What is happening to the government’s infrastructure programme?

          A year ago the government launched its National Infrastructure Plan. It heralded a new era of progress in pushing through major national infrastructure projects. It aimed at accelerating the rate of infrastructure investment. It set out 500 large projects  costing £250 billion. It identified a smaller number of priority projects to get on with quickly.

          I support a sense of urgency when it comes to providing more energy capacity, more transport capacity, more broadband, and more water and waste water capacity. We have often discussed the need here. So, a year later, how is the government getting on?

            Large projects like Crossrail, and the Reading station improvement are continuing. The government highlighted a new stretch of road around Huntingdon for the overloaded A 14 and said this would be built as a priority toll road. They also featured extending the Northern line to Battersea as an early project.

             We are now told that the A14  build may commence in 2018. We learn from TFL that new stations at Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station could be open for 2019, implying no early commencement of construction works.

            All this must be as frustrating for Ministers as for the rest of us. There still seems to be a need to streamline and improve decision making. If the national schemes like the A 14 are to have a beneficial impact on construction output we need to start soon. If they are to relieve bottlenecks and supply much needed new capacity, it would be good to have some of it before the end of the decade.

There are some welcome signs of more activity, a pick up in retail sales, and continuing good job figures. Getting some more shovel ready worthwhile projects up and running would be a positive help.

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121 Comments

  1. lifelogic
    Posted October 20, 2012 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    Indeed getting some more shovel ready worthwhile projects up and running would indeed be a positive help start with a five runway Heathwick.

    As would abandoning the absurd projects such as HS2, the green subsidised energy agenda, the constriction causing tolling on the Dartford bridge/tunnel, the constriction causing traffic lights, islands & bus lanes almost everywhere.

    We have just passed the 25th anniversary of the Great Storm of 16th October 1987 which, memorably, the BBC and Met office were totally unable to predict just a few hours before. Yet still they have the temerity to try to scare us about the “man made” weather they claim to predict in 100 years time. How can anyone take them remotely seriously? Do they know the Suns activity for the next 100 years, do they understand all the chaotic weather system variables and interactions perfectly, do they know the populations for 100 years and all the new technology coming in 100 years? Their position is totally absurd.

    Listening to Question time yesterday, the excellent Nigel Farage was joined by Sally Bercow, Health Minister Anna Soubry and the General Secretary of the RMT Bob Crow.

    What on earth is Anna Soubry doing in the Tory party? Sally Bercow (is not liked or rated by contributor-ed). Bob Crow is sound on the EU but has sadly has been infected the green religion and public ownership or almost everything. How on earth did the BBC decide on this panel? Thank goodness for the sole voice of reason Nigel Farage.

    Reply: Indeed, it would be good to hear global warming theorists explain 15 years of no rise in global temperature – that is a lot of weather and not a lot of climate.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 20, 2012 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      Indeed, I am sure they will find (with hindsight) some suitable fudge factors to introduce to their models (as fig leaves to cover their embarrassment at their failure to predict the lack of recent warming). Indeed they have already had to use fudge factors to get them to explain the past.

      But how could they possibly ever predict, a man made future climate catastrophe in 100 years. This without even having most of the input data. All just based on the one single factor of man made C02 and other “greenhouse” gasses.

      Can they even just tell us the exact Suns heat output hitting the earth for the next 100 years?

      Reply A good question – how do we forecast sun flares and spots, changes in clouds and water vapour formations, shifts in wind patterns and the many other matters which affect weather and climate? How can we be so precise about temperature trends, but unable to be so precise about these many other matters?

      • Bazman
        Posted October 20, 2012 at 10:50 am | Permalink

        So these theories justify the burning of billions of tons of fossil fuel with no consequences? That does not add up, not to mention the pollution caused. There is no pollution? Really. London. We’ll leave it at that. The problem with sustainable energy is at the moment it is not sustainable either financially or in so called green ways. The idea that it should be abandoned because of this is false and regressive. The never ending and increasing method of gaining energy from fossil fuel cannot go on unhindered forever without consequences even if it is just the pollution of the atmosphere and the environment. It’s interesting to note that a self sustaining environment has never been achieved by man even on a small scale.Reckless fatalism spring to mind. After I’m gone there is nothing attitude.If this is not the plan then what is? No plan is a plan. The earth will survive us, but will we survive the earth is not just for hippies and the hand wringing middle classes wrecked with grief about there standard of living. How are millions of Indians with their hot and wet climate going to run an air con unit each in a hundred years time? It’s first thing they buy when they feel the have enough. My house has three and I’m not even what anyone would call well off. It’s a real question and a problem. Ram it.

        • David Price
          Posted October 21, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

          You run three aircon units in a house in the UK?

          • stred
            Posted October 22, 2012 at 9:07 am | Permalink

            Must be a lot of hot air in the Baz household.

          • Bazman
            Posted October 22, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

            Nice in summer. When we have one that is.

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 22, 2012 at 4:54 am | Permalink

          C02 is not pollution it is a harmless, clear gas and food needed for plants and trees to grow. You are right we cannot go on burning fossil fuel as we will run out eventually. By which time we may have to make do with nuclear fission/fusion perhaps or even solar, bio, tidal, wave and wind. This is no reason not to use the fuels in the interim as they are much cheaper and while these other methods are improved/developed.

          • Bazman
            Posted October 22, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

            A lot of evidence says different. Your belief however is more about religious fatalism than any scientific facts.
            You seem to be under some absurd belief that nuclear power is cheap safe and can be funded by the private sector. A nuclear power station entirely funded and run from birth to death by a private company within the M25? Never happen. NIMBYS? Yeah! Right.
            What you are basically saying is that power generation should be left to the markets so that nuclear gone and what we are going to find happening with your silly fantasy is a power generation catastrophe as big as the banking crisis, which you would scream blue murder against and regulation of during the boom. Your fracking fantasy is another. Much evidence says its a non starter for many economic and environmental reasons. Who is going to bail that one out? In short regressive right wing tax and power generation fantasises. The taxpayer is going to fund their own healthcare and at the same time fund nuclear? What planet are you on? We know what country your not in though. Ram it.

      • alan jutson
        Posted October 20, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

        I thought we had a range of government excuses for so called weather changes back in the 1950’s and 60’s

        It was then supposed to be all about nuclear testing programmes, shifting weather patterns.

        If that was so, then why is it not mentioned now, and should that contribution (to change) not be outlined within the recent results as a reason for a known spike during those couple of decades.
        If it was all true at the time of course..

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted October 20, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

        When we’ve reached consensus on the ideal global temperature might we be able to reverse it and freeze it in aspic ?

        As they accuse us ‘Little Englanders’ of trying to do with the 1950s ?

