Going for faster growth – how the government can help

Growth mainly happens thanks to free enterprise and the opportunities of the market. Governments can help at the margin, and can hinder in so many ways if they follow anti enterprise policies.

I have been arguing in recent posts for two straightforward ways the government can help. It can spend more on items like transport capacity and education which make a direct contribution to a more productive economy. It can cut taxes that get in the way of enterprise and impede work.

In more detail, the government should take advantage of our exit from the EU to give UK competing businesses more scope to win government contracts. Strict application of EU procurement rules in the UK has meant the public sector buys many cars, machines and other supplies from continental producers. Who sees the French or German official buying a UK made car?  A new Uk system should of course encourage competition to ensure innovation and keen prices for taxpayers,  but it should also be friendly to competitive UK based businesses. We have started to demand more UK content in rail procurement for example, and have used the exemptions in the EU scheme to allow UK provision of much of our defence equipment in areas like naval vessels.

Intelligent buying by government can commission product for UK purposes that could also have an export benefit by selling the same or similar to overseas interests.

The UK needs to have a sensible approach to new borrowing. Borrowing huge sums for a large project like HS2 which is unlikely to generate revenues to service it is not sensible. Borrowing lesser sums  at  very low rates in the public sector today to build more cost effective road and rail capacity would be sensible. UK state debt is under good control when you adjust the totals for the £435 bn the UK state has bought in and owes to itself.

The best thing the government can do to promote growth is to cut tax rates on work and enterprise. The next thing it can do is to use the money it raises in taxes to employ people at home and provide services and incomes here instead of sending it to the EU.


  1. Mark B
    July 30, 2018

    Good morning

    A part from Morgan there are no UK owned car manufacturers.

    If there is one thing the government can do to stimulate growth and prosperity in the UK, it is to get rid of the Climate Change Act. An act so monumentally damaging to UK industry only a complete moron could dream it up. And yet, we have.


    1. Lifelogic
      July 30, 2018

      Yes the climate change lunacy & go for easy hire and fire, cut taxes and tax complexity, do only the rather few things government can do better than the private sector (and this certainly does not include most of health care and education), cut the OTT building regulations, cut the restrictive planning rules, stop getting people into debt for largely worthless degrees, cut the moronic gender pay gap reporting, kill HS2 and Hinckley C, halve the size of the state sector, even up the state sector pay and pensions to private sector levels and make them actually produce something of value, stop mugging private pensions and tenants/landlords, get some real competition in banking so that major high street bank cannot get away with rip off 68% overdraft rates …….

      In short get out of the damn way. Politicians do not have a clue about business so why do they keep telling businesses how they should be running their own businesses? Most politicians do not have a clue about anything really (beyond lying to the public and promising things they cannot deliver in order to trick them into voting for them).

      Get a real Conservative PM and Chancellor with some real Brexit vision. People who make a Corbyn/SNP Government hugely unlikely rather than highly likely as now.

    2. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
      July 30, 2018

      @Mark B: Very interesting how manmade climatechange deniers in the UK always happen to be Brexiteers as well. History may not judge kindly on them.

      1. Bob
        July 30, 2018


        “manmade climatechange deniers in the UK always happen to be Brexiteers as well.”

        If this is true, then perhaps it’s because they don’t trust lying politicians who claim that the solution to every problem is more govt and more tax.

        By the way, are you aware of the “charity” called “Common Purpose”?

        1. Hope
          July 30, 2018

          Well said Mark.

          JR, unfortunately you appear to be in a parallel universe to Olly Robbins who has capitulated and not achieved anything to date in the favour of the U.K. to leave the EU. What has the EU given in exchange for any of the critical capitulations he as made? He is not answerable to the electorate, parliament or Raab. I am rather confused why May is not addressing parliament as she is in charge of him not Raab.

          Agreeing a trade deal was not the main or central theme to leave the EU. Nor do you have to give it credence by your blog today. We know what May and Hammond are up to.

          It is a theme to scare the public to change their minds or accept a version of remaining led by untrustworthy lying May. I have not read any article or newspaper that says it is convinced she acted in good faith to the electorate by her white paper. Not one. I have read she is willfully misleading, does not understand English or she is lying, lying and other terms in published articles. The opinion polls confirm the disgust.

          The EU project is primarily a political project. It can be repeated time over but May is creating a narrative about trade to distract the uninformed from the central point to leave the EU and to scare them to change their minds hoping they will not notice her underhand points about EJC supremacy applying forever, giving away hundreds of billion of our taxes, mass immigration to continue under freedom of movement to start with then change its name, tying the U.K. to a host of EU bodies and policies. We voted leave.

          MPs have decided that they have changed their minds and will break their manifesto pledges and what they stood to be elected on by specious claims that half in and remaining in parts is leaving. It is not. They forget they voted in parliament for the exact opposite. May, through remaining MPs, is trying to dilute by the White paper and the Withdrawal paper so the U.K. remains in the EU by another name. Changing the titles to something does not cut the mustard, or turd if you prefer. Both of May’s papers should be rejected out of hand.

          We voted leave and leave in March on WTO terms. After we leave, April we ask the EU if it wishes to continue to trade on WTO terms or do they wish to make a trade agreement. None of the four freedoms are acceptable to us as a discussion point for trade. If there are ancillary bodies it would be mutually bendical to be part of we will consider in our national interest. Waters and fishing stocks are an actual and symbol of our new found freedom. No foreign fishing boats in our waters from March next year, unless agreed on our terms. Security and defense is not unconditional it is conditional as it is with other allies and friends, not a given.

          If May wants me to replace Robbins get her to call me. No one could do worse than these two.

      2. Mark B
        July 30, 2018

        Of course you will provide us with a link to confirm your statement.

        Isn’t if funny that those who which to Remain in the EU are of an unsavoury character.

        “BREXIT means BREXIT”

        Pah !

        1. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
          July 30, 2018

          @Mark B: My statement was actually based on personal observation, but as you need a link, I’ve looked for one. It contains a IMHO much to friendly explanation:

          “The Brexit-climate denier overlap stems from a common neoliberal ideology that fears top-down state interventions and regulations which are perceived as threatening values of individual freedom, economic (market) freedom, or the sovereignty of national governments. Under this logic, we must reject both the European Union and most climate policy.”

          A real “champion” for me in this overlap field is an old, former UK Chancellor of the Exchequer.
          To pass moderation I won’t mention a name and instead of the url, just google for “Brexit-climate denier overlap”.Success!
          If you look at the number of reactions here below, that may also give some confirmation of my statement.

          NB – I’m not a remainer for you, I DO think it better that the UK leaves.

          1. Mark B
            July 31, 2018


            Many thanks.


          2. Anonymous
            July 31, 2018


            How do you reconcile these traits which describe believers very well in my view ?

            – They (especially the most influential and rich ones) carry on spending and consuming vast amounts of planetary resource in their personal lives.

