Are we all in this together?

Since 2010 the government has been keen to reduce inequality and to promote more work and better paid jobs for the unemployed and the lower paid. It has pursued a policy of taking more and more low earners out of income tax altogether. It has removed Stamp Duty for lower priced properties and cut the tax on anything under £1 million. It has provided savings schemes which offer incentive and top up to savers in modest financial circumstances. It has raised the Minimum Wage and provided pension saving plans for the lower paid.

The Equality Trust concludes that “Compared to other OECD countries the UK has a relatively equal distribution of wealth”. Whilst drawing attention to above average income inequality, the figures show that income inequality has fallen since 2010. The Gini coefficient of inequality has fallen from 36 to 34. The main purpose of the welfare reforms is to make working more worthwhile, and to help more people into employment. The economy has generated a large number of new jobs since 2010, and this has helped  bring down unemployment and tackle inequality. Tax on the richest has risen.

Concentrating on educational reform is the  best way of reducing inequality in the longer term. Freezing fuel duty has helped all those who need to travel to work by car, and all who need vehicles for their work.

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67 Comments

  1. Posted March 19, 2016 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    If only what you say were true. You fail to mention the coast amount of tax rises and raids on pensions, low interest rates for savers and pensioners while helping the banks get richer on the back of the taxpayer, read Lord King’s book. No real reform to the banks. The Lib Dems advocated the reduction in income tax for the lower paid, not the Torres who like to take the credit. Rich pensioners still getting winter fuel allowance, legal aid to the rich, overseas aid to help dictators, consultants (estimated to be £2 billion) and the EU propaganda machine. The government has given away more to foreign countries to prevent flooding, like Slovakia, than it has given to counties in its own country. Now it intends to increase insurance tax to help prevent flooding, what about the £1.5 billion wasted on the Environment Agency! Local authorities are also increasing a levy on community charge for alleged flood prevention, how many times does the taxpayer get clobbered for the same item and something we already pay for and have no control over the EU policy for habitat or environment! Incompetence and deceit does not give the true nature of the govt’s failure over six years. Of all he welfare wasteful spending why hit the disabled! Then of course we have the £74000 for MPs which is part-time job, two houses, all the expense scandals and corruption. When is Cameron going to act on his words from 2009? All in it together my foot.

    • Posted March 19, 2016 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      Agree on every word.

      Cameron’s version of “All in it together” is yet another example of the contempt he has for us and the never ending fountain of lies that comes out of his mouth. He has no shame. What an example he’s setting to his family. All they will see is – “live your life telling lies and take the money”.

      • Posted March 19, 2016 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

        Cameron is also fond of “we are reducing the taxes people pay” he also thinks “a treaty is not a treaty once ratified” and that “Cast Iron” means “discard at the drop of a hat” he even seem to think there is “a reformed EU”.

        Osborne meanwhile seems to think he is keeping his IHT (£1M threshold each) promise of 8 years back.

        Are they totally deluded, mad or just completely dishonest? How stupid do they think we all are?

        • Posted March 20, 2016 at 12:39 pm | Permalink
        • Posted March 20, 2016 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

          Lifelogic

          Dishonest

        • Posted March 20, 2016 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

          If I was in parliament one of the first things that I would point out the Cameron is that if he had been brought up on a sink council estate there is minimal chance that he would be in the position he is in. The percentages getting 5 O level equivalents, or into Uni, are far smaller, not because the kids are born stupid but because the system is stacked against them. The lazy and feckless nonsense when applied to estates that were until recently housing the hard working workforces of big employers like shipyards, mines, and so on is obvious nonsense. It is not the residents fault the big employers shut and the housing and benefits system conspires to stop them moving to where modern jobs markets are.
          Given than even thickos who can barely scrap a few O levels can end up as a military helicopter pilot just because they went to Eton and have good contacts exposes a lot.

          Far far too much government manipulation in all parts of our lives, and far too little power in the individual citizens hands be it as a parent of a public, or as a patient in the NHS, the recipient of housing subsidy, or so much more.

