Productivity

The Chancellor has said he wishes to improve productivity as part of his drive for more jobs and higher living standards. He wants to exploit shale gas, improve the road and rail networks, relax planning restrictions to allow more building and investment, cut the costs of doing business by reducing regulation, improve education and training, and boost childcare.

The aim is a good one. Rising living standards require more people to be in work, more people to improve their qualifications and skills to command higher wages, more people working for themselves then going on to grow a small business with employees, and more efficient high quality public service to back all this up.

I want him to work with the Transport Secretary to improve the road networks. There is too much congestion, often resulting from poor junction design and from bottlenecks. Limited spending on allowing Councils to widen approaches to junctions to allow lane segregation of turning traffic from other traffic, more roundabouts in place of traffic lights, better phasing of traffic lights with traffic sensors and more main road priority,more bridges over railway lines and rivers would all help ease traffic jams and cut delays and costs for business and individuals. The government has embarked on raising motorway capacity by using hard shoulders as additional lanes, which is the quickest and cheapest fix to get more capacity. It now needs to address lack of capacity on the principal supporting A roads.

The government has an ambitious programme to increase the number of apprenticeships, and to raise the numbers of people gaining good quality vocational qualifications. The continuation of school reform is an important part of this process, ensuring that more pupils have sufficient skill at maths and English to be able to do the more advanced vocational courses.

The UK wishes to remain as a first world country with high living standards for all. Most people accept that it should always be worthwhile to work, and that those who work hardest and smartest should be better rewarded for their trouble. It is government’s task to enable many more to do well at school, to gain qualifications that give them access to better paid jobs, or to encourage them to work for themselves and set up businesses.

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142 Comments

  1. alan jutson
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    Absolutely nothing wrong with the aims you outline, and with the government responsible for the primary roads, the ball is in their court.

    The real problem is with local Authorities, many of whom seem to have a different view of traffic management.

    Parking Zones, chicanes, double yellow lines, speed humps, traffic lights on roundabouts, bus lanes, parking restrictions and lack car parking space in Towns.

    Millions spent on new signs, new traffic lights, new street lights, additional road markings, coloured tarmac, vanity cycle lanes, and the narrowing of existing roads, whilst potholes get larger, deeper and more plentiful, and that is only in Wokingham.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      Exactly.

      “Local Authorities, many of whom seem to have a different view of traffic management”

      Indeed their view is that they want to ban, block, delay & deter all cars while also (& at the same time) mugging them for fines, parking charges, bus lanes, box junctions or anything else wherever they can think of.

      Meanwhile it seems we are to have another budget on 8th July. One assumes Osborne will continue with his over taxation, his absurd tax complexity, his pension mugging and his IHT ratting eight year is it now since he made his IHT promise since watered down hugely.

      Also his “Mugabe” GAAR regime, where HMRC tell you how much tax you owe only after the event. This of course deters a huge amount of investment – due to its absurd uncertainly and so damages growth and jobs hugely.

      • alan jutson
        Posted May 22, 2015 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic

        Excellent example this morning.

        We have a nice new Rail Station in Wokingham, it opened about 12months ago, the road to it was finally finished 3 weeks ago, just three days before the general election (Co-incidence ?) It took nearly two years to build 200 metres of new road, and modify another 200 metres of existing.

        Dropped off two family members this morning, so used the road to the station for the first time.
        All roads around the Station are double yellow lines, two marked spaces for buses, 6 marked spaces for drop offs and waiting, and a car park where the minimum charge is £7.50 for the day, or even just for 15 mins.

        Went around the system twice just to double check nowhere to park or even stop just for a few seconds.
        All six waiting spaces taken up, 2 of them by contractors vans.
        The double yellow lines also have no waiting cones on the pavement.

        Thus I took a chance and stopped on double yellows for less than 10 seconds to let my passengers out, (no traffic at the time) whilst engine still running.

        Time will tell if I get fined with trial by the camera.

        The new pavement is as big as those in trafalgar square !!!!

        John, who dreams up these absolutely stupid schemes and arrangements. !

        Reply I too was surprised b y the size of pavement and the lack of drop off. The Council officers and their consultants designed it.

        • alan jutson
          Posted May 23, 2015 at 9:01 am | Permalink

          Reply to reply

          I will write to the Council to outline my thoughts (in a constructive manner) for what good it will do.

          Unfortunately they seem to have a habit of totally disregarding any comments or suggestions. as they appear from previous projects to think they always know best.

        • ju
          Posted May 23, 2015 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

          Just park on the pavement, it’s illegal but the Police don’t enforce it.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, it must be much more exciting doing all those coloured tarmac, huge islands, anti can lights and road blocking and motorist mugging schemes.

      Filling in pot holes is just so old fashioned.

    • turbo terrier
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

      Alan

      Up here in dictatorship Scotland all yours plus road signs in Gaelic.

      You couldn’t make it up

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    Well government always say they want to reduce regulation etc. but is always gets worse and worse. We have workplace pensions coming in, Cameron’s moronic gender neutral insurance and annuities drivel the list is endless. Osborne himself presides over an absurdly complex tax systems which cost companies a fortune in compliance.

    You say “There is too much congestion, often resulting from poor junction design and from bottlenecks.”

    The bottlenecks are no so much poor design as deliberate government policy/vandalism to block the roads for cars with islands, traffic light phasing, environmental areas, bus and bike lane, anti car traffic light phasing and other anti car measures. Look for example at the bus stops build into the road to ensure a one man bus can hold up all the traffic each time it stops every few hundred yards.

    There are not many real incentives for employees to take apprentices on and the training provided for them is over very poor indeed and not even worth sending the employee to.

    The size, overhead and incompetence of Government is one of the main problems, together with the absurd complexity and stupidity of regulations on almost everything.

    Cheaper energy, smaller government, easy hire and fire, fewer and better regulations, relaxed planning are needed. But doubtless we will get the opposite as usual. Amber Rudd inspires very little confidence, what is wrong with Peter Lilley and Owen Patterson or just any decent honest engineer or scientist?

    • lifelogich
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      More silly talk from Cameron about just restricting benefits for migrant. This tinkering is no where near enough. We need control of our own borders as a minimum. A non racist immigration policy that takes the best on the basis of merit is what is needed.

      Cameron’s currentEU good open door/rest bad racist approach is immoral and damaging economically too.

      • lifelogich
        Posted May 22, 2015 at 10:09 am | Permalink

        It seem very clear that Cameron is asking for nothing remotely substantive and has just returned to his pathetic spin,distraction and silly PR gimmick approach.

        Confiscating illegal migrants wages, yea sure Dave, grow up and get real for a change.

        • fedupsoutherner
          Posted May 22, 2015 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

          Had to laugh when I read Lifelogic’s last post. Just exactly what I was thinking when Cameron was on the news this afternoon on Radio 2 spouting off about how it won’t happen overnight etc.etc.

          More like it won’t happen at all!! There will be some vain attempt at getting what he wants us to think we want and then we will find it’s nothing like what we thought we were getting. Trouble is Dave, the public are getting wise to your antics.

      • JoeSoap
        Posted May 22, 2015 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        Trouble is, if you brand this policy of selective immigration from the EU racist, our left leaning friends will want to remove all barriers from anybody coming in.

        We kind of need to decide:

        1 How full we want to be here, and whether freedom of movement TO the country also means freedom of movement IN the country – i.e. if you want to come here, go live in Sunderland and set up a business there if you can’t find work there…

        2 Given we decide 100 million people living here leaving sparsely populated Eastern European countries behind is a bit daft, how we get this message across as a positive contribution to European stability i.e. convince these other EU countries we are doing them a favour by stopping emigration from them, all at our cost of course…

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted May 22, 2015 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

          It has been reported that the Polish government is now trying to persuade Poles to return to Poland:

          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/immigration/11454795/Campaign-to-lure-Poles-back-home-amid-fears-of-brain-drain-to-Britain.html

          But as that report was in the Telegraph it may not be true.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 22, 2015 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

          Indeed decided on the acceptable and desirable levels of immigration and take the best people we can find and most want, within those constraints, from the applicants.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 22, 2015 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

          Well it clearly is racist by definition – EU good and thus open door everyone serious criminals included or else one has to jump through huge hoops.

          What could be more racist than that?

