Prosperity, not austerity

Yesterday I published proposals for a new UK economic policy through Politeia. I set out why I think Brexit is a great opportunity to promote more UK growth. The freedoms we gain will enable the UK government to follow policies friendlier to jobs and domestic output.

One of the big themes I suggest is to correct the worst of the balance of payments deficit. 25% of the deficit in 2015 came from UK government payments abroad in the form of net contributions to the EU and overseas aid. The sooner we are out of the EU the sooner we will benefit from that saving on the external accounts. The government should make sure more of the money spent on overseas aid is spent on buying goods and services from UK producers, where the money cannot be spent directly in the country we are seeking to help. \That will boost UK business and cut the strain on the balance of payments.

36% of the 2015 deficit came from the excess of interest and dividends we pay away to foreign lenders and owners of UK assets over the money we receive from our investments and loans abroad. There is no quick fix to this, as the longer we remain in deficit, the more the claims of foreigners on UK assets will build up. However, the government could work to ensure that in future when adding to our power stations and other privately financed infrastructure the investment is offered on decent terms to UK savers and institutions rather than to foreign interests. The Chinese financing of Hinckley will b e a long term drain on our balance of payments.

 

The remaining 38% of the deficit comes from the deficit on trading in goods with the rest of the EU. The UK is in surplus with the rest of the world on trade account, and in surplus on services with the rest of the EU, but has a huge deficit in goods. Some of this will reduce as a result of the devaluation of the pound. People will look  to buy domestic substitutes or cheaper goods from non EU destinations. Some will reduce as a result of new UK policies. Why need we continue with a deficit on fish, once we take back control of our own fishing grounds? Won’t a UK farming policy be more helpful to UK flower and vegetable growers? Won’t more market gardens flourish?

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106 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    The freedoms we gain should indeed enable the UK government to follow policies friendlier to jobs and domestic output.

    But we have May, Hammond daft autumn statement and Grieg Clark’s very anti business, pro red tape speech only the other day. These people do not seem to want growth, smaller government, a bonfire of red tape, cheap energy, simpler lower taxes, easy hire and fire decent roads and a smaller more efficient state.

    They want to intervene before breakfast, lunch and dinner and this nearly always to make things worse. These people want absurd white elephant projects like Hinkley, HS2 and even “lagoons” which will damage the UK’s ability to compete. They want more red tape not less and Hammond has just increased tax and tax complexity even more.

    The policy still seem to be to block roads and not build them.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 5:49 am | Permalink

      Newsnight yesterday had Cherie Blair going on about her new grand child and that it will take 170 (?) years to close the gender pay gap. There is no such gap at all (if you look at the stats) that is not fully explained entirely by the different work like balance choices woman make, the career gaps they choose to take, the subjects they choose to study and different jobs they choose. In many cases there is rather considerable and active reverse discrimination. Businesses will choose the best option they do not care what gender it is or even if it is a robot if it can do the job well.

      Mrs May with her childish gender pay gap agenda clearly needs to urgently sort out chess. Here there are hardly any female players in the top 1000. Surely by Mrs May’s and Cherie’s childish logic this must be entirely due to huge anti-female discrimination, over heavy chess pieces or something discriminatory!

      Then again it could be that woman in general just have more sense than to dedicate themselves, in such a single minded way, to such a game.

    • stred
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Apart from HS2, Hinkley and lagoons, the government is going ahead with a huge expansion of offshore wind, priced around £150/MWh strike price. This is over twice the price obtained recently by the Dutch and Danish after putting their schemes out to tender. The infrastructure to take green energy has cost £45bn since 2010 andthey plan to spend £16-21bn by 2020. The projects planned are for up to 24GW capacity.

      No wonder the Green Bank says the UK is the most attractive environment for foreign investors and they are grateful for advice on ‘how to create a UK company’.
      See page 33 of the Green Bank publication.

      Almost all of the equipment in made abroad. Seimens has an assembly plant and some rotors are made here.

    • Chris
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      As I highlighted in a comment yesterday, which has not yet been posted, the direction of EU policy seems to be against the motorist. In a Commission report, the introduction states that road travel is no longer sustainable therefore measures have to be taken…..Hence all the initiatives, including smart motorways and smart road pricing, which are planned/taking place. If the link and quote are not posted, I will resurrect them and try to post them here.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 3, 2016 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

        Indeed but as usual their experts are totally wrong. Cars are very often the most energy efficient, quick and convenient way to travel especially with you family and luggage.

    • stred
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 6:13 pm | Permalink
  2. Lifelogic
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile the daily politics had Angela Rayner ranting on and interrupting everyone (while failing to answer any of Andrew Neil’s sensible questions).

    She is, unbelievably, the Shadow Secretary of State for Education. Corbyn really must be very desperate, she could hardly even string a single coherent sentence together.

    • Horatio
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      Wasn’t she utterly awful? If in doubt get on your soapbox and screech. Having said that the Tory minister was utterly insipid and uninspiring. No wonder the Tory government can’t inspire the public with a brexit narrative when the vast majority hate the prospect and have not bought into it themselves.

      Read your article on austerity in The Grauniad, JR. Some very sensible points, many of which these liberals should have liked.. infrastructure spending, eradicating EU procurement rules to buy British on government projects, thus promoting UK jobs and industry. You got over 1000 comments, which was amusing. The primary concern seemed to be that you painted UK austerity as a symptom of EU austerity despite UK economic policy not being controlled by the EU.

      Personally, I’m utterly confused; what austerity is anyone referring to? The UK government has spent more year on year for decades. The state sector and benefits are utterly bloated. As you yourself used to point out JR, there was no austerity!