            – They also believe in the EU and mass immigration into our country whilst, at the same time, demanding that we reduce our carbon footprint.

            I am a firm believer in Brexit. I also see the shift in seasons. I see the contradictions of the above and the futility (and economic danger) of unilateralism when other countries are building economic muscle.

            I resent it when those advocating for the policy don’t adhere to it themselves.

            (Nearly everything I own is second hand – including quite a lot of my clothing.)

      3. graham1946
        July 30, 2018

        Whether you believe in climate change or not, the fact is that anything the UK does, re climate change makes not one jot of a difference. We are too small in carbon output for our cuts to be measurable globally. We have pauperised many of the population through fuel bills for no more than virtue signalling, whilst China, India, USA et al sail on sublimely creating far more carbon than we ever could. Even the great Germany is building coal fired power stations, whilst instructing us to close down our own and rely on renewables giving them another massive commercial advantage. Funny that, and even more unbelievably our politicians go for it.

        1. fedupsoutherner
          July 30, 2018

          @Graham 1946. Yes, and Germany is using the spare parts from our coal fired power stations to build theirs. They also use brown coal. Not environmentally friendly according to all the climate change luddites.

        2. margaret howard
          July 30, 2018

          “giving them (Germany) another massive commercial advantage.”

          Or it could be:

          “British workers were a third less productive than their German and French counterparts last year with a record low”

          Life in Lax Britannica today. Report in the “Financial Times”, 29th September, 2015

          Reply Car workers in UK factories are as productive as car workers in German factories. We also have more employment intensive activities than Germany, and fewer unemployed than France which affects the figures.

      4. sm
        July 30, 2018

        Sadly, Peter, believing in M-MCC has become, as with the NHS and the EU, a substitute religion: there must be no questioning of the Credo and there must be constant and lavish gifts from the laity to the priesthood.

      5. Timaction
        July 30, 2018

        Just think Sun made climate change. It’s the intensity that drives the jet stream. That determines weather in conjunction with the Earth rotating at a tilt on its own axis and in turn around the sun. With CO2 at 0.04%, most produced by our oceans, volcanoes and animal life. A trace element that is naturally occurring and feeds….plants. Many times in our history the levels have been much higher.
        Isn’t it interesting how remainers love the “control and legislate” everything that is ………naturally occurring!! Shall we not drain our rivers (EU directive) to protect wild life, flora and fauna so they ……..flood the Somerset levels again and kill all the flora, fauna and wildlife!???

        1. Timaction
          July 30, 2018

          A very good interview today on Sly News Mr Redwood. I think your answers explained everything clearly to viewers, despite your hosts best efforts to give “fake” news.
          Another must read for this blog from Martin Howe QC, putting the facts NOT fiction into Theresa May’s white paper proposals!


        2. Hope
          July 30, 2018

          And India and China keep burning coal. UK. Buys wood from the US transports by deisellorries to its diesel ships to the U.K. Using diesel lorries to transport to the power station to burn. That helps the environment no end!

          That is Germany buying 50-70 percent of gas from Russia! Dependent on Russia for its industry, that is solidarity for you! Would you be worried by threats of sanctions from German led EU. No, just laugh.

          1. Mitchel
            July 31, 2018

            Whilst Germany is getting the cheap Russian pipeline gas(and becoming the principal distributor of such gas in the EU),I see BP has signed a long term contract to buy expensive US LNG(not specifically for the UK market but I imagine much will end up in the UK).

            Remember the Special Relationship when you see your gas bills!

      6. Dave Andrews
        July 30, 2018

        Are you suggesting Brexiteers are less gullible?
        Climate change can be measured over time, but how much is down to human activity is very speculative.
        Evidently, global warming brought an end to the last ice age, presumably without the input of mankind.
        I am all for reducing pollution. One way of achieving this is to reduce the number of polluters in the UK by ending immigration.

      7. Ed Mahony
        July 30, 2018


        I agree, man-made climate change is real but I think it’s a great opportunity for high-tech industry to come up with solutions, providing lots of great new jobs and revenues for our country.

        BUT I think supporting euthanasia, as you do, is far worse than denying man-made climate change (even though some/many might disagree with me).

        Also, why not agree more with the Hard Brexiters. They have very strong arguments I think about how the EU could collapse (5, 10, 20+ years time), and why, in principle we should allow a large, HUGE, central power to enjoy so much power. Don’t you think the EU needs serious reforming (for example, stripping it off its political power but that we have close economic, cultural and security links?). Don’t you think the EU could collapse? Don’t you object to a central body holding so much power?

        If real reform of the EU doesn’t happen, then I’d like to see Hard Brexit. But ONLY after we’ve built up our economy, properly, / given time for our businesses to re-model their businesses – all of which could take some years. I don’t want to see us crash out that could be terrible. But we can’t just remain with the status quo as you seem to support.

      8. Jagman84
        July 30, 2018

        It’s amazing how human generated CO2 molecules allegedly have a disproportionate effect on the climate, compared to naturally occurring emissions. It’s not a case of ‘deniers’, more of the view that the effect is vastly exaggerated for fraudulent reasons. Let’s face it, it’s difficult to tax volcanoes!

      9. mancunius
        July 30, 2018

        History is far more likely to judge the entire AGW agenda to have been a transparent fiction intended to make the poor still poorer. But hey, who cares when there are virtues to be signalled and careers to be made out of the fraud…:-))

      10. matthu
        July 30, 2018

        Climate Change and the environment are simply examples of areas where Remainers would prefer to put legal control outside of democratic reach. (Social welfare is another.)

        Even if you accept climate change is man-made, there is simply no evidence to suggest that the very expensive remedies put in place by the Climate Act have any chance of reversing climatic trends. To pretend that they do is both arrogant and wrong.

        1. matthu
          July 30, 2018

          John – I am never sure why my comments seem to take so much longer to moderate e.g. than other similar comments following this one.

          Is it because I am one of your local constituents?!

        2. Mark B
          July 31, 2018

          Good post and worth waiting for.

      11. Anonymous
        July 30, 2018

        I don’t think anyone denies climate change – they just see the futility of unilateral action on it, especially when much of the world is industrialising.

        We hear that our recycling ends up in land fill, Drax is powered off fuel transported across the Atlantic, the expensive energy produced by Hinkley Point is going to take a lot more economic activity for customers to be able to afford to pay for it, that windmills cost more than they can provide and now we have electric trains fitted with diesel engines because electrification cannot be done, churning out more emissions than the old diesel trains they are replacing.

        1. Ian wragg
          July 30, 2018

          Hinckley point may never happen. There has recently been another delay with the prototype at Flammville so it is now about 10 years behind.