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted October 20, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

        Further to Reply–Something one hears little about but which indicates how little the specialists (as against experts, which they are not) know is whether more cloud increases the temperature (as with Venus being the hottest planet by reason of the clouds that surround it despite Mercury being closer to the sun) or whether, according to a recent and very convincing article I read (which I now cannot find unfortunately) which was emphatic that more cloud reflects more sunlight so is cooling in its effect.

        They just haven’t a clue–this is not so much to disparage them, in that to me it is very understandable that they haven’t got a clue on such an impossibly prolix subject but Why Oh Why are we spending mega billions on climate change, money we simply don’t have–all because of EU rules which we should unilaterally repudiate immediately.

      • wab
        Posted October 20, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

        It’s not surprising to hear “lifelogic” (an ironic name if ever there was) spouting the standard denialist litany, but for Mr Redwood just to parrot it is astonishing. Perhaps Mr Redwood also believes the Earth has been here for 9000 years, like his Tea Party friends in the US. It does not take much time to google to find out that this line about “no warming for 15 years” is just nonsense, e.g. see:

        http://www.carbonbrief.org/profiles/has-global-warming-stopped

        As for not having perfect predictions 100 years into the future that is correct. The predictions are the best available. If Mr Redwood wants to fund more scientists to make better predictions I’m sure they would be happy to receive the support. Meanwhile, pretending that because the science is not perfect we should ignore all the science is just plain dumb.

        • zorro
          Posted October 21, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

          If John pays them enough they may support his view…..Carbonbrief.org….I wonder who funds them…….

          zorro

        • David Price
          Posted October 21, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

          Carbonbrief is hardly a source of impartial expert opinion – it is run by the communications director of the European Climate Foundation which also funds it. The ECF states it’s purpose as;

          “The European Climate Foundation aims to promote climate and energy policies that greatly reduce Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions and help Europe play an even stronger international leadership role in mitigating climate change.”

          Seems like they simply parrot standard warmist rubbish…

        • John Doran
          Posted October 21, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

          Warmists like to start at 1880.
          The reason is that prior to this we had The Little Ice Age, & previous to that, The Medieval Warm Period.
          Both significant temperature fluctuations entirely without man made CO2.
          Both are worth a google.
          Also, of course, we have had 5 major Ice ages, with intervening warm periods at higher temperatures than we have now.
          Nothing to do with CO2.
          The truth re Global Warming can be gleaned from: Watts up with that, a good blog. The work of Steve Mcintyre & Ross Mckitrick exposes Michael Mann’s extremely dubious Hockey Stick graph showing exponential temperature increases.
          What we are seeing here, with claim & counter claim going back & forth, is a battle between the Warmists & the Sceptics.
          The Warmists are led by Michael Mann, backed by UN IPCC.
          United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
          The Sceptics are led by mostly Industry based scientists, or those claiming to be independent, whereas the UN is government funded. Sorting truth from the lies is a nightmare.
          However, having once been a convinced warmist, I am now a confirmed sceptic.
          On the subject of CO2, I trust Lord Christopher Monckton, former Science Adviser to Margaret Thatcher.
          He knows the science well enough that Al Gore flatly refuses to debate with him, despite numerous requests.
          Despite Gore’s film ” An Inconvenient Truth” having been shown in a British court, & judged to contain numerous falsehoods & Exaggerations , he continues to peddle it, & is now a multi- millionaire, who can command, it is said, ~ $300,000 per speech.
          I know who I believe.
          Also on the subject of CO2, we are indeed planning to shut down 5 coal fired power stations, while Germany is building them.
          While China is commissioning almost one coal fired power station per week, what we do in the UK is irrelevant.
          Yet we burden ourselves with vastly expensive & totally unreliable power sources, such as wind, solar & tidal.
          This is an act traitorous to this country.
          The UN has decided, not without merit, that this world has reached the limits of growth, & indeed surpassed those limits, in terms of both population & our industrial way of life.
          For a glimpse of the UN vision, check out UN Agenda 21,
          their blue print for the 21st century.
          For the intellectual background, check out the ecology movement. ” A Blueprint for Survival ” was published originally by The Ecologist magazine, in January 1972. I have the Penguin Special paperback edition 1972. The riveting first sentences have haunted me ever since: ” The principle defect of the industrial way of life with its ethos of expansion is that it is not sustainable. Its termination within the lifetime of someone born today is inevitable – unless it continues to be sustained for a while longer by an entrenched minority at the cost of imposing great suffering on the rest of mankind. ”
          The Ecologist magazine was supported financially by Edward Goldsmith et al.
          (etc etc)
          We live in interesting times.
          JD.

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 22, 2012 at 5:25 am | Permalink

          Clearly it is the warming alarmists who are on the side of religion, often their beliefs go with quack medicine and similar nonsense. Prince Charles “protector of faiths” as a good typical example. Their whole message is an appeal to irrational emotion not science. Do as we say and we all shall be saved.

          Whether you like it on not, there has been no statistically significant warming since 1998 despite the increases in C02 just look at the actual temperature records.

          It does not matter how many scientists you pay to predict the weather in 100 years you will not be able to do it. Any more than you will be able to predict the lottery balls next week 30 second after they are mixed. The systems is chaotic and with countless interacting variables/feedbacks. Do you really think it is simpler than the lottery balls to predict? It makes the outcome of a single game of snooker look very easy to predict by comparison can they do that? One bit off dust on a ball changes the whole outcome.

          Can they even tell you the exact cloud cover and exact winds over the UK in ten minutes time?

          Carbon brief (your link) does not seem really to deny my 1998 claim if you actually read it. It just say we need to consider a longer time scale. It makes the claim that:- “Over ten or fifteen year time scales natural variation can dominate temperature behaviour, masking the longer-term trend in rising temperatures.” Indeed it can as it also can over 100 years and many millions of years as history shows very well indeed. Carbon is likely to have a slight warming effect, I agree but it is not likely to be a calamity and it is only one of very many variables. The evidence so far suggest less than 1C anyway the evidence, on balance, also suggests warmer is rather better than colder.

          Adapt if change occurs is a far more rational approach than the carbon devil religion. Let us get clean water, birth control, basic medicine, inoculations etc. for the worlds population first and other things we know actually work in place not waste money on harmless CO2.

      • uanime5
        Posted October 20, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

        If you want to know what real scientists think reading something they’ve written on the subject. I recommend going to NASA’s website and seeing what real scientists say about global warming.

        http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence

        The reason scientists can predict what will happen in 100 years is that they know what effect greenhouse gases have on the planet, they can calculate the rate at which these gases are produced, and by combining these two things they can predict what will happen to the planet after 100 years.