      And now we have this from David Davis.. suggesting we will pay into the EU for access to the single market.. what on earth is going on with brexit?

    • Qubus
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Maybe she should start by getting an education.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 1, 2016 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

        Would she even be receptive to one I wonder?

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/11/30/leave-voters-patience-starting-wear-thin-fear-betrayal/

    Alister Heath is right again today. Just get on with it and stop dithering Theresa. Forget about your silly anti-business, interventionist, lefty agenda and just get on with Brexit, cheap energy, have sensible taxes and start cutting government and red tape.

    • getahead
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

      Theresa is too busy listening to the moans of the CBI, Branson and the rest of the corporate elites. They, it would seem, are more important than the well being and the wishes of the indigenous people of this country.

  4. Newmania
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    I really don`t get this at all ,the balance of payments balances …Look if if BMW ( boo hiss ) sells a £50,000 car to an MP , shall we say, then BMW uses that £50,000 to buy shares or whatever from some other British chap or institution . The chap who sold the shares or bonds or whatever, spends the £50,000 on …ooo …a shiny new start up IT Company in London
    Now the trade deficit , you will notice has risen by £50,000 but the net affect on the economy is zero and that … old chums is because the Balance of payments always balances. I therefore pose the question , what in the world of makey- up-as-you-go-alongey is Redwood on about ?
    So much for goods , as EU payments are about 1% of government spending and Brexit has just cause us to abandon all fiscal restraint that’s more silliness and if he wants to have a pop at International Aid then do so. We could have reduced it at any time we will probably have to do so now we are going to be poor , thanks to your friend and mine Billy Brexit

    Excellent – the international shame continues and the right are now only in favour of trade if it means Exporting .

    New Party please Mr Major , now would be good !

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      Except it doesn’t balance – the economic model, pre Brexit, led us to record public and private debt.

    • stred
      Posted December 2, 2016 at 7:30 am | Permalink

      Newmania. Recommend the Raving Looney Party.

    • libertarian
      Posted December 2, 2016 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      Newmania

      Thanks for once again demonstrating your total lack of business knowledge…

      Your example is pure fantasy and not how real life works at all. If you really want to explain a series of transactions you need to start at the beginning and include all the various taxes, duties, licences etc that are extracted during the process , plus add in the wage costs and the expenditure of those wages on other products and services etc etc etc

  5. Ian Wragg
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    All very good John but unlikely to be implemented. We have a major infrastructure project in the Hinckley Point white elephant but we go to the Chinese for investment. Why haven’t the government issued public bonds so we can benefit from the project. After all when it doesn’t work we will have to pick up the bill.
    It now looks increasingly likely that the ECJ will have the final say on article 50.
    How do you think that will go down with the voters.
    The appeal should be cancelled immediately and a bill brought before Parliament.
    That’s not the plan is it.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      A Bill has been brought before Parliament, by Peter Bone:

      http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2016-17/withdrawalfromtheeuropeanunionarticle50.html

      “Withdrawal from the European Union (Article 50) Bill 2016-17”

      However as a Private Members’ Bill it’s extremely unlikely to go anywhere, in fact it’s unlikely to even get its Second Reading on December 16th as scheduled because it’s the last but one on a list of a dozen such Bills:

      http://calendar.parliament.uk/calendar/Commons/All/2016/12/16/Daily

      Maybe that’s as well, given that its drafting is so weak that even if it was passed it would probably just set off another round of legal challenges, none of which would be dismissed by the courts as frivolous or vexatious.

      • ian wragg
        Posted December 1, 2016 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

        That’s not the same as Parliament bringing in a bill Denis.
        I see Davies is leaving the door open for a contribution to maintain our £70 billion annual deficit. Perhaps he meant that we would be charging them.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted December 2, 2016 at 9:19 am | Permalink

          It’s not the same as the government bringing in a Bill.

          Hopefully if/when the government introduces a Bill it will be drafted so that it does not leave the door wide open for more legal challenges.

  6. Richard1
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    yes although state procurement in the U.K. Should be geared to getting the best possible value for taxpayers wherever possible.

    • miami.mode
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      R1.

      One wonders about Hinkley. Bearing in mind the recent fall in the value of the £, we might be getting a bit of discount if the project is priced in sterling particularly if the £ stays at a lower level. Doubt that this will be the case with our lot though, but I would have thought that in most commercial contracts the currency hedge would be borne by the contractor, if indeed you could hedge such a large dollop of cash.

      • Richard1
        Posted December 1, 2016 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

        I think £ would need to fall a very long way for Hinkley to be a good deal!

      • stred
        Posted December 2, 2016 at 7:34 am | Permalink

        Hinkley is inflation linked and may double the cost in 20 years, even if it doesn’t work. Lowered £ would increase costs.

  7. alan jutson
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    John your comments and suggestions are far too sensible to ever see the light of day in the corridors of Westminster and Downing street.

    Meanwhile I would suggest they sound like a breath of fresh air and a no brainer to most of us out here.

    Why is it those in power always seem to take the most complex, expensive and inefficient route to anywhere.

    • turboterrier
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      @ alan jutson

      Why is it those in power always seem to take the most complex, expensive and inefficient route to anywhere.

      Because they may have an academic brain between their ears but not one also gifted with common sense.

      Square pegs and round holes comes to mind

  8. David Price
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    If the Conservatives are to make this happen then they will have to become anti-establishment, to disassemble much of the interfering legislation, guidelines and organisations that have evolved and grown to impose all these impediments.

    At the very least the leadership of departments must be changed to ensure they are re-purposed to align their priorities to putting this country’s interests first. This cannot be simply a change of policy with the usual incumbents left in place but must be a significant change in attitude that has a lasting effect, otherwise there is no point.

