Lets have a budget that helps the UK for a change

Instead of thinking of giving away more of our money to secure talks with the EU the Treasury should be preparing to spend  the money we save on our own priorities as soon as possible. That is what we voted for in the referendum. There is no need to pay to talk!

If we could be sure of an extra £12 bn from March 2019 we would be free to get on with spending increases and tax cuts to power faster growth and improve public services. Why is cutting the EU contribution one of the few cuts the Treasury will not contemplate?

The Treasury also needs to avoid doing more harm. Its Stamp duty and  Buy to let taxes harmed housing. Its VED and diesel attack harmed new cars. Now there is briefing around the idea of more taxes on diesels which is an odd proposal given the importance of diesel car engines to the UK auto industry. There have been past rumours of tax attacks on the sef employed, on pension savers and anyone of enterprise   or prudence.

What we want instead is a budget that provides more incentives to save, to invest, to produce, to build homes. We need a budget that rediscovers the truth that lower tax rates and faster growth bring in more revenue. At a time when the Republicans are planning major tax cuts it would be a bad idea to be still putting taxes up to make us less competitive and to encourage people and companies  with enterprise  to move abroad.

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  1. Dame Rita Webb
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    Instead according to the FT this morning your getting this …

    “Hammond risks small business backlash with Budget shake-up of VAT. Chancellor seeks to raise £2bn a year by reducing £85,000 turnover threshold”

    Who comes up with vote winners like this? Did you learn nothing from the social care cock up at the last election? £2billion for the sake of alienating whats left of your core vote.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      Reducing the vat threshold would be hugely damaging. Does he want companies to spend their time filling in returns and putting up their prices by 20%? Or perhaps not taking on addition work so as not to breach the threshold. It would be insane it should go up not down. Also the gig economy NI cock up that had to be reversed.

      Hammond is yet another broken compass socialist – a puppet of the treasury. A treasury who are only interested in strangling the goose that lays the golden eggs. Higher rates mean lower tax takes in the end given the absurdly over taxed position the UK currently has. This agenda would surely finally kill the May government dead.

      • Know-Dice
        Posted November 11, 2017 at 10:23 am | Permalink

        LL, I guess Hammond’s calculation is that businesses turning over less than £85,000 are charging mainly for labour rather than supply of goods (which they could claim the input VAT back on).

        All this will do is expand the “cash in hand” economy…his and May’s compasses are completely broken.

        Are they really going to hand Britain over to Corbyn on a plate…?

        • Lifelogic
          Posted November 11, 2017 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

          Seems so.

      • Hope
        Posted November 11, 2017 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

        It is sad to think the EU will vet the budget before our own parliament. Even more disappointing is that hundreds of MPs are content with this. I despair why the likes of Hammond, Clarke, Soubry, Grieve and Morgan are MPs when they only want to pass on what they are told to do by the EU!

        JR, no censure for Clarke or Odonis visiting Barnier against govt policy of leaving the EU, yet Priti Patel forced to resign! May allowing every tom dick and harry to visit Barnier to undermine govt policy with her taking any action to stop it. More threats to divide our nation by stating the N Ireland must stay in the single market and customs union! Anyone with substance would walk away from the talks. The press statement are more than discourteous, it is inciting sedition in our country when the EU will not intervene in spain!

        Junker claiming nationalism is poison. He is confused he means patriotism cannot be allowed if you want to create an EU superstate. An …….man not elected by any of the 400 million citizens on the European continent. Mass immigration helps to thwart national identity, hence why he and Other countries in the EU want it i.e. Merkel. Perhaps it explains why May is such a disaster.

    • Mark Watson
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      Precisely. It’s ridiculous. To be fair I know John is on the case, he’s been more help than my own Conservative MP (John Howell) who has not rexponded to my concerns on this matter.

    • alan jutson
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 10:13 am | Permalink


      Afraid Hammond is no safe pair of hands, he will wreck the Conservative Party with his tax raising policies, which always seem to hit Conservative type supporters/thinkers.

      Hammond needs to go if we are all to move forward as a Country.

    • Chris
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      As you write, DRW, this (if true) is utter madness by Hammond. How could this man be put in control of the finances of the UK, and, more significantly, how and why is he allowed to continue?

    • oldtimer
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      If all the reports are correct we can expect another Hammond fisted budget.

      According to ConservativeHome surveys, he is ranking vs other members of the Cabinet is below rock bottom. The chances of more embarrassing post budget U turns must be high.

      • getahead
        Posted November 11, 2017 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

        Sadly his ranking in the popularity league does not stop him imposing a two-year extension on our EU departure date.
        He has to go. Soon.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      Arguably the best budget measure on VAT would be its complete abolition, but of course while we are still constrained within the EU that could not be put into effect unless Parliament expressly authorised the necessary breach of EU law.

  2. Ian Wragg
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    The budget will be another opportunity for Hammond to engineer a slowdown in the economy and blame Brexit.
    We have the highest taxes in history and no doubt he will want to increase them again.
    He’s totally out of step with the country.

    • bigneil
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      We might have the highest taxes in history – – but as the tv program showed – – a lot of it is not there after the money goes to Mauritius etc. Pity I didn’t have the chance to do the same, but then again, I’m working class and had my tax took before I got my pay. The PMs of this country must feel great, throwing the taxes of the poor away in Foreign Aid, cutting services and Police budgets etc – – -all while their rich pals are doing their best to pay nothing.

