Public spending

Public spending is forecast to go up a little in cash terms next year and the year after, following the increases proposed in the July budget. As there is currently no CPI inflation and low wage rises in the public sector this means overall a real increase. Total spending is forecast to rise by £12 billion in 2016-17 and by £14 billion in 2017-18. This year it goes up by £6.8bn.

With substantial increases in health, welfare, and EU contributions, and real increases in defence and overseas aid in line with growth in the economy as a whole, this will mean some reductions in other programmes and departments. It is that time of year when the Treasury is looking for ways to get more for less or get the same for less, and when departments are meant to come forward with sensible ideas for being more efficient and cutting out less necessary or wasteful spending.

I have made some suggestion recently on this site and elsewhere. Network Rail’s budget is very wasteful and inefficiencies are large. It should be easy for the new management to save money and achieve more. The area of housing sees large double subsidies, to both homes and people. It should be possible to build, sell and rent out more homes without needing so much subsidy to the housing providers. The budget of the Climate Change department was increased substantially under its Lib Dem Ministers under the Coalition and should be able to manage with less.

The Business department has a large budget. Now Corporation tax is down and growth has resumed, it should be possible to reduce the amount of business subsidy being paid. An energy policy based on exploiting cheaper energy would also help. The two state banks run by the Business department should be expected to make some profits instead of requiring cash.

The government is in the process of seeking to control welfare bills. The two best ways to do so are to help more people into work and into better paid work, and to limit the numbers of new migrants coming to the country.

I look forward to your ideas for ways to bring the bills down.

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80 Comments

  1. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    A percentage figure dished out to the public over many years has been for “Administration costs” or some other nebulous term by Local Authorities and their offspring ALMOs. ” It is only 5% ” or ” It is only ……per cent and this is actually the same or less than similar enterprises. ”
    No explanation is really given in such easy to follow terms as to the actual amount of money in “Administration costs ” and how the percentage term hides the continued money increase year upon year when in many cases the thing that is being “administered” is smaller and less complex. Social Housing Departments and ALMOs are a case in point.
    Also senior management of these entities: their faces never seem to change annually except perhaps to fill out somewhat. Redundancies, if any, are for unfortunate ones below. But not before certain favoured staff are either promoted to Redundancylessland or horizontally transferred say from an ALMO to the Local Authority proper only to return when the redundancy-quota has been fulfilled ( with another job title ). Sometimes these transfers, sideways promotions, and real promotions take place not necessarily within say one Authority but can interact between several authorities. A hard act to follow and scrutinise. Of course Local Authorities and ALMOs are by no means the only organisations in the UK to seemingly engage in this practice. It is common knowledge this behaviour is in the private sector: the bigger the company, the more likely and easier for “networking” or “making best of who you know. ”
    So, enormous amounts of money could be saved throughout the kingdom by government not just recognising “networking” or “the way of the world” or “the continuing degradation of human assets leaving behind less capable staff in their place and slowly but surely ruining the economy “but doing something about it.
    The first very general step would be a general lowering of the amount in cash terms of “administration ” or “management costs”. With a follow-up to reduce in cash that provided to the terms which will immediately replace the aforementioned terms.

  2. alan jutson
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    So if expenditure is to increase, why is your Party unable to squash this so called austerity tag that hangs around its neck.

    I am all for stopping spin and lies, but surely your expensive PR department could put out some factual news about increased spending and where that will be.
    If for no other reason than to stop the cry of austerity, austerity at every turn.

    Given that we have a Prime Minister who was supposed to be in PR before he entered Politics, the communication from your Party is absolutely dire.

    It would seem to me from afar, that your Government has yet to really get to grips with proper money management with sensible budget planning policies.
    Whenever DC goes abroad he spends our money in large chunks, hardly a good example.

    Our Chancellor seems only to want growth and tax rises to get him out of the financial hole we are in, rather than fix a budget on known past tax take, and work within that known income.

    Yes of course the State needs to shrink its involvement in our lives, needs Welfare and Benefit reform, and needs to get value for money from its Departments, but somehow why do I think Ministers do not have a clue how to do it sensibly.

    Probably because they, their advisors and managers, have never done it in the past, so nothing will change until their whole attitude changes, and I simply do not see that happening because it requires a change of mindset and thought, and few who are now in charge have ever had any past experience of the necessity to change or live and work with less means and lower budgets, so I fear it will be business as usual and the debt will continue to grow through this entire Parliament.

    Reply I have consistently set out the accurate figures and shown that the trajectory of public spending since 2010 has been for very small real growth instead of the rapid real growth of the previous decade. I have no idea why others choose to write stories about massive overall cuts by generalising from the areas that have done less well than the growth areas of health, overseas aid, benefits and the EU just because that is Labour and the SNP’s mantra. But then all the time I have been involved with politics public spending has risen and risen, with Labour claiming it is being cut every year there is a Conservative government or Councils involved.

    • alan jutson
      Posted August 31, 2015 at 6:46 am | Permalink

      It goes without saying that:

      We need to be able to Govern ourselves.

      If we do not have the power to completely Govern ourselves, then we are working to someone else’s agenda, and given that is the case at present then Politicians have no one else to blame but themselves for giving such power away.

      Thus we need to get out of the EU.
      We need to get back control of our Country.

      We no longer have people movement around the World, we have Population movement which is a vastly different matter.

      Fail to control population movement, and you fail to control anything because you lose control of the economy, welfare, benefits, health, education, housing, the rule of law, and the taxation system.

    • matthu
      Posted August 31, 2015 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      “So if expenditure is to increase, why is your Party unable to squash this so called austerity tag that hangs around its neck?”

      It must surely suit governments to give an air of austerity being applied if only to put a cap on inflationary wage demands, to maintain public opposition to striking public sector workers, to promote the impression of everyone being in this together.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 31, 2015 at 7:13 am | Permalink

      In answer to your first point if the state continues to expand (and largely waste) it causes and certainly feels like austerity in the 80% private sector that is being milked more and more to pays for all the government waste, misdirection and profligacy.

      We need austerity in the state sector and a release of the private sector from the yoke of government. Cheaper energy, far less tax, fewer regulations, simpler employment laws, simpler, level playing field taxes too. Alas Osborne is essentially Corbyn light at heart.

    • Cheshire Girl
      Posted August 31, 2015 at 7:19 am | Permalink

      Alan.
      ‘Whenever DC goes abroad he spends our money in large chunks’.

      This is the problem. We are constantly told we must save money, and some services are cut. We may save a few pounds here and there, but DC pledges thousands, because ‘ it is the right thing to do’. I despair whever I hear a speech that says ‘but we must do more’, and have to ask , why must we?. Frankly, I’m sick to death of money being thrown away just to make the politicians look good on the ‘world stage’. If we have spare money, we should use it here. No wonder we are seen to be a soft touch throughout the world!

    • alan jutson
      Posted August 31, 2015 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      John

      Fully aware you have given the information many, many times and thank you for that.

      So it begs the question, why are your Ministers and most other Mp’s in your Party unable to communicate that fact in interviews with the media and in their speeches.

      Even the Prime Minister and Chancellor seem very reluctant to admit to increased spending.
      Is it because they have hung all their promises on cuts, and prudent money management, and do not want to be seen to have failed.
      But then why take the flack for cuts, when spending is going up.