      • Posted March 19, 2016 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

        Agree, Hope and bigneil.

      • Posted March 19, 2016 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

        The Chilcott enquiry has been delayed until after the referendum. HMRC refuses to give the number of active N.I. numbers because it wouldn’t be helpful to the referendum.
        No John we are not all in this together.
        Cameron and his silly sidekick are singing to the tune of the multi nationals and bankers. Whilst fulfilling his obligations as a Brussels stooge.

      • Posted March 19, 2016 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

        Do not forget Cameron was going to stop child allowance being paid to foreign children who have never set a foot in the country! He failed and now lies he has reformed the EU! Disabled British citizens are more worthy than EU children who have never set foot in the country. Cameron’s decision making, despite his expensive education, is idiotic to say the least. He ha also agreed this week to give, yes give, £500 million of our taxes to the EU asylum policy created by Merkel when the UK is not obliged to. Why is he not demanding she pays as she created the mess?

      • Posted March 19, 2016 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps the biggest “all in it together” lies can be seen between the state sector pensions (& pay and conditions) and those in the private sector. About 50% more (total remuneration) in the state sector, yet so little value is delivered. With more sick days, more sociable hours, better working conditions & earlier retirement too.

        Or take a look at the MPs, EUs or the Speakers pension, expenses, official home & remuneration schemes. Or the special EU only tax/expenses regimes for them.

        I cannot pay my staff thousands in tax free daily allowances just for signing in or HMRC would arrest me. Osborne is endlessly attacking private pensions too.

    • Posted March 19, 2016 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      But that is a small price for having single-handedly delivered fundamental reform of the EU.

      • Posted March 20, 2016 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

        Well clearly he did not get any reform, but he did (with a lot of help of Ed Miliband and the Nickola Sturgeon in getting labour to throw the last election) deliver a referendum – so let us thank Cameron for that.

        Let us hope the population gets the right answer in it – unlike Cameron and Obama.

    • Posted March 19, 2016 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

      Too bl**dy true.

  2. Posted March 19, 2016 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Ed Conway’s piece in yesterday’s Times for me said it all about Mr. Osborne. Basically if he is a Conservative I am a Dutchman and I’m not. The surprise and disappointment is that more high profile MPs have not resigned from Office and the Party. It is a shambles and we now have the recently unthinkable with Corbyn leading the polls.

  3. Posted March 19, 2016 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Against those things one has to count the huge burden of debt now being placed on students and the impact that has on their subsequent ability to buy a home of their own, start families etc.

    • Posted March 19, 2016 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      Yes but not all students, only the English. The Scots pay no fees and the Welsh & NI are capped at £3,465 .Insultingly Welsh students only pay £3,465 when studying at English universities alongside £9,000 fee paying English students. When Osborne scrapped educational maintenance allowance, it was only scrapped in England. It’s still paid elsewhere courtesy of the English taxpayer. We’re all in it together – try telling that to our kids. Just like everyone else in England, this Tory Goverment who laughingly would not be in government if not for England, discriminate against us at every turn. In it together we most certainly ain’t.

      • Posted March 19, 2016 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

        I’m long past my student days, but I still shake my head in disbelief at the staggering unfairness of the way in which English students are treated. How can this be accepted? How can any M.P. of any party not raise this gross unfairness at every possible opportunity?
        To rub salt in the wounds, these are politicians who are stirred into rhetoric at the very mention of discrimination and inequality. They preside over a situation which, if it were imagined or proposed 30 years ago, would have been greeted with cries of disbelief or guffaws of merriment at its absurdity.
        It is truly shameful.

