Work or welfare?

The global market is good news for the skilled, the active, the energetic and the ambitious. It is often seen as a threat by others, who fear it means no job or a low paid job. After all, the other side of access to the world’s better off as a much larger market, is access to the world’s lower paid as a potential workforce.

In the UK there has been a paradox. The same people who welcome access to ever cheaper and better value products from China, India, Malaysia and Korea complain that UK wages are too low and that too many new migrants are being allowed into the Uk to undertake work at modest pay levels. The very same people who are paying the poor wages of the Chinese or Thai factory worker when they buy the foreign product, recommend a higher living wage or bigger benefit top ups here at home for the jobs that remain. They are not prepared to pay the UK workers higher wages themselves by buying the UK product if it is dearer.

It leaves us with a problem. Of course all UK elected politicians want people here to have well paid jobs. If you could do that by legislating for a high living wage, Labour would have done it when in office. They did not do so, opting instead for a minimum wage which is a low wage by western standards, because they feared that a higher level would simply destroy more jobs in the UK, exporting the opportunity to lower wage countries. Like the Conservatives before them, they embarked on a programme of taxpayer financed add ons to low pay, so that those in lower paid employment had a better income through benefit and tax credit top up.

The long term solution to the problem favoured by most political parties is better education and training, so more people in the UK have the skills and qualifications necessary to command higher wages in the world market. If we want to enjoy living standards more like bankers or lawyers, then more of us have to have skills and offer services as valuable to the world market as lawyers and bankers. We need to accept that this can only be a partial answer, as there will remain people who cannot achieve the level of skill and enterprise necessary to command high wages.

In the shorter term the Coalition like the previous government will seek to find the best blend of income top up and minimum wage to provide a minimum income that offers the many participation in the success of the fast moving global economy. That requires tolerating the rich and successful in our country, and welcoming more to us. The way to earn higher wages is to work well for someone or some company who is rich enough to pay you well. The London economy benefits from the concentration of wealthy foreigners who now occupy much of the best central London housing. The other model, of relying on ever higher taxes on the rich and successful to pay more out in benefits for those who cannot find decent jobs , will in the end be self defeating. The rich leave, as Mr Hollande is discovering. Far from paying more, they pay less, leaving the country unable to afford such a generous welfare system.

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199 Comments

  1. Posted April 6, 2013 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    Who can possibly doubt that if we didn’t have our present welfare system low life like Philpott with his 17 children from 5 women would simply never have existed in the first place?

    • Posted April 6, 2013 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      It surely illustrates mainly the total failure of the criminal justice system to address his earlier and very serious criminal activities properly in the first place.

    • Posted April 6, 2013 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      Me for a start. Narcissists such as Philpott have always been unfortunately a feature of humanity. All the taxpayers did was provide him with his TVs, snooker table etc. Such oversized underclass families have always existed in the UK, regardless of the availability of handouts, check out the origins of the word “hooligan” (etc ed).

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

        I did check that out, and I find that it dates from a time when cheap and effective methods of birth control were not readily available and the very idea was still subject to strong religious condemnation, including by the Church of England:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_views_on_contraception#Anglicanism

        Well, if some people will insist on living as in Victorian times, when they didn’t have modern means to control their fertility and so women could easily “fall pregnant” against their will, entirely by accident as it were, then other people could reasonably say that they should only get the level of state support they would have got in Victorian times.

        • Posted April 6, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

          For this comment to make any sense you would need to show that Philpott listened to the opinions of anyone else, including listening to the opinions of the CoE. It is a complete non-sequitor to assume that the views of the CoE had anything whatever to do with Philpott’s behaviour.

          • Posted April 7, 2013 at 9:54 am | Permalink

            No, for my comment to make any sense you only need to read the sentence in Angry’s comment to which it relates:

            “Such oversized underclass families have always existed in the UK, regardless of the availability of handouts, check out the origins of the word “hooligan”.”

            Nothing to do with Philpott specifically, but “oversized underclass families” in general.

            One my grandmothers had sixteen children, which was not particularly rare in those days, and as they lived in poverty I don’t suppose that was a matter of her free choice.

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

        Angry–Narcissicist?? We are not talking about him admiring himself in the mirror while shaving–27 stab wounds on a woman just for starters.

    • Posted April 6, 2013 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      @Leslie Singleton

      The Devil makes work for idle hands.

      Maybe George Osborne now understands the true meaning of the term “morally repugnant”.

      In a sensible society Philpott would have been too busy working to earn a living and would certainly not have wanted to continually increase the number of mouths he needed to feed.

      The welfare system has become a white elephant, and to fix it will take a political party with true dedication the the welfare of the entire country and not just the indolent “community”.

      If the British people want to have better living standards than people in the third world then they will need to work for it, unless we suddenly find some previously undiscovered but massive oil fields, gold and diamond mines.

      Printing money does not create wealth, quite the opposite in fact.

      Mr Redwood is right to say that education and training is essential to a successful economy, which begs the question why they abandoned grammar schools. It was the secondary moderns that were failing the kids, just like the “bog standard comprehensives” are today.

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

        It is disgusting that George Osborne used the death of six children to push his political agenda. They were human beings.

        Trading in food commodities in the interest of pure greed by very affluent people caused hunger for millions and a very large number of children dying worldwide. This is a better definition of “morally repugnant”.

        • Posted April 6, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

          @credible
          “Trading in food commodities in the interest of pure greed by very affluent people caused hunger for millions and a very large number of children dying worldwide. “

          Could you please explain how closing the commodities markets will improve production of agricultural products.

          I don’t understand how depriving farmers of a place to sell their produce will benefit anyone.

          I also don’t understand how it relates to Philpott.

          • Posted April 6, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

            @Bob

            With regard to commodities markets, I understand there is concern that mega investment banks are buying up warehouses to restrict supply. For example, see the comments made by Coca-Cola’s strategic procurement manager in the WSJ of 17 June 2011. (url link provided below)
            http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304186404576389680225394642.html

          • Posted April 7, 2013 at 9:36 am | Permalink

            @sjb
            All I can see on that link is some reader comments relating to Coca Cola’s aluminum purchasing.

            Nothing t0 do with food.

        • Posted April 6, 2013 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

          “Trading in food commodities in the interest of profit” is actually what ensures a ready supply of food and prevents billions from starving.

          For me what is “Morally Repugnant” is tax borrow and waste, quack economic solution, quack energy solutions, high tax rates that raise less tax and kill jobs, pointless regulations everywhere, counter productive wars (sometimes based on a lie) and a dis-functional and nearly 50% state sector, the breaking “cast iron” promises to the electorate on IHT and the, anti democratic, EU also encouraging millions of people to live a life on welfare, all their lives, and not to learn to pay their way, whenever possible.

          These are really “morally repugant” – avoiding tax (legally – even if aggressively) and spending it wisely is highly moral and benefits society.

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

        Bob mate you need to realise that the jobs that kept Philpott’s ancestors in gainful employment,the so called “sweated trades” that required muscle power rather than brain power, just do not exist anymore. There is no demand in the 21st Century for railway porters, dockers, coalminers etc. So how do you suggest we deal with the (unskilled?ed)? (words left out ed) Unfortunately all parties recognise that you are stuck with these people hence the neverending the cash payments. “Workfare” sounds great but the status quo prevails because its more expensive as you have to factor in the cost of the overseers, binliners etc if you force them into say cleaning up litter in return for their benefits.

    • Posted April 6, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      He would have existed even if the welfare system didn’t exist. The only difference would be he would have committed more crimes to survive.

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

        If that’s true, what’s your solution?

        • Posted April 7, 2013 at 7:21 am | Permalink

          A proper criminal justice systems, which actually addresses and deters crime perhaps?

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

        unanime5

        Speculation.

        • Posted April 7, 2013 at 11:24 am | Permalink

          Unless you can prove that without the welfare system Philpott wouldn’t have been born, would have been raised differently, or would somehow had a personality change then it’s more likely that he would have acted the same way. He would still have been controlling, violent, and sought out vulnerable women.

          The only difference would be that once he couldn’t claim more in welfare he would have turned to crime to get more money. The belief that he could have somehow gotten a job with his personality is naive.

          • Posted April 8, 2013 at 8:04 am | Permalink

            “the belief that he could have somehow gotten a job with his personality is naive”

            Is this really what you believe ?

            If he had turned to crime as you suggest, then I guess he may also have spent some time in prison, and thus not have been able to act in the manner he did for so long.

            I would also suggest from many of your comments that you are considerably younger than me, and I would also suggest that in a few years time perhaps, just perhaps, some of your views may change a little as that is the natural order of things.
            We all go through phases.

            You may find that with age, comes a degree of experience, and a little wisdom, many of us have seen most of lifes problems before (although this case was extreme) and thus we have seen solutions that actually work .
            Many of which seem to have been long forgotten, so we constantly need to re-learn lessons again.
            A phrase so often used by politicians.

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

        Uni, your view that he would exist regardless of the welfare system quite is ridiculous.
        He knew how to play “the social” to his advantage and he would know they consider how much it would cost to take his family into care and that they are able to give grants for holidays, furniture, extensions to the home birthday and Christmas presents for the children and mini buses to ride around in.
        If the money for every extra child above 2 or 3 was cut off, men like this would quickly modify their behaviour and not have endless numbers of children if this reduced the cash coming in to their HQ.

        • Posted April 7, 2013 at 11:34 am | Permalink

          Firstly child benefit is £20.30 per week for the eldest child and £13.40 for all other children. So 11 children would be worth £154.30 per week minus the cost of feeding them. By contrast working in a minimum wage job for 37.5 hours per week pays £232.13 per week. So it’s clear that having a huge number of children doesn’t result in you becoming wealthy.

          Secondly if child benefit was limited to 2 or 3 children per mother then it will encourage men to have 2 to 3 children with multiple women.

          Thirdly do you have any evidence to back up any of your claims regarding the grants you mentioned.

          Fourthly if he couldn’t get extra money through children he would have got it through crime, which would have been far more expensive for the taxpayer.

          • Posted April 7, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

            Uni
            Quoted as having a gross income equivolent to £65,000
            Do you think that is “fair”
            Firstly you fail as usual to allow for tax and NI when making your basic calculations and to allow for housing benefit giving hom rent and coucil tax paid tax free.
            Secondly, grants for things like furniture and clothing and vehicles are well known I’m surprised you haven’t heard of them. Have a look on the Govt website.
            Thirdy,child benefits are paid to the mother I presume you didnt know, which means if he had multiple cgildren with multiple women they would all have to live with him and voluntarily hand over their money to him.
            Fourthly, if he turned to crime he would soon be caught and have ended up in jail saving all this disaster.
            You would be better trying to defend someone else.

          • Posted April 8, 2013 at 8:08 am | Permalink

            uanime5

            Ref your suggestion of multiple births for mothers.

            That is why I have always suggested on this site that child benefit should be:

            One child per person.

            For a couple that is two, for a single person it is one. thus once your personal allowance is used (like your tax allowance) that is it, no more.

            It seems so simple to get this under control.