    • petermartin2001
      Posted August 31, 2015 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      Of course wasteful spending should be eliminated but it should then be replaced by either more sensible spending or tax cuts. Or a bit of both.

      Experience should have shown, by now that cutting spending, without cutting taxes, only leads to lower taxation revenue anyway. So, in the end the deficit doesn’t get reduced, but economic activity is reduced leading to higher unemployment.

      The govt’s deficit has to equal the balance of payments deficit plus whatever the population as a whole, including companies, wish to save. There’s no getting away from that.

      So Mr Osborne needs to tackle the problem from a different angle. Otherwise we’ll be reading in a year or two’s time, that the government did well to keep their spending under control but unfortunately the deficit is worse than forecast because tax revenues have been less than expected. Does this sound a familiar story?

      • APL
        Posted August 31, 2015 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

        petermartin2000: “Of course wasteful spending should be eliminated but it should then be replaced by either more sensible spending”

        No! Why? If you eliminate waste you get more value for money for a smaller investment.

        petermartin2000: “or tax cuts. ”

        How about reducing the deficit, instead?

        • petermartin2001
          Posted August 31, 2015 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

          “How about reducing the deficit, instead?”

          Because it doesn’t work like you think it works.

          Government spending is like filling up a bathtub with water with the drain hole partially blocked. The size of that drain hole represents taxation levels. A bigger hole is 25% VAT . A smaller hole is 10% VAT for example. A smaller drain size means the depth of the bath water increases too much. That could be inflationary. A larger size means the water reaches an equilibrium at a shallower level which could be recessionary.

          Whatever the diameter of drain hole, the volume of water leaving has to equal the water entering at equilibrium.

          Let’s add some savers. They dip their buckets, or whatever, into the bath water. That keeps the money from the taxman or the water from the drain hole. These savers could be you and I putting some money into our National Savings accounts or it could be the Bank of China not wanting to spend the ££ they have earned in exporting stuff to us.

          See what’s happened now? The amount of water leaving the bath tub has to be less than the water entering the bath tub. The government has to be in deficit. It doesn’t do any good the government trying to reduce the deficit by partially closing the taps. The water entering is less so the water level falls leading to recession. A lower level of water means the volume of water leaving falls too. The deficit is just as it was before and is entirely accounted for by those savers.

          Of course if we turn the taps down enough then we all end up so poor that we can’t afford to save or buy imports from China. We end up like Greece! So, yes, the deficit could be reduced that way, but is it really what we really want?

          • Edward2
            Posted September 1, 2015 at 9:15 am | Permalink

            Your story assumes the bath always remains the same size and that the amount of water that exists to fill it is finite and is a fixed amount.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted September 1, 2015 at 10:59 am | Permalink

            But it’s not a static bath, it’s more like a whirlpool bath with a variable circulating pump.

          • petermartin2001
            Posted September 1, 2015 at 11:59 am | Permalink

            Edward2,

            No it’s just the opposite. There’s a potentially infinite supply of water from the taps (which isn’t dependent on what flows out of the bath in taxation BTW) but of course it wouldn’t be responsible to have them on full blast.

            Denis,

            If you want to add more features, the first one would be to add a large lending institution like a commercial bank. They supply borrowers with money (pails of water) who naturally want to spend it. That results in more economic activity (more water in the bath) and Govt tax revenue increasing (more water drains out of the bath).

            However to create economic growth lending has to be greater in each year than the previous year. In other words there needs to be a credit accelerator. That may be possible for a few years but in the end credit generation is bound to slow as debts build in the private economy. So the economy slows (the water level falls) and we see growth end and recession start.

            The solution, of course, is for govt to open the taps (increase spending) and/or reduce the drainage from the bath (reduce taxation) to increase the water level again.

            But if we can’t do that because we are worried about deficit….

            Reply The supply of water is finite and very limited in the short term. In the longer term it can only be expanded by lots of hard work, building bigger reservoirs or drilling into water sources.

          • APL
            Posted September 1, 2015 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

            petermartin2000: “A smaller drain size means the depth of the bath water increases too much. That could be inflationary.”

            Taxation of the productive sector of the economy is not inflationary. If for example there is £1000 in an economy and acting as government I tax 25% of that and then spend it into the economy there is still £1000 circulating in the economy, it can’t possibly be inflationary. Since inflation is the printing of more tokens of exchange into an economy than is warranted by the GDP of that economy.

            The savers don’t ever take their savings out of the bath. But the bath bubbles are now diluted because more and more water is being poured in and the effectiveness of the detergent (or whatever) is being continuously diluted. Eventually the saver ends up with a’ cold bath’ and no purchasing power.

            petermartin2000: “Bank of China not wanting to spend the ££ they have earned in exporting stuff to us.”

            Bank of China doesn’t increase the £ in circulation, they simply exchange their Government Yuan ( or whatever) for UK government Sterling.

            petermartin2000: ” The water entering is less so the water level falls leading to recession.”

            Nonsense! The health of an economy isn’t simply a function of the amount of money in the economy, by that token Weimar Germany would have been the wealthiest country in Europe, nay the world.

            And just in case you think there were special factors in play in that instance, we’ve had a replay of lots of money = a strong economy (NOT!) in Zimbabwe.

            PS. I don’t think much of your analogy.

          • APL
            Posted September 1, 2015 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

            petermartin200: “However to create economic growth lending has to be greater in each year than the previous year.”

            No wrong again. Economic growth can occur in a currency zone where no extra money is created. What would happen then is called deflation, ie. the value of goods and services in the economy would fall in relation to the currency unit of the currency zone.

            That is, your money would buy more tomorrow than it does today.

            Economic growth isn’t the amount of currency in an economy, it’s the amount of surplus produced by the economically productive in a given currency zone.

            An Inflationary paradigm tends to discourage the creation of economic surplus. Which since our politicians have ensured we have been living through one for the last sixty years might explain why every Western economy is in dire straights today.

          • APL
            Posted September 1, 2015 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

            JR: “The supply of water is finite and very limited in the short term. In the longer term it can only be expanded by lots of hard work, building bigger reservoirs or drilling into water sources.”

            It’s not even the supply of ‘water’ aka currency. Its the creation of surplus capacity in an economy that equates to wealth.

            Petermartin2000 is under the impression that we can all make ourselves rich by (specifically the government) printing lots of currency units.

            (Since he is a socialist he wouldn’t advocate individuals printing their own money.(

            Well, if that were true, we could all just buy a printing press and let rip.

            Of course, as the number of notes in the economy increased, the value of the notes would decrease. Otherwise known as inflation.

          • alan jutson
            Posted September 1, 2015 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

            Remember there is usually an overflow on a bath which automatically dumps an excess of water in the drain, unless the taps are on full in which case the bath will still overflow.

            Also remember that the higher the level of water in the bath the more water pressure on the water being exhausted from the drain hole, thus the water coming from the drain varies depending upon the depth of the water in the bath.(think water tower)

            This started off as a simple explanation, which has now become very complicated !
            Rather like many Government policies and our tax system.!

          • Edward2
            Posted September 1, 2015 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

            If the supply of water is infinite you have desribed by analogy the magic money tree.
            Like Mr Corbyn hopes, you just keep creating money electronically with only positive results.
            As my Dad used to say
            If it appears to good to be true then it probably is.

