Controlling public spending

The Treasury is worried about the need to control spending as it still wants to eliminate the deficit during the next decade and to reduce it this Parliament. Its task is likely to be made harder by the well leaked suggestion that the OBR will slash their forecasts for productivity growth for the next five years, which in turn will cut their estimates of tax revenue and boost their forecast for the deficit. This is the body which was too pessimistic this year with its deficit forecasts. The deficit so far is £13bn less than their guess.

I am all in favour of eliminating waste, spending more wisely, and concentrating spending on priorities. I would suggest the Treasury could do a much better job in each of those areas. It also needs to get its own views into line with public perceptions of where we are spending too much and where we need to spend more. Here are some areas for savings.

  1. The EU. The Treasury seems to be in the lead to carry on paying large sums to the EU for as long as possible, and even to pay them a large lump sum we do not owe them. They need to understand that a majority of voters wants to end our contributions in March 2019 and has no wish to pay them any additional money, as there is no legal requirement to do so. This would be the single largest saving the state has achieved for a good few years.
  2. Overseas Aid. Parliament is unlikely to want to revisit the pledge to pay 0.7% of GDP, but many MPs as well as voters do want to make sure we spend the Overseas Aid on items that help. We need to revise our and the international definitions to make sure that all military spending on disaster relief, peace keeping and in some cases peace making is charged to the Overseas Aid budget. We need to ensure that when we go to help  Caribbean islands the money spent is also charged to  Overseas Aid.
  3. Railways. We need better financial discipline at Network Rail where I have in the past highlighted their losses and questionable expenditures. We need more rail capacity but this should be primarily brought about by smarter signalling. If we pressed ahead with this we would not need to build expensive new lines as we can run more trains on what we have already.
  4. Housing. A good system for more homes for sale will limit the amount of public capital needed to provide more homes. Moving to a new borders and migration policy could also cut some of the pressures on the housing budget.

We do need to spend sufficiently on schools and hospitals, and need to provide the cash for pay rises as these come through in the public sector.

 

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138 Comments

  1. Mark B
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    Why can’t we just obolish overseas aid, its department along with the OBR ? So much simpler.

    • NickC
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      Mark B, Indeed. No foreign aid apart from disaster relief whilst we are in debt.

    • Hope
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      Rud,,addresses,police chiefs today. Rudd follows May’s lead she lets in terrorists and denies the police funding. Is your govt really that stupid? We read how MI5 and a leading QC that jihadis should be let back in the country and reintegrated at our cost, let all be grave danger, while Rudd tells police chiefs to cut crime instead of writing press releases to ask for more money. These are the same two who would willingly give away billions in yearly contributions to the EU, £2 billion of our overseas aid to the EU and £14 billion in overseas aid.

      JR, could you tell Rudd it is her job first and foremost to keep us secure and safe in our country. If she has forgotten we had three attrocities this year where she should be accepting responsibility for failing to provide secure border checks. She has only issued one control order from 400 people who have returned to our country to cause us harm. People were killed and maimed because of her failings and yet today she makes these comments. Most decent people would have resigned after the attrocities this year, but she should be sacked.

      Equate your comments to those of Rudd today on public spending and parliament continung to want to waste £14 billion of our taxes on overseas aid, a sixth of which goes to the EU where no UK POLITICIAN HAS A SAY HOW IT IS SPENT. Why cannot the amount or percentage that goes to the EU be cut?

      May and Rudd are not fit for public office people have died at their expense while dribble on about transgender talk.

  2. Duncan
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    ‘The EU. The Treasury seems to be in the lead to carry on paying large sums to the EU for as long as possible’….

    This sounds almost like an admission of failure, an admission of defeat or indeed a grudging acceptance that Hammond will use his leverage to ensure we stay in the EU in some form or other.

    From the outside looking in it appears that Eurosceptic MP’s on the Tory backbenches simply do not have the backbone for the fight rather they focus on their pay, pensions and privileges.

    Today’s MP is like today’s public sector worker, more concerned with their remuneration rather than their duty

    Never trust a politician

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      Most ministers certainly give the impression they are acting only for the 20% who work for the state sector. Most of the time they ignore the 80% who do the vast majority of the productive work and largely carry the weight of this (circa 150% over remunerated) 20%.

    • Hope
      Posted November 2, 2017 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      56,000 immigrants including hundreds of criminals lost by the Home Office revealed to the Select Committee today! Rudd has the temerity to stay in post to criticise the police! Where do these people get health care, A and E?

  3. Dame Rita Webb
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    JR why do successive governments insist on paying recently qualified nurses, for example, such low wages that they automatically qualify for in work benefits? Why not just pay them a decent wage and avoid the waste of the involvement benefits machine being involved in topping up their incomes too? Its not as if they have enough to do without having to claim for the things and then try and avoid clawbacks when they do a bit of overtime.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      Best if the government didnt set their wages. Indeed best if the state got out of providing healthcare. Sure we need a state backed medical insurance, but we sure dont need the state owning or operating providers of care. Hand the insurance payout cheques over to patients to take where they want, and let normal market forces make the providers of care constantly optimise and improve.

      Copy from the best of the rest of the world when it comes to healthcare, lets not keep flogging the dead NHS horse.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 1, 2017 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

        “Indeed best if the state got out of providing healthcare” and education and indeed housing.

        Then we would have far better healthcare, housing and far better education too. All that is needed is a safely net, tax cuts and education vouchers. Get some real competition where schools, hospitals respond to paying customers.

      • Dame Rita Webb
        Posted November 1, 2017 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

        Keep an eye on what the GPs are voting on. Very soon a visit to a GP may be on a fully private basis

      • hefner
        Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

        And which countries have a better healthcare than the UK?
        If you look at international comparison studies, there are rather different interpretations of what « best » is.
        So what is your preferred healthcare system?

        • Iain Gill
          Posted November 2, 2017 at 10:32 am | Permalink

          I have lived in a lot of countries, and have seen things first hand, both as a patient, and visiting patients in hospitals, and so on.

          So I base my views on first hand experience and not “comparison studies”.

          My views would suggest New Zealand, Belgium and Italy are examples of the best. In many multi dimensional ways.

          • hefner
            Posted November 3, 2017 at 8:17 am | Permalink

            Thanks.

          • Peter D Gardner
            Posted November 4, 2017 at 12:34 am | Permalink

            Australia?

    • a-tracy
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      Adult nurse job profile | Prospects.ac.uk
      https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles/adult-nurse
      Fully qualified nurses start on salaries of £22,128 rising to £28,746 on Band 5

      How much do you think they should start on?
      Let’s not forget to add-in
      Full sick pay
      Defined benefit pension
      35 days holiday
      Allowances for weekend hours, nights etc.

