Cutting public spending

 

There is still intense debate in Whitehall and Westminster about how to reduce the growth in public spending in 2015-16. Groups of Conservative MPs are bubbling with ideas on how to do it.

The most popular ideas remain cutting Overseas aid, cancelling HS2, reducing subsidies to expensive ways of generating electricity, and cutting the overhead of government.

Some are saying the government should cut the number of departments merging Overseas Aid with the Foreign Office and DCMS with a mixture of Business and Education to save Ministerial and official salaries.

The Green Investment Bank proved to be very unpopular on this site. Maybe they should be  asked to raise the money they wish to invest in their fund from the private sector to save the taxpayer the costs.

Conservative MPs are also keen to put welfare onto a contributory basis so recent arrivals in the UK do not receive any taxpayer financed benefits, and to ensure the NHS charges all people for treatment who are not UK citizens or people with an established right of residence here.  They are also keen to send criminals back to their home country for trial or for imprisonment after trial.

It will be interesting to see how many of these more popular cuts get into the final policy. Many Conservative MPs will also vote against sending free weapons and other military assistance to people in Syria.

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79 Comments

  1. lifelogic
    Posted June 15, 2013 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    Indeed all those and far, far more. There is so much fat available to be cut anywhere you look in the state sector. Look at the vast waste at BBC for a start. Cut state sector remuneration by about 1/3 to bring it in line with that of those you have to fund it, under threat of imprisonment. Reduce all the payments that encourage and augments the feckless. Stop soft loans and gifts to the PIGIS/IMF/EU. The legal system and the cost of it is totally absurd and serves mainly the workers in that area not the public or justice. Indeed nearly all the state sector is clearly there mainly for the benefit of the workers in it.

    The dreadful, pretentious, lefty state funded “arts” sector. Charge everyone something for the NHS, encourage private schools (and medicine) with vouchers and tax breaks so the state has to pay for far fewer at state schools and state hospitals, get out of the counterproductive wars. Allow people to buy their way out of IHT by doing a deal early, reverse the cynical Osborne ratting on the £1M IHT promise too.

    Cut all the silly green grants.

    The state sector needs to be half the size an easy tax just cutting the pay/pensions to private sector levels goes much of the way.

    Alas in the UK we have government by the state sector, for the state sector and it is and has already killed much of the productive sector that pays for it all.

    Still too late now with the hapless ratting socialist Cameron and we have Miliband a Balls the voice of the state sector unions next, lucky I have left.

    • Roger Farmer
      Posted June 15, 2013 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      Agree with most of what you propose. There should be an assessment of what Government is designed to best do in peoples lives, such as defence, and what people are best doing on their own initiative, like paying for healthcare via insurance. The civil service and politicians should not be let near any such assessment. Such an approach could well get rid of 50% of the paraphernalia and expense of Government bringing tax down to acceptable levels for everyone, not just none doms.
      I am out of touch with current green grants, but if they exist for domestic and industrial insulation I would encourage them and ensure that they have a finite life by designing buildings that include it. If it is considered feasible in the UK climate to use solar panels to heat all domestic hot water include that too. I have no experience of geo-thermal power but believe it works well in Sweden so consider it.
      Forget the glory projects such as windmills, HS2 etc. Even two aircraft carriers seems excessive, do we have the naval and air power to ensure their protection. The latter could cost more than the carriers.
      The BBC is for sure due for some dramatic pruning, I get a better idea of what is going on in the World by watching Al Jazerra and Russian TV. The BBC are little better that a domestic local newspaper but not much use for fish and chips. UK government with the civil service is a self perpetuating monolith on the backs of UK citizens.

    • Jerry
      Posted June 15, 2013 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      @Lifelogic: “Look at the vast waste at BBC for a start.

      The BBC is not funded by government, indeed government has passed more costs on to to the BBC by scrapping the FCO contribution to the World Service. The TVL fee is a discretionary fee, just like VED, no one needs to use a TV receiver, no one needs to use/keep a car on the public roads.

      The dreadful, pretentious, lefty state funded “arts” sector

      Just because you don’t understand the Arts it doesn’t make them “Lefty”, by your logic I suppose Norman St John-Stevas was a ‘Socialist’, but then you also call David Cameron a socialist so perhaps you do think so?!

      Charge everyone something for the NHS

      Tell Us LL, when did you last pay a NIC, you seem to be very out of touch, perhaps you have never paid NICs… Or do you mean charge those, such as those out of work, for medical attention, that will be a vote winner indeed – for Labour, if not the SLP!…

      Sorry LL but far fetched political rants do not win elections, they loose then, we do not need the right to do as Labour did in 1983.

      • APL
        Posted June 15, 2013 at 10:17 am | Permalink

        Jerry: “Just because you don’t understand the Arts it doesn’t make them “Lefty” ”

        It seems LL understands the ‘arts’ rather better than you, Jerry.

        Perhaps we could come to an agreement as to exactly what ‘Art’ is? I suggest, you call a thing Art and for you, it is. How’s that, reasonable?

        The flip side is of course, you may think a thing ‘Art’, I don’t have to agree with you. It follows therefor, you are wrong to try to force me to pay for the thing you consider ‘Art’.

        Not much, in my opinion of today’s committee sourced ‘art’ is actually Art. I resent paying for it.