        • petermartin2001
          Posted September 1, 2015 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

          APL, Edward2, and Alan,

          “Petermartin2000 is under the impression that we can all make ourselves rich by (specifically the government) printing lots of currency units.”
          ” you just keep creating money electronically with only positive results.”

          Of course this is not the case. The Government/BoE ‘could’, if they wished, flood the economy wish as many ££ as they pleased. But saying ‘could’ is not saying ‘should’. That would be extremely irresponsible. Criminal even.

          But governments have to issue some money. They can’t issue none at all. So the question we should be discussing is not ‘if’ but ‘how much’. If we issue too much we end up with too much inflation. But, on the other hand, if there isn’t enough money in the economy we end up like Greece or it goes back back to being like it was in the 30’s. The productive capacity in the economy was there in the 30’s, as evidenced by just what could be achieved during the wartime years, but it simply wasn’t utilised due to the failure of the financial system to ensure that it was.

          a simple explanation, which has now become very complicated !

          It’s still simple. There are simple rules.
          1) Too much spending (both govt and private) brings too much inflation
          2) Too little spending brings recession and unemployment.
          3) Don’t rely on private credit creation to stimulate the economy. It distorts the economy and leads to bubbles.Boom inevitably turns to bust. The Chinese are the latest to discover this the hard way.
          4) Don’t overworry about government deficits. A government debt is a non-Government asset. If the economy is healthy there will be plenty of buyers for those assets.
          5) Never borrow in a foreign currency.
          6) Let the exchange rate float. Don’t intervene to set its value.

          • APL
            Posted September 2, 2015 at 8:18 am | Permalink

            petermartin2000: “but it simply wasn’t utilised due to the failure of the financial system to ensure that it was.”

            The 1930s or the depression years were a result of the enormous financial bubble inflated at the end of the 1920s culminating in the Wall street crash and financial collapse in ’29.

            The financial system failed, because it has been in a bubble period for the last half of the ’20s.

            Parallels with today are ….. unmissable.

          • petermartin2001
            Posted September 2, 2015 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

            APL,

            Yes there was a bubble and financial crash, as you say. But why did that lead to the depression? Conventional economics doesn’t have an answer to that. Just as the eminent Professors at LSE couldn’t answer pertinent questions put to them by the Queen about the GFC.

            If I lend you too much money, you then go bust and can’t repay, does that affect the economy? Well no it doesn’t. You’ve spent it and I’ve lost it. It’s that simple. The mainstream of economics tends to view all lending like that, including bank lending. In their view, if someone loses, someone else gains and so there’s no net effect from loans going sour.

            A different view is presented by the post Keynesians like Steve Keen. This view is based on the way money is actually created by banks in the process of issuing loans. The creation of the money causes, initially, a boom in the economy. Then later as bust as the liabilities associated with those loans slow down the economy and effectively create the conditions for the inevitable bust.

            That bust is the failure of the financial system to which I refer. The 1929 and 2007 crashes were both failures of governments on both sides of the Atlantic. If they’d understood their economics from a different perspective they wouldn’t have let it happen.

          • APL
            Posted September 3, 2015 at 6:22 am | Permalink

            petermartin2001: “That bust is the failure of the financial system to which I refer. The 1929 and 2007 crashes were both failures of governments on both sides of the Atlantic.”

            I could agree with you, it depends if you mean ‘Failure’ or ‘failure’.

            But in any-case, a financial bubble, encourages malinvestment – building house because next year it will be worth five times what you paid to build it today. But it could be any other malinvestment – paying £15,000,000 for a couple of lines of HTML script as was not unheard of during the .com boom.

            All the time the housing industry is propped up and ‘frothed’ by government building and buy to let tax schemes, and building societies instead of lending a prudent 80% of the property, offer to lend 110%, immediately exposing themselves to a greater risk should a downturn occur.

            Thus when a down turn does occur as in 2007, the bank or building society collapses, because it cannot tolerate the loss to its balance sheet to the extent it could if it had only loaned 80%.

            Because if you mean ‘Failure’ then you are plain wrong, and asking for more government intervention, just leads to the Failure of government on a bigger scale.

            And when the dust settles, the £15m web site that seemed so appealing during the mania, now looks like a really bad investment, and a dead loss for the bank that financed it.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted August 31, 2015 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      Dear John–What I can’t get my head round is if you are right (and it would seem that you are–and anyway I cannot see how it can be a matter of opinion) why do we not hear more along these lines from the Government? Best I can think is that they don’t want to talk about cuts being outweighed by more spending because they want to scotch any and all talk of cuts and the ammunition this gives to their opponents; plus they don’t really like public spending much (and neither do I) so forbear to boast about it, at least in this context.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 31, 2015 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      But if I didn’t visit your blog I probably wouldn’t realise that total public spending has continued to edge up in real, as well as nominal, terms, all the while that the mass media have been further amplifying the loud complaints about “cuts” and “austerity”. So I think Alan has a point here, your party should not be leaving it to just one of its MPs to correct the false impression given by the mass media.

      • petermartin2001
        Posted September 1, 2015 at 12:06 am | Permalink

        Denis,

        Austerity can’t simply be defined as running a deficit of less than any given amount, having a certain level of spending or taxation etc. I’ve tried to explain in my reply to APL above how the money flow in the economy works using a bathtub and water flow analogy.

        So, if JR is good enough to allow that to shortly appear, austerity would correspond, in that analogy, to having the water level too low. In other words the macroeconomic control levers are set to err too much on the side of low inflation than full employment and full utilisation of the productive capacity in the economy.

        • APL
          Posted September 1, 2015 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

          petermartin2001: “Austerity can’t simply be defined as running a deficit of less than any given amount, having a certain level of spending or taxation etc. ”

          Austerity is reigning in the amount of money the government spends in excess of the GDP of an economy.

          Since government spending is increasing, and since the deficit increasing ( that is government borrowing is accelerating ) there can be no austerity unless the dilution of the sterling zone currency unit is leading to a situation of diminishing returns.

          That is printing more money leads to an accelerating devaluation of the currency in excess of the amount of new money introduced into the economy.

          To allude to your bath analogy, that would be the equivalent of the economy spiralling around the plughole.

          • petermartin2001
            Posted September 3, 2015 at 12:21 am | Permalink

            Austerity is reigning in the amount of money the government spends in excess of the GDP of an economy

            I’d call that inflation control, but let’s stick with your definition for now. If we look at the graph of GDP we can see the economy grew smoothly from 1991 up until the time of the GFC in 2008. So, credit must go to John Major’s govt for getting the economy on a better growth pattern.

            New Labour simply carried on with more of the same and the economy still grew.

            http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/resources/2013q1m2quarterlygdphistory_tcm77-311863.png

            So the question is what went wrong in 2008? Why has the growth pattern not resumed as it did after previous recessions? Is the GDP the limiting factor for spending/taxation as you suggest? Or is spending/taxation the limiting factor for GDP and growth?

            What about the £50 billion of extra GDP we would have had if the economy had grown at its previous rate?

            Has the desire to reduce the govt’s deficit, (also reducing the non governments surplus) hindered or helped growth?