  3. Mondeo Man
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    “The government has embarked on raising motorway capacity by using hard shoulders as additional lanes”

    Clearly if things have reach such an extent that we are removing vital safety features from motorways to cope with extra capacity then it’s fewer people we need, not more jobs.

    None of these infrastructure issues were in such a desperate state before.

    Yesterday’s immigration figures – only released craftily until after the election – will have reluctant Tory voters seething.

    If you cannot control population levels (and you can’t) then none of these ideas is going to make a bit of difference to whether we remain a first world country or not.

    • Timaction
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      I would like to say the release of the figures AFTER the election fits with the North Korean model agreed by our masters in the EU. Now we’re being told no treaty change and a few in and out work benefits will stop the invasion. No it won’t. The only party telling the truth before, during and after the election was UKIP. I expect many millions up and down the land will be angry at being fooled again by old cast iron! How many millions more before we’re full. I noted 45000 from China. When did they join the EU?
      There is going to be trouble as our non Government keep lying. We are not a sovereign democracy when CMD has to ask foreign leaders to secure our borders. Pathetic. The people will wake up!

      Reply They published bad figures before the election as well. They are published to a timetable that does not vary for elections.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      Yes I agree, I have seen a few near disasters recently with hard shoulders being used as a live lane. It is an absolute dogs dinner of a set of rules. And inevitable issues when breakdowns occur etc. Once again the poor driver will get blamed when its obvious the folk designing these road systems are the ones at fault. Once again the country is let down badly by those in charge of us, and their lack of a clue. Personally I would have had a proper clamp down on immigration, and reduced demand that way, as a first step.

      • Jerry
        Posted May 22, 2015 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

        @Mondeo Man; @Iain Gill; Immigration is irrelevant to the standard of motorway driving, even without these so called part-time hard shoulders there are locations that have motorway driving conditions without being motorways, thus some do not have hard shoulders, other times breakdowns and accidents occur off the hard shoulders, I have personally come across a car stationary in the outside lane (the “fast lane” as you probably call it…), and even when there is a hard shoulders and the stationary car has used it correctly other motorists find their way knowingly or not into it — it’s called being vigilant, not being distracted by a hands free mobile (turn it off), be sensible about in car entertainment, tell the kids to shut up and keep quite etc…

  4. nigel
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    He should also revisit HS2.
    This is a vanity project, and will largely act as a further magnet to London and the South East.
    Some money spent on improving commuter lines and East West lines in the North of England will produce far greater overall benefits to the Northern Economy.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      It is economic lunacy as anyone can see (rather like the Swansea Barrage tidal power drivel). So what is driving these daft project.

  5. Alan Wheatley
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    A rising population does not give improved productivity.

    A rising population can, and often does, have an adverse impact on productivity when infrastructure, in all its forms, can not cope effectively with the increased demand placed upon it. Increasing infrastructure capacity does not improve productivity other than to counteract the adverse impact of rising population, and to do so costs money which could be better spent elsewhere, such as towards making the stable population more efficient.

    One area where investing in infrastructure can help is where the infrastructure adds something new. A good example is high-speed broadband.

    So, building more and more roads for more and more people does not improve productivity, providing high-speed broadband where previously none existed does improve productivity.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      A rising population does not give improved productivity. Not does it improve GDP per cap, nor living standards nor much else.

  6. The Prangwizard
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    As much as improvements in the road network are essential and urgent and will help tackle the inefficiency of distribution I prefer a narrower measure of productivity as units of output per person per unit of time, not a measure of overall output as suggested here by these proposals, which will help us do more of what we do but in the same ways as we do it. As long as our industries remain relatively inefficient we will need more people, and the way things are going this means more immigration.

    The priority ought to be to incentivize businesses to invest in the means to produce more with less. And low wages are a disincentive to investment in the most efficient machine tools. It has been a problem here for decades.

    I wonder how many fewer buildings would be needed if businesses did invest heavily to replace their dated manufacturing methods; that would require confidence in the long-term, not helped by the short-termism of city spivs and speculators and their friends in government.

  7. agricola
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Everything you say is laudable, I sincerely hope it happens, especially with the state of roads in mind. On my occasional visits there has been no sign of improvement over the last eight years, if anything the opposite.

    Allowing net 300,000 plus people into the country every year is not likely to give you much chance of improving things in this area or many others.

    One Michael Wilkinson writing in the Telegraph under the title ” What is the EU and when was it formed”, states:-

    “Each of the countries within the union are independent, but they agree to trade under agreements made between the nations”.

    So the propaganda has begun. The first lie being that countries in the EU are independent. They are in fact a million miles from independence. Witness DC trying to solve the immigration problem. He cannot because the UK has surrendered it’s sovereignty in this area to the EU.

    Caveat Emptor readers re anything written in the Telegraph. They are obviously intent on making the EU seem like a very benign organisation, just like when Joseph Stalin was called Uncle Joe.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      Caveat lector.

      • John C.
        Posted May 22, 2015 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

        No, caveat emptor. The Telegraph are trying to sell him an idea, an image.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted May 23, 2015 at 11:06 am | Permalink

          Good point.

    • David L
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      The goings-on at the Telegraph provide lots of column inches in Private Eye. Its’ credibility as a serious newspaper seems to be evaporating.

  8. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, quickly, Salmond has offered to work with Osborne to keep the UK in the EU, but advises him to stay away from Scotland to maximise the chance of them winning the referendum:

    http://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/salmond-would-work-with-tories-to-keep-uk-in-eu-1-3779992

    Much the same advice as Labour gave before the independence referendum.

    As I said earlier this week, the “In” campaign, which is already being formed, can rely on the SNP to do most of the campaigning in Scotland and seek to deliver a strong “In” vote on a high turnout; that is, unless the SNP suffers a major reversal of its fortunes in the meantime, which argues for an early referendum while the SNP is still is the ascendant, and probably also for a synergistic combination of the EU referendum with the elections for the Scottish Parliament, which are scheduled for Thursday May 5th 2016 after having been postponed for a year to avoid a clash with the UK general election.

    It’s a bit weird that before we joined the EEC opposition was stronger in Scotland than anywhere else in the UK, so much so that it was decided to make special propaganda efforts to dupe the Scots into accepting membership.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      “It’s a bit weird that before we joined the EEC opposition was stronger in Scotland than anywhere else in the UK, so much so that it was decided to make special propaganda efforts to dupe the Scots into accepting membership.”

      That’s because it was a trading area then, not a dependency area.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      Yes, but Scotland will want to stay in the EU for the bail out they will probably need if they gain independence. Simple, if they can’t rely on the UK then they will go elsewhere.

  9. Excalibur
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    …..’improve education and training’ ?…..’ensuring more pupils have sufficient skill at maths’…..
    In today’s ‘Independent’, JR, there is an article on the ‘incredibly difficult ‘ maths puzzle set for eight-year-olds in Vietnam. Further down the page is an article headed ‘Gove’s maths exams are too hard and must be re-written’ says the regulator.
    The likelihood of this country improving productivity is negated by such disparities. Until schools begin to seriously challenge pupils we will remain among the ‘also rans’.

    • forthurst
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      ” ‘Gove’s maths exams are too hard and must be re-written’ says the regulator.”

      This was inevitable. Gove foolishly thought he could make some universal exam papers more difficult whilst leaving everything else the same. Without allowing schools to select by ability and for them to use exams equivalent to the IGCSE (=old O level), trying to create exams which stretched the brightest, but which the dimmest can pass, as is the modern requirement in which all must have prizes (as they all have human rights), was always going to be a fool’s errand.

  10. JJE
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Before building new roads it would be a good idea to be able to restore and properly maintain a decent standard of surface on the ones we have.
    Otherwise I don’t see much point spending on new assets that we are unable to maintain.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 23, 2015 at 3:02 am | Permalink

      Indeed but governments always tend to like new grand projects rather than properly maintaining and gently improving what they have.

  11. Mondeo Man
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Dr Redwood,

    I am leaving this blog and would like to thank you very much for your tolerance, generosity and patience over the years. Thanks for your hard work and efforts in Parliament and in your own constituency and good luck with your campaigning on the EU.