        And the money could better be spent on a good Engineering technical college.

        • Jerry
          Posted June 15, 2013 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

          APL: In your book, is the Royal Ballet “Lefty”?

          • lifelogic
            Posted June 16, 2013 at 9:03 am | Permalink

            Clearly all art can be left, right or in the middle but, on balance, ballet perhaps does have more lefty appeal and support than say, Opera and Classical Music.

          • APL
            Posted June 16, 2013 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

            Jerry: “In your book, is the Royal Ballet “Lefty”?”

            I don’t know. But the demographic that mostly attends the RB performances, might be expected to pay more for their seats.

          • Jerry
            Posted June 17, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

            @Lifelogic: Well yes, perhaps with the “Champaign Socialists”, the average ‘lefty’ union member can’t afford the tickets…

      • APL
        Posted June 15, 2013 at 10:22 am | Permalink

        Jerry: “Or do you mean charge those, such as those out of work, for medical attention ..”

        Perhaps there is a case for charging recidivist drunks who find themselves in A&E every weekend? Would you agree?

        A year or two ago, I was admitted to A&E, it had occurred to be prior to my visit, to wonder where all the Police were on a Friday night. Well that night I learned that a lot of ’em are in A&E supervising their drunkard charges.

        Such expenditure is hardly prudent?

      • Roger Farmer
        Posted June 15, 2013 at 10:43 am | Permalink

        To the best of my knowledge one cannot watch TV, whether it be BBC or Commercial without a TV licence but only the BBC benefit from it. Their political bias is so blatant that they can no longer claim to be an opinion balanced service. Why is it not possible to opt out of BBC watching and view the rest without a licence. No other country I have travelled in or lived in feels it necessary to charge for a privileged left wing rant.
        The Arts sector is a business with a range of products which should stand or fall on their own merits. If people do not wish to buy at the prices offered then reduce them or shut up shop. We already have a CAP which largely subsidises French farmers who are so large in number that French politicians run scared of them. This is a case where the product is very good but under priced due to the subsidy. Charge the market rate.
        As to the NIC, as far as I am aware it is paid by everyone in work within the UK.. It is a tax, dressed up so that people are led to believe it is ring fenced for the NHS and pensions. It is not, it is a tax. Use a much lower portion of tax for those who cannot work for legitimate reasons and use it to cover their health needs. Let all those in work use private health insurance but control that industry to eliminate some of the sharp practice, making sure everyone gets a fair deal. It can hardly upset the electorate who opt for private health in large numbers, as do many trade unions.
        There is nothing far fetched about advocating that dependency culture be much reduced. It is better for peoples self esteem if they stand on their own feet and control their own lives. There might then be more money to look after those who really need our care and to do it properly.

        • Jerry
          Posted June 18, 2013 at 10:12 am | Permalink

          @Roger Farmer: To the best of my knowledge I can not stop funding commercail TV [1] (including subscription channels/services that broadcast adverts, especially those that have very biased right wing opinions and or sister- companies), I can decide to live without a TV and thus stop paying anything to the BBC, that said, your point was what exactly?

          Also funny how the hard-left in the UK seem to also complain about the BBC, except that they consider that the BBC is far to right-wing in their bias – something that is actually born out by the one of the the facts they point to – when was the last time anyone from the Socialist Labour Party appeared on AQ or QT?

          Bias is, I guess, mostly in the eyes of the (non) believer…

          [1] Unless I dig up my garden and take lessons from “Tom & Barbara Good”

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted June 15, 2013 at 11:29 am | Permalink

        The BBC is not funded by government. That is true.

        Nothing is funded by government. That is also true. Nothing. Not one thing.

        EVERYTHING is funded by taxpayers.

        And I am forced, by law, to pay the BBC Licence if I want to watch television programs made by people other than the BBC – broadcast from satellites put into space at the expense of people other than the BBC. I would quite happily have my Sky box programmed to not receive BBC channels if it meant I did not have to pay a tax of £135 to the BBC.

        Like all organisations funded by the public – by the taxpayer – there is no requirement for efficiency – to spend the money wisely – and no limit to how much they waste or spend on themselves. I still do not understand why BBC staff, already on high salaries, can claim expenses for lunches and taxis. I run a small business. I cannot claim a lunch as an expense – unless I am entertaining someone from overseas in the hope of winning export business.

        The BBC has an income, from taxpayers, of THREE THOUSAND, FIVE HUNDRED MILLION POUNDS.

        It is unbelievable and I, for one, will not pay it.

        • Jerry
          Posted June 15, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

          @Mike Wilson: get off your (ignorant) hobby horse, the BBC is no more funded by the tax pay as Sky Sports is.

          • lifelogic
            Posted June 16, 2013 at 8:58 am | Permalink

            Of course the BBC is funded by the tv licence tax (collected under legal threat of fines and worse) what on earth are you on about?

        • Jerry
          Posted June 17, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

          @Lifelogic: Clue, as everyone is a tax payer thus the BBC is, as I said, more more funded by the “tax payer” as is Sky Sports. Heck, one even has to pay VAT on Sky Sports subscriptions!

      • lifelogic
        Posted June 15, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

        Jerry nothing is funded by “government” only tax payers have funds. Governments have no funds and the BBC is indeed funded by taxes the TV licence tax.