    • Bob
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      “He’s totally out of step with the country.”

      but if his true mission were to undermine Britain then he’s doing a fine job, and Mr Juncker and Mr Barnier would be very pleased with him.

    • alan jutson
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 12:13 pm | Permalink


      Afraid Hammond only has the vision to read a spread sheet and balance that with spending cuts and tax rises.
      He does not seem to have any creative feel or vision for a better future, where he can actually create opportunities that will benefit the UK and its population as a whole.

      Do not understand why May has stuck with him.

      • getahead
        Posted November 11, 2017 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

        Hammond is the de facto PM.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted November 11, 2017 at 3:21 pm | Permalink


        Do not understand why May has stuck with him.

        Perhaps they have a game plan??? I think we can all guess what that is!

  3. Bob Dixon
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    Osbourne’s last budget attacked dividends received. This hits small companies as they cannot use ISA’s. Hammond in his first budget, not only went for those Self Employed but hit again small companies dividends. How can I support The Conservative Party?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      Hammond is hugely misguided – his job is to cut the state down to size spend tax payers money frugally and efficiently also to simplify and lower taxes and not to kill the wealth producing sector.

      Why does he always choose the later course does he have a death wish for the May government?

      • Beatnik
        Posted November 11, 2017 at 11:39 am | Permalink

        I’ve always thought he has a death wish for Brexit. He knows there is no point in us flourishing if we are still in the EU.

      • Turboterrier.
        Posted November 11, 2017 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

        @ Lifelogic

        Why does he always choose the later course does he have a death wish for the May government?

        In a word YES

      • Bob
        Posted November 11, 2017 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        “does he have a death wish for the May government?”

        Hammond’s approach to his job appears to support that idea.

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      Dividend tax is OK in conjunction with a reduction in CT. It helps businesses because they have more money for investment and makes the UK attractive for foreign investment.

      • getahead
        Posted November 11, 2017 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

        Not for pensioners.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      Hammond’s attack on dividends also hurt pensioners like me who rely on dividend income from their private pension investments, seems he couldn’t care less about that which is why I won’t vote Conservative if he’s still chancellor.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted November 11, 2017 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

        So then you would vote for Carbyn?

        • fedupsoutherner
          Posted November 11, 2017 at 8:11 pm | Permalink


          Do you mean Corbyn??

  4. Iain Gill
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    We need a budget which taxes foreign workers at least as much as locals and not less.
    We need a budget which encourages everyone to keep the best leading intellectual property in this country.
    We need a budget which hands more power over to individual citizens and away from arms of the state.

  5. Lifelogic
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    Low taxes, simpler taxes, far less red tape, people being self employed (if they contract to be so), cheap reliable non green crap energy, far lighter planning rules ……

    As you say:- What we want instead is a budget that provides more incentives to save, to invest, to produce, to build homes. We need a budget that rediscovers the truth that lower tax rates and faster growth bring in more revenue.

    The ratting on the £1M IHT threshold and IHT at 40%, the misguided attacks on the gig economy, the up to 15% stamp duty and the taxes on “profits” that landlord’s have not even made (thus a huge tax on tenants) are particularly damaging & just insane. As is 28% CGT without even any inflation indexation.

    The Mathew Taylor report was misguided too. What sort of fool would employ a lefty dope like Taylor) to do anything? The government urgently need to restore the legality of free contracts between employers and employees, companies and their subcontractors. Thus stopping the courts doing such profound damage to companies like UBER plus their customers and drivers.

    Above all stop all the endless waste in government (at least 50%) and the absurd projects like HS2, the green crap and Hinkley C.

    All rather unlikely as Hammond and May are daft ex(?) remainer socialists at heart.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      The Today programme actually had some one sensible on the subject of climate change on today at 7.30. Myron Ebell Director, Center for Energy and Environment. He was spot on on everything. Unfortunately the BBC then followed him by with Joanna Haigh so she got the last word. Haigh is Professor of Atmospheric Physics at Imperial College London, and co-director of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment so can hardly be seen as independent.

      She seemed like propagandist for more government grants for green crap and a total embarrassment to science, imperial college and physics to me. She even said the “computer model predictions have been spot on” which ones? Most certainly have not been remotely “on” and many of them and the past (reconstructed) record have been totally fraudulent.

      As a proper physicist put it: “It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong.” – Richard Feynman.

      Some R&D in renewables fine but rolling out premature, expensive, uncompetitive & duff technology with taxpayer grants is economic and scientific lunacy, (unless you are in receipt of the grants perhaps).

  6. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    Once again john, note sensible suggestions from you. Why aren’t you chancellor? The information in your post is enough to make a grown man weep. Its as though there is a secret society working in the background intent on ruining this country. The working man is struggling now. The last thing they need are taxes on their diesel vehicles. I thought it was only MPs like Thornberry that looked down their noses at ‘white van man’ but clearly I am wrong. This party will struggle to get reelected. To say we are disappointed in the Conservative approach to everything now would be an under statement particularly when MPs are so keen to give our money to the corrupt and feckless EU. Shame on them all.

    • Lifelogic.
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      Why is JR not chancellor or indeed a handful of other sensible MPs in the party? Well Chairman May clearly prefers a proven wrong, incompetent, remainer, socialist who thinks 15% stamp duty, ratting on the promised £1million each IHT threasholds, attacking the gig economy, strangling the productive sector and taxing landlords (and thus tenants) on profits they have not even made is just a great plan.

