Settling the UK’s finances

The government has put the finances of the Union and of local government into play. It is time to think of how they can be remodelled in line with the promises made. It is also time to think of England.

The government has pledged to Scotland the right to collect and spend its own Income tax along with its property tax, Air Passenger duty  and a portion of its VAT revenues. Northern Ireland now has control of its own Corporation Tax and is cutting the rate. English local government is being offered control of its own business rates.

None of this is easy to mix into the present complex arrangements for transferring large sums  of money from the richer to the poorer parts of the country, whilst assuring common levels of service and benefit payments around the Union. It starts to undermine the proposition that most  tax revenue wherever collected  is a national resource, to be allocated according to need. As the government allows Scotland to collect and spend much more of its own revenue it will have to reduce the block grant it normally pays to allow for the extra revenues. It needs a system of adjustment which leaves Scotland with an incentive to grow its revenues, and with some risks to spending if it misjudges the level of tax the Scottish economy can withstand. After the adjustments Scotland will still be part of the UK and will expect some underlying insurance to its revenues from the rest of the Union. The rest of the UK will expect Scotland to take some of the risks once it is responsible for more of the revenues. The government’s illustrative projections stress the mechanism has not yet been finalised. Scotland needs to benefit from changes of tax policy which produced more revenue, and to have less to spend if they chose to collect less. The aim is not, however, to make Scotland worse off than the current settlement by withdrawing a disproportionate amount of UK grant.

So what of England? Once again England misses out on the devolution that Scotland will enjoy. English MPs need to be a collective voice for England, so that we do not end up with a situation where Scotland enjoys the benefits of any extra revenue it raises, but is insured against all revenue loss by the taxpayers of England. More independence must mean some loosening of the financial guarantee.

The English business rate also poses big problems over transfers. Not even the most optimistic Council supporter thinks each Council can collect and spend all its business rates. The City of London Corporation would have a huge endowment of income which would far exceed what it wishes to  spend on its limited number of inhabitants. Councils outside London and the South East would not be willing to cut their services to the level that their business rate revenue allowed. There will have to be some new system of removing some business rate from the places and areas with substantial business  rate income and sending the money under a formula to the areas not so endowed.

One of the binding ties of the Union is the pooling of revenues and the pattern of spending based on need. It is the UK’s unwillingness to enter similar arrangements with the rest of the EU that lies behind our wise judgement to stay out of the Euro. We now have to answer some difficult questions nearer to home. In  the sterling union how much money do we need to continue to transfer from rich to poor? How far can we go in rowing back from pooled revenues?  The more each part of our Union looks at its own revenue, the more there is likely to be argument between the different countries of the UK over the fairness and balance of spending and revenue.

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47 Comments

  1. Mark B
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    So the the path to the destructiob of the UK and in particular, England has been set. You only need to look at Spain and the situatiob with Catalan to see the future.

    The Catalan region is the wealthiest part of Spain and naturally they want to keep more of their money for themsleves. The same was eith Scotland when the oil price was high. They too wanted more of what they saw was their money. But they have gone very quite of late on that I needless to say any changes in formulas need to take into account any falls inrevenue the Scots have.

    For my country, England, once again we are not being consulted on our future. I am being told what to have rather than be asked. This is not democracy, this is dictatorship. It is so sad that no English MP, with the exception of our kind host, will stand up for the rights of the very people that put them into power. But then again, if the voters of England were of a mind to have the same as the Scots and threatend to vote accordingly, then perhaps we would.

    PS I am still fuming over giving the Scots more power thanks to Three Stooges in a kilt.

  2. Mike Stallard
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    I really think the Scottish SNP thought that they could get away with doing their own tax (nice and low to bring in those votes!), running into £50,000,000,000 of debt, and then being bailed out – so they could blame the Tory Government for austerity!
    What surprises me is that we won the referendum and that all those Scots who are not completely befuddled with Socialism do not vote Conservative! Why not?

    • yosarion
      Posted December 17, 2015 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      They moved to England a long time ago rather than stand and fight, you only have to look behind the doors of No 10. The problem is they come out in support for their Homeland because they have Scottish blood running through their veins, but ignore their hypocrisy with gusto when it comes to giving the English equal rights. there seems to be one part of the Empire the Scots will never give up, its called England.

  3. Richard1
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Justice for England absolutely demands there must not be any underwriting or revenue shortfall resulting from bad choices by the high level of devolution particularly in Scotland. Let’s go for a basic rate of all taxes throughout the union -20% eg for IT CGT, IHT, VAT etc, and then allow devolved nations to top up – including England. Or else set them higher and allow devolved nations to reduce or increase them.