        • Posted March 20, 2016 at 9:24 am | Permalink

          The problem is John, England, with the odd exception, has no-one to stand up for it. Even those like our host supported the tripling of tuition fees to £9,000 for England only.
          Unlike Scotland, Wales & NI, England is deliberately denied it’s own self determining legislature and is only allowed UK MPs in a UK Government elected on a UK mandate who can’t even say the word England let alone speak out against this outrage and who put the UK first and England last every time. They get away with it because England does not exist on the political map and so they can get away with this discrimination. As far as they and Europe are concerned, only Scotland, Wales, NI and the UK exist. Now Osborne is doing the EU’s bidding and finishing what Labour couldn’t, trying to finish the nation of England off altogether by balkanising it into competing regions with his devolution to the cities and regions and his imposed Mayors that nobody wants. Notice how all of them avoid saying the word England even when talking about England only matters such as health or education. It’s all ‘up and down the country’ or ‘the country’ when they know full well the country they mean is only England. It’s deliberate deceit. They are all indoctrinated to never say the word England at any cost.
          Cameron has even ratted on his promise of English votes for English laws which was already a sop and an insult to England. The Tories have treated the people who voted for them with utter contempt and will continue to get away with this blatant discrimination until England wakes up from it’s apathy, which is hopefully beginning to happen, and demand parity with the rest of the (Un) United Kingdom. That means a voice for England, a First Minister, a Secretary of State and it’s own parliament. True patriots unlike now. Only then might we see someone finally standing up for England and demanding a level playing field for our kids (not to to mention our sick and our elderly.)

      • Posted March 20, 2016 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

        Also I imagine rather few of the EU students given UK loans will actually repay.

        A higher proportion of woman will also not repay the loans.

        So about 70% of the debt will probably not ever be repaid. A graduate tax would probably have been better in fact. But at least the student fees buried the Libdems, alas the same people are now in charge of the Tory party.

        • Posted March 20, 2016 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

          These are all good points and add to the despair one feels at the ludicrous nature of the whole system. Someone who stays in England might very well repay the whole amount; someone who scoots off at graduation will not repay a penny. Madness.

    • Posted March 19, 2016 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

      Which is why most want to get the hell out of the country asap. Scotland spent thousands of pounds travelling to New Zealand to try and persuade doctors to come back to Scotland. What a joke. Why would they want to? Get out and stay out is my advise. Me and my husband would have gone years ago but missed out by a year because we were too old. Biggest disappointment of our lives.

      • Posted March 20, 2016 at 7:27 am | Permalink

        We did it aged 56 – Moved to Hong Kong – Best move we have ever made – Two years on and we are not looking back – Just wish our kids would see the light!

  4. Posted March 19, 2016 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    It would be remarkable if ‘inequality’ hadn’t been reduced considering that the government runs an annual deficit of 70 billion and has stretched the national debt to a whopping 1.5 trillion…all so that George Osborne can buy popularity and aid his passage into No.10.

    I hope Mr Redwood has his hard hat ready for when the inevitable collision with reality occurs – at least he has been on the right side of most of the arguments.
    When investors realise how sick the British economy really is I fear the pound is going to tumble – leaving us with a bloated population and even bigger welfare bills.

    Peter Oborne has the measure of our wretched and lying chancellor ‘Like his friend Peter Mandelson, he is an unprincipled and highly ambitious schemer’.

    John Redwood is a very rare politician – an honest and principled Mp living in the age of industrial scale political lying. Although I suspect many of the ‘new jobs’ are formely full time jobs split into part time.
    Welfare costs keeps going up, tax returns remain subdued, manufacturer output has stalled…so whats so great about all these new jobs apart from acting as a magnet for economic migrants that are filling up schools and hospitals ?

    • Posted March 19, 2016 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      Ask him about how much the state owes for pensions.

      • Posted March 19, 2016 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

        How many incomers have not, and probably never will, contribute a single penny into the country’s coffers? Hundreds of thousands ( every year )allowed in, entitled to walk straight into the NHS at our cost, and sit here on benefits. If these people then reach “retirement age” – having been a burden since arriving, they will inevitably be eligible for some sort of benefit while not actually calling it a pension. So – -as these incomers can get everything and more, for having done nothing except arrive – – what has been the point of working all my life? – Is it just so the govt can use my taxes to give foreigners a free life? It seems so.

