Improving public services

Yesterday I gave my second lecture on the delivery of public services, following on from the All Souls lecture providing analysis of the different ways public service is delivered in the UK. Speaking at the IEA I reminded people of my main findings. Bread and circuses are as much public services as water and broadcasting, or health and education. The most common way of delivering public service in the UK is through numerous competing private sector for profit companies charging consumers the economic price of the good or service. The private sector plays a large role even in services that some think are truly public sector. The NHS for example has many GPs who are small business contractors, and uses medicines entirely supplied by for profit companies.

I stressed the importance of choice or competition to achieving improvements in quality and reductions in cost. It was the introduction of competition into electricity supply that lowered prices following privatisation. It was competition which powered big improvements in service quality and technology in UK telecommunications. It is choice of free school places which helps progress in local schools and gives parents and pupils some leverage where a school starts to fail.

I wish to see competition introduced more widely in the water industry where it would encourage lower prices and better provision. I want to see more competition in the provision of rail assets and services. Newly united track and train companies could have to offer capacity to third parties wishing to run services on their lines subject to an independent arbitrator over terms, and more should be able to put in new capacity as a challenge to incumbents. Quality and efficiency are not enemies, but opposite sides of the same coin. Both are driven more effectively by competition.

Offering a service free is fundamental to the UK’s NHS and to the provision of school places. We need to make sure, however, that the taxpaying user of the service is not powerless to require good performance or to change arrangements just because the state pays rather than the individual directly. There needs to be sufficient capacity to allow people to change school or doctor if they wish to do so.

In some other cases offering free public services can provide unfair competition to the private sector. The BBC website makes it difficult for competitors to charge for similar news and cultural output. Some Council leisure facilities prevent private sector competitors or damage private facilities already established.

Owning assets in the public sector has the advantage that the state has access to huge sums of capital at low interest rates. It has often in the past overspent on the assets and managed them badly, offsetting the gains from relatively cheap capital. There does need to be capital discipline when using the freedoms having your own printing press and bond factory allows. The danger is single channel decision making. If the state owns telecoms for example, and makes the wrong call on technology,the whole country is affected. That is exactly what the nationalised industry did in its last decade, when it fell further and further behind the USA.

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  1. Lifelogic
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    Good to see that Uber won a small battle in its war with the politician and courts. It is a battle between Uber and the consumers verses the politicians and black cabs who want unfair protection for black cabs in the market. A right to continue to overcharge consumers and cut out competition. I shall never use a black cab again.

    Uber drivers seem pleasanter in general and more interesting to talk to I find. I have leaned all sort of interesting things about various parts of the World from them.

    • jerry
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 6:19 am | Permalink

      @LL; Do Uber drivers have to be CRB/DBS checked, how do they find their way around (central) London, they use Satnav’s (a distraction at the best of times, often followed blindly and with out thought) or do they have to learn the “Knowledge” (in other words if asked for direction from A to B they could, from memory, give you are correct and most direct route)?

      • libertarian
        Posted June 27, 2018 at 12:47 pm | Permalink


        YES Uber drivers are CRB/DBS checked

        Not much point in Sat Nav for any of us then Jerry

        Uber drivers have to have a Private Hire licence just like any other cab/minicab service in the UK , they go through exactly the same procedure

        Black Cab drivers may have the Knowledge, if you think they always take you by the quickest route you are very naive

        • libertarian
          Posted June 27, 2018 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

          Oh and Jerry

          Uber journeys are live tracked via the app and also have a record of the route taken… Get that from a Black Cab? No you dont

          Uber also give you a profile of your driver in the app BEFORE you undertake the journey … Get that from a Black Cab ? No you dont

          Jerry behind the curve & still living in 1952

          • jerry
            Posted June 27, 2018 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

            @Walter; Glad to here that they are DBS checked, but why the hostility to a simple question. The majority do not use taxis, never mind a London Black or Uber Cab!

            I do find it strange, if you are correct (nothing was wrong with how Uber was operating in London), that Uber did not take TfL to court long before now, even more so if (as many on the right appear to imply) the ban was for purely political in nature. What operating regulations did Uber supposedly break, what other legitimate concerns could TfL have had, that Uber -apparently- accepted and worked with TfL to solve, hence the recent but partial reinstatement of their operating licence by the courts…

            “Uber also give you a profile of your driver in the app BEFORE you undertake the journey … Get that from a Black Cab?”

            Why would anyone need such a profile, if the drivers have all been screened, checked and if needs-be reported etc?

          • libertarian
            Posted June 29, 2018 at 3:31 pm | Permalink


            Its *hear* . No hostility here old boy. Just proving you wrong once again.

            I didn’t say uber was good bad or indifferent. I’ve never used one. They clearly had some kind of issue as the new licence recognised they had “cleaned up their act”.

            Why give you a profile? Er I would have thought that was obvious really. When the driver turns up you know its a uber driver, you then know he has been checked and basically good customer service. I took delivery of a new fridge last week, the delivery company texted me the name of the delivery driver beforehand. Nathan, he was very good. I gave him a good service rating. Its how a lot of business is done in the 21st century Jerry. Trip adviser, checkatrade, Trustpilot etc etc

          • jerry
            Posted June 30, 2018 at 11:47 am | Permalink

            @Walter; “Its *hear* . No hostility here old boy. Just proving you wrong once again.”

            No hostility at all, other than to pick up on a typo to try and discredit me, as for who is wrong, considering that the law courts disagree with your opinions it is you who is wrong as usual -otherwise why has Uber not announced that they will appeal further?

            “Its how a lot of business is done in the 21st century Jerry. Trip adviser, checkatrade, Trustpilot etc etc”


          • libertarian
            Posted June 30, 2018 at 6:14 pm | Permalink


            Even by your standards that post is scrapping the barrel.

            You childishly use a nickname when addressing me, I just corrected your typo

            You insinuated Uber drivers are not checked… Wrong

            The law courts do NOT disagree with me as I never made ANY assertion about Ubers licence revocation and reinstatement at all , so you are blathering to deflect the fact that you were wrong

            Cough…. You really dont think people review services they receive…. really Jerry… Oh dear..

          • jerry
            Posted July 1, 2018 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

            @Walter; “You insinuated Uber drivers are not checked… Wrong”

            No, I asked a question, you then got on your high and might horse again. If you disagree with the reasons given by TfL as to why Uber lost their licence, seeing that those reasons have now been tested in by the courts, yes you are disagreeing wit the courts, otherwise the courts would have allowed Uber the full five year license and without strings.