  7. Bernard from Bucks.
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    “What we want instead is a budget that provides more incentives to save…”
    Really? And then get clobbered 40% on IHT.
    How about a scheme where us older folk can avoid tax by financing our younger
    family members with their university loans ? Scrap the seven year rule for gifting money.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      The main problem with IHT is the threshold £325K is far too low and rate 40% far too high. In the states the threshold is about ten times. In Canada there is no IHT at all.

      What rich elderly person would want to come to the UK in order to give 40% of their assets to the government to waste? Unless they want to spend a fortune and lots of time on IHT tax schemes that is.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      You can of course get round the 7 year rule by:

      A. Taking declining life insurance for the seven years (fairly cheap if you and your partner are in fair health and not too old)
      B. Investing in trading assets unquoted or AIM (after 2 years I think)
      C. Gift from income – (an unlimited amount provided it qualifies as) “normal expenditure out of income”,
      D The allowable gifts each year £3000 + others

      Of course the BBC, Guardian & Corbyn might call you an “immoral tax avoider”. Though legally avoiding tax and using the money more sensibly than governments do – (not very hard) is highly moral in my view and good for the economy.

      • rose
        Posted November 11, 2017 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

        Or take out a civil partnership with your daughter-in-law, having first divorced your husband. A lot of trust necessary, though.

        • rose
          Posted November 11, 2017 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

          Sorry, despatched not divorced.

    • David L
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      Bernard from Bucks…that is the most sensible suggestion I’ve seen for ages!

    • Lifelogic.
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      Lowering IHT and raising threasholds would encourage saving. With IHT perhaps better to go on expensive holidays a lot in later life and have he government pay 40% of it for you.

      • alan jutson
        Posted November 11, 2017 at 11:16 pm | Permalink


        Yes, Good Holidays already in the programme which is well under way.

        The stupid Government/Chancellor does not seem to care that now much of the many silver surfers money is being spent abroad instead of being kept here, which would then benefit our own Country and its businesses, and believe it or not the Chancellor who would also get a share of the spend in tax take.

        Politicians not understanding human nature again.

        Whilst we cannot take it with us, we will make sure as best we can that the government do not get it.

  8. eeyore
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    There are also rumours of an increase in IHT. This is an excellent way to demoralise Conservative votes without attracting any others. It would give huge satisfaction to Mr Corbyn, who must be feeling thoroughly vindicated in his lifetime labours.

    The best answer to economic problems is sound economics, not ersatz socialism. The best answer to real socialism is, of course, real conservatism.

    • Lifelogic.
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      An increase ? They are still ratting on the threashold increase Osborne promised and cheated us out of about 8 years ago. The threashold in the US is about $ 5million not £325k.

  9. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    All this talk of revoking article 50 is frightening. Can’t people see that the EU now see us as weaklings when it comes to negotiating and if we were to stay in they would demand more and more money each year from us to achieve their mindless goals? We would become the poor man of Europe and there is no one in our pathetic political parties strong enough to stand up to the bullies.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      I’m sure Lord Kerr knows exactly what he is doing. Like most of our serving and retired senior civil servants his primary loyalty is to the EU not the UK, which is the desired result of the systematic selection in favour of europhiles for promotion over the past six decades. Personally I would strip him of his peerage.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      FUS to true 🙁
      I know there are those that will deny it, but to revoke Article 50 gives us a future where we WILL join the EURO, there WILL be an EU army, taxes WILL be paid directly to Brussels and the Five Presidents report WILL be a reality…no thank you

  10. sm
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    I understand, though absolutely do not sympathise with, the tendency to believe that higher taxes (and more taxes) are viewed as some kind of moral imperative by many politicians.

    I am disturbed that the Treasury and most of the Chancellors who come under its considerable influence quite obviously believe in this imperative.

    I am just as disturbed by the apparent complete inability to learn from past errors, as shown by the latest diesel nonsense. When a few years ago, Government accepted the ‘expert’ advice that diesel engines were environmentally better than petrol, the nation was obliged to accept this despite considerable scepticism by those who actually knew something about the subject. Now this policy is to be stood on its head, with the Treasury again interfering by using taxation to change behaviour.

    And politicians wonder why they are getting less and less respect? Like so many others John, I wish you were Chancellor.

  11. Lifelogic
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    We do also desperately need more road capacity so that the M25, M4, M3, M1 and the likes can flow at just a over 20 mph just occasionally.

    Charles Moore today – why indeed is our government so lacking in vision and sensible action?


    • Chris
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      Ah but they are now designated “smart motorways”, which means anything but, plus the ability/plan, apparently, to impose low speed limits permanently in the name of environmental factors. Goodness, you can’t have a motorway that is actually free of restrictions and roadworks to enable people to get swiftly from one destination to another and for business to function easily.

  12. Duncan
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    It is you and your colleagues who elected a Europhile and liberal left experimenter as leader of the Tory party. It therefore should come as no surprise when she decides to appoint a Europhile as her chancellor.

    Explain the irony. A Eurosceptic party with two Europhiles in charge.

    I am intrigued as to why John you chose someone like May as leader of your party. You knew then she was an ardent supporter of the EU. You also knew she’s wedded to the ideals of the liberal left and their use of identity politics (obsessed with the use of gender, race and sexuality to manipulate and control those who refuse to conform to the liberal left ideal) to limit freedom of speech and impose strict behavioural rules on certain sections of society.