        Sunspots and sun flares can easily be predicted because they follow a cycle.

        http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/predict.shtml

        Finally the average global temperate of earth has been rising for the past 15 years.

        http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20100121/

        • Jerry
          Posted October 21, 2012 at 9:09 am | Permalink

          NASA; we say, so there-for it is….

          Actually “uanime5” the worlds temperature has been stable if not falling for the last 15 years (or longer), as you would see if you stepped away from those silly very selective “Hockey Stick” style graphs.

          • uanime5
            Posted October 21, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

            Care to provide any peer reviewed scientific evidence to back up your 15 year claim. Oh that right you can’t provide any evidence because it’s false. That’s why you don’t even know how long the temperature is meant to have been stable.

        • David Price
          Posted October 21, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

          That wouldn’t include the letter sent to NASA administration in April this year from 49 former NASA scientists and astronauts telling NASA to use real data rather than keep relying on faulty models then.

          • uanime5
            Posted October 21, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

            Do you have any evidence to back up your claim or did you just make it up because you don’t have any real evidence?

          • David Price
            Posted October 21, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

            @unanime
            Do a google search for “business insider 49 former nasa” it should be the first hit. The article reprints the entire letter and the list of names.

            Our host prefers us not to simply include links as he needs to check them, rather we should summarise the content which I did above.

            Some excerpts from the letter;

            – “The unbridled advocacy of CO2 being the major cause of climate change is unbecoming of NASA’s history of making an objective assessment of all available scientific data prior to making decisions or public statements.”
            – “We believe the claims by NASA and GISS, that man-made carbon dioxide is having a catastrophic impact on global climate change are not substantiated.
            – “We request that NASA refrain from including unproven and unsupported remarks in its future releases and websites on this subject.”

            Seems that 49 ex-NASA specialists don’t agree with your warmist position.

        • Mark
          Posted October 21, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink
          • uanime5
            Posted October 21, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

            Which is more reliable: a report written by professional scientists or something written by scaremongering journalists with no scientific understanding full of misquotes from real scientists? The former.

            Also the Met Office and the Hadley Centre the Daily Mail kept quoting have repeatedly said that global warming is real. So it’s clear just how much of a fabrication the Daily Mail story really is.
            http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/media/pdf/m/6/evidence.pdf

    • APL
      Posted October 20, 2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      JR : [Sally Bercow ](is not liked or rated by contributor-ed).”

      Someone gets invited on to Question time because she knows the (word left out)speaker in modern times., some qualification.

    • Disaffected
      Posted October 20, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      Spot on Lifelogic. I suspect the answer is that the projects, like the deficit and debt, will be kicked into the next parliament. As I said previously Cameron and chums are in it for the kudos, talk a lot about what they are going to do, but never talk about what they have achieved on the promises made to the public before the last election.

      Spending cut achievements? 80/21 split is this on target? EU sovereignty achievements? Eu contribution achievements? Mass immigration achievements? Law and order achievements? Cleaning up politics achievements? Middle East war achievements? You name it they have failed to deliver on it.

  2. Nina Andreeva
    Posted October 20, 2012 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    What is the point of building a new road then reducing its capacity by sticking a bus lane on it? This has got to be the nearest you will ever get to asking a man to dig a hole and fill it up again at the public expense.

    “Good job figures” eh? You are not going to get aggregate demand up with more people going into part time jobs that come with few to no perks. There is a bit more to dole figures than headline numbers. When I see a significant improvement in the number of hours worked, hourly rate of pay , number of discouraged workers then I will drink Cameron’s Kool Aid.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 20, 2012 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      Indeed, half the road capacity just for say one bus with eight passengers say every 20 mins. Even madder the bus stops that project into the road, so all the cars have to wait behind, while passengers fumbles for change and discuss the weather with the driver.

      • APL
        Posted October 20, 2012 at 10:45 am | Permalink

        Lifelogic: “Even madder the bus stops that project into the road, so all the cars have to wait behind .. ”

        These things are absolutely insane.

        And dangerous too.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 20, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

        The main driver is perhaps bus lane fines, I notice the way bus lane times are deliberately variable and unclear in order to trap people.

      • zorro
        Posted October 20, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

        Yes, the A4 spammed up with a bus lane near Heathrow of all places….like the M4 was….

        zorro

      • stred
        Posted October 22, 2012 at 10:21 am | Permalink

        Apparently, this is in order to provide a disabled ramp up to the dipping bus entry. Sideways sloping ramps are not considered, so it has to be from back of footpath out into the carriageway. You know it makes sense!

    • Bob
      Posted October 20, 2012 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      “What is the point of building a new road then reducing its capacity by sticking a bus lane on it?”

      Empty bus lanes for empty buses.
      Zil lanes for buses that are largely empty for a great deal of the time, while the remaining road-space is congested with cars and trucks.

      There may be routes where bus lanes make sense, for busy periods, but they should be applied with discernment, with clear indications showing the times of operation that can be read without getting out of your vehicle or using binoculars, which would impair your ability to drive in a safe manner.

      I have regularly passed a bus lane in the West Midlands where I have seen a total of three buses over a ten year period, but woe betide anyone who does not pull over to the congested traffic lane to avoid it, lest an empty bus might eventually come trundling along the empty bus lane.

      As we begin our descent into third world status, perhaps we should look at some of the transportation systems of third world counties like for example the Jeepneys used in the Philippines.

      While sitting on the A406 for an hour and a half last night in an effort to avoid the M25 which had two lanes closed due to a “van fire” in the Holmesdale tunnel I pondered how different it might be if a higher fraction of motoring taxes were used for the roads.

      Most of the hold ups on the North Circular last night seemed to be due to abandoned cars (some in the right hand lane – I counted four in total). I presume that they had run out of fuel or that the drivers had simply decided that it would be quicker to walk.

    • a-tracy
      Posted October 20, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      I think the new job figures are excellent Nina when you consider that women can no longer get their state pension at 60 and are in the workplace holding on to jobs that historically would have been freed up for others, many people ask for flexible working after their state pension kicks in or their family circumstances change and that is their personal perk, unfortunately when they do hold on to jobs in this way it only leaves space for another worker on part-time hours but wasn’t that the Labour governments plan?

      The Working Time Director discouraged overtime, so often the gaps need to be filled on part-time hours only as the overtime was at a specific period of the day.

      Also because of the Working Tax credits system many people are simply better off working part-time with top ups than working full time and if you offer them full time they turn it down.

    • stred
      Posted October 22, 2012 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      I recently found out that utilities, such as the gas company renewing the whole UK gas supply network after 30 years of use, do not only dig a hole then fill it in at our expense. They dig it up, then take away the soil to a distant decontamination plant and bring it back to go down similar holes. So a bit of the street will be decontaminated and the bit next to it will not. No analysis is done on the spot to see if it is contaminated in the first place.