        2. fedupsoutherner
          July 30, 2018

          @Anonymous. Also all this recycling we are doing with plastics is making matters worse. China is refusing to take our rubbish now so a lot ends up in Asian countries where legislation for getting rid of it is practically zero. Hence much of it is thrown into rivers etc and end up in the oceans. We would be better off incinerating it. At least it wouldn’t be contaminating the habitat of sea mammals. It is up to us to find solutions in our modern world and not inflict it on to animals.

      12. getahead
        July 30, 2018

        There is a lighthouse with a similar name to yours in south-west Australia just south of Augusta. Maybe named after one of your ancestors. Just in case you didn’t know.

      13. The Way of the Cat
        July 30, 2018

        @Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        I have not noticed any general Climate Change, genuinely, I assure you. I have noticed however the air, rivers, and seaside are very much cleaner now than half a century ago. More nasty spores and plant infestations survive acid-free rain. I don’t know if human cleanliness and order generally changes climate though. I guess it could. No other animal or organism than human so “progressively” alters its balance with nature. My alsation dog hates soap and water. Instinctively, he may have a clue.

      14. Lifelogic
        July 30, 2018

        We do not deny “climate change”. Climate always has and always will change. What we claim is that there is no evidence to suggest a runaway thermal catastrophe is going to be produced by man made C02. That the solutions proposed by the alarmists of the so called “renewables” and biofuels clearly will make no difference anyway. There are better solutions if it actually does become a problem but it is unlikely to anyway.

        Also that people who cannot predict the climate for Jan next year self evidently cannot predict the climate for 100 years time. It is far far to complex to predict such things and they do not even have all the inputs needed (like the sun’s output, the population, the date we get nuclear fusion sorted, the volcanic activity for the next 100 years …..). Predicting next weeks lottery balls from their start positions and velocities would be a far simpler task!

        The Climate change act is clearly doing far, far more damage than good even if you are a believer (yet only a handful of MPs voted against it). So lacking in science, engineering and logic are they. Anyway a little warming and a little more Co2 is actually a good thing for the planet on balance anyway. It gives better crop yields and greens the planet. Most of the sound physicists, engineers and the likes I know agree fully with me (unless they are on the alarmist gravy train) then they just agree in private. The less people understand of science and engineering the more they swallow this childish alarmism religion. Rather like Prince (d0 as I say not as I do Charles and his juvenile Ladybird book). He likes “alternative” medicine on the NHS too and spend about £1million PA on his personal travel.

        We are right on Brexit, quack medicine and right on climate alarmism too. We were also right on the EU, the ERM fiasco, the EURO, open door immigration ….. and lots of other things. We work on reason calculations and logic not irrational emotion & daft modern religions! They are not less daft through being modern indeed they are very similar.

      15. Stephen Priest
        July 30, 2018

        Dear Peter VAN LEEUWEN it’s very interesting how the EU always loses referendums on the rare occasion people are given a vote. Norway has voted twice not to join. Switzerland voted not to join. Sweden and Denmark vote not to join. Ireland voted against the Nice and Lisbon treaties. France and the Netherlands voted against the EU constitution.

        The reason is that we plebs from all over Europe know the only thing that counts for the European Union is the Project. The People are not important.

        When the EU had the choice of saving the Euro or saving the Greek people, it chose the Euro.

        1. Stephen Priest
          July 30, 2018

          CORRECTION “Sweden and Denmark vote not to join the Euro”

      16. Javelin
        July 31, 2018

        The fact you use the term “climate change denier” rather than global warming denier proves you and the “global warming alarmists” have completely lost their argument. All you are saying now is pollution affects the weather, which is exactly what Brexiteers were telling you in the first place.

        Trump was 100% right to focus on pollution and not to listen to a bunch of mad geography teachers with degrees in “colouring in.”

        100% lost the argument.

    3. Turboterrier.
      July 30, 2018

      Mark B

      Well said, you speak for millions in fuel debt and poverty and industries struggling to be competitive.

      Too many politicians are afraid to talk out about it as they may upset their green thinking voters. If we are lucky there may be a bout a 100 or so with serious concerns about all our “green policies”. Nobody listens to them.

      1. Mark B
        July 30, 2018


        Many thanks. But I do not claim to speak for anyone, only myself and as I find. It may not always be popular to some, but it is what I believe in. Sadly in politics there are so few like that.

      2. Mike Wilson
        July 30, 2018

        If we are lucky there may be a bout a 100 or so with serious concerns about all our “green policies”. Nobody listens to them.

        And, fortunately for the rest of us, no-one listens to you either. Bring on clean, green energy. Burning hydrocarbons is so last century. And absolutely filthy.

        1. Volcano
          July 30, 2018

          Get some long-term perspective! Burning hydrocarbons is a natural phenomenon. We are part of Nature and act accordingly, apart from loonies who get dumped outside this anthill in their Ever-Green pastures of 18th and 19th Century Romanticism. Poetry may feed the Man’s utopian mind, but doesn’t pay the rent.

        2. fedupsoutherner
          July 30, 2018

          @Mike Wilson. Oh, and never mind the poor who struggle to heat their homes. You’ll probably be one of the first to moan when the lights go out.

        3. libertarian
          July 30, 2018

          Mike Wilson

          If what you say was the goal of the AGW promotors , we would be building dozens of new nuclear power stations. Its the cleanest most efficient fuel there is by a massive margin. Meanwhile here in the UK we are shutting perfectly serviceable power stations ( EU directive) while France has dozens and Germany builds dirty coal ( lignite) power stations. Someone somewhere is lying through their teeth

    4. BOF
      July 30, 2018

      ‘ only a complete moron could dream it up. And yet, we have.’

      Was it not young Ed Miliband who was responsible for the Climate Change Act? That monumental act of self harm?

    5. Andy
      July 30, 2018

      Economic growth is important. But not killing our planet and not poisoning our kids is even more important.

      Sensible people and sensible countries can make people richer and look after the only planet we have.

      The fact that some so called Conservatives (or as I prefer to call them fact denying luddites) seem to want to rape planet Earth really says it all.

      1. Anonymous
        July 30, 2018

        Those with the greatest personal carbon footprint and leftist environmental campaigners and celebrities.

        Then they tell us to reduce our carbon footprint whilst having mass immigration (in other words telling us to get poorer.)

        1. Anonymous
          July 30, 2018


      2. fedupsoutherner
        July 30, 2018

        @Andy. What you mean like you with your two houses and holidays abroad?

      3. Green was my valley
        July 30, 2018

        Our goal is more than enough food. Contrary to some, it is only in the last two decades we have made it! It has been a very painful journey over thousands of years.
        We will fight against those well-fed Greens who are a drag on industrial and agricultural progress, who instead idly sit on their bottoms self-composting in reading futuristic fantasies.

      4. Edward2
        July 30, 2018

        As is to be expected you have confused pollution with climate change Andy.

