insurance reference before giving treatment. If the treatment is emergency treatment, the individual should be required to pay prior to discharge. The present rule that they should pay is too often not enforced.
2. Any foreign lorry or van arriving in the UK should be required to pay a temporary Road Fund payment to pay for the wear and tear they impose on our roads. This would also help level the competitive playing field between domestic vehicles paying a full annual road tax, and visiting vehincles who at present pay nothing.
3. The UK should make clear to the IMF that it regards members of a single currency as no longer sovereign states entitled to IMF programmes. Members of single currency areas, like London or New York, do not look to the IMF for loans but to their states and Central Banks. The UK should decline to make money available for Euro bail outs in any form. As the Chancellor wisely said, we should not be in the business of bailing out currencies, especially one which we sensibly did not join. This thought needs following through with appropriate action.
4. The UK should make clear to the EU authorities, as DWP is seeking to do, that the EU is based on the free movement of workers, not the free movement of benefit seekers. Arrivals from the rest of the EU should not be entitled to benefits on arriving. People can come to take up an arranged job, or to seek a job using their own resrources to do so. They can stay on losing a job if they use their own resources to find another job.
5. Regional money routed around the EU has been well criticised by recent Parliamentary studies. The UK government should make it an important negotiating condition of the next budget round in the EU that we wish to repatriate regional policy. That would enable us to save money and spend more on troubled UK areas.
6. The UK was promised CAP reform in return for surrender of part of our rebate of contributions. The UK should seek the repatriation of agricultural policy, which like regional policy woudl allow savings and a more generous UK regime of subsidy where needed.
7. The UK should stop overseas aid to India and Pakistan, as these are two successful nuclear weapon powers.
8. The UK should cut its overseas aid research budget, concentrating its spending on the most deserving countries and causes where most lives can be saved and most progress achieved towards self sustaining development.
9. More foreign prisoners should be sent back to their home countries to spare us the cost of looking after them.
10. More energy should be shown in requiring repayment of student loans by overseas students.