    She’s an untrustworthy politician worthy of a place on the shadow front-bench with Labour

    And yet, knowing all this you glibly went ahead and voted for. Now you write articles like this complaining about the actions of Hammond.

    May and Hammond are cuckoos in the Tory nest. It is incumbent on principled Tory politicians like you to do something about them

    Reply The party as a whole united behind Theresa removing a choice in the final round when Mrs Leadsom decided to eithdraw

    • sm
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      Duncan, you are so concerned to hurl abuse at our host that you wilfully ignore what actually happened as far as the Leadership matter was concerned.

    • stred
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      In case anyone missed it, a Brexteer went to Aid the Indian Space programme, a Remainer took her job and another Reamainer took the Remainer’s job. All women of course. They must think we are as thick as we think they are.

      • stred
        Posted November 11, 2017 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        Treezer could not have put a Royal Navy reservist in at the MOD, as she may have objected to EU integration and selling ships. Spiderman is just right for this, being an ardent remainer and cunning operator.

    • Chris
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      The elephant in the room was Michael Gove whose disastrous actions ensured Boris was unsuccessful, and that Mrs Leadsom was the remaining choice, until she withdrew. There was much more to the Michael Gove story, and the smearing and downfall of Mrs Leadsom than politicians care to say. I believe the political shenanigans that went on were disgraceful, and it was at that time that Brexiteer MPs should have stood firm, but they did not and splintered due to petty rivalries. Well, you have got what you have got: a disastrous PM who will not, in my view, deliver the Brexit we voted for, who will let in Corbyn and who will destroy the Conservative Party (something started by Cameron). What a record.

    • Hope
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      That does not address the point. May was unfit to be a candidate, it should have been leavers only in tune with the public vote. You all knew she had an appalling record as Home Secretary and was unable to fulfil that role.

      We read how the UK has supported six meetings advancing the EU army when it has a veto. Are we on the financial hook for this even though at the time of the meetings we had voted to leave? It makes no sense unless the reason was another way of tying the UK to the EU.

      May was dreadful as a HS and dreadful as PM. Duncan is right, it is mystifying why you, or anyone else, voted for her.

      Reply I voted for Leadsom

    • Cheshire Girl
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      Reply to Reply:

      It seemed to me that Mrs Leadsome had no choice but to withdraw. She made a perfectly truthful remark about parenthood, which was immediately blown out of all proportion by the likes of Anna Soubry and Nicky Morgan (there may have been others) who made such a big thing of it, with their condemnation, that Mrs Leadsome didnt stand a chance. In my opinion they should be ashamed!

      • rose
        Posted November 11, 2017 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think they were any more interested in what she actually said in the Sylvester article than they are in what Boris actually says. They just want them out, and the like-minded media are happy to oblige.

  13. Turboterrier.
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    Very well laid out John and thank you for highlighting the concerns bordering on fear that many have over the forthcoming budget.

    This budget will, if it does not provide what you have highlighted in your last paragraph will be the end of this government and the party for the next decade. It will say to the people we have given up and are walking a way from everything that we believe in, so we are stepping aside to allow Corbyn to walk in and set about really destroying this country for another generation. We will end up still part of the EU being bled dry.

    I find it incredulous that the party has allowed their judgement to be basically controlled by the remainers. Apart from yourself and a few gifted few we have been hammered at every turn in our wish to govern and manage ourselves. Not one of them has given one good reason to stay in the EU. They don’t want us only our money.

    As been said too many times on this site there are too many fighting against us within the party with their own agendas. The likes of Hammond, May, Soubry and all the old dead wood should be cast aside as they have proved they cannot accept change and are totally lacking the skills and abilities to carry this country forward. They are not inside any box at all, to enable them to have the ability to think outside it. The very existence of the party hinges on the totally removal of people like this leaving them to spout off their poison just as the Clegg’s of this world are doing at every opportunity ably assisted by the BBC.

    Drain the swamp, lance the boil carry out major surgery to get rid of the cancer within our party that is destroying it and the country. Too many within the house on our side are just working their ticket and are disgrace to themselves and the country.

  14. mickc
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Hammond will not deliver any tax cuts….just increases. The Tory infatuation with austerity will deliver a Corbyn victory at the next general election.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      “The Tory infatuation with austerity” – what austerity? They are tax borrow and piss down the drain merchants. The only austerity is the enforced OTT taxes on the productive making them less productive or making them give up or leave.

      • mickc
        Posted November 11, 2017 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

        The austerity you set out lastly is the one I refer to!

  15. am
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Odd proposals seems an apt description for an unimpressive chancellor. I would hold off any major capital expenditure until after we are out so that the contracts go to uk companies.
    We need to think French – is the money French then it will go to the French.

    But tax decreases for the just about managing is necessary: raise their threshold and the rate. Everyone else benefits by the same changes but it should be targeted for them.

  16. Mark B
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    We will not be able to use all the money we might save because we still have meet all the subsidies we pay to the EU and then get back.

    It is far better that we cut public spending and use all savings for corporate and CGT cuts. The last thing we want to do is give more money to the State.

    We also need to get rid of s lot of unnecessary regulation, QUANGOS and the like.

    More money in the pockets of the workers and not the sherkers is what is needed. For a country that is enjoying record levels of employment the benefits budget should be much smaller.

  17. Ian Wragg
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    I see Sourbry is trying to derail the ammendment to the Brexit bill stating a withdrawal date.
    The whip should be removed from this odious woman and she should be deselected.
    It will be interesting to see the budget and the response to Barniers blackmail. If Hammond tries to raise taxes or cut departmental budgets and then agree to a large exit bill, there will be riots.