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

        unanime–As usual, your comments are nonsense–The welfare system made him actively want all those children–No welfare system and having to find work would have cramped his style and he would not have even considered such a large number of children.

        • Posted April 7, 2013 at 11:35 am | Permalink

          Child benefit is £20.30 per week for the eldest child and £13.40 for all other children. So 11 children would be worth £154.30 per week minus the cost of feeding them. By contrast working in a minimum wage job for 37.5 hours per week pays £232.13 per week.

          So it’s unlikely that the welfare system made him want these children when he would have gotten more money by being single and working.

          • Posted April 7, 2013 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

            unanime–As ever cannot follow what you are trying to say. Your last few words are true but in his case are 110% irrelevant because of course he didn’t want and didn’t have to work. This is not some passing aside but absolutely crucial.

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

        Absolutely right unanime5 and Osborne was totally wrong to confuse the two. His supporters would insist that it was not a confusion but, to mention the two issues at the same time was an act of complete foolishness.

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

        Mr Redwood

        Please don’t pay attention to Uanime5

        His ideas are those we have been putting into practice for the past thirty years and look where they’ve got us.

        Uanime5 and his like will never vote for your party no matter how much you try to reason with him – infact I’m pretty sure he’s a Labour plant judging by the amount of time he seems to have.

        Your party may win the next election depending on how it deals with welfare reform and the impending influx from Bulgaria and Romania.

        It certainly won’t if it tries to satisfy Uanime5 because I believe that your natural supporters will vote Ukip no matter how self destructive that may be.

        • Posted April 7, 2013 at 11:41 am | Permalink

          30 years ago was 1983. Given that Margaret Thatcher was in power from 1979 to 1990 which ideas are you criticising? Privatisation? Curbing union power? Supporting the financial industry?

          Did you mean the past 20 years (1993-2013)?

          • Posted April 8, 2013 at 7:19 am | Permalink

            Uanime5 – If you follow my postings then you will know that I do blame Margaret Thatcher and Tory governments for the present situation. They failed to get a grip on the leftist takeover of the permanent political, legal and BBC establishment and were no friends of the aspirant working class. The Carla Lane’s Bread was broadcast during the Thatcher era and showed clearly the welfare abuses going on then. As a police officer during that time I was well aware that illegal immigration was being allowed to get out of control. The Tories signed Maastricht.

            Of your earlier comment about Philpot:

            “Philpot would commit more crime were it not for welfare.”

            I would put that down to the Uanime5 style lenient penal system we have rather than welfare but welfarism allows people like Philpot to outbreed honest working people by a factor of 9-1 and transmit his morals to his offspring (or abandon them altogether.)

            The reason that you’re not a fantasist, Uanime5 is because you are living your dream.

            Unfortunately we are living your dream too. Except for us it’s a bloody nightmare !

          • Posted April 8, 2013 at 7:26 am | Permalink

            Uanime5 – If those who disagree with you (and I apologise if I am mistaking you for the one here who calls us such) are ‘fantasists’ then it is because we fantasise about being free of your madnesses. The utterly insane and unsustainable situation we have reached in this country.

      • Posted April 7, 2013 at 4:53 am | Permalink

        Perhaps the ‘ladies’ in question would have been less keen to allow themselves to become pregnant if they had known that food, warmth and shelter was not coerced from the taxpayer? If they had relied on Mr Philpott himself, perhaps they would have concluded that with say 15 mouths to feed already, he was a bad bet to care for the sixteenth?

        On a personal note, I desperately want a second child, but I’m not sure I can afford it. Part of the reason is that I am forced at gunpoint to support thousands of welfare kids through massive taxes. This is utterly sickening.

        • Posted April 7, 2013 at 7:24 am | Permalink

          Indeed many cannot afford or delay having children because they are paying taxes for other peoples to have 5+ children on the state.

      • Posted April 7, 2013 at 7:36 am | Permalink

        uanime5: “He would have existed even if the welfare system didn’t exist.”

        Very probably, but he would have been preoccupied with other stuff – earning a living, for one.

        It’s why the lefty rent-a-mob can turn out at the drop of a hat for any demonstration ‘du jour’. The sensible folk are all working.

  2. Posted April 6, 2013 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    Whatever “solutions” are favored by politicians to increase wages and/or employment they will fail. Just as they always have. Every single interference in a free market reduces choice, opportunity and wealth. We hear one ill thought out and dubious scheme after another, each one clearly destined to have unforeseen consequences and negative overall results.
    If government truly wanted to improve the lot of workers and business it would remove all the hundreds or regulations and restrictions to allow employers and their staff to freely negotiate a mutually acceptable contract. I realise that we suffer from the incessant propaganda over the past 100 years from rabid socialists that demonizes employers and pretends that all workers will be exploited unless they are protected by the biggest exploiter of them all (government). The reality is that a freed business environment would result in an explosion of employment opportunity and a large increase in earnings. There would be so many jobs available that a firm that tried to exploit anyone would find themselves without employees very quickly. Free competition is a better controlling influence than any delusional “solution” or law proposed by any political group. The only trouble is freedom is just too scary for most people and all politicians.

    • Posted April 6, 2013 at 7:54 am | Permalink

      Andyvan

      Agree with much of what you say, but do remember that the law of unintended consequences is usually caused by those who do not understand human nature and how it works.

      Many politicians do not seem to understand human nature or it actions, that is why so many perhaps well intentioned, but ill thought out policies, FAIL.

      Who for example in their right mind would set a Benefits limit of £26,000 tax free, when the average wage is that, less tax and insurance, when you have the additional cost of getting to work in the first place.
      They then expect it to have magical results in returning people to work.

      Who would expect a small start up business to start to employ more people when the knowledge required of the tax system and employment laws are so complex, and the fines for non compliance are so huge.
      No would be employers simply put off recruitment until it is a complete no brainer and a must have because they cannot cope anymore with the existing workforce.
      Thus the business runs inefficiently for a while, because the owner is often overstretched, and overworked.

      Who in their right mind would introduce subsidised, huge overpriced feed in tarrifs for energy from roof bling.
      Then be surprised at the huge take up, but then be even more surprised when the price to the consumer goes up due to the huge feed in tarrifs paid.
      Then be surprised again when the industry shrinks when these feed in tariffs are reduced.

      Just three examples given, multiply by thousands, and you get the reasons as to why we are not moving forwards.

    • Posted April 6, 2013 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      Andyvan,
      Agreed and the reduction in choice has now extended to the three main parties in Westmister who are barely distinguishable from each other. Tax, borrow, spend and waste is their shared manifesto.

    • Posted April 6, 2013 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      Not only free competition and less regulation but also a slimmer government consuming far less of the National Product.

      The Government are stifling the private sector and as a result employment in the private sector is declining. Any trick proposed to fix unemployment will fail because it will itself result in increasing the size of the public sector.

      Smaller government will lead to higher employment over time and this will itself lead to lower welfare payments lower levels of regulation and less government interferance. Nothing else.

    • Posted April 6, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      If the free market was in charge only the executives would be paid and everyone else would have to work in exchange for a meal.

      Removing employees rights won’t help UK businesses as anyone with skills will emigrate to a country where employers have to treat them better. People demanded these rights because employers have been show time and time again to abuse their staff unless the law prevents it and your right wing delusions will not change this.

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

        @uanime5
        “anyone with skills will emigrate to a country where employers have to treat them better”

        Congratulations uanime5, you have discovered the free market, at last.

        • Posted April 7, 2013 at 11:48 am | Permalink

          Given that the employers in other countries have to treat their employees better because the law forces them to this is an odd definition of a free market. It’s more of an example of how a race to the bottom doesn’t work in industries requiring skilled workers.

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

        uanime5
        What a ridiculous and out of touch with the real World comment you have made. Any employer who values their business looks after their staff. Without good staff there is no business! Would a business abuse it’s customers? Of course not, good motivated staff look after the customers and the business. Businesses who do not look after their staff and customers will in todays highly competitive marketplace go out of business!

        Anyone with skills who is not treated well by their employer will move to another employer – that is the basis of a free market.

        This claptrap coming from some trade unionists who continually preach that all employers will “abuse” their employees is their clarion call for justifying why people should join a trade union. They are living in the seventies as are the current Labour party leadership.

        • Posted April 6, 2013 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

          P O Pensioner wrote: Would a business abuse it’s customers?

          A topical example to add to the long list.
          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/9968305/SSE-fined-record-10.5m-for-mis-selling.html

          • Posted April 7, 2013 at 7:49 am | Permalink

            sjb: “A topical example to add to the long list.”

            Would a business in a competitive market abuse it’s customers?

            The electricity market has been carved up by government from a monolithic government created monopoly provider, into lots of smaller monopoly providers, yet we are surprised to find that the electricity market isn’t a free market and the monopoly providers use their market dominant positions to abuse customers.

            Quelle surprise, Not!

        • Posted April 7, 2013 at 11:53 am | Permalink

          Given that health and safety laws were introduced because employers were treating their employees so badly I have no doubt that if they were removed employers would go back to abusing their employees.

          While mistreated employees will go t0 another company the problem is that if they also emigrate this will be bad for the UK. So reducing the rights of employees won’t help the UK economy because all the people who can leave will leave for better jobs abroad.

        • Posted April 7, 2013 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

          Maybe you could explain revolving door recruitment policies by many companies. Or does this not exist?

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

        So Uni, there is no market for labour just top hatted bosses exploiting the workers.
        How very 19th century.
        You dont really believe this rubbish do you?
        Its a wind up come on, own up.

        • Posted April 7, 2013 at 11:54 am | Permalink

          The only reason employers stopped abusing their employees was because of laws introduced in the 19th and 20th centuries to protect employees. So if you repeal these laws then employers will go back to abusing their employees because it’s more profitable.

          • Posted April 7, 2013 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

            Clearly if you abuse your employees and other jobs are available they will simply not stay. The availability of other jobs is the key to employment protection, not absurd legal regulations and “protections”.

        • Posted April 7, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

          The idea that there can be more cleaning jobs than cleaners within a commutable distance is clearly wrong. This leaves the lower paid jobs market and its employes open to abuse by unscrupulous employers. You are denying this can exist or does. Ram it.

          • Posted April 7, 2013 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

            Twaddle Baz,
            The majority have the upper hand.
            Look at the growth in average wages since the sixties.
            Wicked bosses paying poor wages is a socialist fantasy

          • Posted April 7, 2013 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

            The wages are he same now as in the late 90’s in the metal trades. House prices have trebled and the rest have doubled. Ram it.

          • Posted April 8, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

            Your assertion that all employers try to exploit their workers is nonsense Baz.
            If you work for such a bad employer then leave.
            There are plenty of good employers all over the UK who value their staff as an asset to be invested in so their business will carry on succeeding.
            Look at John Lewis or Oracle or Rolls Royce Aerospace as just three fine examples of many.

          • Posted April 10, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

            Many cleaning jobs going there Edward. No? Ah well. It will have to be that one then.