          • APL
            Posted September 5, 2015 at 8:28 am | Permalink

            petermartin2000: “I’d call that inflation control, ”

            The government sector is expanding that’s why we have the debt, and the deficit, the rate at which the government expands the debt.

            Much of government ‘investment’ is nothing of the sort, it’s rather simply the expansion of the command sector of the economy.

            If you include government borrowing as GDP then as borrowing is expanding of course GDP is expanding. But like in China, if you build something that no one wants, it’s a wasted investment. But tax payers are still obliged to pay for the government malinvestment for ever, or until the obligation become so onerous that a default occurs.

            Inflation control? It is of course plain for anyone who chooses to look at the bank of England’s own figures, there has been *no* inflation control since the beginning of the ’60s and since 1914 inflation has been north of 9000%.

            petermartin2000: “So the question is what went wrong in 2008?”

            One of the government sponsored ponzi schemes collapsed. Which isn’t actually wrong, it was right.

    • CdBrux
      Posted August 31, 2015 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      I think the public sees / is shown and therefore perceives ‘austerity’ in very narrow areas. In some ways this makes sense, people’s experience of public services, potholes, rubbish collections, health & social care etc… can be very direct and very obvious. Their experience of total government spending including defence, aid and so on is limited and probably rather abstract.

      Councils will no doubt rush to blame a reduction in ‘x’ due to ‘austerity’ and with a turn out of 40% or less in local government elections how many people are really asking if the councils could manage their resources more efficiently and compare with a council that maybe does? I suspect hardly anyone!

  3. Gina Dean
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Cut the house of lords in half, that will save many millions. Also remove the credit cards that seem to abound in every department. Restrictions on who can use them and to how much and not for personal use, would help.

  4. matthu
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    OT but interested in JR’s viewpoint: Why would TheKnow be excluded from the Tory Party conference while other similar organisations not be excluded?

    “Non-partisan and independent, we are seeking to engage people from all walks of life, across the political spectrum. We intend to demonstrate that remaining part of the EU poses a greater risk to British prosperity than leaving. Whilst we are open to a successful renegotiation of Britain’s EU membership, we believe a satisfactory deal is highly unlikely, and are therefore advocating a ‘No’ vote as the best possible outcome of the upcoming referendum. Our aim throughout this campaign will be to paint a positive vision for what Britain can achieve outside of the EU.

    They claim to be non-partisan, open to a successful renegotiation, in fact they appear to espouse views broadly similar to your own, John. Is it right that they be excluded from a Tory Party conference?

  5. zorro
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    See below quote from Lord Green of Deddington. Is it a good time to be considering 25-40% cuts in the Hone Office and particularly the mainly operational areas? Will costs increase in other public sector areas because of the lack of ability to enforce existing immigration legislation?

    ‘Net migration at one third of a million a year is clearly unsustainable. Nearly half of the inflow is now from the EU, including 50,000 from Romania and Bulgaria as we have long predicted. This underlines the need for serious concessions in the forthcoming negotiations.
    These figures also show that non-EU students are staying on in large numbers; that must be addressed.

    There could hardly be a worse time for the Treasury to cut the funds available for immigration control.’

    zorro

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 1, 2015 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      Shows up the reality that the government has no desire to cut immigration.

  6. Lifelogic
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    There is so much fat, incompetence and pointless (even counterproductive) activity everywhere in the bloated state sector. Yet they just keep pissing money down the drain. Rendering UK industry uncompetitive, decreasing the tax base and exporting jobs and wealth. The state sector is double the size it should be and yet delivers so little of any value.

    They care not what they spend (it is not their money) and care not what value they get (it is not for them) and that largely is government. The only mechanism to prevent this is elected politicians, they have clearly failed massively.

    Kill the green crap, hs2, benefits to the feckless, charge for and break up the hopeless NHS, give voucher for schools and make them independent, get out of the EU, sort out defence procurement.

    • petermartin2001
      Posted September 1, 2015 at 12:13 am | Permalink

      “charge for and break up the hopeless NHS”

      I think Sir Humphry would call that a “very courageous” policy, which would cause Jim Hacker, had he proposed it, to become very agitated indeed and backtrack as quickly as possible 🙂

  7. Old Albion
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Leave the EU, Save £50m/day

  8. Graham
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Let’s start by having a bonfire of quangos (like that’s never been suggested before) and get people who will make change into responsible positions.

    A cabinet and leader doing what’s best for the country would also form the springboard for change but Brussels are unlikely to sanction anything in that direction just yet.

  9. fedupsoutherner
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    I wonder how much of a waste of money investing in Trident while in Scotland will be. I see the SNP are moaning yet again about Faslane having money spent on it despite the fact that over 6000 jobs will be secure. The SNP minister interviewed this morning said there was a moral issue and implied he thought that morals were more important than jobs!! I suggest moving Trident now into England as all the money spent in Scotland will be wasted once independence is gained and they vote to remove it anyway.

    If the BBC give Sturgeon what she wants it is only a question of time before the UK is split.

    Welfare should be looked at more closely too. There are still too many people living their lives without working due to some obscure ‘illness’ that really should not stop them getting some kind of a job. Being too fat to work should not be paid for by others.

    There is also a lot of money spent on Calais and immigrants when there is a much simpler solution to this problem as has been discussed on this page on many occassions.

  10. Mike Stallard
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    The only way to bring the bills down is to want to do it.
    At the moment we are in danger of a serious national bankruptcy if there is another 2008. According the Spectator, George Osborne has “bet the house” on things going smoothly until the election.
    Given the urgency of this, cuts will have to be made either before – or after – the crash.

  11. ian wragg
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    It is scandalous that the aid budget and EU contributions are ring fenced. Cameron says he has secured a reduction in the EU budget but as with immigration, more is less.
    The DECC should be closed forthwith and the government should get out of fixing the power industry. All the subsidies to the green crap should be stopped immediately and our power bills reduced.
    I note that tax receipts are not rising in line with the population explosion which gives the lie to us enjoying growth.
    Per capita income continues to reduce despite Gideons pronouncements of sturdy growth.
    Now the proverbial has hit the fan in China, no doubt all these extra bodies which require health, welfare and education will drift off to the next success story around the globe. Oh! sorry, I forgot that we provide everything for free for the worlds dispossessed as it is their “umanrites” for the rest of their lives whilst they urge the government to legislate for us to follow their enriched cultures.

  12. margaret
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Presumably the people who write in are suffering from cuts and loss of jobs whilst money has been spent elsewhere. An overall balance doesn’t tall us about individual hardship and for them austerity is real.
    Less money could be spent by employment people to try and cut spending. An example of this is a group called medicine management who look at figures on a computer , protocols and attempt to override decisions made by clinical staff yet have little idea of the needs of the patient.
    I strongly agree with C Houston’s last paragraph.

    • margaret
      Posted August 31, 2015 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, for someone reason what I am tapping out quickly , doesn’t appear as I meant it. Rush , rush , rush.
      People who are employed in jobs like medicine management, supposedly to reduce costs of drugs and spending are a waste of money. They interfere with practice and most practitioners try and reduce the cost of medication if it is in the patients best interest to do so.

  13. margaret
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    correction ‘tell’ us about………..

  14. turbo terrier
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    The budget of the Climate Change department was increased substantially under its Lib Dem Ministers under the Coalition and should be able to manage with less.