      Some people think this is an EEC directive, but I do not recall having seen large lorries hanging around to take away soil from French holes. Of course, it all makes work for the monopolies to do.

  3. lifelogic
    Posted October 20, 2012 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    “There are some welcome signs of more activity, a pick up in retail sales, and continuing good job figures” as you say at last we have. Just imagine how good it could be if the government had halved in size, cut red tape, lowered taxes, abandoned expensive energy, got some competition in banking going, left the EU, introduced easy hire and fire, started Heathwick and reduced payments that augment the feckless. Then used the new fire law to fire the anti business secretary.

    That and a bit of free market, uplifting, go for it, vision from the government and we would be away. Alas we have the dead hand of (no greater Switzerland) socialist Cameron/Clegg half strangling the country with red tape and other EU insanities.

    • zorro
      Posted October 20, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      Gatwick are going for a second runway which could help….

      zorro

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 23, 2012 at 4:08 am | Permalink

        Good but will it be finished this century?

  4. Pete the Bike
    Posted October 20, 2012 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Get government out of the business of running everything like a 1950s Soviet Bloc state and private enterprise would do what is needed better, faster and cheaper. It is our bungling inefficient bureaucracy that hold back investment and progress in every area.

    • Martyn
      Posted October 20, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      “It is our bungling inefficient bureaucracy that hold back investment and progress in every area”.

      Not half! Have just experienced some of that, sort of off topic but an example of bungling beaurcracy you mention getting in our way. Son got zapped (rightly, as it happens) for speeding, went to court, paid the fine, handed in his paper licence for points awarded and 3 days later received a brand new paper licence without any points on. Being an honest person he has now to send it back with a covering letter asking for another new licence with points on, or his original one suitably endorsed. More wasted time and money just getting one simple official transaction, which seems pretty typical of everywhere one looks these days.

      Is it just me, or is Messrs C and O each very recently showing a stunning lack of common sense in what they say and do? How can anyone run a nation without common-sense? Oh, silly me, I already know the answer to than one!

    • uanime5
      Posted October 20, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

      While that might be the solution in the world of right wing fantasy in real life many things are far more effective if done by the Government. Even Adam Smith said that it was better for the economy if the state was responsible for infrastructure so that businesses wouldn’t be burdened with it.

      • Richard
        Posted October 21, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

        Adam was thinking about civil and national defence , sewerage systems, transport infrastructure etc rather than involving itself in education, health, post and mail, steel and coal production, car and van and lorry businesses and building of houses.

        I struggle to think of one industry a Govt has got involved with that has done well.

        • uanime5
          Posted October 21, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

          The private sector hasn’t done any better in energy, transport, or water.

          • David Price
            Posted October 21, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

            @unanime
            To quote from above – do you have any evidence to back up your claim or did you just make it up because you don’t have any real evidence?

          • outsider
            Posted October 21, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

            Dear Uanime5, the private sector has done spectacularly better in water. Check the figures on capital investment, drinking water purity, river quality, beaches pre- and post-public ownership. In the public sector, the Government just sought derogations from water and sewerage quality standards. Why do you invent such unsubstantiated slogans.

          • Richard
            Posted October 21, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

            uanime5,
            You still havn’t been able to come up with an example of an industry the Govt has involved itself in that has been a success I notice

        • Bazman
          Posted October 22, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

          The NHS? An insurance bases system would be better? No it would not. Maybe you think there should be no NHS and you just take your chances?
          Many reservoirs have been closed and water capacity is at minimal storage levels Thames water has closed dozens of them and since 1990 Thames Water has paid out £5 billion in dividends to shareholders, raised from households, that should have been used to divert water into south-east and eastern England.
          The rest like banking and the trains speak for themselves. Give us a laugh by defending one or both.

  5. A.Sedgwick
    Posted October 20, 2012 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Cameron and his Government blunders on.

    • Nina Andreeva
      Posted October 20, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      Yes and just remember grand election strategist Osborne has just instructed the HMRC to write to 1.2 million households telling them to vote Labour. This is because he is still going ahead with the great idea of telling people that work hard for a living that their child benefit is taxable next January.

      Perhaps Osborne is being a bit more cleverer than I think, however I honestly I do not think so. In that by removing the last piece of skin that most people have in the handouts game, they will be more likely to vote for more radical measures in the future. This being that without CB and knowing that because they save and are not entitled to the big money benefits when they hit a bit of turbulence in their lives, they will eventually vote for a government that says it is no longer forcing people to contribute to a state sponsored charity for the undeserving.

      • John Doran
        Posted October 21, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink

        Nina hi.
        We now live in the topsy turvy world where responsible young couples calculate that they can only afford 1 or 2 children, whereas our underclass see producing children as a career path, as more children means more benefits.
        This comes across loud & clear on the police blog: Inspector Gadget.
        This is insanity.

  6. M Davis
    Posted October 20, 2012 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    I don’t comment much but I just want to thank you for your excellent and informative Blog, JR. It is THE BEST on the Internet (along with the totally different and inimitable Slog!).

    Reply: Thank you. I try to produce comment on the important stories and developments which media fascination with celebrity politics often ignores. I see that an Old Etonian has replaced a former Rugby schoolboy as Chief Whip. I like the new one and wish him a successful time out of the media gaze. This seems to me to be less significant than what the government is up to on money, energy, prices, infrastructure etc. Commenting on Chief Whips is more congested media territory.

    • forthurst
      Posted October 20, 2012 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      Reply to Reply.

      The whipping system is reponsible for the failure of this government and governments in general to consist of the best people. Far-sighted, intelligent, patriotic individuals are marked down by the whips in the scramble for power in favour of blinked, stupid, traitors of which this government has plenty and which is why this government is now generally considered ineffectual, unpatriotic and out-of-touch.

      • forthurst
        Posted October 20, 2012 at 11:15 am | Permalink

        Why expect lobby fodder to be any good at doing anything other than as they are told, either by the civil service or Cameron’s mainframe computer? Just sporting a spectacular, but highly unconvincing barnet, is simply not good enough.

    • Nina Andreeva
      Posted October 20, 2012 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      What is so special about OEs? Plenty of them have ended up as Labour and Liberal MPs. While from the ones I have met they can hardly be considered to be some sort of brahmin elite, as the money that paid for the fees did not seem to be particularly “old”

    • zorro
      Posted October 20, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      GY is far better suited to the role……some ‘storm in a teacup’….

      zorro

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted October 20, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      Pretty significant actually. Mr Mitchell’s squandering of public money was made all the more pointless as his outburst reversed his efforts to detoxify the Tory brand.