            You really dont think people review services they receive….”

            Indeed many do, and of course I’m going to give my mates Plumbing (or what ever) business a good review, who wouldn’t, and of course being a customer the review is as legitimate as any! Then of course some of the product reviews are truly ill-informed, almost as if they haven’t even bothered to read the spec before mouthing off…

            Give me a ‘Fred Flintstone’ era magazine style review any day, even if it is written like a Advertorial, coupled to the printed spec. If that makes me, and pleanty of others, dinosaurs, guilty and proud as charged m’Lord.

      • Richard1
        Posted June 27, 2018 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

        lets have a referendum amongst the residents of London on it.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted June 27, 2018 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

          Indeed same problem as Brexit politicians, bureaucrats and the courts hugely out of touch with reality.

          Something like 450 constituencies voted for Brexit yet only 150 MPs supported it if I remember the figures correctly. Similarly with renewables and climate alarmism. The people are right and the MPs suffer from idiotic “group think”. Look at HS2, Hinkley C or the Dome for example. Let have some real democracy rather then government by Donkeys.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 27, 2018 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

        On driver suitability checks they comply with the checking requirements – the regulator makes the rules if they want more checks they only need to change the rules.

        Treasury coordinating business attacks on Brexit is seems!

    • Hope
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      JR, but your govt says public services linked to economy and ability pay. It was a central plank to balance the structural deficit by 2015, no end in sight eight years on and May has started an unfunded spending spree when your party has taxed us more than for two generations and higher than the previous Labour government! Your MPs now demanding over 40s pay more tax for social adult care!

      You fail to mention the elephant in the room again, mass immigration will impact on this and Rudd and Javid have invited the families of EU citizens to come here! How was this costed? May has agreed to pay Welfare payments to EU citizens not living here or yet born!

      May has announced a lie that the NHS would get £20 billion from an EU dividend when she knows that she has offered to give the EU £100 billion for nothing and no legal liability to pay, plus KitKat costs and policies i.e. European Development Fund on top of overseas aid, EU army and associated projects.

      Now she wants to hamstring our economy after we leave the EU by keeping the U.K. effectively in the customs union and single market by another name so the country is not more competitive than the EU! Which is of course the EU aim! We read today it will be a full cabinet at cheque RBS to help achieve a remain in by another name. SDP Greg Clarke and Hammond being allowed by May to encourage business to scare the public. Disgusting.

      You also now have to ask what on earth is Davis and Fox doing or have done over the last two years? They like the kudos and trimmings of office but have not delivered anything and happy to sit on their arses watching the world go by. Fox has the temerity he is content not to do anything for the rest of this parliament! Moreover, it must dawn on, him that he or any other will not be able to do anything while attached to the EU as a vassal state for years to come!

      • Mark B
        Posted June 27, 2018 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

        Liam Fox MP cannot do anything until we leave the EU. Only the EU Commission can negotiate trade deals. He is just keeping a very expensive seat and department warm.

        • Hope
          Posted June 28, 2018 at 8:27 am | Permalink

          Worse he is letting May make our country less competitive than the EU when in the punishment extension! JR, do any of the govt ministers have any judgement, nouse, determination to make our country succeed or are they all timid subservient cowards to the EU construct?

          We read today Nick Timothy saying it the worst of all possible outcomes.

        • jerry
          Posted June 28, 2018 at 9:32 am | Permalink

          @Mark B; I would hope that Mr Fox along with his department are spending the time preparing for when we leave (hardly just keeping the seat warm!), and indeed pushing the case in Cabinet for (now) leaving on WTO terms, meaning that we can start negotiating trade deals come 23:01 Hrs on the March 29th next year.

      • Hope
        Posted June 27, 2018 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

        May has played Davis and Fox, the two posts were designed more for their egos than any benefit to the country in leaving the EU.

        When May unilaterally made her punishment extension deal with the EU for the U.K. to be a vassal state for years to come why did none of the Leave ministers speak up to say this puts the U.K. in a straight jacket to be more competitive than the EU and prevents the U.K. to make any trade deals in the world and humiliates our nation for not being able to negotiate itself out of a paper bag! The nothing is agreed until everything agreed turned out be another lie, as pointed out by the Brexit minister! The 27 countries in the EU deciding our trade policy for years without the U.K. having a voice while handing over hundreds of billions o the EU and complying with its rules. Any chance any of you in the Tory party might now think it is the right time to oust May?

        On the plus side it appears Soubry’s assocaition has grasped the nettle she stood on a manifesto she did not beleive in, voted in contradiction of the majority of her voters, was content to side with Grieve to collapse the govt, still argues in her letter to remain in the custom union and single market in stark contrast to what she was writing and contrary to leaving the EU, govt policy, manifesto etc and by her comments was open minded to join a centrist party! Let us hope the association leads by example to others and does the honorable thing and deselect her.

    • David Price
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      Uber should probably celebrate while it can as it will be facing a much tougher opposition globally that it has already lost to in China – Didi Chuxing.

  2. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, of course it is welcome news that the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill has now received Royal Assent and become an Act, but it should be borne in mind that it would not take very long to repeal it if both Houses of Parliament were minded to do that – and as for the disgraceful unelected legislators-for-life in the House of Lords, they would be falling over each other in their indecent haste to do that.

    Back in 2011 Theresa May had an emergency Bill passed in a week after a court came up with an unexpected decision about police bail periods:

    but I guess that it could be done in a day, two at most.

    The European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017 could also be repealed, but of course the notice has already gone in and there is no provision in the EU treaties for an Article 50 notice be nullified once it has been put in, let alone unilaterally revoked by the member state which had put it in.

    • jerry
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      @Denis Cooper; It would not take very long to repeal any Act of Parliament if both Houses of Parliament are so minded, that is the price of democracy, it could most likely be done within one day (24 Hours)!

      As for your opinion about the withdraw our Article 50 letter, not according to the noble Lord who wrote A50, but even if you are correct all that is needed is to request (re-)admission via Article 49 of the same treaty…

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted June 28, 2018 at 7:52 am | Permalink

        Thank you for agreeing with me on the first point, but as for the second point neither you, nor that far from “noble” person, would be able to point to any provision in the EU treaties for an Article 50 notice be nullified once it has been put in, let alone unilaterally revoked by the member state which had put it in, because there is no such provision; and as for your third point, for any member state presently enjoying special national “opt-outs” or exemptions, for example from having to join the euro, its readmission under Article 49 could not and would not wholly reverse its withdrawal under Article 50.