    A good thing to come out of this could be competition. We might find the leftist SNP govt wanting and needing to cut taxes to boost incentives. Conservatives in Wales are similarly calling for such sensible measures.

  4. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    So local politicians on anything from 14 to 35% electoral turnout of which their own individual percentage of the whole of the eligible voters can be as little as 10% . That is, only one in ten people have marked their cross at the side of a someone they do not actually know ( or want to know for that matter ) are going to be given huge wads of cash and allowed to make big mistakes with it.

    And the local people will be expected to cough up for perhaps decades to cover ongoing lack of growth, empty factories, poorer and poorer facilities, and possible negative equity on their homes resulting in marital breakdown with children seeing their fathers once every other weekend if mothers will allow it and the fathers spending the other weekend dressed as either Batman or Robin climbing tall civic buildings with banners sloganed in praise of Vladimir Gideonovich Osbornovich., the People’s Champion.

    Mr Corbyn is the most intelligent, mature and experienced of the gormless lot who will be in charge of the regions. Shouldn’t that tell Mr Osborne to have a re-think , make a U-Turn the size of a giant toilet-pan connector? If not he should be deported and made to live in the SNP stronghold of Glasgow where he (would not be well received ed)

  5. JoeSoap
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    This sounds like an impending mess.
    Business rates are the worst type of tax. They’re not linked to profit or ability to pay and nothing tangible is received in return for them by those who pay. We even have to pay the council separately to collect our rubbish bins. The Tories have now added the final blow-the absence of democracy. Businesses don’t get a vote in local elections so have no say over how much the local council wants to raise. The solution, as you say, is set up your business where people don’t live, and live where they do. The fact that this means folk travelling hither and yon to work creating more congestion is just another silly spin-off.
    A totally stupid plan.

    Now, what was the point in giving Scotland the right to set its own tax? All that fuss and expense with separate Parliaments, Vows and hiss and spit from Brown and the like and what do they do on the largest financial decision of all?
    Follow the rest of the UK!
    How about they set their rates BEFORE ours next time, which will at least gives us a chance to vary our rates knowing theirs already? At least we might use our independence from the SNP run Scottish Parliament to use our intelligence without simple plagiarism!

  6. Antisthenes
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Devolution although a very good thing in theory will in practice bring numerous problems with it. One which is already observable is the disparity between different countries that make up the union where standards of services differ. The NHS is a prime example Welsh people if they can prefer to go to England to receive their healthcare as the Welsh NHS is much worse than England’s. So more devolution to countries, regions and cities is going to form a greater patchwork of good and bad place to to live and work in dependent on the quality of the administration. Let us hope the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.

    How the the financial arrangements are dealt with can be easy if we and I hate to say this take a leaf out of the EU’s rule book. EU member states pay according to means into the EU budget the same system can be applied in the UK. This would have the addition advantage of sorting out the EVEL question and the house of lords problem. England would have to have it’s own parliament(the present house of commons would do) like the other countries in the union and there would have to be a UK parliament (why not remove the lords and site it there).

  7. DaveM
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Unbelievably complex and messy.

    JR: “So what of England? Once again England misses out on the devolution that Scotland will enjoy.”

    And will continue to do so until England has its own Parliament freed from the UK Parliament where opposition MPs are more concerned with party politics and defeating the govt (even to the detriment of their own English constituents) than they are with ensuring England, and ergo their constituents, get a fair deal.

    • DaveM
      Posted December 17, 2015 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      PS. Why not just do it how Angela Merkel wants it done? That seems to be how it works these days for your erstwhile leader and his defecit-obsessed sidekick.

  8. agricola
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    The question is, from the total tax take, should the government aim to spend the same amount per capita throughout the UK. If so arriving at the precise sum will not be easy given that each component part of the UK is operating under different tax rules. There seems to be every potential for producing a dogs breakfast and much winging from areas claiming not to be getting their fair share.

    How do we cope with a Scotland that refuses to change it’s tax take to cover it’s socialist spending, but expects England to make up the difference. They, it would appear, can choose their lifestyle of free everything and anticipate that England will pay for it.

    PS. What has happened to English Votes for English Laws. Is the grass growing around it , en estilo Cameron.

    Reply We put through English votes last month.

