Mr Miliband at base zero

Labour are saying they would have a thorough review of public spending. They would examine everything currently being spent, using the technique of the zero base budget. Nothing is in such a budget until it is examined and newly approved.

There is a lot to be said for the Coalition government doing just such an exercise now. It is good advice from Mr Balls. If we leave it until after the next election, that gives another couple of years of potential wasteful spending.

It also, of course, means Labour can refuse to tell electors what they would cut were they to be returned to office. Their mantra can be permanently that it will all be up to the review. If the Coaliton behaved as Labour used to do in office, it could invent all sorts of cuts and claim that Labour was likely to do them if in office. Labour would then be drawn into denying certain things would be cut, pre-empting their thorough review. Such is the name calling and scaremongering that we have become used to accept as an alternative to having a mature debate about priorities and value for money.

What should such a review probe most strenuously? There are many easy targets. I list a few beneath

1. Network Rail’s large losses on derivatives and their foreign currency funding (£560m last year)
2. Early withdrawal of the troops from Afghanistan – for reasons mightier than merely saving money
3. Overseas Aid to countries that have nuclear weapons and space programmes (£485m)
4. Overseas Aid through the EU (£1.3bn)
5. The Overseas Aid Department’s large research programme and extensive use of consultancies (£800m plus)
6. The UK contribution to the EU budget
7. The size and growth of the EU budget
8. EU regional policy expenditures
9. Need to charge overseas users of the NHS
10.Subsidies to dear energy sources
11. Possible sale of state owned banking assets and companies
12. Sale of commercial forests that are not heritage sites and heritage woodlaands
13.Increasing the proportion of affordable housing for sale, so the state can release more capital from disposals
14. Stricter enforcement against illegal migrants coming to pick up benefits and other support payments
15. Repatriation of foreign prisoners

There are so many items that the list could extend for many columns. Your ideas, as always, could be helpful. The Coalition is going to have to look again at its high spending levels, given the slippage on borrowing. It’s topical again to consider priorities and better value for money.

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  1. Sue
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 5:19 am | Permalink

    Get rid of central government altogether and allow counties to oversee spending (by referendum) and set local taxes. Yes. It’s called direct democracy. And you can forget the EU!

    We demand that:

    1. the people are sovereign: the sovereignty of the peoples of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland shall be recognised by the Crown and the government of our nations. The people in their collective form, by giving their consent, comprise the ultimate authority of their nations and the source of all political power;

    2. local democracy: the foundation of our democracy shall be the counties (or other local units as may be defined), which shall become constitutional bodies exercising under the control of their peoples all powers of legislation, taxation and administration not specifically granted by the people to the national government;

    3.elected prime ministers: to enable separation of power, prime ministers shall be elected by popular vote; they shall appoint their own ministers, with the approval of parliament, to assist in the exercise of such powers as may be granted to them by the sovereign people of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland; no prime ministers or their ministers shall be members of parliament or any legislative assembly;

    4. all legislation subject to consent: no legislation or treaty shall take effect without the direct consent of the majority of the people, by positive vote if so demanded, and that no legislation or treaty shall continue to have effect when that consent is withdrawn by the majority of the people;

    5. no taxes or spending without consent: no tax, charge or levy shall be imposed, nor any public spending authorised, nor any sum borrowed by any national or local government except with the express permission of the majority of the people, renewed annually on presentation of a properly authenticated budget which shall first have been approved by their respective legislatures;

    6. a constitutional convention: Parliament, once members of the executive are excluded, convenes a constitutional convention to draw up a definitive codified constitution for the people of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, which shall recognise their sovereign status and their inherent, inalienable rights and which shall be subject to their approval.

    Essentially, the system of representative democracy is over Mr Redwood. It’s been corrupted by power hungry, greedy civil servants who at the very least, deserve to be incarcerated for a very long time (not all, but the majority).

    From Raedwald Blog :

    “Fraser Nelson reports from Manchester on the Speccie blog on the anger of voters;
    “The problem with politics is the politicians,” one man declared, to much applause. When the microphones were turned off, the politicians had a hard time getting out of the room unmolested. Even the cheery Ben Bradshaw was also tackled by an audience member who ended the conversation by shouting: “You’re on another planet! You’re out of touch.” One remonstrated with John Denham accusing him of lying with statistics. The mood was not so much anti-Labour, but anti-politician. And this is a force that needs to be taken far more seriously than is being done now”

    We plebs are angry Mr Redwood and there’s revolution in the air.

    • Disaffected
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      Seems a good proposal to me. JR your views are good but flawed in one way. No one believes a word either party say. Look at the current Tory led coalition and read back through your opinions in your own blogs and you must recognise that Cameron and Clegg have spectacularly failed to deliver on anything. A lot of talk of jam tomorrow. There are far more examples of failure and U turns than anything else. No one will believe Labour, especially as balls is in place and was a key factor to the economic failure of this country. Similarly we will not trust Cameron on Europe. There needs to be a gigantic change in politics and referendums will need to feature more as a larger number feel disaffected.

      • zorro
        Posted October 2, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, all reasonable proposals to tighten up budget discipline without imposing too much on citizens. However, how many of JR’s proposals will Cast Elastic actually support to the minutest degree?


      • outsider
        Posted October 2, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

        Good speech by Mr Miliband in Manchester I thought. But I could not help noticing two omissions. He did not mention the EU, which is the greatest long-term influence on the nation’s governance (including that of banks). He also failed to mention the takeover of BAE Systems, which is the biggest immediate issue for the future of the economy and, unlike nearly all other such deals, will actually be decided by HM Govt.

      • Christopher Ekstrom
        Posted October 6, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

        Milliband is the PM a majority of “Britons” deserve; he’s our Hollande & reflects the idiotic bent of the slight majority. He would not stand a chance were the election English.

        • Christopher Ekstrom
          Posted October 6, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

          Of course if the election were English, Cast Iron would be in the Tower awaiting a proper dangle at Traitors Gate.

    • Timaction
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      I agree with the view that we’re beyond party politics as most of our legislation is imposed on us via the EU and sold to us as if it is something invented in Westminster. How many times have we heard Government officials claim an unpopular policy to later discover it actually originated in the EU.
      I agree with all of your suggestions Mr Redwood but what about NO free public services for migrants until they have put into the system for several years. We still have people from all over the planet coming here for free housing, health and education. Why should I and other English tax payers be paying for this?
      How is the Government doing after 2.5 years tackling mass migration? How many illegal immigrants being repatriated? How many powers have been repatriated from the EU? Reform of the Human Rights Act or the EU HCR? When is Qatada being deported? Cuts in public spending? No I suppose there are more important things your leadership should be doing. Maybe a photo opportunity abroad somewhere giving oblique messages on potential referendum that the majority of the population demand! It appears we’re beyond democracy so don’t actually need Westminster at all.

      • zorro
        Posted October 2, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

        The principle of non contributory benefits must be addressed. That is you should not get them until you have contributed for a qualification period….That includes access to any subsidised housing and all the rest.

        Since 2010, the government has made little dent in the net migration quest with the total still knocking close to 250,000, and inward migration close to 600,000…….removals at ports of entry have dipped considerably over the past few years and enforced removals have not increased, so overall removals have decreased over the past three years on an annual basis (all figures taken from Home Office and ONS statistics…..


    • Jerry
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      Dream on Sue, dream on, it sounds as daft as the Natural Law party did (actually I think the NLP had more going for it..!

      • Disaffected
        Posted October 2, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

        It is as daft as Prof Ebdon signing off each university’s agreement how they will manipulate entrance suitability for poor performing students or face heavy financial penalties. We have now entered the world of madness where failure is rewarded and achievement punished. Who would believe such detrimental social engineering under a Tory led Coalition?

        Milburn, former Labour Minister and the Tory led coailtion’s social engineer guru, and others ought to be ashamed that after failing to to improve secondary education. Labour spent billions on education bureaucracy rather than improve education as stated by Blair in 1997, Milburn being part of that government. The Tory led coalition is now dumbing down university education and forcing young p[eople into a lifetime of debt- I hope they vote with their against the LibLab Con.

        I hope every Tory supporter who puts their child through private education will cast a similar vote at the local, European and general elections.

        • Jerry
          Posted October 2, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

          @Disaffected: “Who would believe such detrimental social engineering under a Tory led Coalition?

          Why should a Coalition be any different, some would argue that Mrs T practised social engineering in the 1980s, how many even if offered would have bought their council house in the ’80s unless bri… (sorry) ‘encouraged’ to do so by up to 2/3rd discounts. The Tory governments of the 1950s not only carried on with the 1945 war time and Labour vision for a “Land fit for Heroes” but positivity expanded the New Town projects, the only post war Tory government that didn’t engage much in social engineering was Mr Heath but he was a little pre-occupied by other issues to put it lightly…

          As for the comment about private education and parents, I would have thought they would support the notion that parents should pay for the education they use (as so many keep suggesting within these blogs), so why would they be against university tuition fees?

          • lifelogic
            Posted October 2, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

            The discount reflected the value of the property to the state given that it had a sitting tenant paying very low rent. It was a good deal for the state too.

            Of course all rents should really be a market value anyway. Anything else is blatant discrimination against those who do have to pay the full rate.

          • lifelogic
            Posted October 2, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

            Also unfair competition for the private rented sector.

          • Jerry
            Posted October 2, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

            No lifelogic, they should have been sold at the true market value (just like all other properties were having to be), not with a discount, nor a cheap mortgage. It really is that simple. The price some of these properties went for hardly would have paid for the bricks and mortar build cost of a replacement. Not only did it distort the socail housing sector [1] but even impacted on the the private build/sale sectors, why would anyone have bought bought or financed in the private sector if they had the option to get both a discounted property and a cheap mortgage to via the state backed scheme!

            [1] causing a shortage, thus distorting the true market rent

            I used to know a self made millionaire “lifelogic”, he is dead now, do you know how he made his fortune, he built LA housing in the 1950s and ’60s, so please, stop your whining about social housing being unfair to the private sector.

          • Disaffected
            Posted October 2, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

            Heath and the EU? More than a bit of social engineering, add deceit as well.