    Too true John. The whole concept in which the DECC was formatted was totally wrong from the start.

    There are two “problems” if you would wish to call them that.

    Climate Change and Security of Supply.

    If labour had started off with some form of focus instead of a knee jerk reaction we would not find ourselves in the mess we are. A basic cause and effect process properly applied would have told the village idiot that even though linked the two major areas of the “problem” were seperate.

    DECC.

    If you believe in the Global Warming Religion thats fine freedom of choice but you do not need a department with anything like the size we have, jetting off all over the world to “save the world conferences” etc

    A few dedicated engineers, scientists from either yes/no camp and a vision to cover all the reports and thesis’s from all over the world dedicated to actual data collection to enable a process to be identified that would be addressing the problem more than coming up with solutions. The whole lot would have taken up about three offices tops. More than lightly done a better job.

    Security of Supply.

    This would have been the most important area to be addressed.

    Again dedicated engineers whose sole purpose was to keep the lights on. Experts in grid and gas networks and not just power generation. Renewables never will and never will be the panacea to our energy problems and yet governments have thrown billions at projects that over the long term will fail as in ther own way they still needed fossil fuel power back up should the weather change. Nobody except you and your like minded thinkers had a clue as to what the real impact on industry would be and was a sit turns out. How many tons of CO2 have we saved against how much to do it and the real jobs it has cost the country.

    With the right minister this suggestion would have been far more cost effective and sustainable regarding costs to the government and the millions now condemned to fuel debt and poverty. It would have been one hell of a challenge for you John, one I am sure you would have revelled in.

    Any engineer and experienced business person would have asked the basic question. What is the problem and firstly properly identify it. Then collect data and then act. It ain’t rocket science. Not wake up one morning and try and do a deal with private companies to pay them to fire up their diesel generators. They do not allow turbines to be erected and paid for until the infrastructure is in place to transmit what they are producing.

    Groups of people like this from their very training then would apply processes to check on the cause and effect of their actions. This would have addressed very early on all the concerns over noise, flicker, disruption to sleep patterns etc. None of the concerns of people living with turbines has ever been addressed.

    All this nonsense about shutting of subsidies in April is too little too late.

    It all should have been guillotined the minute we got into power. If it is not fully up and running and intergrated with the grid its over. Too many developers ar rusjhing through extensions to existing windfarms to get around the cuts. Companies donit act in this way when they want to save money they just do it and restructure and the job, investor losses are a price sometimes that has to be paid.
    All the investors that have lost out over China have to take the hit just as with all the greencrap projects. Sometimes the markets go against you it is the world you have to live and deal in. This government had better man up and just do it.

    Out of topic.

    Why pour money into Faslane? Pull the boats out and reinvest it all within England. It will give Empress Nick something else to explain away to her country.

  15. Anonymous
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    “The government is in the process of seeking to control welfare bills. The two best ways to do so are to help more people into work and into better paid work, and to limit the numbers of new migrants coming to the country.”

    The likes of Jamie Oliver should be given short shrift. “My restaurants would fail without migrants”

    He’s not satisfied with BBC licenced free publicity ? He wants his work force subsidised by the taxpayer too ? All so he can sell over priced food to rich people ?

    As with supermarkets and coffee outlets – we have our own workforce crushed (dairy farmers) while these businesses are addicted to welfare for subsidy of their labour supply, either directly or indirectly.

    If this had not been allowed they would have demanded reform of our education and exam system and our people would by now have been so much better for it.

    More shocking is the type of coveted jobs with training that are going to newcomers nowadays. The French nor Germans would put up with it.

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 1, 2015 at 2:14 am | Permalink

      If Oliver’s operation is truly free standing then we ought to find the minimum salary of each worker at his restaurants at £35k pa. This is what a person needs to be earning in order to put back into the system rather than taking out of it. Otherwise the public is bearing the burden of his business, or any other that would fail without immigration of unskilled people.

      The biggest and worst managed of the government budgets is welfarism and in work top-ups. It dwarfs everything else.

  16. Kenneth
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    1. Leave the eu. This would spurn multiple savings beyond the saving from the subscription

    2. Restrict benefits to the destitute and genuinely disabled

    3. Charge a £bond to non-UK passport holders coming into the country, refundable when they leave the UK

    4. Scrap the dole

    5. Phase out the state pension

    6. Stop most of the interference in housing market (housing benefit, mortgage subsidies)

    7. Stop most of the interference in the employment market (e.g. minimum wage which increases local authority and government department costs)

    8. Stop the interference in the media (convert the licence fee into a subscription, thus cutting out the cost of numerous court cases). This should also have the effect of stifling the propaganda that is the cause of much of this overspending

    9. Stop foreign wars and bring our armed forces back to patrol our borders

    10. Cancel HS2 and other vanity projects

    11. Charge criminals – and crucially their families – for the costs of jail, for victim compensation and for court costs and get the prisoners working so that they can pay back their debt

    …the list could go on.

    Basically we need to get the government out of free markets so that the economy can thrive and bolster our internal and external security.

    We need to stop the current system that favours the rich or idle at the expense of the poor and hard working. We need to give working people a chance.

  17. acorn
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    It really is worth studying the Public Sector Accounts (PSA). They tell you everything with politically “un-spun” numbers. It details how the Public Sector Net Cash Requirement, changes the Public Sector Net Debt. The latter also being the same as Private Sector Net Saving.

    Have a look at Table PSA 10, and see how much the government gets in from owning Banks. Imagine if the government owned all the commercial banks, or is that too socialist. 😉

    http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171778_411807.pdf

  18. Stephen Berry
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    JR: “I look forward to your ideas for ways to bring the bills down.”

    1. Network Rail should be sold off to the various train operating companies. Thus we would arrive at the solution the market had reached before nationalization. Why John Major and friends thought they could do better remains a mystery. Train companies have a vested interest in ensuring the lines are working and they don’t want to lose money.

    2. Close down the Department of Global Warming as there is no global warming.

    3. Close down the Department of Trade and Industry as it does not trade and is not very industrious.

    4. Aid to overseas countries should once more become a matter of private giving, so there’s another department which can go.

    5. Make the BBC licence fee voluntary. OK, I know you are going to say that this is not government spending, but this levy would not exist without government and it would bring my bills down.

    6. Get rid of ALL legal aid. Apart from saving money, there would be the further benefit and entertainment of seeing lawyers going on strike.

    7. Save on rockets and munitions by announcing that the UK will not bomb countries which have not bombed us first. That would also take the wind out of Mr Corbyn’s sails.

    There is more, much more which can be done. But that’s a start.

  19. Peter Stroud
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Surely it is time to scrap completely the Climate Change Dept. Green methods of energy production should cease to receive any government subsidies, and ideas such asCO2 capture and storage should be seriously reviewed. They are costing vast amounts of subsidy world wide,and there seems to be little visible progress. Hopefully, a fairly juniorc civil service scientist should be detailed to cover the climate change shindig in Paris, later in the year. Not the usual array of politicians.

  20. Lifelogic
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Ideas to bring bills down, simple fire the 50% of the state sector that do little or nothing of any use, inconvenience the productive or do positive damage. But before that reduce state sector pay offs to about 3 months pay. Then tax bloated state sector pensions to bring them into line with the private sector ones and get state sector remuneration down to private sector levels about 1/3 down pensions included.