      However. Had I been the officer on the gate this story would have gone nowhere. In my view it shouldn’t have been a resigning issue – not under normal circumstances.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 20, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

      Sir George Young is a good solid experienced chap, certainly he would have made a far better speaker than the current one. I do not think a trivial, temporary fit of annoyance by the Andrew Mitchell was really a resigning offence. But then cyclists can get a bit aggressive when forced to slow down. I think it is those hard seats affecting the prostate glands and a desire to capture their lost youth, but I may well be wrong.

      Are the police federation to be allowed to select all the cabinet from now on?

      Wiki says Sir George (also a keen cyclist I note) is worth £1M so clearly he could do with a little more earnings before retiring – good luck to him.

      • Bazman
        Posted October 22, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

        Maybe they like to get around fast and stay fit instead of being fat and useless clogging the streets with their old Volvo’s?

  7. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted October 20, 2012 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    JR: “All this must be as frustrating for Ministers as for the rest of us.”
    Really? I doubt it. This government is all talk and very little action. They aren’t even much good at the talking. They show all the signs of a bunch of self-seekers who want the positions and the status but do not have the ability or competence to deliver.

    • Bob
      Posted October 20, 2012 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      Agreed.

  8. oldtimer
    Posted October 20, 2012 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    indeed. Time is a wasting asset and the Coalition has been busy wasting it – not[n] getting on with productive infrastructure projects, on pursuing its ill-conceived Carbon Plan and failing to get to grips with the monster that is the tax co[a]de. Mr Gove appears to understand the need for getting on with the job within the timespan allowed by a single Parliament, as does Mr Duncan Smith. I think the jury is out on defence and health reforms – I certainly do not know enough of the detail to judge. As for energy supply, we know that it is going to get more and more expensive. The real question is whether we can depend on it at all for uninterupped supply in the future. If it fails then the politicians responsible should be disbarred from office – for life.

    Reply: there is now a real argument within government over dear energy – those of us who want cheaper energy should carry on voicing our wish for change.

    • oldtimer
      Posted October 20, 2012 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      That is good news. I wish you every success in the cause.

      The Bishop Hill blog noted, the other day, that the British Sociological Association is holding a meeting in DECC – presumably into thinking up more ways to brainwash us all into accepting DECC`s green ag[a]enda. It might be worth you enquiring with the Secretary of State whether they are to be funded with taxpayers money to do more “research” into this topic. The last Labour government was very free with taxpayers money when it came to pushing the green agenda. Unsurprisingly it found lots of takers from the trade unions to the National Trust ready to be paid to push the propaganda message.

      Since my earlier post I note that Ben Brogan has a very critical post about the government, suggesting it is beginning to look like a bunch of amateurs. I agree.

      • Bob
        Posted October 20, 2012 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        “…a bunch of amateurs.”

        Trading as the Tory Party.

      • Mark
        Posted October 20, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

        Is a properly functioning energy supply an Aga ender?

    • APL
      Posted October 20, 2012 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      JR: “there is now a real argument within government over dear energy – those of us who want cheaper energy should carry on voicing our wish for change.”

      Mr Redwood, it is very simple, cheap energy leads to higher economic activity, more jobs and a better economy. Higher energy costs lead to less economic activity, less jobs and lower economic activity.

      If we have to have high energy costs because of scarcity or lack of resources then so be it. But if your class is to make our economic situation worse because of a deluded fantasy and their refusal to listen to people* ( in a democracy), then we’d all better batten down the hatches in preparation for the coming storm.

      * Or their insistence on consulting with groups that have a vested interest in high tax because those groups are sustained by disguised government subsidies – points finger at any NGO or ‘environmental’ group.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 20, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        “Vested interests” indeed government in the interests of pressure groups and vested interests is indeed what we have at the EU, Westminster and even local levels. There is no other explanation for the insane legislation that come out.

        Lobbying with or without black spidery writing I assume.

        Just look at the registry of interests of say John Gummer (Baron Deben) Tim Yeo and now we have baby Ben Gummer in the house too. Though I am sure they do not allow these positions to influence them in anyway.

      • nemesis
        Posted October 20, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

        I see no mention here of getting that shale gas out of the ground. I think it can be exploited relatively quickly and certainly lowered gas prices in the States.

        • Bazman
          Posted October 22, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

          America has less export facilities leading to artificially low prices. Many economic facts are against this method of extraction not to mention environmental reasons. In France it’s banned.

    • Richard1
      Posted October 20, 2012 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      It is extraordinary that in all the furore over energy prices over the last 48 hours there has been no mention of the impact of green policies – subsidies and the taxes imposed to finance them. BBC interviewers have been puffed up with righteous fury at energy company bosses for making too much profit, but I have not heard one challenge the green policies which are the principle cause. Separately, it is interesting that Mr Milliband & the Labour Party think the solution is more competition between providers. I’m sure they are right. Now why cant they apply the same logic to other essentail services: rail, water, education, health….?

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 20, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

      Does anyone sensible want “more expensive” energy and more deaths from hypothermia for the UK’s elderly?

  9. Greg Tingey
    Posted October 20, 2012 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    NUCLEAR POWER STATIONS

    Yesterday, please!

    • Bazman
      Posted October 20, 2012 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      Don’t pay for your own electricity do we Greg?

    • APL
      Posted October 20, 2012 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      Greg Tingey: “NUCLEAR POWER STATIONS, Yesterday, please!”

      Seconded.

      Some of which could reasonably be Thorium reactors.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 20, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      Indeed and cancel the planned coal generator closures, forget wind/pv/tidal/wave (just stop all subsidy it will kill it dead), forget the carbon capture nonsense and get fracking for gas.

      • David John Wilson
        Posted October 21, 2012 at 10:18 am | Permalink

        The indications are that wave and tidal power will be much more cost effective than nuclear or new coal stations. We need to ignore the “green” debate and look at solutions that will benefit the UK and its balance of payments in particular.

        • Jerry
          Posted October 21, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

          They have got to make tidal work first, in principle it should, but they said that about both wind and pv… The point “lifelogic” was making was that if one leave out the discredited need to cut CO2 there is no reason to close non life expired coal fired power stations [1] whilst much cheaper (and as safe) ‘off-the-shelf nuclear solutions exist by looking westwards across the pond, we don’t need to look at the balance of payments, we need to look at what can stop the lights starting to go out in lest than 10 years.

          [1] it might even be possible to convert some expensive gas fired stations to work on coal, even if new furnaces need to be built alone side

        • Mark
          Posted October 21, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

          That’s not the indication at all. Tidal and wave power are now offered a subsidy five times as great as for windmills.

      • Mark
        Posted October 21, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

        We need to cancel the closure very urgently. Because it is not economic to spend out on maintenance if the station has to be closed anyway under the silly EU directive, stations will be closed earlier, and contracts to demolish and recover scrap concluded. Instead of being able to continue using the station it will be gone.