    • JoolsB
      Posted December 17, 2015 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

      English votes for English laws didn’t make it to the long grass because it never got off the ground. Cameron ratted on his promise of English votes for English laws, a sop and an insult in itself. Instead he gave the outgoing Hague the job of watering it down to an even greater sop and insult – English vetoes for English laws. MPs are taking us English for fools by still referring to it as English votes. English vetoes doesn’t allow MPs with English seats to propose legislation for England or allow them alone to vote on proposed legislation for England. It merely allows them to veto any proposed legislation for England before all 650 MPs from across the UK then get to vote on it. It’s totally meaningless because not only are MPs with Scots, Welsh & NI seats still allowed to vote on English only matters but as we all know UK MPs with English seats will always tow the party line first and doing what’s in the best interests of England will always be at the bottom of their list if on it at all as their actions have proved.

  9. Ian wragg
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Scotland makes up less than 10% of the UK population but appears to have more than 50% say in government policy.
    Who is going to be responsible for the £50 billion overspend by Holyrood.
    They are still enjoying free university education and care fees underwritten by the English taxpayers.
    Yes England needs its own voice but of course it will never get one

  10. agricola
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Congratulations all round on getting “Fracking” off the ground. Let’s hope it puts an end to the Nimby tendency and heads us to cheaper power for industry and home. Apart from the opposition of political groups like the RSPB, most fears stem from not understanding what directional drilling involves. Any MP wishing to inform him/herself should go down to Wyche Farm to the west of Poole harbour and get a balanced view, and realise that it’s impact on the environment can be minimal.

  11. The Prangwizard
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    It is not convincing to claim to be in favour of fairness (an indistinct word in any event) for England while refusing to campaign for full and true democracy for England, and by that I mean a true English parliament, much repeated here by myself and others in recent years. Half-hearted, half-baked ideas put forward by others have failed, and failed miserably, again as forecast. Weakness such as has been displayed is always exploited by opponents, and I suspect that almost no-one outside Westminster nor many in it have understood recent events surrounding the ‘English Laws….’ nonsense.

    It is false to claim to speak for England when always ensuring that when times get difficult preservation of the Union comes first. We’ve seen how the Scots behave in the UK parliament, they have no respect for Unionists. Why should the English?

    We the people of England and in particular the indigenous English ask only for the same rights as just about every other nation and people enjoy, recognition and an unambiguous identity, and the encouragement to promote it.

  12. JoosB
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    As long as Cameron and Osborne are at the helm, England has no chance of getting a fairer deal let alone parity with the rest of he UK. More power to local government and city & regions devolution deal certainly won’t do that nor the even more insulting English vetoes for English laws. Their contempt for England becomes more and more palpable by the day.

    ” The aim is not, however, to make Scotland worse off than the current settlement by withdrawing a disproportionate amount of UK grant.”

    Why not? Why should Scotland (or Wales & NI) continue to get £1,700 per head more than the English? The Scots Parliament announced yesterday that council tax would be frozen for the ninth year running compared to Osborne’s 2% rise in England to pay for social care. England’s largess is already paying for their free tuition fees, free prescriptions, free hospital parking, free eye tests, free dental checks, free care for the elderly etc. etc. etc. (similar in Wales & NI), all things denied to the English on grounds of cost. What have any of your Tory colleagues done to demand an end to this inequality and blatant discrimination John? Absolutely nothing.

    England under these two England hating, Euro loving socialists and the party calling themselves Conservative is no better off than it was under Labour. Hopefully England is beginning to stir and will eventually wake up from it’s apathy and demand it’s own parliament with the same powers as Scotland. That and only that will deliver fairness for England.

  13. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Risks to benefits:

    Prime tax generators depart Scotland?
    Russia/Arabia maintains oil price low for 7 years?
    Energy costs drive out business?
    National Debt apportionment?
    Complexity of arrangements?
    And so on…..

    We’ll have to wait and see I suspect as the suicidal tendency reveals. Personally I wouldn’t wait for it…just leave. However, I would expect that Scotland will leave us with big problems either directly or via the troublesome EU ultimately. Failing states in the North along with the South. Immigrants might wonder why they are shortly to suffer in the very cold north.

  14. Old Albion
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    So England continues to insure Scotland’s largesse, whilst being ignored. Nothing new there.

  15. Mark
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 9:43 am | Permalink
    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 17, 2015 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      Indeed it is a scandal one of very many under this and the last few governments.

      Does the government really believe that it is easier to formulate and negotiate policy if it conceals factual information from the public? Of course they do.

      No ifs no buts about that. After Cameron and Osborne do not want to hold a fair EU referendum where the people know all the facts do they?