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

        unanime–You are demented with your hatred of employers but we are still waiting for you to show us how to do it and hire a few unemployed, especially the less capable, to pay them fortunes, never to fire them and of course to arrange and in some cases contribute towards their pensions, maternities and payment of taxes, whilst having NI deducted instead of paid to them for their efforts–an example of the latter being this new Real Time Information PAYE scheme coming in today which employers have to do a lot of extra work for, for nothing of course. Then there’s sick leave and don’t forget the considerable personal risk that an employer, especially a new employer, takes, perhaps mortgaging his house to take on debt–and then’s the fact that the employer’s lot is unlikely to be 9-5 with the weekends off.

        • Posted April 7, 2013 at 10:08 am | Permalink

          Postscript–And I of course forgot to add that, in addition, unanime would be investing his or her time and money in to training his or her new employees–Just like that! As he or she would have it, anything that superficially and even speciously sounds good for employees must be done no matter how unreasonable, even impossible, or how much it might cost–and all the while keeping prices down of course.

        • Posted April 7, 2013 at 11:57 am | Permalink

          I don’t have to set up a business to know that reducing employee rights isn’t for the benefit of employees. Selling out the workforce to pander to the whims of companies won’t improve the UK.

          • Posted April 7, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

            unanime–You really are in a bad way

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

        Then, unanime5 .become an executive.

    • Posted April 6, 2013 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      Its surprising Mr Redwood is endorsing a ” blend of income top up and minimum wage to provide a minimum income” especially when one considers his historic opposition to interference in the “free” market. Germany, which is not blighted with many of the problems that the UK has e.g. youth unemployment, does not interfere in the labour market. There is no minimum wage and in eastern Germany one can find cleaning positions (that are filled) that offer no more than a Euro an hour (82p) or worse. A good dose of classical economics here might see an increase in the UKs competitiveness.

      http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/08/us-germany-jobs-idUSTRE8170P120120208

      Reply During the recession Germany intervened extensively in tghe labour market to get companies to keep on staff they could not afford

  3. Posted April 6, 2013 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    With globalisation, we face the old problem of the slave society. Over the years, the poorer workers inevitably stop being independent and have to sell themselves and their families into slavery to keep up. We get two nations: the slave owners and the slaves themselves.

    Our education system, as it is at the moment, accentuates this: the rich get better education in a world setting, while the “normal” people get the local Comprehensive! Most of them are, in fact, condemned to a life on the State.

    • Posted April 6, 2013 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      I cannot help thinking that education rarely makes people much cleverer, it just gives than some more knowledge and some tools. There are lots of knowledgeable people around who are as daft as a brush, and I suspect all the training courses in the world would make little difference to them.

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

        Absolutely who gains from someone say obtaining a degree from a non Russell university? The poor graduate may have the honour to have been the first person from his family to have been to university. However after he has returned his gown and mortarboard to the hire company and picked up the graduation ceremony photos. He is soon faced with the reality of at least £27k plus debt and a qualification that will rarely be of interest to an employer who offers traditional graduate careers.

        The UK needs to end the cruel delusion, that began with Wilson, that more people should go to university. The graduate jobs were never there to begin with. So all you end up with is a load of wasted taxpayers money and despondent graduates

        • Posted April 7, 2013 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

          Indeed, but perhaps they will meet a nice wife or husband on the expensive journey.

        • Posted April 8, 2013 at 8:18 am | Permalink

          Angry of Mayfair

          How very true !

          The sad fact is thousands of graduates have been overpromised for years the riches a degree is supposed to produce.

          Employers are now finding out that some jobs that a degree was requested for in years past, are now better served by those who leave school with good grades and are then trained in house.

    • Posted April 6, 2013 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      This is the aim of globalisation in the long term…….stated or unstated.

      zorro

  4. Posted April 6, 2013 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    erm actually who are these foreign born entrepreneurs who are coming into the country? From what I can see they are just buying up established businesses like Harrods or houses as a pied a terre so most of the time it’s like a ghost town around here

    • Posted April 6, 2013 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      I can tell you where a lot of the ‘foreign entrepreneurs’ are coming from, and their money…..but then it’s not that difficult to work out!

      zorro

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

        Zorro: So specify then we can have a real conversation.

    • Posted April 8, 2013 at 6:23 am | Permalink

      Angry of Mayfair: ” From what I can see they are just buying up established businesses like Harrods or houses as a pied a terrie”

      They’re making a good fist of buying up our political ‘real estate’ too, wining and dining (word left out ed) political luminaries ( names left out as no proof of allegations-ed).

      One might wonder how some politicians can afford (expensive-ed) houses in the heart of London, perhaps we need wonder no more.

      I guess if you saved hard out of £64,000 over twenty years you can easily come up with (the millions needed-ed).

      Reply Politicians who do afford expensive houses have usually earned the extra momey before they went into the Commons, or inherited it, or earned it from a second job which many have, ranging from Cabinet Minister to an outside business interest. It has never been possible during my time in the Commons to afford a 3 bed or larger house in central London out of an MP’s pay, and that is even truer today after further London house price inflation over the last decade. MPs and peers are rightly not allowed to accept bribes or inducements from anyone, and can only work for someone if they declare it and it is compatible with their duties as an MP or peer.

  5. Posted April 6, 2013 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    I have been thinking of the irony that a low paid worker in China saves a proportion of their income which is recycled through their banking system to be loaned to the British government to pay for the welfare of someone out of work in the UK. The Chinese person saved because they have no safety net and the uk person doesn’t work because the safety net is too generous. The problem in the UK is that we have a single currency and benefits are uniform across the country. Hence the North East and Wales are not able to price themselves into the low paid manufacturing work conducted in the Far East. It is deemed politically unacceptable to let people see the real world and instead we spend billions deluding people that welfare is affordable.

    Our model is too reliant on the rest of te world funding our current account deficit which leaves us vulnerable to a nation like China choosing to spend it’s surpluses rater than continue to inure us to our real world position.

    • Posted April 6, 2013 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      Remarkably insightful.

      Unfortunately our corporations which are the beneficiaries of globalisation has become used to the increased margins that access to cheap labour provides. These same corporations are unlikely to (be allowed by the city) drop their margins even if the regions became more competitive.

      The small operator can neither access the economies of scale nor the tax environment of the large corporations and so will not start up. For UK to be truly competitive we need tariffs and a tax environment which requires multinationals to pay for the infrastructure they enjoy.

    • Posted April 6, 2013 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      There is an imbalance in the economies but when/if it evens up China will not be able to keep its workers impoverished. China has to fund the debt of other nations so that we can buy their products, otherwise they are left holding a lot of toilet paper!

      zorro

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        It’s already happening in China; because of the government’s “one child” policy its working age population is now peaking, wages have been rising and the cost advantage of manufacturing in China is diminishing.

        http://conservativehome.blogs.com/the-deep-end/2013/04/watch-out-chinas-about-to-change-the-world-economy-again.html

        I think we will all agree that the Chinese method of population control is too brutal, although in reality not as inhumane as the government doing nothing or even encouraging high birth rates and then allowing nature to take its course through disease and starvation when well-meaning but foolish people in richer countries fail to provide enough aid to keep the excessive population growth going indefinitely.

        Some other countries like South Korea succeeded with gentler policies to persuade their people to have fewer children and limit population growth, and indeed that was the kind of policy pursued by the UK government until it was decided that the policy had been too successful and the population needed to be expanded – but not by encouraging and helping the British people to have more children themselves, but instead by allowing and encouraging the mass immigration of other people’s surplus children.

        • Posted April 6, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

          Since the easing of the hard line political regime and the freeing of the economy in the mid 1980s onwards, the one child policy has also not been so strictly enforced, at least in the rural areas.

          It has been recognised that migration to the cities has been inevitable. However this means that the agricultural sector needs to become more productive to feed all the city dwellers. A blind eye has been shown to those farmers who wish to have more than one child. This toleration of larger families is an unstated policy but exists nevertheless.

          The future of the Chinese economy in the period to 2050 is a subject of endless fascination. Nobody, not even the Chinese Communist Party, can be sure that the future can be accurately extrapolated from current trends. However everybody is aware that the billion plus Chinese citizens will play a major role in determining the future of the world’s economy in this period.

          reply UIndeed, the policy has now been officially relaxed. Had it be enforced strongly the Chinese population would have fallen by far more – indeed it should eventually have more than halved as the full effects of one for two plus replacement came through.

  6. Posted April 6, 2013 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    I think you could have chosen perhaps rather better examples (role models) than Bankers and Lawyers John.
    Most peoples experience of these people and their so called professions will be as overpaid, rip off merchants.
    Anyone who has been unfortunate enough to have been divorced, or had to pay out for a civil court action will confirm huge fees for little work.
    Anyone who purchases financial products or has a Bank loan will again outline the huge costs involved.

    Getting back to your point.
    I would much rather see a huge increase in the personal tax allowance than pay tax credits to low paid workers, as all this does is subsidise a company to pay low wages.
    If you want to increase those who presently get Benefits (and are fit to work but choose not to) then you have to use the carrot and the stick.

    The simple fact is that benefits are too high, relative to what many of these people could earn on the open market for their skills and ability, and the present tax system simply compounds the problem.

    Yes of course we always need better educated people in the market place, but the education policies for the past 4 decades has failed them.
    Many leave school or university unfit for work as their attitude and mindset is completely wrong.

    What we need to do above all else is to instill an absolute willingness to work, a work ethic, and personal self help pride back into some of the population.

    From my experience many younger people (not all by any means) just want to talk about work, talk about how to do it, discuss what should be done, but expect someone else to actually do it for them.
    Has this type of mindset been caused by too many being involved in too many discussion groups for too long.

    Its not just the young, but this sort of mindset seems to be growing all around us.

    I give you a classic example.

    Last year a local parish council were erecting a Christmas tree near to a traffic light junction in the middle of a small Town.
    As I was waiting at the lights (a long time at this junction) I counted 14 people involved, 3 were doing the work, the other 11 were standing around as pointers and pokers.
    The Christmas tree was no more than 12ft high, but they had a mobile lifting machine on site to help !
    What sort of cost for this simple operation, given the tree I believe was donated by a private business.

    We need to get real, paying someone on Benefits, a tax free sum far in excess of what they could earn on the open market, is never going to encourage them to get off their arse and find a job.

    • Posted April 7, 2013 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      At present people get £71 per week in job seeker allowance and £232.13 per week if they work for 37.5 hours in a minimum wage job. Regarding other benefits, such as housing benefit, the unemployed are able to keep most of them if they’re working in a low paid job. So I’m not sure why you think benefits are high compared to what you could earn by working.

      While there currently is a problem if you work between 16-37.5 hours per week on minimum wage because the amount you lose in benefits is greater than the amount you gain in the amount earned this could be resolved by removing benefits at a rate of £1 per every £2 earned. In fact any problem caused by benefits being too high could be resolved by removing them at a rate of £1 per every £2 earned because the unemployed person would always be better off in work.

      • Posted April 7, 2013 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

        Uanime5

        I think you have misunderstood what I have written.

        What I outlined was:
        Many who are on a high level of Benefits are perhaps not capable of holding down a job which would ever pay that amount after tax and insurance were deducted.

        Thus they get more in Benefits than they would ever get if they were in work, even in a job which was at the top limit of their capability and experience.