    • Lifelogic.
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      Endless talking complete and bitter drivel on the BBC .

    • Timepiece
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      One or two MPs on both sides of the House appear over-wrought. Perhaps the occupational hazard of being MP .Some people may wish and will try doing harm to you.
      It could be though plain losing an argument close to ones heart, overturning your previous belief in democracy, as it suddenly is seen the enemy of objective truth and so increasing your self-righteousness even affecting your deportment where at times you look like you have been dragged through a hedge backwards and may somehow have enjoyed the experience. Or just simple age increase.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      Strange enough, rumour has it that Mrs Soubry is a well liked constituency MP – may be she should stick with what she apparently is good at 🙁

      • rose
        Posted November 11, 2017 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

        It would appear some people in the PM’s constituency like their MP too.

  18. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Everything I’ve seen on TV this morning says that the UK government is to blame for the crisis in our EU withdrawal negotiations and the EU is entirely blameless. Last night some women was even saying that Theresa May had been far too aggressive from the very start and a more conciliatory approach would have produced better results. So well done ex-SAS David Davis for allowing the EU and its allies to win the propaganda war hands down without even putting up a fight. Still the war is not over yet, and as a nation we do have a history of starting wars badly through poor preparations – in this case thanks to that despicable skunk David Cameron – but nevertheless winning through in the end.

    • jack Snell
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      Denis- We are in this fix because we have listened too much over the years to the UKIP message, add to that the Tory right-wing IDS, J R-M, Boris, DD and all of the rest who told us it would be easy and then the others who said that there were new deals just waiting out there for us and we would get our country back. In particular JR has been pounding the message about ‘taking back control’ for generations- so now if you add in the mix from the low life rag tag British press you can see that the British public were horribly misled by the very people who should have been responsibly guiding us. Nothing short of another General Election is going to sort this out now, and I know it’s going to result in a Corbyn led government for a decade or so- but i think that’s the only way now.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 12, 2017 at 9:08 am | Permalink

        No, exactly the reverse, if we are in a fix now that is because successive Prime Ministers from Harold Macmillan onwards have put us there. And why the hell do you think we need another general election when we have had a referendum on the single issue of EU membership and made our decision? Because you and a clutch of other anti-democrats don’t like the decision?

    • Dame Rita Webb
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      The government is utterly crap at handling the press. Mrs May wrote a piece for the DT yesterday nobody checked to see that it would not be put behind their pay wall. Not that I would bother reading it anyway.

      • rose
        Posted November 11, 2017 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

        And it wasn’t put in the prominent centre pages either.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      The UK broadcast media are the propaganda arm of the EU. All of them breach the broadcasting code of impartiality and accuracy on a daily basis yet Ofcom does nothing (no doubt they are Remoaners too). All broadcasts on EU negotiations should begin : ” This is Brussels calling, Brussels Calling”.

    • ian wragg
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      Denis, I find Davis to be a very shrewd operator. I think is strategy is to be all sweet and light to Brussels and let them get more and more aggressive. If he started a tit for tat rebuttal, he would be seen as being as bad as them.
      I really hope he stands firm and doesn’t concede a penny more.
      The people of Britain are not stupid and don’t take a lot of notice of the BBC.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 12, 2017 at 9:11 am | Permalink

        There’s no point in encouraging the EU to be more and more aggressive if the British people then think that the EU is in the right and their own government is in the wrong, which is what is happening.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      DC, I did see a small sign yesterday that David Davis is “growing a pair” there was small but distinct sign of his growing frustration with Barnier…keep it up DD, but do give your PR people a kick in the backside…

      The EU now have two weeks to unilaterally agree to trade talks otherwise we walk…and as far as any separation payment goes, we should only pay what is legally due, not a penny more nor a penny less….

    • Pierre
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      To call these negotiations a ‘war’ is a disgusting slur on those who fell in true wars. You, sir, are an utter disgrace

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 12, 2017 at 9:17 am | Permalink

        Total rubbish. The word ‘war’ is not restricted to armed conflict, as even a hypocrite like you will know perfectly well. For example, what do you think about “War on Want”? That it is also disgusting and disgraceful?

      • rose
        Posted November 12, 2017 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

        Are you not, Pierre, engaging in a war of words?

  19. James Doran
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    It’s not ‘The Treasury’ thinking of giving our money to the EU it’s the six Conservative MPs who have control of it.

  20. Nig l
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    One thing should be certain, namely in the government’s current political predicament he mustn’t alienate (any more) his core vote, prudent people with savings, small businesses etc and/or try and spin any increases against the measly extra £500 tax allowance, indeed although he probably won’t, a modest increase in the 40% tax band to reward successful people and help stimulate growth.

    A recent government sponsored report on the energy industry highlighted how far too many interventions based on wrong assumptions are causing us to pay far more than necessary so something should happen with this.

    But I am not holding my breath on any if it. A risk adverse Chancellor and Treasury determined to do the EUs bidding. But then maybe I will get a plesent surprise.

    Anna Soubry wins the Pinocchio award.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 3:28 pm | Permalink


      Interesting comments on energy. In Scotland newly erected wind farms are being given constraint payments straight away because too much energy is being generated for the grid. More are being consented with more in the pipeline. The Scottish government are doing it for the community benefit received and nothing else. It is costing the country as a whole millions every week.