        • Posted March 19, 2016 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

          Experience has also shown that second generation immigrants are less industrious than their parents and often resent the country that has nurtured them.
          But such lofty long term considerations are of no interest to the Cam/Osbourne clique.

        • Posted March 19, 2016 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

          The point you make is the reality, there are more elderly people living longer because there is a mass increase in the number, not purely because people live longer like the narrative MPs try to suggest. Guess what there are more patients using the NHS, more people trying to get school places, more people wanting housing, more people wanting electric, more people wanting water. Not because of normal population growth becausethe MPs have allowed our country to be invaded throu mass immigration!

        • Posted March 19, 2016 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

          That is about right.

          People earning less that about £40K tend to pay far less to the state in taxes than their share of the huge overheads of the bloated and often totally inept state and the benefits they get.

          People earning more than that are largely carrying the rest. The top 1% of earners contribute nearly 30% of income tax receipts. The bottom 50%+ tend to pay in far less than they consume in state benefits, public services and their share of the state.

          • Posted March 19, 2016 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

            Absolutely right, and though I am by no means a rich person or a large taxpayer, I never fail to be stirred at the ingratitude of those people on benefits or low incomes who have never contributed to the finances of the country and yet have hatred and contempt for those who supply their incomes via taxation.
            I sometimes wish people would receive from the government an annual statement pointing out whether they are an overall contributor to the welfare state or a recipient. The mass of the population would find themselves recipients.

          • Posted March 19, 2016 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

            http://www.gov.uk Percentile points from 1 to 99 for total income before and after tax (last figures for 2013-14)
            Before. After. ETR
            Median (50). 21900. 19500. 10.9%
            The 1%. (99). 158000. 107000. 32.9%

    • Posted March 20, 2016 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

      What is wrong with “inequality” it is an important incentive? So long as people have enough to get by on. What role of government is it to address “inequality”.

      Also why only address it on a UK basis and not Worldwide? Where some real inequalities lie.

    • Posted March 21, 2016 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      Ken Moore “Although I suspect many of the ‘new jobs’ are formely full time jobs split into part time”.

      This was a consequence of the 2007 push by the Labour government to allow flexible working, the Equal Opportunities Commission recommendations for a new phase of policy around work-life balance. If you fulfil someone’s request for part-time then the replacement jobs are part-time 22% of parents exercised this right see http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2007/feb/12/children.worklifebalanceacement job is only part-time not full time.

  5. Posted March 19, 2016 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Only if you ignore the mess you have created with pensions.

    You owe 9,200 bn and in your analysis you’ve left it off.

    Mr Median pays 5K a year in NI contributions. In value terms over 47 years he’s paid in 235K

    You return 6K a year for an average retirement of 18 years.

    That’s 108 K back.

    s.

    Plus you’ve got that pension debt at 360K per person.

    Wealth inequality in the UK is huge, and the cause is the state screwing people over for pensions

    Reply I do not ignore it and have quoted the figures/future liability.As it has always been a pay as you go scheme you should also quote the capitalised value of future NI contribution

    • Posted March 19, 2016 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      As it has always been a pay as you go scheme you should also quote the capitalised value of future NI contribution

      Why is it then when the added value of each new migrant is calculated (and I presume that this is the case in the Chancellor’s calculations?) no mention is ever made of the PV of their future pension liabilities? You cannot continuously presume that there will always be an inflow of new migrants to pay for pension liabilities that are being created today.

      Or if you can, then this is directly opposed by current Conservative Party policy.

    • Posted March 19, 2016 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      Not this old chestnut again. If you capitalise (Net Present Value) the government’s own employee pension liability (basically NHS; Teachers and Civil Service) you will get about £1,400 billion. But that “pot” of capital never will or need to exist. The governments own accounts, say it will be paid out of future taxes and dividends where pension schemes have some assets. State pensions are likewise paid out of future taxes and never will be or need be capitalised.

      Capitalising any liability of a sovereign fiat currency issuing government, is pointless. There is no liability, in its own currency, due now or in generations time, the government won’t be able to pay. Pensions will always get paid unless parliament decides to repeal the Acts. Whether, in the future, there will be anything available to buy with that pension currency, is down to the likes of Mr Osborne.