        No skills, no qualifications, do the minimum mindset, does not make you fit for a job with high wages does it.

  7. Posted April 6, 2013 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    The way to higher pay is to reduce the parasitic jobs, regulations and the nearly 50% wasteful state sector that do so much to depress competition in available jobs.

    The last thing we need is yet more lawyers. Easy hire and fire, fewer regulations everywhere, a legal system and tax system that are simpler and discourage litigation (and disputes) rather than encourage them as currently.

    Much of the training and certification for specific jobs is actually a contrived nonsense. Often, in effect, a legally organised demarcation and protection racket that decreases efficiency over all. Only a lawyer/electrician/energy performance etc. “expert” is allowed to certify that so it will cost you ten times what is should have done.

    Many of the endless training and certification courses demanded of worker are another expensive distraction from actual productive work. They often actually decrease pay and company competitivity, over all efficiency and jobs. This particularly when forced on to employers and staff by daft ill thought out regulations.

    • Posted April 6, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic – you make a valid point. I can think of all the legislation created by the last Labour government that mushroomed a training industry to train people to inspect premises and “widgets” to ensure that they complied with the new legislation. The fact that there was no evidence that any of this legislation was going to serve any useful purpose for businesses to help them become more competitive was lost in the mumified mindset of Labour dogma that businesses can afford it anyway.

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

        Indeed. How much more inefficient will businesses be now, with all the new PAYE reporting nonsense just brought in by Cameron. It will certainly distract them from running the businesses.

  8. Posted April 6, 2013 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    I have never understood why the Conservatives don’t make the point that I have a choice between a ‘fair’ share of a small cake and an ‘unfair’ (smaller) share of a bigger cake, given that in the latter case I will actually get more cake.

    • Posted April 6, 2013 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      @Teresa
      Your average leftie is more concerned that your share of the cake should not relate to your share of the effort that went into making the cake.

      Recommended reading: “The Little Red Hen”

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

        And that your share of the cake should not be any bigger than anybody else’s.

        • Posted April 7, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

          And in the Socialist example the cake is made by and owned by the State who decide if you qualify depending on your history of compliance.
          Making your own cake is not allowed.
          If lucky enough to qualify you then wait a year or two before you get your paperwork and then you queue up for a few hours to get your piece.
          It doen’s taste very nice but failing to eat it with enthusiasm is a crime against the people

  9. Posted April 6, 2013 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    When the minimum wage was introduced, the Labour government embarked on a public sector recruitment drive which. This masked the detrimental effect on unemployment caused by the minimum wage, with those on the Left, including many in the Conservative Party declaring it a success. Had Labour not spent so much of our money expanding the public sector, the terrible effect of the minimum wage would have been exposed for what it was.

    We have priced many people out of a job.

    I agree that there is a consensus to skill our workforce so they can all enjoy high paid jobs. This is unachievable.

    Surely the German system is better where it embraces a much wider range of levels, from the unskilled to the very skilled.

    Our education system is far too geared towards academic subjects, whereby technical and manual work appears to be looked down upon. We should not be forcing 17 year-olds to sit at the back of a class learning Shakespeare when they may be better off on a building site learning bricklaying. Not only that, but I would suggest that a bricklayer, even an apprentice bricklayer, may be more useful to society than someone who knows all the sonnets (apologies to Daniel Hannan).

    In my view, forcing young people do be something they cannot ever be simply coaches them into a life of welfare dependency and increases crime on the streets.

    Yes, we need skilled people, but we need unskilled as well. We should do away with most employment law and allow people to work at whatever level suits them.

    • Posted April 6, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      Any business that can’t afford to pay their staff minimum wage isn’t a viable business.

      Also unless you’re proposing greater benefit top-up for those who earn less than minimum wage and higher taxes to pay for this your plan to abolish minimum wage won’t work.

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

        Many business propositions are rendered unviable because of the minimum wage.

        State subsidy of wages is pointless in my view as it creates inefficiencies and market distortions which cost us more in the long run.

        If you are right and abolishment of the minimum wage does not work as nobody takes low paid jobs, then we are no worse off than now.

        My problem is that there should be a law that forces people to take a higher wage and thus forces many to be idle. That is cruel.

        • Posted April 6, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

          While we allow employers to take on, and in fact actively recruit, workers from countries which are significantly poorer than the UK there will always be somebody to take a job which is low paid by our standards but well paid by the standards of his home country.

          Especially if he can live much more cheaply than the average Briton with a family, sharing poor and cramped accommodation, perhaps getting ferried to and from his work, etc.

          So rather than having national labour market forces operate to push up the wage for an indispensable but low paid job and make it into a rather better paid job, we now have international labour market forces operating to keep it as a low paid job or make it an even lower paid job; and even below the legal minimum wage, which obviously doesn’t apply to the large numbers of illegal workers.

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

        @uanime5

        If you are unskilled and cannot command a high level of pay, you may need to work harder and longer.

        This is what incentives people to skill up.

        The free market at work.

        • Posted April 7, 2013 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

          Indeed.

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

        The problem is Uni, many people will work for less than the minimum wage, but off the books.

        Yes I know it is against the various laws and regulations, but be sure it goes on, not just by by individuals, but also by organised groups under so called gangmasters.
        Yes these groups of people are being taken advantage of, but they also not only cost real jobs, but they also cost the system, because they pay no tax or insurance contributions.

        Part of the solution would be to make the level of the minimumwage, the same as the personal tax free allowance.
        The other is more enforcement of the rules.

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

        unanime5 this really is a load of bollocks. The minimum wage is a wage level set by government and is not set at a necessarily a realistic level.

        Set the level at £50k and a lot of companies fold because they become uncompetetive with the rest of the world. Were that to happen then unemployment would soar and where would that leave us when employment just happens to be the holy grail?

        I know you would never be convinced that the Minimum Wage has a negtive effect but even you must see there is a flaw in the concept.

        Poverty is sorted by full employment, not by a minimum wage.

        • Posted April 7, 2013 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

          Poverty will remain even if there’s full employment if the majority of people are only paid a pittance.

          Also if it wasn’t for minimum wage most jobs would pay so little that only immigrants would be able to afford to work in the UK. UK citizens will never compete with immigrants for a wage that they can’t live on.

          • Posted April 7, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

            Uni,
            Ive asked you now many times…please define “pittance”
            PS
            I’m not liking you new anti immigrant attitude either.
            Come on Uni, one world, no nation socialism, we are all brothers and sisters after all

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

        Aw Student Grant, stop parroting this mush and wake up.

        I am very much in favour of minimum wage. I have known workers in rural places where employment prospects are low, being paid poorly by people living a high life. I don’t agree that low wages are necessary for service sector growth – see Germany. A minimum floor is paid by everyone, so competition becomes more about quality and performance, and not about forcing wages down. In our system other taxpayers subsidise low wages by top up benefits. I strongly believe the tax threshold and the minimum wage should be linked directly so that politicians cannot manipulate either without consequences.

        Businesses in Western Europe do not in the main seek to minimise wages. Some workers – young and inexperienced for instance – are able to cost a business far more by their attitude, incompetence, and bloody mindedness than they cost in wages. I have employed people who wrecked more than they were paid, but who incidentally get paid to fix what they (mess-ed) up – at overtime rates. Employers pay what it takes to get competent employees. If you think that is the lowest wage possible, you do not understand how technologically advanced our society has become. You pay peanuts, you get monkeys. Monkeys cannot maintain machines, work computers, organise complex supply chains, etc. Once upon a time Britain was like China. Workshop to the world with an unlimited pool of labour – often dispossessed ( Highlanders cleared, Englishmen enclosed, Irishmen starved ), but we long ago became a prosperous post industrial society. You get free schooling, free health care, free housing, and free money here. If it was as bad as you seem to think, why do we have so many hundreds of thousands of people trying to get here?

        What we have nowadays is an inefficient state trying to be fair to everyone. Life isn’t fair. I don’t want my money being pissed up a wall in aid to nuclear powers, fighting pointless unwinable wars, paying for cosmetic surgery, fake disabilities, foreign health tourists, etc etc ad infinitum. We can all have a nice life here. Try learning when you go to school. Try not smoking/ drinking/ overeating yourself to ill health. And those are just a start. And lose the chip on your shoulder.

      • Posted April 7, 2013 at 5:56 am | Permalink

        It is clear you have never actively run or developed a business, but have you never explored how businesses actually start up? The technology startups I’ve been involved in didn’t pay “staff” anything much less the NMW. Instead, founders risked their time, money on the enterprise, virtually all the cash went on the product/service. In some cases people take on large debts and risk their homes to start a business.

        Very recently new funding models have become established that allow easier access to initial funding but spartan conditions and utmost focus on business development is still crucial for the business to succeed.

        If the business does succeed then it is only right that those who gambled their time and money and worked to make it a success should get the biggest share of the rewards.

        By your measure however there should be no startups so how do you suggest the economy and attendent employment is grown?

      • Posted April 7, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

        Uni,
        I agree with you.
        The way to full employment and wealth for all is to
        1 increase the mimimum wage to £25 per hour
        2 reduce the maximum working week to 30 hours
        3 tax the rich at 99% to pay for it all
        Job done
        Sorry, I was just having a doze after lunch and I had a left wing fantasy dream.

      • Posted April 7, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

        unanime–If there were no minimum wage (and there wasn’t till ever so recently yet the sun came up each day) of course more companies would be viable–And No I would not be topping up wages, which would provide at least some of the upward pressure you want and with lower taxes.

  10. Posted April 6, 2013 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    JR: “Work or welfare?”
    This headline tells us what is wrong in this country. There should be no choice. The welfare system has become a monster created by politicians trying to develop a client state of people dependent on benefits who will vote for the politicians who take someone else’s money and give it to them without them having to lift a finger.
    You go on to say : “In the shorter term the Coalition like the previous government will seek to find the best blend of income top up and minimum wage to provide a minimum income.” What is a mininimum income? This is just more of the same. Once again politicians interfering in businesses instead of reducing spending and taxes.

    • Posted April 6, 2013 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      Unless you live in a communists country where companies are forced to provide enough jobs for everyone then there will always be people who are unemployed and will need welfare.

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

        @uanime5
        “there will always be people who are unemployed and will need welfare.”

        Alternatively, without the welfare there will be people who try harder to find gainful employment.

        • Posted April 7, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

          If there aren’t enough jobs available then they’re likely to remain unemployed no matter how hard they try.

          Also without welfare to buy food and shelter these people have almost no chance of every getting a job.

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

        “and may need welfare”.

        Some will have set aside savings against that possibility, rather than just spending everything they earned as quickly as they got it.

        • Posted April 7, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

          And some people won’t be able to get a job and therefore won’t have had a chance to save money.

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

        Yes that is true, but the level of welfare should not be greater than the minimum wage. The UK has to tackle the ever growing welfare expenditure otherwise the UK will reach a point where the government cannot borrow money to fund the expenditure that is currently far in excess of income.
        The Tories have an opportunity to take on Labour in the debate over welfare reform. How can we as a country continue to throw money that we don’t have into over generous welfare payments that are clearly in many cases supporting a workshy underclass.