      • a-tracy
        Posted November 1, 2017 at 11:57 am | Permalink

        By the way whilst they are working full time for the NHS I do think their is an argument for a 9% increase over £21k to pay off their student loan repayment, but if they go private or abroad the money is repayable by them and through enhanced pay by their new employer.

        • Iain Gill
          Posted November 1, 2017 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

          no stop all the state manipulation.

          pay them in real money not lots of hidden subsidies.

          • a-tracy
            Posted November 2, 2017 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

            I get your point Iain, may be it shouldn’t be hidden it could be put in their gross. Maybe nurses should be offered nest defined contribution pensions (in return for some extra gross income today if they truly want to be compared to their private sector colleagues) let’s level that playing field because they don’t appreciate the actual value and benefit of that pension.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted November 2, 2017 at 4:19 am | Permalink

          The loan payments are taxable and have NI on them so they would actually need about 13% increase on anything over the £21K.

          To repay say £50K (plus the interest) of student debt someone on a normal wage needs to earn about £110K (this just to clear the debt). With the extra £60K going in interest, tax and NI to the government. This might not be too bad if more than about 25% of their degrees had any real value. So many clearly have almost none. A bright kid is bright before he goes to university and a dim one still dim after university I find. University often just gives them totally unrealistic expectations.

          • a-tracy
            Posted November 2, 2017 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

            The student loan (9% graduate tax) is taken out of gross pay not net.

      • JoolsB
        Posted November 1, 2017 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

        Agree. My young niece started on nearly £24,000. And let’s not forget the weird week they work – 3 days on and four days off. What idiot came up with that one? Cram your hours into three days, wouldn’t we all like to do that? But surely it’s dangerous when it comes to nurses.

        The Government should not be topping up wages like this. In fact they should stay out of it and end work related benefits altogether.

        • a-tracy
          Posted November 2, 2017 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

          I know several nurses and I also know how much they are earning for three day weeks, plus overtime, plus shift allowances, plus sick pay not SSP, plus more days holiday per year than people in the private sector get. They actually don’t moan about their wages.

      • Dame Rita Webb
        Posted November 1, 2017 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

        Please reread my comment. That wage qualifies them for top up benefits,especially if they have kids, and tax payers money is then wasted by the DWP paying them rather than the money directly coming from the NHS in one sum. In other words less tax payers money is wasted if they are paid one wage by the NHS rather than the DWP getting involved too. Two sets of civil servants instead of one. Got it?

        • a-tracy
          Posted November 2, 2017 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

          How rude!
          Not all newly qualified nurses have children, most of them aren’t married, you’re suggesting that every nurse is getting the money anyway and that is simply false. Do you get what I’m saying.
          How much more should a nurse working 35 hours per week at the average age of 22-25 be paid in your world? And from whom do you take this money are you suggesting the rest of us with children and student loans and mortgages and debts are less worthy?

      • Chris
        Posted November 1, 2017 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

        Do they get private health insurance/allowance for it?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 2, 2017 at 4:29 am | Permalink

        Junior doctors in Foundation Year 1 (F1) earn a basic starting salary of £22,636. In Foundation Year 2 (F2) this rises to £28,076.

        So nurses get about the same salary as junior doctors. They start getting paid several years earlier and have far less student debt to repay too. Hardly surprising that only about 50% of UK trained doctors end up working for the NHS after qualifying. They can, after all, earn more driving a tube train or working on a building site.

        • Peter D Gardner
          Posted November 4, 2017 at 12:37 am | Permalink

          Where do the other 50% go? Do you mean fully trained docs or 50% of medical graduates?

      • Iain Gill
        Posted November 3, 2017 at 2:06 am | Permalink

        Paid and funded training once qualified.

    • Tax nurses!!!
      Posted November 2, 2017 at 12:45 am | Permalink

      You really do spoil your argument when you write of nurse low pay. There are so many many people in the UK who would love to earn as much as your just qualified nurse. Never mind available overtime and other benefits I have never in my life earned as much as they earn. I have always been well-fed, well -clothed, well-housed, holidayed ( expensive ) in places your newly qualified nurses cannot afford. ask what they smoke and where they get it and how much it costs darn it!!!!!

      • a-tracy
        Posted November 2, 2017 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

        The NHS really does need to promote qualified nursing better as a career option, with the gross pay once you have your degree, any on job degree training payments, the benefits, overtime rates, shift allowances, worth of full sick pay per annum, value of an extra 7 seven holidays over 28 day statutory holiday allowance plus increments and the true value of their defined benefit pension then they might just get more British men and women interested in the profession as a choice from college.

        • Peter D Gardner
          Posted November 4, 2017 at 12:42 am | Permalink

          There is an interesting parallel with pay in the armed services. the lower ranks are paid peanuts for what they do. Doctors in the services are paid vastly more than others of the same rank because civilian pay is so much higher. Bu the fact is that what counts more than pay and qualifications is attitude and motivation. Basically you get better people if they come because they love the job and people who come for the money are not as good however well qualified they might be. (Maslow’s theory is tried and tested and works)

  4. hans chr iversen
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    John,

    Good ideas but it does not change the facts that the deficit is still too big and we do not have much room for manoeuvre on where to spend the rest as we are leaving it all to the nest generations, who cannot afford it

  5. Colin Hide
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    We could also charge the annual cost of treating people who live overseas but use our NHS to the Foriegn Aid budget. That would give another £500m – £1.2 billion to the NHS depending on whose figures you believe.

    • Peter D Gardner
      Posted November 4, 2017 at 12:44 am | Permalink

      Have you ever come across a GP surgery in UK that has actual means of receiving a payment?

  6. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    The proud Britons could well use an up-beat autumn budget this year, as they are currently a bit worse off:
    “The U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union is cutting disposable income by more than 600 pounds ($795) per household, according to the National Institute of Economic and Social Research.” (Bloomberg)

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      It’s nothing to do with you as a Dutchman, but this is according to an organisation with a longstanding reputation for unreliable analyses and predictions.

    • alan jutson
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      PVL

      We need an upbeat Budget full stop.

      Government and the EU are taking too much from the population they are supposed to serve, and then wasting it on vanity projects.

      By the way how is the tender for the 4,000 bottles of Champagne going for the EU cellars.

    • NickC
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      Peter, At that rate, soon we’ll be as badly off as your EU subjects in Italy, Spain, or even Greece. When is WW3 breaking out in “Europe”?

    • Timaction
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      Really Peter. Didn’t they make similar false predictions like all the great and elite with Project Fear before the referendum. How are you and the rest of the EU exporters going to do paying all those tariffs to us with a £77 billions trade deficit?
      Get ready to pay your EU masters more contributions! More for nothing.
      Oh to be free of the shackles of the EU unelected dictatorship. As Barroso said the EU empire!