      If you look at the WGA accounts https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/445748/PU1786_WGA_summary_report.pdf , you will see that in normal corporate accounting terms the UK is trading in an insolvent condition, it even has huge negative working capital. But is doesn’t matter a toss. When you issue your own currency, there is no bill you can’t pay. The government can spend up to the limit which is the ability of the private sector to supply goods and services at stable prices with 3% or even less unemployment.

      Now, if only Mr Osborne, and his counterparts worldwide, understood the above.

    • Posted March 19, 2016 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      But in relative terms John these are dropping as we are importing more ( people ed)which requires servicing be it health, education, benefits etc etc.
      Of the 600,000 arriving each year, only about 40% are contributing and only about 10% making a positive contribution.
      Despite Gideons plan to double the workforce, tax receipts are down and benefits are rising.

      • Posted March 19, 2016 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

        Yes, giving thousands in benefits for working 16 hours. How can this be right?

    • Posted March 19, 2016 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      Osborne’s NI scam making people work longer than was agreed when they made their contributions. As they retire or near retirement they find they have to work far longer because of his mass immigration policy.

    • Posted March 19, 2016 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

      Well all the time you can move the goalposts at will you will discredit the NI system. People contributing NI in the past expected to retire at 65 – that was the contract- and now they can’t. It is called a scam and if operated privately would be visited by a BBC programme maker accusing it of being a rogue trader, taking money under false pretences.

  6. Posted March 19, 2016 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    If the government were serious about helping the poorer members of the population rather than it would have raised national insurance thresholds rather than that for higher rate income tax. Why are eople on minimum wage taxed at all through NI contributions? I find it unacceptable that NI thresholds were not even raised with inflation.

  7. Posted March 19, 2016 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    To answer the question you pose, the answer must be No. Some are in it for themselves, none more so than Mr Osborn as is evident from his political scheming and use of preferment to place his henchmen in key jobs throughout the government.

    Not entirely OT, I read that “senior government sources” (Mr Cameron and/or his office?) say that Mr Cameron has now decided to delay publication of the Iraq war enquiry report until after the EU referendum. It is said that the report will strongly criticise senior political figures including, one presumes, the likes of Mr Blair and other prominent supporters of the UK’s continued membership of the EU. Given his earlier strictures about the time the enquiry team was taking to produce its report, this must rank as one of his grubbier not to say disgraceful interventions on behalf of his cause to commit this country to the EU yoke.

    • Posted March 19, 2016 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

      It a further example how Cameron is a disgrace to those brave souls who lost their lives for this country. Just as he stood by Hollande silently smirking while he made threats to our nation then walked past the graves of soldiers who fought to free Europe, and France who had capitulated, to give them Liberty, freedom and democacracy.

    • Posted March 19, 2016 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

      Regarding the delay in the Iraq war report this raises the question of why? and especially after the referendum in particular. Suspicions aroused.

  8. Posted March 19, 2016 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    One thing that proves is that socialist aims equality etc are better achieved when the private sector (fee market capitalism) is allowed the environment to creating wealth and thereby improve everyone’s lives. Time to go further and take much of what the public sector does and privatise that to. What a boost that would give. A paradox; aims that socialists/lefties want but they cannot achieve yet free market capitalism does without intending to do so.

    More people out of tax good, high or even a minimum wage bad very bad. I note that American eateries are planning to introduce fully automated eating places because they cannot afford to pay staff the new minimum wages that are being introduced. I am sure other businesses will follow suit. Those who clamoured/wished for ever higher minimum wages will be sorry for what they wished for. Automation will be introduced far more quickly and people will not have the time to acclimatise themselves to it. Although some are better off the skilled. The poorest and least skilled will mostly suffer because of it. Still the upside is that productivity will improve considerably and we want that.