        From what I remember Norman St John-Stevas was indeed rather wet.

        I last paid the NI tax about 5 years ago I then fortunately I left the UK. I see no reason why someone who can pays to have their hair cut, or buy cigarettes and alcohol should not be able to pay something to see a doctor. It works very well in many countries. Clearly some system needs to pick up bills for those who really cannot pay.

        I am not trying to win elections anyway but had Cameron put a proper non EU ratting, cheap energy, lower taxes, Tory agenda to the country he would clearly have won in 2010. Without the BBC setting the lefty agenda my line would just be sensible and middle of the road.

        As to “understanding the Arts”, I think I understand it well enough. I certainly understand that great art does not need tax payer’s money – indeed it nearly always devalues it.

        • Jerry
          Posted June 15, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

          @Lifelogic: Nice rant!

    • Barry
      Posted June 15, 2013 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      Can you explain to me how, for instance, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic is “lefty”?

      How does a “lefty” performance of a Beethoven symphony differ from a right wing one?

      • lifelogic
        Posted June 15, 2013 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        The lefty version would probably be all an appeal to irrational emotion and not the brain, too much vibrato, lots of over the top slowing down and speeding up, light in depth & content and ending with the Ode to Joy and flags saying “funded by your equal opportunities EU” using money stolen from your taxes. Rather more like those dreadful west end musicals. It would be mainly his pop hit selections that we have all heard too often already.

        The orchestra would, of course, have been arranged to have the “correct” racial, gender and disability mix for the BBC cameras to catch.

    • uanime5
      Posted June 15, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      Arbitrarily cutting the pensions of state workers is illegal. Also by your logic we should cut the pensions of company directors so that their pensions are more in line with their employees’ pensions.

      Impoverishing the poor, including the poor who work, might be popular on planet right wing fantasy but on planet earth it will lead to huge riots and a rise in crime. Punishing the 2.5 million unemployed people for not working in jobs that don’t exist will just create more problems.

      Your voucher system will cost money because the state will have to pay for all the people who currently go to private school and use private healthcare. Funny how you complain about the state subsiding things you don’t like, then demand that the state subsidies everything you use.

      • lifelogic
        Posted June 15, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

        “Arbitrarily cutting the pensions of state workers is illegal”

        Nothing illegal about a new state sector pension tax just as the private sector pension mugging tax from G Brown was not illegal. Anyway who makes the laws anyway? (I know the EU)

        uanime5 – you do not seem to understand “subsidy” if you pay for your health care and schools you are paying twice one for your family and once in taxes for everyone else’s. If you have some voucher system you are not being subsided just being given some of your taxes back. Done well it would save money, because the take up would reduce the number being state educated more expensively. It would also give a better standard of education.

        I see we have even had riots in super equal, BBC loved model of Sweden where the young cannot get jobs due to the absurd employment laws protection. Protecting people for life after just 6 month working. So all in temporary or no jobs for the young.

        The best way to stop riots is to get people working and in real jobs and stop paying them not to.

      • Roger Farmer
        Posted June 15, 2013 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

        It is only possibly illegal until you legislate to the opposite effect. Possibly this is long overdue.
        In terms of the unemployed, I question why they are unemployed, is it because they are ill educated, workshy, or trapped in a dependency culture. Whatever, their potential employment is being taken up by a constant flow of talented and work oriented people from Eastern Europe. etc ed

      • Nikc
        Posted June 15, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

        No its not.

        They have just done it. CPI not RPI.

        Where are the legal challenges?

        There aren’t any.

        That’s because the people committing the fraud, change the law to make it legal.

        The problem the poor face is government debt. Not the stuff John Redwood tells you about. He’s selective and only tells you about the borrowing. The total pension debt, like with most parties, is verbotten to talk about.

        When that’s not paid, you will get riots.

        So what are the odds it won’t be paid? 100%.

        They had 5,010 bn of pensions debt 2 years ago, rising at 734 bn a year.

        Then on top there’s another 120-150 bn a year deficit.

        Reply I have talked about pensions debt, and given some official figures. Yours are wildly inaccurate over the annual increase in obligations.

    • Bazman
      Posted June 15, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      You need to define what the state sector in in your mindless rant. Is it any company supplying the government with goods and services paid out of taxation? Is this socialism. You do not know do you. As for paying for the NHS we already do via NI and taxation. HMRC puts this at about £18 a week for someone 25k a year. Good value. Don’t you think? Making peole pay for the doctor could end up more expensive in the long run as you are again trying to put middle class values on the non middle class. Switzerland and Germany we ain’t.The BBC does not take up most of the GDP as you seem to think and often tells the same news as all the other sources. You do not want to hear this though In your anti intellectual rants and right wing fantasies that you will never have to endure as you live in a secret country. World more like. Ram it.

      • lifelogic
        Posted June 15, 2013 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

        NHS expenditure seems to be about £5,000 per household and increasing. Often for truly a dreadful service, huge delays and inconvenience and resulting in countless pointless deaths as we have seen all over the place.

        Even feeding patients and doing the correct operations on patients is often beyond them.

        Clearly in some parts it is excellent, but it is abysmal in many others.

        • Bazman
          Posted June 16, 2013 at 10:41 am | Permalink

          HMRC figure put the cost at £18 per week for person on £25 k. Give evidence of this 5k or stop writing propaganda as you constantly tell us the BBC does. No reply? What does this tell us?