        • jerry
          Posted June 28, 2018 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

          @Denis Cooper; There were (and there are still) no treaties that allowed the bail-out of Greece and thus save the Euro either (indeed many argued that the existing treaties explicitly forbid such bail-outs), but that did not stop the EU. We all know that Brussels eurocrats will bend what ever rules when it suits. The point you seem to miss about the A50 clause is that that whilst their is nothing written to allow the cancellation of a A50 request nor is there anything preventing such a cancellation!

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted June 29, 2018 at 4:49 am | Permalink

            The point you have missed is that when I wrote “there is no provision in the EU treaties for an Article 50 notice be nullified once it has been put in, let alone unilaterally revoked by the member state which had put it in” that was not a careless or random formulation.

          • jerry
            Posted June 29, 2018 at 6:31 am | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper; Sorry but your comments were both careless and random, because you failed to understand two basic points;

            1/. EU have form on bending their own rules.
            2/. A50 does not explicitly prevent revocation of a A50 letter.

    Posted June 27, 2018 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    All fine words but utterly meaningless when such ideas hit the brick wall that is Labour’s client state

    Let’s talk about the unions and the Labour party. These two entities are the barrier to a more efficient and responsive public sector

    The unions and Labour view the taxpayer as something to be abused in their pursuit of using our money to construct and embed a client state that benefits them when in power and when not in power

    Unless a Tory government is determined to confront this monolithic construct then what is the purpose of such ideas?

    Public sector reform to benefit the user and the taxpayer means conflict with the unions and Labour’s client state and that includes confronting the public sector alliance (BBC, NHS). All these taxpayer dependent entities share the same entitlement culture, same political stance and protect each others back in times of trouble

    The BBC at present is boring us all to death with its NHS adoration campaign. What the BBC NEVER does is focus both eyes on the waste, inefficiencies, staff remuneration, union grip that hampers NHS delivery

    We all know the public sector across the board waste huge amounts of money and construct the delivery of their service around the needs of the employee rather than around the needs of the end-user and the taxpayer. That reflects the strength of the unions. The taxpayer is abused to finance the cosy relationship between public sector and politician in government

    Public sector reform means conflict with unions. Ask Jeremy Hunt what happens when you try and reform an employee vested interest and take away their juicy privileges. You cannot reason with the public sector. Their sense of entitlement is beyond measure.

    • jerry
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      @Duncan; “What the BBC NEVER does is focus both eyes on the waste, inefficiencies, staff remuneration, union grip that hampers NHS delivery”

      Whilst those intent on making us all taking out private medical insurance is the cherry picking such insurance polices have, such as when they stop paying for on going treatment/check-ups after a number of years, expecting their patients to either pay the private fees personally or return to the NHS. Nor do these insurance polices cherry pikers provide any A&E or emergency ambulance services. Any fool can provide profitable health-care if all you do is treat the profitable cases!

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    “In some other cases offering free public services can provide unfair competition to the private sector.”

    Well it does in nearly all cases and not just when free, even when is is just part subsidised. We see this too with subsidised social housing.

    Why should two people on the same salary and similar houses in a similar area have very different living standards just because one has subsidised housing (funded by other tax payers) and the other does not?

    • 37/6
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      State subsidised housing. It’s the only way an Uber taxi driver with a family can offer you an affordable ride in London.

      Of course he’s good company. He’s just found El Dorado.

      A black taxi driver gets no state subsidy – but he will be getting it once you’ve had your
      way, Lifelogic.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 27, 2018 at 11:46 am | Permalink

        Some black cab drivers do indeed have subsidised social housing.

        • 36/6
          Posted June 27, 2018 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

          The difference being that subsidised housing is the only way an Uber driver can raise a family in comfort.

          Clearly you don’t care about the comfort of taxi driver families.

          • libertarian
            Posted June 29, 2018 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

            37/6 ( 36/6?)

            The average earnings of an Uber driver in London on a 40 hour week AFTER costs and fees is £39,000 pa

  5. jerry
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    The difference between a true public service run on a not-for-profit basis (perhaps even subsidised via central/local taxation) and private enterprise is that the former will provide the service ‘what ever’, the latter will only do so if they can make a profit; Hence why, since the various NHS ‘reforms’ over the last 25 or so years, many now have problems obtaining a NHS Doctor or dentist appointment even if they are registered with the practice. Hence why for example many villages and even some small towns now have little in the way of a bus service. Hence why TOCs hand-in their contracts.

    The clue is in the name, “public service”, something that needs to be provided what ever the cost. So short of there being highly [state] regulated private industries providing these public services, such as with the railways before 1948 (and indeed the privatised utilities since the 1980s…), the state will always be the best universal provider of such services, even if the quality might be universally poor…

    • NickC
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      Jerry, That might be the consensus view of the bien pensants, such as the BBC, but it hardly applies to food, or indeed (mostly) housing. So, with a privatised water industry, Maslow’s basic needs are met without direct mass government provision. Try again, Jerry.

    • libertarian
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 1:12 pm | Permalink


      Blimey mate some right strangulated logic there

      Here’s some basics

      Lots of for profit companies provide free/uneconomical services as part of a greater offering , via corporate social responsibility or as an added service to an existing paid service, i do so myself in a couple of my businesses.

      In fact I provide a free service to a government department , I do it purely because I want to .

      Rather than the public sector providing a poor service, why not outsource it to a private company and pay them from taxation?

      I live in a very rural area and I’m old enough to remember when the council ran bus services …. we didn’t have one then. Now there is a small private minibus firm that run a limited service to the nearest rail station. Its still poor but better than the council

      The state is the very WORST provider of services, staffed entirely with 10-3pm working jobsworths who’s answer to everything is computer say no.

      • a-tracy
        Posted June 28, 2018 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

        I can see good and bad on both sides, the public sector does just what they want to do and get paid regardless of say how clean the streets are or whether the bins are collected or not I was in a City yesterday and was just disgusted at the fly tipping and mess in the streets.
        Then a hospital who can’t provide a check-up bowel procedure (one cancelled, he was told this date or time or you can’t be seen for two months, then it was cancelled after making all the day off arrangements with three days notice) and it’s not replaced yet), even though it was originally classed as an emergency and I have a worried staff colleague waiting for the cancelled day op eight weeks later, still no date.
        Ambulance service who has no ambulances for four hours for an amber alert perforated bowel unmovable female in severe pain, not even a motorbike paramedic to give drugs at the home.