    If it happens at all it will make for interesting times.

  9. Bert Young
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    All monies sent to other regimes ( including Scotland ) should be subject to stringent controls ; we have been foolish in adopting a %age formula in these give-aways and in the continuing use of the Barnet system .

    We should apply more concern to the care of our own people than to those elsewhere ; it is our money that is distributed ; dispensing our funds ought not to be left in the hands of do-gooding administrators . Once again Scotland is protesting about the stringent “cuts” it says that will impose hardships on its people ! – the extra £1500 per capita they receive is never referred to . It is also time to cut down on our own cost of bureaucracy as an equal priority .

  10. ChrisS
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    All very sensible but I am afraid that the British Civil Service will not allow any of it to be implemented.

    On several occasions I have said here before that we should adopt an American-style approach to foreign aid. Allocation of funds needs to be linked to political considerations but most important, it needs to be spent on UK-sourced goods and services. We don’t even do that for money spent in our own dependent territories.

    The perfect example is the White Elephant that is the new airport on St Helena. Initially an Italian company was awarded the design and build contract but it was eventually taken over by a South African company. A large proportion of the workers were brought in from Thailand ! Even the supply ship was Thai registered, not British.

    The cost was £250m including £35m for a 10 year operating contract which again went to another South African Company. At least the baggage carousel was made in Sheffield.

    However, no luggage is being delivered on it because, despite dire warnings from the Met Office, the project went ahead only to find that Wind Sheer is such a problem that commercial planes cannot land on it !

    Perhaps our Host could find out whose heads rolled as a result of this debacle ?
    I think we all know the answer already……………

    By the way, the project was personally signed off by one G. Brown. At least it wasn’t one of his ludicrously expensive PFI contracts !

    I didn’t comment on Transport yesterday because it would have been a waste of time.
    The kind of projects badly needed never get built and the huge vanity project that is HS2 continues unhindered because all political parties are signed up to it.

    These problems can all be laid at the door of the Civil Service. When Cameron came to power in 2010 I thought we might see some real change in the way the business of Government is done. However, I had forgotten the “Yes Minister” effect. Nothing really changed because whoever is in power the Civil Service carries on and only policies that are relatively unimportant ever change.

    What we need is for a complete clean out at the top when a new government is elected just like in the USA.

  11. Iain Moore
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    £12 billion per year is sent home by migrants in the form of remittances , which has to also have an effect on our balance of payments.

    • behindthefrogs
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      We need to severely restrict the benefits that immigrants can claim for families still living abroad. These benefits should be paid by their countries of origin.

      • Jerry
        Posted December 1, 2016 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

        @behindthefrogs; Except that many of the people you complain about are paying income taxes (never mind other taxes such as VAT and fuel excise duty, even if as some claim they are not paying VED due to not re-registering their cars here in the UK) in the UK, so are as entitled to such benefits as anyone else. But carry on as you wish, all you ‘idea’ means is that those migrants settled and working here in the UK will simply send for their families to join them…

        • Edward2
          Posted December 2, 2016 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

          The majority are lower paid employees and pay little income tax and NI
          If you add a few hundred pound car rfl then add some fuel alcohol and tobacco and vat tax then you might get a few thousands as a contribution.
          Take away tax credits housing benefit perhaps child benefits and the costs of doctors dentists hospital care then add a notional cost for all our infrastructure and you have a total loss on any new arrival earning less than £35,000

          • Jerry
            Posted December 3, 2016 at 7:37 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; Fine then, all that will happen is the families of these migrant workers will also come to the UK – but think about those implication and costs to the state etc…

            As for your claimed “total loss on any new arrival earning less than £35,000”, what is your point? The loss to the state/tax payer you suggest, due to migrants, is also suffered when UK working age citizens either find ways of not paying their taxes but still expect the state to fund their services and care etc. or more likely are wage-less or not earning enough to pay income tax etc. Your complaint appears to be more about the way market forces determine hourly pay rates and indeed employment levels in some sectors than it is anything to do with migrants receiving benefits (that they, like others, are legally entitled to).

            Also, if the official unemployment figures are to be believed just who is going to do the work that these economic migrants do, when ever I suggest to those who complain that their children or grandchildren could do such work rather than do (often) worthless college courses or university degrees I get shouted down amid claims that I want to stifle aspiration or what ever.

    • Jerry
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      Iain Moore; “£12 billion per year is sent home by migrants”

      How many £Bn’s are sent abroad by British people though, be very careful of those glass houses, when trying to throw stones…

      • Iain Moore
        Posted December 1, 2016 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

        Remittances made back to the UK are put at between £1-3 billion . The upper end of remittances made from the UK are put at £16 billion.

        When England is having to fund deficits in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, pay out to the EU , and Aid and Remittances it is no wonder England is looking so run down, for it seems to be funding half the world . In the past politicians sought to ensure capital stayed in the country, now they take some perverse pleasure in exporting it.

        • Jerry
          Posted December 2, 2016 at 6:56 am | Permalink

          @Iain Moore; What are you suggesting, that currency controls be reintroduced?!

      • ian wragg
        Posted December 1, 2016 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

        What we do with our money Jerry is of no consequence. We shouldn’t be paying foreigners benefits so they can build mansions in their own country whilst using all our public services.

        • Jerry
          Posted December 2, 2016 at 6:54 am | Permalink

          @Iain Wragg; Oh right so you would prefer such foreigners to bring their families here, so adding even further strain to housing, the NHS, Schools etc etc etc…

          Try actually thinking the issues through, the UK probably actually saves money by allowing such legally entitled benefits to be ‘sent home’.