    Also do not enter counter productive wars on a blatant lie or indeed at all.

  21. Bert Young
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    The most obvious expenditure to get rid of is the huge contribution to the EU . If this was an investment that produced a worthwhile return , I would not mind ; it merely encourages the continuation of a defunct body that has added nothing to our well-being .

    I am horrified to learn that Public Expenditure is to increase in real terms because it means administrative wastage through the Public Service regime . The isolation that has always existed in the Public Service sector has given it a protection from real life cost issues ; pension provisions , high wages and superfluous appointments have always been typical . It is only recently that Local Authorities decided to merge offices and the roles of Chief Executives – this rationale only came about because Central Government made a move .

    The initiative to “cut back” must come from Central Government ; if the experience is not there to understand what goes on in the spending sectors , then it has to be brought in from the outside – the use of unbiassed skills is the best way to go about this .

    Today I learn that Faslane is to receive a £500,000,000 boost to the submarine base . I am very much in favour of maintaining a nuclear submarine force in these uncertain times but not in maintaining it in Scotland . Only yesterday Gordon Brown was on his feet forecasting the break-up of the UK ; he mentioned the increasing threat of the SNP and the need for Scotland to have more control over its affairs . The Scottish thorn in our sides has not gone away ; this being the case surely means we should be more restrictive in where we allocate resources ; there are other locations equally as strategic as Faslane and diversifying our resources is , surely , a sensible thing to do .

    • alan jutson
      Posted August 31, 2015 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      Bert

      “Today I learn that Faslane is to receive a £500,000,000 boost…”

      This on top of the Hundreds of Millions of tax allowances for the North sea to encourage Gas and Oil exploration.

      Any safeguards or guarantee for any repayment should Scotland vote for independence within the next few years ?

      No thought not.

      Most Politicians as usual make absolutely hopeless negotiators.

      Its only the taxpayers money syndrome, plenty more where that came from !.

  22. agricola
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    I do not know whether public spending is a result of successive governments wishing to control our lives, or whether it is government departments, once created, having a compulsion to grow and enter into our lives whenever they can. All this is often done without addressing the real problems that face the population. Pay day Loan companies, supermarket induced obesity, and banks that charge the earth to borrowers but offer no return to savers. No doubt your contributors could add many more.

    I do know that the more government is involved in our lives , solving what they see as problems with gross inefficiency, the less likely are people to solve them themselves. It allows many to accept a lower level of achievement.

    I accept that the seriously disadvantaged, sick and disabled need to be cared for in a civilised society. Government usually manages to achieve a poor level of service for those who need it, and a sense of dependency among those who do not.

    The UK is in the middle of the high end countries that believe that government is good at running our lives, even though the news media is daily full of their failures. As a percentage of GDP the 2012 spending was:-

    UK 42.1%
    Austria 38.3
    Belgium 44.8
    France 47.0
    Germany 28.3
    Holland 42.2
    Norway 33.7
    Portugal 42.9
    Spain 32.6

    The countries I would like us to aim at emulating are:-

    Canada 17.4%
    USA 24.0
    Australia 26.3

    Why you may ask. I maintain that it is bad for ones self respect to be a dependant.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted September 4, 2015 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      Countries with a Federal structure have considerable State and Local government expenditure on top of the Federal spend. I think you will find that the USA slots into that category. And the German figure looks low – have you included expenditure by the Lander? I can well believe the French figure – in addition to their high taxes, they have extensive toll road charges. Ditto Italy.

  23. A.Sedgwick
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    The EU and Overseas “Aid” are two quick answers.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-3216507/Why-Dave-banned-anti-EU-campaigners-asks-ANDREW-PIERCE.html

    The charade continues.

  24. Antisthenes
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Leaving the EU would save 15 billion and savings from not having government restricted by EU rules, regulations and such things as CAP and CFP would undoubtedly save many billions more . Cutting the international aid budget in half would save something like 3.5 billions. Getting rid of diversity, PC snooper and 5 a day, and such like departments from both local and national governments would probably make savings that would surprise us.

  25. Gary
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    the govt will reap what it has sowed. Politicians get elected on promises and most of those promises involve handouts , to the point that taxation does not cover the handouts , borrowing is required.

    Now we have what politicians set out to achieve, a dependent electorate that would keep voting for the handouts. We are trapped down a blind alley of dependency with no easy way out. We have reached the point that every socialist govt eventually reaches. A govt that attempts to undo this won’t remain in govt.

    From a free market point of view, it is a delicious conundrum and we watch with relish the feckless dancing with the wreckless, to destruction.

  26. Bill
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    I also think the growth of bureaucracy is relentless. It stems from legislation which then is enacted by bureaucratic monitoring systems. Health & Safety is a bureaucratic industry. Equality & Diversity is another. Universities now appoint ‘equality & diversity’ officers and these set up committees and procedures. Instead of trusting staff to keep the law, there are now people inside the universities collecting data and pestering everyone else. Staff at universities in completing the HESA returns are asked about their sexuality and religion in what is surely an entirely unwarranted intrusion into private life. What other purpose can this information be used for than to set quotas?

    For myself, I would dismantle these unnecessary structures and starve them of resources.

    What is ironic is that a libertarian agenda actually diminishes human freedom.

  27. alte fritz
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    In the case of railways, I have noticed that on our local line which is being electrified, bus services are used at those times the line has to be closed. One sees the buses running empty. A rail journey by rail is efficient, but by bus it cannot be given that the bus must wind its way through to each station on the journey. I assume that Network Rail has to pick up the cost and there is a (changeable) legal obligation somewhere, but whoever does, this is pure waste. Experience shows that where waste is visible, there will also be waste harder to spot.

  28. Timaction
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Why can’t the legacy parties see that £26 billion on EU and foreign aid and rising just isn’t sensible? Your vanity projects for the benefit of foreign people just makes us all angry out here in the real world when you keep raising taxes, especially as you give away health, education and in and out of work benefits to anyone who chips up here. Then we have the ridiculous climate change nonsense……….
    The legacy parties are no longer fit for office.

  29. Tad Davison
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    It has been mooted that following China’s recent difficulties, she might not now wish to buy the debts of other nations, and that could make things difficult for any economies who follow the Krugman philosophy, and keep kicking the debt can down the road.

    In a reply to an earlier post, another contributor made the point about Greece and the way she’s now being pillaged (my word, but still appropriate). Is that the ultimate fate of every nation that fails to live within its means?

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

  30. ChrisS
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    I would like to question the proposed spending of £500m of English taxpayers money on the Faslane naval base and why we are continuing with the project to use it as a base for our entire submarine fleet.

    There can be little doubt that the SNP will go for another referendum when they score a landslide in the Scottish elections next year. Cameron will be unable to resist the call if they gain an electoral mandate for one.

    It therefore makes no sense to commit this sum of money now in what could be a foreign country in less than three years time.

    Far better to make the investment conditional on an SNP committment to keeping Trident and remaining within the Union.

    If Sturgeon will not commit to these two objectives, as seems likely, the Government should be making plans to shift both Naval shipbuilding and the entire submarine fleet to Portsmouth and Plymouth.

    Exposing SNP vulnerability on this subject will actually improve the chances of winning a second referendum and retaining the Union.