    I feel that the EU negotiations and In/Out referendum are forgone in their conclusions and that I have nothing to add here but unhealthy negativity and an obsession about unmanaged borders, which I see as being insoluble and central to many of our country’s problems (such as infrastructure.)

    I have – along with the vast majority of UKIP members, and its leader – never had an issue with law abiding and decent immigrants, only with the issue of chaotic government policy which I fear imperils our quality of life and the harmoneous cultural and racial integration that I believe only the British could have achieved.

    Far from wanting to drag our country back to some mythical ’50s golden age I was proud of what we were circa 1997 before we lost control.

    Kind regards

    MM

    • Bert Young
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      Good luck . I always liked your contributions .

    • willH
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      Pity , will miss your common sense posts.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      I for one will miss your contributions.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      You will be sorely missed as much of what you say is what the hard working honest people in the UK are thinking.

    • Timaction
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      I will also miss your comments and agree entirely with your remarks. Good luck!

    • Stephen Berry
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      Goodbye, and all the best, Mondeo Man. I regarded you as the noblest Mondeo of them all.

    • turbo terrier
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      Very sorry to see you go.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted May 23, 2015 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      Thank you very much indeed , everyone.

      Be assured that the feeling is mutual.

      I promised myself that I would stop commenting after the 2015 election as I know full well that I sound like a scratched record and have a very limited bandwidth as regards the Westminster bubble and geopolitical and economic affairs.

      In choosing Mondeo Man as my name I hoped to encapsulate in myself the simple balance of patriotism, aspiration and fairness in the common British worker that the Tory party once appealed to.

      I was deeply offended by the “I am an immigrant” poster campaign which assumed that I am a racist in need of education. (Someone please tell Jerry that my comment about motorway hard shoulders was not about bad driving by migrants but that their decomissioning was a sign that the country is now full beyond capacity.)

      That I can’t mention this without being accused of scapegoating shows how toxified the issue has become – that the ‘common sense’ that some of you mention is the modern heresy.

      As Mondeo Man I know that my fellow traveller is bored stiff by the EU and will only be motivated to vote by the extremes of each side’s argument – the fear of job losses, or the fear of overcrowding. We are many in number. And we are claustrophobes and not xenophobes.

      Before I am accused of using fear as a device – the opposition are already using it. “Three million jobs at risk !” and yet the Left and the BBC thinks that’s OK.

      The one issue that will get a massive Out result is the loss of border control (illustrated by this week’s disasterous figures.) If we can talk about this only in subdued tones (our vote winning argument) whilst the pro camp can shout hysterically about “three million jobs at risk !” (their vote winning argument) then we have lost already. And I gleen from Mr Cameron’s words this week that he’s softening us up for it already.

      Goodbye, you all. I will drop by and listen as you help to make this blog such and engaging and compulsive read.

      MM

      • Jerry
        Posted May 24, 2015 at 7:39 am | Permalink

        @Mondeo Man; “Someone please tell Jerry that my comment about motorway hard shoulders was not about bad driving by migrants but that their decomissioning was a sign that the country is now full beyond capacity.”

        But some motorways were over capacity well before any EU open boarder policy, hence why the M25 was being widened from the late 1990s for example…

        Accidents are nothing to do with high traffic flows, not even total grid lock, never mind how many migrants there are. I guess Mondeo Man is to young to remember the motorway piles ups of the 1960s and ’70s when traffic levels were a hell of a lot less.

        • Mondeo Man
          Posted May 24, 2015 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

          Thank you Jerry,

          I’m sure that adding to the population at the size of the city of Nottingham per annum is not helping with congestion.

          The reason for my leaving this blog is my realisation that the Out (EU) position is lost.

          In order to win an Out vote then the disinterested masses have to be motivated to vote by convincing them that there is an urgent need for drastic action. Either side must state extreme outcomes in order to motivate people to vote.

          By it’s nature it can’t be pretty. And the Outs can only lose once. The Ins will probably get repeated cracks of the whip until the ‘right’ vote is reached.

          Our borders being badly controlled by the EU was the Eurosceptics’ main weapon. It has been neutralised as the Europhiles and Left have been able to smear people who complain about open borders as racists – this by the use of subtle (and unchallenged) language connoting racism, in most cases.

          One has to wade through PC treacle before even getting to one’s main point on any issue relating to border control.

          Meanwile the In campaigners are allowed to be as irrational, vindictive and hysterical as they like in their use their main weapon, that “three million jobs will be lost and the economy will implode if we leave the EU !”

          This is scaremongering as bad as any (and baseless at that) but deployed against an opposition which is completely disarmed, by political correctness, it is clear to see which side will win.

          The masses are bored by the EU. Only the extreme presentations from either side will galvanise them into voting – loss of jobs or being swamped, and we see that one of those sides can no longer be extreme and must tone down the rhetoric whilst the Europhiles are able to turn up the volume as much as they like.

          Reply |The Outs only have to win once. We may only get one chance, so be of good cheer and tell the pubic the truth about our current relationship which does so much damage to our democracy and economy.

        • Edward2
          Posted May 25, 2015 at 9:13 am | Permalink

          He wasnt talking about accidents Jerry.
          A friendly chreerio to Mondeo Man would have been a much better post. dot dot dot

          • Jerry
            Posted May 25, 2015 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

            @Mondeo Man; “The reason for my leaving this blog is my realisation that the Out (EU) position is lost.”

            Well yes perhaps it has, due to UKIP and people like you using scapegoats, the majority of people switch off at best.

            “Our borders being badly controlled by the EU was the Eurosceptics’ main weapon.”

            Nonsense! There are a whole host of issues and arguments, many of them the same as back in 1975, that are reasons why the UK should either leave totally or at least reduce out membership to that of (a modified) EEA/EFTA status.

            “One has to wade through PC treacle”

            How is that any different to having to wade through what many consider the treacle of (dislike of foreigners ed) before getting to the real issues?

            For many, they are totally bored by the extreme presentations from either safe – no more are the majority of our economic and social problems caused by immigration alone, as the majority of our trade is totally reliant on being a member of the EU – and Joe Public knows it…

            @Edward2; “He wasnt talking about accidents Jerry.”

            Yes he was, try reading his original comments, and thus understandingly the context to the above comments from myself and Mr MM;

            “Clearly if things have reach such an extent that we are removing vital safety features from motorways to cope with extra capacity

            Congestion he then blames on excess migration;

            “Yesterday’s immigration figures [../etc./..]”

            .

            Once again Ed you job in with both feet, without understanding what you are talking about one jot, just to try and manufacture another pointless argument for the sake of it and add further to our hosts workload…

          • Ted Monbiot
            Posted May 25, 2015 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

            Agressive rude and pedantic as usual Jerry
            Sadly you fail to see anyone elses opinion as being valid.
            Not a democratic position to hold.

          • Ted Monbiot
            Posted May 25, 2015 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

            “adding to our hosts workload”
            Hilarious, coming from you Jerry, someome who posts 50 times a day.

          • Jerry
            Posted May 26, 2015 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

            Ted Monbiot; Non so blind as those who refuse to read the context, and you accuse me of being aggressive rude and pedantic… What ever. 🙁

  12. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    The reality is employers will de skill , plagiarise cheat in order to get an employee with the highest skills and the lowest financial reward.

    Employeees can be far more qualified than their employers , yet it is a case of correct recognition of qualifications. The powers that be will sway, change goal posts along with the boys, especially if it is to their advantage.

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      Which Employers are you accusing here Margaret, any particular in mind or are all businesses the same?

      • Margaret Brandreth-J
        Posted May 23, 2015 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

        No I have a few in mind , but John would not publish it if I named and shamed.

        • a-tracy
          Posted May 24, 2015 at 8:54 am | Permalink

          Yes of course without facts and evidence you can’t publish. Perhaps you should have your own blog then you can say what you wish if you know it to be true.

          I always wonder in the case of the employee being much more skilled, educated and resentful of their employer why they don’t just branch off on their own?

          • Margaret Brandreth-J
            Posted May 25, 2015 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

            It depends what sort of business it is . The people I allude to have been pushed down to an almost penniless state and in their 60’s would not likely succeed. There are many cruel situations out there . Life is not easy for the honest.

    • libertarian
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      Margaret

      Total utter gibberish, do you actually know anyone who runs a business? You are so obsessed with you, that you ignore the reality of millions of people.