  16. Graham
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Let me guess eh eh

    England to end up increasing its subsidy to other parts.

    Yep that’s it – job done.

  17. alan jutson
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Not really helpful I know, but what a bloody complicated mess politicians have made of the UK in the past couple of decades.

    The simple solution is for each Country to have exactly the same devolved powers, if that is the way they want to go.

    Absolutely no point in having your own Parliament or assembly if you do not want to run some of your own affairs.

    Thus when you have your own Parliament then accept responsibility for decisions you make, do not come knocking at someone else’s door for handouts.

    Scotland, Wales and Northern Island want to have their own power so let them have it and the responsibility that goes with it, as long as England has the same.

    The solution is so blindingly obvious, only incapable politicians would argue against it.

    Keep plugging away John.

  18. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Wildly off-topic, JR, so briefly – reading this article about the marginally increasing fertility rate in Germany:

    http://www.finfacts.ie/Irish_finance_news/articleDetail.php?Germany-s-fertility-highest-since-reunification—but-world-s-lowest-432

    (words left out ed) it crossed my mind that Japan has a very similar demographic problem to Germany, and yet unlike the German government the Japanese government is not publicly inviting unlimited numbers of Syrian refugees to come and live and work and breed in Japan, in fact the exact opposite:

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/30/japan-says-it-must-look-after-its-own-before-allowing-syrian-refugees-in

    “Japan says it must look after its own before allowing in Syrian refugees”

    “Prime minister Shinzo Abe rejects criticism of a policy that has seen only 11 people given asylum in the past year”

    Why should that be? I always think of the Japanese as being an intelligent people, so can’t they see the huge advantages of taking in a few million Syrian refugees?

    • Mitchel
      Posted December 18, 2015 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      Why have immigrants when you can have robots to offset the impact a declining workforce.

  19. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Off Topic:
    17/12/2015 . Approx 9.35am BBC Parliament: ” Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Questions.”
    Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss, MP . Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs was asked a direct question in the House by a Labour MP where approximately 40 more MPs were present.

    Paraphrasing he asked:

    “How many of the culled badgers were subsequently tested to see if they had Bovine TB?”
    Ms Truss did not address the question whatsoever in any way shape or form in her reply.

    Though I am a lifelong keen walker/hiker, I have never actually seen a badger. Nor a fox for that matter. Nor Ms Truss answer the question.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 17, 2015 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      Oxford PPE again and Cameron token A lister, so not much hope she would be very sensible. Still she did go to a comp and took maths and additional maths A levels it seems. So one assumes she is rather brighter than the average Tory MP. Grades were not specified on WIKI but I assume not too good as she would surely not have gone on to do PPE otherwise.

      But you do not get on in politics by answering sensible questions put to you.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 17, 2015 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

        Still remarkably few women actually study double maths A levels now, especially at a comp. She cannot be any worse than Cameron and Osborne can she at least she should be numerate?

        • CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
          Posted December 18, 2015 at 12:51 am | Permalink

          She is probably in the same boat as most of us. Never actually seen a badger. There used to be a drawings of one in Rupert Annuals. In the 1973 books he was called Bill Badger. I can’t remember if he had a name at all in earlier years though I vaguely remember a Mrs Badger. She must have died by 1973 because one did not divorce except in secret in those days but never ever in Rupert books. It was unthinkable.
          You would think Mr Speaker would give Ms Truss a Rupert Book so she knows how to carry on.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted December 18, 2015 at 7:35 am | Permalink

            Did we not have one as Chancellor during Majors ERM fiasco? Giving away billions of our taxes to George Soros and others.

            “Today has been a difficult day in the markets”, “je ne regret rien” and all that guff, yet not even the decency to resign after the governments total incompetence?

        • rick hamilton
          Posted December 18, 2015 at 2:37 am | Permalink

          Only one member of the Cabinet has a degree in anything remotely scientific and that’s Geography. Another studied Agriculture which is at least practical. All the others have degrees in subjects which are largely a matter of opinion, and I include Economics in that. Not an engineer in sight, naturally.

          No wonder the UK is now miles behind in technology and gave away its lead in nuclear long ago, in exchange for social engineering.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted December 18, 2015 at 7:41 am | Permalink

            Still they do have so many ways of avoiding answering questions and skirting around the issues. Above all the love decreasing investment by increasing taxes on the productive and pissing down various drains. Especially the absurd greencrap/wind/bio/PV religion – do they not even have one sensible engineer or physicist to guide them. Peter Lilley seems the best they have.

