The politics of the Spending Statement

 

          The Spending Statement  concentrated on spending totals for 2015-16. The government does need to plan ahead. The Coalition government will preside over the first two months of the financial year 2015-16. The new government elected in 2015  may continue with the year’s spending plans for the rest of  the year, or could decide to have a summer budget to make adjustments.

         The Announcement seems to have be greeted by agreement between all three main parties  in the Commons that the totals are correct. Labour did not wish to propose spending  and borrowing any more. Labour never suggests spending less overall. A Lib Dem Chief Secretary undertook much of the Minsisterial level work to get the Statement agreed. It was signed off by both the PM and his Deputy.

          Labour’s position is to say that whilst they accept the totals of spending, they disagree with the detail and the priorities. I look forward to hearing more from them nearer the election over how they would shift the  budget around within the agreed totals. It is helpful to know that they, like the Coalition, think a cash increase of 2% is as much as can be afforded.

        The durability of these totals may be high from the political point of view, but it could be tested by the markets and by future economic changes.  The Green Book backing the Statement centres around the reduction in the deficit. To cut the deficit the government both needs higher tax revenues from growth as well as controlled increases in spending under these plans.

           If growth starts to outperform the reduced forecasts it would be good to think extra revenue will be used to cut the deficit faster, rather than triggering a hunt for ways to spend more money. If growth were to disappoint again owing to say another severe phase to the Euro crisis or from a continuing failure of banks to finance the recovery in various parts of the world the government would also have to revisit the strategy and make some more difficult decisions.

          The development of the detailed thinking on the welfare cap will be important. So far we learn that they wish to strengthen job search by unemployed people and require them to attend Job centres weekly; to require all applicants to improve their spoken English; and asking all lone parents to prepare for work when their child turns three.

        Living within a 2% increase in overall budgets will be much easier if the reforms and effficiency drives set out by the government work well.

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147 Comments

  1. lifelogic
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    2% up? We should be aiming for at least 20%, down so much fat is available to be cut so much pointless and highly damaging government activity. For example I am a supporter of the royal family, but do they really need the Sovereign Grant to increase by £5M or 16% to £36.1m for 2013/14, from the £31m received the previous year? After all we are all in it together as they say – could they not just reduce staff numbers or horses somewhat or sell a picture/property or two? The slowest recovery for 100 years and with such a boated state is it any surprise. When are they going to half the grossly unfair state sector pensions for example and cut pay to match the private sector they are killing?

    Such a tragedy that Cameron pointlessly gave the last election way with his ratting and fake green tosh. He is now virtually certain of throwing the 2015 one. What is the point of voting for Cameron’s soft socialism when you might as well have the real thing with the voice of the state sector unions the two Eds. It will not be that much worse after all.

    • Hope
      Posted June 27, 2013 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      Osborne’s spending plans and tax rises make UKIP’s economic plans look like a very good alternative. Add moronic spending on HS2 and Energy Bill – passed by the three in parliament -and it leaves the voter little choice to oust them and vote for UKIP as the only alternative sensible choice.

    • Bazman
      Posted June 27, 2013 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      A 20% cut would produce growth with no knock on effects. Do you understand the term knock on? The cuts would have to be repaired in many cases costing even more. Lets just stop all housing benefit and all welfare and save billions! What do you think would happen in the real world? How much would this ‘cost’. More than what it saved? Have a ‘think’.

      • lifelogic
        Posted June 27, 2013 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

        The cuts in state spending and waste are taken up by increased investment and expansion in the productive sector to the great benefit of all.

        • uanime5
          Posted June 28, 2013 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

          The evidence shows that when the “productive” sector is given lower taxes their first action is to increase the pay of their directors, not invest or expand.

          Also given that large companies are current hoarding hundred of billions of pounds it’s unlikely that giving them more money will result in investment or expansion; especially when the market shrinks because of large job losses in the public sector.

          • lifelogic
            Posted June 28, 2013 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

            Well you can take higher wages and then re-invest them, indeed if you do not need the money, you will have to or give it away.

            If Cameron set a low tax, pro business agenda then companies would be far more likely to invest here. At the moment with Cameron and Miliband to come shortly it is not an attractive investment.

          • Bazman.
            Posted June 29, 2013 at 8:48 am | Permalink

            Well you can take higher wages and then re-invest them, indeed if you do not need the money, you will have to or give it away?
            What appologist planet are you on? The private sector is also not going to build enough roads or provide enough infrastructure for a modern society. I refer you back to your 1900’s statement that spending has increased considerably since then. Not all is ‘pointless’ and ‘absurd’. Unlike your mindless propaganda.

          • Bazman.
            Posted June 29, 2013 at 8:50 am | Permalink

            We could just give all the money to rich ‘managers as they know how best to invest it. We have seen how they ‘invest’ it. ligfoc.

        • Bazman
          Posted June 28, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

          The private sector cannot just fill in the gap left by cutting the public sector as has been proven by this government. A 20% cut would produce no knock on effect? 205 cuts in what? Welfare and the NHS? Yeah right. Given how such small cuts so far have produced dire results this is wishful right wing fantasy. More silly propaganda at best.

          • lifelogic
            Posted June 28, 2013 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

            The private sector can grow hugely if the state sector just get of its back.

      • lifelogic
        Posted June 28, 2013 at 6:53 am | Permalink

        The knock on effect would all be positive. The money could be left with the tax payer instead of being taken off them and largely wasted. Then the tax payer could invest or spend it rather better to the benefit of all. Which is hardly difficult given how the government usually wastes it.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted June 27, 2013 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps Cameron and Osborne could cut the Sovereign grant by supplying the new Royal personage with sustainable nappies and renewable high-chairs? Prince Charles may be able to help advise in these important matters.

  2. Roy Grainger
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    The details of the welfare cap will be interesting as you say. It seems both Con/Lib and Lab regard the state pension as a “welfare” payment and it seems to me the main aim of this overall cap is to enable them to reduce the state pension, probably initially by dismantling the “triple-lock” mechanism which is used to increase it and in the long-term (by Lab especially) of means-testing it (so Con voters are preferentially penalised). I have long realised that by the time I get to state retirement age my state pension will be zero.

    • A different Simon
      Posted June 27, 2013 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      Yep .

      I’ve noticed this as well . Aren’t those Lib Dem and Labour folk so benevolent giving us some money for old age after we’ve payed our premiums .

      Then they can appear doubly benevolent by paying means tested benefits for the short fall .

      I can’t think of a better way to undermine the system .

      The principle of insurance in “national insurance” needs to be strengthened which is one reason I object to rolling N.I. contributions into income taax (general taxation) .

      How can something be called “welfare” when the majority rather than the minority will rely on it ? (and have paid for it)

    • uanime5
      Posted June 27, 2013 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      If the welfare cap also includes housing benefit expect it to be a disaster as those on low wages are priced out of high cost areas; thus creating more unemployment.

  3. Andyvan
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    So a 2% increase is this governments idea of austerity is it? Many, many businesses are having to make big cuts, people have very little money in the area I live. Yet do we see the slightest effort to reign in the incredible waste and profligacy of the public sector? Do we see any tax cuts to help the productive sector? We do see the massive increase in the deficit being tackled?
    No, nothing. Absolutely pitiful. Complete paralysis dressed up as a plan.