      • Margaret Brandreth-J
        Posted May 23, 2015 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

        I would not have mentioned it, if I had not experience of many who run businesses. It is not in my nature to make up stories to sensationalise or be rude to people as you demonstrate in your reply. I alone do not suffer
        from these injustices and perhaps you ought not to take extreme liberties with the way you express yourself and things you know little about.

  13. Bob
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Planning
    Any relaxation of planning should not be done without careful consideration of the long term effects on the environment and quality of life issues. Knee jerk reactions to the current pressure on housing induced by open border immigration should be avoided. UKIP’s policy to develop on brown field sites would be far better than the Tory’s green belt development ideas.

    Improve education, training, qualifications and skills
    Fantastic idea! Why didn’t somebody think of it before? How about reinstating grammar schools and making the selection process more flexible to allow kids a second or third attempt if they show sufficient promise. The alternative to grammars was always the problem, so deal with the actual problem rather than trying to hide it under the pile of pants aka “comprehensive education”.

    boost childcare
    How about making it possible for parents to look after their own kids by removing the burden of excessive taxation to fund HS2, foreign aid, a bloated welfare budget and the BBC.

    Reply I t has long been both Conservative and Labour policy to give priority to brownfield development and to require brownfield first. There is not ,however, enough brownfield in places where people wish to invest and live.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      What the hell are wind farms all about then? Trashing miles of our green belts and open countryside. Shame on all who went down this route.

    • Jerry
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      @Bob; “Any relaxation of planning should not be done without careful consideration of the long term effects on the environment and quality of life issues.”

      Which is usually code for – NIMBY please!….

      “Knee jerk reactions to the current pressure on housing induced by open border immigration should be avoided. “

      The problem pre-dated open border immigration, perhaps even mass immigration, the country never actually got control of the housing problems caused by WW2 and the baby boom that followed, far to many vestige interests from both developers and electors, prices rise when a commodity is scarce.

      “How about making it possible for parents to look after their own kids by removing the burden of excessive taxation to fund HS2, foreign aid, a bloated welfare budget and the BBC.”

      Funny that, people pay £12.50 per months for the BBC, yet many of those who expect the state to provide (or at least subsidise) childcare for them so that mother can work will happily spend at least £22 pm on a subscription package, often considerably more, yet people like you never mention this when having a rant at the BBC vs cost-of-living. Also the “well they can choose to subscribe to a subscription package but are forced to fund the BBC” is not valid as no one has to watch TV so no one is being forced to pay the TVL fee (radios don’t need a licence), before you have the “choice” rant too.

      • Edward2
        Posted May 23, 2015 at 6:55 am | Permalink

        You really have an obsession with keeping the BBC and the licence fee Jerry.
        There was plainly no “rant” by Bob, just three little words right at the end of his post “and the bbc” and you are off again.
        Keep calm.

        • Jerry
          Posted May 23, 2015 at 8:44 am | Permalink

          @Edward2; “You really have an obsession”

          Cough…

          “Keep calm.”

          Cough…

          Some very strange logic here, so lets correct me if I’m wrong Ed, you think it’s not an obsession to keep mentioning the BBC if you want it gone and buried, but it is if you want it to survive, whilst those people who keep mentioning the BBC where ever and when never they can even though what they are commenting on has nothing what so ever to do with the BBC are being claim and considered, yet challenging to such comments is not….

          • Edward2
            Posted May 24, 2015 at 12:15 am | Permalink

            Im sorry about your cough Jerry I hope it gets better.
            I like the BBC but I dont like the current method of funding.
            Sorry I realise this is outrageous to you but its my opinion and you need to realise it an opinion many hold.

            Three words on the BHC in a post and you are off accusing people of a rant!

          • Jerry
            Posted May 24, 2015 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

            Edward2; “Three words on the [BBC] in a post and you are off accusing people of a rant!”

            So if John was to debate for example taxation policy and how it affects the use of up to date IT in business but I started going on about the price of Haddock and how supermarkets were damaging traditional fishmongers would you not accuse me of having a rant, even more so if I used every opportunity what ever the issue to make such an off topic comment?

            The cost of childcare has nothing to do with the BBC (nor PSB), but Bob tried to link the two, if the cost of the TVL fee is relevant to childcare then so are any other discretionary taxes.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 25, 2015 at 9:18 am | Permalink

            I have no idea what you are waffling about Jerry.
            Bobs original post promoted a straightforward idea of reduced tax burden.
            In the last of a list of several ways to achieve this goal, he added the BBC licence fee tax.
            You then accused him of an anti BBC rant and even continue with that now.
            Oversensitive I think.

          • Jerry
            Posted May 25, 2015 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

            @Edwatrd2; “I have no idea what you are waffling about Jerry.”

            Yet you’re still trying to pick an argument…

            “Bobs original post promoted a straightforward idea of reduced tax burden.”

            There was no need to mention the BBC, he could have made the same point by suggesting reducing both the discretionary and non-discretionary tax burden, after all I suspect that the 5% rise in VAT in 2010 had more effect on many families than the frozen TVL fee, certainly those families who need state help with child care…

          • Ted Monbiot
            Posted May 25, 2015 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

            Nonsense.
            Three words and you wade in calling it a rant.
            Come on Jerry time to reflect.

      • Bob
        Posted May 23, 2015 at 10:17 am | Permalink

        The thing is Jerry, that if the working mums you disparagingly refer to were given the free choice to subscribe to the BBC or not, I’m guessing that many would choose “not”.

        Do you think it would be okay that someone reading the Daily Mirror should be required to buy a “Newspaper Licence Fee” to fund the Guardian even if you only wanted to read the Mirror?

        I’m sure our courts and police services have got enough work to do without having to deal with the TVLA vendetta against the poor, disadvantaged and people who conscientiously object to funding the subversion of Britain.

        • Jerry
          Posted May 23, 2015 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

          @Bob: [“The thing is Jerry, [../another anti BBC/TVL rant, sans any facts or truth/..]”

          Sorry Bob but care to cite the Act of Parliament that makes it illegal for people not to own a TV, and not only that but illegal not to use it to receive broadcast content…

          • Bob
            Posted May 24, 2015 at 10:14 am | Permalink

            @Jerry
            For the umpteenth time, you do not need a TV Licence to own a TV.

            The injustice is that in order to watch broadcast TV you need to pay for the BBC even if you don’t want it. We’ve heard all your spurious arguments about commercials etc., but if people are happy to subscribe to a cable or satellite service or just watch the free channels they should be free to do so without being compelled by force of law to fund the subversive abomination aka the BBC.

          • Jerry
            Posted May 24, 2015 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

            @Bob; “For the umpteenth time, you do not need a TV Licence to own a TV.”

            For the millionth time, try reading what I said, what don’t you understanding about the words “to receive broadcast content”.

            “The injustice is that in order to watch broadcast TV you need to pay for the BBC even if you don’t want it.”

            As I asked, please tell me the law that makes people own and use (to receive BROADCAST television service) a TV receiver- you can’t as there is no such law, just as there is no law that states people must own a motor car and thus pay VED. Both are owned and used (relevant to the law) out of personal choice.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 24, 2015 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

            I totally agree with you Bob

          • Bob
            Posted May 25, 2015 at 9:10 am | Permalink

            @Jerry
            Let me try to make this simple for you.

            If we stopped charging motoring taxes and let the road infrastructure crumble the country would descend into chaos.

            If we stopped paying TV tax the BBC would become a subscription service, the broadcasting playing field would become a level one and the parade of bland lefties that pass for “talent” on the BBC would be free to go out and find a proper job instead of polluting the minds of millions young and unsuspecting victims.

            So you see Jerry, TVL and VED are not the same, QED.

          • Jerry
            Posted May 25, 2015 at 9:17 am | Permalink

            Edward2; “I totally agree with you Bob”

            No doubt you do, after all (as some have suggested in the past) if I’m also PvR then you might also be “Bob”… 😮

          • Edward2
            Posted May 25, 2015 at 9:21 am | Permalink

            You should get a prize for the most stupidly pedantic argument Jerry.