  21. Rob Jump
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    What we have now is a conservative government that is socialist in all but name. They lack the confidence and ability to tell the EU to get lost and that we will cease talks due to EU intransigence. Bring forward the leaving date and start working on a low tax, high growth worldwide trading economy. Cut regulation on a massive scale and free us of red tape. Instead we have May and co. who have no strategic vision or courage but plenty of ideas who to steal money from with new taxes.

  22. Bert Young
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    The problem with the budget is Hammond . Firstly I do not believe he has the right skills for the job , secondly he persists in broadcasting that we face a downfall in our economy following Brexit , thirdly his approach is still to take from one side to give to the other – he has already stated that if he does give something away he will impose a proportionate tax . He persists with the claim to have a balanced budget by 2025 . In other words he sees no sense in providing any sort of boost to commerce or to the individual .

    The Conservative Party is already facing several dilemmas that will damage it with the voters ; it cannot turn its back on opinion polls and persist in the belief that it can put things to right before another election . It is showing a very divided front at a time when a strong and co-ordinated voice needs to be sent to Brussels . Hammond would be wise to read Johns’ blogs and believe in the principle of incentives .

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 3:30 pm | Permalink


      One has to wonder if the Conservatives couldn’t give a damn what they are doing to the country knowing full well the only other alternative is the equally damaging Corbyn party. What a choice. I despair.

  23. Richard1
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Yes sure but we also have a budget deficit of £50bn. We need a balanced budget and low and competitive taxes, that is the route to sustainable higher growth as economies such as Hing Kong and Singapore have shown. Any chance of a commons majority to force a reversal on the two absurd white elephant projects of HS2 and Hinkley Point?

  24. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Both sides of House refuse to reduce overseas aid, indeed have disgracefully enshrined that expenditure in law, unlike any other form of government spending. Many are trying to overturn Brexit thereby giving more money to the EU in the process. Vanity projects such as HS2 go on despite exorbitant and continually increasing cost with little benefit to most of country. At the same time the Conservative government seems to be trying to abandon their principles and offer a version of Corbyn light. What a mess.

  25. Spratt
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    How about an NSI ‘Social’ bond issue restricted to UK resident tax payers that guarantees a decent return. Some people who don’t have a stonking great pension would be very keen to get 4% on their savings and let their money be used to help support those with dementia, house the next generation or to supply specialist rental housing for the severely disabled. But there’d need to be a change to the stupid policy of letting tenants buy their property at a discount after a short period only to rent it out or sell on at the first opportunity. This would be a win-win as the interest would go back into the economy.

  26. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately John, that is all just wishful thinking under this current regime.

    If only Walt Disney had been blessed with your imagination.

  27. Spratt
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Make budget Day the day that the Government announces that the intransigence of Barnier and co has left no choice but to plan to leave the EU in March 2019 with no agreed deal and no payments from that date. Then Mr Hammond can spell out policies that will use at least some of the money that we don’t send to Brussels for adult social care and the NHS. If handled correctly (big ask I know) this would go down well with the public and cut the ground from under the feet of the party opposite and assorted others.

  28. Peter Wood
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Good Morning,
    We have a ‘socialist’ government in all but name. The tax system is based on the profit and income of the 1950’s society – it is not fit for purpose in the 21st century.
    First expenditure should be on reforming the tax system, analyse where the money flows. It would seem a good idea to look at the online retailers and mass online media first?
    Second, an independent audit of every government spending department.
    Get the total government spending down to 35-38% of GDP. This should be a manifesto item.

  29. Caterpillar
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Of a tax is wanted that is aligned to business and investment it should be an LVT, but though a signal to this can be given it requirements to set correctly and implement.

    Changing to cash flow for business and expenditure tax for consumers would also encourage save and invest, but again this is longer term and needs to be worked up.

    Easier, but small effect changes, might be something in capital allowances for 2018 to 2020, linking business rates to a lowest of growth, cpi, you triple lock, moving the additional stamp duty charge to third house not second.

    Signals might be a list of items for which VAT will be removed in 2019, and importantly a list of provisional free trade zones to be assessed ready for move to WTO (East coast deep water, Midlands next chinese exporter, all of NI?).

  30. Mark Watson
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Why can’t you be Chancellor? After the threats to lower the vat threshold on businesses we now have a possible increase in fuel duty on diesels (with a tax when you sell a second hand diesel). It just feels like my business and family are under attack by this Government.

  31. BOF
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    All indications are for another punishment budget to add to our crazily high level of taxation. Also expect an attack on the motorists, again, especially diesel to appease the climate alarmists and so called health experts.

    So it will hit small business with both diesel duty increases and VAT changes.

    Tories the party of low tax? Oh sorry, I nearly forgot that May and Hammond are pseudo Tories.

    • Chris
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      They do not deserve to be called Tories at all, in my view, BOF. They are going to be thrown out at the next election if this madness prevails.

    • ian wragg
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      Good article in the DM yesterday demonstrating that electric cars can be more polluting than petrol cars.
      All you are doing is exporting the pollution.
      Very much virtue signalling by western politicians.
      Not an ounce of CO2 saved. Good for the plants.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted November 11, 2017 at 3:32 pm | Permalink


        Yes, laughable isn’t it except it isn’t funny. We have a bunch of idiots in charge. How much longer do they think the electorate will put up with them? I have never known such an incompetent Tory government in all my life.