            The secondary education has been wrecked and now the Lib Dems lead the Tory coalition to wreck university education. Punishing universities for trying to raise standards- what can be more absurd than this??? The government have indebted our children and children’s children with the wrecked economy and now want to wreck their education as well!!

            Why would Tories appoint Labour former ministers to introduce social engineering to key policy issues, namely to wreck the fabric of education and then ask the public to vote for them as if they are different from their opponents who they asked for advice!! This is idiocy and political idiocy. If this is the best Osborne can come up with, as the reputed Tory strategist, best he clear off ASAP. He might find more useful ways to spend his time if he did a full days work in the Treasury- although he is not doing too well on that front either.

        • uanime5
          Posted October 2, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

          The reason for this is simple. Universities have finally realised that those who went to a private school with a small class size and were spoon feed everything by a private tutor tend to get better grades than those in larger classes who couldn’t afford a private tutor because the former have advantages that the latter do not. As a result they’re lowering the requirements for those who went to state schools to more accurate reflect what you can achieve in a state school.

          This will result in pupils from private schools no longer being over-represented in the top universities.

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted October 4, 2012 at 1:27 am | Permalink

            Their is a solution. Universities could be allowed to offer one year preparatory courses to pupils from state schools who are promising ‘raw material’ but have not yet got adequate grades. Of course, in current economic circumstances, the Universities would have to make a charge for this.

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted October 4, 2012 at 1:29 am | Permalink

            ‘There’, not ‘Their’. I wouldn’t get into Uni, would I?

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      Sue – “We plebs are angry Mr Redwood and there’s revolution in the air.”

      Not really.

      There is such disparateness within the UK these days that it is difficult to reach concensus on what to be angry about. There cannot be a Thatcher moment because the population is no longer unified in its values nor its beliefs. This was made so quite deliberately. Any politician wishing to be taken seriously must now give full considerationn, and deference, to the views and feelings of all manner of religions and orientations.

      My guess is that the plebs are not yet hungry enough to stage a revolution – not with Sky TV, Association football, X Factor, dial up pizza and the comfy sofa Zzzzzzzzzzzz…

      If a revolution does take place it will be in the form of a couple of tantrums and a blubfest.

      By shares in Kleenex.

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted October 2, 2012 at 11:58 am | Permalink


    • nicol sinclair
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      @Sue. “2. local democracy: the foundation of our democracy shall be the counties”

      Please, NO! I do not know about the quality of your County Councillors in England, but our Scottish ones are dire – a bit like Parish Councillors. Save me/us from this fate – please.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted October 2, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

        yes and a large proportion of the wealth creating sector are the mobile workforce who move frequently and who are currently let down totally by the so called democracy in this country especially at the council level

        • uanime5
          Posted October 2, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

          Rest assured that wealth creators tend to be immobile because they need to be near their main source of “wealth creation” at all times. You’d be surprised how difficult it is to run a company that’s in the UK if you’re not in the UK.

          • Iain Gill
            Posted October 3, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

            I had in mind people like me who spend years months in a hotel in glasgow, followed by years months in a hotel in bristol, and so on, and often moving our official home address too for similar work reasons. The state (tax offices, councils, nhs, and so on) really does a rubbish job of dealing with anyone like me who moves address frequently.

      • APL
        Posted October 2, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

        nicol sinclair: “NO! I do not know about the quality of your County Councillors in England, but our Scottish ones are dire”

        Where do you think the politicians come from Nicol?

    • Vanessa
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

      Sue – I could not agree with you more! I have been following this on eureferendum and government has become too expensive and we don’t really need it anyway – look at Switzerland and its Cantons, they seem to work. If all this government can do is ban circus animals then I am not paying any more taxes.

  2. Nina Andreeva
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    FFS, Trident its not independent and its no deterrent. Its completely dependent on the Americans for parts and targeting data etc. Looking at Peter Hennessy’s work on “Britain and the Bomb”. He intimates that should Britain be a smouldering radioactive heap (and please remember North Korea does not have a second strike capability and Iran no bombs at all) that the thing is unlikely to be used in the first place. Judging from the conversations he has had with ex submariners, the most common instruction from a Prime Minister is use your own discretion and which Trident captain is going to chose to blow up the world?

    Everybody else in Western Europe, except the French, can sleep without a “deterrent” so I cannot see why we should bother either

    • Glenn Vaughan
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 11:24 am | Permalink


      I may be wrong but my understanding is that Germany is not allowed to hold nuclear weapons. If that is the case then the Germans have no choice over the issue of nuclear deterrence.

      • Nina Andreeva
        Posted October 2, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

        Western Europe is a bit more than Germany and France

    • Jerry
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      @NA: Everybody else in Western Europe, except the French, can sleep without a “deterrent”

      Ever stopped to wonder why, perhaps after you have finished reading Peter Hennessy’s book you might read up on the founding principles of the NATO alliance (this will also explain why France, who left NATO for a time, developed their own nuclear deterrent, after that you might also care to read up on the theory “MAD”. Just because Russia is not know seen as a nuclear threat, nor China, there are still rouge nations, even without any second strike capability such rouge states could effectively lay waste to vast areas of a country, thus “MAD” is still reliant and still likely to keep fingers off the button.

      But to answer John’s question on this point, certainly those countries that have space programmes do not need international aid, it is less clear were defence is concerned, once a country feels threatened it is not unreasonable for them to want to be able to defend its self (of course it would be better if they weren’t in such a position but once a Genie is out of the bottle…), it is often better for the UK to provide aid than to offer military aid or protection.

      • Nina Andreeva
        Posted October 2, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

        Jerry I have read two of Hennessy’s books and I also have a masters in strategic studies as well. A couple of points. First of all nuclear deterrence theory has moved on quite a bit from MAD. That is no longer US strategic doctrine and has not been so since the ’60’s. Secondly Attlee decided Britain should have its own bomb in 1945/6 well before NATO came into being.

        You may like to enlighten us with a credible scenario where a British Prime Minister would launch a retaliatory strike, independent of the Americans. Your problem here is that he does not have an independent C3I capability that would allow him to do so in the first place.

        • Jerry
          Posted October 2, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

          Who paid for/provided your studies, CND?

        • forthurst
          Posted October 2, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

          “Your problem here is that he does not have an independent C3I capability that would allow him to do so in the first place.”

          Is this the reason why senor service chiefs say we dont ‘need’ Trident? Presumably, they wouldn’t also add, “because we need to provide an independent nuclear weapon delivery capability of our own”, even if they meant that. With the Americans running Aldermaston, if the French take over BAe, we would have very little ability to either construct warheads or build the delivery systems.

          Personally, I think we should have a completely independent nuclear deterrent and come out of NATO, which has degenerated into the strategic arm of carpet-chewing neocons and assorted US industrial interests.

          • forthurst
            Posted October 2, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

            …and the petrodollar, of course; we can’t have people like Gaddafi opting out of that.

          • zorro
            Posted October 2, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

            ….or people like him supporting certain Western European politicians and maybe spilling the beans also it seems…


          • Nina Andreeva
            Posted October 2, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

            Britain cannot afford a independent nuclear deterrent point blank. It can build the boats to hold the missiles and that is just about it. Anything else would just would require a living standard something similar to that of North Korea, even if we had access to the raw materials, technology to do otherwise .

            The C3I problem first manifested itself during the Falklands war. Here the UK had to bend over backwards for the Americans just to have access to a spy satellite for a few hours a day that was monitoring the civil war in El Salvador, which for the US was hardly of global strategic significance. This led on to the idea of the UK having its own satellite, in the form of ZIRCON, which was later dumped due to cost.

            Building a deterrent through the ability to fight a nuclear war is a lot more sophisticated than than simply pointing a missile towards Pyongyang or Tehran. If you cannot cannot obtain your own intelligence to do so you are simply falling at the first fence.

            If Trident is of value please give my a scenario where it would be used against America’s wishes? Otherwise the British taxpayer is subsidising an element of the USs SIOP (nuclear war fighting plan)

          • forthurst
            Posted October 3, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

            A nuclear deterrent neither implies a first strike capability nor the capacity to fight a nuclear war against a major world power. It simply means the capacity to do unacceptable damage, totally under our control, to anyone whould consider attacking us.

            If we cannot afford it, how come Israel, France, North Korea, Pakistan, India , China can?

            I wasn’t thinking of lobbing anything a Tehran as Iran is not a genuine threat; Persian civilisation has existed for thousands of years and if you look at map or photos of that country, you will appreciate why they have no aspirations to occupy any other’s.

          • Bazman
            Posted October 3, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

            France has their own nuclear weapons technology and it can be argued that is one of the reasons why French taxes are high. A nuclear weapons system on a nuclear powered submarine platform ain’t going to be cheap and don’t give us the usual on the cheap ideas that many on this site have for everything. Not feasible. By the way Trident has first first strike capabilities and is not a defensive weapon. What can it defend against? Can you think why?

  3. lifelogic
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    Indeed government waste needs to be cut hugely, expenditure by the state needs to be well below 35% of GDP not nearly 50%. But we have Cameron and Clegg who clearly do not believe this.

    • Jerry
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      What is more important is what such government spending is used for, I’m sure that if everyone (and I mean everyone) had a Harley Street heath service experience, or that we had cheap fast and reliable rail travel, a second to none road system without the motorist and hauliers being skinned alive, I’m sure that many people would not complain so loudly even if such expenditure was still at 45% odd of GDP but when they see the waste of subsidising windmills (that any amateur scientist knows can’t work as envisaged) or the cost of the EU, to many tiers of local government [1] etc. they rightly object to all government expenditure.

      [1] sorry Sue (above) but it is local government that needs to be reformed, take any few sq miles of you local area and there will typically be at least three different levels of local governance, parish, town/district council and then county council, just finding out who is responsible for the problem on a stretch of road can be a nightmare with being past from pillar to post – even more so if expenditure will be involved

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 2, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Permalink


  4. norman
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    For all those who slag off Ed Balls, take a look at what has happened in the last 4 days. Unless George ‘Napoleon’ Osborne (although his strategic genius may even surpass the little Frenchman) can pull something spectacular out of his Bullingdon hat (and if past performance is anything to go by I’d me more willing to have a flutter on Rangers winning the SPL this year) this is how you run rings around a political opponent.