    • Bob
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      @PvL that sounds a bit sneering.
      Sorry that our decision to leave has left you so embittered.
      Never mind Pete, maybe Holland will see the light soon and come join us and the rest of the non EU world. 😂😂😂

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted November 2, 2017 at 10:33 am | Permalink

        @Bob: You’d make a good evangelist Bob,
        Poor us who still walk in darkness and have to put up with earthly wealth! 🙂

    • ian wragg
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      That will be Bloomberg who said “leaving the EU is stupid”. A carefully measured response – not.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted November 2, 2017 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        ian wragg: Not our but YOUR “National Institute of Economic and Social Research”
        Bloomberg was not the only one reporting this.

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      PVL – We were told that the day after referendum would be all the worst things in the Bible arriving at once.

      £600 ? A mere bagatelle.

      The price of a cup of sour morning coffee on the way to work at 2.50 a day, 48 weeks a year.

      Phew !

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted November 2, 2017 at 10:48 am | Permalink

        @Anonymous:
        Indeed indeed, a mere bagatelle! 🙂
        Ironically it is roughly equivalent to about 10 billion a year for the country.
        Having lost that already now, even before the glorious exit from the “evil empire”, which was supposed to make you a rich country! 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • hefner
        Posted November 2, 2017 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        Do you realise what you are saying? £600, a bagatelle. In that case what about the £200-300 gained thanks to Brexit. Please try to learn how to work with numbers or you are becoming simply ridiculous.

    • getahead
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

      Bloomberg Peter? Well they would say that, wouldn’t they?

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted November 2, 2017 at 10:50 am | Permalink

        @getahead:

        Bloomberg only quoting your own “National Institute of Economic and Social Research”

    • libertarian
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      PvL

      Please give even the remotest evidence of this totally implausible fact. How is leaving cutting disposable income now or indeed how will it do so in future. There is no link what so ever.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted November 2, 2017 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        @libertarian:

        Bloomberg only quoting your own “National Institute of Economic and Social Research”

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted November 2, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

        @libertarian:
        P.S. if I told you that there is a strong correlation between the referendum vote for Brexit and the (lower) level of education (see YouGov), you wouldn’t believe that either, would you?
        After all, “the people” in the UK have had enough of experts 🙂

        • a-tracy
          Posted November 3, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

          In the UK lots of us that didn’t get the opportunity to go to university undertook work-related training schemes, apprenticeships, external extra qualifications, learnt on the jobs often by several mistakes that sharpen you up to enable us to build businesses, make money, create things. There are many many examples of very successful people who don’t have university degrees so you’ll excuse us if we don’t think that hundreds doing a three-year degree in say sports science means they’re more intelligent than the rest of us.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted November 2, 2017 at 12:30 am | Permalink

      PvL–You continue snide through and through

    • Original Richard
      Posted November 2, 2017 at 7:54 am | Permalink

      The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) is yet another organisation who receives funding from the EU through “research” commissioned directly bythe EU :

      https://www.niesr.ac.uk/about-us

      So hardly likely to be an independent source of information in the Brexit debate.

  7. Nig l
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Certainly PLCs and many other smaller successful businesses have a continuous improvement and business excellence culture probably using the Model and ongoing benchmarking. Sophisticated diagnostic programmes are increasingly being used to look holistically at every part of a business.

    How does HMG compare? Please enlighten us.

  8. Dave Andrews
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Getting public spending willingly under control is dreamland.
    Too many votes depend on government high spending. The only thing that will halt it is a major depression, where the ability to raise tax reduces to the level where money markets no longer are prepared to lend to make up the budget. The mistakes of the past will be repeated when politicians discover they have no other option.
    What we will save in EU contributions is only a quarter of current government debt interest payments, so the burden is already excessive.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 2, 2017 at 4:56 am | Permalink

      We are certainly not going to get it under control with people in nos 10 & 11 who even think that HS2, Hinkley C and huge subsidies for the absurd renewables are a great plan.

    • Peter D Gardner
      Posted November 4, 2017 at 12:51 am | Permalink

      indeed. First there is the ratchet effect: once a group starts receiving taxpayers’ money it is very difficult to stop it. Second there is a threshold of public spending as a proportion of GDP above which just about everything in the economy is dependent on the government, hardly anything can be done without involving the government. UK is above that threshold with the proportion being around 48-50%. Mrs T got it down to about 35-38%. Before 1914 it was 15-20%. We need to get back to that.

  9. Timaction
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    …………..Overseas Aid. Parliament is unlikely to want to revisit the pledge to pay 0.7% of GDP, but many MPs as well as voters do want to make sure we spend the Overseas Aid on items that help…………..
    It should be do as you are told by the electorate. You know the vast majority want this percentage cut and a sensible number installed for disaster and humanitarian relief only.The “we” in that sentence is our money in taxes. Parliament, as always, defying the will of the people on what it wants. Capital punishment is another area for certain crimes.

    I see more trouble in New York and I am saddened at the tragic loss of life. What is your leader actually “doing” not saying about those who wish to harm us and our way of life?

    • Mitchel
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      Remember the mantra of Bush,Blair and their heirs justifying their foreign adventures – “fight them over there,so we don’t have to fight them over here.”

      Didn’t quite work out,did it?

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      Agreed; another example: poll recently 60% wanted HoL/Upper Chamber elected and about 35% said abolish, instead we have a manana report.

      Most politicians do not want the majority to rule, very similar to the EU hierarchy. Their argument is we have a Parliamentary democracy and once elected they can do as they choose and they know best. The EU Referendum has shaken that principle and whether the outcome reflects the will of the people is dubious.

  10. eeyore
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Not easy to shrink democratic government. At its heart is the act of bribing electorates with their own money. Once anyone gets anything from the State, they become dependent on it and expect it as of right for ever.

    Whitehall is always keen to expand its empires. Ideally Westminster should resist with all its strength. The best way to make government smaller is never to make it bigger in the first place.

    I admit this counsel of perfection is useless to a democratic politician facing a sea of want and needing every vote he can get. So a practical suggestion: include Tax Freedom Day in every Budget so the public get a simple handle every year on how the public finances are moving. Can’t do any harm, might do a lot of good.

    • hefner
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      This TFD info is readily available for many countries on Wikipedia.
      Moreover is this really what one would want to know? In my case I am more interested in my own TFD, which can easily be computed as a ratio of the tax paid to HMRC to my yearly income, multiplied by 365.

    • NickC
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      Eeyore, The Conservatives are very poor at propaganda compared to Labour. In many ways I find that commendable, but it does mean we lose out on sensible policies.

    • Mitchel
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      The “big state” is inherently undemocratic – it inevitably becomes a state within a state,a self-serving bureaucracy.

  11. sm
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    So I nodded in enthusiastic agreement with this piece, while still being perplexed about the ongoing commitment of a %age of the GDP to international aid. It seems to have been designed to be a political come-hither call to appeal to all the luvvie hypocrites who would rather chop off a leg than ever vote Conservative.