        Currently, coal stations are running at high utilisations ahead of the imposition of the carbon floor price next April, when some 10GW of capacity will be shut down. That will throw demand onto gas, and doubtless squeeze prices.

        As it is, NETA are forecasting surpluses of little more than 8GW in a week or so as winter demand begins to bite. Those surpluses assume that wind will generate the full 5GW of installed capacity, which compares with current levels of around 1GW. All it could take would be one large power station to fall over, and we’d have blackouts.

        http://www.bmreports.com/bsp/bsp_home.htm

        • Mark
          Posted October 21, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

          Of course, we also need to abandon the carbon floor price, unique to the UK, and designed to make us uncompetitive.

      • Bazman
        Posted October 22, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

        So just regressive energy policies then with no thought for future use, pollution, danger or cost? Usual crap.

    • outsider
      Posted October 20, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      DECC and the anti-nuclear lobby have succeeded in delaying the proposed atomic energy programme so long and added so many bells and whistles that it will now be expensive electricity (although at least it will operate reliably and not be subject to international market pressures).

      The technical go-ahead for Hinkley Point C is due by the end of the year but the project then depends on guaranteed prices and the upcoming energy Energy Bill. The French Government (via EDF) has DECC over a barrel because the project is marginal for EDF though vital for the UK.

      Even if agreement is reached and EDF convinces financial partners (Centrica or some Gulf or Chinese sovereign wealth fund) serious construction work is unlikely before 2014 and power seems unlikely to flow this decade.

      Sizewell C (next on the list) has just reached the stage where EDF has sent the local council its draft local consultation plan. I cannot see main construction work before 2016. It could have been well under way by now. Meanwhile, EDF can coin it on the written-off AGRs but they cannot last for ever.

    • Tedgo
      Posted October 20, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      Agreed, but the likes of EDF are looking for a guaranteed gravy train from the taxpayer/consumer.

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/9561474/Nuclear-power-subsidies-could-add-70-to-annual-household-energy-bills.html

      We should be buying off the shelf Westinghouse nuclear power stations at about £800M each, not the French rubbish, and no guarantees on investment return.

      Equally while we are having to close 5 coal fired power stations, due to green targets, Germany is building at least 16 and possibly 21 new coal stations. The British public are real suckers for all this green wash.

      • Tedgo
        Posted October 20, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

        While Britain has a serious problem with individuals and families on benefits and welfare, there is the growing problem of “Corporate welfare”. Companies do not seem to want to invest their own money and take a risk, lucrative returns have to be guaranteed by the taxpayer. Perhaps that’s where the £50 billion is going, buying new nuclear power stations and the like.

        • outsider
          Posted October 21, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

          Dear Tedgo,

          I wonder who “we” are in this context. “We” did own Westinghouse (via state-owned BNFL ) but sold it to Toshiba in 2006. The UK government and investors did own British Energy, owner of our active atomic power stations, but sold it to EDF (four fifths owned by French government) in 2009. BNFL was finally closed down by the present government.

          EDF, along with the two big German companies and Spain’s Iberdrola, are the main power generators in the UK. EDF can reasonably be expected to favour the French state-controlled reactor supplier.

          The German companies have shelved plans to build UK nuclear plant, because nuclear is being phased out in Germany. The Spanish company has a joint venture with a French-dominated group which decide in 2015 whether or not to build a nuclear station at Sellafield.

          Of the UK scale generating companies, SSE and the relatively small Drax are mainly coal (plus hydro) and are investing in wind and biomass respectively. Centrica (British Gas) has an option on a minority stake in new EDF atomic plants in the UK.

          So “we” are in no position to buy any atomic energy plant, using any design, from anybody.

          • Jerry
            Posted October 21, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

            @”outsider: You forgot to mention that all UK power stations used to be owned and run by the CEGB, another 1980s privatisation coming back to bite us hard…

          • Tedgo
            Posted October 21, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

            Dear Outsider

            I agree, but rather than feed the Corporate gravy trains, we, as in the UK government should form a new company called the ‘United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority’ with the purpose of building and operating nuclear power stations.

            The eight or so sites designated for the new stations should be purchased for a nominal £1 each, because their location is crucial to the national interest. I see that no one wants to develop the Anglesey site anyway, the gravy train is obviously not large enough.

            The new Authority should not be allowed to develop new exotic designs, like using sodium cooling, but purchase off the self packages like Westinghouse offer.

            The new Authority must never be allowed to get into foreign hands.

          • Jerry
            Posted October 22, 2012 at 7:03 am | Permalink

            @Tedgo: Indeed but nor should be be allowed to get into private hands either, nuclear is a) to costly b)to essential to national (economic) security c) whilst as risk free as possible these days there is still risks and thus the industry needs full and transparent public accountability.

            Of course, had we not dashed for gas, closed our coal industry down, in the 1980s we might not be such a need for these highly expensive nuclear power stations, and on the subject of coal, I see there are new allegations this morning about the conduct of South Yorkshire police during the miners strike in the wake of the Hillsborough…

          • stred
            Posted October 23, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

            Presumably HMG could designate sites with planning permission adjecent to the likes of Sizewell and Hinkley Point if they wished to be released from the grasp of the French. The ridiculous decision to exclude Dungeness from development because of birds also could be reversed. What a blunder it was to sell the rights to the Westinghouse design. Maybe John could have a word with the unqualified PR experts running the DECC. They could market the idea as ‘save the pensioners from hypothermia in the next few years’.

      • sm
        Posted October 21, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

        Building nuclear reactors does seem a very expensive business in the UK? Why?

        Perhaps we should just keep the coal plants running (no green closures) and try and ensure the current generating plant can be used effectively in the future as backup/peaking plants.

        I would prefer any solution with a preference for UK supply chain and UK jobs. We have to retake national control of fundamental state security issues.(Co-operation is not excluded)

        I don’t consider wind-turbines OR nuclear builds a waste if they are manufactured and maintained largely from within the UK and the resulting economic revenues are taxed within the UK.

        This being especially so if they are funded by state created fiat money.

    • James Sutherland
      Posted October 21, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      Agreed! To avoid planning issues, I’d want to upgrade existing nuclear power station sites with four new 1.35GW reactors each – even just upgrading the five English and one Welsh stations currently in operation, that’s 32.4 GW; in conjunction with our existing 514 GW.hr of pumped storage capacity, that would just about meet current round-the-clock needs entirely, even without contribution from existing sources, renewable or other. (In practice, more would be needed for redundancy and growth of course; I imagine current renewables plus the cleaner fossil fuel plants would suffice.)