    Osborne is bobbing dead in the water. The only question that remains is whether it suits Labour’s interests to keep the lame duck Chancellor in place or put him out of his misery. I imagine Labour fancy a landslide victory in 2015 so it’s best to leave Osborne alone to inflict more damage on himself without outside help.

    Balls announcing a gradual raising of the middle threshold in 2014 should be enough to capture the floating disinterested in politics middle class vote and that should just about do it for this abortion of a coalition.

    Only interesting question that remains is whether enough Conservative MPs are patriotic enough to act before 2015 and try adn get Boris in (still be a loss but can’t be pinned on him and he may do enough to prevent an out and out Labour win so they’re lumbered with the Lib Dems) or if their apathy towards the UK that they’re happy enough to keep on troughing for a couple of more years, cultivate the contacts necessary for a few cushty consultancies (taxi for hire was the phrase on ex-Minister used if memory serves) and plan for a post-political 2015.

    I very much think it will be the latter. From the outside looking in it appears people don’t enter politics now (Oxbridge PPE / bag carrier / parachuted in to winnable seat) for the betterment of the people but instead for the betterment of themselves. That goes for all parties. Even if UKIP managed to get an MP I’m under no illusions they’d go native faster than you can say ‘who do I see about appointing my wife as my secretary and university ensconced son as my junior researcher’.

    • A different Simon
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      Yep , Labour are very good at politics . With the benefit of hindsight we’d probably have been better off with a Labour govt .

      Having spent years building in waste they would know right where to find and they were decisive compared with the Conservatives and the Coalition .

      I’d venture they would have cut further , faster .

      Osborne probably doesn’t have a clue what he is doing but how many chancellors do ?

      If a Chancellor is popular at anytime , let alone a recession , he/she’s not acting as a financial controller .

      Clegg and Cameron are terrible spendthrifts and any chancellor reporting to them would be wasting their time .

      At least Osborne saw shale gas as an opportunity which is more than can be said for Cameron at that secret anti-shale meeting at no-10 Davey set up .

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 2, 2012 at 10:50 am | Permalink

        What secret anti-shale meeting at no-10 Davey set up – any details?

        No one I know, with any knowledge of science and the “green” energy “industry” thinks it is anything other than a gigantic scam to get their hands on tax payers money.

        • A different Simon
          Posted October 2, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

          The one held a couple of months back in No10 rather than No11 without the Chancellor or any UK onshore unconventional hydrocarbon explorers being invited .

          Was secret until Davey blabbed about it himself on the Telly .

          There are a lot more sophisticated scammers than the green energy industry in on this one . The carbon dioxide trading scheme concocted by and for the city of london for a start .

          • forthurst
            Posted October 2, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

            “There are a lot more sophisticated scammers than the green energy industry in on this one . The carbon dioxide trading scheme concocted by and for the city of london for a start .”

            No, it’s fallacious to try and compartmentalise it. It’s all part of the same criminal conspiracy. Obviously the innumerate cretins that frequent the grauniad have swallowed the ‘myth’ but that applies to all political movements of the ‘left’ and some of the ‘right’.

            Don’t forget that we are subsidising the transfer of our industry to the Orient as well as deliberately making it uncompetitive here. So there is yet another component of the criminal conspiracy which is trying to destroy our power as a nation by destroying it’s industrial base such that it will consist eventually of banksters, suppliers of services to banksters, and the world and his uncle living off benefits. Of course the sums will never add up.

          • zorro
            Posted October 2, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

            That conspiracy also includes the effective submission of independent British army operational effectiveness and it being amalgamated into an EU army in the longer term….


        • Bazman
          Posted October 3, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

          China is increasingly looking a sustainable energy and where do you think they will buy their technology from? As usual they look to the west. Or are you against sustainable energy too?

    • Nina Andreeva
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      And what is your darling Boris going to do any differently? He is in just as much a state of concussion as the rest of them after their neo-liberal economic experiment blew up in their faces in 2007/8.

      Letterman should have tested Dave on his knowledge of the “Road to serfdom” rather than on how you translate “magna carta”. As Hayek points out until you restore the rule of law, and this needs to begin in America first so much so are we in their thrall, the banksters will push you from one crisis to the next, eventually that the next time Ed dons his jackboots he will not be doing it for laugh

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      Norman – Would it really matter who got in ?

      We now know that the Tories (backbenchers excepted) are a party of high spending, high immigration and are pro EU.

      Mr Redwood’s wish list has as much chance of becoming reality as mine. He is NOT the Tory Party (unfortunately)

      • Norman
        Posted October 2, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

        Although I agree with you (and Nina) what is to be done? storming the winter palace and lining them up is just a pleasant dream that will quickly turn into a nightmare.

        A new man (and need not be Boris but we’re just talking about a front face here – one thing the Cameroons got right, the front man can, in fact is almost a must, be a vacuous waste of space with a smooth handshake and a greasy smile but little else. Again, another thing they did right installing Cameron. Their mistake was all were cast, not from iron, from same mould as Dave) may have the backbone to introduce some new faces from outside his coterie – Redwood, Davis, Reckless, Baker, Carswell, and many more I’m sure I’m missing and let them do the heavy lifting and he would have the confidence and belief in them to back them up and trust them without u-turning when he smells a bad headline.

        Osborne, Hancock, Clegg, Cable, May et al couldn’t lift a pasty bought from Leeds train station (or one of those dreadful northern cities – they all look the same so was easy mistake to make!) between them.

    • Jerry
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      Spot on Norman, other than your comment about Boris, if the Tories ditch Cameron for Boris all they are doing is jumping from the pan into the fire. Boris didn’t so much win a second term as Ken lost…

      • davidb
        Posted October 2, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

        We are relying on the voters against who voted against McBroon to do their bit and vote against Fraticide Boy next time out too. So don’t go knocking negative voting.

  5. Martin Cole
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    The cross subsidy by Spanish taxpayers of the Italian State Electricity Compnay where there has also apparently been past cross appointments of politicians to board memberships revealed by Bloomberg etc., yesterday moves the EU scandal to a new altogether graver area.

    An immediate cessation of all UK payments to EU budgets and projects pending full criminal investigations into past abuses, withdrawal of MEPs and cessation of salary payments together with the pensions of former EU Commissioners and officials would also seem a sensible initial step. Such a step might speed a full discovery of the facts!

    UK taxpayer liability to the consequences of EU fraud could reveal the national finances are stronger than they might now appear, and some of the cutting could thus be less severe than you suggest above.

    • Disaffected
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      Quite agree.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      “An immediate cessation of all UK payments to EU budgets and projects pending full criminal investigations into past abuses, withdrawal of MEPs and cessation of salary payments together with the pensions of former EU Commissioners and officials would also seem a sensible initial step.”

      Indeed it would but it won’t happen with Cameron/Clegg

      The EU is, to a very large degree, clearly a criminal enterprise and out of democratic control. Cheered on (at our expense) by the BBC/Cameron/Clegg/Miliband. Just look at all the absurd green grants as an example. A whole pointless “industry” generated, at all our expense, mainly by lies and corruption.

      • zorro
        Posted October 2, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

        ‘Criminal Enterprise’……Well, I suppose the old adage of ‘follow the money’ is appropriate, bearing in mind that they seem to have a perpetual struggle to get their accounts positively audited!!


      • Peter Brown
        Posted October 3, 2012 at 4:18 am | Permalink

        No clearer example of the criminal attitudes of the EU is that the ESM Agreement specifically requires that all people employed within it are held unaccountable for criminal or civil action for whatever reason. An institution such as the EU which is already widely known for it’s corruption and failure to provide accurate accounting for sixteen years has now made it law that they will escape any possible legal action for their criminal activities. This completely disregards the fact that the ESM itself is illegal under European Law.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

      Any evidence that this is an EU scandal, rather than a scandal involving Italy and Spain?

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted October 3, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

        It is an example of southern European and Latin business and accounting practices, which are present within the EU more than we would like. Don’t tell me that the application of the Common Agricultural Policy has been entirely free of corruption. Do tell me why the EC accounts haven’t been signed off for about 20 years. Do tell me why an accountant who worked inside Brussels and saw a lot of expenditure that wasn’t properly documented is now a leading member of UKIP.

  6. Andrew Hollins
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    Limit Child Benefit to the first 3 children

    Require a minimum of 18 months of NI contributions prior to being eligible for any benefits

    Timeilimit unemployment benefit to 2 years – but make it more generous to maintain an unemployed person’s life-style UNTIL they are able to get a new job – by paying at 80% of previous salary for 2 years. This would save money long term but make sure people were not immediately forced out of their homes

    • Iain Gill
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      Re “Require a minimum of 18 months of NI contributions prior to being eligible for any benefits” unless you are married to a Brit who has paid into the system way more than is typical for a wage earner supporting a family…

    • Wonky Moral Compass
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      Two would be a much better target i.e. replacement level.

      • BigJohn
        Posted October 2, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

        As the country is over crowded, zero would be a better target.

        • Wonky Moral Compass
          Posted October 2, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

          Even better, but try selling it to the breeders who think we should pay for their kids.

        • Norman
          Posted October 3, 2012 at 12:12 am | Permalink

          the whole economic policy is based on immigration. who will pay our pensions? as our host continually points out the pension money that is being ‘put by’ is being wasted year after year. How they must laugh at the commons bar at what will happen when the plebs find out there is no money left albeit a little for the RPI for MPs. why are all other public sector workers only on the gold standard of CPI whilevMPs on the platinum? I guess you all just assume most people don’t care, those that do don’t really understand the difference and the handful that are left are decent law abiding people who will just grumble a bit, write politicians off as a bad lot and stay at home / withdraw from political intercourse.

          You see, you can get things right sometimes, you are managing to turn people off by the millions. Is it a good long term plan? As you’ll be cashing said pension in by the time the answer is revealed who cares! That’s the beauty of the thing. Treat voters with utter contempt then be long gone before anyone realises the scope of the crime. It’s at times like this i wish i wasnt an atheist.