        • Posted April 7, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

          Most people on welfare don’t get more than minimum wage. Also those working in minimum wage jobs can still claim some benefits, so they’re better off working than on benefits.

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

        Do you have any idea of the life of the press gangs that worked on e.g. the Trans Siberian Railway? Or those starved by the state during the Kholodomor? It’s a fiction that communism provides full employment.

        • Posted April 7, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

          What does people in Ukraine starving to death because much of their food was sent to Russia have to do with full employment?

          • Posted April 7, 2013 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

            You’ve been reading the Stalin book of history again Uni

  11. Posted April 6, 2013 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Yes, the rich must be tolerated , but not allowed to cruelly exploit.
    Unfortunately education and skills are not the answer. Firstly the second wave of university students who I have come into contact with , understand less and suprisingly have worse analytical skills , than those who have learnt using life skills. University teaches students not to think for themselves but to evidence using the canons. Of course there are comparisons and decisions based upon those comparisons, but it doesn’t add up to ‘ thinking out of the box’. Also these graduates can’t cope with the skills which require life saving decisions , intuitivity and action.On the other side of the coin , those with skills taught without relating to the whole are isolated from any type of evidenced thought and learn by mistakes. Overall standards have dropped considerably to accomodate educational institutions with enough students.
    I have recently come into contact with an academic institution which are passing students for putting a fullstop in the right place and quoting the right people, as long as it is paraphrased and quoted in the right manner…what hope have we got with this. it is pedantic mimickry?

    As far as employing people, again the UK has been their own worst enemy. We relied on ‘snob value’. Any perspicacious person can usually see value and quality and would cut their cloth according to their means. In times past hero worship , proselytising and wanting the goods and brands which the more well off had sway.Now only the stupid buy 4 wheel drives and spend thousands of pounds on goods they cannot afford.Those go into debt and the goods become unpopular.
    If we look at all the mills which sell branded products , people can look a’ million dollars’ at half the price , which is good for the buyer , but not for those who put effort into competing with quality and pay their staff a good wage.

    • Posted April 6, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      You make a sweeping, and demonstrably untrue statement: “Now only the stupid buy 4 wheel drives”.

      There are many good reasons to buy 4 wheel drives. They are useful, sometimes essential, when driving over snow and ice. They help on wet grass, especially grassy slopes and hills. Their greater ride height is useful in floods as well as when fording streams. Many make excellent vehicles for towing trailers, caravans, boats, horse boxes; some types also help extricate vehicles that slide off road by towing (or winching) them out of difficulty. Many Land Rover owners have formed volunteer groups to help people left in difficulties because of the recent bad weather which made conventional vehicles unusable. They are not “stupid” as you put it. They are providing an unpaid service to the communities where they live.

      • Posted April 9, 2013 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

        How about quoting correctly “…they can’t afford”

  12. Posted April 6, 2013 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Wages in the UK are not too low .

    Prices of accommodation are too high .

    Even if you increase wages all that will happen is that accommodation costs increase to absorb wage increases so they are self defeating .

    Instead of taxing wages , start taxing monopolies .

    Introduce a land value tax . For example in Wokingham of £7,000 per year for a typical plot of land in say Embrook or Woosehill estates and reduce employment taxes by a little more than the amount raised .

    This will ensure the rent from the land accrues to everyone instead of only to land owners and the banks which provide the mortgages .

    House prices will inevitably become lower so that the banks which provide the mortgages get a smaller piece of the pie (the fruits of peoples labour) .

    Opposition to a land value tax is one of the few things UKIP have got wrong .

    • Posted April 6, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      @A different Simon
      “Prices of accommodation are too high .”

      A result of mass immigration, and an obligation on LAs to house the homeless what ever the cost.

      Stop the easy access benefits and public services and immigration will subside, and property values will drop the level that people can afford without taxpayer subsidy.

      Without the taxpayer subsidy, the government will not need to tax as much, and we’ll all be better off.

    • Posted April 7, 2013 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      A different Simon – Around here average wages are below £20k pa (that’s pre tax). yet average houses rent for £850 pcm.

      No prizes for guessing what is keeping the house prices up. Welfare landlording.

      Even the proposed £26k welfare cap is an insult to the working class – that’s because it’s exempt of taxation (in effect a £35k salary) which is pushing house prices way out of reach and condemning hard working people to putting half of their salaries into other people’s pockets.

      The Tories know that the more people who own homes leads to an increase in their support. Landlords account for fewer votes than distressed young workers excluded from the housing ladder by greedy (welfare subsidised) baby-boomer landlords.

      It is also a fact that while the young Tory support is working too hard and is too strapped to breed that Labour voters are breeding in their millions.

      Slightly off topic:

      The recent case of a girl eaten alive by bull terriers and Mastiffs. They were state subsidised dogs too. One of the reasons I don’t have a dog (apart from the fact that I can’t afford it) is that there is no surer way of bringing yourself into contact with (an unpleasant-ed) owner than for his dog to attack yours. And so nasty dogs are out breeding the sensible variety that I would own.

      What a lesson I’ve had to teach my boys. That we can’t own a dog because we work when we have (unpleasant people parading round with fierce dogs-ed).

  13. Posted April 6, 2013 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    You refer, significantly, to the “shorter term” solution, but are silent about the longer term “solution”.

    It seems to me that in the longer term the UK and the EU social model is unaffordable in the modern globalised world – unless and/or until other low spending countries travel the same route towards bigger welfare budgets and higher public spending. That could involve a very long wait while they catch up – too long for the politiicans presently in charge in the UK or the EU. The present rows about welfare benefits are but the early skirmishes in what promises to be a long and bitter battle.

  14. Posted April 6, 2013 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    “If we want to enjoy living standards more like bankers or lawyers, then more of us have to have skills and offer services as valuable to the world market as lawyers and bankers.”

    Surely the main reason those two professions are so well paid is because they are the ones which make the rules – they captured legislatures and executives around the world ages ago and perverted the legal and economic systems to their advantage .

    Just look at the perversion of patent law .

    Similarly if any of the posters on your blog behaved like many of the bankers have they would be in jail .

    For sure it’s a lot more cost effective for a company to use legal threats to protect it’s position or lobby parliament to change the law than invest in R&D and manufacturing but which benefits society more ?

    • Posted April 6, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      @A different Simon

      Yes.
      Rather than regulating the press, it’s the legal profession that needs proper regulation. It’s appallingly self serving.

  15. Posted April 6, 2013 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Quote “The long term solution to the problem favoured by most political parties is better education and training, so more people in the UK have the skills and qualifications necessary to command higher wages in the world market.”

    People who studied computer science and software engineering in the UK are set to have their career prospects and earnings potential smashed by ITC visa incomers from India so that our wonderful banks can get access to Indian markets .

    John , Everyone , other than languages which might enable someone to work elsewhere , can you recommend any particular subjects young people might consider majoring in which might give them a better chance of commanding a decent wage ?

  16. Posted April 6, 2013 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    “The same people who welcome access to ever cheaper and better value products from China, India, Malaysia and Korea complain that UK wages are too low and that too many new migrants are being allowed into the Uk to undertake work at modest pay levels…”

    There is no paradox.

    Importing unskilled workers whilst subsidising our own unskilled to stay at home makes no economic sense at all. It is highly inefficient in fact. It begets higher and higher taxation if we are to avoid real poverty.

    From this article I detect that you think the same way as many politicians do – that it is your purpose is to exercise fairness to all peoples of the world rather than your own.

    The purpose of our political class – believe it or not – is to secure advantage for its own people in a cruel world. One way to do this was through closed borders.

    Without borders we have no country. Without a country what need of Parliament ?

    A smaller populated, better educated, highly skilled, hi-tech manufacturing country was well within our grasp in the last 30 years. What went wrong ?

    • Posted April 6, 2013 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      Could not agree more Electro-Kevin. Much of Mr Redwood’s reasoned post made sense to me until I imagined that he was instead one of the best, deep-thinking members of the Berlin parliament writing this post for German people. They would think he had become a raving lunatic.

  17. Posted April 6, 2013 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    One level it’s very complex – how on earth do “we” figure out how to create more jobs at good wages, etc. etc. This leads to endless debates in Parliament and the media and endless useless and intrusive state sponsored initiatives.
    On another level, it’s really simple. If the UK economy created just 10% more jobs, full employment would result.
    How does the state faciliate this? Get out of the way. Reduce business taxes, cut back on elf & safety regulation (the free market will do this more effectively than the state anyway) and let private enterprise get on with it.
    In education, we shouldn’t underestimate the quality of education that is already available. Every child in this country has free access to full time education for 14 years. Not all schools are great, but they are all staffed by highly qualified and an many cases highly motivated teachers. If there is an enterprise economy at the end of a school career, rather than a dependency culture, then the motiviation of school kids would be transformed.
    More should be done to encourage diversity and competition within the education system. The barriers within state education need to be broken down, as free schools are doing. The state should encourage private sector employers to become involved. Oil companies could sponsor schools specialising in the sciences, banks in maths & finance, law firms sponsoring the humanities, etc.
    The simple fact is this: no-one has the answer individually, and certainly no political party does. But if the state puts its trust in the populace, and stops being nanny for once, there is a better than even chance of a real transformation.

    • Posted April 6, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      All cutting back on health and safety ever does is increases accidents and deaths in workplaces, neither of which are good for the economy. Just because you don’t like these rules doesn’t make them wrong.

      If Gove gets his way schools won’t be staffed with qualified teachers anymore. Instead they’ll be staffed by whoever will work the cheapest, which is why academies offer lower teacher salaries than normal schools.

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

        @uanime5
        “All cutting back on health and safety ever does is increases accidents and deaths in workplaces, neither of which are good for the economy.”

        Did you see that a chap drowned in a shallow boating lake because rescue services refused to wade in and save him, because of Health and Safety rules. In fact I believe this incident is not unique by any means.

        Common sense and an acceptance that life is not risk free seems to have been drummed out of people nowadays.

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        Uni,
        Acadamies and Free Schools are not fixed to the ridgid nationally set pay scales for teachers and many like private schools pay far more than the set levels.
        I’m puzzled where you get the idea Mr Gove now wants unqualified teachers in schools.
        The last speech I of his I read, he was taliking about increasing the level of training teachers need, including a year or two in schools whilst studying, as well as further professional development training throughout their careers.

        • Posted April 7, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

          Free schools aren’t required to have qualified teachers (people who have been trained to teach) in classrooms. If you’re meant to be an expert in something you can become a teacher even if you have no idea how to teach.

          Also in class training only works if you’ve been trained how to teach children before you begin (specifically how much you need to cover in each lesson). Throwing people into a classroom and expecting them to learn on the job never ends well.

          • Posted April 7, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

            Uni,
            As for your first paragraph please give us examples of all the schools you claim are hiring unqualified teachers
            As for your second paragraph, it is a crucial part of teacher training to enter schools and get classroom experience rather than just having PGCE college theory and always has been.

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

        Many academies pay more than the going rate for teachers in order to attract better teachers. That was the rationale for allowing them to opt out of the pay scales. They do take advantage of it.