      • uanime5
        Posted October 21, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

        You might want to build some more turbines as well. The nuclear reactor only heats up the water so without more turbines to create electricity from the extra steam you won’t get much more power.

  10. Jerry
    Posted October 20, 2012 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    The government highlighted a new stretch of road around Huntingdon for the overloaded A 14 and said this would be built as a priority toll road.

    Oh dear, another “M6 toll road” that won’t get used, and will probably end up having to be bough-up/paid-off by the state when the constructing/operating company either goes bust or ‘hands back the keys’…

    If they need funds for this (non-toll) road then put £1 on the VED and ring fence it, it will make little difference to most hauliers or motorists and because they will see that the extra is actually being used to improve the road system (and can only be used for such construction projects) I doubt there will be much if any protest.

    • Bazman
      Posted October 22, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

      The government cut the 3 billion pound upgrade. This road is constantly blocked by accidents and congestion and idiot drivers don’t help though its a bit far fetched to blame them for the problem. One of the main problems is that it is classed as a local road to be funded by local government but most lorries which are the main problem, are just passing through on the way to Felixstowe. A lot of work for me by using this road or going cross country. I’m doing neither. Could have done the Spittals interchange a lot of ways. Did it like this.

      http://www.cbrd.co.uk/badjunctions/14-14-141/

      Well mad and to be avoided. Black Cat has to be mentioned to.

  11. Chris Rose
    Posted October 20, 2012 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    I certainly agree with that it would be highly beneficial to remove the A14 bottleneck.

    Removing bottlenecks in road and rail is a much cheaper and more productive thing to do than starting grandiose projects, which take far longer to complete, require huge amounts of capital and, particularly in the early years, have low rates of return, as, even if they are successful in the long term, it takes time to build up traffic from scratch.

    When you are short of cash, as we most certainly are just now, you must use your cash parsimoniously. A number of low capital projects with high rates of return and immediate benefits are what we should be looking for.

  12. forthurst
    Posted October 20, 2012 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    There is no impetus in this government because there is no one providing it; no one is operating the engine order telegraph and no one is manning (sorry – personing) the helm. Only self-starters like Gove are getting on with the job where what needs doing is transparently obvious to all except an occasional contributor to this site and readers of the heavily loss making grauniad.

    Battersea ex-Power station is a symbol of the misplaced handwringing sentimentality of this country whilst far more important matters such as (immigration policy-ed) Do English people not warrant at least a grade ii listing? Are they not as beneficial to this country as a clapped out power station which caused thousands of premature deaths from pulmonary disease, built at a time before the high voltage natonal grid with its far lower transmission losses was conceived?

    • forthurst
      Posted October 20, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      I appear to have spoken too soon. The goverment is dynamic after all; they, at long last, are addressing the very serious problem of people buying wine from Waitrose in bulk at a discount and then drinking it. Of course, most wine from Waitrose in bulk is likely to be pricier after discounting than wallpaper stripper, at a time when deposit income for savers and pensioners has reached a nadir determined necessary by the needs of the crucially important banksters with their portfolios of overpriced properties and this government whose bonds are yet another unattractive facit of their offering.

      Many of those people affected by this far-sighted proposal are suspected of being middle class ex-Tory voters who have now offered their allegiance to UKIP. In terms of ‘fairness’ therefore, a word as popular with this benighted regime as with the nation destroying Labour party, should it not include people buying six-packs of lager at less than the one off price? How does allowing people to purchase reduced price six-packs of baked beans or eggs assist with the war on obesity? Should not people be prevented from purchasing more than one day’s supply of comestibles to prevent over-consumption of anything, perhaps two units of alcohol and 2.5k calories of food?

      • outsider
        Posted October 21, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

        Dear Forthurst, I fear this would be another example of Lord Snooty v the Plebs.

        If this follows the example of the John Knox Parliament in Edinburgh, it will only cover sales “on the premises”, such as ordinary hardworking/striving families buying at the supermarket. If you buy claret from an up-market wine merchant in St James’s for delivery to your door, you would not be affected. Some sell only by the case anyway.

        Ed Miliband’s seemingly cheap slogan about one law for the elite and one for everyone else becomes more resonant by the week.

        It is, of course, for own good because Plebs, whether striving/hardworking or the other kind, are not meant to drink alcohol at home.

        Now that we are Plebs and no longer equal citizens, we have to find ways round the intention of the law, as folk in “less happier lands” learnt long ago.

  13. Neil Craig
    Posted October 20, 2012 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    As normal plenty of promises from Cameron and no action. Meanmwhile even Ofgem is warning that we are going to have blackouts by 2016.

    I note that there is no serious dispute that UK infrastructure costs are pushed up 700%+ by corruption-&-state-parasitism-or-some-other cause & that absolutely nobody can suggest any other cause more credible than the official civil service one – that continuous cost rises over the last 50 years are down to the oil price rise in the early 2000s.

    Since the official civil service excuse is obviously a total lie theft and parasitism must be the default assumption.

  14. Acorn
    Posted October 20, 2012 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    We have explored the electricity cartel this week, and while I think of it JR; can you keep an eye on DCMS about the 4G mobile phone cartel. The move to 800 megs band will interfere with a lot of Freeview terrestrial channels top end frequencies. the operators are reluctant to fix the problem and say it is government problem.

  15. Nina Andreeva
    Posted October 20, 2012 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Just out of balance you do not have to be a Greenie to take an interest in climate change. Hardline conservatives such as myself do as do some hawks in the Pentagon as well. It is now acceptable to view climate change as just as much a threat to America’s security as say nuclear proliferation. Have a read of this if you are interested.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/09/science/earth/09climate.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    Some hard nosed capitalists, such as billion fund manager Jeremy Grantham, are also taking an interest here too

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/14/magazine/can-jeremy-grantham-profit-from-ecological-mayhem.html?pagewanted=all

    • Jerry
      Posted October 21, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

      Nina, a bigger threat is the lights going out…

      • David Price
        Posted October 21, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

        Which explains the logic of DECC, introduced by one E Milliband, subsidising domestic PV systems via FITS that are not usable in a power outage to actually keep the lights on!

  16. Bob
    Posted October 20, 2012 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    “NUCLEAR POWER STATIONS”

    I’m sure the business case would be a compelling one, unlike HS2.

  17. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted October 20, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Indeed, getting on with construction projects would help. However, the government is working within the context of grossly excessive current public expenditure. Mr Redwood has identified in excess of 15 items that could be cut. I have advocated abolishing the index linking of public sector salaries, state pensions, unemployment benefit and all other benefits paid to people not working. If we don’t somehow or other reduce current public expenditure in FYR 2013/14, we shall continue to face frustration in our capital programmes.