    Another strange attribute that we have is that we applaud celebrities on the stage, screen and in sport that amass large amounts of money but decry other for doing the same thing. Bankers and businessmen are pillories for being rich. If asked why celebs are admired undoubtedly the reply is because they give people pleasure. Well so do the others as they give us the pleasure of having a job so that we can pay to see our favourite celebrity. Are we perverse or what?

    • Posted March 19, 2016 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

      Antisthenes – Celebrities and bankers are paid because of their rarity of talent.

      Given lie to by the levels of nepotism in both.

    • Posted March 20, 2016 at 6:01 am | Permalink

      Strongly agree. For all their progressiveness the focus of socialists appears to be on creating a country of dependent serfs rather than entrepreneurs.

  9. Posted March 19, 2016 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Just reinforces what I say, get rid of parties and vote for independent people before it to late, It all sounds nice in a well craft speech, manifestoes and writing like on this blog but fall well short of what the public are lead to believe, they sound very believable till reality sets in and realize what is happening.
    Less than 10% per cent of the working people in this country earn more than 50.000 pounds a year and after tax a lot less, after each party leaves office your left with a bigger debt and more people living in the country using what little resources you have left to go round as hospitals breaking down like everything else with the pressure of more people pouring in everyday.

    You will not get anything out of politician, they are for the party and the people they mix with at dinner tables who have there ear like bankers and big business who pay for there support.
    It will never be better for the people to the people wake up and forge their own destiny and stop believing in parties, manifestoes, and speech of propaganda where your money ends up in offshore banking accounts and big fat pensions for the ones spouting the propaganda and the ones helping themselves to your money with privatization of service to offshore bank account and companies never to be seen again, once the money has left it cannot be used again in this country just like the 10 billion a year that go to the EU.

  10. Posted March 19, 2016 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    We can always rely upon Mr Redwood, who puts it about that he opposes his government in all manner of areas, and who is ‘assured’by it that this or that won’t be detrimental, and is then let down, to come up with a defence of it, as here, to demonstrate to his leadership that he is to be counted on when the chips are down.

    It knows he will always bat for them, and his criticisms are hollow.

    We waste our time, it is just to be hoped that others take note of what we write.

    Reply Nonsense. I criticise where they are wrong and support where they are right or are trying to do the right thing

  11. Posted March 19, 2016 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    The sink estates still get the worst schools, and the parents get zero choice.

    I also see the budget introduced massive discrimination against the over 50’s which goes down like a bucket of cold sick.

    Cameron should get out and do the soup run amongst the rough sleepers for a reality dose

    As for the way private tenants are shafted it’s got to stop

    I couldn’t defend this political class.

  12. Posted March 19, 2016 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Peter Oborne makes some devastating claims about the state of the economy, both deficit and debt. Are these inaccurate, Mr Redwood?
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-3499784/Peter-Oborne-Profligacy-lies-believe-Osborne-bad-chap.html

    “…the truth is that he has been the most profligate Chancellor in British history. Our national debt is likely to have doubled to just under £2 trillion under his stewardship of the nation’s finances. With breath-taking hypocrisy, Osborne this week accused Gordon Brown, when chancellor, of having spent ‘money the country didn’t have’.

    This accusation is true, but Osborne has been a far bigger culprit. This year, Britain has a financial deficit of more than £70 billion — that is the difference between what the Government spends and what it receives.

    For under Osborne’s economic strategy, he will pass on massive debts — the equivalent of around £100,000 for every family — to future generations. It is today’s young who will have to shoulder the burden of this failure….”.

  13. Posted March 19, 2016 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    John whilst you correctly highlight all the measures that our esteemed Chancellor has taken which improve or hurt inequality, one thing that you miss out is that we have the most complicated tax system in the world. Osborne has made this worse.

    Regarding education a return to Grammar Schools and O Levels would be an obvious place to start. Shame we dont have any conservatives in Government.

  14. Posted March 19, 2016 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    It’s a commonplace of political philosophy that equality is bought at the price of liberty, and vice versa. The French revolutionaries who thought they could have both were deluded. The English tradition (one cannot speak of the Scots) was to favour liberty strongly over equality. One cannot but regret its passing.