          • Jerry
            Posted May 25, 2015 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

            @Bob; The TVL and VED are much the same, want to use a statutory licensed service then pay the fee. Television could be totally PAYG/subscription based. the highways could be totality based upon a PAYG/subscription (per-mile) toll – in fact a few years back that is what was proposed, using a dash-top mounted GPS box and smart-card…

            @Edward2; Apparently that prize has already been won by someone else, apparently he has the trophy displayed alongside his filthy pots and pans! 😀

          • Ted Monbiot
            Posted May 25, 2015 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

            Its the same logic as saying you dont need to pay VAT as no one makes you buy anything and essentials like food and water are zero rated.

          • APL
            Posted May 29, 2015 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

            Jerry: “the highways could be totality based upon a PAYG/subscription (per-mile) toll ”

            Umm, two words, fuel duty.

        • Jerry
          Posted May 26, 2015 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

          @Ted Monbiot; Utter nonsense, if it isn’t how did the UK survive before 1952 (1955) and the birth of proper television service(s) in the UK, plenty of people not only survived without TV but also without a private car…

          But indeed, VAT costs the average family far more in non-discretionary, non VAT exempt, essentials than the TVL fee does.

          • Ted Mombiot
            Posted May 27, 2015 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

            So now you are saying that before TV was widely available and affordable most people managed to live OK without TV
            Well yes, that is, by definition true.

            PS Jerry’s law. anything Jerry disagrees with is “utter nonsense” whereas anything Jerry says is perfectly correct.

          • Jerry
            Posted May 27, 2015 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

            Ted Mombiot; “PS Jerry’s law. anything Jerry disagrees with is “utter nonsense” whereas anything Jerry says is perfectly correct.”

            So in your opinion I am wrong, yet yourself, Ed and Bob too, are always totally corrected? Ted, was that a refection you caught…

          • Edward2
            Posted May 28, 2015 at 8:21 am | Permalink

            The difference Ted is correctly pointing out Jerry, is that when all of us make a post it is simply our opinion.

            Just as when you post they are just your opinions.

            But you feel it necessary to often begin your posts with agressive phrases like “utter nonsense” or “complete rubbish” etc

            If you would be kind enough leave out those unecessary remarks perhaps we all might get on better.

    • acorn
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      We have really got to dump this green belt brown belt hang-up, if GB is going to get anywhere outside of the EU. With, as of today, a population of 65 million, we need to get away from this, quaint, middle class, English village mentality and start thinking, high density, Singapore style.

      “England has a land area of just over 13 million hectares. Of this area only about 9% is developed. Around 13% of England is Green Belt encircling 14 urban areas and about 30million people.

      The fundamental aim of Green Belt policy is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open. Other environmentally protected designations such as National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sites of Special Scientific Interest total another 29% of the total area of England. Together, allowing for overlaps, around 40% (5.3m hectares) of the total land area of England is protected against development by these designations.” https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/land-use-change-statistics-in-england-2011

      The British Empire is gone into history, a natural consequence of that would be that the UK Union, that was its anchor is, alas, no longer required. Independence for the four nations of the old UK should be considered a natural act of closure of a Kingdom that persisted for three hundred years; civilised a large part of this planet.

    • forthurst
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

      “There is not ,however, enough brownfield in places where people wish to invest and live.”

      Ultimately this is a matter for planning law to achieve the correct outcome which is not to cover our ancestral green spaces with comparatively low density housing; perhaps the housing minister needs to take a trip to Hong Kong or Singapore to found out how it sould be done.

  14. Martyn G
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Traffic light synchronisation – Oh yes please! Take, for example, the town of Wallingford in Oxfordshire. It is an ancient town; one laid out by Alfred the Great as one of his defended burghs, with an ancient bridge over the Thames where William of Normandy crossed his army en route to London in 1066. It has a narrow crossroad in the middle controlled by traffic lights and another set of lights controlling the single lane over the river Thames.
    If one arrives at the crossroads heading for the bridge and the lights turn red you know you have a 2.5 minutes wait for the next green to go. Travel 200 or so yards and you almost always come up against a red at the bridge, meaning another 2 or so minutes wait to go. Consequently the town centre is more or less continuously full of stationary traffic waiting to leave. Not only that, it can be even worse heading over the bridge into Wallingford, because the lack of synchronisation between the 2 sets of lights means that it is common at peak times for the inbound traffic to be queued actually on the bridge such that traffic leaving the town cannot move on green.
    No one at County level seems to care about this and yet with today’s cheap wireless technology the problem could be solved almost overnight I would think? It is no wonder that pollution levels are so high in the towns and cities with these traffic control measures that seem to be designed to cause tailbacks rather than keeping traffic moving as efficiently as possible.

    • Bert Young
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      Well said . I’m often caught up in the same jam and agree that a simple solution ought to be introduced . It would attract more business for the town .

    • behindthefrogs
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      I agree that we need more synchronisation of traffic lights. For example in Wokingham the simple synchronisation of the crossing lights by the town hall with those by the post office would create a huge improvement in traffic flow.

  15. Bert Young
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Boosting productivity in the highly competitive and sophisticated product world we live in is dependent on the increasing use of technology and our ability to add value to imports . The importance of the education system is directly linked to this . I live in an area where the evidence of this successful link can be seen . The nearby top ranked University and the number of world leading research activities are the result of scientific and technological spin offs ; they employ an increasing number of individuals from all manner of backgrounds .

    We can no longer rely on cheap labour to put products in the market place and compete with the likes of China and the Far East ; we have to concentrate on innovation . In this respect we have to be much more stringent on the immigration system only allowing those with the right backgrounds to come and work here . Our experts are sought after and encouraged to work abroad ; we must make every effort to keep them here . Back in the 60’s I was sent on a mission to the USA to try to attract back some of our atomic scientists who had left to further their careers there ; the effort partially worked because I was able to show that “change” was taking place and opportunities were available . We must not allow this discrepancy to happen again .

  16. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    It would make a change for the UK government to decide to concentrate on nurturing home grown talent, and improving the prospects for it to be rewarded in this country, rather than giving up on the native population and seeking to constantly import people with the necessary skills in among all those many others with no particular skills.

    But inevitably the business lobby will squeal about that, as we see today:

    http://www.cityam.com/216289/business-rejects-pm-s-crackdown-immigration

    “Britain’s businesses, especially in the capital, need access to talent from around the world if we are to continue to remain one of the world’s most innovative and productive countries” 

    Presumably that’s because a population of 60-odd million is simply too small a gene pool – we can see that by the very poor record of Britons in winning Nobel Prizes, for example – and so business needs access to the full global gene pool about a hundred times larger so that it can handpick the most talented 0.01% each year and bring them here, not just geniuses but great geniuses every one of them, even those set to clean the toilets.

  17. Leslie Singleton
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    An inexpensive but considerable improvement at roundabouts would be a presumption that there should be a slip road to the left completely bypassing the roundabout. A new roundabout near me does not have such a thing even though the main and sometimes busy A road goes left, which is a puzzle.

    And BTW it is by no means always the case that a roundabout beats lights. If I remember correctly, up to a certain traffic density lights win then roundabouts up to higher density after which lights win again.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      Postscript–And while we are at it why isn’t much more attention paid by the Police to what passes for (the lack of) anything like meaningful and informative signalling at roundabouts? One sees almost anything signalled, by reason of laziness or dimness. It is not difficult to decide what would be most helpful to others to know. Something revolutionary would be central indicators (perhaps in shape of an arrow) indicating an intention to go straight over. Nothing’s going to be perfect if only because of roundabouts with many exits but we can do better than we do at present.

    • Jerry
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      @Leslie Singleton; Sorry to say but slip roads have real issues were traffic flow is high, far to many people have no idea how to use them correctly, and indeed on the sort of junction you describe if you can’t turn left -first exit- off the roundabout due to the high traffic flow then you are likely not to be able to join using a slip road either as both the roundabout and slip road junctions demand that those joining/merging must give way to traffic from or on the right (of course if you mean a slip road that becomes an extra full lane then that is different).

      Your comment, with regards roundabout not always beating traffic lights for better flow, how true, there are roundabout around here that would flow far better if they had traffic lights, indeed the road system would flow better if there were no roundabouts, just traffic lights on cross roads – this being a major east-west south coast trunk route as it by-passes a major conurbation and thus there are very high level of north-south traffic needing to cross very high levels of east-west traffic.