          Reply: There is an important difference between the MP second pension scheme and the state retirement pension. The former is a funded scheme where the pensions will be paid out of the assets accumulated from memebrs contributions and employers contributions.The latter is a pay as you go scheme where today’s workers pay yesterday’s workers’ pensions.

          • Norman
            Posted October 3, 2012 at 11:39 am | Permalink

            My main point wasn’t private v pubic, we all know who has the best of that. It Was why, uniquely, MPs are still calculated by RPI other public sec by CPI. Also is your scheme fully funded? Perhaps it is. I honestly have no idea.

            What I do know is the typical public sectors second pension is funded to the tune of 5-15% with the rest coming from general pay as ou go taxation. If you say the mp schemes fully funded and does not rely on future tax / pension receipts I humbly apologise and thank you for the education.

            Such info should be made more of, god knows you MPs need an image makeover

    • Jerry
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      @Andrew Hollins: The “Nasty Party” [1] is alive and kicking, thus forward we go to the next election and the Friday morning after polling day, these immortal words will be uttered by the Downing Street door keeper – Good morning Prime Minister, how was Her Majesty, Oh and the Cabinet Secretary will be along to see you shorty Mr Millband, do you remember the way to the Cabinet Room?

      [1] and clueless party

    • Bob
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      @Andrew Hollins
      “…80% of previous salary for 2 years.”

      Shall we have un upper limit on that?

    • uanime5
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

      Your plan would greatly disadvantage the 1 million unemployed young people who would be unable to find a job or claim benefits. Expect strong protests if your awful idea was ever implemented.

      • Bob
        Posted October 3, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Permalink


        “Expect strong protests if your awful idea was ever implemented.”

        I’m sure there would be strong protests, but that doesn’t mean the protesters are justified, it just means they have too much time on their hands.

  7. Mick Anderson
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    I’d like to add a few things to your list. One of the big issues with Government spending seems to be that whenever a new way of spending money is invented, they also carry on with the old method. So:

    Close the Scottish Officeas they now have their own Parliament. If they need Cabinet-level representation, let there be a place at the table for a plenipotentiary from Edinburgh, chosen by the Scots.

    Close the Welsh Office (sorry JR) for the same reason as the Scots.

    Close the Culture department. It was only invented so that Mr Major could give Mr Mellor a job and it is not necessary for the running of the Country

    Close DFID. Leave charity to the correct sector, and let them collect the money from the Public. This is how charity was meant to be – Government should steer clear from “good causes” because they are (by definition) politically biased.

    Abolish the Road Fund Licence. Mr Osborne has already applied the 3p to fuel that is the equivalent collection – let him give something back for a change. ANPR has replaced the idea of having an expensive paper disc in the windscreen

    • David John Wilson
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      While I agree with the closure of government departments as listed above there must be a further constraint. The functions involved must NOT be transfered to another department along with the staff.

      Having been on the edge of a number such closures in the past my experience is that the staff and functions have been transferred wholesale to another department. This usually also results in extra overheads of small groups of staff working away from the main office that include extra staff to run the interfaces.

    • Vanessa
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

      Close all the offices in Brussels funded by British taxpayers.

  8. Acorn
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Zero based budget exercise are a great idea in theory, in practice, you will run out of people to do it in less than three years; and all the decisions have to be made by a dictator, not a committee.

    Other than that, who allowed Network Rail to play with derivatives, Treasury?
    Afghanistan, game over, we lost.
    Shut down DFID, let FO run off the current budget.
    EU, in or out, make your mind up for Christ’s sake.
    Charge every body that uses the NHS a small percentage of the actual accountable cost; that at least will yield some price discovery.
    Stop index linking things altogether let Parliament decide at budget time. Zero or less is a valid option.
    Make all land, including forests, not privately owned the property of local government. Make LG private sector put a tax on their lack of contribution to the national housing problem.
    Stop selling council houses; LG builds to rent only.
    Stop “pepper-potting” housing estates with affordable housing, social engineering does not work.

    • A different Simon
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      Acorn ,

      Your suggestions sound pretty good but I question assigning land to local govt because as soon as they have budget pressures they will just flog it off at the bottom of the market , especially the Conservative councils .

      Reckon it would be better to establish a sovereign wealth fund and assign it to that .

      • Acorn
        Posted October 2, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

        Simon, Councils often give parcels of land away for Housing Association builds and similar. The price of the land is on a residual basis. You take the price the house will fetch; keeping in mind the rental the HA tenants will pay; subtract the build costs and the residual money is what they will pay for the land, if anything.

        Assigning land to the Council makes life simpler. Not all land is registered. There are a lot of two foot wide “ransom strips” which block access to parcels of land and will sell for the equivalent of several millions per acre; if you can find the owner. The Mafia couldn’t have dreamt up a better scam. The Council should be able to advertise a compulsory purchase is imminent for such strips at the residual land price and wait for the owner to scream foul or later, assume the owner is dead.

        Sovereign wealth funds are the equivalent of a government budget surplus, which means the private sector is running a deficit; short of a surplus on the balance of payments, which we ain’t got. 😉 .

    • Iain Gill
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      no get the state out of building, owning, and subsidising houses, instead give any housing subsidy needed directly to needy people to spend on rent as they see fit with whichever provider they see fit wherever in the country they see fit.

      • Jerry
        Posted October 2, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

        That would require the reintroduction of rent controls, otherwise the sector has become all but a cartel…

        • Iain Gill
          Posted October 2, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

          why? free market in rental properties, with no state involvement in running rental properties, and some basic regulation to ensure fairness, there is no reason cartels need happen.

          • Jerry
            Posted October 3, 2012 at 8:39 am | Permalink

            Once one landlord ups the rent they will all do so, that is what is wrong with your crackpot money making idea, a similar problem already happens in the energy sector.

            Within the NON-discretionary marketplace the market price is what ever the market can get away with, not what the customer actually thinks is the correct or fair price, the market forces only work properly when dealing with discretionary spending.

          • Iain Gill
            Posted October 3, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Permalink


            A free market is a much more efficient way of getting the balance right between what potential tenants want and what landlords can give than having top down state controlled (or at arms lenght like housing associations just to keep the debt off the national debt) organisations dictating to us all who should have what and when and what it will cost…

      • Acorn
        Posted October 2, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

        Iain, welcome to the “demand side”, you will have noticed that our host is of the “supply side”. The penny is starting to drop on his front bench though. The UK has a balance sheet recession (debt), to increase demand side activity you need to reduce taxes like VAT and / or increase government deficit spending on stuff which needs lots of people to make it.

        Reply: I am also of the demand side when it comes to taxes and private sector expansion.

    • Jerry
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      @Acorn: “Charge every body that uses the NHS a small percentage of the actual accountable cost

      The Nasty Party is on form today… Just about every other political party will make a meal of this idea, the Tories will be well and truly toast, your idea will even drive some life long Tory supports into the arms of Labour (if not the SLP)!

      • Nina Andreeva
        Posted October 2, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

        We are being charged a small fraction of the cost already through NI contribs and prescriptions etc.

        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted October 5, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

          Not to mention hospital car parking charges.

      • Richard
        Posted October 2, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

        The NHS already effectively charges for a number of services:- most dentistry, chiropody and optician services for example.
        I would like to see people who turn up drugged or drunk to A and E departments each night after fighting or after falling over, being charged a few pounds for their treatment.
        And people who decide to take part in dangerous sports should take out insurance to cover themselves when it goes wrong.

        This wasn’t the original idea of the NHS when it was set up, that whatever you do to yourself, no matter how irresponsible you have behaved, the NHS will rebuild you free of charge.

        • Jerry
          Posted October 2, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

          Effectively perhaps, prescription, dentistry and eye test charges are obvious whilst NI is hidden, but beyond that it is free at the point of use, the point being that all the other parties would suggest this was the thin end of the NHS privatisation wedge and crucify it and the Tory party.

          • Iain Gill
            Posted October 2, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

            expensive parking at the hospital is hardly the sign of a free service, rip off charges to use a television or phone is hardly the sign of a free service, to say nothing of the lack of reasonable service in many areas of care which force many people to go private in any case.

            plenty of other countries such as Belgium, New Zealand and so on manage to provide better and more responsive care to all citizens including the most poor without the stalanist dogma that the state must own and run the providers of care or that everything must be supposedly free at the point of use

            the nhs is a national disgace, if the politicians actually came out and said that simple truth it would destroy all this nhs is a state religion nonsense

          • Jerry
            Posted October 2, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

            Yes Ian, that is my point, people already see that sort of shenanigans by NHS Trusts as soft privatisation of the NHS and they don’t like it.

          • Norman
            Posted October 3, 2012 at 12:19 am | Permalink

            @iain gill

            Dan Hannan said just that from what he thought was safety of an mep talking on anamerican chat show. Naive fool. He was soon forced into a grovelling backtracking apology by the cameroons.


        • Vanessa
          Posted October 2, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

          Nor was it orignally envisaged that the NHS would give operations to men who wanted to be women and women who wanted to be men! Why should I pay for somebody who gets this operation and hormonal treatment for life.

  9. Pete the Bike
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    That is a good list to start with. A lot of it doesn’t require a review, just an immediate cut. Once you start having reviews you start getting vested interests coming up with reasons not to cut. I still cannot see any logical reason for government to own woodland, or indeed anything else but all the bureaucrats and do gooders managed to scrap that cut and they’d do the same with the rest of the list if you let them.
    Mind you this is all academic, Dave and George have shown absolutely no sign of having the guts to cut budgets and that isn’t going to change now.

  10. Boudicca
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Cameron should be ashamed that he hasn’t already implemented all of the above. But he isn’t: he believes in the EU and the UK funding it. He believes in International Welfare (aid) and the UK paying an ever larger contribution.

    Other things to add to your list are:

    1. Stop funding Baroness Ashton’s Empire. We don’t need to pay for EU Embassies – we have our own.

    2. Stop providing social housing and welfare to immigrants – whether from the EU or elsewhere. If they can’t support themselves and their families, then they shouldn’t be here.