    • libertarian
      Posted June 27, 2013 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Totally agree Andy,

      The whole Westminster political class have lost the plot. They live in an outdated bubble.

      Time to break the mould of British politics

    • lifelogic
      Posted June 27, 2013 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      Indeed ministers still wittering on about barmy nonsense like the green deal (with just 4 takers I understand), wind farms, pv grants, absurdly costly and non paying back rail projects, often corrupt overseas aid programs, payment to the feckless all over the place. Hugely overpaid paper pushers everywhere, doing nothing of any use, and many causing positive harm and great inconvenience.

      • Bazman
        Posted June 28, 2013 at 5:55 am | Permalink

        Who are the feckless and does this include the idle rich? No such thing? Yeah right.

        • APL
          Posted June 28, 2013 at 7:05 am | Permalink

          Bazman: “Who are the feckless and does this include the idle rich?”

          The ‘feckless idle rich’ may be idle and lazy, but being rich they are not a drain on the UK Treasury, consequently they can be as idle as they can afford to be.

          Being rich they are likely to have more time on their hands to spend their riches into the economy.

          You’d have thought that good for the economy wouldn’t you?

          • uanime5
            Posted June 28, 2013 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

            The idle rich remain rich because they are milking the state.

          • Bazman
            Posted June 28, 2013 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

            They are a drain on the economy if they keep getting undeserved tax cuts that they send abroad and if there are undeserving poor then by default there must be undeserving rich? The trickle down effect that you worship is largely discredited as the ever increasing wealth gap proves.

          • APL
            Posted June 30, 2013 at 7:24 am | Permalink

            uanime5: “The idle rich remain rich because they are milking the state.”

            How?

            If one is wealthy there is no need to claim benefits or any of that (business ed)is there?

          • Bazman
            Posted June 30, 2013 at 8:01 am | Permalink

            See above APL.

    • Hope
      Posted June 28, 2013 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      Well said. Spot on. They have been treading water for three years continuing with Labour’s pro EU, UK international services for the world at the expense of the UK taxpayer. I find it difficult even to comprehend how stupid the majority of MPs must be to allow the Climate Change Act and the recent Energy Bill. Their incompetence is breath taking.

  4. Cheshire Girl
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    I notice that there was the usual boast about increasing foreign aid even though we are falling off a cliff here and that this promise was made some time ago when the financial aspect was better than it is now.
    I also noted that although automatic pay rises were to be banned in the public sector, nothing was said about MPs salaries and pensions. It is totally inappropriate for these to be increased while the general public are asked to tighten their belts!

    Reply MPs pay after pension deductions has fallen this Parliament (in cash terms).

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted June 27, 2013 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      Why the qualification “after pension deductions” ? Those pension deductions are part of your benefits package unlike (say) tax. What has happened to MPs pay BEFORE pension deductions ?

      • lifelogic
        Posted June 27, 2013 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        The amount they pay in to the pension to receive the circa 50K of pension pot increase PA remuneration (on top of salary). This has gone up to about £8K net of tax deduction (13.7% of salary).

        Still not bad since at least 70% of MPs are clearly a huge liability, not an asset. Certainly all the ones who voted for the absurd and vastly expensive climate change act.

        • Bazman
          Posted June 28, 2013 at 5:59 am | Permalink

          How about tax cuts for the rich are you including this in your rant of people who do not deserve more money? Have a ‘think’. Climate change is not just your and Dingbats opinion. It is based on science which neither of you in your right wing fatalistic third world understand.

          • lifelogic
            Posted June 28, 2013 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

            It is based not on science but on religion and biased Computer projections. You cannot predict the weather or climate in 100 years anymore than you can predict all the ball positions in a game of snooker. In fact the latter is the easier task. Have you understood chaos theory?

          • Bazman
            Posted June 29, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

            Reputable Scientific consensus does not say this and no one is trying to predict the weather for the next 100 years as you put it. Your blind religious right wing fatalist beliefs in such things as the trickle down effect are played out the same on any situation that can have a variable outcome. You believe that the system, any system is entirely out of man control and man can have no effect on any outcome. Such as as the weather and even the tax system. This is your religion. However when the bias of any system effects you. You scream blue murder. Tory ideology in a nutshell.

      • APL
        Posted June 27, 2013 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

        Roy Grainger: “What has happened to MPs pay BEFORE pension deductions ?”

        (refers to a story saying
        MPs will get a large pay rise= MPs are getting no such rise and have been in a pay freeze)

        • APL
          Posted July 1, 2013 at 7:10 am | Permalink

          JR: “MPs are getting no such rise and have been in a pay freeze”

          Well, looks like we can measure the veracity of a thing when an MP denies that thing is true.

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-23122628

          Reply Indeed, I too this week-end read that IPSA, an independent body, are thinking about a rise for MPs. I guess the proposal if it is correctly reported relates to the next Parliament, not to this one. My comment is accurate, as we have been rightly in a pay freeze. My lack of knowledge of future plans reflects the fact that this process of MP pay fixing is done by an outside body which MPs do not vote on or control.

          • APL
            Posted July 1, 2013 at 7:12 am | Permalink

            Regulatory capture.

            Who’d a thunk such a thing to happen to a regulator?

    • Pleb
      Posted June 27, 2013 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      We should stop the subsidised food and drink in the HOC and HOL.

      • lifelogic
        Posted June 27, 2013 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

        £200 a day per MP was it? Most, I do not include JR here, could clearly benefit from rather less subsidised food and drink.

      • Jerry
        Posted June 28, 2013 at 5:56 am | Permalink

        @Pleb: I just wonder how common work place ‘perks’ are (subsidised canteens, discounted purchases and the like), even more so in companies who demand their employees to work both unsocial hours, at short notice and be available 24/7? I have no problems either way regarding the HOC and HOL but suspect that if their subsidised food and drink is removed it would give a green light for a removal of ‘perks’ in the wider economy…

        • lifelogic
          Posted June 28, 2013 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

          In private industry it would be taxed as a benefit in kind.

          • Jerry
            Posted June 29, 2013 at 6:18 am | Permalink

            @Lifgelogic: It might well be but that is not the issue, if it was then the same tax rules (if they do not already) could be applied to the HOC and HOL, even though taxed many would be a little annoyed if their official -and unofficial- perks were removed – indeed why should employees get staff discounts etc?…

  5. Jerry
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    The election campaign starts now!

    I’m also, again, fascinated by John’s obsession with what Labour might do rather what his own party will/might do, this obsession with Labour is a true barometer as to how fragile the Tories see their election hopes, seemingly not much of a government record to to promote (unlike the Thatcher years)…

    As for the welfare changes, Osborne’s rational for making JSA claimants wait for seven days before claiming was just laughable – once someone claims JSA they have a legal duty to look for work – something they will not have during those seven days. What is more, we are not talking about just seven days as it then takes time to process a claim so a new claimant could be without vital welfare money for even longer, possibly forcing people into the hands of the loan sharks or even crime.

    I see the Tory party have done their impression of a party who do not want to court the older working age and pensioner votes who might be thinking of migrating to ‘warmer’ climates and thus save our NHS money due to rheumatic type aliments that are revealed by a generally warmer climate (and never mind that these people have already paid into the tax/NI system for their old age). But just what does a “warmer country” mean, as anyone who has been to or lived in Southern Europe during the winter months knows it can actually be colder at night than on the south coast of the UK, Spain for example has a thriving, if small, tourist skiing industry and I don’t just mean in the Pyrenees region either.