      As for indications, for any exit other than the first there should be no indication, then upon passing the exit immediately before the one you intended to take there should be a left hand indication – it’s something like Rule 162 in the Highway Code… 😉 Far better there be no indication, which will then not mislead, how ever wrong another road users indication are if I pull out in to their path then it is my fault QED….

      For me, the police need to pay more attention people who undertake, that is a far more dangerous problem (in the context of normal/expected UK road-craft) that those who don’t know or forget what indicators are for!

      Reply Just not true. Last night I was travelling back from Oxford. There was major area of congestion caused by two sets of lights, followed by free flowing road with a series of roundabouts. Wokingham clogs at lights and the level crossings, not at the roundabouts.

      • Jerry
        Posted May 23, 2015 at 9:13 am | Permalink

        JR reply; My example is very true, as no doubt your own example is too, just goes to prove the point both Leslie and myself were making, there is no “one size fits all” solution.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted May 23, 2015 at 9:23 am | Permalink

        Dear Jerry–Of course I meant a separate lane not only after but also before the roundabout. On that basis, exaggerating a bit but not much, there is hardly a reason to slow down. It is as I said, viz at low and high flow, lights (and I do not mean lights to get on the roundabout) beat roundabouts. I was taught decades ago that there is a similar effect if you crash in to a telegraph pole in that if you hit it slowly you survive and if you hit it fast you blow the pole away and keep on going but in between the pole comes down and kills you. Don’t try this at home.

  18. Atlas
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Adam Smith has already pointed out the benefits of specialisation. What we really need though is more automation – as it is only by this route can more be made for less cost per man/woman. This in turn is greatly aided by cheap energy – just consider the essential driver for the industrial revolution, cheap coal.

    • Jerry
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

      @Atlas; “What we really need though is more automation”

      Good for productivity, not so good for unemployment…

      • Bob
        Posted May 23, 2015 at 10:46 am | Permalink

        ““What we really need though is more automation”
        Good for productivity, not so good for unemployment…”

        So speaks Jerry the Luddite.

        • Jerry
          Posted May 23, 2015 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

          @Bob; But the real Luddites were those who thought that the inevitable social strife caused by their brave new world would pass them by. When people had lost everything bar their freedom there was little left to loose by loosing that too, and perhaps at least one meal a day to gain even if it was stale bread and water – even deportation could have seemed an improvement…

          I have no problem with more automations/mechanisation, just the social and economic issues it brings, for those who are put out of work there is not much difference between loosing their job to automation or loosing it because the factory has shut down, whole towns can be blighted, not just those people who used to work in the factories.

          • Bob
            Posted May 24, 2015 at 10:31 am | Permalink

            @Jerry

            “no problem with more automations/mechanisation, just the social and economic issues it brings”

            Can you provide an example where more automation has made the economy worse?

          • Jerry
            Posted May 24, 2015 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

            @Bob; What happens when no one is emp0loyed in manufacturing, when everything, or at least the vast majority of goods (and indeed perhaps some of the service sector), is made or supplied by Ai-CAD/CAM and robots (computers telling robots to make more robots and how), that is the logical end to ever more automation.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 24, 2015 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, if you look back at East Germany with its reluctance to modernise its manufacturing, compared with West Germany with its adoption of modern automated production, you see the effect long term on employment prospects and standards of living.
            Your attitude is one which would stop us using the best methods of production is a slow path to failure, as more progressive nations become the success stories and steal our markets and our jobs.

            Would you refuse a company the use of a JCB and keep men wearing themselves out slowly digging ditches by hand in order to keep themselves employed??

          • Jerry
            Posted May 25, 2015 at 9:54 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; “look back at East Germany with its reluctance to modernise its manufacturing”

            Forget history, start thinking about the logical destination of ever more automation. No one is saying that those textile workers (the Luddits) were correct, no one is saying that the modest automation seen since the 1980s was wrong, no one is saying that further automation is necessarily wrong – just that we need to travel the road with our eyes wide open and looking at the road ahead (not just as the desk and spreadsheets), not everyone can set themselves up as a self employed Window Cleaner or what ever when the average factory only need members of staff in the tens rather than in the hundreds (and counting), not because they can’t but because as their logical customer base will also have no work, and what of the products your beloved robots make, who will buy them and thus increase your profits and personal remuneration benefits?

            “Your attitude is one which would stop us using the best methods of production is a slow path to failure”

            Far from it, because if social cohesion fails so will any economy. I’m asking questions that need to be asked, and people like you need to answer, not just bush them under the carpet like people did in the 1800s and then again in the 1980s.

            “Would you refuse a company the use of a JCB and keep men wearing themselves out slowly digging ditches by hand in order to keep themselves employed??”

            If the only work those people have is digging ditches, and that you and I will otherwise have to pay them to sit on their backsides watching daytime TV, then perhaps. On the other hand if they have other skills or can be trained it make little sense to keep such people in low skilled work. Of course we as tax payers might be happy if those over say age 50 years are effectively retied on a full state pensions etc with a suitable standard of living for the next 40 plus years, trouble is society, governments and the economy are all going towards extending the working years whilst all to often far to many people think they live in hutches and not houses at the opposite end of the adult age span…

          • Edward2
            Posted May 26, 2015 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

            You wont stop human progress very easily.
            The future of work will have its challenges but looking at history humans have adapted to change very well whilst remaining frightened of it.

            New markets open up through invention and innovation, bringing new opportunities to relace the old jobs.
            As a small example many UK engineering companies are busy manufacturing, installing and servicing automated machinery.
            I saw men and women worn out in middle age by repetitive backbreaking work, now replaced by “robots” as you call labour saving modern methods.

            Thank goodness things like robot welders and robot paint sprayers and robot coal mining equipment is now invented and used, saving lives.

          • Jerry
            Posted May 27, 2015 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; “You wont stop human progress very easily.”

            No one is saying that, once again you show that you either did not read what I said or failed to understand it.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 28, 2015 at 8:25 am | Permalink

            I read your post Jerry and understood it.
            I just do not agree with your opinion.
            You need to try to understand that may happen sometimes.

          • APL
            Posted May 29, 2015 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

            Jerry: ” What happens when no one is emp0loyed in manufacturing, ”

            Yes absolutely.

            But what happens when no one is employed making …

            wooden cart wheels?

            Or muskets?

            Or quills?

            Or scythes?

            Or the people who no longer have to put the little red phosphorus blobs on the end of pieces of wood?

            or maps?

            or grain winnowing?

            Damn those refrigerators – put all the icemen out of business.

            etc, etc.

          • APL
            Posted May 29, 2015 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

            Jerry: “is made or supplied by Ai-CAD/CAM and robots ”

            leading to mass production and cheaper goods. Follows: goods formerly thought to be affordable only by the affluent can now be purchased by the poorer.

            A good thing one might have thought. Socialists probably don’t though.

  19. fedupsoutherner
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Agree with much of what you have said here John.

    Another thing which would increase productivity would be to leave the EU and give ourselves a wider market in the world for our goods. I heard this morning that the EU market is very much lower than it was when we signed up for trade with them and it is getting lower each year. Meanwhile countries like Switzerland are freely trading with China and other countries in the world and doing very nicely thank you. All the time we are stuck in the EU we have to go through Brussels to trade elsewhere and this is holding us back. We need more demand for our goods and other places to sell to and this would create more jobs. I am already sick of hearing various business leaders and politicians going on about job losses by leaving the EU when exactly the opposite is true. It is constant from the BBC. Tim Fallon was a joke last night on QT. Biggest threat to us is climate change?? No, the biggest threat to us are people like him and those who go on about things we cannot control.

  20. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    It was easy in the 1960s-70s, I can tell you, for a left-wing militant to lead the cause of Chaos. He simply needed to gain a job in a manufacturing factory. Wait patiently. Say nothing.His politics did not matter to his trades union or non-trades union co-workers. Soon they would elect him shop-steward or higher-still, Convenor.

    WHY? Because British management has never had, in practice, any idea whatsoever of what constitutes Optimum Productivity. Therefore when the workforce worked harder, smarter, better, the productivity targets would almost immediately be raised. No upper limit was ever seriously considered.