        Not for profit organisations make plenty of profit for the people at the top of the organisation, plus their ‘consultants’ appointed ex-councillors, union pilgrims etc. overstaffing, over perking some people.

        • jerry
          Posted June 30, 2018 at 11:57 am | Permalink

          @a-tracy; You have that the wrong way around, the state sector (use to be) highly regulated, the private sector has traditionally done what they like, often with little or no such regulation -all in the name of ‘competition’ or commercial confidentiality.

          • libertarian
            Posted June 30, 2018 at 6:17 pm | Permalink


            I spat my tea on my keyboard at that lol

            I’ve been in business 30 odd years and before that worked in big corporate … You are seriously trying to tell me that the private sector hasn’t been regulated … ha ha ha …post of the week Jerry

          • jerry
            Posted July 1, 2018 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

            @Walter; I stand by what I said, considering the debate is about the state vs. privatised industries and services. As usual you appear to have purposely taken my comment out of context, much the same way as as Eddie2 does, like peas in the same pod… Deregulation was part and parcel of many a privatisations, indeed some industries had to be deregulated before they could be privatised.

  6. Mark B
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    I wish to see competition introduced more widely in the water industry . . .

    Good ! But can you please elaborate on this in a future article, please ?

    I ask the above because, as I our kind host has pointed out, competition is key here. We cannot just swap one State run monopoly with a private one. For capitalism to work effectively and the consumer to get the best product for a good price there needs to be choice.

    When I go to buy a bottle of water I have choice. I can choose who to buy it from. I can choose what brand I want. The quantity and type e.g. fizzy or still. I can choose what size bottles and so on. But I do not have the same power over what comes out of my tap !

    Water and sanitation are essential to life and good health. We really cannot do without it and private water companies know it.

    I have a possible solution. But I really would like to know others thoughts, especially that of our kind host.

  7. Dave Andrews
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    I am disturbed on hearing about plans to increase spending on the NHS. Surely, healthcare is an example of an area where the public sector could step in to help. What about tax rebates for companies that operate a comprehensive health insurance for all their employees, relieving pressure on the NHS? How about a care home insurance that someone can take out when they are younger and healthier, that pays out should they need to go into care?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      Indeed what about taxing people far less and letting them make their own health provision. Also make them pay when they use health services (as they pay for haircuts, food, dentists or for their cars). Also kill the 12 % tax on insurance premiums. Recently increase by tax to the death P Hammond (by a further 20%)!

    • Adam
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      Try using NHF, Dave:

      Govt allocates a Health Fund to each citizen at birth.
      Each person uses it to buy private healthcare as needed.
      People who maintain healthy lifestyles receive 20% of their unspent fund at age 50.
      Those whose fund expires are means-tested for state support.

      Consumers spend their own fund wisely on services competing to attract them.
      Consumers are motivated by healthy monetary rewards.
      All patient needs remain NHF-funded.
      Govt becomes the fund enabler, & stops being a weak health business.

    • hefner
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      Such care home insurances have been around for years. Do your research!

      • Dave Andrews
        Posted June 27, 2018 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

        I asked my IFA about them, and he told me that no insurance companies do them any more. I checked for myself, and sure enough he was right.
        So I did my research after all.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted June 27, 2018 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

        Hefner and Adam. Well wouldn’t it be nice if this were made known to us all? I am quite sure that Dave Andrews isn’t the only person that wasn’t aware of this. Perhaps Dave is too busy working his backside off to find the time to research all of this. I know there will be many that are unaware too.

  8. margaret
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    Competition , competition , competition is spoiling social lives and people’s personalities.There needs to be a striving for excellence, but this back biting, knife in approach on false accusations has been the folly of the NHS and this is what competition has amounted to . It has engendered nastiness, deviousness the worst using the tactics to bring down the honest best . We need to stop this run for outdoing everyone . We can’t even finish a sentence without someone jumping in and trying to outdo one another. We need to bring back civility and truly honest play! Not what can we get on him or her to use sometime in the future if needs be .. Not a rat race just rats!

    • Peter
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      Well said. The old decencies had a lot to be said for them.

    • libertarian
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 3:22 pm | Permalink


      choice, choice, choice. The range of options and alternatives mean we get cheaper, improved services from private organisations.

      We get what we’re given , if we’re lucky< with the NHS

      • margaret
        Posted June 27, 2018 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

        There is nothing wrong with choice but the underhand methods used are barbaric as private companies squeeze their way into getting contracts and alleged credibility as they search through trying to find something wrong somewhere so they can take over and perform even worse.

        I choose ethical ,experienced, practitioners who work for the patient in an all round way and are not more interested in bringing their colleagues down and shifting the blame from themselves so as to get promotion or get a particular firm a contract.

        • libertarian
          Posted June 29, 2018 at 3:40 pm | Permalink


          Really? You have evidence for this?

          Your ethical , experienced practitioners that would be Harold Shipman, Tunbridge Wells, Bristol, Stafford, Morecambe Bay – and now Gosport NHS trusts ?

  9. Andy
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    The problem with your assessment is that it puts profits before people.

    People need to come first.

    We need an NHS free at the point of delivery to help people. Everyone should be entitled to a good education because people must come first.

    In any case, I don’t see how the Conservatives can be both as anti-business as you are now AND anti-public sector.

    Other than English nationalism, bluster, incompetence and tax rises is there anything your party now actually stands for?

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      The Conservative Party according to my observation for the past several decades, has stood only for doing whatever it takes to get into and stay in power.

      • L Jones
        Posted June 27, 2018 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

        No different from the other political parties, then.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      “Puts profits before people, people need to come first”. What does this silly statement mean in reality?

      The reason you have a surgeon, nurse, GP, vaccines, food, water etc. …. is because these people and providers “profit” (by being paid). Without “profit” you would have virtually no healthcare, food, water, housing, transport ….

    • NickC
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      Andy, Profits are made by people. It is safer for the ordinary man if the people who provide goods and services are motivated by profits rather than by power. Which is better, safer, more efficient, more open, the provision of food in the UK or the provision of social services?

    • libertarian
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 1:15 pm | Permalink


      Explain oh genius why you can’t have a free at the point of use health service or education service provided by private ( non government) suppliers?