    All this penny pinching at home yet we are still going to send billions in overseas aid, including to countries that are already or are likely to become our economic competitors and even when not such countries might then buy from our competitors rather than from the UK), if we must send aid then let it be aid via subsidised trade contracts with UK based/owned industry.

    Reply: I write very little about Labour, but did so today as I thought the most important thing about the Spending Statement was the fact that all 3 Parliamentary contenders for government in 2015 bought into it, so we will not be offered any differences on spending totals for that year. The debate yesterday was not so much about the state of the nation’s finances so much as a debate about what the main parties think is politically possible and desirable over spending.

    • Jerry
      Posted June 27, 2013 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      @JR reply: “I write very little about Labour

      Sorry but your own blogs suggest otherwise, at least recently, in your blogs from (20th June) “The legality of military action”, (14th June) “A change of Chief Executive for RBS”, (13th June) “Labour doesn’t know whether to let us have a referendum or not”, (13th June) “Opting out of EU Justice measures”, you chose to either mention or attack Labour about what they can’t do because they are not in government and nor do they have the ability of forcing anything through unless either LibDem or Tory MPs rebel.

      I know you do complain that the Coalition has not done enough in many areas but you always try and explain away for example why the deficit is still raising -not falling, why the civil service is still as large as it was before 2010, why millionaires need tax cuts whilst the poor have ended up paying more tax (in real terms), or why those already scraping along the bottom have had to scrape even lower. The electorate are not stupid, and the Tory party ARE going to have to explain why THEY have not done what they said they would (in the Coalition agreement, not just their 2010 manifesto), otherwise the Tory party will face the prospect of at least five years back on the opposition benches -with or without the LibDems. By late May 2015 Labour will not actually have to explain ANYTHING about the ‘last’ governments record, the government will…

      Reply I do occasionally set out Labour’s current position when it matters. In a Commons without a majority party Labour’s vote matters vitally on issues like an EU referendum and arming Syrian rebels where the Coalition is split (Conservatives for referendum, Lib dems against) or where there are a lot of potential Conservative rebels (Syria)

      • Jerry
        Posted June 27, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

        @JR reply: Sorry John but we will have to agree to disagree once again, nothing Labour does in opposition matters, or should do, if it does then it matters because the government (Coalition) is failing to do the right things – such as not getting invloved in Syria. If the Tory party want to comment on what Labour would be doing if in government then best call that election now, get the manifestos published, game on…

      • margaret brandreth-j
        Posted June 27, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

        oh! piff paff pouf and pedantery!

  6. lifelogic
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    It looks like Osborne will have loaded something like £600 billion of additional debt onto the nation during his period of office. About £20,000 per worker and rather more per productive worker. Meanwhile the productive workers are being throttled by over taxation, over regulation, over expensive energy, the EU, and a huge and very inefficient state sector.

    Well done Osborne and Cameron and all to be delivered to the tender mercy of the Eds in May 2015.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted June 27, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      @LifeLogic ‘Well done Osborne and Cameron and all to be delivered to the tender mercy of the Eds in May 2015.’

      I am hoping that, for the first time, people in 2015 vote for the party they want as opposed to voting to try to make sure they don’t get the party they don’t want.

      In such an election, I think there will be a 4 way split between Conservative, Labour, UKIP and Liberal.

      If we ended up with a vote share of all the parties getting between 20% and 30% and, somehow, Labour form a government – we may well get the outcry we need for a change to the system.

    • Hope
      Posted June 27, 2013 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      And they still give billions away to the EU and international aide which is borrowed and we have to pay back with interest. Osborne makes Gordon Brown look like a spen thrift.

  7. Ben Kelly
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    The faux inter departmental debate staged for the MSN re who would shoulder the “cuts” has detracted from the overall in increase in government spending. Cut schmutz.

    To grow our way out of the deficit will require 10 years ( of 2.5%) and incur further debt of around 900 billion pounds. Government shrinking would be a more immediate solution which would incur less debt.

    Public sector pensions must crystalise and future benefits move to money purchase schemes. How is annual pay progression only now being targetted? Those in receipt of this perk have not been subject to the civil service pay freeze and should now be exempt from ongoing one percent increases. This may address the frankly ridiculous salaries that administrative managers receive in the revenue guaranteed public sector.

    No further redundancy payments for public sector workers, we should impose a recruitment freeze with no budget for consultants to fill percieved gaps.

    Several departments could be closed.

    A more radical idea would be to introduce pay as you use government services. The rates payable for these services could be determined by income level so the child of an unemployed family would pay a nominal amount whereas a city spiv’s child would incur a charge of up to ten thousand pounds. Folk value paid for services more and have delivery expectations.

    Welfare for the fit should be time limited and contributions based, housing benefit should be paid direct to the landlord but the landlord should take a 15% discount (ratcheted dependant upon what ratio is paid by government) as a premium for guaranteed payment.

    • A different Simon
      Posted June 27, 2013 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Ben Kelly ,

      1) “Welfare for the fit should be time limited and contributions based”

      Would you agree that to do this the state would have to provide people with the option of guaranteed work – of a type they can do – workfare if you like ?

      If not are you advocating that people who are unable to find work starve to death on the streets ?

      The benefits as they stand for most are slim as they stand . There really is little scope for cutting them beyond cutting the cost of accommodation .

      2) “Public sector pensions must crystalise and future benefits move to money purchase schemes.”

      I used to think this but what should be purchased with the money ?

      If a public sector scheme cannot be opened up to the private sector employees and self employed it must be considered inadequately funded .

      The stockmarket is unable to provide consistent positive returns , especially once the excessive charges of the financial services industry are taken away .

      If tax relief is given on pensions contributions then perhaps it should be a requirement that the tax relief is invested in UK infrastructure ?

      In this way the inter-generational contract is restored .

      A state pension could build social housing and to obviate the need for PFI financing and so give the next generation an opportunity to pay for some of the pay-as-you-go obligations they have been saddled with .

      3) Do you think the problem is that people at the bottom of the pyramid are lazy or providing too much of a drag on people higher up ?

      Or is the problem that the 1% already have all the money , almost all of the land and have no intention of sharing it , paying tax on it or tempering their greed for more even though the rest of us having nothing much left for them to take ?

    • Jerry
      Posted June 27, 2013 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      @Ben Kelly: “Welfare for the fit should be time limited and contributions based

      It already is, unless what you actually mean is that people (and their families) should be made to both become homeless and stave should the adult(s) fail to find employment?…

      • Ben Kelly
        Posted June 27, 2013 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

        Whilst not advocating starvation or homelessness I would be happy to see some form of labour swap in return for continued access to benefits after one’s entitlement through contribution had been used.

        Some may cry “work house” I say earning one’s way.

        • Bazman
          Posted June 27, 2013 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

          For minimum wage? That is called a job. Working for benefits would undercut this. Benefits in this country are are entitlement whether you like it or not. You don’t cut subsidence levels of living for the poorest and then shout. Envy! When the richest are given thousands a year in tax cuts for doing nothing.