          • Edward2
            Posted December 2, 2016 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

            That’s a classic strawman Jerry
            They will have no rights to bring their whole family to the UK
            So your argument fails.

          • Jerry
            Posted December 3, 2016 at 7:57 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; “That’s a classic strawman [argument] Jerry

            Another example from Eddie where the filthy pot is trying to call the kettle a little dusty.

            “They will have no rights to bring their whole family to the UK”

            Nonsense, do you never think your arguments through?! Such a (asymmetrical) stance by the UK government towards EU nationals already here in the UK would have serious implication for all UK ex-pats in the EU27 (with the possible exception of Eire). Not only that but what you suggest goes against what many prominent Brexiteers have been asking for.

            Anyway, these migrants have over two years, under current EU laws, to bring their families to the UK.

  12. Antisthenes
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    A current account deficit is not as harmful as it is generally believed. Payments for foreign goods flow back into the economy in the form of investment capital creating jobs. So in that respect it is zero sum. Naturally if home produced goods and services can be supplied at a quality and price that domestic and foreign consumers wish to buy then that is preferable. However what is most preferable is that consumers are given the opportunity to purchase from wherever the best deal is available. That is democracy and social justice working as it should. By choice not coercion that employs protectionism and the socialised means of supply.

    To ensure more of those deals can be made locally then domestic providers have to have a political, social and economic environment that allows them to do so. The current one is far from satisfactory thanks to domestic and EU progressive thinking. The latter and UK Labour governments have been especially pernicious. The EU the most dangerous as it is a permanent feature. Hopefully for not much longer.

    The Conservatives have since 2010 endeavoured to make the environment more producer friendly but considerably more is needed to be accomplished and without the EU that task will be made all the more possible. However if the UK is to achieve a balance of payment surplus then many rules and regulations will need to be downgraded and some rights and privileges will have to be forfeited. Without which foreign competitors will always have the advantage. A difficult task considering that the left will fight those changes vigorously.

  13. OneGovernment
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    One of the most disappointing things Osborne did was introducing the idea of Council Tax “precepts”.
    In rock sold Labour seats, a national Tory government was at least some guard against them. It was wonderful to have the government cap rises on Council Tax. My local authority although not needing a begging bowl increased Council Tax each time to the maximum allowable.. It can get away with it.Then came their ability to visit an additional tax on us …thanks to Osborne.
    If the Tory government is in power then RULE!!!

    • Jerry
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      OneGovernment; “It was wonderful to have the government cap rises on Council Tax.”

      …and then complain bitterly that X, Y or Z had been closed or what ever!

      • getahead
        Posted December 1, 2016 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

        Public sector pensions, paid for by private sector employees, are the real problem, Jerry.

        • Jerry
          Posted December 2, 2016 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

          @getahead; One could make much the same sort of rant about private sector pensions, especially if set against tax etc.

          • Edward2
            Posted December 2, 2016 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

            Nonsense
            Tax rules for pensions are the same for private and public sector pensions.
            Private sector pensions are paid for by contributions made by employees and their employers.
            That fund of money is invested and if it grows a decent pension can result
            Public sector pensions are far more generous
            Often you are able to retire earlier
            Often your pension is index linked
            Often they are based on final salary
            Very few private sector pensions can match the generosity of state sector pension schemes.

      • OneGovernment
        Posted December 2, 2016 at 12:12 am | Permalink

        Then the persons responsible for closing them should be imprisoned. The money wastage is absolutely phenomenal!!! They have absolutely no excuse whatsoever for not meeting need. The government pussy-foots with Local Authorities. It is time it /they are stopped!

        • Jerry
          Posted December 2, 2016 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

          @OneGovernment; You seem to think that governments do not waste tax payers money, and that Local Authorities have any control over making cuts when their budgets have been capped by government.

  14. Aghast
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    In my area, in line with austerity, the Labour council built a new massive Council building in the centre of town replacing needlessly its own building which it built not so long ago that did not last two minutes. Little doubt it was with block grants by Central government. Then a grand opening ( why? ) with the Head of Council earning very well over £135,000 including expenses accompanied by another similarly salaried person. Both watched on as fireworks, in daylight, were shot from the top of the building in several minutes of celebration.A thoroughly good time was had by two.

  15. Awake
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Many people have been wondering for years when austerity is going to start

    • Jerry
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      @Awake; Many people are also wondering when “austerity” is going to end, the UK has had “austerity” (under different names) since 1979…

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 1, 2016 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

        Austerity can only really end when they finally reduce the size of the state sector and increase the relative size and the productivity of the private sector.

        The government talks of “austerity” but continues pissing money down the drain at every turn, in the largely parasitic state sector. This while tying the hands of the productive with red tape ever more tightly, so hardly a surprise the PSBR is so large.

        • getahead
          Posted December 1, 2016 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

          Well said Lifelogic.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 1, 2016 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

        Presumably your definition of austerity is increased state expenditure every year since 1979.

        £340 billion in 2000
        Heading towards £800 billion by 2020

        Is that really austerity?

        PS
        I read your post

        • Jerry
          Posted December 2, 2016 at 7:23 am | Permalink

          @Edward2; You might have read my post but you did not understand it, as usual;

          a/. I was being sarcastic, hence why the word austerity was contained within quotes, if only there had been true austerity since 2010, if not 1979…

          b./ There is no collation between increased state expenditure and reduced/cut (front line) services. For example, no one doubts that, in real terms, government expenditure on the NHS has increased since 1979, but how much of that extra funding has done nothing more than swell the unproductive back-offices rather than either the front line or their medical/building support departments. How much ‘unproductive’ duplication in other governbment departmental areas has there been with the advent of Trusts, Agencies and other forms of arms length oversight etc. (often just so the Minister can pass the buck when it all goes wrong, or so it seems).