    I’m in favour of a wealthy, first-world nations helping out other countries during a time of crisis – I object to the UK being an eternal milch-cow and whipping boy.

    • NickC
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      SM, The commitment to 0.7% GDP aid is expensive virtue signalling, perplexing, and mostly corrupting for us and them. As you say the Tories could chop it entirely and electorally it would be advantageous. And according to Bauer and Moyo advantageous for the aided countries too.

  12. Richard1
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Nick Robinson’s podcast with the former cabinet secretary sir gus O’Donnell is worth listening to. Lord O’Donnell is against Brexit and thinks it would be best if it was reversed. In the meantime he supports the payment of a very large (but not quantified) bung to the EU for ‘access to the single market’ on the grounds that even £10bns would be a very small percentage of GDP (it being axiomatic presumably that if we don’t have this ‘access’ GDP will fall by a larger amount). It’s clear Lord O’Donnell is an intelligent informed and experienced public servant, and he’s entitled to his view. But if this view is typical of the upper reaches of the civil service, it’s not surprising the government is rather floundering in setting out clearly for us all its desired end position with the EU and its walk away position.

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      Richard 1

      It would help greatly – if reversal is the desired outcome – if Remain stopped smearing Brexit voters.

      We are not thick and we are not racists.

      We have legitimate concerns about overcrowding. Start taking them seriously.

      • Richard1
        Posted November 1, 2017 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

        Lord O’Donnell didn’t do that

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted November 1, 2017 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

          Openly.

        • Anonymous
          Posted November 1, 2017 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

          In general Remain supporters do though.

    • NickC
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      Richard 1, My civil service source has views similar to O’Donnell, so you can be assured that it is universal throughout the Whitehall machine. And of course they made the same mistake in 1972. They haven’t learnt from it. Yet such a supine outlook cannot be hidden any more. The existing May/civil service deal will rankle for decades. It’s a sell out.

  13. alan jutson
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    As more and more time goes by JR it would seem that whilst you are in broad agreement with many voters priorities, your Government Ministers and the Chancellor in particular are not.

    Almost weekly now we hear of more money (tax payers money) being pledged for almost every situation which arises. Indeed many Conservative policies now seem to start from many Labour suggestions.

    Corbyn may not be in actual power, but many of his policies seem to be coming to fruition.

    Foreign aid needs to be completely revisited.
    Help to buy needs to be scrapped.
    Universal credit needs to be revised with the way its implemented.
    The overall tax take needs to be reduced.
    Etc, Etc,Etc.

    • Posted November 1, 2017 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      And the bureaucracy needs to be – decimated.
      I am reading Parkinson’s Law…

  14. Ian Wragg
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Today we read that the Royal Navy is cannibalising ships because of cuts. On Conhome yesterday there was talk of the Treasury stumping up £48 billion for Brussels.
    You have to face what will be a very angry electorate at some stage in the future.
    Borrowing billions to squander on aid and bungs to Brussels will ensure wipe out at the next election.
    The sooner we get a true right wing government the better.

  15. zorro
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    As you might expect, I agree with all these points which we have been advocating for years. Surely, people can see what the Treasury is up to whilst advocating savings, it zealously states that it wants to send more money to the EU including departure fees. What can we hope for?

    zorro

  16. Lifelogic
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Indeed. There is vast waste and incompetence in the state sector. Much of it does little but positive harm. often vastly inconveniencing the private sector. This with over priced energy, an absurdly high and complex tax regime and totally misguided red tape everywhere. The gender pay reporting, energy performance certificates, work place pensions, absurd employment laws to deter employment, the payment to augment the feckless …..

    Today we have reports of parts cannibalisation at the MoD which is nearly always hugely less inefficient than proper efficient provision and management.

    What is the cost of the endless the delays on UK motorways and roads (every single day) due to lack of capacity and slowness in dealing with incidents. Why is the state sector about 150% better remunerated (when pensions are included) than the private sector. This for fewer hours, more sick days etc. Does the government think they better people and the private sector are second rate? This while providing so little useful output from approaching 50% of GDP that they largely waste.

    Yesterday William Hague even described the Chancellor as highly capable. Anyone who tries to attacks the gig economy (rather incompetently), thinks 15% turnover taxes on houses, taxes landlords (thus tenants) on profit they have not even made. that IHT at 40% over £325K is just fine and keeps all taxes far too high is certainly not “highly competent”.

    He has failed to learn the basics. Starting from such on overtaxed position as in the UK, lower simpler taxes would grow the tax base, grow the economy and even raise more tax.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      No BREXIT impact assessment has prepared for Energy it seems (from the daily politics just now). Why on earth not? Cheaper, on demand, non green crap, energy is one thing UK industry and people desperately need, and can have post Brexit. Then we can export cheap energy to France down the cable rather than the other way round.

  17. Peter Miller
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    After you pay for: i) the armies of bureaucrats, both home and abroad, ii) the so called experts for their opinions, iii) the facilitators, iv) for the corruption (bribes etc) to make things happen in receiver companies, v) the inflated prices in receiver countries, where contractors know foreign aid is a soft touch, vi) the theft of goods and equipment, vii) the general waste and misdirection by those who are who are not businessman, and viii) banking and money transfer fees, there is not much left to do any real significant good.

    Most of the UK’s foreign aid is pointless and wasted and these funds could so much be better spent at home, that it has become one of the greatest scandals of our time.

  18. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    MPs are happy to spend money on overseas aid and won’t revisit it.They have even enshrined it in law, unlike any other form of government spending. Wasting 10s of £billions on the HS2 vanity project also goes forward without second thought. We read that returning jihadis are to be offered council houses as some kind of bribe for good behaviour. The low calibre of those who occupy the green benches at Westminster must be at an all time low.

  19. Posted November 1, 2017 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood: we do not often agree, I regret.
    But today you have scratched exactly in the right spot! Excellent article and well written.

  20. Bert Young
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Its the same old story . Every time we take a step forward there is always something to hold us back . There is no doubt that a drastic re-think is necessary in the running of our economy . The Public sector is too large – an observation that has applied over so many years ; the electoral system based on a 5 year programme has always fallen short on the ability to cope with longer term initiatives ; our membership in the EU has cost us many fortunes during the time we have been in it , and , Chancellors more often than not have been selected for the job for Political rather than economic competence . These are but a few of our underlying problems .

    We have to start again with a fresh approach . A smaller number of MPs would be reasonable and effective ; the Hof Lords is a defunct body , elections of MPs should only effect a third of them at one time ; Foreign Aid should be completely overhauled ; MPs must have had at least 10-15 years experience in the private sector ; the Party system no longer is a reflection of wider public opinion – and so on and so on .

  21. VotedOut
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Money to spend depends on income. For governments that control and print their own money, there is some flexibility in that – at least in the short term.