      Why the total control freakery about everything?

      • Andy
        Posted June 27, 2018 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

        You can – and I never said you couldn’t.

        I don’t object to private companies taking a profit for running public services well.

        What I do object to is private companies taking a profit for running public services badly.

        I also object to taxpayers being saddled with all of the risk while getting none of the gain.

        I don’t make the Conservative mistake of thinking that all public services are bad and all private companies are good.

        But I also don’t make the Labour mistake of thinking the opposite either.

        • libertarian
          Posted June 29, 2018 at 3:43 pm | Permalink


          So you’re retracting your first post then, which only mentioned the NHS a service run really badly by the er Government .

          No-one wants a badly run service no matter who runs it

    • mickc
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      The Conservative Party only ever stood for the pursuit and exercise of power….no purpose, just power.
      Thatcher was in the Conservative Party, but not of it; she was a radical.

    • libertarian
      Posted June 30, 2018 at 8:59 am | Permalink


      People and profits are symbiotic. You can’t make a profit without people, colleagues, customers and suppliers. You can’t serve people good quality products and services unless you make a profit ( excess of income over expenditure)

      Not knowing the is probably why your business went bust

  10. Richard1
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    Good to see at least that the Government have stopped the ludicrous Swansea tidal lagoon scheme which was to have produced power even more expensively than Hinkley point. HS2 should clearly be cancelled and a much smaller amount spent on improving existing rail and roads. Meanwhile the ‘Conservative’ Govt is openly discussing how we all need to pay higher taxes and is introducing one new fatuous regulation after another – regulating and taxing sugar, banning wood burning stoves etc. At least there should be a one in two out rule for introducing new such regulations. The Conservatives make a mistake if they think the applause of the PC left who dominate the airwaves (or at least their silence, since they’ll never be supporters) will translate into votes from the people at the election for this virtue signalling.

    • NickC
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      Richard 1, Well said.

  11. Original Richard
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    The government should be awarding lowest bidder contracts to private companies to simply run sections of the railway.

  12. Newmania
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    I agree with most of this , choice and competition are ultimately better ways to proceed than state control in most circumstances, and economic micro choices are usually better than grand political plans
    It is great shame that our Political system provides no choice. Imagine a modern media in which there were only two channels and their content was set by students on the one hand and octogenarian grumblers on the other .
    Its as if the only shows on TV were repeats of Love Thy Neighbour and Dads Army, or glum documentaries about ishews and soaps where the message slaps you in the face like a comedy fish.

    Thats the menu. btw anyone else noticed how few England flags there are around. Another goal for Brexit

    • NickC
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      Newmania, As Cynic has essentially pointed out below, at least by leaving the EU and becoming independent again we really do get two choices rather than no choice.

  13. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Welcome to Lifelogic’s website (see also yesterday’s torrent of “contributions”)!

    • margaret
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      I prefer D Cooper’s contributions. He always demonstrates that he has thought about and researched topics, which I am quite envious of, not having time or motivation . Another reason is though, I cannot technically provide these blue highlighted links!

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      He wants his taxi drivers impoverished and working for nothing in London, it seems (after forking out for a 50 grand cab and keeping it on the road.)

      I’ve told him time and time again that many Uber drivers are subsidised heavily by the state with in work top-ups – the more kids they have the better.

      A black cab driver will be too middle class to be housed in affordable housing in London.

    • Peter
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      Noted. That is just the way it is on here.

      Lifelogic might be Mr. Redwood’s best pal.

  14. Nig l
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    You may have covered this in your first lecture? Yes competition but what about the areas like local authorities, the amalgamation/outsourcing of their of back office functions, do we need umpteen London boroughs, similarly the NHS, Job Centres, amalgamation of police forces, indeed any services that where it is deemed the customer facing element has to be provided by a public employee.

    Somewhere in Whitehall there should be organisational charts of all of these with analysts looking to see how money can be saved. Maybe there is?

  15. Cynic
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    A good reason for leaving the E U is so that we can have more competition in Government, as at present we cannot change those who rule us from Brussels.

  16. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    There needs to be sufficient capacity to allow people to change school or doctor if they wish to do so.

    A difficult point to argue against however I would urge you and your colleagues in government not to be blinded by doctrine. The population has grown faster than the tax take and infrastructure can support it. This has created many areas where school places and appointment slots for the doctor (and housing) are insufficient. Your government needs to fix basic, sufficient supply before worrying about introducing competition.

    Your doctrine should not lead to free schools popping up in places that have enough places until there are enough places where the increased population has chosen to settle. There isn’t enough money to do both despite the claims that increasing the population benefits the economy.

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      Nope. The housing crisis and hospitals crises are definitely down to old people.

      The schools and transport crises must be down to old people too. Err… Andy. Help me out with this one, Remind me. How is it that old people are causing schools and hospitals crises again ???

      • Anonymous
        Posted June 27, 2018 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

        Meant to say schools and transport crises, not hospitals.

  17. Geoff not Hoon
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    an alternative system worthy of comment Mr.Redwood is Welsh Water. It has no shareholders and is run solely for the benefit of its customers. Since it was created its annual bills are some of the lowest in the UK. Is there a reason similar business models could not operate elsewhere in water and other utilities etc?

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      No, because sooner or later they will fall prey to corruption and managerial entrenchment. Cooperatives do not last. Only relentless competition guarantees lowest costs. Of course no public monopoly should be passed on to the private sector. Also consumers of public services should have the fruits of private sector risk taking and have a merciless government in the background to pick up the pieces temporarily when the concession changes from one bankrupt to another hopeful. That is true privatization. There are plenty of people who would be good slave-drivers.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      Well it is always raining their. All you need is a roof, gutter, down pipe and water butt for enough water in Wales!

  18. Ian wragg
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Offering free services in health and education would be ok if it didn’t apply to anyone who arrives on these shores.
    So now we have Clark encouraging businesses to lobby for staying in the Customs Union and single market so they can keep their endless supply of cheap labour.
    That really helps public services but then again they don’t suffer.

  19. formula57
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    An inference from the not unappealing perspective that informs your analysis is that government is going to have to become very much more adept at managing provision of services, especially where reliance is placed upon commercial partners. No more Carillion-type debacles, where (I understand) ample warning signs were evident early to some of that company’s fate.

  20. Sakara Gold
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Your analysis is interesting. So what happened to the privately run telecoms company Marconi? Or GEC, BHS, Everyready Batteries, BC Partners (& Phones 4 U) and numerous other victims of asset-stripping entrepreneurs?