        • Edward2
          Posted December 2, 2016 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

          You need to say “I am being sarcastic” Jerry
          It’s not easy for us mere mortals to work out what your underlying meaning is otherwise.

          I’ve got quite good now after some extensive training. at understanding you by the process of reading it carefully.
          Now you make this extra requirement.

  16. Denizen
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Heaven only knows what senior civil servants are advising Ministers about the needs and wants and desires of Local Authorities. We hear Ministers speaking about consulting local authorities about this and that.
    Have Ministers the slightest idea the amount of money eaten up by irresponsible spending? In my small town, the whole of the middle of the town has been virtually knocked down and new buildings replacing the old at a phenomenal expense. Did the buildings that were demolished need repair..no. , not at all. Were they unsafe…no. Were they large enough for purpose, yes.
    Central government needs to get a grip on Local Authorities. There is no sign of it doing so yet.

  17. margaret
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    There is a growing interest in small holdings , home grown veg and market gardening . It is still seen as twee though and not the norm . This will change eventually, but at present it is too easy to pick those perfect products off the shelf at a low cost. I have always wanted to know what happens to those less than perfect apples / potatoes / pears etc. I remember with some of the food mountains these products were allowed to perish. This seems cruel especially when we see charity adverts showing us the suffering of starving children . Why can’t our excesses be directed to these nations. Surely the transport needed won’t break the bank.

  18. What?
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    335,000 net migration up until June 2016.
    It is said there was a massive jump in migrants entering the country AFTER June 23rd .
    This government has lost control. A third of a million extra mouths to feed in one year? A third of a million extra road and railways places to find for their transportation. A third of a million extra eligible for health services. PLUS the extra population produced by people already resident naturally having babies.
    Our minds have been distracted by talk..just talk ..just talk of Brexit. The government is irresponsibly not in control of anything. How is austerity a third of a million more?

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

      Which proves that “Brexit Britain is hostile to migrants ” is a lie.

  19. oldtimer
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    It seems unlikely, at least to me, that there will be much improvement in the trade deficit with the rest of EU unless and until the tax and regulatory burden on SMEs is reduced. Germany is strong in this sector becaused family owned businesses have been nurtured and encouraged ever since the Erhard reforms post WW2. This is especially true of the many world class manufacturing businesses that underpin Germany’s huge trade surpluses in recent decades (aided and abetted by the euro that has proved weaker than the DM).

    In the UK the sector was effectively wiped out by taxation (which peaked at 98%), the drive towards nationalisation and government control and the inability and/or unwillingness of the political class to grapple with inflation. If the government really wants to have an impact on industrial strategy it should first learn the lessons of the post war era. The most important of these is first to create the conditions in which businesses can grow and flourish and secondly then get out of the way.

  20. Ian Wragg
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Interesting the BBC pushing the story about immigrant children going to the back of the queue for school places.
    A policy the majority would endorse.
    My teacher neighbour tells me the policy is that any immigrant children left at the school gates are found places in class regardless.
    The local children are forced to apply for places and are regularly sent father afield.
    We are now getting to a situation where the local schools are becoming mainly immigrants with the local kids shipped here and there.
    This is no good for integration and a misuse of taxpayers money.

  21. Bungalowheads
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Where have the 330,000 migrants been accommodated in the last year up to June? Mr Corbyn pointed out in Parliament there is a massive shortage of affordable housing in London. I do not see so many extra migrant accommodations ( work with the pay of a cleaner ) being built. So where are they? Has the government got a clue where 330,000 people in one year have disappeared? Then those of last year and the year before that and the “added influx” since June 23rd. Where are they? Which particular hospitals will they go into A and E if they have an accident? Has the government added beds, nurses, doctors to cater for them? Are thy working in the precise locations, the exact hospitals.
    This government needs voting out. Unfortunately the Labour Party would be worse. The UK is in terrible difficulties with a non-functional government who prefer being interviewed on TV politics programmes than getting their fingers out

  22. Newmania
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Btw I have seen your Guardian version of this in which you blame the EU for our swelling National Debt – blimey John have you no shame ?

    • a-tracy
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      Now I’m curious about this Newmania shaming statement.

      What was our National Debt before we joined the EU and for the previous three decades and what has it been every decade that follows joining? Are we just living beyond our Countries means on borrowed money from the EU? If not the EU who?

      • Jerry
        Posted December 1, 2016 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

        @a-tracy; Are you disregarding our (now paid off) WW2 war debt, and did you mean just our EU membership or our combined EEC/EU membership since 1973?

        • a-tracy
          Posted December 1, 2016 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

          I’d be really interested in all those figures. Using 1973 as a starting point.

    • zorro
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      If you are continually running a large trade deficit overall, what do you expect will happen to debt? Increase or decrease? We have a large trade deficit with the EU but a surplus with the rest of the world….. What do you think might happen to our trade deficit with a different dynamic?

      zorro

  23. Jack Snell
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Fishing, farming and growing vegetables? you can forget about it – the young English people along with the farmers have grown too lazy and just won’t get out of bed to do this kind of work anymore- they’d rather collect benefits or in the case of farmers collect EU payments, and play with their computers, and now with the migrants largely thinking about going or as I hear in some cases, already gone, we’re going to have a real problem come brexit-

    Just for instance take fishing – what numbers of young English people in their right minds would voluntarily take up such difficult, dangerous and anti social work nowadays- even if the industry as a whole had the necessary skills or sufficient modern boats ? – which it doesn’t – dream on!