          • Margaret
            Posted December 19, 2015 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

            There are far more learning opportunities than a few years at university. Why is everyone so obsessed with these few years? People who know a lot about science have never stepped foot in a university. Why give credit to these over bloated egos who think that all knowledge in the world stems from them.

  20. margaret
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    The trouble with asking Scotland to take more risks means that the level of protection from the union will be insufficient.
    I cannot see thriving businesses giving up any of their monies readily to pay for non performers.

  21. English Pensioner
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    My objection to the transfer of powers and money to local authorities is that it will cost taxpayers/ratepayers a lot more. You just have to look at the existing salaries paid to local council staff at the higher levels; Chief Executives getting more than Civil Servants who have comparable jobs; huge payoffs when they ‘resign’ and then go elsewhere. With more powers and bigger budgets, the salaries will increase, justified by the need to get ‘the best possible staff in a competitive field’. Local government will become like the NHS with highly paid executives flitting from one council to another getting golden ‘hellos’ and ‘goodbyes’ at every opportunity.
    Before it does anything more, the government needs to reign in these salaries and perks for all public employees from the NHS though County Councils to the various Government Agencies. Perhaps a common independent recruitment organisation, like the Civil Service Commission should be introduced.

    • forthurst
      Posted December 17, 2015 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

      “Before it does anything more, the government needs to reign in these salaries and perks for all public employees from the NHS though County Councils to the various Government Agencies.”

      Exactly. It is high time the government set pay grades for all civil servants including quangocrats and those masquerading as officers of 100% taxpayer owned, limited liability (ho-hum) companies. They seem happy with poor performance and blatant malfeasance (often of whole departments for decades) but woe betide anyone (English) accused of thoughtcrime; they are booted out, then sue, then get massive awards for unfair dismissal.

  22. lifelogic
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    We should reduce transfers from richer areas to poorer areas, it distorts the market and encourages the wrong business activities in these regions. Let these regions find the industries that can stand on their own feet. Stop distorting the market in this damaging way, a simple safely net for the very few who really cannot work is all that is needed.

    Why should people in London subsidise postal services in remote part of Scotland for example? Let them use the internet and scanners. Get rid of national wage levels, different regions clearly need different wage levels in order to compete. They have different living costs after all.

    In a similar way the absurd government green grants create pointless industries, diverting people from real productive activity, rolling out duff technology all over the place. Why on earth has this government not gone through with the full cuts they proposed even they were not enough? It was about the only good think they have suggested since almost getting rid of HIP packs.

    R&D first if you get it working and it is financially competitive then roll it out no subsidy is needed if it works. Rolling out duff “betamax” technology with government grants is hugely damaging to everyone’s standards of living.

  23. bigneil
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    If we can stop our wondrous leader and his pal ozzy throwing billions to every foreign country so the dictator/despot can have a luxurious life of even further corruption things would be better. A lot of these dubious characters also come in a club called the EU. Cameron wants to be sat at the top table so he is selling this country and its people to hell to achieve it. The more episodes of “Meet the Psychopaths” I watch, the more I worry.

  24. Bert Young
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    “Fairness” not “Unfairness” to all is what we expect our MPs to deliver ; distribution of revenue must not be biassed to Scotland at the expense of the English . If the Scots want to hold sway over what goes on over the border , so be it , if they want to distribute in a different way to us , so be it , but , when it comes to doing so at our expense , let them get lost !

    My attitude to the Scots and Scotland has changed dramatically since the voice of Sturgeon has penetrated the TV screens . Hatred seems to be deep within whatever she has said about us , so , if that is what the Scots want – let them go their own way and discover what it is like to let the baby out with the bath water . The Barnett formula was never intended to be a perpetual economic solution . Poor and poorish people in England ought not to suffer to benefit the Scots ; there is absolutely no reason why the Scots should be different to the Welsh , N.Irish or the English ; if we are in a Union that is exactly what it should be and mean .

  25. majorfrustration
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    From your final paragraph the process appears to be more a system to drive the Union apart than ensure its future. Lets hope that England does not become the “Bank of last resort” – or is that a hope too far.

  26. hefner
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    HMRC and DWP are retaining figures on EU migrants. Top secret information to be seen only by the Government. Who on this site will be the first to say that it is the EU preventing it from releasing them?