    If we look historically, it is clear that austerity cannot be pursued much beyond a 10 year period before the strain on society creates political pressure against it.

    When everyone is busy making and spending money, there is little interest in what politicians are doing. As long as everything is broadly OK for key electoral demographics, politicians can get up to all sorts of nonsense.

    The current dilemma facing the political elite is that the period of austerity should have created a surplus ready for the next downward cycle. Without that surplus, when that downward cycle happens (and it will) all sorts of nasty things can happen in the political landscape.

    It should be a sobering fact to all our remainer friends that the Bailout of 2008, was over £50 billion. That more than the then labour governments spending (supported by the then Conservative opposition) caused the near 10 years of austerity we have. One shudders to think what £20 billion more given to the EU would do let alone the £50 to £80 billion demanded.

    The plain fact is, to pay for what we want we need to focus on making money. An independent UK government backing up British entrepreneurs is long overdue. I have worked in Germany. German company buyers always consider German suppliers over anyone else irrespective of price or quality. Local German towns do not impose EU regulation with the vigour their UK counterparts do. The same situation is in France only much worse.

    It is this landscape the ‘educated’ Remainers are insisting the UK is better off being in. My personal experience is that the single market is far from a level playing field. The rest of the EU may not be our enemy, but they are most definitely not our friends.

  22. Edward
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    I rather suspect we will see more off balance sheet financing undertaken soon. This will not impact the deficit. Sajid Javid hinted at that in his recent Marr interview (or was it a Sarah Smith interview) when discussing how to finance new housing.

    Please kindly ask Mr Hammond to stop borrowing money from my children, their children and grand-children. I live within my means, why should my children have it made difficult for them.

    • acorn
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

      Javid is one of the few that actually understands fiat currency accounting. He was a trader at Deutsche Bank and moved up; made his pile; retired into politics for, I assume, something easy to do.

      The “budget deficit” concept is strictly for the proletariat household economy. The latter is required to believe that the government’s accounting is the same as every other currency using household, including the concept of “borrowing”, which the currency issuing Treasury never actually does, simply because it doesn’t have to ever. Why borrow your own currency when you can just spend some more into existence. Inflation is the only limiter on government spending; that is, when our now degraded private sector, runs out of capacity to supply goods and services.

      There is no such concept of a budget deficit in the separate banking economy. That’s why ONS publishes data such as PSND ex; a measure of public sector net debt excluding the private and public banking sectors.

      Have a look at Public sector finances tables 1 to 10: Appendix A . Table PSA1 shows the history of the two distinctly separate sectors of the Treasury books. You will see that net debt in the Muppet economy is 87.2% of GDP when you exclude the banks. It is 101.9% if you include the banks.

      One day, even Brexiteers will understand this.

    • acorn
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      Edward, don’t worry about your children. They will decide what taxes they will pay and what budget deficit they will run; and will by then, understand that the currency issuing government’s debt, is solely due to the private sector saving the government’s “money”, because it is unsure of its economic survival.

      • Edward2
        Posted November 2, 2017 at 8:24 am | Permalink

        But saving is low
        It’s debt that is high.

  23. JoolsB
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    “Overseas Aid. Parliament is unlikely to want to revisit the pledge to pay 0.7% of GDP, but many MPs as well as voters do want to make sure we spend the Overseas Aid on items that help.”

    As you know, many voters want to see an end to a ridiculous arbitrary figure which only the UK and US stick to anyway, but when did politicians take any notice of the electorates wishes? Yes, help those around the world in times of crisis and those truly in need but end the ridiculous practise of employing extra civil servants to take on the roll of desperately trying to find ways of giving our money away because we haven’t reached the .7% target.

    Meanwhile public services in England are being cut to the bone by this UK Government and England’s elderly now face the despicable dementia tax if May gets her way and England’s young if they have the audacity to go to university face a lifetime of crippling debts hanging over them before they have even started work. How about putting them first for a change?

    Your Government John are proving to be as despicable and incompetent as the last Labour Government.

    • hefner
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      In 2015, the UK had a aid budget of $18.70 bn, i.e. 0.71 % of GNI, the USA of $31.08 bn, i.e. 0.17% of GNI. The countries at the top are Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, all with 0.8 % or more.

      • a-tracy
        Posted November 3, 2017 at 9:46 am | Permalink

        hefner does the aid budget you speak of also include all of the charitable fundraisings the UK spends on overseas aid? The amount we pay across to the EU to sustain their overseas aid budget? The amount paid across to Jordan and the other states that are housing Syrians and other people fleeting oppression as we were one of the biggest contributors to that or are all of those generosities on top?

        I’m getting fed up with the UK being made out to be selfish, we’re not in the Euro yet helped to bail out Greece and Ireland (by a big amount and I see bloggers saying how well Ireland are doing well why don’t they take out their own loan and pay us back then we need it).

  24. Turboterrier.
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    I am all in favour of eliminating waste,

    Aren’t we all but until all sections of the public sector actually start to install processes and procedures to identify waste then it is just not going to happen.

    The people who see the real waste of how the public sector operates are those that are working on the front line, not the layers of management that have created their own little worlds to justify their existence, salaries and pensions.
    Invest in your front line operatives in training them to adopt new skills other than their trade, professional skills. Problem solving, team working, identifying waste, right first time and the real cost of non conformance.

    Government officials and politicians could also have a big impact by cancelling all these vastly expensive projects that supporters of this site bang on about day after day. First questions that should be asked on any project are:-

    Will it bring value and improvement.

    Is the infrastructure in place to support it.

    Can we afford it.

    If these three questions had been asked on Wind turbines, HS2, Hinckly, and electric cars to name but a few, we wouldn’t be wasting the billions that we have and will in the future for the benefit of a selected few.

    This country has got to get real and start living within its means.

  25. Peter
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    I agree with points 1 and 2. No unnecessary spend on EU or overseas aid.

    Point 3 and 4 need clarification. Individual rail companies seem to function just as badly if not worse than Network Rail. I do not believe the fractured structure of our national rail system is helpful.

    More housing would be welcome but there is insuffficient detail as how this is to be achieved.

  26. Epikouros
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    I believe that more and more people are coming around to realise that forecasts from government agencies, many so called think tanks and vested interests are not in the least reliable. Forecasting models are corrupted by out of date theories, bias interpretation of data that is often incomplete. Even opinion polls are struggling for any degree of accuracy and they are fed real time data. The reason being is that human behaviour is totally unpredictable and evasion and misdirection common.

    Your suggestions to bring the deficit under control are in their own way admirable but they do not address the root cause. The state having to provide for the demands of services that have grown like Topsy to cater for the ambitions of political groups and vested interests that care nothing for cost as it is not their money but provided by the taxpayer or lenders or the printing press. You do not address the root cause because you know it is pointless as it would be like giving a ravenous dangerous animal a bone then putting you hand near it’s mouth to take it away again.