  18. Barbara Stevens
    Posted October 20, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    We should not abandon nuclear power, it is cheap to run, but dear to clean up from. I doubt the green policies will provide us with enough power, indeed, in Germany they gave invested heavily into wind farms, but when there was no wind homes and businesses were left wanting. You have to have a viable alternative. Has most of our energy firms now are foreign owned we really have no control up on them. They can rip us off at will, and they are doing so. I welcome this intervention by Cameron, if its beefed up with legislation. A voluntary code of pracitice will now work, you need legislation to beef it up.
    Has for infastructure developments we all welcome that for that means jobs, more taxes paid and less in benefits paid. However, keep cutting from people is producing poverty in this country on a large scale, so how any government can keep spending on foreign aid and letting their own have to use food banks to survive is a disgrace. When the top 10% have £40,000 in tax cuts which they pocket and don’t invest in businesses, its obscene and repugnant. I think Cameron’s approach to the poor is awful and its breeding contempt between people and its festering like a bad wine. He would do well to rethink his policies before its to late and riots are once again on our streets. We are not in it altogether at all, as well they know.

  19. Alte Fritz
    Posted October 20, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Yesterday an incompetent or dishonest (who knows?) journalist span out from nothing, an unpleasant story about the Chancellor. This morning it looks as if Virgin Rail have issued a definitive statement on the “incident” which shows that there is absolutely no story. End of, or it should be.

    Meanwhile, to take two random examples, we are sliding towards energy shortages, irrespective of expense, and if the Chinese government wishes to paralyse our national telephone network, it can do so because the last government failed to protect the national interest in ensuring that our network was supplied by a British company.

    Politics is being infantilised at a time when this country stares in the face problems bigger than the Cold War. I would like to see the government get a grip on the national interest which includes having a proper working infrastructure before the Chinese, Brazilians Russians and Indians split their sides laughing at us (and the rest of the EU).

  20. zorro
    Posted October 20, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Why is there a delay then…? It can’t be funding as they could have used QE instead of using it to prop up the zombie banks.

    zorro

  21. outsider
    Posted October 20, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood,
    I wonder if DECC is evaluating shale gas with much urgency and intensity or is it just being held up like the atomic power stations in the hope that it will go away? Even if it is permitted, I cannot see gas flowing in commerical quantities much before the end of the decade.

    Meanwhile, one suspects that much of the £50 billion taxpayer guarantees will be given to various wind turbine projects – though I notice that Siemens seems in no no hurry to build its factory on Humberside. Why should it?

    You mention the long timetable for the A14. But this is because the plan is for a private toll road along the existing public road which carries large amounts of purely local traffic around and between towns and cities . So it is subject to all manner of detailed planning issues, legitimate objections and consultation. If the A14 was a straightforward DoT project it could be done much faster.

    At least we are doing our bit in the City. Within 200 yards, there are vast holes and road closures to accommodate Crossrail work, a large office block is under construction. An even bigger tower is reaching the fitting out stage and installing utilities, another office block is being converted into flats and the biggest office complex in the City is ready to go when/if the developer finds some clients.

  22. merlin
    Posted October 20, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    The only thing that caught my attention in the infrastrucutre projects was toll road, there is one on the M6 and guess what, very few people use it, why? Bcause it is too expensive, maybe the government should have thought about this before they built it. Governments have one basic speciality they are world experts at wastng public money.So, what we need is as usual less government, I think you know the rest.Of course the exact opposite is happening and we are getting more which means more and more useless government projects.

    • Bazman
      Posted October 22, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      Zip through with your fuel card. The boss has decided to use this toll road and add the cost onto the customers bill. Very sweet.

  23. Martin
    Posted October 20, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    “Government’s Infrastructure programme” !

    Is the Five Year Plan back in fashion comrade? It is a great pity/economic disaster that comrades Cameron/Greening stopped a private enterprise third runway at Heathrow.

    P.S. the new Heathrow Terminal Two (not built by the government) is coming on well (as far as I could see from the window of an airbus).

  24. David John Wilson
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Some action on completing the half completed projects lying dormant all around the country would be a step forward. Many of these are contracts placed by government or local councils where the contractors failed to complete on time or to budget and were than allowed to walk away.

    The east London pedestrian tunnels under the Thames are typical examples of half completed work that has stopped and has resulted in the fabric now decaying to the extent that completion will be extremely expensive.

  25. David Langley
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    John, I was taught that monopolists and oligopolists, do not compete on price but on service. They would not wish to lose their profitable position and will do anything obviously to keep it. Pharma business etc try the same with new drugs and music publishers tried to do the same with Artists records etc. There is some sympathy with those seeking to recover R & D expenses. Energy companies I am also told are expensive to set up and obtain a workable number of customers. The big boys have been in it for years and know how to price it to keep little fish out. The other thing is that it would appear switching is not that easy in practice and can be a nightmare, also by the time you have switched you find your new company has adopted the pricing practices of the one you have just dumped.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 21, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      Monopolists do not compete on anything because they have a monopoly.

    • David Price
      Posted October 21, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      I’ve switched three times now with no problems at all. My last change was to a fixed price contract just before the recent price increases, all it took was filling out an on-line form, registering with the new supplier and reading two meters, no nightmares involved.

      I have saved quite a bit, so while the current set up is far from perfect, for those who are prepared to do a little research there isn’t a complete monopoly of energy supply yet.

      We do need the government to save some money by getting rid of the government obligation levy and dissolve the DECC though.

  26. David Langley
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Tedgo, yes we have millions of tons of coal under our pleasant land but the last mine in Yorkshire is closing. Coal mining is a hard job but has always found willing workers when the pay and conditions are ok. I like the Westinghouse Nuclear proposition and am equally worried by this governments position seemingly of sitting on its hands when we are going to be in dire straights, having to buy electricity from other EU members. All our electricity I should say.

  27. David Price
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    With regards to the cost of energy, if the “government obligations” levy on energy were removed it would significantly lower the cost of energy bills and free up the energy companies to focus on economically viable approaches to generation. However, they should have two structures placed on them

    1. they must guarantee supply
    2. they must pay all taxes in the UK (no funneling “services fees” to luxemburg etc)

    • David Price
      Posted October 21, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

      sorry, that should read “strictures” not “structures”

      • Bazman
        Posted October 22, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

        Probably have to be scriptures, but yeah, thanks for paying our taxes and not letting the lights go out in return for millions of pounds of guaranteed profit from a captive market we are very grateful for your services.

  28. Jon
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Reading Stn and Crossrail are coming along well. Airport capacity seems to have been kicked into the long grass a bit. Labour used to do that far more, Alistair Darling I remember being one for reviews on top of reviews to avoid a decision being made at great expense. Decisions are being made and momentum building, needs to continue.

  • 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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