    The £500m should be spent in England !

    • sm
      Posted August 31, 2015 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      Re: Faslane.

      We ask the Scots devolved parliament to sign a lease of the land for that purpose on a rolling 50-99 year basis to the remainder of the UK for defense purposes. This would include unrestricted access and use of the base until expiry or such time mutual agreement can be made.

      That would help to enable investment & re-assure those who wish to remain in the Union.

      Then present the real dilemma of government back to the likes of the SNP.

      If the lease is not forthcoming we should not invest strategically in the base but begin to re-locate it to another part of the UK where we would seek a similar local assurance/treaty. This could encompass other needs and bases.

  31. CdBrux
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    State pensions need to be addressed. The triple lock needs ammendment to move away from the maximum of inflation, wages & 2.5% to maybe something like an average of inflation and wages or inflation if that is the higher of those two.

    I realise this will not go down well here and the Tories also had it in their election so rightly should not happen this parliament, but sooner rather than later the debate needs to start to prepare the ground.

    In the shorter term I would include some basic education and training of lean management techniques into the civil service at all levels and setting up a small reward schemes for those people / teams shown to have delivered sustainable improvements. To those that moan ‘it should be part of their jobs anyway’ all I can say is that in the private companies I have worked for all have had some version of this and to my mind encourages a mindset to look at improving efficiency / productivity / customer service. Infact taking a share of the proceeds of your endeavours should be the embodiment of good capitalism.

  32. oldtimer
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    DECC shoulld be closed and responsibility for essential functions transferred to the Business Dept or DEFRA as appropriate. The aid budget is much too high, encourages waste and spending on ill-considered schemes; it is said that there is a last minute, end-of-year rush to shovel cash to projects and/or institutions simply to “use up” the aid budget and that very expensive “consultants” are on hand to facilitate the distribution of the taxpayer funded largesse.

    Spending on “aid” attracts the same whiff of something not quite right as has spending and subsidies to combat “climate change”.

    Meantime it seems that motorists are to be clobbered, yet again, with outrageous levels of car tax from 2017; this will be especially damaging to the leading UK manufacturers of premium priced products which are the backbone of their current, highly successful export performance. Will politicians never learn?

  33. Grumpy Goat
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Housing would require less subsidy if we built a lot more houses, the government could help by allowing more development so that housing becomes affordable. It is simple supply and demand. Perhaps the governments long term aim should be to bring supply and demand in to balance and a target that a decent house could be bought with a mortgage of 2 and a 1/2 times the average salary plus deposit. ( London will always be a higher multiple)

    Agree cutting welfare bills, but cutting immigration will not really help, we need them too much now. NHS and old and folks home would be in a dire state without them, already some of the high tech industries of the future are suffering because of the governments ill thought out limits on immigration. If you are going to limit immigration better to better to stop immigrants bringing all their dependents to this country. Leave it to wife and immediate children if any, sorry parents and aged grand parents stay where they are, they are cost burden to the country.
    Europe does not cost that much, the overall benefits outweigh the cost typical comment of extreme Eurosceptic.

    NR would be better privatised or the structure of the Railways changed. The separation of track and Railway operating company (ROC) should be looked at again. Might be better if the ROC owned the track as well. A long franchise would allow them to invest. Note Railtrack did not cover itself in glory when track was privatised – deaths rose! Perhaps selling NR to the foreign pension funds who seem to be interested in buying infrastructure assets for long term income is a thought. At least it would get NR away and out of the UK debt calculations.

    Energy is not cheap,the UK has no cheap resources left. Fracking will be far more expensive than the USA . We are a far more crowded place, there will rightly be a large environmental cost placed on the producers. Coal is nasty stuff. best left in the ground, the highest CO2 emission etc. from any fossil fuel. Oddly solar, due to technology and economics of solar cell production is beginning to compete with fossil fuels

  34. ferdinand
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    You will know that in business the best budgets are zero based i.e they are not uplifts or reductions from previous year’s budgets but are calculated from scratch. -what has to be achieved, how is it to be achieved, what is the cheapest way to achieve it. The trouble is one gets the impression that none of the departments go back to basics but assume much of what happens is well founded. It probably isn’t.

  35. Iain Gill
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    Come on John you have asked this question many times before, and had many common sense replies, none of which I see being implemented.
    So start with reducing the “aid” budget, especially to countries with any of nuclear weapons, aircraft carriers, space programmes, etc
    Moving onto removing free school places to the children of families where nobody in the family is entitled to indefinite leave to remain in this country, and where reciprocal free schooling would not be provided to a similar British family in their home country. If they cannot afford to fund their childrens education don’t let them into this country in the first place.
    Then lets see remove free NHS from anyone not entitled to indefinite leave to remain in this country, or married to a Brit, or widow of marriage to Brit, who is from a country which would not provide free equivalent care to a Brit in their home country.
    Shut down all the “speed camera partnerships”.
    Shut down all education authorities, divide the education budget up amongst the number of children in the system and simply send the parents a cheque per child to spend as they like, and let the schools compete for parents custom.
    Restore incentives to work and save. So remove all barriers to claiming benefits from folk who have savings up to the value of the average house price if they are tenants. Increase benefits to those who have worked the majority of their adult life.
    Stop displacing Brits onto benefits by importing so many cheaper foreign workers, so for one radical cut back on intra company transfer visas.
    Increase the price of work visas significantly.
    Companies avoiding UK tax and paying tax in havens to be actively targeted.
    Stop funding wasteful useless NHS crap. Move to a state funded insurance model where the state gets out of owning and running providers of care, and simply gives patients a cheque to take to any provider they choose.
    Stop funding sink schools that have been sink schools for decades, come on if I know where they are the government should. They are a total and utter waste of public money. Send the children to boarding schools in New Zealand or whatever if we don’t have the capacity in decent schools.
    Ban the MOD from hiring retired military officers are freelancers working on their projects, as they are largely inappropriate for their roles and only there through the old boys net.
    Tax all MP’s for the benefit in kind of having access to private A & E rooms local to parliament, the extra GP access they have in London, the queue jumping which is routine when they need NHS secondary care.
    Split the BBC up and sell it to the highest bidders.
    Merge the RAF into the Army, and call it lets see the Army Air Corps, and remove one whole services layer of bureaucracy and admin.
    Allow anyone with a degree to practise as a lawyer.
    Scrap HS2
    Stop subsidising windmills.
    Kick illegal immigrants out of the country with vigour
    The obvious is so easy…

  36. English Pensioner
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Get rid of all the departments where they, or their equivalents didn’t exist in my youth.

    Do we really need a government department to deal with sports? Judging by some of the recent transfer fees, there is more than enough money in the sports business. Perhaps a Stamp Duty on transfer fees should be considered. Why do we need a department specifically to represent half of the population – women? The Post Office has been sold off, but are the Civil Servants concerned with the running of it still there in their jobs, perhaps “regulating” it? Does the Ministry of Defence need more people now than were apparently in the separate Ministries had when we were at war?

    It is time the government went through every department and each group within that department with a fine-tooth comb and asked “Is this really something a government needs to get involved in?.

  37. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    Information, or at least a personally trusted story, carried over the drifts of time, tells that Trident is not all it is cracked up to be. I was and am led to believe that America would never trust nuclear weapons to be independently in the hands of any nation, if it had any leverage which in the case of the UK it undoubtedly has and had.