  32. Cobwatch
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    So called “experts” continually under-represent the tax burden on British citizens. Unbelievably they can “forget” to include N. I. contributions. Hammond was not wrong to look at this by the way as PAYE rates are massively bigger for N.I. and can be more than a factor of 10 greater. Better to reduce the former than hike the latter.
    But it gets worse, they always “forget” council tax. A big drain upon disposable income for the average wage earner, then if you are paying rent/mortgage it is easy to see why times are tight. UK citizens are already highly taxed and any cuts can only be stimulative. The average wage now is lower than it was in 1999 in real terms. all the discussion about why does not wish it away. There are concerns about productivity but the real issue is no wage growth for 18 years…and counting.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      The government also use two inflation rates a higher one mainly for MPs pension increases and increases in say train fares and the likes and a lower one for increasing state pensions and benefits by.

  33. JoolsB
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    It would be nice to see the money used to plug the gap between the amount of money Scotland, Wales & NI get from the UK Government and the lesser amount England, the only net contributor, gets. I would like to see it go towards ending the blatant discrimination against England’s young and elderly.
    You say you speak for England John, well you could start by demanding that any extra money in the pot goes towards ending the rotten deal England gets financially from this Tory Government.

    • Lifelogic.
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      Not just the young and elderly but students, people in the south east with more expensive per sq ft housing, 15% Stamp Duty and far higher IHT bills.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      So true Jools. The Scots don’t realise how lucky they are when EVERYTHING is cheaper here. You can buy a 3 bed semi where I live for around £55k. Try that down South. They don’t know they’re born.

  34. Dave Andrews
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    We’re not out of the EU yet, so we still have the £12bn net to pay each year.
    On Independence Day, what we save will close the deficit with some left over. So why not run the economy with a small surplus to give hope for the future?
    The NHS doesn’t need more money so much as less burden from treating lifestyle diseases.

  35. NHSGP
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    12.5 trillion pounds of state debt and rising rapidly.

    You have to screw everyone because of that debt pile.

  36. Bob
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    According to the BBC “The UK has two weeks to clarify key issues or make concessions if progress is to be made in Brexit talks, the bloc’s chief negotiator has said.”

    The broadcast media parrot anything emanating from Mr Barnier’s mouth without critical analysis. Is it really so difficult for their journalists to realise that the EU are bluffing?

    According to Jacob R-M, if Britain left without a “deal” the EU would be insolvent during the final 21 months of the multiannual financial framework.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      After six decades of gradually weeding out patriots and installing europhiles there are few British journalists who are actually on our side in this dispute, and nor is the government willing to do battle with them to defend its new official policy of leaving the EU, and its Customs Union, and its Single Market. Same with the civil service, especially the higher echelons, support for the eurofederalist EEC/EC/EU/USE project has effectively been bred into the stock.

    • mickc
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      The EU has long been insolvent! It seems not to matter….

  37. acorn
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Looking at the last EFO table 4 (OBR); it appears that any savings from EU contributions are going straight into budget deficit reduction. That’s assuming that the Treasury picks up the £13 billion a year spending the EU currently does in the UK, from fiscal 2019/20. The deficit is pencilled in at circa £21 billion; it is supposed to out-turn at £58 billion this fiscal, 2017/18.

    Post Brexit UK Status??? Our Judge at the Hague ICJ, is struggling to get re-elected to the last seat at the Court. He can’t get the votes in the UN General Assembly (GA). if he fails this will be the first time the ICJ has not had a British Judge. The GA will come after out seat on the UN Security Council next

  38. Alan Joyce
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    I doubt very much that the Treasury is thinking about giving away more of our money to secure talks with the EU; I would wager that decision has already been made by the Prime Minister.

    How much are we talking about?

    £30 billion after we decided to leave in contributions June 2016 – March 2019.

    £20 billion or so from her Florence speech for a two year transitional period March 2019 – March 2021.

    And how much is Mrs May planning to offer the EU merely to ensure trade talks progress?
    A reported £50 billion or so to ‘settle the accounts’.

    There is your total of £100 billion – the figure bandied about by the EU since the referendum result.

    That is £100,000,000,000

    Or assuming the population of the UK is approximately 65 million, about £1,538 for every man, woman and child.

    You are most certainly right when saying that we should have a budget that helps the UK for a change using the £12 billion from March 2019. However, any budget measures announced by the Treasury will be dwarfed both in size and impact by the huge sums of money we continue to pay to the EU.

    It makes me wonder how Mrs. May will manage to get MP’s to agree to pay the EU such massive amounts of hard-working UK taxpayers cash?

  39. Chris
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Philip Hammond’s reported absurd proposals to hit people with more taxes will be a disaster. Cons Home in their news links reports how Hammond wants to be seen as a Green chancellor and is thus proposing to hit diesel vehicle owners with yet more tax.

    Even more seriously, Hammond is apparently considering hitting small and medium sized businesses by lowering the threshold for VAT from £85,000 to £20,000, for example, which is, guess what, the average EU threshold. Small and medium sized businesses are going to be up in arms. See FT.

    What is wrong with Mr Hammond and the Treasury? They should be lowering taxes to stimulate the economy. Donald Trump has a far better idea of running an economy than Philip Hammond, in my view.

  40. bigneil
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    All those wanting tax cuts aren’t realising that the never ending influx of people from the rest of the planet, all wanting, and getting, free lives, houses, benefits and NHS etc are being funded from our taxes and the cuts to our services. As more and more arrive, our taxes rise and services we pay for are lowered. It is a one-way street on a steep hill downwards. All being deliberately engineered to leave the few at the top, all getting out of paying VAT on their luxuries, living in absolute luxury – – the rest of us can go to hell.