        I can not comment on whether this is good or bad but Tower Hamlets is given around £11,000 per pupil to allow them to pay large teachers’ salaries while the mean for the country is closer to £4500.

        Equality in action.

  18. Posted April 6, 2013 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    People could afford more if they weren’t taxed so much to pay for people to do nothing….

    zorro

  19. Posted April 6, 2013 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately, globalism means unlimited immigration supplying corporate interests whilst expecting taxpayers to pick up the tab.

    zorro

  20. Posted April 6, 2013 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Fair competition where does that apply – only works at the bottom which is why welfare became a rational choice for some, for others there is no choice.

    Mass immigration does what to wages?
    High cost of housing does what to incentives to work.
    High direct taxes on labour does not incentivise workers.
    An embedded culture of tax avoidance/evasion and toleration of criminal behavior of the money class.

    Lawyers and bankers are not good examples except to get a rise.
    Maybe £85ok for a part-time job should require more work and less welfare.(as evidenced by the forced bailing out and subsidies to banks.
    We only need to ask how many lawyers etc are in parliament etc and have brought us such job creation schemes like the Human Rights Act.

    With respect to developing nations labour costs etc we should insist on an equivalent minimum wages and standards on other externalities and costs like pollutants before accepting imports.

  21. Posted April 6, 2013 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    “If we want to enjoy living standards more like bankers or lawyers, then more of us have to have skills and offer services as valuable to the world market as lawyers and bankers…”

    During the Thatcher era (a PM whom I voted for) we were told that Britain had been an economic basket case. In one sense yes. But in another we weren’t. Evidenced by the endless roll call of good manufacturing businesses that have been shut up and sent overseas since. Britain was, in fact, a veritible gold mine of industry. Then there were the privatised utilities now in state ownership but by other countries holding us to ransom.

    We were told “British workers are no longer efficient and so their jobs must go” followed by skilled jobs being cut and workers being put on subsidised dole or into subsidised low paid jobs. They worked for world beating companies – those that weren’t ruled by union barons but given the same treatment as miners and ship builders all the same. It didn’t just stop at skilled jobs. It extended to the outsourcing of call centers, secretarial and admin work “We’ll do what we do best – let the rest of the world do what they do best. ” We were told reassuringly. “Services and creativity are our niche.”

    One of the explanations when we fretted about being unable to buy British goods was “Relax. You’re getting cheap goods from China as compensation.”

    Now you tell us it’s our fault for not buying British ???

    Simultaneously the influx of ‘cheap’ plumbers, decorators and electricians to undercut what skilled work remained – and to bypass the need to provide apprenticeships to our young. The assault on the self-sufficient working class has been relentless. And so it continues under the Coalition.

    Of the need to better educate our population. Why do the Tories not support grammar schools ?

    Pardon me if I say so but “If you want to earn like bankers and lawyers then you must be as skilled as them…” makes me rather nauseus and sounds patronising in view of the forgoing.

    You would do well not to repeat that one on TV as your party has done nothing for the skill levels of the people in this country in the last thirty years – least of all support grammar schools.

    There is something deeply wrong with our economic system that flogs everything off and the terrifying debt/deficit comes as no surprise to those of us who were saying for the past thirty years “Where on earth is all this heading ? How are we going to put steam on the table ?”

    Why aren’t Australia or Canada in the same fix ? Closed borders, patriotism and clear national identity(concensus*) one of the main reasons I dare say.

    The give away is the treatment afforded soldiers by our respective nations – Australians and Canadians treated with great respect and ours like dirt. This says everything about what a political class really thinks of its people.

    *By going along with (facillitating) mass immigration political consensus has been lost. We can no longer be sure of anything.

    Reply I do support more grammar schools. In the 1980s big chunks of UK manufacturing were state pensioners living on subsidies and making losses – e.g. BL, British Steel

    • Posted April 6, 2013 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      PS, The assertion that British people were not be happy to pay the ‘high’ wages of British workers is rather disproved by the fact that they seem more than happy to pay the high wages of German and French workers.

      (High street and forecourt brands Bosch, BMW, Peugeot, Miel…)

    • Posted April 6, 2013 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      Kevin

      Much to agree with in your post.

      Bankers and Lawyers are the last sort of people we should be putting up as role models.

      Only yesterday we had the headlines of two Bankers who had been knighted for their services, being told they were a disgrace and should never hold a position in the industry again.

      Lawyers.
      The Houses of Parliament seems full of them, and to be honest they could not organise a …. up in a brewery judging by the poor legislation that has been produced in the last few decades, indeed such people who should be skilled in cross examination, investigation and negotiation, have also failed with the complex EU treaties and with simple contract terms, bills of quantities, and many contracts and PFI agreements.

      • Posted April 7, 2013 at 12:13 am | Permalink

        Thank you Alan (and Mr Redwood)

        Of bankers: One need not be qualified to make millions in City trading.

        Of lawyers: Market forces don’t seem to apply. Telephone books are full of them and yet their rates are still huge (£160 ph was what I was charged recently for a newly qualified solicitor – even I was more articulate and clued up !)

        Yet my wife’s boss – an Oxford first and chartered buildings engineer with 40 years of experience can only command £60 ph.

        There’s something amiss here and is typical of how law is more exalted than engineering – partly why the country is in an economic fix, not to mention the no-win-no-fee lawyering that has managed to scapegoat health and safety practitioners such as myself whilst raking in fortunes for itself.

        In industry we are petrified of being sued by Jeremy Kyle fans and their crafty lawyers. It is costing the country billions in extra measures and delays and lost competitiveness.

        • Posted April 7, 2013 at 10:17 am | Permalink

          Mr Redwood – I understand that there was a need to rein in union excesses (demarcation and flying picketting in particular) and voted in support of Mrs T for that. It is what has happened to ‘innocent’ workers since that has concerned me most greatly – those who accepted modernisation and non-unionist practice.

          Subsidy did not stop. In went into welfarism instead – that which bred a whole anti-Tory class and enabled the Greenist lobby to thrive because their working class’s jobs were no longer wrapped up in industry.

          Of British Leyland. I have spent all day driving a train with BL engines in it. They have surpassed their longevity by some 20 year and are still going strong. As are many trains built by BREL.

          That we were ‘useless’ at making things I believe is a great fallacy. The Americans – for example – well and truly shafted our aeronautics industry.

    • Posted April 7, 2013 at 6:21 am | Permalink

      Kevin, agree very much with your post. Your point about patriotism is particularly telling – the treatment of juniors and those who cannot respond or react shows the true face of those in power and the civil service.

      John, You may support grammar schools but this it is not the policy of the Cameron conservatives. In the 80’s big chunks of UK industry may well have been state pensioners but that was true of many countries. It is still true and those governments and commercial interests have no problems at all acting in patriotic and parochial fashion for the benefit of their economies and people. Why do our government and politicians have such a problem with this?

      I begin to wonder if the championing of financiers and lawyers is the root of the problem. After all, they make money regardless of the effort of others and the outcome of the enterprise.

  22. Posted April 6, 2013 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    This problem can partially be solved by having a tax system that recognises it. For example:

    1) Reduce employers’ NI and increase corporation tax
    2) Increase VAT and reduce employees NI
    3) Make aircraft landing taxes dependent on the size of the aircraft, rather than passenger numbers so that freight is also taxed. Apply similar taxes to containers.

  23. Posted April 6, 2013 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    We need to bring back two things really:
    1. Shame. Being supported by other people, even if you are very ill, is a shameful thing to do. You are letting the side down. This shame has been deliberately got rid of. It needs to be brought back fast. In Singapore it still exists – and the system seems to work.
    2. You pay in before you take out. Stamps used to be the thing. NI has already become part of the government. We need to have some foolproof way of paying in and only those who pay in take out. A first class – second class system would allow the rich to pay more if they wanted to make the system work better.

    • Posted April 6, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      1) When people who work have to claim benefits then claiming benefits no longer becomes shameful. If you want people to be ashamed of being supported by other then you need to ensure that it’s possible to survive without being supported by others.

      2) So no welfare for young people who haven’t had a chance to build up any contributions. Don’t expect this to ever be popular.

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        Uanime5

        Once again you are talking about popular policies, Popular with who those who are taking or those who are paying.

        What we really need is a simple dose of commonsense.

        • Posted April 7, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

          It’s unlikely to be popular with young people who can’t get a job and can’t get welfare because they haven’t worked. Basically you’re handicapping them from the very start which just will make youth unemployment worse.

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

        @uanime5
        “So no welfare for young people who haven’t had a chance to build up any contributions. Don’t expect this to ever be popular.”

        Popular with who?

        When I was young, your parents supported you until you could support yourself.

        It appears that you think that the state should bear responsibility for every individual, and the individual should bear no responsibility for themselves. A recipe for indolence, fecklessness and Philpottness.

        • Posted April 7, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

          Unless you want to limit young people to any jobs nearby their parents’ house all this will do is make youth unemployment worse.

          The more obstacles the state puts in the way of people going where the jobs are the more people there will be who are trapped in areas where few jobs are available.

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

        There’s now a raft of people who didn’t need support from others before their taxes were increased to provide support for others.

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

        Do you think it fair Uni, that 16 to 18 year olds sat at home without a job gets State money when an 16 to 18 year old in training or education does not considering as well that they have paid no tax or NI ?

        • Posted April 7, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

          Well if the Coalition hadn’t axed education grants then some of the 16 to 18 year olds would still be getting money to help them get an education.

          Also not giving benefits to unemployed 16-18 year olds isn’t going to make them more employable or encourage them to receive further education. All it will do is make them more impoverished which will make it harder for them to get a job.

          • Posted April 7, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

            Uni,
            If you were being paid a decent sum of pocket money at 16 whilst sat at home, would you take an apprenticeship job which paid the same amount but led to a future career?

  24. Posted April 6, 2013 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    I don’t expect JR will rush to publish this, because like many others he seems embarrassed by any discussion of the powerful demographic factors which are driving global change, just as much as the technological factors.

    The really long term solution to the problems created by globalisation requires a more or less uniform standard of living across the world, so that disparities in labour costs, and therefore production costs, are greatly reduced, and the economic driving force for mass migration is also greatly reduced.

    When the populations of two countries enjoy similar standards of living then any trade imbalance will depend much more on the relative efficiency of their production methods and on factors such as climate and available natural resources than on any great disparity between the wages expected by the workers, and migration of workers between the two countries will become much more a two-way diffusive process rather than a one-way mass flow.

    Just in terms of numbers we don’t have much of a problem with free movement of people from western European countries, but we have had a massive problem with free movement from eastern European countries since 2004, about to be replicated by free movement from Romania and Bulgaria, smaller populations but poorer than Poland et al, and yet it seems all the main political parties want this to be exceeded by free movement from more and more poor countries including Turkey with its large and still expanding population.

    There is a major longstanding obstacle to achieving a more uniform standard of living across the world, and that is the continuing excessive population growth in poorer countries which guarantees that they will remain poor.

    This country could not absorb the surplus population of poorer countries around the world, even if we wished to, and nor can we expect many of our workers to compete with workers in poorer countries without driving down their standard of living towards those of the poorer countries.