    There are forms of equality, such as equality before the law, which no one disputes. Wealth equality is not like that. There is, for instance, a foolish tendency to confuse it with fairness. If a man with nothing were to knock down a man with £100 and rob him of £50, they would end up equal, but only socialists, Liberal Democrats and thieves would find anything fair about the transaction.

    It’s particularly interesting that the rights of property, which Burke held were the citizen’s chief bulwark against an oppressive State, are rarely defended by statesmen these days. This is another sinister development.

    Democratic politicians are fond of equality because they hold that an equal society is more contented (and thus, perhaps, easier to govern), but I’m not aware of any valid research to prove that happiness and equality are directly proportionate. If anyone can point some out to me, I’d be obliged to them.

    • Posted March 19, 2016 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

      eeyore, Fortunately, happiness is almost impossible to quantify and often to explain, whereas equality is nebulous beyond definition; consequently, any research attempting to connect them would take, in the modern phrase, longer than Chilcot.
      Your observations are shrewd.

    • Posted March 19, 2016 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

      oriel.ox.ac.uk Are liberty and equality compatible?

    • Posted March 19, 2016 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

      Four, five years ago there was a number of reports in the press related to the Gini index, Bhutan, Denmark, Robert Skidelsky, about the relationships between wealth, (in)equality, liberty, happiness.
      Might be worth a search? (Sorry not to be more precise)

    • Posted March 19, 2016 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

      The Spirit Level, Pickett & Wilkinson.
      Inequality and the 1%, Dorling

      and included references.

  15. Posted March 19, 2016 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    “Since 2010 the government has been keen to reduce inequality and to promote more work and better paid jobs for the unemployed and the lower paid”

    And

    ‘The Equality Trust concludes that “Compared to other OECD countries the UK has a relatively equal distribution of wealth”. ‘

    Both complete and utter toffee because it ignores the unspoken slave class that now lives in Britain.

    This Government has brought us the biggest wave of mass immigration ever to have been seen in this country. So big and so shocking that it hides the figures from the people.

    In doing so it has introduced inequalities not seen since the 18th century ! At some point these are going to have to be addressed with a redistribution of wealth and dispersal of incomers to hitherto unaffected areas.

    When are we going to start planning our future based on truth and realities ?

    • Posted March 22, 2016 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      In fact, http://www.equalitytrust.org.uk is saying on its website

      “The UK has the 5th most unequal incomes of 30 countries in the developed world, but is relatively equal in terms of wealth. While the top fifth have 40% of the country’s income and 60% of the country wealth, the bottom fifth have only 8% of the income and only 1% of the wealth”.

      “When are we going to start planning our future based on truth and realities?”. Indeed, when?

  16. Posted March 19, 2016 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    Your last paragraph makes the key point. Education is paramount to the well being of the UK and it’s citizens. Other burdens imposed upon those who do educate themselves tends to be counter productive. If you take the case of the newly qualified engineer, scientist or medic faced with a future in the UK of an education debt of £30,000 to £60,000 (assumed 7 years for medics), plus the greatest difficulty of buying a home, never mind getting married and educating their own children, is it surprising that they choose to leave for better qualities of life. They leave the UK to the influx of 630,000 per annum economic migrants, that our government admit to, and the burden they place on schools, NHS, social services, and transport. The volumes and subsequent increases in population are unsustainable. They conclude that the prognosis for the future of the UK in their lifetime is not attractive, particularly when governed by politicians who cannot see outside their Westminster bubble.

  17. Posted March 19, 2016 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    Antisthenes they have been privatizing for 36 years now and there are only few thing left to sell mainly land and buildings, if you talking about the NHS, schools and councils they will mostly be completed by the end of this parliament, as for the NHS and building and maintenance of hospitals on PFI which now comes out of the hospital budget at three or four times of the cost of what it would come to and the money offshore to the companies in Guernsey, jersey and iom when it was funded out of the government infrastructure budget at a much smaller cost, if you add PFI to the government debt that would be over 400 billion extra on the 1.6 trillion now with schools PFI and all were privatized in this budget just gone.
    As for councils, all government funding will be gone by 2022 and the councils left to fund their selves by rising more money in rates from the people in their area for services and infrastructure, the road budget and other budget will be spilt up into 8 areas around the country with government saying how much they can go up by each year.