  27. Know-Dice
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Slightly side of current topic:

    JR you really need to put these people straight…

    http://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/news/local/debate-told-eu-has-been-vital-to-investment-1-7629912

    “North West Euro MP Afzal Khan and Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden were on hand to answer questions following the discussion on ‘Why the EU Matters’ held at St John’s Church in St John’s Square.

    The resort has benefited from European funding including £14m invested in the purchase and refurbishment of Blackpool Tower by Blackpool Council.

    Speaking after the event Mr Khan said: “Being in the EU brings huge advantages to Blackpool and the whole of the North West, including crucial investment in things like the Winter Gardens and Blackpool Tower and the thousands of jobs which come from increased trade with the EU.”

    Just think how much money could be invested in Blackpool (and the rest of the UK) if 10 Billion wasn’t shipped off to the EU each year?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 17, 2015 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

      Indeed they are clearly bonkers. The last thing Blackpool needs (a town I know quite well) is EU money, doubtless restricted to expenditure of some complete and utter nonsense, green crap or other EU group think insanity.

      Leave the money with the people who earned it, they will use it far, far better than the EU or the UK state almost every single time.

  28. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    MP’s Security Package..announced formally today in Parliament by Rt Hon Chris Graying MP, Leader of the House of Commons and Lord President of the Council.

    He says it will be a comprehensive package and will cover security of MP’s staff too. I’m sure they ( the staffs ) will feel most comforted with the measures and can now discard their broad thick-steel metal neckbands.

    Mr Graying,mums the word, kept deathly quiet about Security for petrol pump attendants, online supermarket delivery drivers ( and their families who could be taken hostage to ensure the driver does as he is told by those of groups of unspeakable names ).
    Just in time for Christmas for MP’s… etc ed

  29. ian
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Looks a mess,

  30. Iain Gill
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    I hope the chancellors “Northern powerhouse” nonsense dies a death, the last thing we need is more power in the hands or another layer of politicians and bureaucrats. What we really need is buying power handing over to individual citizens in heathcare and schooling and so much more, and whenever possible. Force regional variations to be due to customer demand and not top down decisions by unaccountable public bodies.

    As for how money gets split we need to move to a simpler tax and benefits system, basically do away with the benefits systems and just pay everyone a minimum amount via tax refunds paid monthly. And that makes tax a much more gradual burden and encourage everyone to work if they can. And as for the regional splits we need to do more than shuffle money around, I am tired of us throwing oceans of money at the worst hospitals and worst sink schools, money really is not the answer, we need a system that helps citizens reward success and genuinely choose.

    And yea lets have an English independence referendum!

  31. David Price
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    What a farce. Will the Scottish government submit their books for audit and will the UK government demand they pass muster before squeezing yet more taxes from England to cover Scotland’s shortfalls?

  32. adam
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    Having the SNP in Westminster is like Nigel Farage being in Brussels, it appears to serve no purpose to anybody.

  33. Maureen Turner
    Posted December 18, 2015 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    When the PM went into Coalition in 2010 he just walked off the stage as far as Scotland was concerned. He rarely came up here north of the border and even in the run up to the Separation referendum he only paid one visit and that was to introduce the Governor of the BoE to a selected group of economists re the ramifications of Scotland continuing to use Sterling. The PM didn’t speak at all.

    It was only when it looked as though a break-up was a possibility the PM started throwing money around and if it hadn’t been in part for the long neglected Con. Party voter Ms.
    Sturgeon would now possibly be in negotiation re Scotland’s membership of the EU.

    I wish some of you who refer to us Scots as whining scroungers would give a thought to the devastation of our industrial belt in the sixties such as shipbuilding, steel manufacture and a huge chunk of heavy engineering. This was mainly the result, not of endless strikes as is always trotted out, but production costs being uncompetitive when compared to South Korea and India. The low wages paid in these countries being the main factor. Add to this Scotland’ huge fishing industry, along with England the largest in the world, handed over to the EU plus the CAP which meant we were subsidising French farmers whose scrubby little patches of green wouldn’t even qualify for the title of small holding in the UK.

    The good news for Scotland are the contracts to build two naval vessels on the Clyde, a total upgrade of the Trident base at Faslane and the building of an aircraft carrier (probably two) at Rosyth.

    Let’s hope this is the beginning of the industrial regeneration of Scotland which would go a long way to halt the SNP and its aim to split the Union but it will take our PM to begin to govern the country in a way that makes all aware they are equally important.

    If we can cut ourselves free of the EU and its stifling restrictions there is no reason why we can’t be a prosperous sovereign nation in charge of our own destiny.

  • 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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