    We need a mix of public and private service providers in the UK. Foreign governments have made enough money out of the provision of energy, water, railway services.

    • libertarian
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      Sakara Gold

      Private companies go out of business when their product and services are no longer fit for purpose , the market “culls” them but no longer using them

      Sadly in the public sector they carry on forever delivering worse and worse services…. Prime example the NHS which now has some of the worst health outcomes in the developed world. Oh and tends to kill off large numbers of people in frequent error strewn bouts of mismanagement

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 27, 2018 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

        Many of the so called public “services” are nothing of the sort. Just yet another excuse for inconveniences, taxes, licence fees, fines and the likes.

      • forthurst
        Posted June 27, 2018 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

        Private businesses go bust when they run out of money. Sometimes this is as a consequence of assets including pension funds being syphoned off first. Sometimes it’s as a consequence of accountants creating conglomerates whose businesses they don’t understand negotiating loss making contracts or being driven out of the market by businesses which do understand what they are doing: never own shares in a business run by an accountant and/or spiv.

        • libertarian
          Posted June 29, 2018 at 3:48 pm | Permalink


          Really? Are you sure? In my experience businesses run out of cash first, then raid their pension funds and sell off assets in order to try to stay afloat. , I must say I haven’t come across any examples of accountants creating conglomerates , maybe you could provide one

  21. WhataboutSchmidt
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Generally speaking competition doesn’t work- people and greed get in the way

    with cartels throughout and price fixing happening big time – at all levels

    • NickC
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      Whatabout, Don’t greedy and corrupt people also inhabit state industries then? Or is there some magic weeding-out process that makes all state employees saints? I think you’ve just earned your place to be considered for the Lavrenti Beria Award for a Socialist Utopia.

    • libertarian
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      What about

      You might want to think that post through again

      Competition and cartel ….. which is it ? Cant be both

  22. Peter
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Competition is all very well – but it is not a magic wand to make everything better.

    Competitors often have an eye on profit to the detriment of service.

    They gradually evolve their own ploys to boost profits, without benefit to their customers.

    Short term outlooks often prevail which hinder genuine progress.

    A well-run publicly owned enterprise with an old-fashioned public service outlook can work just as well. Long term commitment to a role is strangely unappreciated in today’s world.

    That does not mean employing an overpaid CEO to shake things up. As often as not such people screw things up and then move elsewhere in the never-ending merry go round for highly paid chancers.

    That does not mean feather bedding employees. Public enterprises used to be very efficient. Those with a highly politicised workforce just tarred all the good ones with a bad name.

  23. Adam
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Individuals pay for state-run activity, but share its price with millions using carelessly. The state intervenes like a guardian protecting children from wasting their money, yet it is the population that needs protection from individuals wasting services.

    Laws should protect individuals’ interests. Law-abiding citizens should spend services as carefully as if they were paying directly with their own dosh. Paying an expensive guardian middleman to muddle values destroys the quality vs price judgments individuals need to spend sensibly.

    The state should guide, not act as an unfit piggy bank.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      The rich and hard working pay more and more taxes used to augment the feckless (or they give up or leave). So more feckless and fewer cash cows.

  24. Rien Huizer
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    Why is a party characterized by economic liberalism (or the Thatcher variety) and scoial conservatism defending the NHS. The NHS is a socialist relic. Even countries with a social democratic bias consider health care a sector that must be regulated, comprehensive and compulsory health insurance essential but provision by the state and funded out of general revenue a miasllocation of public resources. Of course most of these countries have a much smaller truly private health care industry like the UK has. Inninternational comparisons, the UK system (NHS plus private) scores well on cost per resident but poorly on quality and general outcomes. That indicates a much higher degree of rationing (elective treatments, than in the continental systems of Scandinavia, Germany and the Belelux. Of course there are many factors that determine outcomes (culture, lifestyles, demography to name a few). Nevertheless if baffles me why NHS reform, or finding alternative structures is not top of the agenda rather than recitation of the mantra that quasi free health care must be preserved.

    For adherents of a liberal economic philosophy, any public service that can be costed commercially, should be priced commercially via user fees and wherever possible (keeping the core of public interest, safety and access to fair treatment, in mind) contracted out to the private sector. That private sector may include non-profit institutions.

    • Adam
      Posted June 28, 2018 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      Consumers should pay for themselves. Those unable should receive charity, aka Govt assistance.

  25. rick hamilton
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    If NHS hospitals and clinics were competing for customers (patients) and we made our own decision which one we used, based upon experience, online reviews and all the other disciplines of the free market, we would get better service. As is done in other countries.

    This only works if the hospital depends for its income on claiming the costs of each patient care from government. If you just pay them their total costs anyway you will have guaranteed waste and inefficiency as now.

    There has to be accountability and state run services inevitably avoid it like the plague. As things are, ” Lessons will be learned” but nobody gets the sack because nobody can be identified as being responsible.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 6:07 pm | Permalink


  26. agricola
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    The NHS, as you point out is a mix of public and private involvement. Providing it remains free at the point of need I see no problem in it being totally privatised. Introduce Kaizen into every department in the NHS and all other public sector enterprises. Professionalise their purchasing and use of consumables.

    The public / private argument is purely political. While the union bosses condemn private sector health provision in public, they make use of it in private. This hypocrisy requires a public calling to account. The public sector in the UK offers no incentive for improvement and is all too ready to settle for second rate. Witness buckling rails, melting roads and pavements, and no airborne fire extinguishing service. How come lesser economies in this World solved such problems long ago.

    Public sector workers should contract for pensions in the private sector, and this includes MPs. No more state or rate payer subsidy.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      “Providing it remains free at the point of need”

      No it should not be free but every one should be treated at the time of need then the costs recovered later from all who can afford to pay. Which would be far more if taxes were at sensible levels.

  27. Prigger
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    I see little real competition in providing like-for-like , internet, telephone and TV services.

    I wish to change my Service Provider for the above who ups the price every single year beyond the rate of inflation providing notably in my case a poor TV facility.

    It’s like deciding to buy another car on the basis of seeing only a photo of the seller’s car, reading what he says about it,what other “compare sites” say about the particular brand…… in general, with a universally inflated speedometer.
    Of course, the self-same car, does not perform identically independent of unique location. Alternative “cars “provide “officially” varying degrees of performance and though appear cheaper have less “official” performance rates as advertised by the sellers.