          • lifelogic
            Posted June 17, 2013 at 8:05 am | Permalink

            By dividing the total health expenditure by number of households!

        • helen jones
          Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

          If we totally stopped all NHS treatment for foreigners and all those who have never paid into the system ( excluding those whose parents and grandparents have lived here all their lives )we could have an NHS where we actually get treatment when we need it

          As things stand far too many people are faced with paying privately to get treatment they desperately need but are denied thanks to foreigbers (getting the help free ed)

          • Bazman
            Posted June 17, 2013 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

            A few ragged asylum seekers and health tourist are hardly responsible for the financial problems. The government is not even sure how much they cost us, but you can be sure less than a separate system to deal with them. The real benefit scroungers are the companies using tax havens to avoid tax and laughing at us for allowing it. How many much healthcare would this pay for? Ligoicsics simpleton idea of deciding the number of households by the amount spent is just that. Will you do the same for defence spending on the basis?

        • Jerry
          Posted June 18, 2013 at 10:20 am | Permalink

          @Lifelogic: Compared to what though, compared to the system in the USA the NHS is a model as to how to do health, that is why Obama is courting the Roth from the right to introduce a similar system (dubbed Obama Care), what is more it didn’t seem to phase the average Joe either considering that Obama was re-elected, even though the GOP made much of the issue.

    • Timaction
      Posted June 15, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      There have been several articles now confirming what we have been saying on this and other websites for years. The NHS is being abused by 100,000’s if not millions of foreign nationals abusing this costly service at our expense and delayed treatment. Successive Governments have done little if anything about it and continue to give away public services and abuse native Britain’s taxes to pay for them. After 3 years of Coalition Government why hasn’t anything been done other than more talk? New Labour had an excuse as they now admit they actively encouraged mass migration to enhance their vote and increase multi-culturalism. Another article in the Daily Mail today puts the figures into lost billions. Housing, education etc. takes it into several billions. Absolutely crazy situation that no other nation on earth would tolerate in an age of austerity. Why do we?

    • Dan H.
      Posted June 17, 2013 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      Consider if you will all the great works of art which have been produced in previous centuries, and which are universally acclaimed as masterpieces. Fresco work in the Sistine Chapel, for instance. Great cathedrals, wonderful paintings, and beautiful classical statues. They all have one thing in common.

      Now look at modern, taxpayer-funded art. Things like transporting a few hundred tonnes of rock from the arctic to make an artificial island, say. Modern taxpayer-funded art has something else in common.

      What I’m getting at is this: the old, universally-acclaimed masterpieces were all private commissions; all of them had some fella or organisation saying “Create something beautiful, and if it ain’t, you don’t get paid”. Taxpayer-funded art, on the other hand, is not all that popular with the general public and arguably doesn’t give very much value for money. A better way might be to permit companies and individuals to write off some tax against the selling-price of art, provided that the sale is fair and legal.

      I admit that doing so will put a lot of artists out of business, but what of it? A switch from parasitism on the taxpayer to working for their money like everyone else will do them (and Art in general) a power of good.

  2. lifelogic
    Posted June 15, 2013 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Should anyone doubt that we have government, by and mainly for the state sector (plus the BBC and amusement industries) they should look at the Queen Honours List today. It illustrates the position rather well.

    • lifelogic
      Posted June 15, 2013 at 6:50 am | Permalink

      Perhaps 20% work in the state sector and, by my rough estimation, about 80% of the honours list are from the state sector. Even those who come from the private sector are so often second rate people with little to commend them, but who are on TV in sport or in the public eye and might thus be “useful”.

      So the state sector is 50 % over paid and pensioned and 16 times more chance of an honour too should you work in the state sector.

      Few honours for the engineers, business people, landlords, builders and the likes who get most things done and pay for it. Unless they are useful to a political party perhaps.

      Rowan Atkinson seems a sound chap though – when not crashing his expensive cars into trees that is.

      • lifelogic
        Posted June 15, 2013 at 7:45 am | Permalink

        Mind you Rowan Atkinson was an engineer, probably one of very few in the list.

      • uanime5
        Posted June 15, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

        Who are these people in the state sector likely to be on the honours list? Senior doctors? Politicians?

      • lifelogic
        Posted June 15, 2013 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

        I had not realised that Baldrick, the loopy, irritating, ever present on the BBC, lefty political activist (Tony Robinson) had been knighted, while Rowan Atkinson had received only a CBE.

        Are the people making these honours decisions bonkers?

        • Bazman
          Posted June 16, 2013 at 10:43 am | Permalink

          He does a lot of work helping the poor this is what the honour was for. Your idea of no employment rights and no minimum wage on top of tolls for everything and no taxes will not get you one.

          • lifelogic
            Posted June 17, 2013 at 7:47 am | Permalink

            I have never aspired to receive an honour, just look at the names on the list for the reason. Perhaps 20% are richly deserved and 80% are their for towing the partly line, their gender, race, tv presence, their daft religion (green or other) or assisting the parties in some often dodgy way.

            Landlords, sensible property developers, atheists and small business men are not notably well represented (unless party financial supporters perhaps). Far more likely to be maligned as unscrupulous or morally repugnant by the BBC, Cameron, Osborne and other rather loopy, lefty politicians.