    3. Cut the costs of Government. As a result of Devolution, we have too many politicians. With Parliaments in Scotland, Wales and NI, we don’t need 650 MPs in Westminster.

    • Disaffected
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      Absolutely. Welfare payments should be added to number two on your list. Self employment should not count as employment either as many self employed car cleaners and domestics soon become welfare claimants. Grayling suggested 370,000 migrant workers are now on welfare- who vetted them in the first place?? Why not deport them, my taxes should not pay provide them a free life, house, health, education etc? People in this country have to pay for their children’s education because we are told by politicians we cannot afford it, therefore it should equally apply to others who want to come here.

    • A different Simon
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      Boudicca ,

      I believe we have been closing our embassies as new EU ones open .

      • Disaffected
        Posted October 2, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

        And the UK is sharing embassies as confirmed by Hague last week. Undoubtedly the sharing will include the EU buildings in the fullness of time and then claims of cut backs to force a full integration of embassies.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

      As long as Parliament is still making laws that apply to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland these countries have a right to be represented in Parliament.

  11. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Some of us naively thought that this would have been done by an incoming government promising to eliminate the structural deficit by 2015 by 80% spending cuts and 20% tax increases. I cannot think that the coalition is serious when they not only refuse to reduce overseas aid but intend to continue to increase it. Their policy is to carry on spending and hope that taxation and inflation will see them through. Labour is trying to repair some of its self-inflicted damage about its economic competence. The coalition parties are showing that they are just as incompetent as Labour.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      Indeed the Tory party still need to repair the damage done by Major and the ERM to their reputation for economic competence. Cameron/Osborne are merely repeating the Major disaster with the gifts to the PIGIS, the EU and tax borrow and waste everywhere.

      How are are the promised profits on the soft loans to the PIGIS coming on Osborne? Can he show us the true value of these duff “loans” as at today? How much wasted per UK household so far?

      • zorro
        Posted October 2, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

        Those soft loans have melted to mush in the Mediterranean sun…. 🙁


  12. merlin
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Privatise health, education and welfare, leave the EU and there would probably be no deficit in a very short period, in fact the only service the Government should run is defence. The history of nationisation is not good both in the public and private sectors, failure is the word. Governments should not be allowed to run anything because they are inapable of doing it.

    • Jerry
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      How about banning Wizards, that might save a few pennies here and there, round them all up and put them all on bread and water rations (in a place called Cardboard City), after all if they are real wizards they will be able to magic up a proper meal and a place to call home!

      I have only once read an election manifesto like this blog today, that was in 1993 and it belonged to the Labour Party…

      • zorro
        Posted October 2, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

        Do you mean 1983?


        • Jerry
          Posted October 2, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

          Yes! Thank you Zorro…

      • Bazman
        Posted October 3, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

        Nice one Jerry. Wizards and fantasy. What are they like?

    • outsider
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      ” Governments should not be allowed to run anything because they are incapable of doing it.”
      Dear Merlin, you did not mention defence, border security and the police. Should Government be allowed to run these?

      • zorro
        Posted October 2, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

        I do not even think that libertarians would go that far. All bodies which defend the integrity and physical well being of the nation state should be publicly controlled and directly accountable for their actions to democratically elected ministers.


      • Norman
        Posted October 3, 2012 at 12:24 am | Permalink

        Child protection normally gets tacked on to that list but given the events of the last ten years and alleged depth of corruption in some communities even hat isn’t a given no.

  13. Andy
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Zero budget would be a good idea. Actually I thought this should have been done 2 years ago. Every Secretary of State should have demanded a set of management accounts and then should have done a line audit. Problem is Cameron and Clegg have never had a job, never run a business nor made a penny of their own. If they had they would have started out running the State like a business. I’m quite sure there are enough talented businessmen around who could be sent into every government department and reform them. That would enable us to reduce the amount of money the state squanders, I mean spends, and to reduce taxation. Fat chance.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

      I recall that Cameron did ask a businessman how to run the Government better and he recommended delaying payments to small businesses. While this might be good for a business it’s not good for the economy.

  14. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Without in any way dismissing the value of the potential economies listed, what would they add up to as a fraction of government spending?

    If the government was running a small budget deficit, say 5% of its total spending*, then that could be solved by good housekeeping, but the budget deficit is still more like 20% of total spending – or has it now gone back up to about 25%, as it was in 2009?

    * Although Mr Micawber reckoned a deficit as low as 0.125% would result in misery.

    Reply: This list is a few billions, where we need tens of billions. I have other proposals for the big budgets not touched by this – e.g. the one third of spending which goes on welfare and pensions.

    • zorro
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

      John, will you be disclosing your proposals on these other issues soon?


  15. alexmews
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    No offense John but I thought Dave already committed to cutting the number of MP. I suppose this is bound up in coalition tit-for-tat on boundary review. but there isba savings there, along with expenses for 1000 plus peers.

    I do also feel there is immense wasted expenditure on traffic calming and other street furniture initiatives at the council level. Is this really necessary or is is shovel ready Keynesianism at work?

    Reply Yes they are committed to fewer MPs but probably cannot get it through Parliament with Lib dems against.

    • David John Wilson
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      They only need to get the House of Lords reform in motion and the LibDems will co-operate on the boundary revisions

      • Norman
        Posted October 3, 2012 at 12:26 am | Permalink

        And when the lords reform is democratically defeated? Can they be trusted to keep their word on promises (rhetorical question)

  16. MajorFrustration
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Overseas Aid. Why is it that a school girl’s blog on school dinners can in a very short time raise over £100k and be put to effective use whereas we need an entire governemnt dept to waste billions.
    Whilst I would support all your suggestions until and unless we clean up the culture at Westminster and replace MPs with people that can be trusted both in word and deed then we will plod on with the great and the good still enjoying the benefits of society. As a final thought cut the BBC loose and make it stand alone.

    • Bob
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      Yes, the BBC is a disgrace.
      I wonder how many people at the BBC knew about Jimmy Saville and chose to keep quiet about it because of his connections?

      • Jerry
        Posted October 2, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        Allegedly, Bob, allegedly….. In fact had the cited person not been dead you comment would probably have been moderated out of existence.

        Oh and before slagging off the BBC with suggestions that the BBC have contrived to protect people or to their attitude to child abuse Bob you might like to remind yourself (or learn) how Childline and similar services started up, why child abuse is now taken so seriously (long before the scourge of the dodgy internet site).

        What organisation not only highlighted the problem but provided resources to investigate such cases when the likes of the NSPCC, Barnardo’s and others (even the police…) didn’t unless it was either high-profile or very serious. Until the BBC and Esther Rantzen came along with their ChildWatch programme and phone based help line (later to become known as ChildLine) many children reporting such abuse were either ignored or worse actively told that they must be lying – even though many were describing activities that young children (and even possibly some teenagers at that time) were unlikely to even know about never mind describe in detail.

        • Bob
          Posted October 3, 2012 at 9:04 am | Permalink


          So because Esther is a force for good, it cancels out what was going on in the dressing rooms does it.
          Is that the BBC’s idea of balance???

          The lack of investigation into Saville could be attributed that he was involved with people at the highest levels and was very litigious by nature, I’ll say no more than that than that because it would be censored anyway, but do a little digging and you will find out for yourself.

          The BBC management were aware of the allegations at the time but chose to do nothing, and just brushed it all under the carpet. A bit like they did with the Balen Report; it’s the way they do business.

          I hope that now the police will now do their job properly without fear or favour, however belatedly.

          • Jerry
            Posted October 3, 2012 at 11:10 am | Permalink

            Perhaps Bob if you spent more of your time finding a clue rather than searching for a conspiracy theory you might actually find yourself more informed and less ridiculed for your rants.

            These allegations are not new, they have been around for many many years, they have even been investigated by the police, (and not published before by the press, presumably because they did n ot have evidence to back them up-ed)
            If there is NEW evidence then I’m sure that everyone, including both the BBC and the Saville family/estate, will do what is needed to ensure that it is fully investigated.

          • Bazman
            Posted October 3, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

            Times were different then. Now, then. Now, then. Now, then. I thank you. Euuuu! Euuuu! Ow’s about that? He did inspire a generation of Dad impersonators including myself. I think I’ll have to stop doing that impression in the future as looks like (it’s controversial-ed). Urk! He should have been a priest..

          • Bob
            Posted October 4, 2012 at 9:06 am | Permalink


            It appears that this is another conspiracy theory that is becoming conspiracy fact.

            I don’t expect too many stones to be turned over here though, because there are too many people, like yourself it seems, who would like this affair to be brushed under the carpet without further ado.

          • Jerry
            Posted October 4, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

            You couldn’t be more wrong Bob if you tried, but I just prefer to let the police and/or courts do their work without the media or public preforming a lynching first.

          • Bob
            Posted October 5, 2012 at 10:07 am | Permalink

            Hopefully the police and the courts will do their work now (belatedly).

            But if the BBC hadn’t turned a collective blind eye to the (criminals-ed) back in the seventies, then maybe a few more children could have been spared the abuse and anguish that goes with it.

          • Jerry
            Posted October 5, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

            So Bob, if you knew all about this back in the 1970s why didn’t YOU go to the police, after all you seem to know all the details to be able to announce guilt…

          • Bob
            Posted October 6, 2012 at 9:16 am | Permalink


            “…if you knew all about this back in the 1970s…”
            There you go again, making up comments and then attributing them to me.

            If you were to spend more time reading what I actually write, rather making it up yourself we might actually get somewhere.

            The BBC were covering up his activities not me, that’s the point I’m making, the people at and around the BBC were turning a blind eye. People like Janet Street-Porter and Esther Rantzen who have finally found the courage to expose what was going on, and if you believe them there are likely to be others yet to come forward.

            The problem is that the corporate culture at the BBC means that anyone working for them is unlikely to speak out against wrongdoing, which is why the people that expose the goings on at the BBC will only do it after leaving their employment.

            Reply: The allegations are serious, and it is a pity they were not tackled to the satisfaction of the critics or the wider public when Mr Savile was alive and able to put his case.