        • Jerry
          Posted June 27, 2013 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

          @Ben Kelly: “I would be happy to see some form of labour swap in return for continued access to benefits

          If there is such work to be done then there is a real job for someone, even if it is for just the NMW, you would not want to do someone out of “earning one’s way” would you…

          Or is you real agenda to force labour costs down?

          • Ben Kelly
            Posted June 28, 2013 at 6:47 am | Permalink

            @jerry & @bazman

            Rather than taking jobs from others I would have them digging and filling in holes or working for social enterprises that need more “volunteer” hence unpaid labour for continued receipt of benefits.

            Far from driving wages down (which tax credits and mass immigration is already taking care of) this could be a form of out of work training delivering better able workers available for work.

            No one wants to force starvation upon others but as I sit on the train on my 1.5 commute for a job I would happily not do I am looking for ways to cut the tax burden placed upon me. Cutting government spending (I did suggest several avenues in the original post) is the best way to achieve that.

            Self centred? You bet; but no more so than those who induldge their guilt and munificence with tax payers’ money.

          • Jerry
            Posted June 28, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

            @Ben Kelly: “Rather than taking jobs from others I would have them digging and filling in holes or working for social enterprises that need more “volunteer” hence unpaid labour for continued receipt of benefits.

            …and then the volunteers have to do the work properly afterwards. 🙁 I’ve supervised such volunteer “forced labour” back in the 1980s when the MSC/YTS type schemes were active, and it doesn’t work, people simply don’t give a flying fig (to put it mildly) for the quality of the work or even if the work gets finished, all they care about is doing their required hours and getting their benefits.

            Far from driving wages down (which tax credits and mass immigration is already taking care of)

            No they are not, the law says what the minimum wage is, unless the work is done by people not actually employed, such as those claiming JSA.

            this could be a form of out of work training delivering better able workers available for work.

            True, but that is going to cost far more than just paying benefits, if it is going to be proper training that an employer wants – training people to clean chewing gum off pavements or graffiti walls is not a skill in high demand…

          • uanime5
            Posted June 28, 2013 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

            @Ben Kelly

            Making the unemployed do pointless jobs or volunteer work in exchange for their benefits won’t make them more employable; especially if the area they’re forced to work has no relationship to the job they want to do. Your plan is nothing more than punishing the unemployed for not working in jobs that don’t exist.

          • Jerry
            Posted June 29, 2013 at 6:29 am | Permalink

            @Jerry: “No they are not, the law says what the minimum wage is, unless the work is done by people not actually employed, such as those claiming JSA.

            When I said the above I didn’t mean people working illegally, such as those who commit fraud against the DWP, I meant were one law is being circumvented by another government policy that allows people to be in effect ’employed’ at a lower rate (than the NMW).

          • APL
            Posted June 30, 2013 at 7:32 am | Permalink

            uanime5: “Your plan is nothing more than punishing the unemployed for not working in jobs that don’t exist.”

            Ok. I take your point. But consider looking at it not from the point of ‘punishing’ but of disincentivising claiming of benefits.

            If you need benefits, they are available, but you’ll have to do something for them. To take an extreme example, I don’t see why it is a good thing for certain extremist clerics to be given benefits for nothing in return.

            By the way, I don’t know where you live – but around here the highways are in a terrible condition – some of the pot holes could be filled and resurfaced as part of the ‘make work’ schemes.

          • Jerry
            Posted June 30, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

            @APL: “But consider looking at it not from the point of ‘punishing’ but of disincentivising claiming of benefits.

            Which is more or less the same thing, either punish people for claiming benefits or try and dissuade them from claiming.

            around here the highways are in a terrible condition – some of the pot holes could be filled and resurfaced as part of the ‘make work’ schemes.

            Fine if you have a load of unemployed highway maintenance workers, complete with the required skills and training otherwise it is going to cost a fortune to train such people in those required skills, and if the money for proper repair materials, plant and training can be found then one has to ask why not make these employed positions (even just at the NMW) and actually employ those pre-trained unemployed highway workers or at least those with transferable skills from construction etc.) in the first place?

          • APL
            Posted July 1, 2013 at 9:01 am | Permalink

            Jerry: “complete with the required skills and training otherwise it is going to cost a fortune to train such people in those required skills, ”

            But … but .. but, training is good. A certificate in hole filling would be very handy given the state of our publically owned roads. I’d a thort a socialist would be up for maintanence of our highways, No?

          • Jerry
            Posted July 1, 2013 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

            @APL: Indeed training is good, have you ever thought about getting some to help you finding that clue?

        • Bazman
          Posted June 28, 2013 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

          Working for free is not training and part of the experience of being employed is being paid.

          • APL
            Posted July 1, 2013 at 9:02 am | Permalink

            Bazman: “Working for free ”

            Did I suggest anyone should work for free?

          • Jerry
            Posted July 1, 2013 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

            @APL: “Did I suggest anyone should work for free?

            Yes you did, to all intent and purpose, unless of course you are suggesting paying these people the going rate for the job they will be required to do.

          • APL
            Posted July 2, 2013 at 7:07 am | Permalink

            Jerry: “to all intent and purpose, ”

            So you see, I didn’t.

            And Jerry (word left out) is off, in typical leftie manner placing words in other peoples mouths – putting up strawmen just to knock ’em down.

            Now what I actually said was,, claiming benefits should be disincentivised. But benefits should be available in an and in return, folk would be expected to do some non complicated but useful tasks, giving an example of one such task – using a shovel and pickaxe – which I could do when I was seven and without any training and no certificate.

            So a claimant gets benefits – but is asked to assist society in return.

            For those of a more obtuse disposition;

            They do not work for free, they get benefits.

          • Jerry
            Posted July 4, 2013 at 10:15 am | Permalink

            @APL: “They do not work for free, they get benefits.

            Exactly, you want these people to work for free, unless you are suggesting that these people are employed and either paid the NMW or that the NMW is reduced proportionally for everyone else – in other words, anyone doing ^ hours per week @ the NMW is only paid a total of £72.

            ^ being the total number of hours these benefit claimants will be required to “work”.

            You also seem to fail to understand that many benefit claimants have actually paid NI/tax to have such a welfare safety net – and only by the grace of God goes people like yourself (those who think that claiming welfare is something to be ashamed of), you are only ever one step away from that No. 7 Bus, fit enough for work but not fit enough to find work…

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

            Jerry: “Exactly, you want these people to work for free, ”

            The language in left world must is so utterly distorted, it’s practically impossible to communicate.

            Getting paid benefits by the state in return for some work useful to society != working for free.

    • uanime5
      Posted June 27, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      Under the law you have to give people redundancy payments so the Government can’t refuse to give them to people working in the public sector. Also if the Government ever tried to implement such a law they’d be met with a huge number of public sector strikes.

      • lifelogic
        Posted June 27, 2013 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

        Clearly the law needs changing to easy hire and fire and would many notice any state sector strikes?

        • Jerry
          Posted June 28, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

          @Lifelogic: “easy hire and fire [laws]

          Bring it on, perhaps then someone will sack you from the fantasy factory!

          • Bazman
            Posted July 4, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

            Nice one Jerry.

        • Bazman
          Posted June 28, 2013 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

          How about zero hour contracts that do not have to pay redundancy payments? Tell us ligdogic how you would further reduce the right an employee of such a contract and why this is not easy hire and fire or do not mention your fantasy again. You have been challenged many times on this. A fire brigade strike might be inconvenient iof your house is on fire. A NHS strike if you are sick. The police if you are speeding… More nonsense from you. Have you no brains or shame.