          • lifelogic
            Posted June 17, 2013 at 7:55 am | Permalink

            His lefty politics clearly damages the poor hugely, by destroying their jobs, how does it help them?

          • Bazman
            Posted June 17, 2013 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

            How does you right wing fantasy help the poor? A job at any price is not a job.

        • Bob
          Posted June 16, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

          @lifelogic
          “Are the people making these honours decisions bonkers?”

          That’s debatable, but I believe they are politically motivated like Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize.

          • lifelogic
            Posted June 17, 2013 at 7:51 am | Permalink

            Indeed both Al Gore and Obama! At least not for Gerry Adams and John Major.

  3. Richard1
    Posted June 15, 2013 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Language and attitude are key to getting control of public spending. If it is believed that inflation is not a threat – and that appears to be the official view – govt should talk about public spending as the rest of us think about spending, in actual (nominal) £s, not in ‘real’ terms. Many of the ‘cuts’ in this latest spending round are not cuts at all, just smaller increases. In the private sector ‘cuts’ mean closure of depts, and employees being made redundant (unfortunately). Several govt depts should close as they do no good and waste money: culture media and sport, energy and climate change, industry, overseas aid. Their functions, to the extent they are needed should be merged with other depts (eg overseas aid in the FCO).

    All govt ‘investment’ projects such as HS2 and the green investment bank should be tested for funding in the private sector. If funds arnt available in the market its probably because they are a waste of money.

  4. alan jutson
    Posted June 15, 2013 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    John

    Your first list overseas aid, HS2, Bling power and general overhead cuts are the very things Mr Cameron stands to promote, so whilst all of these are prime cut areas, you have a prime minister who thinks differenmtly.

    Your second list with a contributary benefits system, limiting the NHS to UK citizens, is so overdue that it is a no brainer.

    Clearly we could go much further with conrolling waste, Ref Sir Philip Greens report.
    We could have a temporary freeze on Public sector recruitment, a further freeze on wages, a proper renegotiation of public sector pensions.

    The most important would be legislation to forbid any government to borrow money in the peoples name, other than to defend the homeland.
    The simple fact is all governments need to be forced into living within its known tax revenue, the penalty for failing to do so, an automatic election to be called within 3 months of the audited accounts being published.
    Perhaps this would be the only way to concentrate minds

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 15, 2013 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      Surely what would concentrate the mind of the Chancellor more than anything else would be the prospect of a personal fine.

      Obviously it could only be a small fraction of the budget deficit – say £1 for every £1,000, which would mean a £100 million fine for presiding over a deficit of £100 billion – and obviously there would have to be ways he could avoid being fined or could get the level of the fine reduced, either by getting prior authorisation to run a budget deficit of a certain magnitude or by being afterwards excused for a higher budget deficit because of extenuating circumstances.

      But equally obviously those decisions could not be left to MPs, who more or less to the man and woman are addicted to government over-spending and who would no doubt let the Chancellor off any fine …

      So would we have an annual referendum, both to set an upper limit to the budget deficit for the coming financial year and to judge what level of personal fine should be applied for an excessive budget deficit in the current year?

      I can’t see it happening, obviously; but I’d really much prefer to have UK taxpayers deciding in a referendum whether to fine the Chancellor for an excessive budget deficit, rather than having the EU Commission deciding to fine the UK government for an excessive budget deficit, meaning in effect that UK taxpayers would be fined for the sins of the Chancellor.

      • alan jutson
        Posted June 15, 2013 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

        Dennis, much as I like your idea its too complicated.

        The Chancellor does not have £100 million, not even if he raided the family business, so what is the point of fining him.

        What politicians like most, perhaps as well as some financial reward, is power in its various forms, take that opportunity, or a chance of that opportunity away, and their whole reason for being in politics is removed.

        Thus if they are removed because of a budget failure, never to have the chance of power again it may concentrate the minds and the minds pf all of their Mp’s.

        its so much morte simple.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted June 16, 2013 at 7:30 am | Permalink

          Then he’d be bankrupt, and apart from anything else wouldn’t that disqualify him from any public office?

  5. Iain Gill
    Posted June 15, 2013 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Why dont we charge work visa holders working in this country at least as much tax and national insurance (both employers and employees) as Brits have to pay?

    Why dont we tackle the most obvious tax avoidance by I dont know lets see er legislating against it?

    Why dont we push up the price of work visas especially for companies with several thousand UK staff of which the vast majority originally entered on work visas?

    Why dont we stop politically correct follys, lets see paying a fortune to kit out submarines out to facilitate women on board for instance? Would seem to be a luxury a country with our debt can not afford.

    Why dont we stop paying for the schooling of couples here on work or student visas from countries which would not provide the same to Brits in their countries?

    Want a bigger list? Lots of easy simple financial readjustments that would impact the public little.

    • Bazman
      Posted June 15, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      How much extra cost in multi billion pound project do you think it would cost to facilitate women on board the nuclear submarines and how much would this cost in GDP terms? The condition are so cramped that a natural order would probably ensure all toilets would be used with preference given to woman in certain ones. Can’t see the wood for the trees can you. ….

  6. Javelin
    Posted June 15, 2013 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Tax payers alliance reckons you cost my family £4500 a year.