    Privatization has not save you any money yet as you can see by the mountain of debt that you already have and after this round of privatization the government will have no responsibility at all locally going forward it will be down to the 8 areas which receive the money from government and the ratepayers.

    • Posted March 19, 2016 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

      By the way, reading your PFI comments, if Hinkley Point C ever makes it, it should provide a guaranteed dividend to investors around 10% for 35 years, then possibly going on to 60 years (Simon Taylor, Fall and rise of nuclear energy in Britain).

      In the final contract, a clause might be/has been? added to make sure that a part (30%?) of these dividends will be kept by the UK pension funds, which might be part of the private financing of this infrastructure.

      So the UK electricity customer might recover a (small admittedly) fraction of what they ll be paying for electricity, later in life when they’ll draw their pension.

      Something to look forward to, don’t you think?

  18. Posted March 19, 2016 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    with the 8 areas borrowing money for infrastructure instead of the government with business friends sitting around the table with fancy ideas with you picking up the bill for the debts they will be running up which you will pay for with your local council rates, which leave the government free to run up more debt to try to bail out the EU and refugees. loving it hear.

  19. Posted March 19, 2016 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    A properly democratic system should ensure that a majority og those that vote for increased taxes actually pay them.

    I fear that the LibDem inspired rush to increase personal allowances has created precisely the opposite situation. The higher the personal allowance, the more voters are put in a possition of paying no income tax at all.

    With the personal allowance now set to rise to £11,500, we must already have reached a situation where the majority of non-income-tax payers can vote in a government such as Corbyn’s with no need to be personally concerned that higher rates of income tax will have any effect on themselves.

    The numbers get even worse when the higher rate threshold is taken into account.

    I am a firm believe that almost everyone should pay some amount of income tax and that council tax should not be completely free to those on benefit. If everyone were to pay an element of these important taxes, however small, they would hve a vested interest in keeping the actual rates low.

    Instead Cameron and Osborne are ensuring that a very large and growing proportion of the voting public would love to see taxes continue to rise, putting the economy at risk and discouraging enterprise at all levels.

    Who will they be voting for, CMD ????

    • Posted March 20, 2016 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

      ChrisS. I could not agree more. I have long thought that everyone should chip in to some extent if they want a say in the running of the country.
      One could make out a case that “fairness” requires that everyone should pay (say) 10%, irrespective of income. It would still mean that the rich person pays considerably more than the poor person, whereas the present system allows a considerable proportion of the populace to have a say, without contributing at all. Logically, they could vote to confiscate all earnings over £100,000. It would lead to chaos, but it’s democratically sound.

  20. Posted March 20, 2016 at 2:35 am | Permalink

    On a narrow point mentioned by Mr Duncan-Smith about “better-off” pensioners, it does seem silly that the Winter Fuel Allowance, the most costly of the additional universal age benefits, remains tax-free to all. It is also administratively expensive. It should not be difficult to incorporate this into the taxable basic state pension system without losing its separateness. For instance, it could be paid as a bonus 53rd week pension. This could be one rate for all, such as the rate of the “new” basic state pension, so that those with reduced pensions would not lose and those with Serps or its equivalent would not gain extra.

  21. Posted March 20, 2016 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    No mention of the massive cuts that mainly effect the disabled and working poor John and the blatant cuts in the disability budget to fund tax cuts to the wealthy? The 4 billion cut to the welfare has not gone away, but will now be found through the universal credit scam, a cut in all but name with no mention of any cuts to wealthy pensioners, but they are next as sure as night follows day.

  22. Posted March 21, 2016 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    Osborne and Cameron make it look like the Conservatives can only govern if they are in a coalition. Are those two determined to prove what Nick Clegg always said was true. A complete disaster.

  • 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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