          • Jerry
            Posted October 6, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

            @Bob: Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! Bob, you really do take the biscuit, it is you who is not taking on board what others have been saying…

            What do you not understand Bob, until and if the BBC is found to have covered up these accusations you have absolutely no proof to announce guilt what so ever, you do so now for only one reason, your constant wish to rubbish the BBC for your narrow political reasons and as such hijacking the (claimed) sexual abuse of children for your own political rants is about as low as any political activist can stoop. 🙁

          • Bob
            Posted October 6, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Permalink


            Try to follow the thread.
            We’re talking about the BBC turning a blind eye to the accusations against Saville, like they turned a blind eye to the pedophile gangs in the north of England.

            If Saville had been suspected of racism, the BBC would have terminated his contract faster than you can say “Carol Thatcher”.

          • Jerry
            Posted October 6, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

            Bob, FFS go buy a dictionary, look up the meaning of the words ALLEGED and EVIDENCE, then go find a clue.

          • Bob
            Posted October 7, 2012 at 10:35 am | Permalink


            Would several abused women whose claims corroborate each other or the fact that he had been questioned under caution by the police about alleged abuse at the Duncroft Approved School for Girls where he was a regular visitor count as grounds for suspicion in your mind?

            Would several BBC stars who say that is was an open secret at the BBC be sufficient justification for the BBC to prevent him from making children’s programs with Gary Glitter.

            Obviously not, because the BBC have nothing on record about any of the above.

            Nothing to see here eh Jerry!

          • Jerry
            Posted October 7, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

            Bob, I have no idea (unlike you I don’t have a crystal ball) as there hasn’t been any judicial inquiry yet -police or otherwise- never mind any conclusions drawn.

      • Bazman
        Posted October 8, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

        You do not watch TV Bob so do not try to destroy it for those that do. You’re using this as a stick to beat the BBC. True or not true there must be sacrificial lambs in your world and any accusations would have been ignored by the likes of you as health & safety gone mad as the BBC persecutes charity fund raiser for having audacity to do charity work and not rely on the state. Writes itself. Instead you see more mileage these days in going with the accusations. If it had been some right wing organisation you would be strangely silent. You need to ram it Bob.

  17. Iain Gill
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Increase price of work visas significantly, especially those from countries where cost of living is significantly cheaper than the UK.

    Make work visa holders pay full employer and employee national insurance not after 12 months here but from the beginning.

    Pro rata tax allowances to the amount of that tax year a work visa holder is entitled to be working in the country.

    Punitive taxes to any large organisation currently earning large amounts here but setup to pay most of its tax in tax havens.

    Punitive taxes on anyone moving British intellectual property abroad.

    No state school places to children of work visa holders from countries which do not provide reciprocal for children of Brits working in their country.

  18. Michael Read
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Streuth. You’re back on trees. Leave ’em. It only winds me up, and most of the UK.

    • outsider
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      You are right there Mr Read. In any case asset sales, whether “commercial” forests or bank shares, do not cut ongoing public spending.

  19. Nina Andreeva
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Asylum means that when the war is over you go home, it is not the first path to citizenship and all the goodies that come with it. (Why are many-ed) Kosovan Albanians living in (UK ed). Why? The war is over, Kosovo is independent and it has no connection to the EU and the Commonwealth so why (are they-ed) still here?

    Reply : If you grant someone ayslum it would be difficult to rescind it later.

    • Nina Andreeva
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Permalink


      Please can you tell me why you have held this one back? I do not believe its racist in anyway, (refers to other items which I allowed which I had not seen as racist-ed)Reply: because you were talking about an individual you had met who might not agree with your view of his position.

    • Jerry
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      Asylum means that when the war is over you go home

      I really don’t mean this to sound personal nor racist but I just want to expose the absurdity of what Nina implied, even more so considering who she picked on and where her ancestors came from (well at first assumptions anyway)…

      Nina Andreeva, when did your forbears come to this country, and is it safe to go home yet?! Words such as stones and glasshouses come to mind 🙂

    • zorro
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

      When refugee status is granted to someone who claims asylum, they are a granted a travel document (1951 UN Convention document) which supposedly precludes travel to their home country. I suspect some of the people you mention may have been granted some other form of humanitarian protection which allows them to stay in the UK but does not afford full refugee status.

      It is difficult to rescuing refugee status once granted even after the country from which they fled may have recovered/stabilised. However, it is not impossible to do particularly if they have been engaged in serious crime. Mind you, it is possible to rescind British nationality (from those who have acquired it through qualification) if they commit serious crime……


      • zorro
        Posted October 2, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

        rescind refugee status….

  20. Max Dunbar
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    You could also add to this list a substantial cut to the block grant for Scotland combined with repatriation of powers from the Scottish Executive. Save money and rein in the subversive extreme left SNP up here. Cameron, naturally, seems to be going in the opposite direction to this by taking the path of least resistance.

    • nicol sinclair
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      Hear, hear – and I’m a (Unionist) Scot.

    • davidb
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      That may be counterproductive. A vote for the SNP is not going to change the number of Conservative MP’s at Westminster, but their opposites are Labour. So on the ancient principal of My Enemy’s Enemy Is My Friend, it would be best to leave well alone. Although it pains me to see it, the Scots are not going to vote for independence. The best thing for Conservatives is that Labour stays roundly beaten in all parts of the UK.

  21. Richard1
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Quangos. All quangos should undergo a ‘burden of proof’ excercise in which they justify their existence, budget & staff numbers on one side of A4 – to be put on the website of the relevant department. The relevant cabinet minister should then justify to the Cabinet why that quango should remain in existence at its current size & budget. The treasury should have the power of life & death over the quango under discussion. Any that dont meet the burden of proof excercise should be closed and the employees made redundant (not palmed off to another part of the state).

  22. Neil Craig
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    16 – Windmill subsidies, say about £20 billionm all in.

    17 – Government funding of “charity” sock puppets. Goevernment gives £13 bn to charities. I don’t know how much of that goes to “charities” whose primary job is “raising awareness” of the “need” for more government spending but I assume most of it. Simply end subsidy of “charities” that do politics.

    18 – Stop funding government quangos that do the same such as the carbon trust. My guess, government departments being profligate, they spend more than the fakecharities.

    19 – Gutting the Health and Safety inspectors. 400,000 inspectors must cost around £40 bn. More importantly, since being inspected costs the clients/victims 20 times what it costs the government this would free anm enormous amount of capital for growth.

    20 – Ditto the nuclear and shale gas inspectorates. I very much like checking the cost/benefit of this, zero based against other industry regulation costs. 3/4 of the cost of nuclear is regulatory yet it is, by orders of magnitude, the safest way to produce power. The “beware of earth tremors that are so small they can’t be detected by human beings, or rattling teacups” shale gas scare is equally damaging.

    21 – Ditto housing regulators. Again, 3/4 of housing costs are regulatory. We do not need Ball’s £4 billion government subsidy of housing to get the market moving we only need to remove much of the £10s of billion government restrictions and the free market will provide all the housing wanted.

    It looks like those would end the deficit on their own. That they would get us into world class growth is simply a bonus.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

      19) Health and safety inspectors are needed to ensure workplaces and their products are safe. The amount the economy currently loses due to injury and illness is substantial (disability benefits, cost of treatment, etc), so reducing the health and safety inspectors will cause a long term loss of revenue.

      20) Nuclear isn’t one of the safest ways to produce power and needs to be highly regulated because of the large scale problems that occur when something goes wrong.

      21) The costs of housing isn’t due to regulations, it’s due to property prices rising because of the wealthy owning multiple properties.

      • Neil Craig
        Posted October 3, 2012 at 10:20 am | Permalink

        Lets add

        22 – A freeze on new hiring in the civil service (perhaps with authority for the minister to make a couple of hundrerd key man exceptions) until the deficit is ended. That would automatically cut manpower by 5% and making it a legal requirement would concentrate the civil service mind on finding cuts (in other departments).

        Unameg is, of course, wrong again. There is no proven, or indeed likely,inverse correlation between disability payments and industrial accidents prevented by the H&S mafia. Indeed a few seconds thought shows that there could not be if both H&S busyboduing and disability patments are rising. The best correlation with safety is national wealth which H&S regulations reduce and it has been proven that they thereby kill thousands, literally, for ever life the save.

        Nuclear IS, by orders of magnitude, safer than average power generators. Una knows this & it is publicly acknowledged by every single member of the “environmentalist” movement who is not persoanlly wholly corrupt. There is one person in the environmental movement who is not wholly corrupt & it isn#’t Unm.

        I have explained that there has been a 4 fold rise in real house prices over the century. Un makes no attempt to explain that. If his claim that this 4 fold increase is because of multiple ownership, while clearly represenmting the pinnacle of honesty to which he ever aspires, represented the tiniest possible trace of honesty he would be able to prove that there were no 2nd homes a century ago and that 3/4 of them are now.

        Una I again ask you to mapologise for each of the times, on previous threads here, youn have been proven to be completely dishonest.

    • Bazman
      Posted October 3, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

      Usual silly fantasy of no health and safety allowing water to be turned into fuel.

  23. oldtimer
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Has anyone in the Labour party actually attempted zero base budgeting in a very large organisation? I do not count the recent downsizing of the Labour Party`s own organisation as that was and is a trivial sized operation in the wider context.

    Does anyone believe it would actually achieve very much – with TU Pilgrims at the elbow of every minister?

    I doubt the capacity of the Civil Service to cope with the implications of zero based budgeting. They would recoil with horror from the implications for themselves and their lifestyles.
    If ministerial statements are to be believed they have tackled some things. But, as your list amply demonstrates and as spending continues to rise inexorably, there is little or no sign of any sense of urgency from Cameron/Clegg to hack away at their self-indulgent favourite spending programmes.

    The ruling political class of the three parties is utterly incompetent and beyond redemption. There needs to be a parliamentary revolution, a coup d`etat, to remove this self-serving, bungling cabal. If a speaker can be removed by a backbench initiative then it should be possible for the leaders to be defenestrated as well.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      John, Personally I had no idea that zero based budgeting had become rocket science and to me leaving the headings in place, as it were, and worrying about trying to control the detail, which is all that ever happens, misses the point.