    I can give you my bank account details to pay me back

  7. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted June 15, 2013 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    JR: “There is still intense debate in Whitehall and Westminster about how to reduce the growth in public spending in 2015-16”
    Has no one noticed that the government is still spending £120,000,000,000 more than it takes in taxes each year? Three years into the government that was going to eliminate the structural deficit by 2015 – what a sick joke. The net debt figure when Osborne took over was £759.5 billion. In his first budget Osborne planned to increase it to £1350billion by tax year ending 2014-15. The latest OBR figures, in this year’s budget, show a projection of £1398billion for that year increasing to £1637billion in the year 2017-18. Was it really worth voting Conservative? It doesn’t look like it to me.

    • Nick
      Posted June 15, 2013 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

      Correction. The borrowing was 760 bn.

      The debt is something else.

      Two years ago the pensions debts were 5,010 bn rising at 734 bn a year.

      Check it out

      http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171766_263808.pdf

      No politician will tell you about that mess.

  8. GeoffM
    Posted June 15, 2013 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    New Bumper Book of Government Waste exposes £120 billion of wasteful spending. From the TPA

  9. Nick
    Posted June 15, 2013 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Why spending? What about the debts?

    Using the latest borrowing figures and the latest estimates from the ONS of the pensions debts, we have the following

    MPs are increasing the states debts at the rate of 850 bn a year.

    Not that you will be told. It’s not the way it works to quote John Redwood. You won’t be told until its too late.

    http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171766_263808.pdf

    For one part of the debt increase.

    120 bn on top is the deficit.

    Ignores small things like the 35 bn Post Office pension debts. …

  10. Sue
    Posted June 15, 2013 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Leave the EU, we can’t afford this club.

    Our farms are now suffering, foreigners are abusing our health system and we are the only country who will welcome the worlds beggars with open arms.

    “The numbers confirm that the UK will be allocated the lowest share of funds of all member states on a per hectare basis and will also face significant reductions compared to the current budget.

    Speaking at the Cereals event today, NFU President Peter Kendall will say: “Despite all of the rhetoric we have heard from government about the importance of the pillar two rural development and ministers’ willingness to fight for a fair deal for English farmers, negotiators have come back from Europe with less than we started with”. WELL DONE TO THE DOLT THAT NEGOTIATED THAT ONE!

    http://www.nfuonline.com/news/cereals-2013/cereals-2013-drive-for-modulation-masks-failures/

    Recently, David Cameron estimated that the cost to the British taxpayer was £20million. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said it was £200million. The truth is far more shocking.
    I believe abuse of the NHS by health tourists is costing taxpayers billions of pounds – and I will explain why. It happens because we encourage the belief that our NHS is ‘free at the point of use’, and because the Department of Health guidelines defining eligibility for free care are so porous, ineffective, contradictory and difficult to enforce that they can be easily breached by any patient motivated enough to try – MANY OTHER EUROPEAN COUNTRIES DON’T EVEN RECOGNISE THE EU HEALTH CARD NOW LET ALONE GIVE FREE MEDICAL CARE!

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2341903/No-country-lets-foreigners-exploit-health-way-Health-tourism-threatening-bankrupt-NHS.html#ixzz2WGiLDI8x

    (expresses concerns from Mail over conditions experienced by some EU migrants into the UK and recommends stopping this-ed)
    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2340116/Cavemen-Manchester-Migrants-Eastern-Europe-live-squalor-underground.html#ixzz2WGiyP5B0

  11. Jerry
    Posted June 15, 2013 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    They are also keen to send criminals back to their home country for trial or for imprisonment after trial.

    I see two problems with this John, first criminals are not criminals until after being found guilty of a crime at their trial, so sending people back to their own country for trial is a non-starter – even if the respective criminal justice systems could be made to work together – or is this not what you meant? Secondly, great idea to send convicted criminals back to their own country to serve their term of imprisonment, but do we really want reciprocal agreements, I have no idea how many UK nationals are in prison abroad so can’t comment on any savings, perhaps there will be.

    Reply I mesant what I said. Occasionally they will send back a person accused of a crime who confirms his innocence.

  12. Mike Wilson
    Posted June 15, 2013 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Let’s start with public sector pensions. Let us show we are all in this together. Start with the ludicrously generous scheme for MPs.

    Then let’s have a look at police pensions. Brian Paddick indicated, when questioned during the elections for London mayor, that his income was 53k a year from a police pension.

    FIFTY THREE THOUSAND POUNDS A YEAR!!!! No doubt index linked. And taken in his early 50s. If he lives to be 90 he will have received way over TWO MILLION POUNDS. Whose bright idea was this????

    You could cut the cost of the state in half and not affect public services. But no-one employed by the state – from MPs downwards – actually wants to cut the size of the state. No-one. Not one single person.

    • Jerry
      Posted June 15, 2013 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      @Mike Wilson: (re police pensions) Would you be saying the same about such pensions if you were in receipt of one?

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

        So you try to invalidate my point by assuming if I had my nose in the trough I would be a hypocrite?

        You don’t know me and you have no right to assume I have no morals. I believe that pensions on that scale are completely unwarranted and unfair. How I would behave if I were in receipt of one is neither here nor there.

        The fact that, somehow, we have created a state, given it the power to make laws and tax us and it, in turn, has decided that a police officer with 30 years service can retire on a pension that, if he lives until he is 90 will mean he gets more in pension payments than most people earn in their lifetime.