    6. fedupsoutherner
      July 30, 2018

      @Mark B Couldn’t agree more with you. A friend of mine has just returned from the Maldives and they are building hotels like they are going out of fashion. They are not underwater as predicted by the doom and gloom brigade. He also travelled from Glasgow to Dubai to Sydney to Auckland and back. All these airports were just a few feet above sea level. He didn’t see any evidence of panic building of sea defences. When are our politicians going to get a grip and stop pandering to those who have been gullible enough to swallow all this bilge?

  2. Tom Rogers
    July 30, 2018

    If you think we really need new roads (I generally disagree, but let’s go along with your premise), why not put it entirely through the private sector and let road-builders charge tolls? That would free up capacity on existing public highways. This would also allow for flexibility if demand changes, since a private provider can presumably re-purpose its roads if a scheme is no longer profitable. There could also be the option for the public sector to requisition unprofitable private roads that are considered strategically important.

    I agree with you about procurement, but surely we should be contracting the state?

    Regarding tax, all existing taxes should be abolished and replaced with a Land Value Tax. This would end the speculative housing market and the problem of overpriced housing, and it would encourage development and discourage land-banking.

    1. Lifelogic
      July 30, 2018

      Housing is not “over priced” it is prices by supply and demand. In many areas it cost rather less than the cost of building a similar new one.

      Increase the supply by relaxing planning in the areas where more housing is needed or cut the demand if you want lower house prices.

      1. Caterpillar
        July 30, 2018

        Lifelogic, Yes there are planning issues affecting supply but also completion rate is intentionally reduced to avoid moderating prices. More planning permission grants does not result in increased completions (and hence supply) for this reason. This results in more resource control in the hands of developers and their shareholders. LVT acts on this to either encourage supply, reduce price and return resource control to homebuyers (to consume or save) leading to more appropriate investment for growth. If supply isn’t increased the Government can collect tax here and reduce elsewhere with the same result.

        (Obviously the artificial.interest rates also distort investment)

      2. Ed Mahony
        July 30, 2018

        You made a great comment once about people building their own properties. Be really great if more people followed this and land was made available.

        1. Lifelogic
          July 30, 2018

          I agree they could start with a caravan or hut then build a small house and expand it as they needed and as their finances allowed.

          1. Ed Mahony
            July 30, 2018

            It’s a great idea. That the young can’t buy their own home to get married and start a family is a big shame.

            I also think it would make a great TV programme, looking at how certain young people have managed to buy a plot of land, put a caravan on it, and then build etc. And how to go about doing that – buying, planning, building etc .. And in turn, this might influence politicians and others.

            If you or anyone you know works in TV, be great if you could suggest this.

      3. Mike Wilson
        July 30, 2018

        Housing is not “over priced” it is prices by supply and demand. In many areas it cost rather less than the cost of building a similar new one.

        Ah the old ‘supply and demand’ chestnut. There is infinite demand – we all want to live in a nicer house – but what stops us buying a nicer house? Are there no nicer houses for sale? Well, yes there are. Loads of them. A HUGE supply of them. Just look on any property portal. There are hundreds of thousands of houses for sale. What stops most people, at any point in time, is MONEY.

        Clearly, to anyone who studies this market, house prices are largely a factor of the cost and availability of credit.

        Lower interest rates – house prices go up.
        Raise interest rates – market stalls and falls a little.
        Allow 5x joint earnings mortgages – house prices go up.
        Insist on 2x joint earnings mortgages – house prices collapse.

        At the moment we are at the limit. 7 years of 0.5% base rates. Mortgages available at 1.99%. And, of course, the INSANE help-to-buy – to get a few more young necks into those mortgage nooses.

      4. Andy
        July 30, 2018

        And herein is your problem. The biggest causes in housing demand are significantly longer life expectancy – and, also, more people wanting to live alone for longer.

        Without killing people off how do you cut demand?

        And, yes, you will no doubt bang on about immigration. But the evidence does not support your view. And if you want to fix actual problems Brexiteers need to base their solutions on actual facts.

        16 Romanian fruit pickers sharing a few mobile homes on a farm during their summer here do not put pressure on the housing market. A single retired granny living alone in a 4 bedroom house until she’s well into her 90s does. The state banked on her being dead 20 years ago. She’s still going strong. And that is why there is a housing problem.

        1. Anonymous
          July 30, 2018

          In the areas where it does matter (the metropolis) it most certainly is mass immigration of young people causing the problem.

          The retirement corridors (such as Lincolnshire) have property which is as cheap as chips.

        2. Dave Andrews
          July 30, 2018

          UK homeless about 300,000
          UK net immigration over past 10 years – about 2.5million.

          British women have on average less than 2 children each.

          Without immigration there wouldn’t be a housing problem, just the demographic timebomb.

        3. fedupsoutherner
          July 30, 2018

          @Andy. You obviously didn’t watch the programme on the other day about immigrants squeezing into small properties at a rate of around 4 to a small room. They obviously have no means of buying a property, not enough to rent something decent but when they were thrown out because the place was dangerous and not habitable the local council had to house them. I suspect it was the good old taxpayer paying the rent while they worked at low paid unskilled work. That is what is giving us a housing problem. I for one do not want to pay for immigrants to come and live here. I have enough problems pay my own bills thank you.

        4. Cara van Cummings
          July 30, 2018

          280,000 net immigration last year. Quite alot of fruit pickers.

        5. graham1946
          July 30, 2018

          So you don’t think a population growing at a quarter of a million every year (at least that we know about) puts pressure on housing and services? Why do you talk about a few fruit pickers? What about those quarter of a million coming here permanently and having families or bringing ready made ones over? Instead, you blame a 90 year old who has probably lived in her house for 6o years, having paid for it through work and sacrifice, not dying quickly enough for you. You really are a piece of work, as well as totally ignorant. Your children will be proud of you and if you instill in them the same values they will shun you in about 20 years time. Ready for that?

        6. libertarian
          July 30, 2018


          Actually its mostly younger people that are the problem with housing. Feckless people in their 30’s and 40’s divorcing and causing huge demand for housing for singles and one parent families . 42% of marriages in England now end in divorce and its not pensioners

          1. The Big Ear
            August 1, 2018

            I didn’t realise “42% of marriages in England now end in divorce”
            Some sociologists quote such figures, then in complicated ways explain the breakdown of society in general.
            But I say it is simpler. If the one you love and trust turns out to be a complete gonk, then how can you trust and even like politicians you’ve never slept with? Despite their earnest endeavours .Wotten Wascals!

        7. Edward2
          July 30, 2018

          That is wrong.
          There are reasons we need more houses.
          One is the desire to live alone or just as a couple rather than as a family grouping.
          One is the rise in divorce.
          The main one is the rise in our population.
          Since 2000 we have had the biggest increase in population in our history.
          Several million extra people.
          A City the size of Southampton needed every year.
          Yet you say it is just older people living longer..
          Remarkable how your fixation makes you ignore simple statistics.