  27. bigneil
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Giving the EU a large lump of cash ?? – -Nothing to do wit the quiet announcement their bank will be keeping OUR money for decades? That money will NEVER be seen again. Just another crooked scheme to keep the dictator’s dream alive. Why not just stop giving them the £55m a day until it levels up?

  28. Rien Huizer
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    No problems here. I would cut the overseas aid entirely and replace by explicit spending on trade support, disaster relief and peace keeping. Foreign aid is a very inefficient way of helping developing countries to look after themselves.

    As to the EU contributions: there should be payments regarding items not covered by contributions, like there would be British recipients re projects agreed in the past. Also the issue of pensions and contingent liabilities for the EIB. Reality is not so simple of course. But all in all, UK should cease to be a donor and recipient of EU funds after exit . Eminently logical.

    • NickC
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      Rien, Since we are leaving we will not “benefit” from EU projects, the benefits we would have enjoyed are entirely yours. You cannot expect us to pay for your extra benefits can you?

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted November 2, 2017 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        NickC

        I was referring to EU(and EIB) funded projects in the UK ythose will have to be finfihed of course, either by the UK assuming the role of EU/EIB or by continuing to cooperate (solely wrt existing commitments of course). Common sense, I would guess. No extra benefits.

  29. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Personally I would have been prepared to discuss some modest ex gratia payments from the UK to the EU on and after our withdrawal in order to help smooth the transition for the peoples of the other EU countries.

    Just as I do not blame the citizens of other EU countries who have accepted the invitation to come and settle here which was issued in our name by the politicians we elected, so too I have no wish to unduly penalise those who did not come here but adjusted their lives to the expectation that they would be subsidised by UK taxpayers via the EU.

    However the deplorable and fundamentally stupid attitude of the other EU leaders has changed my attitude on this.

    What should have been a civil side discussion among a joint working party of accountants and lawyers has been promoted to the top priority for negotiations which they say must be settled before we can even start to talk about matters of greater long term importance such as trade; they refuse to even submit a detailed invoice of what they think we should pay; they talk about this being a “divorce bill” and go on to insult us by suggesting that this is money we owe to them when it is in fact part of the cost of our membership which we would be paying anyway if we stayed in the EU, and far more besides.

    This is plainly just a mafia-style attempt at extortion and I cannot understand why the UK government is not making it clear to the world at large that it is just a mafia-style attempt at extortion. Does David Davis not care about the opinions of mankind? Does he not see that we will need allies around the world and should not allow the EU to depict us in a bad light when the stupid, destructive and dishonest behaviour is all theirs?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      Why has this dissenting comment been dumped into moderation?

      • a-tracy
        Posted November 3, 2017 at 9:51 am | Permalink

        The UK needs a pr team and pretty damn quickly because like you I’m getting totally fed up now of how we are represented.
        The Tories need a good pr team, the Conservatives currently allow inflammatory language about Tory voters unchallenged, hate signs about Tories to be left up for weeks on end by endless Labour councils. Either we don’t agree with hate towards any group or we don’t stand on platforms claiming to speak for everyone.
        Universities should not oppress free thinking from Brexiteer students and its lecturers should not let their personal beliefs not be challenged and alternatives represented equally. I don’t like this subjugation and groupthink, I willing read and listen to both sides of every argument.

  30. Nig l
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    P.S. ignoring the most lurid headlines about MPs behaviour, it is obvious that there are problems that need to be addressed. Certainly it would appear that Parliament is decades behind normal, let alone, world class practice in terms of behaviour, people management and this must include the Civil Service, etc.

    Given that, what chance of achieving of the kind of efficiencies that are needed? I would suggest little to none. Digby Jones as an example of many from the private sector was ennobled to bring private sector expertise into government, as with many, he left disillusioned and frustrated.

    Create an internal business improvement department with a Cabinet level Minister with an MBA type background looking to drive a fundamental change management programme and things may imprive but regrettably, I am not holding my breath.

  31. formula57
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    The four sound points you make do alas demonstrate that the Government pays only lip service to the notion of deficit reduction such that for I for one now pay no heed to bleating from H.M. Treasury.

  32. Rob Jump
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    If the Treasury is so worried about public spending why is this government splashing money around like a drunken sailor in a knocking shop? We have higher spending than Brown had at his worst. Are there any conservatives in this administration? It doesn’t look like it.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      Indeed start by scrapping HS2 and Hinkley C, getting defense procurement under some sensible control, sorting out the dire NHS, killing all the renewable and electric car subsidies, firing all the civil servants who produce nothing (or worse) of value, sorting out network rail, cutting the feckless augmenting of budget …….

      Are some of them perhaps drunken MPs, who think they are in a knocking shop?

  33. Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    You only need to read the weekly newsletter from the Tax Payers’ Alliance to see how money is wasted at both local and national level. Add to that the money wasted by other Public Authorities and the various (useless) Quangos, and the wastage is horrendous.

    As for foreign aid, I was always taught they “Charity begins at home”, and I’m sure if we had a referendum on the subject, the public would strongly support its reduction, say to just emergency aid following a disaster.

    To add to your list of things that should be charged as foreign aid, I would suggest charging NHS care for non-citizens to the foreign aid budget, after all, that’s what it is.

  34. a-tracy
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Your government has been in sole power since 2010 so tell us how have you 1. eliminating waste, 2. been spending more wisely, and 3. concentrating spending on which priorities? Which are our best government departments, who has made the most progress, who are the most productive staffing wise and which ones of you get the best productivity from the allowance for each department spending?

    All we hear are negative messages about the government we elected and I don’t know why all you Conservative MPs stand for it.

    Getting angry now.

    Plus if I hear one more woman saying being brushed by a hand on your knee or elbow is sexual assault I swear I’m going to take them to a rape centre to hear some really horrific stories.

    • Mitchel
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      Excellent points.Either the government has totally lost the power to govern(all power having been given away to the shadow government of quangos,NGOs,judiciary,etc)-in which case what is the point of having a government at all-or it is full of the clueless,the useless and the placemen of the shadow government.

      As for your final point;as ever when America sneezes we catch a cold….

    • Nig l
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      Hear hear. This is a cultural issue that will not be solved by one off short term solutions

    • Dame Rita Webb
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Sole power since 2010? Have you forgot about the coalition already?

  35. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, why has this motion been treated as admissible by the clerks of the Scottish Parliament, which is no more than a devolved assembly with no competence in foreign affairs, a reserved matter under Schedule 5 of the Scotland Act 1998, let alone the right to openly contradict the stated foreign policy of the UK government?

    http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx?SearchType=Advance&ReferenceNumbers=S5M-08482&ResultsPerPage=10

    “That the Parliament calls on the international community to recognise the vote of the Catalan Parliament for an Independent Republic of Catalonia; believes that the EU, Council of Europe and all other European institutions, as well as the wider international community, have a critical role in ensuring a peaceful, diplomatic and transparent transition of power from Spain to Catalonia, and calls for peace and dialogue between the Spanish and Catalan governments, upholding human rights, democracy and what it believes is the fundamental right to self-determination.”