        • uanime5
          Posted June 28, 2013 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

          Firstly the UK already has the third most lax employment laws of all the OECD countries, so they don’t need to be more lax.

          Secondly most people notice when teachers and customs officers go on strike.

      • Ben Kelly
        Posted June 28, 2013 at 6:51 am | Permalink

        @uni

        If you do not make redundancies you do not pay redundancy payments. I mentioned a hiring freeze, staff leave do not replace the headcount but spread the responsibility.

        If that dilutes the quality of the workforce that raises its own questions does it not?

        • Jerry
          Posted June 28, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

          @Ben Kelly: “If that dilutes the quality of the workforce that raises its own questions does it not?

          That rafter depends on the original work and workload.

        • Bazman
          Posted June 28, 2013 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

          You get the same amount of staff to do the same work. “is that all you have done?” Soon, as I speak for myself turns to. “Thats all I have done.” And “Where is the limit?” To nitwit supervisors where there clearly is no limit. Spread responsibility so none is responsible. Genius.
          Usual right wing nonsense.

        • uanime5
          Posted June 28, 2013 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

          Spreading the responsibility means making people do more work for the same money, which will inevitably dilute the quality of the workforce. Remember what happened when the number of people working in customs was cut and this lead to huge queues at airports because there weren’t enough staff checking passports.

          • Bazman
            Posted June 29, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

            Absurd and pointless customs staff doing nothing? Clearly if anyone and everything was let in and out the system would self balance would it not?

    • Dan H.
      Posted June 27, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      Another useful move would be to close the Child Benefit system to new entrants, effective 9 months from the announcement. We already have enough people breeding; we do not need to pay people to breed (which is what Child Benefit amounts to).

      • Jerry
        Posted June 27, 2013 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

        @Dan H: Only the unthinking right-wing would even consider such an own goal… Clue, it is not just the left who like their Child Benefit.

    • Bazman
      Posted June 27, 2013 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      The landlord was paid directly without any incentive, but to promote choice the tenant is now paid. Not a good idea, but hey it’s a conservative one again putting middle class values on the non middle classes and expecting a good outcome.

      • Ben Kelly
        Posted June 28, 2013 at 6:53 am | Permalink

        @ bazman The law of unintended consequences and a chance missed I fear

  8. Roger Farmer
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Three years too late. We need an assessment of what Government does with an emphasis on what they should not be involved with, then act on it. This should happen at national and local level. Done effectively, as it would be in any successful business, swathes of civil servants could be re-directed to the productive side of the economy.
    I see that the EU have found a major cut in excess of 4% in the Court of Auditors who yet again refuse for the eighteenth year running to sign off the accounts. It only flags up what a corrupt gravy train they are running in Brussels.

    • uanime5
      Posted June 27, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      I see that the EU have found a major cut in excess of 4% in the Court of Auditors who yet again refuse for the eighteenth year running to sign off the accounts.

      No matter how many times you tell this lie it will never become true. Here is the Court of Auditors report from 2011 where they once again sign off the EU’s accounts.

      http://eca.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/publications/auditreportsandopinions/annualreports

      • Jerry
        Posted June 27, 2013 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

        @U5: Re 2011 EU’s accounts. Looks far from a clear bill of health though, as usual, and thus the accounts were not ‘signed off’, the audit was merely approved as a true statement.

        • uanime5
          Posted June 28, 2013 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

          How is declaring the accounts are true differ from signing them off?

          • Jerry
            Posted June 28, 2013 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

            @U5: By approving the audit as true one is acknowledging the short comings found by the auditors. Yes it is semantics but they are very important semantics considering the amount of other countries money the EU is spending or more to the point, loosing track of.

    • Bob
      Posted June 27, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      “It only flags up what a corrupt gravy train they are running in Brussels.”

      They get generous expenses allowances, a nice final salary pension scheme (virtually unknown in the private sector) plus exemption from national taxes, so they only have to pay a specially reduced EU rate.

      We’re not all in this together, by any stretch of the imagination.

      • APL
        Posted June 28, 2013 at 7:12 am | Permalink

        Bob: “plus exemption from national taxes, so they only have to pay a specially reduced EU rate.”

        Then, their pals send them in the Lords, where they get more state handouts and subsidies.

        The one last ‘industry’ that needs to be slimmed down is the ‘democracy’ industry. It’s not Democracy, it’s a mutual backscratching and graft endeavor, all at the public expense.

        The Party has had its way for too long.

    • lifelogic
      Posted June 27, 2013 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      It only flags up what a corrupt gravy train they are running in Brussels – and not only in Brussels. Look, for example, at the MP expenses and the green industry subsidies and vested interests also the rail industry, it surely could not happen without all the paid MP “consultancies” all over the place.

  9. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    JR: “The politics of the Spending Statement”
    Just about says all that needs to be said.

  10. oldtimer
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    To me this statement looks long on spin and short on much that is new, apart from how the Whitehall cake is to be divided up between departments. It seems entirely inadequate when set against the serious financial predicament that this country faces.

  11. Mike Wilson
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    ‘It is helpful to know that they, like the Coalition, think a cash increase of 2% is as much as can be afforded.’

    It is interesting to observe how detached from reality politicians are.

    We are still borrowing 120 thousand, million pounds a year.

    Despite, apparently, a million more jobs in the private sector – we have no growth (more people working part time I guess).

    The interest on the debt is already more than the education budget.

    Yet, AMAZINGLY, we can still ‘afford’ a 2% increase in spending.

    If you think about it rationally, it is like reading the ravings of a lunatic.

    ‘Jim, how are you?’

    ‘Terrible Fred, I have to borrow £100 every week just to keep my head above water’.

    ‘That’s awful Jim. When we you be able to stop borrowing?’

    ‘No idea, Fred. Just hoping to high heaven that, somehow, my income goes up enough. Still, on the bright side, I am planning to spend 2% more next year. My kids will pay it back I guess.’

    • uanime5
      Posted June 27, 2013 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      Don’t forget about 1 million jobs in the private sector, 660 thousand jobs lost in the public sector, and little effect on the number of people who are unemployed.

    • lifelogic
      Posted June 27, 2013 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      It is even worse than this, every time the state get bigger the private sector finds it even harder to compete, gets smaller, pays less tax, the deficit rises further, taxes rates are then raised, more businesses, people, jobs and money leave and it rises further still.

      Positive feed back slowly tightening the noose.

  12. Vanessa
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    I should have thought that the stopping of fuel allowance to those in “warmer” climates would be ILLEGAL according to the European Union! We shall await their response. Is this government so ignorant of the Lisbon Treaty (Constitution?)

    Some people in the City of London believe that Cyprus was a template for all the EU. The debt figures, even for this country, are utterly unsustainable and we will fall off a cliff and the Euro will collapse. It is not a matter of “if” but “when” and then no amount of tweaking and tinkering will make any difference. This government and those before have no idea what is about to happen as the whole world is drowning in debt. Our savings, our pensions and cash in current accounts will be stolen from us by these incompetent toddlers.

    Reply The governemnt thinks it will be legal to set a temperature qualification that is universal within the EU. You are right that this is yet another c ase where we cannot simply do what we want.