        8. Ed Mahony
          July 30, 2018


          You’re right, to a degree, about the old, but immigration is also a real issue (and not just from the EU but even more so from outside). This country can afford to take in immigrant doctors and engineers and scientists and people with good jobs in finance – people like that, but no longer, fruit-pickers or café workers (yes, it will affect our economy in the short-term but not the long).

    2. Leslie Singleton
      July 30, 2018

      Dear Tom–Disagree on Tolls–I don’t or rather didn’t like what I see as the baloney at Dartford for an infrequent user such as myself and I may never go South of the River again. We are talking the Queen’s Highway.

    3. Caterpillar
      July 30, 2018

      Tom Rogers,

      Abolish current tax system -yes

      Land value tax – yes (with no loopholes)
      Progressive consumption tax – yes (needs some structure put in, but most earners have a bank account, the presumption is what isn’t saved is then consumed)
      Border adjusted cash flow tax (investigate – leaving the EU, now is the opportunity for an alternative to corporate tax).

      1. Mitchel
        July 31, 2018

        The Roman-Byzantine Empire applied a land tax throughout it’s long existence.It is one of the reasons put forward for it’s longaevity-that and only limited currency debasement.

    4. Bob
      July 30, 2018

      @Tom Rogers

      Do you think that a population growing by 350k p.a. has any effect on house prices?
      Especially when the tax payer has to subsidise the ones who arrive without financial means to pay rent.


    5. graham1946
      July 30, 2018

      Road tolls?

      We’ve tried that around Birmingham and the motorist seems to prefer the jams. No-one in their right mind would volunteer to build roads on that basis, except where there is no alternative like Dartford Crossing. We built it, paid for it and were promised it would be toll free when paid for but it is just another con, too small in conception (just like the M25) so another is going to be built, blighting the area around it and again in 25 years it will be inadequate again.

  3. dittoagain
    July 30, 2018

    We need more regional airports to facilitate local air travel- it’s still a half days journey to get around by rail and bus from parts of the SW to say parts of the NE or NW

    1. Adam
      July 30, 2018

      Some attractive places are best kept remote, or risk losing their charm. The Japanese made one of their desirable retreats accessed easier by bullet train. Surprisingly, it caused the venue to wane in appeal as people reaching it within so short a time felt as if they were not getting away!

    2. Christine
      July 30, 2018

      We lost our regional airport due to it becoming uneconomic because of high taxes. The Government should introduce tax breaks for smaller airports like they do on the continent. This high taxing Government don’t seem to realise the damage they are doing.

  4. Newmania
    July 30, 2018

    If, as John Redwood suggests, we can make the ( terrifying) levels of UK debt ok by turning QE into simply printing money, then all our problems are solved . Why not simply print any money we need or any purpose at all? Does he believe this , of course not , He just wants more borrowing .
    Anyone who recalls the horror with which JR regarded far lower levels of debt will wonder why he has experienced this Damascene conversion .Simple; Brexit costs the country and it has to be paid for . Voters will not, like it. Children and the unborn have no votes …….
    Steal money from children by borrowing …..problem solved

    Reply No. I have always argued we ignore debt we have bought in.

    1. Mike Stallard
      July 30, 2018

      If the government is indebted – and the debt is sown to successive governments starting with Gordon Brown and then continued ruthlessly – then interest rates have to stay low.
      This means that people do not save because it is ridiculous; they invest in houses instead. Prices of housing goes up and savings go down.
      When the inevitable crash comes – and it will – there will be no money in the kitty as there was in 2008.
      PS The IMF is run by a Frenchwomen – Christine Lagarde – and used largely for the benefit of EU countries struggling in the Euro.

      1. Mitchel
        July 30, 2018

        Google “Argentina back on the Debt Train” by Professor Michael Hudson-posted on his website 23/7/18-greatest living economist and debt expert extraordinaire in my view.

        You will then appreciate what a racket these IMF bailouts are.

    2. Peter Martin
      July 30, 2018

      Reply to Reply,

      You shouldn’t ignore the debt but neither should you worry unduly about it. Govt issues debt whenever it creates ££ by QE, in pretty much the same way as when it sells gilts. ££ are IOUs too – except they aren’t counted as part of the National Debt. This is the cause of the confusion. They probably should be.

      We all create debt when we buy NS certs or Premium bonds. So if Govt debt is a bad thing so must my ownership of some of these bonds! Of course if ££ were counted as debt I wouldn’t be creating new debt. Just swapping one type of debt for another. Which is all QE is!

    3. Newmania
      July 30, 2018

      The why not just buy in lots more and buy everyone a pony ?

      1. Grant
        July 30, 2018

        Yes..let’s do it..buy the ponies before we pay out the 39 billion..one poor deluded fellow on Sky politics today still thinks we don’t have to pay..’just walk away’ he say’s..right..we’ll see

    4. Anonymous
      July 30, 2018

      A situation which came about whilst in the EU. (Which we are still in.)

    5. eeyore
      July 30, 2018

      Current National Debt is terrifying only to the easily terrified. It stands at c.90% of GDP, an unexceptional figure for Britain historically, and unexceptional too when compared with debt of other countries. Interest of c.£50bn is less than 2% of GDP.

      Borrowing for infrastructure which benefits many succeeding generations is a proper course. Why should one generation bear all the burden when it gets only a small part of the benefit?

      As for Brexit costs, perhaps Newmania will supply figures and sources. Remainers are fond of unsupported predictions of catastrophe, but sensible people have long grown wary (not to say weary) of them.

      1. Newmania
        July 30, 2018

        90% of GDP unexceptional !!!!!!! What planet are you on , the Conservative Party fought and lost three GE s on the platform that New Labour were over spending when the National debt was at 45% or under

        1. eeyore
          July 30, 2018

          From 1912 to 1960 the debt-GDP ratio was over 100%, peaking at 240%. From 1760 to 1850 it was also over 100%, peaking at 210%. Since 1692 it has been over 100% for an average of nine years in 20.

          It bottomed out in 1991 under Mrs T, at 29% of GDP.

          Debt interest-GDP ratio, a more important parameter, is lower than it has ever been except for 1880-1914 and three years in the mid-1990s. Today it is less than 2%. It peaked in 1830 at 7.9%. (Slater, The National Debt).

          As I said, terrifying only to the easily terrified.

          1. Newmania
            July 31, 2018

            Those are war debts you idiot , we have not just fought a war

        2. libertarian
          July 30, 2018


          For an EU fanboy you dont appear to know much about it

          Ratio of debt to GDP

          Greece 180%
          Belgium 104.3%
          Spain 97%
          France 96.1%

          EU average 87%

          We are on planet EU , thats where we are

          1. Newmania
            July 31, 2018

            …yes all of which is badly in debt . Look if you are going to seriously argue that 90% c is just fine you go and do it . You are also arguing that Ed Miliband ( and in fact the Labour Party in general) were right , for the last three decades and the Conservative Party was wrong .
            In fact according to you Blair and Brown got spending just right and we were previously severely underborrowed

            I ceratinly don’t recall John Redwood saying this in fact he was very much saying the reverse

    6. Denis Cooper
      July 30, 2018

      Well, Newmania, have you ever mentioned your reservations about money printing to that other great supporter of the EU, George Osborne, who first of all spoke against QE when Alistair Darling started to do it but then became an enthusiast for it, and maybe even a tad grateful that because John Major had failed to get us into the euro we still had our own national currency and so he could do it?