    • alan jutson
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      Jack

      Immigration levels are the highest levels ever, as we still have to set out proper rules to control and limit it as past rules have failed, so your availability of labour argument is not a problem at the moment.

      In the future it is the system which we need to change, which presently allows people to choose a non work lifestyle.

      More jobs will be created by building new ships for fishing fleets, as they will at the ports where catches are unloaded before distribution.

      Fishing can be a great way to earn a living when we can set our own rules, yes unsocial hours, and yes can be dangerous, but the financial rewards can be large if successful, and history shows some people will always follow the money if the rewards are large enough.

      Ps EU grants will not be around forever, there may be UK grants, but that is for us to set out the rules.

      Surely better to let our own Country control its own affairs, rather than other countries politicians, !.

    • behindthefrogs
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      There are UK fishermen and boats idle and on the dole because EU quotas have already been caught. Many of the fish are caught by boats from other EU countries in waters that ought to be restricted to UK boats. This means that the quotas are not preserving our fish stocks

    • The "sadness" in us
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      “…what numbers of young English people in their right minds would voluntarily take up such difficult, dangerous and anti social work nowadays
      Answer: Tradition. Duty. It is in our blood. Many of us for example enter the armed forces. Have always done so. They do help with rescue missions in flooded areas. But generally know they are likely to be killed or seriously injured.
      I hear what you are saying of course but mining, fishing, steel making, army, navy, airforce….people need to feel, and want to feel proud of themselves, in themselves. I know it is hard for people outside who may at times look down on such people. But they know they are heroes.

    • forthurst
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      A totally unsubstantiated smear against young people because they are English. Speak for yourself, not for those of whom you have no knowledge whatsoever. Of course, the EU creates industrial pathologies by design which undermine our production in favour of those that pull the strings in Brussels, but cure is at hand: Brexit.

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      Mr Snell

      Here in Lincs British people got on mini buses to farms before dawn every day until they were undercut.

      One way or another the farmers are being subsidised by the taxpayer to ignore locals.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      @Jack Snell

      Quite agree. Farmers in Ayrshire are soon to be millionaires funded by energy bills. If it’s not wind farms then it’s solar panels and bio mass boilers installed in barns and operated 24/7 regardless of whether it’s warm or cold. Many are not farming animals but farming subsidies (their words).

    • turboterrier
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

      @ Jack Snell

      or in the case of farmers collect EU payments, and play with their computers,

      You left out sitting back and taking thousand in subsidies for growing wind turbines.

      Are they a farm or a power station? They get it both ways, always

  24. bigneil
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Once again – immigration through the roof. – all entitled to walk into the NHS etc. More jumping out of lorries – never to be sent back, hands out for their “share” of a supposedly bottomless bucket.
    Doesn’t the govt think it should at least give it’s people an estimate for which date we are to be exterminated and overrun? or does it really think so low of the people it taxes?

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      Today we discover that the children of illegal migrants can bump British children off schools lists.

      • Mitchel
        Posted December 2, 2016 at 10:24 am | Permalink

        And Mrs May couldn’t even get her way on this when Home Secretary.

        Doesn’t bode well,does it?

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      Also more hand wringing about how difficult it will be to account for who can and can’t stay, and to track down everybody who has no right to be here. Not the type of problem they seem to have getting people to pay their TV licenses.

      a – are you claiming benefit? Show us your UK passport and NI number or no benefit and we’ll lead you to the police station for a chat
      b – Under 60, working in a well paid job with no UK passport? Let’s talk about you applying for a UK passport, work visa or permanent residency, according to status.
      c – Under 60, working and on PAYE with less than £2000 income tax paid last tax year? Let’s have a chat about why you have that NI number, and by the way do you have a UK passport by any chance? If not you might like to get a better paid job with a visa or think about moving back home in 12 months?
      d- No place of permanent abode, no UK passport, no means of support? let’s incarcerate you until you’re claimed by some friends back home.

  25. Der Council
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    HM Government cannot even effectively govern England. Grandiose schemes for growth and international trade deals are soft.
    Was it Camden , if not another London entity, which was reported as not knowing the location nor the addresses of hundreds properties it owned? My local council rented certain houses, received rent from them, the occupants paid council tax, but none of the officials to the highest level knew where the properties were located. They attributed their location to a similarly addressed properties, close by, for decades. Beyond belief? No, I can vouch for the authenticity. It was I who brought it to their intelligent attention. But they continued at the highest level still unaware. I knew another property too which was used for predominantly older people. I never told them where it was. Maybe they still don’t know.They didn’t know of its existence at all. Except perhaps under a different name and address. Workmen knew where it was. But they weren’t telling. “Above my pay rate to tell that lot their job!” 🙂

  26. ian
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    In who manifesto will you see that in, selling out the english is all politicians know, the only people standing up for english people are the english themselves who get sold out by their own politicians like the EU vote, kick in to the long grass, that’s the only vote they have had and they wont be getting another one, that for sure.

    Its a case of do as your told or else.

  27. Javelin
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    A problem that needs to be highlighted is that over the past 20 years we have drifted into globalist business models of cheap immigrant labour to benefit the few wealthy elite.

    We need to recognise that these business models (e.g coffee shops) employ large numbers of immigrants (and Brits) on very low pay who do not contribute tax to society yet cost society through taxes, benefits and higher rents etc.

    Society has finally realised the cost of these business models to society is more than the cost of dismantling them.

    It’s time to return to high value-add business models and ensure this abusive practice of profiteering off the backs of hard working British taxpayers will end forever.