    • waramess
      Posted June 27, 2013 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply: Clearly the government thinks this is not only legal but also reasonable.

      It also clearly thinks it is reasonable to continue with winter fuel payments to the rich.

      I dispair of their powers of reasoning.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted June 27, 2013 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      @Vanessa – the stopping of fuel allowance to those in warmer climates is yet another example of fiddling while Rome burns.

      The sums involved, set against the backdrop of borrowing 120 thousand, million pounds a year, are completely trivial.

      And today, as every day, an army of public sector workers sits down at their nice new desks in air conditioned offices with the latest computer and earns above average wages with fantastic pensions guaranteed – by US. Now, I know some of them do a worthwhile job, but a good number of them would not be missed.

      • lifelogic
        Posted June 27, 2013 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

        “a good number of them would not be missed”

        Half could go and pay/pension could be cut by 1/3 for the rest.

    • lifelogic
      Posted June 27, 2013 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      The EU court will surely find that such an arbitrary temperature threshold, by country average, is against EU law.

      Just get out, so that sensible laws can be made again without all this multilevel second guess EU court nonsense. How can one run anything efficiently in this absurd EU way?

      Has Cameron decided what powers he wants back yet or is he still “thinking”.

      • Bazman
        Posted June 28, 2013 at 6:02 am | Permalink

        The key words in right wing ‘think’. ‘Sensible and ‘absurd’. Mindless propaganda by peole who believe everything is propaganda. Just thick. Have a ‘think’ yourself lighogic as you are getting increasingly more of a joke.

  13. jon
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    It looked like George Osborne’s last gamble to me. He is just shutting his eyes (on the economy) and carrying on in exactly the same direction, hoping that some external event will save him before the next election. It was a bit of posturing and talk about infrastructure spending that will have no impact on ordinary people before the election.

    With a stagnant economy and the banks not lending he really has little hope.

    The labour party have already decided he is doomed and are not even bothering to argue about the CSR as they know Osborne is history. Whether they can do better is another debate but if the Conservatives feel Osborne is the best they can offer as chancellor for the next two years then I believe they have already lost the election.

    • libertarian
      Posted June 27, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      Exactly right

    • lifelogic
      Posted June 27, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      2015 was surely was lost on the day Cameron decided he was a EUphile, big state, fake green, Lib Dem, then ratted on the EU cast iron promise and gave Clegg equal TV billing. He will surely come a poor third in the MEP elections and has no chance in 2015 even if he did a deal with UKIP. He has blow a wonderful opportunity in the dreadful Heath/Major style.

      • Jerry
        Posted June 27, 2013 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

        @Lifelogic: Nice rant, but do remind us just how many UKIP MPs were elected in 2010, do remind us who many UKIP candidates came second, do remind us how many UKIP candidates lost their deposits in 2010…

        • lifelogic
          Posted June 27, 2013 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

          I am not a member of UKIP I merely make the point that Cameron, at the last election, had a huge open goal and blew it with his ratting, green tosh, big state pro EU drivel and Cleggs TV billing.

          UKIP do not have the established Tory Brand Cameron, had it but has alas just trashed it.

          • Jerry
            Posted June 28, 2013 at 8:07 am | Permalink

            @Lifelogic: You miss the point (once again, in your rush to have a rant against anything that doesn’t fit into your pigeon holed opinions), had it not been for UKIP Cameron would have had a clear majority, so it was the europhobes within UKIP who actually blew it and then boasted about the fact in the weeks after the election.

          • APL
            Posted June 30, 2013 at 7:42 am | Permalink

            Lifelogic: “I am not a member of UKIP .. ”

            Give Jerry a break, LL. He’s accused everyone he corresponds with of being a UKIP member. He’s gotta find one UKIP member under the bed sometime soon.
            (words left out ed)

            “Are you or have you ever been a member of the UKI Party?”

          • Jerry
            Posted June 30, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

            @APL: More abuse from APL about something I did not say nor suggest.

          • APL
            Posted July 1, 2013 at 7:55 am | Permalink

            Jerry: “More abuse from APL”

            ‘abuse’? Ho ho, Jerry. You are such a shrinking violet. If you think that abuse. If I could be bothered to trawl through the comments here, I’d find plenty comments from you that, could be considered abusive, if one were so inclined.

            It is a mark of a bully that he is prepared to dole out the intimidation but whinges the moment the tables are turned.

            Jerry: “about something I did not say nor suggest.”

            Mr Redwoods may have given the impression by his super active redacting, that I wrote something that warrented the heavy black pen, rather than (a poor taste joke-ed).

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

            @APL: You really are a poor looser, also abuse happens were one plays the man and not the ball, but then you don’t even know the meaning of the words “robust debate” so no surprise there….

          • APL
            Posted July 2, 2013 at 7:10 am | Permalink

            Jerry: ““robust debate”

            So stop whinging, Jerry.

            Note to Mr Redwood.

            Apologies – I will restrict my replies to this fellow in future.

  14. waramess
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    The only option now open to the Conservatives is to seek an alliance with UKIP; not for the purpose of using their MP’s to create a coalition, for they have none but instead to win back their own core voters who are leaving in droves.

    I have no banner to wave for UKIP however Cameron and Osborne will bury the Conservative Party if allowed to continue in this stupid way.

  15. boffin
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Surely it would be “politically possible and desirable” to save the now £40billion which it is planned to waste on the lunatic HS2 project, and support the construction of the new baseload nuclear power which we shall soon so desperately need by loan guarantees (as the USA did)?

    One is reduced to despair by the sheer horrifying ineptitude of Cabinet and those who are ‘advising’ it.

  16. Neil Craig
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    A recent report suggests that while German electricity prices are going to rise further our own are going to go from 25% above German to 85%.

    Since there is a 1:1 correlation between growth in energy use and GDP does anybody seriously expect that we are going to achieve real growth? Or indeed that any party but UKIP, whose policy is to allow market freedom in energy, is sincerely interested in doing so?

    • lifelogic
      Posted June 27, 2013 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

      Cheap (non religious) energy is vital.

  17. uanime5
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    So far we learn that they wish to strengthen job search by unemployed people and require them to attend Job centres weekly; to require all applicants to improve their spoken English; and asking all lone parents to prepare for work when their child turns three.

    John the Job Centre doesn’t help people look for work; the coalition’s Work Programme is paying private companies £5 billion to do this. At present all the Job Centre does is check that people are applying for enough jobs every week, so going to the Job Centre twice as often won’t help the unemployed find work. If anything it will harm them because they have to incur the cost of going to the Job Centre twice as often.

    While the Government could scrap the Work Programme and have the Job Centre go back to helping people given that in the past all the Job Centre did was look at the Job Centre’s website for suitable jobs (something that can be done by anyone with access to the Internet) I’d have to say that attending more often will be of no benefit for anyone who has access to the Internet.

    Unless these lone parents can find an affordable daycare centre for their 3 year old they won’t be able to work, so all the Government is doing is wasting everyone’s time. Even if the child is 5 years old and in school the lone parent will still have problems regarding who will look after the child after school and during the holidays. Without the infrastructure to help lone parents get into work these plans won’t work.