      True zero basing would decide which of the headings government should be getting involved in at all. And the way I would see this is (of course) the traditional way, viz we start with the Nation’s internal (the Police) and external (the Military) Security and then decide, starting from zero, why the government should be involved in anything else at all. That would bring spending down instead of tinkering at the edges.

      To me it is phenomenal how much government creeps in to our lives and mostly pure overhead. As for foreign government from the EU you wouldn’t print what I think.

      Reply : Indeed true zero budgets do question how many functions we need.

      • zorro
        Posted October 2, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, it would show you how much government activity is because of increased EU regulations!

        I think that zero based budgeting every year will be difficult, time consuming, disruptive, and difficult to factor in long term spending or initiatives. I think spending over a parliamentary term might be more achievable.


  24. Winston Smith
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    They shuld promote Keith Vaz to Chancellor immediately. His ability to create |(word left out) wealth and buy 8 properties, (as an Mp-ed), is genius.

  25. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 11:30 am | Permalink


    I agree with the fifteen points on your list. I could add many more but will mention just three for now.

    Scrap the Welsh Assembly which is a useless, expensive talking shop supported in the referendum by just over 25% of the Welsh electorate.

    Deny NHS treatment to all smokers including those who are British citizens.

    Scrap all child benefit payments. If people choose to have children then that is their right but they should not expect taxpayers to subsidise their choice.

    • Pleb
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      Cap public sector pay to a max £150k
      Cap public sector pensions to a max £75k PA
      Stop all first class travel for public servants.
      Scrap HS2
      Scap Trident
      Close all overseas embassies
      (Wasting my breath!!)

      • zorro
        Posted October 2, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

        Public sector pensions should be capped at a lower level than that, let’s say £30,000 with alternative provision being taken by those with higher salaries.


    • BigJohn
      Posted October 3, 2012 at 12:51 am | Permalink

      “Deny NHS treatment to all smokers including those who are British citizens.”

      A good deal, if all the taxes that have been paid will be refunded.

      Also all taxes are removed from sales from now on.

      And while you are at it, lets do the same with alcohol.

      You must be some (fool ed), how do you think the who thing is funded ?

      Obviously, What we need is a tax on people trying to steal money from other people.

    • RDM
      Posted October 3, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      Well said Glenn Vaughan! The Welsh Assembly was a con from the start! With a large proportion refusing to vote because of the rigged question.

      It was 24% !

  26. Steven Whitfield
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Although not an exhaustive list, those targets are just characteristic of the tinkering around the edges approach to the debt crisis – the saving would come to nothing like those needed. Public spending needs to be reduced by atleast 80 Billion a year (or back to 2007-2008) levels. The high spending state model is bust. This wont neccesarily mean a poorer standard of public service – the state just needs to do what people value and no more.

    John Redwood needs to be more honest about the consequences of falling into a full blown debt crisis. We hear little about what default and national bankrupcy and rampant inflation would do to those that rely on the state for subsistence. Over to you Mr Redwood to spell out the consequences (to savers, pensioners, those on middle incomes ) of the Uk being dragged into a debt vortex if Mr Cleggs economic policy is followed. ie keep ‘pumping money into the economy until the recovery is self sustaining’ .

    It’s a brave thing to admit the scale of the problem – too many votes are now cast from the promise of recieving large dollops of someone else’s money. Now the money has run out we need a different approach :-

    -NO sacred spending cows.
    -serious root and branch reform of the nhs
    – dismantling of the welfare dependency culture. Benefits in the form of vouchers instead of cash needs to be looked at. Welfare should be a safety net not a lifestyle choice.
    – slash the aid budget and focus the remaining money on projects that genuinely help people..not prop up dictators.

    Tinkering will not do.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

      Unless your plan for the NHS involves not treating people it won’t save any money.

      They tried replacing benefits with vouchers in the USA and it resulted in the unemployed selling their vouchers for real money. So it’s effectively useless.

      • Bazman
        Posted October 3, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

        Stealing vodka and then selling it to buy drink.

  27. Rebecca Hanson
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    As a mathematician I find the idea of there being a ‘base zero’ quite interesting. However I don’t think it would be any use for anything.

  28. RDM
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Totally agree with all that!

    But also; how about some Privatisations? BBC, PO, etc … ?

    • RDM
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      Also; Losing Blue Flag status off our beaches will destroy more jobs, then help the Farmers! The rivers and the coast around Wales (Must be the same for the English coast) are now turning dirty brown colour! It is so easy for the Farmers to make and use organic Fertiliser!

      DC allowed Farmers to use Chemical Fertilisers again when he first got into power. It looks as if he will live to regret that decision!

      Or have I got this wrong? I took a walk along the coast Monday night, and you can no longer see the fish! The water is a dark brown colour?

  29. David
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    “15. Repatriation of foreign prisoners”
    A good idea but it would be easier to offshore them to a cheaper country.
    You could do the same with lifers who won’t be released (a number that I hope will goup) and illegal immigrants.
    If we can find somewhere cold enough they should volunteer to go home at the end of their sentence!

  30. English Pensioner
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Stop government funding of all the “fake charities”, that is all those apparent charities which derive the majority of their funding from government sources rather than the general public.
    Too many are simply political propaganda organisations set up with taxpayers’ money to spread the government case fr doing something.
    Look at the list on the database (etc), and look at how much money each charity gets in grants from government, the NHS, councils, the National Lottery and other quangos. Many of the chief executives are paid far more than the prime minister.
    For example, the RSPB gets some £22.6 million from public funds, nearly 20% of its income which can hardly be justified in the present financial climate.
    All public finance to charities should be stopped, except where they are being paid the market rate to carry out some specific task on behalf of the taxpayer.

    • David John Wilson
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

      We could start by reducing the number of charities that claim a tax rebate against donations. I have no objections to genuine charities receiving these rebates but private schools and “hobby” societies should not. Why for example is my local family history society allowed to claim back tax on subscriptions?

  31. David
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    “14. Stricter enforcement against illegal migrants coming to pick up benefits and other support payments”
    Difficult to do. Much easier to say that illegals will never become legals.
    I know people who were here illegally and got citizenship and benefits (John feel free to ask for details). People like that will attract more illegals.
    If crime pays you get more criminals and we do reward illegal immigration – which is why we get more. Countries like Japan that don’t, have very little illegal immigration.

    • zorro
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

      The Immigration Rules have had an inbuilt amnesty for many years. Either a continuous 10 year legal period or a supposedly provable 14 year (including illegal stay) long residency concession have led to settlement for immigrants.


  32. Willy Wireworm
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    I wonder how much is spent unnecessarily by using up budgets. They have to be used up, otherwise they will be reduced next time round. Couldn’t there be a mechanism whereby unspent funds were easily returned to the Treasury without it automatically leading to reductions in the next round? The system could be overseen by a cross-departmental corps of very hard-nosed accountants with a business mentality, to whom departmental accountants were answerable and whose career prospects depended on performance? Somehow this corps would have to be independent of the Treasury but maybe report to the Chief Secretary.

    • zorro
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, this is quite bonkers – thrift and good budget management is penalised as you cannot use underspend in a new year when you might need some capital equipment or IT spend……Instead, the money goes back to the treasury so that Gideon can feed the PIGIS!


  33. Bert Young
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Your list Dr. JR is a good start and many of the responses so far indicate many more worthwhile cuts and initiatives . I do agree with one of your critics that there is little chance that the coalition will implement any of these and little hope that an elected Conservative Government would do ; Europe is the sticking point and will remain a considerable economic problem for some time . I cannot foresee the likes of Cameron and co doing anything as long as they believe that any tougher UK action would prejudice a recovery there . There would have to be a substantial change at the top of the Conservative party to bring about the sort of initiatives we all know are worthwhile and necessary .

  34. Bickers
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    The Climate Change Act (championed by a certain Milliband junior) needs to be repealed. The cost of this act now and in the future is/will cripple UK industry and push 100’s of thousands (possibly millions) into fuel poverty.

    The act is based on junk science and will totally fail to have any discernible impact on the climate. Government should be pushing hard to get fracking up and running and investing in nuclear plants & research (thorium).

    • David John Wilson
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

      Most reputable scientists in the field will vehemently dispute your claim of junk climate science. Too many people believe the fringe scientists who have no expertise in the area.

  35. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    It’s a lot easier to produce a long list that the Conservative Party could undertake if governing on its own than to produce one that would be acceptable to a Con-LibDem coalition.

    Since you have issued the challenge, I’ll try to come up with a list of new public expenditure cuts for FYR 2013/14.

    By the way, today’s Business Telegraph suggest that the latest lending and factory gate data cast doubt on the strength of the recovery. Believe it or nor, households and businesses up to their ears in debt are trying to reduce it.

  36. Matthew
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    I think the first challenge is to change the perception that high public spending is good and low public spending is bad.
    What’s wrong with people spending their own money? People can spend their own money much more efficiently than governments.

    I would just add – freezing the huge welfare budget.

    Then looking back to 2003 and analysing why government spend has increased by 40% – life in 2003 wasn’t too bad where’s the money gone?

  37. Rob
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Some great ideas in these postings!

    Alongside zero-base budgeting we would be wise to introduce the Ratchet. The Ratchet would be used to reduce state spending progressively to a level of, say, 35% of GDP. When above 40% the reduction must be 2% or more pa. When below 40%, 1% pa. The Ratchet could only be breached in a time of national crisis ie survival.

    Whether 35% is low enough, I don’t know. But it would be better than now.

  38. Michael Cawood
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    One of the big problems of the Coalition is that it insists on spending far too much money on “green” energy. The net result of this is that we all pay a substantial indirect tax on our gas & electricity both for home and for industrial use. These costs are making Britain far less competitive than it should be.
    The Coalition needs to look very seriously at the costs of “green” energy. I may add that if it were up to me we would be building a large quantity of coal fired power stations and there would be none of this “carbon capture” nonsense which has been shown to have failed.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

      Why capture the carbon it wastes half the energy in the process and there is no evidence it will make any real advantage to anyone to capture it?