    The question is how we can protect ourselves against these threats; given that the annual net increase in world population exceeds our present population, and most of that population growth is in poorer countries, some of them desperately poor, giving an open door for unlimited immigration would be insane, and giving an open door for unlimited cheap imports is likewise insane.

    But insanity seems to run through all of this, when some people prefer to point the finger at Didcot power station as indirectly contributing to civil wars around the world rather than recognising the huge pressures directly created by the continuing excessive population growth within poor countries.

    • Posted April 6, 2013 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      Insane…..indeed to us, but maybe not to the people who are allowing this to happen – wealth becoming more concentrated with the rich multinationals, untrammelled migration lowering wage costs, more globalised government, dumbing down of education……probably coming along nicely in their view.

      zorro

      • Posted April 7, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

        Indeed its working so well, all the 3 main parties are protecting the status quo- whilst at best looking the other way with lip service to meaningful democracy.

    • Posted April 7, 2013 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      It’s already been thought of and its called Communism.

  25. Posted April 6, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    John, this is a bit off topic, but why did Osborne / Cameron give labour the PR ‘gift’ of reducing the 50p tax rate at this time?

    I know they don’t want an uncompetitive tax structure long term, and it’s not really that ‘top people will leave’ because most of them won’t. It is about being competitive, or so I believe.

    Was it a case of keeping their heads down and taking the flak, or did they just underestimate the flak? Seems incredible if they did underestimate it.

    Reply I will write about this tomorrow.

  26. Posted April 6, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    The complainers & arm-chair campaigners for “equality” of wage are mostly after higher benefits. Politicians of the Tory party would do much better to uphold the reality principle that determines the value of those who labour (at all). England is really not cut out to be inundated with immigrants; that is quite simply obvious. Even to politicians, Mr. Redwood. But a certain amount of useless Britons have always been around. In Victorian times they were left to their own devices; the state of children could be wretched & from that concern we today have the modern “yob”. The Yob expects some thing for nothing; over & over. And the weak sisters continue to give despites ASBO’s galore & riots, occasionally. Riots can be cured by men on horseback wielding truncheons. But the refusal to work is much more difficult. The resorts to tears when demands fail & the sob sisters really dole out the tins of Tenants then! Able bodied young Yobs should be forced to serve in HM’s military. Full stop.

    • Posted April 6, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      You cannot force people to become soldiers any more than you an force them to become accountants. The military is not some magically organisation that turns yobs into law abiding citizens and is more likely to turn yobs into yobs who have a grudge against the state.

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

        Incorrect. The lads at Roarkes Drift had no choice. Handouts were not there for the asking; they DID have an ad to grind & voila: the Labour Party was soon born. Today cannon fodder is ever more valuable. Today’s Yob (sadly not a decent Lad, anymore) needs a void military kicking & constant (that lovely sound!) military SCREAMING to improve his self-esteem (HaHa). Several years ago in Spain (of course, what contempt they must hold us in!) I saw a dear youngster that might have been a Yob poster-boy. On this fine young cannibals t-shirt was emblazoned “Five ASBO’S and counting!”. Do not tell me we can’t send them to fight (& die as Men of Honour) if necessary any time or place for England! We CAN!

        Reply The forces want disciplined and talented people

        • Posted April 6, 2013 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

          And may God continue to bless us with the young men who serve so valiantly! But I disagree. A good Sergeant can turn a Yob into a Soldier. Good for the Yob, good for Briton. But if we prosecute the injured SAS Sgt. for possessing a trophy handgun; well don’t count on high caliber lads to continue. It’s a national disgrace & YOU, Honorable Redwood, should lend a hand in his defense.

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

        @uanime5
        “You cannot force people to become soldiers”

        Are you sure about that?

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

        Do you ever read what you have written? We had conscription till 1956; so you obviously can force people to be soldiers.

        • Posted April 7, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

          A person who lacks discipline and an desire to fight is no more a soldiers than a pile of rubble is a house. Try tried conscripting in the USA during the Vietnam was and all that resulted in was high casualties and fragging (killing your superior officer with a grenade because a bullet can be traced back to a gun).

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

        Of course the government can force people to become soldiers if Parliament grants the government that power; it was done on a large scale in both World Wars and continued for about a decade after the Second; that power has never been entirely abolished and in fact the Labour government issued compulsory call-up papers for reservists in 2003 under this Act:

        http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1996/14/introduction

        That was in preparation for the ill-conceived invasion of Iraq.

  27. Posted April 6, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    “If we want to enjoy living standards more like bankers or lawyers, then more of us have to have skills and offer services as valuable to the world market as lawyers and bankers.”

    …and without a trace of irony. Very largely, rewards are going to the wrong people. The main rewards, often in the form of bonuses, in banking go to so-called ‘investment’ bankers. These people may be distinguished by the fact that there is little actual demand for their services at all. They simple muscle into markets used by genuine participants in order to make short term profits, or they trade derivatives in order to create nominal balance inflation or sell them to unsuspecting users who later find themselves, consequently, in a financial quagmire. This is the problem in this country: so many people earning high wages are providing services which we could well do without. Top of the list would be the managers in public service who exert such little capacity as they possess towards box-ticking and ensuring lower level incompetance by recruiting on the basis of their ability to not do the job, much like Cameron with his party of “more like us”. Where are the people in his party, more like us, who do not wear their badges of innumeracy and lack of real scientific knowledge, with pride? These are important people because, unlike the likes of Cameron, they do have the capacity for creating real added value, something the Germans are good at and we used to be. If there were more like these in parliament, perhaps we would would be able to replace problem creation, so prefered by MPs, with problem solving.

  28. Posted April 6, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    We do need “better education and training” and mainly for those occupations which can add value. I keep on reading posts on blogs from engineers who claim they cannot get work in this country or get a pittance compared with the ‘highly’ educated functionally innumerate. They claim also that their degrees involved a great deal of very hard work. There are two reasons for this; one is that the work is inherently more difficult than most Humanities degrees, and second that the education system has been so degraded that they have to cover the old A level syllabuses befoe actually moving onto the university level work.

    Highly paid jobs in science are simply being squeezed out by very high taxes, very poor education at all levels, and the subsidisation of highly remunerated unskilled work for Humanities graduates in the public service and their corresponding non-graduate, non-workers like Philpott.

    Reply I know of companies who recruit a lot of graduate engineers who say they could do with mroe from the UK.

    • Posted April 6, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply: “I know of companies who recruit a lot of graduate engineers who say they could do with mroe from the UK.”

      Are they prepared properly to reward their level of skill in comparison? We know the City does, but arguably these are not being used for their actual skills more than their demonstable general intellectual ability.

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

        The City has been paying good money to Physics and Maths PhDs.

  29. Posted April 6, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Offering people with low wages a benefits top-up, instead of requiring companies to pay higher wages, can work as long as the number of people who need to claim this benefit are low or the public are prepared to pay higher taxes to support this. However if politicians decide to reduce these top-ups to reduce welfare spending then the whole system will collapse, resulting in most of the population being unable to work in low paid jobs.

    Education and training is only viable if it reduces the number of low paid jobs, which in turn reduced the number of people needing top-ups. If the number of low paid jobs remains the same or increases then the welfare bill won’t be reduced. So unless having more highly skilled bankers reduces the number of people we need in supermarkets then this solution clearly won’t work.

    Also if welfare was more generous then more unemployed people would be able to purchase more products made in the UK. When you’re living on £53 per week you buy cheap, not British.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9974373/Welfare-reform-53-a-week…-You-do-the-maths.html

    Also I’ve hear that the Government has introduced a Real Time Information (RTI) system where employers have to report Pay As You Earn (PAYE) information in “real time”. As some people on this blog have experience running a business I was wondering will this new system be much more difficult than the current payroll system?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/9975559/Chaos-over-biggest-employment-tax-shake-up-in-70-years.html

    • Posted April 6, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      This looks like another over ambitious car crash waiting to happen……under the stewardship of Lin Homer.

      zorro

    • Posted April 6, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      unanime5. You are of course right about the new tax system. QWhy should the servant suddenly become the master? After all welfare is paid for out of production so why penalise the producers in order to control welfare?

      But there it ends. government sponsored training simply increases the size of government and so increases unemployment.

      Government sponsored training is training that has not been considered necessary by the private sector but is nevertheless paid for by the private sector. In this way other opportunities will be lost to the cost of employment.

      The superficiality of the socialist arguments are perhaps superficially laudable but hardly convincing.

    • Posted April 7, 2013 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      Uanime5

      Ref “New system”

      I do not have a clue about it as I have in recent years given up running my business and employing people (sub contract in the building industry) and have now retired.

      All I can say is that in the past the systems as the years went by became more and more complicated for reporting, recording, for deducting and payment for sub contract labour.

      Thus more and more time was spent under the threat of monthly fines, doing more and more unfunded and inefficient paperwork for the State.

      Indeed it was even turned around that the employer in the end was responsible for the subcontractors legal status, and if that was ever bought into question more fines and taxes would be levied against the employer.

      Given that Mr Brown increased the pages of explanation of our tax system from 4,000 pages to over 11,000, and ignorance of the regulations is no excuse in law if taken to court.
      I do not for one minute expect there to be any reduction anytime soon in the complexity of the system, indeed from what I hear, it is getting worse.

      Thus once again we have a growing barrier to taking on people for work.

      It could and should, be so much more simple.

      Why not just be able to take on people as you wish, and record their national insurance number against any payments made gross for the Inland Revenue.

      What ever was wrong with the old 714 certification process in the building industry.

      • Posted April 7, 2013 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

        I agree with every word Alan and it mirrors my experience (and frustrations) of running my company
        Where once I employed 50 people , I now employ just myself.
        I’m far happier and earn nearly as much.

    • Posted April 7, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      More handouts, increased minimum wage? they are both the same thing dressed up differently. Both are a cost of production and both will make the UK progressively less competetive.

      Probably the lesseer of the two evils is to increase taxes and to increase handouts because then we will at least be able to see the true cost.

      Best af all is to progressively reduce the role of government, see employment increase and don’t stop decreasing the size of government until employment ceases to improve.

      Above all else, employment is the answer to poverty and to mans dignity and it may also reduce the crime rate.

      Over the past fifty years unemployment has been increasing and no end of government tricks have managed to stall the increase. Maybe its time to give something other than government initiatives a try

  30. Posted April 6, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    We have been living in an economy with low interest rates, a massive property bubble and defective banks for five years. During this time the economy has failed to recover, the debt has been accumulating rapidly and we have a government who presumably believe that our future will be quite different to that experienced by Japan which also used low interest rates as a sticking plaster to hide their property/banking problems and to fund their ever mounting debt. Bearing in mind that the Japanese had a highly competitive advanced economy before their troubles started and that now it is the most indebted country in the world by proportion of GDP, what real grounds for optimism can the government possibly have for believing that our problems will simply go away? Perhaps the Japanese have not thought of borrowing yet more money in order to fund house buyers deposits?