      1. Newmania
        July 30, 2018

        I was strongly against joining the Euro . In the EU but outside the Euro and Schengen area was the goldie locks state of affairs .
        I suppose that alone should have told you it was all about to collapse into a new round of British perma-catastrophe

        1. Anonymous
          July 30, 2018

          As soon as the referendum question papers were printed the goldie locks state of affairs was over.

          If we’d have voted Remain we’d have been in the Euro by now.

          We voted Leave and so we’re trapped in the cat flap by our own Remainers.

          1. Newmania
            July 31, 2018

            Love your metaphor but it just aint true ,,,and that truth thing is so very importnat

        2. Denis Cooper
          July 31, 2018

          I said nothing about your attitude to the euro, and nor would I believe anything you said about your attitude to the euro. I’ve heard all that deceitful Tory “Goldilocks scenario”, “Two speed Europe”, “Inner core and outer circle”, “In Europe not run by Europe”, even “The eastern Europeans will be our natural allies”, crap over the past twenty years and I know better than to believe a word of it.

    7. Caterpillar
      July 30, 2018


      Printing, borrowing, taxing – it all comes down to resource control and which approach makes the economy more efficient (all definitions) and internationally trusted.

      (Who benefits from QE and the major effects coming through portfolio rebalancing, I guess, will become and remain textbook chapters for decades)

    8. Richard1
      July 30, 2018

      Not only that we should be selling it back into the market to reverse QE as the US are doing. Otherwise it is potentially inflationary.

      1. acorn
        July 30, 2018

        QE is the Treasury redeeming Gilts earlier than there original maturity date, via its Central Bank.

        The Gilts taken back by the Treasury are subsequently worth nothing. They have been swapped for the “reserves” that bought them originally. The Treasury and the BoE, pretend that the Gilts are still alive in a securities account at the BoE; and, are paying interest back to the very Treasury that pays the interest on those Gilts in the first instance.

        This procedure makes no change to the net fiscal assets, (government “units of account” known as Pounds Sterling), in the economy. The sum total of the contents of the Treasury Reserve account; and, its Securities (Gilts) account, at the BoE; remains the same.

        The entities that “sold” their SAVINGS, in the form of Gilts, back to the Treasury, used the cash (reserves) and were meant to invest in other savings vehicles like Corporate shares, pushing up the price of those shares, to supposedly make corporate borrowing easier. They have not, so far, blown the cash on wine, women and song.

        The US is not selling its QE back to the market. It is allowing the maturity dates to run out and cancelling them. Having previously paid the cash back to the holders. The FED’s balance sheet will gradually reduce. See: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/WALCL

        It is essential, that you understand that the UK Treasury and the US Treasury, with their respective Central Banks; can never run out of Pounds Sterling and US Dollars, because they issue the currencies for everyone else to use. The government sector “national debt” is the non-government sector’s “national savings” to the penny.

        1. libertarian
          July 30, 2018


          And what happens when people stop using government issued pounds, Euros and dollars ?

          1. acorn
            July 31, 2018

            They go back to bartering like Cave dwellers. How are you paying your Council Cave Tax this year?

        2. miami.mode
          July 30, 2018

          Well said, acorn. It’s obvious that some correspondents do not understand QE even though JR alludes to it by saying “UK state debt is under good control when you adjust the totals for the £435 bn”.

          It should be shouted loud and clear to the Remoaners that we would have been totally dependent on the ECB if we had been in the euro and our economy would not have performed as it has done.

  5. Al
    July 30, 2018

    I disagree. The best thing that the government can do for many enterprises, especially small businesses, is cut the red tape and give them recourse against government incompetence. An example from earlier this year: a local firm nearly shut because the local council sent out three different inspectors in the space of two months who gave directly contradictory reports on what they needed to do to handle health and safety regs. There was no recourse.

    There’s a reason “I’m from the government and I am here to help” is a dreaded phrase.

    1. Mike Stallard
      July 30, 2018

      Dare I ask? Were the three different inspectors from the EU – or from national government at the instigation of the EU?

      1. graham1946
        July 30, 2018

        Seems to me from what he said to be local government. Trouble is each layer of ‘government’ empire builds and gold plates regulations to boost their reach. The fact that three can have three different views shows how poorly legislation is framed. There don’t seem to be any proper law draftsmen any more. The good lawyers work for private industry and the public get the dross or trainees looking to get experience to further their careers. One reason why planning depts. are so bad.

    2. sm
      July 30, 2018

      Some years ago, we wanted to move to offices in a Victorian building in Central London. Health & Safety Inspector said there had to be substantial alterations to meet their standards, Listed Buildings Officer said there NO alterations would be allowed, even on H&S grounds.

      We moved elsewhere.

      1. Andy
        July 30, 2018

        Yes, well you were dealing with two sets of idiots. H&S are usually beyond a joke, but they are as nought to Listed Building Officers most of whom I have had dealings with know virtually nothing about architecture and even less about buildings.

  6. Nig l
    July 30, 2018

    I understand the White Paper ties us to the ECs procurement and subsidy rules, why and how are you going to change that? Being a rule taker could make our companies uncompetitive?

    An independent pro U.K. government would be working on a ‘Singapore’ economy type approach. Unfortunately ours appears neither independent nor pro UK.

    1. Denis Cooper
      July 30, 2018

      The main section on state aid is on page 38 here:


      and it starts:

      “The UK has long been a proponent of a rigorous state aid system … ”

      I don’t know whether Jeremy Corbyn has noticed that section, but if so it should be enough to turn him against the whole White Paper …

      I also don’t see Michel Barnier saying anything about it in his statement:


      but I guess he must object to the suggestion that supervision and enforcement of the EU’s “common rulebook” on state aid in the UK should be through a UK body, the Competition and Markets Authority:


      Logically, the EU could no more trust a UK body to do that job properly once the UK was outside the EU’s “governance structures” than it could trust a UK body to collect any of the EU’s customs duties:


      “The EU cannot – and will not – delegate the application of its customs policy and rules, VAT and excise duty collection to a non-member, who would not be subject to the EU’s governance structures.”

      So why then should the EU “delegate” the application of its state aid rules and competition policies to a non-member?