      Expensive “green tosh” energy is destroying jobs almost as fast as the lack of sensible banking, the over taxation, the EU drain and all the over regulation are doing.

  39. cp
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    “Get rid of central government altogether and allow counties to oversee spending (by referendum) and set local taxes. Yes. It’s called direct democracy. And you can forget the EU!…”

    So county x says “We need a motorway here”, but county y don’t want to continue it through their county? No central government to arbitrate…???? Shows the level of your thinking I’m afraid…..

  40. Jon
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Yes all the stuff above.

    If the government are not going to put a stop on employing more civil servants and filling vacancies from the excess in other departments then try another tact. For every 3 new civil service jobs employ one youngster who has been unemployed for more than 6 months.

    Privatise property maintenance and management of government properties. I’m sure there are a few sensitive buildings but the vast majority could be serviced privately and a huge saving.

    This may only apply to London but I see roads and paths around me at work that are dug up every 3 or 4 months. Busy commercial city centres could have effective tunnels for all the pipes and cables. Dig the trench once, cover with serviceable entry points and no more traffic cones and the expense of constantly digging up every few months and filling back in.

    Why have we not seen a bill to change the strike laws to say 50% of membership required. I hear figures of RMT strikes costing from £100m to £250m per day. Thats a lot of tax revenue which is about 50% in total. How can we have a Conservative led government and this not be on the agenda. RMT and others held the commuter to ransome in the run up to the Olympics and we are paying higher fares for it.

    Why is ( a union official-ed) who has a basic of £129000 plus pension benefits etc on top living in a London council house?

    Why aren’t long term prisoners earning their keep? Document scanning or something similar could be outsourced by the government to the prisons. Something simple that the civil service uses, needs that won’t mean a massive hit on the private sector that they could spend a few hours a day making or doing.

    Local council pension funds are managed individually. lots of duplication there, not saying amalgamate them but centralise.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

      Why have we not seen a bill to change the strike laws to say 50% of membership required.

      The same reason why MPs are can be elected even if 50% of their constituency doesn’t vote for them.

      Why aren’t long term prisoners earning their keep? Document scanning or something similar could be outsourced by the government to the prisons. Something simple that the civil service uses, needs that won’t mean a massive hit on the private sector that they could spend a few hours a day making or doing.

      So you want to reduce the jobs available to those who are law abiding to give more jobs to criminals. Don’t expect this to be popular.

      • Jon
        Posted October 3, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

        Hi. The strike requirement is not the same as the votes for a party or a mayor. In a general election all adults have the right to vote, that is not the case for the unions. Its only the membership yet strikes have been called on just 20% of that membership voting. It affects the non members and many thousands even millions of others.

        In a general election non voters can be taken as a protest vote against all candidates. A strike is a damaging action inflicted on others and the voting rules should reflect that. We also know bullying is rife on those known not to favour a strike so they stay away.

        The cost is a huge reduction in tax revenues which affects us all the pay for some so maybe we should all have the vote on whether a small group of transport workers should strike.

        On the jobs front for prisoners taking civil service menial jobs. It would be up to the then government whether they employed less or augmented benefits paid out elsewhere. Personally I would hope they would employ less in the public sector. We are paying around £40,000 to keep a prisoner so lets not waste that precious money.

      • Bazman
        Posted October 3, 2012 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

        Or the Tory party getting its funding from a tiny percentage of often non dom donors. At least the union funding of Labour comes from thousands. Ram it.

        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted October 4, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

          Is that thousands who contract in or thousands who fail to contract out?

          • Bazman
            Posted October 5, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

            At least they have a choice to take the consequences of their action or inaction.

    • David John Wilson
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

      If it is necessary to respect the right of a house for life that many current occupants enjoy, they should at least be treated as a taxable benefit.

  41. Jon
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    And another thing. Stop those silly adverts telling people to cut out bad habits. The cost to the NHS doesn’t take into account the gold it brings in taxes and the saving in pensions not paid later. We are facing an ageing population, the more people who cop it early the better for the public finances so cut out the silly public health adverts They are for boring people who don’t pay higher tax on contraband and live too long.

    Also repeal health and safety laws. We need to change the demographics.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

      Even if these people don’t claim their pensions chronic treatment for lung cancer, liver failure, and obesity is expensive.

      • Jon
        Posted October 3, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

        Everybody dies even non smokers. I hope I’m gone before the stage when I have to pay someone to give me a bed pan.

        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted October 4, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

          I agree entirely with this sentiment, but why do you have to hope. Why can’t the law of this country be amended so that people can take control of their own deaths? Why should I be forced to take out an annuity and eke out a declining, miserable and useless existence rather than spending my money by age 75 or 80 and taking my own life? If you want people to spend money right now, then it’s the recently retired elderly that have the wherewithal.

    • Bazman
      Posted October 3, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

      Millions in this country suffer from aliments related to their work and you want to increase it by less health and safety? You obviously do little work. Or not what we would recognise as work Jim.

  42. Barbara Stevens
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    I’d like to add foreign health tourists who should pay for treatment and don’t. Which is costing us some few millions per year. Why do we allow this, they should pay up front or have insurance cover. We need to get tough. Its time they were refused treatment if they cannot pay, and we should stop being emotionally blackmailed.
    However, all foreign aid should stop until we have our own house in order, and borrowing to furnish such stupid ideas. Its time MPs realised its not our responsiblity to feed other nations, and the money we do have is OURS not MPs. Selfish, no,sensible. And fed up with seeing our country took for a ride.

  43. Bazman
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    Unfortunately for the fantasists Miliband kicked a lot of arse. Ram it.

    • Steven Whitfield
      Posted October 3, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      Unfortunately for those of a socialist mind, the money has run out so there will have to be big changes whoever is in charge.
      He and the Labour party in general make the right noises to appeal to the permanently disgruntled: that growing sector in society that feels entitled to spend other peoples money. The maths are in Labour’s favour ,not the logic.

    • Steven Whitfield
      Posted October 3, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      I will paraphrase Milliband’s much trumpeted speech to save someone the bother of reading his drivel..

      “give me your vote and I’ll give you some of HIS money”.

  44. Kenneth
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    Yes the list of potential cutbacks is very long.

    As well as your list, John, I would add:

    1. Scrap the minimum wage

    2. Scrap legal protection for strikers. Mind you scrap all laws that are against unions as well (such as secondary picketing). Let’s have a free market in employment.

    3. No more risky loans to the IMF

    4. Get rid of the quangos

    5. Reduce benefits

    6. Set up a voluntary arm of the NHS for those – skilled & non-skilled – who wish to give something back in their retirement in the form of time and care (the big society?). This voluntary service could take over some tasks from the professional service and save a great deal of money, I am sure. (I know we already we have volunttary health services but I am thinking of something more integrated).

    8.1 Flat tax: reduces administration costs and yields more tax

    8.2 The UK to have a fixed tax income based on each year’s budget

    8.3 Ensure to all new laws are costed and have a proper cost-benefit analysis. MPs should be issued with this analysis throughout bill’s passage.

    8.4 New laws that blow the budget (because of having a net unbudgeted cost) will be surcharged, with taxpayers being sent an invoice for the law in question.

    9. Freeze on most outside recruitment to the public sector. Only promote from within

    10. Reduce ‘green’ subsidies

    11. Build prison factories for those goods that are no longer made in the UK in order to shoe-horn the UK into lost markets.

    12. Secondary education abolished and merged into further education.

    Above all, I think the itemised bill to taxpayers for unbudgeted costs is very important. Every credit has a debit and for too long the BBC and others have reported public spending as good news (and cuts as bad news), when, in fact, the arguments are controversial, and mathematically balanced.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 3, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      1) How is reducing the amount people are paid going to help? The less people are paid the more they can claim in benefits.

      2) This is a human rights violation as people have a right to strike.

      5) How is making a large part of the UK poorer going to fix the economy.

      6) Trying to replace a professional service with volunteers will end is disaster. In healthcare you need professional who are always available in case of an emergency, not volunteers who turn up when they feel like it.

      8.1) Do you have any evidence to support his claim?

      11) Expect this to fail when prisoners refuse to work for below minimum wage.

      12) What is this going to achieve?

  45. uanime5
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    Regarding saving money I’d recommend reducing the number of Lords from 900 to 450. I’d also recommend having them be elected using proportional representation, rather than appointed by the Prime Minister, to prevent the number of Lords increasing whenever a new party takes office.

  46. Daniel M
    Posted October 3, 2012 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Has John R written much about the railways and the impact of privatisation? The privatisation of the railways seems to have been the least popular, so I would love to hear John Redwood’s view in more detail.

    Reply: I am writing about the railways for tomorrow. The main probelms rest in nationalised Network Rail.

  47. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 1:13 am | Permalink

    Looking through John Redwood’s list, I think that all 15 items have merit. However, I suspect that once the items vetoed by the PM and/or the LibDems have been determined, only about a third will survive. Still, no harm in asking.

    However, they are not enough. Even the OBR says that real public expenditure needs to be 1.4% lower in FYR 2013/14 than in FYR 2011/12. If there is zero GDP growth, that rises to 5%. The biggest problem facing this country is excessive CURRENT public expenditure. That is what has to be dealt with, in FYR 2013/14 not way in the future.

    Nick Clegg put his finger on it. Over a period (50 years, I believe) that GDP has grown by a factor of 3, welfare has grown by a factor of 7. So welfare has to be cut, and cut hard. The term ‘welfare’ has to include public sector salaries, unemployment benefits etc. and the benefit cap, which should be frozen in nominal terms until their total is acceptable.

    All pensioner perks have to go for all pensioners. You can partially compensate by a very modest increase in the basic state pension. Also, you can deliver zero inflation, the only thing that pensioners really want.

    These public expenditure cuts will be all the more necessary because of the raising of the lower tax threshold towards £10,000. That will definitely cause a reduction in the income tax yield, regardless of changes at the upper end.

    Reply I have proposed many other items in the past. At the beginning of the government, for example, I suggested closing all public sector pension schemes to new accrual and new members.

  48. hukkubana
    Posted November 2, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

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  • 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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