    Did I risk changing my Provider just before the World Cup? Not on your nelly,when the Internet Service Providers, without an alert government (referee ) intervention each use the hand of god……. and always get away with it.

  28. agricola
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Both France and Spain have a fleet of amphibious aircraft for fire dousing. Why nor request their presence over Saddleworth. Plenty of water to scoop up from Derwent reservoirs. Which ministry cannot make a decision and get it done.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      Making sensible and quick decisions is not a government strength. Surely they could get over their in about four hours. Rather an easier job than the forests of the South of France.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 27, 2018 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

        over there!

    • Moor
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      Probably wouldn’t work. The underlying peat holds the heat and can burn relatively deep underground for weeks. Though you are right in that they could be used in specific locations to protect life and property. It will be smoking for quite some time. A prolonged thunderstorm would do it.

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      They have bush fires all the time. That’s why they have such ‘fleets’. (Squadrons surely ?)

      • Anonymous
        Posted June 27, 2018 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

        Sorry. On second reading I get your point. Good one.

  29. bigneil
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Re the bit on the NHS ” the taxpaying user of the service ” – what about the non-taxpaying user of the service? An endless river of people who haven’t paid in a penny, probably never will, is being waved in for a free life on the taxpayer. Given that they are unlikely to speak ANY coherent English, probably never will, they get a free, to them, (taxpayer funded) translator and multiple length appointment times. This just means that the English speaking taxpayer, who will have funded the NHS, has less and less chance of getting an appointment at all, as the govt hasn’t found a way of making a 24hr day stretch.
    If these so-called migrants are such an economic boost to any country, why are the countries they come from such a mess? The vast majority want a free, better life. It does NOT include working/paying-in to the society/culture provided from our taxes.
    The politicians wave these freeloaders in but then make the rest of us pay for them. In more ways than one.
    Improving public services is impossible when the population is being increased with people like this.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

      Well said Bigneil

  30. Iain Gill
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    So our politically correct government wants to be sexist and give even shorter jail terms to females than men for the same crime. Wants to increase tax to supposedly pay for old age care, and only wants to tax over 40’s because it doesn’t realise many are already stretched with young kids or vulnerable parents to fund.

    Really how many voters do they want to turn away…

    Not an ounce of common sense, as for following dom Cummings advice and throwing money at the NHS despite real people being cheesed off at its poor performance… Shows no understanding of how to deliver better service or the NHS brand turning toxic as it is demonstrated to be a killing machine.

    Is this really the best our political class can do?

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      Iain. Yes, stupidity itself. I don’t they realise many people are only just starting their families at 40? Do they assume we are all well off just because we have turned 40? I cannot imagine what the tax bill will be for some if we have to fill in the gap. Still, if we are old and poor we might die off a bit quicker.

  31. Ed Mahony
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    ‘I wish to see competition introduced more widely in the water industry where it would encourage lower prices and better provision’

    – Don’t mean to be cheeky, Mr Redwood, but do you have evidence / case studies for this?

    I’m no expert on water, but glancing at the USA, over 3/4 of US local government provide water distribution entirely with public employees. 2/3 of municipalities provide water treatment publicly, and over half provide sewage collection and treatment publicly.

    (Not forgetting water in the USA was in private hands a lot more, 100 years ago, as it appears to me, and that water has just gone more and more into the public sector since, as far as i understand it).

    As i see things, business isn’t that interested in utilities like water, unless they can make a really good profit (and fair enough – but someone has to pay for this – consumers – and cost COULD be, less, if privately owned). And moreover, surely there are lots of people in business who aren’t that turned on by utilities.

    I think the government needs to focus much more on wealth creation through supporting entrepreneurs in the high tech / digital industries, where we’re exporting great products such as BMWs, Apple iPhones, IBM servers, and so on.

    Then we won’t have to focus so much on what proportion of water utilities are publicly/privately owned. It won’t matter so much.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      ‘and cost COULD be, less, if privately owned’

      – if publicly-owned, i meant.

      Also, the public sector has its uses.
      – For example, many women prefer working in a public to a private sector environment (less stress so they can focus more on the family – if they weren’t working in public sector, they might not be working at all, costing government more).
      – Also, some people in general, aren’t suited to private sector. Better they’re doing some work (e.g. working in public sector) than claiming the dole!
      – I’ve worked in private sector. Great. But lots of clever people in it who know how to work the system for their own gain (in particular, in large private corporations).
      – And saying that, there are decent, honest people in the public sector as well, who do have work ethic. They just don’t want to work in the private sector for whatever reason.

      I strongly believe in the private sector. But I also think the public sector has its uses. The main focus in the public sector is that people aren’t paid too much relative to the private sector. Other than that, I don’t think we should focus too much on this. And instead focus more on wealth creation by helping entrepreneurs and others create the BMWs, Apples and IBMs of the future.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted June 27, 2018 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

        Dear Mr Redwood,
        Apologies for being a pain. I’m going to stop commenting.
        I’m a bit obsessed by politics (in good, enjoyable way – debating and being interested in it in general – perhaps too much).
        Thank you. And best wishes.

  32. NickC
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    There is a degree of illusion in the “competition into electricity supply” theory. Government directs electricity production so closely via Labour’s Climate Change Act 2008 (plus Mrs May’s banning of the sale of new ICE cars from 2040) that the electricity supply industry is essentially run on a fascist model: “privately” owned but government controlled.

    Most of that distortion is due to re-defining carbon dioxide as a pollutant, whilst ignoring real pollution (the driver behind the German dieselgate scandal). And that is a policy offshoot of the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming hoax. Whilst scientists are hurriedly back-tracking from their absurd “climate consensus” catastrophe predictions (not least because they’ve been falsified) the politicians are left stranded in the year 2000.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      NickC. Yes and that is why we have wind turbines here in Scotland that can only operate to 45% of their capacity at any time and yet they are still erecting more turbines in the area. Mad or what?

  33. Playing the game
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    PM Questions today. JR and Rees-Mogg were mentioned by Corbyn. Perhaps a case of “playing the man not the ball” as the attack in my view should not be given a kind of reverence via Latin usage as it were by describing it as ad hominem.

    Rees-Mogg in afterward “Points of Order” challenged on his own part the veracity of the attack from a purely factual aspect let alone the custom of informing MPs prior to such an own goal from Labour. Mr Speaker asked Corbyn directly for comment. He made no comment.