  18. Bryan
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    I cannot understand why, in these straitened times, we are still borrowing billions to give away in ‘aid’, despots and all, and why even more of billions of taxpayers’ money will be spent on yet more useless wind farms.

    Other than their propellers going round, except on those beautiful calm but cold winter days and when the wind is too strong what is it that Cameron et al sees in them which the rest of the population doesn’t?

    It is time to put pragmatists in charge!

  19. Leslie Singleton
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    The twaddle one has to listen to is painful. Yesterday was a total non event for such a palaver. It’s always “Cuts tomorrow” or, sorry, in two years’ time. If I hear one more comment about “difficult decisions (huh?)” I shall scream. All decisions worthy of the name, even obvious easy ones, have been ducked. “Hard-working families” is another phrase calculated to raise my blood pressure. Unbelievable what the Institute of Fiscal Studies had to say about what they said they saw as the draconionness of the “cuts”–in fact if I hadn’t seen some cove, called I think Paul Jackson, speaking on the box I would have thought he had been misreported in the Press. For our sins we are marinading in Left wing bleeding-heart drivel. God help us all.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted June 27, 2013 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

      Corrigendum–Should have been draconianness. Sorry

  20. Kenneth
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    This morning on the Today programme the BBC stated that if voters care for the poor then they should vote Labour.

    The BBC may say it was simply playing devil’s advocate but even the Labour Party is starting to get more grown up by not insisting the (“Tory led”) government is wickedly attacking the poor.

    Trouble is that the BBC is not towing the party line and, in its line of questioning to the Chancellor this morning – was blatantly suggesting that the Conservatives cared less for the poor than the Labour Party.

    It’s fair enough for the BBC to play devil’s advocate about how we achieve the ends, but it is crass to suggest that one set of politicians cares less about the poor than another set of politicians.

    This is the same BBC which this morning reported on the settlement for the royal family in terms of cost to the taxpayer, but reported on the eu budget settlement without taking the taxpayer into account at all.

    Perhaps the BBC should try to balance things and report on the true cost of the eu and, perhaps urge us to vote Conservative.

    • lifelogic
      Posted June 27, 2013 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

      “Perhaps the BBC should try to balance things and report on the true cost of the eu and, perhaps urge us to vote Conservative.”

      Not very likely! They are big state, big tax borrow and waste, big on trains, big on green tosh, big on ever more EU, big on “equality” – almost to every single man or woman.

      • Jerry
        Posted June 28, 2013 at 8:12 am | Permalink

        @Lifelogic: Do you work, or have you worked, for the BBC (in HR perhaps), otherwise how do you know what “every single man or woman” thinks?! Otherwise, on what evidence do you want us to believe your take of the issue, some facts, not rants please…

        • APL
          Posted June 30, 2013 at 7:46 am | Permalink

          Jerry McCarthy: “Do you work, or have you worked for the BBC ..”

          Oh my god!! Talk about life imitating art. Jerry McCarthy is a veritable modern art installation.

          Lifelogic: “They are big state, big tax borrow and waste, big on trains, big on green tosh, big on ever more EU, big on “equality”

          Sorry LL, are you describing the BBC or the Tory party under Cameron?

          • Jerry
            Posted June 30, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

            @APL: McCarthy: “Do you work, or have you worked for the BBC ..”

            Indeed, that is very much the sort of inquisition people like you and Lifelogic do engage in!

    • Jerry
      Posted June 27, 2013 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

      @Kenneth: I bet you would not be complaining if the BBC were saying “Vote Tory”, nor would you have a grossly inaccurate website devoted to slagging off the BBC…

      • Kenneth
        Posted June 28, 2013 at 8:31 am | Permalink

        @Kenneth: I bet you would not be complaining if the BBC were saying “Vote Tory”, nor would you have a grossly inaccurate website devoted to slagging off the BBC…

        Jerry, I don’t think the BBC should be interfering in politics in whatever direction. I am a UKIP voter but I have complained on this blog and elsewhere about the excessive promotion of UKIP on the BBC over the weeks leading up to the council elections

        NB That website has not been updated for a long time but I am not aware of any inaccuracies. Please use the contact page if you have any complaints. At least you won’t get a copy/paste reply as you often get from the BBC.

        • Jerry
          Posted June 28, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

          @Kenneth: How can I put this politely, you don’t have the first clue as to what the job of a journalist is, I also noted the fact that the BBC were giving a lot of coverage to UKIP, but that was because (like the SDP in the 1980s, who also received a lot of coverage at the time) the party is forging a new era in British (if not European) politics and this does unfortunately needs explaining to many of the electorate.

    • Wireworm
      Posted June 28, 2013 at 1:43 am | Permalink

      The Today programme is a national disgrace. Osborne properly answered Evan Davis’ point about who the caring person should vote for and it was then repeated, so Osborne had patiently to repeat his reply. Davis then made a grumpy little noise as if to indicate that he wasn’t getting anywhere. In fact, what had happened was that Osborne had simply brushed off Davis’ yawn-inducing insinuation.

  21. forthurst
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Over 13 years, the Labour government, as well as presiding over an unprecedented failure of banks, many of which had been allowed to conglomerate and trade irresponsibly under their watch, also effected massive changes in the size of its prospective voter base through importation, and in the size and benefits of the state sector. There are now very substantial anomalies of reward between the private sector and the state sector, including its pensioners of non-pensionable age, and between this country and other Western European countries; in particular, although the public education and health systems are far worse in this country, the rewards for its practioners are very substantially higher. We needed a radical government and we got a continuation of what went before.

    • Jerry
      Posted June 27, 2013 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

      @forthurst: Yes a banking system inherited from the previous Tory government, yes Brown might have played Russian roulette with the regulation but he would not have been able to do so had the Tories not removed the safety pin – ho-hum…

      • APL
        Posted June 30, 2013 at 7:53 am | Permalink

        Jerry McCarthy: “but he would not have been able to do so had the Tories not removed the safety pin”

        A whole decade is more than enough time to circumvent the sensible restraints that were in place at the end of the last Tory regieme. Gordon Brown swept away the established system and put in place his own ‘regulatory’ system.

        A system we now know was open to regulatory capture by the industry it was supposed to be regulating.

        No, much as you’d like to portray it otherwise, this financial crisis in this country, is Blair and Brown’s bastard love child.

        • Jerry
          Posted June 30, 2013 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

          @APL: “No, much as you’d like to portray it otherwise, this financial crisis in this country, is Blair and Brown’s bastard love child.

          What do you not understand, Blair nor Brown could have fathered such a “bastard love child” -to use your rather vulgar comparisons, that is our financial markets and banking systems, unless someone hadn’t encouraged the financial markets and banks to be so promiscuous in the first place. Inviting a load of guests to a party doesn’t mean that everyone has to get drunk and make love! The problem was, and still is, no self control….

          • APL
            Posted July 1, 2013 at 8:04 am | Permalink

            Jerry : “What do you not understand”

            And what do you not understand? More than a decade to put things right but instead the fool Brown introduced his tripartite system of regulation.

            The system that was pretty much captured by the banks immediately and where no one had overall oversight.

            As a system of regulation it was an utter disaster right from the start, but the egomaniac Brown and his side kick Balls sat back allowed the City to wine and dine him and watched it all happen under his nose on his watch.

            And our host tells us there was no dodgy relationship between Bankers and Politicians.