    What next, will the clerks be admitting a motion incorporating a unilateral declaration of independence for Scotland?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      Nothing could be plainer:

      https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/46/schedule/5

      “Foreign affairs etc.

      7(1) International relations, including relations with territories outside the United Kingdom, the [F6European Union](and their institutions) and other international organisations, regulation of international trade, and international development assistance and co-operation are reserved matters.

      (2) Sub-paragraph (1) does not reserve—

      (a) observing and implementing international obligations, obligations under the Human Rights Convention and obligations under [F7EU] law,

      (b) assisting Ministers of the Crown in relation to any matter to which that sub-paragraph applies.”

  36. Duncan
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    This Conservative Government will betray and circumvent the result of the EU referendum. We have Eurosceptic Tory MP’s who refuse to stand up and threaten to bring down May and Hammond unless we get full Brexit

    Explain the irony and hypocrisy of Eurosceptic Tory MP’s who openly backed a Europhile leader of their party? Such action defies belief

    If we fail to achieve full Brexit the Tory party will never be forgiven for such treachery

    • acorn
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      “… will never be forgiven for such treachery”. Hopefully, for never ever!

      Is there a special membership card for being the Nasty of Nasties in the Nasty Party?

    • Robert Christopher
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

      If we fail to achieve full Brexit we will not need a Parliament at all.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

      If we do not, the Party will reign forever

  37. Anonymous
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    The NHS did not feature in this list.

    There is too much spent on ‘tourists’ who have no right to it.

    Too much spent on lifestyle treatments.

    Finally – we really should have the option of euthanasia for terminally ill people in the final stages. My father hung on for the final six months of a two year illness with palliative care at home. It was awful. No quality of life for him, sheer agony and terror at the end – like being waterboarded in his final weekend. And it nearly killed all of us and put marriages under strain.

    He may or may not have pushed the button but if it had been me I would have opted to have avoided it.

    The costs to the NHS of this episode were huge and of no benefit to anyone at all.

    A great amount of NHS resource is being used on people with no quality of life and no chance of survival.

    Not really one for the ‘nasty party’ to raise, I don’t suppose.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      We do have euthanasia, its just not called that. Usually dressed up as the Liverpool pathway, or similar.

      Sedate, lots of morphine, and withdraw fluids.

      Lots more people die from dehydration (if the death certificates were honest, which they are not) in this country than other developed nations.

      Its there for all to see in the open if you care to look.

      Indeed a close relative went that way, although after a long illness they asked the docs to end it all and that’s how they did it. So I didn’t intervene, although it was obvious they would have lasted a lot longer if the water was maintained. (Indeed they would still be alive decades later if the NHS treated prostate cancer like the rest of the developed world, early, decisively, and with many more treatment options).

      Drugged up and fluids withdrawn death is just as certain as a dignitas clinic in Switzerland.

    • sm
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      Many more people should be made aware of the option of Living Wills. If properly drawn up, signed and deposited at your Surgery, doctors will accept that only palliative care should be given – this was successfully used in my family with a beloved parent, and I have also informed my new GP in person that in the case of serious illness, I do not wish to be ‘kept alive’.

  38. Chris
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Delighted to see that Rees-Mogg has given his backing to D Express campaign about the madness of foreign aid spending. At least R-M sees sense, has a conscience, and listens to the public voice on this:
    http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/873658/wasteful-Jacob-Rees-Mogg-blasts-Cameron-Osborne-s-foreign-aid
    ‘Fundamentally WASTEFUL’ Jacob Rees-Mogg blasts Cameron and Osborne’s foreign aid farce.
    TORY Party grandee Jacob Rees-Mogg has given his backing to the Daily Express crusade to Stop The Foreign Aid Madness.

  39. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Also off-topic, from a World Bank study which may be no more reliable than other academic studies showing the opposite, but at least offers a dispassionate alternative to the entirely unsubstantiated and politically motivated handwaving predictions of economic catastrophe which are clogging up the mass media:

    http://voxeu.org/article/short-term-impact-brexit-uk-exports

    “Our results show that if the UK fails to secure a new trade deal with the EU and must face tariffs with no preferences, total UK exports to the EU would drop by at most 2%. The impact is small because the EU’s import demand for UK exports is fairly inelastic, especially for products that may face higher tariffs.”

  40. Sakara Gold
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    We could save billions by scrapping QUANGOs. Agencies for this, Commissions for that, National Institutes….grand sounding names, but an utter waste of taxpayers money. And why does the gigantic civil service enjoy non-contributory index linked pensions that they can take at 55? Simples!

  41. Jason Wells
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    If we want a deal with them going into the future we will pay. If we decide we don’t want any more to do with them then of course we can walk away- so it’s up to T May and government

    The question is what is the sensible thing to do at this stage?

    No doubt but Overseas Aid should be reined in- government is using it as a slush fund to curry favour with business and friendly overseas despots mainly- as far as I can see

    We need better railway links to the container seaports- more seaports should be developed to the north west with capacity for large draught vessels if we are going to broaden our trade with countries overseas..Liam Fox should be able to guide us here.

    We need better housing regeneration in the old city ports like Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow so that we can reverse the trend to depopulate the north in favour of the over populated south.

  42. Mike Wilson
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    I’d like to know why we seem unable to afford anything these days. The recreation ground behind the house I grew up in – in West London – had a full time park keeper and two full time groundsmen when I was a child. Containing two cricket grounds in the summer or 4 football pitches in the winter, the cricket squares were like bowling greens. The pavilion was planted with flowers all around. The grass was cut and the place was constantly used by children and adults alike.

    Somewhere along the line we lost the park keeper and groundsman. The pavilion was burnt to the ground. The perimeter fences were ripped down so people could get skips or cars into their back gardens. At night yobs stole cars and tore round the place under the watchful eye of the police station on the far corner.

    Why could we afford people to work in the park then and we can’t now – despite rates being a tiny amount then and council tax being very, very high now?

    My question, Mr. Redwood, is what on earth do you spend all the money on?

  43. ian
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    The enemy of the people does not come from outside of the country, but from within the country. Every time you vote in a party political system/ is a vote for the enemy within the country. Electing people from outside of the party political system/ is a vote for yourselves and your families, and vote against the enemy within your country.