  28. Cowdevourer
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    The Government could increase general prosperity by bringing into law measures preventing Vegans eating £5 notes

  29. Chris
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    O/T, but this is a subject that you have written about: BBC and media bias. The website for News-watch seems to be very good indeed, and their documented evidence about BBC bias in news reporting was apparently handed over by Farage to the Chair of the annual global News Exchange Conference in Copenhagen yesterday. (I believe that was Nick Robinson).
    http://news-watch.co.uk/
    Farage gave an excellent speech at the Conference yesterday about how so many in the media were out of touch with the ordinary people e.g. in the UK and the USA, and how people had lost trust in the mainstream media and were seeking alternative news sources e.g. on the internet. Excerpts available on various twitter accounts.

  30. behindthefrogs
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    We need our taxation policies to be set in a way that improves the balance of payments. For example employers’ NI contributions should be reduced rather than other company taxes.

    There need to be specific grants for companies to concentrate on import replacement. This is much less likely to break rules imposed on grants to increase exports.

  31. a-tracy
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Just took a glance at your column in the Guardian. Now I’m confused I thought the austerity program was George Osborne’s policy to stop building up debt for the future generations and pay a bit more back now after a profligate Labour party went wild on the UKs credit card. How was this EU created, I thought it was British banks that did too much unsecured lending to British citizens and it all came crashing down around our ears in 2008, plus the Iceland Bank crash that took so many Council’s savings down with them which we never recovered?

    I know this is probably too simplistic but if our National Health Service was sent up to be funded by half of our Employer/Employee National Insurance contributions and we have an extra 4 million healthy working citizens all paying national insurance and earning money for the economy why can’t the national health services stay within this budget? How much over are they each year? How does this compare with say Holland, how much do they take in from their medical insurance and how much do they spend.

    I hear all the time about the Tories that want to privatise the NHS and that’s now the new attack on UKIP but it was the Labour party who took away our NHS dental services, the weekend services, the evening clinics in 2004.

    We all want to spend more money but the careful ones want to live within our means, why can’t we start to inform people what NHS England costs to run and how much we collect specifically from England’s NI contributions Employer and Employee towards this service.

  32. forthurst
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    “The major criterion here is that we get the best possible access for goods and services to the European [Single] market and if that [Danegeld] is included in what he’s talking about then of course we would consider it.” David Davis HoC

    Is the governments seriously considering payments to the EU for access to the Single Market when it is worth less to us than to the other EU members? Should we not be wanting to charge them for access to our more lucrative markets?

  33. WingsOverTheWorld
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    When people feel hard done by and have to tighten their belts they start to notice and resent when, for example, bosses take large pay rises for no observable reason, or when governments fritter away taxpayer’s money. If people do well for themselves they generally take a far more philanthropic approach to life. It should be the Government’a role to create the environment for this to happen, rather than force it upon us with liberal policies.

    May needs to realise that her goal of a more equal society is best realised through a growing economy. With more jobs available there is more opportunity to switch employer. Companies who need skilled staff will have to either pay more to keep them or invest in bringing up others to fill roles. If an employer fails to properly look after its staff or capital it falters. This works best, especially for the low-skilled, if we can have some control over the flow of the availability of the workforce from outside the U.K., of course. To get the economy growing we should use fiscal policy to allow people to keep (and spend) more of the money they make. The Government will have to take a hit in the short term, but what better time with interest rates so low?

    Kick starting the growth in the economy has to be a priority, and it has to be done through lower taxes. It is the seed to which all May’s more liberal policies will eventually grow. A growing economy offers more options to the workforce. A person with job options available feels more financial secure. With financial security and lower taxes he or she will be better able to achieve the things they want, or help society as they want. With the prize of achievement or self-fulfilment comes further ambition; with ambition comes innovation, which feeds back into the growing economy.

    Get the Government out of the way, and the people will do the rest.

  34. Anonymous
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    It’s as if we are still in the referendum stages – you’re trying to sell Brexit.

    I understand.

    Had Remain won we can bet that the result would have been binding then ! Along with all the changes it would have brought.

    Anything less than total Brexit is total capitulation to Remain.

  35. Know-dice
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Wow BBC…

    Pound jumps Davis Brexit hints

    Oh really, no one noticed that the Pound/Euro and Pound/$ had been “recovering” all week…

    Reply They could just have easily have said FTSE slumps on fears of UK contributions to EU!

  36. ian
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Only 650,000 migrants last year, can the con party break all records this year and BJ DD want to continue paying into the EU after you leave, nice one for bankers & big companies.

  37. stred
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    OT. The news today had net migration at c 350k. Emigration may include people working abroad who may not wish to sell or rent their UK houses. Some houses are converted to house more people. However, Mr Javid is proud to announce a further 40k house will be built, if land can be made available. (It can’t unless we start building over the countryside)

    The number for 2014 was 144,520, for 2015 it was up 26,210 to 170,730.
    Of these, 133k were private, 35k housing assn and council 600 approx.

    170k is less than 1/2 350k. no wonder our young folk can’t buy a house and are paying high rents.

    re. table 241 uk house building statistics 2015

    • a-tracy
      Posted December 2, 2016 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      Awww Stred, you should know according to Jeremy Warner in the Telegraph, “the housing crisis threatens the foundations of our society BUT immigration is not to blame”.

      He says in France and Germany they have similar levels of immigration but no problems with their supply, he adds without immigration, we’d still need 220,000 new homes each year just to keep pace with new household formation.