    RESULT : Increase in oversleeping/late arrivals. Increase in sicknesses, minor accidents, quarrels with supervisors, workers leaving for other jobs. Good obedient workers overworked by supervisors to cover staff shortages. The turning of the best workers into persons, suddenly, with an attitude. Anger directed downwards through management levels increasing even more pressure.
    Then the storm broke, a lightening strike or worse still: shoddy workmanship with every level of management aghast of why their workforce had metamorphosed into the living embodiment of Chairman Mao Tsetung or Leon Trotsky with at least four workers out of 100 wearing badges to prove it.

    Do we remember the Militant Tendency? Whole factory committees of shop stewards waving red flags emblazoned with logos of Lenin? No? How quick we forget.
    British management as is proved by their colossal mind-numbing embarrassing forays into American, Asian and indeed East European markets with billions in losses and Dunkirk-like humiliating retreats is not fit for purpose. You can’t build a sustainable economy with proven numpties in management.

    Even now, Chairman and CEOs of British companies are coming out in favour of staying in the European Union. Do they have any expertise in currency fluctuations and manipulations, international negotiated trade agreements, international politics ( behind closed doors )? Do they have any idea, at all, in any way,of the necessity for a worker to have pride in HIS country, if not in his boss and in his company? No.

    etc ed

  21. Richard
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    I agree completely with your aims, but then also would all politicians of all political parties except for the wish to exploit shale gas.

    “There is too much congestion, often resulting from poor junction design and from bottlenecks.”

    I’m afraid congestion, is caused by overpopulation. England, never mind, London and the South East is the most densely populated country in Europe.

    We are sucking in more and more people from the EU and from non-EU countries on the basis that we are an expanding and thriving economy.

    But the fact is that our financial position is false and the jobs and employment position only looks good because we have borrowed £1.5 trillion and continue to borrow even more every year.

    We are living beyond our means and it cannot last.

  22. Ian wragg
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    So you want to remain a first word country but continue to import millions of unskilled and in some cases illiterate foreigners annually
    How is this going to improve productivity when the debt continues to spiral and growth is based on government borrowing

    • Jerry
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      @Ian wragg; Perhaps if more of our own population got out of their armchairs and did some of this low skilled work you mention, rather that bleat that there are no jobs whilst signing for their JSA, meaning that employers did not need to go looking for those migrants you call unskilled and in some cases illiterate – and the least said about literacy [1] the better perhaps, after all when our Universities and Colleges need to spend time tutoring first language literacy skills to UK born and educated students are we really in any place to comment on those using their second or perhaps third language…

      [1] first rule of the internet, if posting about the literacy skills of others your own post will contain at least one example of poor literacy skills! PS, Surnames should begin with a capital letter Mr Wragg. 🙂

    • Edward2
      Posted May 23, 2015 at 6:58 am | Permalink

      I agree with all you say Ian.

  23. Dennis
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    A couple of quotes from posters:

    Everything you say is laudable, I sincerely hope it happens, especially with the state of roads in mind. On my occasional visits there has been no sign of improvement over the last eight years, if anything the opposite.

    Absolutely nothing wrong with the aims you outline, and with the government responsible for the primary roads, the ball is in their court.

    Of course nothing about where the resources will come from to do all this and what that means. Again why not advise people to regularly take more out of their bank accounts into their pockets to get them richer? Same idea.

  24. BobE
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    John, turn left on a red light would help in situations that have good clear visibility. America does it.

    Reply I have proposed a red light should be the same as a stop sign for turning left

    • Jerry
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      @JR reply; An amber Left Filter arrow perhaps, added to those junctions were visibility allows for the turn to be treated as a Give Way junction for left turns, should there be a combined pedestrian crossing then the amber light to be extinguished when pedestrians have right of way?

      Oh and if we are allowed to suggest things that the DfT and Highways agency should be doing, perhaps both could employ planners who not only drive but have to commute by car at least 50 miles (round trip) per day, so many schemes get designed and built that no experience driver would ever design themselves if they did the job!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 23, 2015 at 3:09 am | Permalink

      But the lights are generally placed to deter use, stop the cars and intentionally cause congestion. At least that generally seems to be the clear intention of the authorities.

      • Bob
        Posted May 23, 2015 at 11:03 am | Permalink

        Problem (congestion)
        Reaction (demand for solution)
        Solution (congestion charging)

        Bingo!

        Problem (housing shortage)
        Reaction (demand for solution)
        Solution (Give Eric Pickles a Knighthood and move him to a new role, then grant planning permission on the Green Belt massively increasing value of land holdings for your rich chums)

        Bingo!

  25. BobE
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Instead of HS2 widen the M40. Everything we use is carried by road. Rail is only of use in moving people in/out of cities. Presumably HS2 is so the privileged few can travel in luxury whilst using expenses. (MPs should not travel 1st class).

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      Indeed and build a 5 runway Heathwick with a 15 minute HS train shuttle to link the Heathrow and Gatwick. Wider roads and airports please that is where the real (& paying) demand is.

      Trains (like the quack energy nonsense) generally need huge subsidies and tax advantages. Which is the invisible hand’s way of telling governments to stop doing daft things.

      • Jerry
        Posted May 23, 2015 at 9:21 am | Permalink

        @LL; “Indeed and build a 5 runway Heathwick with a 15 minute HS train shuttle to link the Heathrow and Gatwick.”

        You want the Tories to loose the 2020 GE?!

    • acorn
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      Bob, how about doing a deal on a new M34? Southampton to Manchester via the M40. We need a new “spine road” for GB. This would connect the “northern powerhouse” to the Southampton and Portsmouth Docks via the M3 and M27.

    • willH
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      Yes, just like Concorde a previous white elephant built with taxpayer`s money for the elite to use.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 23, 2015 at 3:19 am | Permalink

        Exactly Tony Benn who failed to cancel the lunacy said:

        When you are building it and a quarter of a million jobs depend on it you don’t cancel it – it was ludicrous to [temporarily] cancel it in 1974 before it went into service.

        As usually with the left they completely ignore the perhaps 1 million jobs destroyed by the extra taxes they had to levy to fund the white elephant. They always think they have a magic money tree. Governments destroy jobs and almost never create net jobs.

        • Jerry
          Posted May 23, 2015 at 9:36 am | Permalink

          @LL; It was the 1974 oil price shock (and not a little US air industry spite, dressed up as environmentalist movement protests) that killed off Concorde. Other than having a dig at Tony Benn I’m really at a lost in trying to find a point of your comment, if the economic case for Concorde was so dire before the 1974 oil crises why didn’t Ted Heath cancel it back in 1970?

    • Jerry
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

      @BobE; You might be very surprised at how much bulk fright is moved by rail. Indeed as HS2 will be a passenger only line then your rational for abandoning it is actually an argument for keeping it and building HS3, 4 and 5!..

      Rather than HS2, the UK needs to reopen/build slow speed, with perhaps high capacity (loading gauge [1]), fight only lines, especially one running north-south, which would free existing line capacity on the three main north-south routes running up the spin of the nation. Oh and yes, the M40 does need to be widened what ever.

      • Jerry
        Posted May 22, 2015 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

        Sorry, forgot to add the foot note, when I say a high capacity loading gauge I’m suggesting that found on European railways or perhaps even that of the USA.

  26. Greg D
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    I agree with most of this, apart from shale gas. I think we have underinvested in long-term green energy solutions to the point we now look to shale gas more favourably than we might otherwise have done. Childcare is a great investment, allowing parents the base to improve their careers, so will be interesting to see how far he goes, but not too hopeful to be honest!

    The main point I’d like to make is inequality – how can we reduce inequality to improve our wellbeing and our economy, is there a long-term plan for this? I don’t remotely suggest everything should be equal, but there should be a plan of investment that allows people to help themselves and to find stability and happiness. Inequality is a factor in mental illness, obesity, drug and alcohol addictions, imprisonment rates. The vast majority of people deep-down do not want to be on benefits, they need fulfilment in their lives – I think many people feel a failure, they need help to regain confidence. Of course this is a global problem, but not so much in Scandinavia. It needs a more radical, long-term solution.

    As an aside, interested to know people’s thoughts here as to the benefits of coalition government where policies are not dragged from pillar to post every 5 or 10 years. It’s all very well saying Conservatives have a long-term plan, but they will eventually be voted out (maybe not next time as Labour are in a mess, being dragged in different directions). Would the UK be more stable if Conservatives and Labour (and others) were forced to work together and win their argument case by case.