        • Jerry
          Posted June 17, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

          Mike Wilson: Touchy, defensive or what, all I did was ask a question….

          • APL
            Posted June 18, 2013 at 11:46 am | Permalink

            Jerry: “Touchy, defensive or what, all I did was ask a question….”

            Down to your usual standard, Jerry. Play the ball for a change.

    • lifelogic
      Posted June 15, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      Even more with a widows pension for perhaps a much younger wife who survives him!

  13. Sue
    Posted June 15, 2013 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Oh look!

    Government wasted nearly £120 billion of your money in 2011-12.
    That is a massive £4,500 for every household in the UK.
    What could your family have done with that money instead?

    It would have meant my offspring could have started to save for that deposit on a house they so desperately want! As things stand now, they have to do overtime just to pay the bills and the extortionate rent they are being forced to pay (and they get absolutely NO BENEFITS, thank you very much).

    http://www.taxpayersalliance.com/bbgw2013.pdf

    The TPA have brought out another report on government waste. What with all the savings I suggested earlier and this lot, the question begs, how much money does the government actually need? I really resent paying anything towards ANY of this!

    • lifelogic
      Posted June 15, 2013 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      That £4,500 is a huge underestimate surely.

  14. behindthefrogs
    Posted June 15, 2013 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    A huge opportunity has been missed. Quite simply reduce the number of MPs.

    • Dan H.
      Posted June 17, 2013 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      Let us instead box clever with regards devolution. Set up a system whereby each devolved region (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland) has its own parliament, to which MPs are elected. MPs sit in the house to which they are elected, independent on local matters but with all four houses linked by secure video conferencing for all-Britain debates.

      This has several benefits: the West Lothain Question evaporates, numbers of politicians and associated cost are reduced, and devolution finally operates properly. As an aside, if any MP is unable or unwilling to sit in their respective House, then an automatic warning and then by-election (from which the offender is barred from standing) is triggered; in the mean time said offender would not get paid. Finally, pay pension contributions as per any normal employer, as a fraction of salary only (no more golden goodbyes).

  15. Terry
    Posted June 15, 2013 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    All sound ideas, coming from the back benches. Sound ideas which, when put into practice, would win elections, outright. But will they pass the Downing Street test?

    If they do not, we rely on you and your fellow MPs to extract the reasons why they were not accepted and why Downing Street fail to listen to the people.

  16. waramess
    Posted June 15, 2013 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    There can be little doubt that cuts to budgets are not the answer. The governnment contiinue to overspend by £120 billion three years after taking office and as tie goes by savings will become harder to achieve.

    Only two possibilities remain and they are: cut entire departments and privatisation of everything that can be privatised.

    Contributors to this diary have repeatedly made many suggestions where entire departmnets might be disbanded but the government get so tied up with listening to vested interests that they end up cutting nothing.

    Privatisation is another area where no robust decisions are likely. The two most likely to generate serious revenues are Schools and Health where the private sector demonstrably does a far better job.

    So goodbye serious deficit reduction and hello eventual default but, they know this is a game of musical chairs and whoever is in power when the music stops will take the blame.

    Never put country above party and personal advantage seems to be the key and, having suffered these fools on both sides of the house gladly, the country will suffer badly

  17. uanime5
    Posted June 15, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Regarding welfare I recommend limiting it based on the length of time people have lived in the UK, rather than how long they’ve worked in the UK. The main reason for this is under EU law it would be illegal to require someone from the EU to have worked in the UK for 5 years before they can claim benefits while allowing the natives to claim benefits even if they’ve never worked in the UK.

    Regarding housing benefit capping the rent at a percentage of the market value of a property would reduce rents, thus reducing housing benefit.

    Regarding the NHS perhaps NHS hospitals should charge private hospitals the cost of treating patients when private operations go wrong. Too often private hospitals use the NHS to fix their mistakes.

    Regarding deportation you could always put a travel ban on someone convicted of a crime related to the length of their sentence. So if someone is convicted of a crime and sentenced to 10 years in prison they could be deported to their home country for imprisonment and banned from entering the UK for 10 years.

  18. Gordon Mutch
    Posted June 15, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    We are in a perilous situation. It seems to me that the biggest challenge is changing voter expectations while keeping their support.

    These ideas are all very well, but there is no over-arching clarity about what commitments can be made about the expected outcomes of implementing these ideas. Will standards of living continue declining for many people during the rest of this decade? Will the ‘lights and power stay on’ at a reasonable, competitive price? I could go on with more questions.

    There is a need for a view, grounded in the reality of our lives, showing where all this is leading that people can be convinced to accept and support.

  19. Neil Craig
    Posted June 15, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    I remain enthusiastic about a ban, for each ministry, on hiring of new civil servants until we have got the deficit down to 3%. With 5% retiring a year it would produce a continuous downward pressure on costs.

    It would also put real pressure on the civil service to find other ways of saving since the pressure on their jobs will continue under the deficit is down.

    Perhaps a 95% veto would be better – allowing 5% of retirals/resignations being replaced which would be worthwhile for key man positions.