  41. Nigel
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    John, you are right: we need a Conservative Govt.

    (This is echoed in many of the comments below.)

  42. Nigel
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    (or above, rather!)

  43. Epikouros
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    We humans have a propensity for self harm some of the actions we take and decisions we make indeed do us great harm that could be prevented by informed rational thinking. You mention the harm Philip Hammond’s stamp duty and buy to let taxes, VED and diesel attack has indeed done. It was obvious that it would do but either through ignorance or other reason he did it anyway. The next budget is due and with him in charge of it it does not instil confidence that he will make the changes needed to increase productivity, economic growth and tackle the deficit.

    He appears to be infected with progressive and left leaning mantras something that more and more people and political leaders who before now would find deeply disturbing. So it appears our craving for self harm is stronger than our capacity to displaying common sense. This increasing shift from reason to intellectual instability we have often seen in our past and it has always lead to impoverishment and suffering. It appears to be cyclic triggered by past errors catching up with us and so our mishandling of our society leading to decadence and disillusionment is now taking us in a political direction that we should be vigorously avoiding but are not but embracing.

  44. Chris S
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Clearly we need to start a campaign : Redwood for Chancellor !

    It’s so obvious what needs to be done but the problem, as ever, rests with the regiment of Sir Humphries all over Whitehall who really run things.

    It has been obvious since Cameron came into power that nothing really ever changes and the Civil Service has to be the reason. We need to change those at the top of each department when there is a change of government to ensure that policies reflect the election result. But only when the Conservatives win, obviously !

    Brexit is the exception, of course, but only because the electorate saw off the forces of reaction.

    Unfortunately Hammond has gone native and any political antennae he had have been surgically removed. If he increases taxes on Diesel and diesel cars in the budget that will be very damaging for the car industry and the economy in general. If he hits the owners of existing diesel cars and lowers the VAT threshold for small businesses that will create a huge backlash and he will be in even more trouble than last time.

    By the way, has he dropped his ludicrous requirement for quarterly tax returns for the self employed and small businesses ?

  45. Fed up and Angry
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    “What we want instead is a budget that provides more incentives to save, to invest, to produce, to build homes.”

    That would require a chancellor that understands how capitalism is meant to work. 🙂 I’m not sure that this one does based on what we’ve seen so far.

  46. rose
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    “Why is cutting the EU contribution one of the few cuts the Treasury will not contemplate?”

    I would guess because corporate interests have greater clout with the Chancellor and the PM than we do. It doesn’t cost these corporate interests anything for us to be in the EU. All the costs are born by the taxpayer, by the customer, by the lowpaid, and by the environment. And when the EU has bled us white, and we are covered with concrete, these corporate interests will move on.

  47. lojolondon
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    John, I see you are getting around on Twitter. When you have a great, short contribution like today you should post it so we can all share it out.
    JR for Chancellor!!

  48. forthurst
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    I’m not clear why Buy to Let is beneficial to the economy. Where I live, most of the property is rented from private landlords some of whom off-shore their profits; the property prices are very high and the bill for housing benefit is huge. A rentier economy is typical of a third world country where the populus has a low capacity for creating added value, a populous which this government wishes to import in very large numbers and then wonders why the books are so hard to balance.

    • mickc
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      The popularity of BTL as an investment was probably increased hy Brown’s scandalous raid on personal pensions. And demand for housing pumped up by the huge immigration from Eastern Europe. Naturally both happened under New Labour.
      However it took the Tories to penalise those trying to get a decent return on their money by investing in BTL….so much for support for those trying to look after themselves and their families!

  49. Roy Grainger
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    There is something pathetic in the spectacle of Hammond giving small meaningless handouts to groups who would never vote Conservative under any circumstances – the raising of the student loan payback limit from 20k to 24k for example which will cost a couple of billion for no real benefit at all either political or economic (because 50% students never repay anything and the other 50% will pay for the resulting increased government debt through their taxes anyway).

  50. English Pensioner
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    I note that even Labour is now talking about a reduction in Foreign Aid.

  51. formula57
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    The true significance of budget day this year seems likely to be that it is the trigger for the prudent to start planning for Chancellor McDonnell.

  52. Rien Huizer
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    Congratulations are in order. Not a single comment disagreeing with you..

    • Prigger
      Posted November 11, 2017 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

      The ones who disagree with JR are usually illiterate. It’s an unlevel playing field.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted November 12, 2017 at 5:42 am | Permalink

      Rien, that’s because most of us can think logically and sensibly.

  53. fedupsoutherner
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    The Captcha thing is getting out of hand. God knows how many clicks I had to do before I could post just now.

  54. anon
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps a UK budget is meaningless until we have exited the EU. Unless the measures are for exit day of 29.3.19 or earlier.

    Raising tax to fund a foreign state after we have voted to exit should be illegal.

  55. percy openshaw
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    Dr Redwood, you make a strong case for the sort of budget which it is most unlikely that Hammond will produce. By implication, you make a case for opposing the sort of budget he may well produce. Will you therefore help to vote it down and unseat him from the Treasury?

  56. fedupsoutherner
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    Just like to say that your posts recently John have been brilliant. Keep up the good work. We must spread the word and counter what crap the BBC are brain washing people with.

  • 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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