    2. Ian wragg
      July 30, 2018

      The trajectory of May is to release project fear mark 3 over the summer stressing the negatives of leaving the EU. No mention of the consequences of no deal for the EU.
      She intends to offer a vote on Chequers or remain. It’s time she was gone

      1. Christine
        July 30, 2018

        I totally agree with you. Why Brexit supporting MPs are allowing this ridiculous propaganda to go unchallenged I don’t know. I can see problems with goods leaving the country but not goods coming in as these are controlled by UK customs. Why would we want to starve are own people by restricting imports? If the Government is truly worried then start producing more food now by getting rid of milk quotas and ending set aside. Expand our ports like Southampton and Liverpool, so more imports can come in from the rest of the world and avoid the Calais bottleneck. The fact that nothing positive is being done shows the real purpose of this so called No Deal planning. It is just to heap more project fear on the British people. We really have had enough.

        1. alan jutson
          July 30, 2018

          Christine I was about to make the same points you outlined, particularly the one about imported goods which we are in control of, thank you.

      2. alan jutson
        July 30, 2018


        “She intends to offer a vote of Modified Chequers or Remain”.

        That would be my guess at the moment to.

        It should of Course be Chequers or WTO if we are to have a second referendum, but that choice will not be allowed even though we voted to leave the first time.

      3. Gary C
        July 30, 2018

        @ Ian Wragg

        “She intends to offer a vote on Chequers or remain.”

        I think you could well be right though what I cannot get my head around is why they cannot see they are signing a death warrant for the Conservative party, there’s a fast growing number of the voting public that have been let down badly and will not forget.

        Time for the band to play ‘Nearer my God to Thee’ the UK is sinking.

        How TM can sleep at night after betraying so many who trusted her with their vote is beyond me.

        Reply Mrs May has continued to rule out a 2nd Referendum

    3. Richard1
      July 30, 2018

      Yes Singapore seems to survive very well as an independent country with c 10% of our population. There is no move there as far as I’m aware to merge with China Indonesia or Malaysia etc and people aren’t describes as being sinophobes for not wanting such a Union. Come to think of it new zealanders see no need to merge with Australia to have a friendly and mutually beneficial trading and political relationship. Continuity Remain should explain why such relationships can’t work for the UK and the EU.

    July 30, 2018

    I do wish John would simply stop writing this stuff and be open about his position.

    I have always liked John Redwood. I considered him to be one of the few honourable Parliamentarians in that nest of vipers known as the Palace of Westminster but the revelation that he voted for May as our leader changed my perception of him as a politician.

    I am certain that he’s a decent human-being in a private capacity but I find it disagreeable that a politician who’s worked so hard to prevent the UK from the path of democratic destruction should then undermine all of that work by expressing his loyalty for a leader whose fundamental political aim is to keep the UK in the EU.

    I would like to read articles that define the true position of the author. Anything else is simply not worth writing nor indeed reading

    1. alan jutson
      July 30, 2018


      John Redwood did not vote for Mrs My, he voted for Andrea Ledson until she dropped out, and Theresa May was crowned by default.
      Unfortunately she has been in default mode ever since.

    2. sm
      July 30, 2018

      Duncan, you KEEP saying there was a vote for May as Leader, but there was NOT, so your accusation is groundless.

      Do you ever read the responses to your posts?

    3. Timaction
      July 30, 2018

      The problem she has is we all know it outside the bubble. After 3 years of debate even a child knows the ins and outs of the debate. Being subject to the EU rule book for goods and agri products, plus all the other bolt ins, subject to the ECJ is NOT leaving!
      She needs to go!

    4. Mike Wilson
      July 30, 2018

      but the revelation that he voted for May as our leader changed my perception of him as a politician.

      Who else could he have voted for?

  8. Mike Stallard
    July 30, 2018

    You list some sensible suggestions. What is getting very obvious is that the people actually in government are a county second eleven playing a test match.
    Far too many ministers, far to unwieldy a cabinet, far too much influence from the grey people in No 10. And far too much mistrust.
    It is like the end of Mr Major’s government – without Tony Blair.
    Nobody wants Mr Corbyn.
    And in a couple of months (October 11th to be precise), Mrs May’s ideas are going to be formally rejected by the EU and a hard Brexit will become inevitable – without any forward planning.
    And now it is holiday time and in September the expensive, exclusive party conferences.

    1. Roy Grainger
      July 30, 2018

      You think May didn’t clear that white paper in advance with the EU ? I doubt it. I bet they accept it with a few caveats (ie staying in the CU as an “interim” measure until technology is ready etc). I bet she’s also cleared her fishing and freedom of movement concessions too without troubling to tell the cabinet what they are.

  9. Nig l
    July 30, 2018

    Some sanity at last in public sector procurement. I see Amazon are going to provide/coordinate in Yorkshire and I hope that model is successful and can expand.

    Although there are no other providers with that capability, how soon before a European Commissioner looks to fine it for abuse of its position?

  10. Adam
    July 30, 2018

    Maintaining the EU’s procurement rules would fit if we stayed within it & other members similarly conformed to rules. Freedom to choose & do what is best for us shall be a refreshing return to normalcy as a nation.

  11. alan jutson
    July 30, 2018

    The simple fact of the matter is the population of the UK are not as patriotic as are the populations of many other countries, when it comes to purchasing home produced goods.

    The fact that foreign produced goods can also get a UK label, simply because they have been packaged here adds to the confusion.

    Perhaps we need to try a new style, “I’m backing Britain campaign”, and educate people that foreign made goods take away jobs from the UK, so if two products offer similar value, then it is better for all here, to purchase the home produced article.

    Purchasing foreign produced goods is like pouring more foreign aid abroad, although I would agree that is the better and more sensible way of using such money, rather than simply giving it away for nothing in return.

    1. fedupsoutherner
      July 30, 2018

      Alan, agree. There is no way I would buy a German or French car when I consider the way we are being treated over Brexit. Why are they being so obnoxious just because we want to be our own country again? It’s like it’s against the law to be a sovereign nation.

    2. Original Richard
      July 30, 2018

      I agree.

      In fact I have not bought any French agricultural products since 1990 when French farmers set fire to one truckload of live British sheep, killing 219 of them as well as poisoning, slitting throats and dousing others with insecticide.

      As recently as 2015 French farmers attacked and destroyed seven British lorry loads of fish which had in fact been caught by French trawlers and landed in Scotland before being shipped to France.

      I also would not buy today a German car after the massive diesel emissions cheating scandal.

  12. oldtimer
    July 30, 2018

    These are sensible ideas. Unfortunately the government includes some in places of influence who are not very sensible and who are too keen to remain under the tutelage of the EU. Until you have in place ministers who actually have better understanding and actual experience of how a free market economy works then I suspect your ideas will languish in some Cabinet office or Treasury pigeon hole.

  13. Turboterrier.
    July 30, 2018

    it should also be friendly to competitive UK based businesses.