    Oh I’ve seen the UK documentaries on TV with camera and commentary, walk us through a British nuclear sub. Hardly the kosher procedure for a country such as ours defending its secrecy. Imagine Soviet TV giving a tour of a USSR nuclear submarine: a NATO dream within a dream within a dream.

    The real question is: where has the money gone which was and is earmarked for the Trident programme? Obviously not on the desert boots which were required for the Iraq Campaign as ordinary boots melted in the heat, nor on the on-board fresh water supplies for our sailors on our aircraft carriers (s?).

    An Ex-member of the Conservative Party, Mr Enoch Powell, said on Question Time or was it “Frost” that: “A country lives on its myths and in the case of Britain on myths of Empire ” . Who knows what he meant?
    But Public Spending needs outside independent scrutiny for sure.

  38. sm
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    Sorry John – its pointless unless until we enable reform where it counts.

    Bring on the referendum and allow us to exit, as the inertia is paralysing.

    EU reforms or more likely exit.
    Parliament reforms- reductions in MP’s.
    HOL- reductions & representation by actual votes cast / weights and or abolition.

    If we vote to stay in the EU disband parliament entirely and take orders direct from Berlin.

    More sharing of backoffice functions in Councils in London etc.

    Cap public sector pensions at a capitalized value of £1m, no more contributions from the state and no further tax relief. Impose max wage ratios % ceilings in public sector. All exceptions to be approved by PM, with expiry dates.

    Reduce Housing benefit by:
    Reduce migration *of factor of 10 & build more new housing to ensure builds exceed demand. e.g. Build Boris Island Airport with road/rail/ferry terminals and use Heathrow / CityAirports for housing.

    Start charging border crossing fees to partially fund better security at borders, share these funds with the bordering countries on a prorata basis agreed to be spent on border security.

    Get control of the NHS so it spend only on legitimate UK needs and deducts all funds not recovered from the foreign aid budgets or EU.

    Buyout the PFI in most efficient manner or expropriate.

    Restart national funded training for NHS , contract so as to make it repayable if they leave the NHS within x years depending on cost & time needed to retrain others and anticipated UK needs.

    Do this for any technical shortage skills in the UK. Collect a levy from all relevant industry parties that benefit. Similar lock in as NHS.

    Re-target foreign aid to preventing mass migrations backed by UN & local forces.

    Re-engagement with Russia, China, US to resolve problems not cause them by accident or design. e.g. EU expansion is so crass without full knowledge & explicit agreement of the peoples.

  39. Ken Moore
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps we could start by having a Conservative government again rather than one that wishes to emulate Mr Blairs ?.

    Mr Redwood’s admission that the welfare bill goes up in step with growth in the economy is perhaps an admission that a)growth is being bought by recycling borrowed money and b)many of the new jobs wouldn’t exist without subsidy in the form of even more in work benefits.

    Please explain why welfare payments are increasing if the economy is really growing and jobs are being created ??

    Reply Uprating of benefits

    • Ken Moore
      Posted September 2, 2015 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      Reply Uprating of benefits

      Thanks Mr Redwood,
      Even prior to the banking crash of 2007 commentators were saying that welfare spending is out of control and unsustainable… recent spending increases are nothing short of reckless!.
      We had a decade of people becoming trapped on benefits, poor health and deprivation…yet your party learned nothing from this and have just tinkered with the system.
      Why is your party not rolling back the big nanny state model beloved by Mr Brown and his politically correct friends ?. What is the point of your party if the leadership agrees with almost everything New Labour did?

  40. Mark
    Posted September 1, 2015 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    “Round up the usual suspects.”

  41. Mike Wilson
    Posted September 1, 2015 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    There is no incentive in the public sector to reduce budgets. Everyone responsible for a budget wants to increase theirs. The idea of saving money is anathema to most managers – it reduces their little empire.

    I know of one public sector organisation that replaced perfectly serviceable carpets – just to spend the budget before year end. This type of behaviour is endemic and it is time structures were put in place to stop throwing other people’s money around like confetti.

    Look at the Speaker and his £173 chauffeur driven journey of less than a mile. No effort is expended trying to cut this out. Look at all the new Lords – it’s as if the government thinks it has unlimited money to waste. Perhaps it does – just keep racking up the debts for future generations to pay off.

  42. A different Simon
    Posted September 1, 2015 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    John ,

    The current refugee crisis is being painted as a short term emergency .

    I believe this is incorrect and the precedent has been set that the EU will accept anybody who makes sufficient effort to come .

    Are there any signs that the commons will debate the increase of migration towards 1 million people per year ?

    Reply Yes, it will be raised once the Commons is back – it has been frustrating that there has been no Commons for so many weeks when this matters.

    • A different Simon
      Posted September 1, 2015 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      John ,

      Thank you .

      Historically there have been annual migrations from parts of Africa to southern Israel and Europe .

      My concern is that this might turn into a mass relocation .

      – A couple of droughts in Africa and Western leaders would be claiming it was global warming and that we are morally obligated to admit everyone .

      – The U.N. agenda for the 21st century which arose out of the Rio Earth Summit calls for populations to be moved to designated human habitation areas . I suspect Europe is one of these .

      For all I know this may already have been decided upon at the highest international levels .

      If it is policy , courtesy dictates that parliament and British citizens should at least be told of the fait a complis .

  43. Pete
    Posted September 2, 2015 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Close the following departments and do not reassign their duties-
    Energy and Climate Change
    Business Innovation and Skills
    Culture Media and Sport
    International Development
    All these departments are easily done without as all functions they perform cause more harm than good or, at best, are completely ineffective.
    Halt any and all subsidies for Network Rail, Royal Mail and their like. Privatise them and either their functions would be continued as a viable business or people would just do without them.
    That would be a good start for the first year.

  44. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 12:56 am | Permalink

    We could sell off Network Rail and rethink the way that we run a privatised rail service. We could sell off all of the Lloyds and RBS shares.

    If there is any implicit subsidy to the banking industry, get rid of it. Are there still banks that are too big to fail? If so, propose a minimum for their liquid assets to loan book ratio.

    Jeremy Hunt, in a recent newspaper article, has pointed out that some hospitals pay 20 times more for some routine items as others. He has hinted that this is because some hospitals give too much access to sales reps. So act on that.

    The retired elderly are the only group not to share the post recession misery so far. There is plenty of low hanging fruit – end the triple lock, treat perks and concessions as income in kind and subject them to income tax, as indeed pensions are. Raise the retirement age to 70. NHS to give palliate care only to over 75 males.

    Pay housing subsidy to people, don’t attach it to properties. Once the kids have grown up, you lose your subsidy. Sell off all social housing to sitting tenants or to private landlords.

    Review foreign aid expenditure. Bear in mind that 60% of the budget gets spent on feasibility studies and restructuring studies (with the likes of KPMG getting the work).

    Do we need a Business Department? Do we need any subsidies to business (in olden days to agriculture, now to the film industry)?

    The BBC is too expensive. They had a study to reduce 9 layers of management to 7. That study is now obsolete. The next study will be into how to reduce 10 layers of management to 7.

    Don’t give legal aid to suspected terrorists.

    Scrap HS2.

  • 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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