            Why the Tories let Balls sit there on the opposition front bench without reminding him constantly of his culpability for the financial crisis is beyond me.

            Perhaps it’s all because they all represent THE PARTY, and it wouldn’t do to upset the apple cart. I mean it’s so easy to just hang around for buggins turn at the dispatch box, such a cosy relationship.

            Jerry: “that is very much the sort of inquisition people like you and Lifelogic do engage in”

            Jerry, you appear to display an utter lack of self awareness.

            Reply The Conservative leadership regularly raises the issue fo Mr Balls’ culpability for the events of 2007-9

          • APL
            Posted July 1, 2013 at 8:39 am | Permalink

            Jerry: “The problem was, and still is, no self control….”

            Nope.

            The real problem is the Politicians have progressively removed the penalties for reckless financial behavior.

            You identify ‘no self control’ as the root cause, I identify the rational decision process that if there are no penalties for reckless behavior, then it becomes a rational option to behave recklessly.

            It is exemplified in Parliament; where the expense rules are so lax that anything can fall within the rules, to local authorities where they oversee cuts to services but the Chief exec. awards himself and a few choice chums on the merry go round whopping bonuses.

            And the private sector is no different, the one distinguishing factor and saving grace of the Private sector used to be – failure means the dole queue. Well, in the new (word left out ed) paradyne where nobody, no matter how gregarious his offense should be punished, no bank no matter how bankrupt should close, no civil servant, no matter how incompetent should be fired, today there is no punishment for failure.

            The Nu Labour tenet ‘everyone must have prizes’ is the root of our social and financial condition.

          • Jerry
            Posted July 4, 2013 at 10:23 am | Permalink

            APL: “The real problem is the Politicians have progressively removed the penalties for reckless financial behavior.

            Thank you for agreeing with me! Indeed, and that all started back in they 1980s when the Big Bang took the brakes off, before that there was (in effect) hundreds of years of regulation that was built upon experience (and scandals).

  22. Max Dunbar
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    How much time/money has been wasted for Mr Osborne to come up with this nonsense? Nothing of any substance that would realistically cut spending or start repaying the debt has been planned. And nothing of any consequence will be done until the next melt-down. Cameron and Osborne have neither the will nor the ability to do anything useful and do not seem to be able to even begin thinking in such terms. The biggest fattest institututions where real savings could be made are ‘ring-fenced’ yet again. Its laughable. Can you really write about the antics of your government in this way and keep a straight face Dr Redwood? (etc ed)You also say that Labour do not wish to propose spending and borrowing any more. That should worry us – a lot.

  23. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    What are the politics of having to cut the deficit on an emergency basis when the money markets panic?

  24. Deborah
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    …asking all lone parents to prepare for work when their child turns three.

    Back to work or another baby? Hmmm. Can anyone see the flaw in this strategy?

    • Bazman
      Posted June 27, 2013 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      They could get a job as a baby sitter for another woman working as a babysitter. In the real world if you have two children then it does not make sense for the mother to work. Their cleaning career can be restarted on another zero hour contract when the child is old enough.

    • Jerry
      Posted June 27, 2013 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

      @Deborah: Indeed, but ever if these mothers did return to work by putting their child into day care, what when the child falls ill (as young children are minded to do), what then, will employers really want to employ people who were here just now but gone to collect little Jake or Jill ‘cos they have been sent home from cay care?

      You can tell that this policy was throughout by those who employ “Nannies” to look after the little ones in the Nursery…

      • Bazman
        Posted July 4, 2013 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

        A zero hour contract would be ideal in these circumstances. They could just come and go as they please at the behest of the employer who would also be free to choose someone who is more ‘flexible’ about hours.

  25. John Eustace
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    I see Ofgem warning of power cuts by 2015 as a result of the continual inability of governments to make sane long term energy policy. It doesn’t appear that Ministers are listening to your warnings on this topic.
    A 2% safety margin on capacity is crazily inadequate given the timescales needed to bring new capacity on stream and inherent forecasting uncertainty. And the pool of large users who can be dropped off the grid at short notice to manage peaks or generating outages gets smaller all the time as we export our CO2 emitting activities to China and India and pretend that makes us green.

  26. Peter
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    We ought to be getting a nominal (never mind real terms) cut of 25%. Hardly difficult when you look around at government still spraying money about on worthless projects.

    The way that we are going thanks to this level of spending and loose monetary policy is stagflation.

  27. Martin
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    How is the welfare cap supposed to work?

    When it is hit will all benefits payments stop until the start of the next fiscal year?

    Or will claimant number x000001 be told sorry better luck next year?

    Or will all claimants be told x% cut as the budget has been hit?

  28. A different Simon
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    We got the British Geological Survey shale gas-initially-in-place estimates today .

    OK the report was only produced/published 9 months later than initially expected but what an excellent piece of work .

    What a tragedy that our own financial services industry is not interested in investing any more . Very revealing .

    I guess there is little need to get involved in real business when you get given ZIRP money , can lever it up several times and lend it out at a 4% margin for mortgages .

    Congratulations to the BGS .

  29. Chris S
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    John, I simply can’t understand why are all three political parties in Westminster are still supporting HS2.

    With the latest huge increase in the cost, surely George Osborne should axe this ludicrously expensive project ?

    Even at £50bn, the cost is so astronomical that it would be impossible to make a sound economic argument in favour yet this is only the estimate at 2011 prices. Never mind the generous contingencies, it will cost more than £50bn, a lot more.

    The situation is even worse when you realise that the project will only benefit a very small group of people, mainly living in London.

    I live in Dorset and it will always be totally impractical for me to take a train to London and then travel North by train. Even with HS2, it will be impossible to complete a round trip in a day so if I was just going to a population centre like Manchester, I could go much more cheaply and conveniently by coach.

    But, in reality, anywhere I’m likely to go I would need some transport to get around.
    I would therefore have to go by car. It’s obvious that from Dorset, taking a train, HS2 and a hire car would simply be too expensive. This must apply to everyone living more than 50 miles from London.

    Finally, even for business travellers, by the time it’s built, video conferencing will surely be a more viable option and long distance business travel will be reduced.

    There are approximately 26.4m households in the UK and at £50bn,
    HS2 will cost each and every one of them £1,894 !

    Given it will be of no benefit for them, at least 25m of these households will deeply resent having to pay out this huge sum to benefit so few. So why don’t the metropolitan elite realise this ? Or perhaps they do and they just don’t care ?

    Of all the political parties, why is it that only UKIP is against the project ?

  30. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted June 28, 2013 at 1:07 am | Permalink

    Although we are planning ahead for particular projects, according to the BBC the annual average capital spend isn’t going up by much. It is, though, higher than the level in Alistair Darling’s last budget. I’d like to see the rebalancing from current to capital spending go further. We are investing in Crossrail, we want HS2 and Crossrail2, and we need new power stations and additional runway capacity for London and other airports. Add the roads programme (including delayed maintenance) and rail electrification and that’s a lot of cost, much of it difficult to control.

    Clearly we need to bear down on health and welfare expenditure and end some of the red lines. It would also help immensely if we maximised the amount of private investment in power stations and runway capacity. Letting the London airports compete with each other is recommended. For example, the owners of Heathrow could decide whether to exploit its popularity by raising landing charges now to pay for a third (short) runway.

  • 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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