    I see disinterest from people who have a wasted vote (up against a safe seat) – would be interesting to tally up roughly how many this applies to. More focus will be on the Scottish elections next year where there is both a constituency and a regional vote. Scottish Conservatives have 15 out of 129 MSPs compared to 1 out of 59 MPs. Where will the argument go with UKIP having 3.8m votes and only one seat, maybe they could have had half the Conservative vote at 5.5m votes and no seats!

    Reply Consensus policies in the UK have often proved disastrous – all 3 main parties signed up the Exchange Rate Mechanism which causes so much economic damage. All 3 signed up to dear energy.

  27. Iain Gill
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    You have got to protect your best intellectual property, and production techniques, and newly improved ways of doing things. Our competitive advantage in the world depends on this. Other countries do it much better. Try getting details of a new improved process out of a German factory for evidence. Our immigration and work visa system needs to take account of this too, as currently a lot of our best techniques leak abroad through folk here on work visas.

    • Jerry
      Posted May 23, 2015 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      @Iain Gill; If you want to protect intellectual property then it is far more important to consider were you allow that IP to go in its raw form -R&D documentation, blueprints, CAD/CAM files etc.- restricting immigration and work visa systems will hide nothing that can not be reveres engineered from simply buying an example of the product…

      A lot of IP leakage is happening, so some accuse, in China and other BRIC type developing economies, Germany as a nation still being a power house of manufacturing are less troubles by this even though they use a lot of migrant labour.

  28. a-tracy
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think anyone can really comment about productivity until the statistics are analysed better than they are presently. For example, if London is the most productive area of the UK isn’t it also billed as immigration capital where 75% of immigrants are living? The same with the South East.

    Is productivity broken down into Private sector and Public sector? Is the manufacturing sector more productive than the service sector, is there a specific sector that is low on productivity, is it full of immigrant workers or highly paid workers?

    Everyone’s just guessing and one set of statistics can be used to refute another, so find out the correct picture and then seek solutions to share best practise and make decent suggestions for the future progression of all business.

    One last thought. How do you measure productivity in the self-employed sector?

  29. rick hamilton
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    From experience of other countries the best way to reduce urban traffic congestion would be to upgrade outdated local railways and in some cases reinstate rail links chopped by Beeching 50 years ago. As for long distances, who would want to sit in a jam on the M6 if an HS2 was available instead? I know I am in a minority here but I have travelled thousands of miles on HS trains and would never drive or fly if one were available.

    The UK suffers from a poverty of ambition and lacks confidence in our ability to innovate. With no exciting national projects to inspire them how many youngsters will yearn to be engineers, scientists and so on? China has just announced its 10 year ambitions (manned spaceflight, high speed rail, bioengineering, etc) and France is building a nuclear fusion plant. Japan had a national high tech plan decades ago. If the UK has one it’s news to me. I am not advocating the sort of blundering interference in industry shown by Labour in the 1970s but it is surely the job of government to identify how the country is supposed to earn its living in the 21st century. It should state which areas of technology it will back with R & D money instead of just talking about billions for social security all the time. What we would save on membership costs getting out of the EU would probably go a long way to putting us literally on the right track.

    Osborne’s aims are all very laudable but somehow lacking in the inspiration you need to get people motivated. Perhaps he could find some engineers to advise him: they do after all spend their time solving practical problems every day of the week.

  30. Vincent Mayor
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    John, better wages paid for through increased productivity will require a return to a manufacturing based economy, with industrial production and exports at the core of such an economy, supported by government initiatives. However, I fail to see how a 180 degree change in the economy is possible under a political culture that always puts SMEs and even the self-employed ahead of manufacturers. Cameron and Osborne both promised a rebalancing of the economy and a return to manufacturing but we have yet to see that and are a very long way away from having and industrial base that can produce better wages through productivity. What in your opinion can govt do to change this culture?

  31. forthurst
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    About half our industry is foreign owned and it is unlikely that foreign owners generally tolerate lower levels of productivity here than they achieve abroad. However, the productivity of foreign owned businesses does not necessarily manifest itself in the added value declared for tax purposes, if any, here.

    Foreign takeovers of British businesses should be made very much more difficult. The takeover of first rate British companies by third rate foreign companies, based on loans from a taxpayer owned bank, guilty of fraudulent dealing in Collateralised Debt Obligations, Forex rates and Libor rates is undesirable. Boards, constantly having to talk up their shares in presentations to City slickers, to prevent them being perceived as snips for predators is undesirable. Having businesses run by accountants who have no interest or understanding of what they do or make, but focus entirely on acquisition and disposal and short term profits (the CEO of GEC was notorious for never visiting production units) is undesirable.

    Not only should businesses be constantly innovating in terms of their current offering but also by extending their product base, synergistically, so that their production facilities and intellectual capital may be fully utilised and further extended. Why are the Germans so much better at this? Why are they capable of respecting and rewarding engineers and putting them in charge of businesses when, often, we are not? It would help if our schools and universities were refocused on the intellectually more difficult STEM subjects and away from the feminised education that has crept in since comprehensivisation: science and engineering would be a far better background for many walks of life than history etc and it is easier for people to respect someone with their own background than someone whom they might otherwise disparagingly refer to as a ‘techie’.

  32. Bill
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Just wanted to say that when the railways were laid down, they all came in and out of London. Trying travelling east-west by rail, and you are quickly frustrated by constant changes. So, my plea would be for a good road link from Hull to Liverpool, one that is better than the over used and constantly adjusted M62. Either get the M62 sorted or improve the alternative routes or both.

    In Wales, you need a better way of travelling north-south. There are some roads, e.g. the A55, that are constantly being ‘repaired’ to the extent that it seems that a building firm has been given a rolling contract but actually does almost nothing except put cones down and lift them up again a few months later.

  33. Stephen Berry
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    JR: “Rising living standards require more people to be in work …”

    Is this really true? For increased productivity we want more of what the economists call ‘capital’. Apart from infrastructure, that means more machines like combined harvesters and JCBs which can do physical work much better than humans. Increasingly, it now means machines and computer programs which can do the mental work of production better than humans. As we increase the amount of capital in the UK economy, productivity and standards of living will rise.

    But as productivity rises, people will surely want to work less. This will typically mean a shorter working week and people retiring earlier and earlier. It’s an excellent thing that higher productivity in the UK means that people here don’t have to work as hard or as long as people in – say – Bangladesh. After all, the end goal of capitalism is the abolition of work as we know it. But I am sure that as we approach this longed for Nirvana, there will be endless complaining about ‘what an earth are we going to do with all the free time.” Life goes on!

  34. Aatif Ahmad
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    How about a bit of deleveraging by everyone? Reducing the debt-to-GDP ratio to 100%? Immediately reducing the fiscal deficit so that it is in surplus and start paying off the public debt. End the policies which are leading households to increase debt levels? Prohibit pernicious forms of debt such as credit cards, car loans and mortgages over 3x income?

    Banks are lending buy to let mortgages against 125% of gross rental income – assuming rents will never fall.

    • Edward2
      Posted May 23, 2015 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      With base rates at a record low of 0.5% the desire to borrow by the State, local authorities, companies and individuals is unlikely to reduce.

      With the rental market generously supported by housing benefit, a record population increase, a new build level way below demand and not much sign of increases in social housing, I would think it is unlikely rents will fall anytime soon.

  35. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Also off-topic, Ireland is holding a referendum on gay marriage and I note that ONLY IRISH CITIZENS ARE ALLOWED TO VOTE IN THAT IRISH REFERENDUM. Because of restrictions on expatriate voting and postal voting some Irish citizens are making a special trip back to Ireland to vote in person, including of course some from the UK. So those lucky Irish citizens resident in the UK may be able to vote in two referendums in one year: now in this Irish referendum, and next May in our EU referendum because for some reason we allow them to vote in our general elections and it is proposed that the same electoral register should be used for the EU referendum. How daft is that?

  36. Martin
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps the road signs shouls be in Chinese as according to the Telegraph that country is the biggest source of immigrants!

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/general-election-2015/politics-blog/11622718/Immigration-nation-where-are-the-Britains-migrants-coming-from-and-why.html

  • 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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