    And make it part of the law of the land or it will be circumvented. Make it law permanently so that government will not get into this spending deficit again – much like the proposed Balanced Budget Amendment in America which nobody actively comes out against but doesn’t get passed 🙂

    • uanime5
      Posted June 16, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      Given that firing all the civil servants won’t have much effect on the deficit not hiring more civil servants until the deficit has been reduced won’t fix anything.

  20. Alan Wheatley
    Posted June 15, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    For those seeking inspiration I suggest the just reissued “Bumper Book of Government Waste” in which The Tax Payer’s Alliance claim their Research Director – John O’Connell – has found £120 billion that has been wasted on unnecessary projects, inefficient processes and lavish pay and perks.

  21. Pleb
    Posted June 15, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Cap public sector and council workers pensions to £75k per annum.
    Cap public sector public sector and council workers pay to £100k max.
    Remove the public subsidy on bars and food in the houses of parliment.
    Scrap Trident.
    Scrap HS2.
    Stop first class travel for any public sector worker.

  22. P O Pensioner
    Posted June 15, 2013 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Successful lobbying about ten years ago by people with considerable nests to feather, has escalated into a plan to build a 200mph+ railway linking the cities of Birmingham, Manchester, Nottingham, Sheffield and Leeds to London (you’ll note that these cities are already linked to London by a 125mph+ railway). There will be only 6 stations, with no other towns along the route having access to the line.
    At a time when every public service is being cut in order to save costs, our government currently believes that (at their 2011 estimate) the £33,000,000,000 needed to build HS2 represents an investment in the national interest that will boost the economy, eliminate the North / South divide, and have a positive net environmental impact, by enabling a few thousand people to get to London a bit quicker. Or people in London getting to the cities quicker.
    In terms of cost per mile, the government’s estimate for the 330 miles of track equates (suspiciously exactly, almost as if it was plucked from fresh air and then a business case constructed around it) to £100 million PER MILE. The costs are to be formally re-estimated this year, but David Cameron stated in answer to a recent Parliamentary Question, that the actual trains, the technology for which doesn’t yet exist (!), weren’t included and will cost an additional £8 billion or so… As well as “forgetting” costs like these (there’s no provision for tax either), they’re positively trying to avoid other unnecessary costs, such as a fair compensation scheme for anyone living near the route whose house isn’t actually being demolished. A Judicial Review in March concluded that the proposed compensation scheme is “So unfair as to be unlawful”.
    The more I’ve looked at the assumptions and figures used to justify it, the more alarming it gets. 55% of the benefits are accounted for through every single minute saved on every journey by every passenger having a value of a minute of productive work, at a rate of pay of £70,000 per annum. In other words, not one person is working en route, not one person uses their 30 minutes saved to get out of bed 30 minutes later or get home 30 minutes earlier. Everyone can get to the 6 new stations from home just as quickly as they can get to their existing local station. Nobody’s going to the theatre, museums, waving at the Queen, having a romantic interlude or visiting relatives, and the average HS2 user earns 3 times the national average wage. Certainly, nobody’s going to Europe , because HS2 joining onto HS1 isn’t in the budget. Incredibly, you’ll need to get off at Euston and carry your laptop across London if you want to get on the Eurostar for your conference in Brussels … You’ll be running of course, given your zeal to save every possible minute.
    The entire project is government funded – ie through tax. Whether you’re near the track or not, benefitting from it, blighted by it, or utterly indifferent towards it, we (yes we ALL) are paying for it. But there’s an alarming lack of national awareness about HS2, and I believe that if people have to pay for it, apparently via cuts in health, education, police, we need to know what’s being prioritised on our behalf, and for whom.
    Scrap the HS2 it’s a hugely unaffordable white elephant and a politicians vanity case.

  23. boffin
    Posted June 15, 2013 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood, could you please raise a question in the House as to the actual cost to the nation of the failed NHS Connecting for Health project, which was finally abandoned on 31 March this year?

    (This dreadfully mismanaged scheme appears to have run up bills in excess of £20 billion – nearer £35 billion, on one estimate – but this seems to have attracted little or no exposure in the main UK newsmedia. No doubt there were additional unrecorded costs in terms of GP time wastage etc.)

    One hopes that making public the true cost of such vastly expensive public-sector failures as this might concentrate some policy-forming minds towards the burning need to restore some semblance of individual accountability within the Crown Service. (Such accountability seems to have dwindled over the past couple of decades towards the point of non-existence).

  24. David Langley
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    The “Taxpayers Alliance” have illustrated a £120 Billion wastage figure each year caused by poor government financial controls. Untruths about the cost of government etc. The next bad news was that “Health Tourists are helping to break the NHS, this was voiced by a senior NHS consultant Surgeon. The government is rubbish at credit control and we must get payment immediately and hand the patients an invoice marked paid. Private care is at least twice as expensive as the NHS equivalent charges, so we should up that as well. No insurance or cash equals no further care We are a soft touch government with stacks of rhetoric but no action.

  25. David Langley
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    I am with Alan Wheatley, he sounds like a good UKIP member to me. 650 MPs and we are bankrupt. What good are they then. Any company trying to run like this government would be in queer street in a flash.
    House of Lords, so many of them they have run out of seats. What good are they? a revising chamber dont make me laugh. Just a rubber stamp for the EU.
    Your rhetoric wont cut a thing or save a thing. I believe you have some ideas about saving GB but this government is incapable of mustering the guts to do it.

  • 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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