  31. Posted April 6, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Off-topic, JR, have you seen this?

    http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/389776/Britain-faces-6bn-bill-to-help-others-join-euro?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+daily-express-news-showbiz+%28Daily+Express+%3A%3A+News+%2F+Showbiz+Feed%29

    “Britain faces £6bn bill to help others join euro”

    “TAXPAYERS could face a bill of up to £6.2 billion for a new EU fund to hand out cash to countries that want to join the crisis-hit euro, it emerged yesterday.”

    Why on earth should our Prime Minister tolerate the people of this country being forced to help more countries join the eurozone, so that it can continue to expand with the result that as a non-euro country we will be increasingly minoritised and outvoted within the EU – which the same Prime Minister believes we should never, ever, leave – until eventually some future government decides that we must join the euro as well, and perhaps also decides to push that through Parliament without risking a referendum?

    “Tory MP Douglas Carswell said: “This sounds like a slush fund to bribe countries to try to get their political elites to join their crazed monetary project.

    “The EU should be looking to assist countries to escape the euro, not join it.””

    Of course; but obviously our Prime Minister disagrees, or he wouldn’t have signed us up to the Save the Euro campaign.

    Reply The article says it is a plan by the Commission which has not yet been voted on. I do not believe the PM would willingly vote for any such idea of bribing countries to join the Euro, as he is a keen opponent. The fact that such borrowings might be possible under qmv where the Uk has lost the vote is another illustration of why we need a new relationhip with the EU that makes sense for the UK, soemnthing a Parliament with a federalist majority does nto wish to do whatever we Conservatives want.
    As always bloggers here at great at pointing out all the bad things about the EU, but less help when it comes to getting us out of all this.

    • Posted April 6, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      Reply to JR’s reply: it is a scrap of paper. When the EU High Priests sought to force prisoner voting “rights” on the UK that was IT for reasonable & responsible leadership. But we have “cast-iron davey & his ship of fools & traitors”. You also subscribe to the conventional wisdom & illustrate why the “conservative” party CANNOT & WILL NOT cut this Gordian Knot. In coalition with UKIP it will be FORCED TO. Vote UKIP: Early & often!

      Reply Why did so few vote UKIP in 2010, and so many vote for federalist Lib Dems and Labour? Why do current opinion polls suggest more the same in a future General Election?

      • Posted April 6, 2013 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

        I think those polls are in error. I was just speaking with someone at the Thatcher Center & speculation is rife that cast iron is going on a long trip to the Ash Heap of History. In any case by years end you will experience a force to be reckoned with in UKIP: ex-Tories will make it so. As for 2010: the plebs have been razzle dazzled once too often. That dog won’t hunt. Best to jump on the bandwagon now, Mr. Redwood!

      • Posted April 7, 2013 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

        Comment on Reply–John, your reference to what was happening in 2010 surprises me coming from you. That was what they call history. Why not refer to 10 years ago? I do not read the current runes as meaning what you say they do. The Conservatives are simply not going to have any choice but to work something out with UKIP.

    • Posted April 6, 2013 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      But pointing out all the bad things about the EU is a necessary help to getting us out of it; if the bad things had been more effectively pointed out beforehand then we might never have got entangled with it in the first place.

    • Posted April 6, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      How easily will he unwillingly vote for it…..?

      zorro

    • Posted April 7, 2013 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      Comment on Reply–John, we have gathered that this is what you believe but many of us don’t buy it. What we want is more and bigger waves in Parliament and elsewhere now. You say you have undertaken not to rock the boat but I think these matters–the survival of your Country–are such that you would be more than justified in joining UKIP then resigning and fighting your seat for them on basis that you favoured an immediate referendum. You would win and that might catalyse many good outcomes. Even if you didn’t, it would shake things up a bit. We are not put on this world never to take risks. I just read that the referendum on Cameron’s way of (not doing much) is likely not to be held till 2018 now. That’s a joke. Why not 2028?

      Reply I do take risks when I think they will work – as when I resigned from the cabinet to urge the case to keep the pound, which helped that successful campaign and means today we can still talk about restoring a properly independent UK government as we have not been subsumed into the Euro. I cannot see why resigning now to join a party with no MPs would help. I am trying to get an early Mandate referendum, and b eing in Parliament gives me more chance of doing that. Bloggers keep writing in me telling me to form a coalition with UKIP, but there are no UKIP MPs to form a coalition with.

      • Posted April 7, 2013 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

        Yet further comment–MP’s are of course important but as Nigel Farage today points out they are not everything and the Oh-so-important first MP has not done much for either the Greens or Respect. Besides, the question for you is whether you think there will be UKIP MP’s in the near future. You imply you don’t think so. I think you are wrong.

        Reply: MPs matter to me, as to get a referendum this Parliament (which is what I am trying to do) requires more votes now in this House of Commons, where there are no UKIP members.
        Switching pro referendum MPs to UKIP makes no difference to the numbers, indeed makes it less likely we will win over others.
        I understand UKIP supporters will try to stop me doing this and will constantly complain – such is life when our referendum cause is split.

        It is also imperative as current polls suggest UKIP could help secure an EU federalist Parliament next time by taking away enough Conservative votes to let Labour/Lib Dems win. No poll for 2015 currently suggests any UKIP MP. I naturally am working to change the polls to seek to secure a pro referendum Conservative majority, as that is the best Eurosceptic outcome that looks at all possible from current polls.

        • Posted April 7, 2013 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

          It is no good trying to blame UKIP–the responsibility lies with Cameron and the Conservatives for having screwed things up left right and centre starting with that barking-mad conceited decision to allow the Liberals equal time–which incidentally I assume will be what UKIP is accorded come the election–Nigel Farage so profoundly (not to mention correctly) believes in what he says and is such an obvious plain dealer that he will make mincemeat of the other three apologies for leaders. No Mercy!

          Reply As someone who tried to persuade Mr Cameron to agree to a simple two leader debate between the two people who could become Prime Minister I am not persuaded that Mr Farage should be part of any leader debate next time. On that basis we would also need the SNP and other nationalist leaders in the debate, and how about the Greens who currently do have an MP? The case for the Lib dems was they at the time were the third placed party in terms of Parliamentary seats and votes, and markedly larger as a Parliamentary party than the fourth placed one. I favour a simple debate in 2015 between Mr Cameron and Mr Milliband, who are shown by the polls to be the two people who could be the next PM.

          • Posted April 8, 2013 at 10:20 am | Permalink

            Except that Cameron would make a laughing stock of himself if he suggests that and even if he succeeded he might against the odds just manage to get out the Liberal sympathy vote. He will forever be hamstrung by what might be the biggest political mistake of all time. Another reason to get rid of him–the main reason being that Farage very reasonably will not work with him. I am glad at least that you spoke against.

  32. Posted April 6, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Many business propositions are rendered unviable because of the minimum wage.

    State subsidy of wages is pointless in my view as it creates inefficiencies and market distortions which cost us more in the long run.

    If you are right and abolishment of the minimum wage does not work as nobody takes low paid jobs, then we are no worse off than now.

    My problem is that there should be a law that forces people to take a higher wage and thus forces many to be idle. That is cruel.

    • Posted April 7, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      If a business cannot pay the minimum wage it is unviable and of no use to anyone other than the employer

      • Posted April 7, 2013 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

        There is the other problem Baz, of a business that can pay the minimum wage and are therefore “viable” but can’t compete with the money the “social” pay and is unable to attract workers.

        • Posted April 7, 2013 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

          Social pay is in addition to wages not part of it. Ram it.

          • Posted April 8, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

            Baz
            If you are married with several children and in social housing you need to find a job paying £500 per week to make it worth going to work.
            There are jobs about but many local companies can’t compete with what “the social” are paying.

            (by “the social” I mean the nickname most Midlanders give the dole or the DHSS or the DWP as its now called)

          • Posted April 10, 2013 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

            This is the crux of the problem and has been for a number of decades. You propose no minimum wage and no social security to stop this? Run that one by me again…

          • Posted April 11, 2013 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

            Rubbish Baz
            Show where Ive ever said no minumum wage or no social security.
            Quote me or stop your incorrect fantasies

  33. Posted April 6, 2013 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    There was a time when the main reasons for objecting to mass immigration were social, not economic, that whole areas of cities and towns would assume a foreign identity. Indeed, integration has taken place at work but not in housing. In marriage and procreation, some immigrant communities are integrating but others are not.

    It is the wish of most people in this country that the UK government has full control of immigration and not be subject to EU freedom of residence rules. WE want to decide how many Poles, Romanians and Bulgarians are admitted to this country per annum. If a reduction in immigration results in labour shortages, then we will probably have to rebalance our economy so that productivity is higher and the 65s to 70s work on. It’s OK; the labour market will cope.

  34. Posted April 6, 2013 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Cut the number of MPs to 550
    Cut Mps pay to 50k
    Cap all public salaries to 50k
    Cap all public pension payouts to 50k. Any excess goes to HMRC.
    If we can work for lower wages then so should the elite.

  35. Posted April 6, 2013 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    Yes, the unions are effectively pricing a number of their workers out of jobs. They tried to gent agreement at a world union meeting in China to fix prices but got short shrift as expected. Driverless tube trains and more self service tickets can’t come soon enough as they are not willing to face the reality the rest of us do.

    • Posted April 7, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      So far the unions in France and Germany haven’t priced their workers out of a job.

      • Posted April 10, 2013 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

        Germany is a middle class society and there is a lot of unemployment in France especially in the north.

  36. Posted April 6, 2013 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Why do bankers and lawyers come to mind as examples to follow? Surely physicists,doctors and engineers do both more good for the world and earn us more export money than our supposedly world class bankers?

  37. Posted April 7, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps, we should abandon the idea of a regular wage packet and adopt a be-paid-as-you-work, scheme. ‘Piece work’ it used to be called. Whereby a worker’s pay is directly proportional to the amount of products made or items collected. Of course it can be modified into a basic wage plus “bonuses” but the method rewards hard work.
    A simple ‘wage’ is earned regardless of the productivity rate which is why, for example, British Leyland collapsed into bankruptcy. Each car was being produced at a loss because Trade Unions forced up the wage bill without any corresponding increase in productivity.
    Until productivity far exceeds the wages and the overheads break even point, to drive down the home grown retail prices, UK consumers will continue to purchase from overseas. I know Piecework is practiced extensively in East Anglia which is why there are an abundance of Eastern Europeans working there, in the fields. The locals cannot keep up with the production rate and therefore are useless to the farmers. Perhaps if their benefits were limited they would be more inclined to learn how to speed up.

  38. Posted April 11, 2013 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    You seem to promote the idea that optimal profit and unlimited immigration is inevitable because of Labour wage differentials and productivity due to globalisation.

    Yet, in 1968 a Scientist, G.Hardin won the Nobel Prize (in Economics) for proving the pursuit of optimal profits with producers able to import and undercut at will, would lead to a poorer, not wealthier population.

    The ‘invisible good hand’ of self interest and the profit motive, with firms seeking to achieve optimal profits, raising living standards for all, instead becomes the ‘wicked foot’, because firms seeking optimal profits end up lowering living standards for all.

  • 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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