    Meanwhile Labour Party rule changes regarding the number of Labour MPs needed to nominate a new leftie Corbynite if and when he retires to just twelve are being discussed in their wheel-tappers and shunters club committees. Plans to allow members to directly elect Local Authority Council Leaders.
    So, everything for them is going according to their Soviet-style Five Year Plan. We should rejoice at that as it will distance them even further from the intelligent voter in a General Election.

    Reply I have already put a correction on the record when they made this story up the first time round.

    • Lionel Creed
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      How much does the FT pay you for advising people (words deleted ed), Mr Redwood?

      Reply I did no such thing and the FT pays me nothing. I suggest you stop trying to misrepresent me.

    • Marion
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      Rees Mogg sounded very nervous, I thought. Moving the business to Dublin does not show faith in Brexit Britain, does it

      • libertarian
        Posted June 29, 2018 at 3:53 pm | Permalink


        They haven’t moved their business to Dublin

    • graham1946
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      Pity MP’s don’t call a point of order and ask Mr. Speaker to instruct the PM to answer questions. Don’t think anything got a proper answer today. May’s way of answering is to vllify Labour (not hard to do) and ignore the issue at hand so no-one is any the wiser at the end. About time this weekly charade was either used to answer properly or dropped altogether. At the moment it seems it is just a way for self aggrandisement of a few nonentities from the back benches to boot lick the Premier and MP’s bear pit behaviour is a disgrace and an embarrassment to our system.

  34. Peter D Gardner
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    There needs to be a direct link in the NHS between funding and service provision. Because nobody buys anything from the NHS customers, aka patients, are not part of that link and never can be unless they start buying from it. it really is that simple. Only social and communist paradises set a price of zero on their products and services. The NHS will not reform until patients buy from it. OK some patients cant afford it. So that is where mechanisms are needed to provide patients with the necessary funds. That is not in place in UK. There cannot be meaningful improvements in the NHS until it is allowed to sell and customers are permitted to buy.

  35. ian
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    They’re a case I heard about in East Sussex on the coast about the pier there, The people were told by the council that could buy the pier off of them if they can raise the money by crowdfunding, a lot of small businesses people from the town were running their businesses on the pier before it burn down, I understand local people help to rebuild the pier with the council, anyway when they had the money in place to buy the pier from the council after the rebuild a few years on the council up and sold the pier to middle eastern businessman for the same price, now the local people have to dissolve the limited company they set up and give the money back to the local people they raised the money from.
    The local business people had planned their new businesses for the pier with banks has all come to nothing.
    A bit like the gov wouldn’t you say, we the politician have to decide and make the decisions, you the people will just have to lump it, we meet with business people and bankers all the time and are best placed in our circle of people who to give a contract to or buy and sell things to and who best placed to raise any money from banks.
    So don’t bother a plying for anything and get ideas above your station and keep in your place and mind your business.

    • Mark B
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

      The solution ? Direct democracy.

      • libertarian
        Posted June 29, 2018 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        Mark B

        Absolutely, I agree Direct Democracy is the way forward

  36. Cheers UK Business!
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    If only British business Heads had the certainty that there would be a World Cup this year and the date…. then they could have planned ahead for CO2 production.

    We shall listen to their stone cold sober advice with open ears, mouths agog, about Certainty in regard to Brexit. What would we do without their wise and experienced counsel??

    Should we ask the football authorities to delay the rest of the World Cup and impose a transition period for British business to get its act together? Is two years enough?

  37. jerry
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    “The danger is single channel decision making. If the state owns telecoms for example, and makes the wrong call on technology,the whole country is affected. That is exactly what the nationalised industry did in its last decade, when it fell further and further behind the USA.”

    But John that wasn’t the fault of the state owned GPO/BT, it was the fault of their political paymasters, the above is thus not a criticism of nationalisation per se but how it was done in the UK. The GPO had a working video phone back in the early 1970s, digital exchanges technology was available too, whilst cellular technology was in development too, the only thing not available was the investment cheque from the politicos at HMT to modernise.

    Also if, due to legacy issues with the inherited physical network, the now privatised backbone provider makes a wrong call on technology the whole country is affected just as it was when state owned, but now without the ability for politicos to seek meaningful recourse even via the official regulator.

    In the UK today, the many are still stuck with FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) broadband/telecoms at best, some not even having that, whilst some rural but important customers (such as farmers) are still dependant on last century dial-up technology, when much of our competitor nations have or are investing in FTTP (Fibre to the Property) in one form or another.

  38. Ed Mahony
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood,

    A few times on your site, I’ve been calling for National Service to be re-introduced. For at least a month. And that the young either have to do military service and/or some other form of public service. (To develop sense of self-discipline, public duty and patriotism).

    This is exactly what President Macron now says he’s going to introduce in France. I’m not trying to show off. But just to say that I don’t think some of my suggestions on your site are completely bonkers!

    Best wishes to you, Sir.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

      I also suggested there should be a voluntary longer-term national service as well – in addition to the compulsory one month National Service (exactly what President Macron is going to introduce as well).

      I also suggested that those in the one moth national service should also be awarded Gold, Silver and Bronze according to how well they perform during the National Service. And prizes should also be offered (for example, exciting work placements, special grant to receive special training in high tech / digital / coding, free entries into British Arts and Culture shows etc).

      This would also be a great way of recruiting youngsters into the armed forces.

  39. Richard
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    The respected economist Andrew Lilico on the economics of high tax & a big state:
    “there is very widespread evidence, compiled from around the world over the past four decades by entirely mainstream academics and research bodies … that higher public spending and taxation, relative to GDP, is associated with slower growth…

    So at above something of the order of 15-25 per cent of GDP, government spending starts harming growth, and each additional 10 percentage points added after that will tend to cut the GDP growth rate by around 1 to 1.5 per cent per year. Over time, lower growth in the economy will mean a much smaller economy that would otherwise be achievable, and that in turn will mean that in the long-term the economy actually probably spends less on healthcare, education etc…
    Government taxes are currently about 37 per cent of GDP. That’s the highest they’ve been since the mid 1980s. After many years of effort, we’ve got public spending down to a level at which the UK’s deficit is manageable, at around 38 per cent of GDP this year. It was a mistake to agree a large rise in NHS spending, but if we compound that error by raising spending in lots of other departments, that will mean slower GDP growth over the longer term and the undoing of all that we achieved in the years of austerity.”

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    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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