      It does make you wonder where 300,000 people per year are living though doesn’t it. Then I get to wonder if 220,000 more new homes are required for new households why are we struggling to look after our older population if we have so many new younger homes. We freed up a lot of council houses in my home town building one and two-bed retirement flats to own outright, part-own with the housing association, or housing association in the same development, these retirement villages help with loneliness, help to free up capital from people’s oversize housing assoc.homes or private homes helping their prosperity in retirement and provide close at hand care in the community as they age.

      I just don’t believe a thing I read now, too many people blaming different things. Disputing, arguing who is to blame rather than getting going solving the problems.

  38. ChrisS
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    While doing some personal research a few weeks ago I came across a document on the official EU website. It is a briefing from the European Parliamentary Research Service, written by Doctor Eva Maria Poptcheva, which throws more light on Article 50 procedure.

    In view of all the recent rubbish being talked about Article 50 I thought I would draw attention to it :

    It is entitled : Article 50 TEU: Withdrawal of a Member State from the EU

    http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2016/577971/EPRS_BRI(2016)577971_EN.pdf

    It was published in February 2016 so they might therefore have rushed it out just in case we decided to leave in June, or it might just be a coincidence.

    This does not have the status of a legally binding document but as it is the interpretation of the A50 process by the European Parliament Member’s Research Group, roughly the equivalent of the House of Commons Library, we can only conclude that it has the backing of the Parliament and the Commission and, I guess, would be supported by at least the most sycophantic Member States.

    It is also important to note that, according to the EU website, Eva Maria Poptcheva has a PhD in European Constitutional Law.

    On Page 3 under the Paragraph “Procedure” two important statements are made :

    1. The timing of this notification ( A50 that is – CS. ) is entirely in the hand of the Member State concerned, AND INFORMAL DISCUSSIONS COULD TAKE PLACE BETWEEN IT AND OTHER MEMBER STATES AND/OR EU INSTITUTIONS PRIOR TO THE NOTIFICATION. ( My use of Capitals )

    2. The European Council (without the participation of the Member State concerned) then provides guidelines for the negotiations between the EU and the state concerned with the aim of concluding an agreement setting out concrete withdrawal arrangements.

    So the only conclusion we can make is that, while informal discussions prior to the notification ARE allowed, it is up to the remaining 27 Heads of State to decide on how and when negotiations are to be conducted and the UK has no role in that decision.

    In our case the 27 have unilaterally decided that no informal discussions actually will take place. They could also dictate that all negotiations should be conducted in French or any other language and we could do nothing about it !

    Further on in this document, it goes on to say that any member state can refer any part of the subsequent agreement to the Court of Justice of the EU. That right only extends to the leaving country if the agreement specifically includes that provision.

    It means that any one of the 27 can tie the whole process up in knots more or less indefinitely by referring individual clauses in the negotiated agreement to the court for their consideration.

    As far as a change of mind is concerned, the document says that the whole procedure can be suspended if both the State that had decided to leave, the 27 other states and the European Institutions all agree.

    So while everyone on the opposite side is saying there can be no negotiation prior to A50 they are lying : It is perfectly possible, it’s just that the 27, Juncker and Merkel have decided there would be none.

    It also makes Tusk look both disingenuous and ridiculous when he suggested it is our fault that overseas residents on both sides of the Channel are currently left in limbo. It’s actually the fault of the EU and the 27.

    • Sam Stoner
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      The UK has asked for something – informal negotiation and commitments to residents – and the UK has been told no. And there is not a blind thing that the UK can do about it, apart from throw a tantrum, as you have just done.

      Welcome to the real world of “leaving to take back control”. More like “leaving and being placed at the back of the queue”.

      • zorro
        Posted December 1, 2016 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

        Rubbish…. We shouldn’t ask for anything. We should offer free trade as now, and if they reject that MFN WTO it is. We are not supplicants….. ‘The UK has been told no”…. You are assuming that we should play their game. It is not the only game in town….

        zorro

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted December 2, 2016 at 9:24 am | Permalink

        Yes, a tantrum doesn’t work, we need to start thinking hard about what we can do to retaliate effectively when the other governments decide to behave in an unreasonable way and set out to make themselves our enemies.

    • stred
      Posted December 1, 2016 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      Is this the Article 50 written by our Lord Kerr of Bilderburg- the one that thinks we need immigration because we are thick? These lawyers really know how to make things complicated enough to spin it out.

      It reminds me of the last few times I employed one for a conveyance and, even though both parties wanted to sell and buy and all the faults and age of the property were known and in the sales details and survey, the lawyers kept writing with new queries that we had to repeatedly clear. In the end the buyer and seller had to get together and compose a letter to the lawyer telling him that the mortgage arrangements may lapse if they took any longer.

  39. Dennis
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    “once we take back control of our own fishing grounds? ”

    What fishing grounds are our own with ancient rights given to France, Spain and Belgium and many sold off by our fishermen?

    I’d really like to know – do you Mr Redwood? Please tell.

  40. Dennis
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    With the UK population going up rapidly what happens when the bust comes? How much will it cost to pay benefits for all those out of work?

  41. fedupsoutherner
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    Immigration up again and school places being taken by ILLEGAL immigrants. Whatever next? How many of the new homes being built will also be taken by ILLEGAL immigrants???

  42. turboterrier
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    It is about time we started to support our own home grown industries.

    The classic for me is that high numbers of NHS trusts are using Mercedes ambulances, is it not beyond the realms of common sense to throw down the challenge to JLR to produce a high level response vehicle to keep the jobs within the UK. They could even be the first to design an all electric one in the interests of saving the planet!!!!

    How many jobs could be created there then? Could be good enough to export across the world. Must stop thinking outside the box. Will have to stop the Gordons and Schweppes.

  • 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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