  44. Bob
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    @PvL that sounds a bit sneering.
    Sorry that our decision to leave has left you so embittered.
    Never mind Pete, maybe Holland will see the light soon and come join us and the rest of the non EU world. 😂😂😂

  45. Martin
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    In 2007 over 1,000 people in the Ministry of Defence were employed as press officers or had a media/communications role. Annual bill estimated at £39 million. (The Telegraph 27-7-2007).
    Does this situation still persist? The number seems excessive.
    Frances Maude had some success at reforming the Civil Service but since he’s retired from his post as Cabinet Office Minister he has commented on the unnecessary random rotation of senior civil servants and was dismayed at the amount of inertia and obstruction to change he found. (Civil Service World 7-4-2017).
    Steve Hilton, Cameron’s chief strategy adviser, who left in 2012, claimed an inefficient Whitehall machine could be massively reduced, perhaps by half. (Guardian 16-5-2012).

  46. A.Sedgwick
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    On the housing issue, the Adam Smith Institute has recommended the abolition of stamp duty at a notional cost of £10b. This suggestion is not new but interesting that they are now promoting. The odds are there would be little loss of tax revenue as the economic activity and confidence this could generate could increase the take of other taxes and also increase market led new builds.

  47. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    Well done on your Commons contributions this evening, JR.

    In my view it would be folly for the government to share confidential information with certain MPs, on both sides of the House, who clearly support the EU above the UK and therefore cannot be trusted.

    This is not a completely new situation, for example in the past there were some Labour MPs who were clearly on the side of the Soviet Union against their own country and who therefore attracted the close attention of the security services.

  48. David Holland
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    The easiest and most productive saving would be to follow Trump out of the Paris Climate accord and go for the cheapest clean energy. Our greatest growth had been at times of cheep energy. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant but plant food. So far – and it is unlikely to change – efforts to reduce emissions have been counter productive and done far more harm to humans and the environment than could ever be caused by the modest warming they cause.

  49. Norman
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    In principle,I believe the tradition of foreign aid ennobles our country. There are terrible things going on in this world, which most of us never hear about. Just one example is the current famine in East Africa. Many refugees are arriving from S. Sudan, and N. Kenya, into the huge camps in Uganda. These people are destitute, the many of them widows and orphans. They have also had to run the gauntlet of violent religious persecution along the way. Charities are doing a valiant job, but government and UN Food Aid is often in need of processing before these starving people can use it. Doubtless, our Foreign Aid effort needs reform, but we will be so much the poorer, as a nation, if we harden our hearts against the many pressing needs.
    Secondly, I note politicians are getting quite a bashing in some of the above comments. Whilst one understands the frustration being expressed, one has to ask one’s self, ‘where are all the perfect people to replace them?’ Are they not human, and do they not represent all of us in more ways than one?
    Concerning the latest rash of accusations, regrettable though such indiscretions may have been, am I alone in thinking that there’s more than a wiff of hypocrisy and mischief making about them?

  50. Turboterrier.
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    Why are politicians and the government keeping so quite about the report issued by professor Helm on the energy markets?.

    Is this a sign it will be kicked into the long grass by ministers as it does rather highlight
    the guilty men – and women – look to Ed Miliband, Chris Huhne, Ed Davey and Amber Rudd. They were the ministers who presided over this spectacularly ill-judged bet at the consumer’s expense. How many billions have been paid out and for what?

  51. Turboterrier.
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    Stop public spending? If the government are serious then someone had better address this problem pretty damn quick if the report in the DE on line is anywhere near the truth:-

    EUROPEAN leaders are demanding that Britain puts at least £44 billion on the table before they are prepared to start talking about a trade deal, it emerged today.

    Can we stop pissing about and just walk away, as this stupid game has no end it will roll on forever. The Germans and the French are just extracting the urine as they know and appreciate just how weak our leader and her team are.

  52. Juggle me!
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if PM May has given thought to the fact that she is weaponising her own staff and every person of both sexes and “other” as she writes, in and out of Parliament to level accusations against her personally which she insists have to be investigated thoroughly and, according to a new pc “custom” which she has herself has exercised, taken “accusation” as a proof which only requires being put into a procedure to rubber stamp it as true and valid. Mrs Leadsom should be PM.
    JR should be Defence Minister
    May is a bad PM

  53. Posted November 2, 2017 at 1:12 am | Permalink

    Budget defict = Non Government sector “sterling savings” to the penny.

    John are you actually saying you want to reduce everybody’s savings ?

    That’s not very Conservative of you, or you have no idea how the accounting actually works betwen HM Treasury and the BOE.

  54. Miss Brandreth-Jones
    Posted November 2, 2017 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    No doubt you will avoid the Michael Fallon case. As a female who has come into contact with the bad behaviour of men including those who should have been investigated following reported problems which were ignored and bounced back at the victim I feel the need to comment. The standards that have been protested as high are not high at all. In fact common decency in everyday life does not give the right to any person to grope or sexually assault another . People in the past thought that they could use their sexuality to either gain leverage or get away with the abuse of others and police , lawyers thought that victims were mentally unstable or telling lies. All should realise that those standards are low as low can be and to desist from this behaviour does not signify high standards.

  55. Norman
    Posted November 2, 2017 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    In principle, I believe the tradition of foreign aid ennobles our country. There are terrible things going on in this world, which most of us never hear about. Just one example is the current famine in East Africa. Many refugees are arriving from S. Sudan, and N. Kenya, into the huge camps in Uganda. These people are destitute, the many of them widows and orphans. They have also had to run the gauntlet of violent religious persecution along the way. Charities are doing a valiant job, but government and UN Food Aid is often in need of processing before these starving people can use it.
    Another example is the plight of the religious minorities in Myanamar. Everyone knows about the Rohingyas, but we her next to nothing about the long-running oppression of the Christian Kachins. I wonder why? (Ask Baroness Cox.) Doubtless, our Foreign Aid effort needs reform, but we will be so much the poorer, as a nation, if we harden our hearts against the many pressing needs.
    Secondly, I note politicians are getting quite a bashing in some of the above comments. Whilst one understands the frustration being expressed, one has to ask one’s self, ‘where are all the perfect people to replace them?’ Are they not human, and do they not represent all of us in more ways than one? This does not of course excuse unacceptable behaviour.

    • Norman
      Posted November 3, 2017 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

      I am at a loss to know why my self-moderated comment is still in purdah. In view of some of the other comments you regularly allow, this feels like censorship, which I should have thought was out of character! I wanted to make just 2 points:
      (1) I do NOT agree that the UK should stop overseas aid for the many desperate needy causes in other parts of the world – only that it should be better targeted. A mean spirit would reflect badly on our country. I cited the famine in East Africa, and the plight of the Christian Kachins in Myanmar.
      Many such things are ignored by the biased, p/c MSM.
      (2) I felt that some of the criticism of politicians in the above comments was needlessly harsh and unforgiving, and in terms of the latest sleaze-digging, more than a little hypocritical – notwithstanding unacceptable behaviour must be condemned.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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