    Spot on John. It cannot be outside the realms of common sense for the government to insist on all those companies, charities and public services that receive funding or assistance from the British Taxpayer for all their transport and major equipment purchases has to be sourced from only British manufacturer’s albeit the company may be foreign owned. United Kingdom First.

  14. hans christian ivers
    July 30, 2018


    The tax cuts in the us which are part of the reason the US economy grew by 4,1% last quarter, still need to generate more income for the US Treasury to lower the debt for the tax cuts.

    However, this further income still needs to be generated and proven, so your argument for tax cuts in the UK is not as plain sailing as you make it out to be.

    The government debt bought by the BoE is not as easily dealt with as you make it out to be either as it will have an influence on the value of the Pound if this is just written off. But I have explained this to you in the past as well

    1. Sir Joe Soap
      July 30, 2018

      Read your history books, Sir.
      It worked before under Reagan.
      It worked before under Thatcher.
      It will work again.

  15. Caterpillar
    July 30, 2018

    1. Clean Brexit.
    2. Remove London centricity
    3. Education and public transport need to be considered together. When the educated/skilled labour quantity is distributed over several towns without public transport (as parts of north) then it is not sufficiently attractive/reliable for business location, so the success to successful growth loop cannot set in. The education and transport levers need to be pulled outside of London, not within, and pulled smartly.

    1. hans christian ivers
      July 30, 2018


      large urban centres create more wealth then scattered urban centres in most developed economies

      1. Caterpillar
        July 31, 2018


        So? The scattered centres in the north have no means to escape being scattered, individually they cannot get over a ‘nucleation size’ to act like a large urban centre. This IS the point of linking smaller but educated/skilled centres so that firms can enter the region and have a (human) resource catchment to create more wealth.

  16. margaret
    July 30, 2018

    As always I like to put things in perspective and bringing these raging arguments to the reality we as ordinary people live in. Firstly we need to ensure that negative competition doesn’t wipe those with ideas and potential to be wiped out .This keeps production in the hands of the few . We can see how this works in ‘Dragon’s Den’, not that I want to discourage their organisations . Someone suggested a more uniform approach to growth . I am not sure that this would work . It could become sluggish without dynamism.
    Someone else said that Brexit would cost the country a lot of money. I was under the impression that no deal meant no bill. What happens after that is unknown and in the hands of the dynamic Vs the scare mongers.

    1. Anonymous
      July 30, 2018

      Scare mongers.

      Peter Mandelson calling for a three choice *people’s* referendum with two of those choices for Remain.

      1. Anonymous
        July 30, 2018

        And now “Extreme Brexiteers are racists”

        There was just Brexit. No *extreme*. This is a Remain concoction to marginalise mainstream opinion.

        I love it how Remainers keep telling me how I think:

        – I dislike foreigners
        – I didn’t know what I was voting for
        – I am angry about being misled
        – I want a second vote

        The poorly attended London march had an open invitation for disgruntled Leave voters as well. It should have had literally millions in attendance.

        etc ed

  17. L Jones
    July 30, 2018

    ”Can” meaning ”be able to”. Yes, it CAN, but WILL it? And when?

  18. Prigger
    July 30, 2018

    Jeremy Hunt ( someone’s Foreign Secretary ). People thought a previous comment about his getting mixed up about geography was an attempt at satire. Well he thinks Japan is China for real. He referenced as such in trade talks in CHINA. Worse actually.
    Someone go out there and help him home!

    1. hefner
      July 30, 2018

      Come on, the poor guy must have been jet-lagged when he didn’t remember his wife is Chinese not Japanese.
      More seriously “The Red Tape Cost of Brexit” by the Oliver Wyman Consultancy discusses what could be the initial impact of WTO tariffs and non-tariffs on both the UK companies (£27bn, 1.5% GVA) and EU27 companies (£31bn, 0.4% GVA). The Gross Value Added is directly linked to the (potential) impact on productivity. These figures denote a decrease in productivity for both the UK and the EU27.

      1. libertarian
        July 30, 2018


        and the report goes on to say

        The industry sectors which will shoulder around 70 percent of the costs are industries like financial services clustered in London in the UK and automotive production and manufacturing in Bavaria in Germany.

  19. GregH
    July 30, 2018

    The cry used to be the Manchester to Milan corridor but that was then..now we’ll just get used to the London SE to Northern Power House..so I don’t think we’ll have need for terribly fast rail. High Speed rail projects should be paused until we see how we get on

  20. David D
    July 30, 2018

    Government can only help in two ways. Cut tax and cut regulation- in short, go away.

  21. Denis Cooper
    July 30, 2018

    Off-topic, I have received the following reply from M&S customer services:

    “Hello Denis

    Many thanks for taking the time to email us. I’m sorry to hear you have concerns over the future quality of our food products after reading an article on Brexit.

    I would like to assure you that we always have and always will work very closely with our suppliers and supply chain to ensure our food is to the highest possible standard. The quality of our products is something we pride ourselves on and will always be paramount to M&S.

    Thanks again for your time, Denis.”

    I have forwarded this prompt and reassuring response to the M&S CEO Steve Rowe, with the suggestion that M&S should make a public statement dismissing the nonsensical fears that supermarkets will start importing rubbish after we leave the EU.

    We will obviously be buying our food just at M&S after we leave the EU, unless I receive similar reassurances from other retailers.

    Why it should fall to me to do this when DEFRA employs thousands of civil servants is a bit of a puzzle, so I will now seek an answer to that from Michael Gove.

    1. graham1946
      July 30, 2018

      Well done, Denis. Good job someone had the nous to do this and I hope you get similar replies from the others. How can this be published wider – any ideas? Don’t do social media so cannot help there, but maybe others here do.

      It surely should be clear to anyone that the supermarkets and wholesalers will do their best as they don’t want their profits damaged and I am sure they import the best they can, not because of EU regs. but because it makes business sense. They have their own standards quite apart from the law. It is a pity that Government doesn’t see fit to counter the stupid lies, but that only goes to prove to me that they are in it up to their necks and are determined to thwart Brexit. I see no evidence otherwise, nor do I see any MP’s making any effort in this direction.

    2. Original Richard
      July 30, 2018

      I have learned that there is one department of the civil service who are looking forward to Brexit.

      Those that work at DEFRA attempting to stop the importation of pest infested and diseased plants and trees are desperately wanting to be able to inspect consignments coming from the EU.

  22. mancunius
    July 30, 2018

    JR – You don’t address the obvious fact that any such reforms will be impossible under the quasi-remain plan presented to Brussels by May – and she will continue to sidle and wheedle her way towards a toxic Customs Union, Single Market, ECJ-supervised EU-Continuity.
    Outside the metro- and academia-bubbles, the country is boiling with rage.
    May is indifferent – she listens only to the civil service and the CBI.
    Dump her, now! She is doing exactly what Chamberlain and Halifax and the wealthy appeasing Tories were doing 80 years ago. Replace her with a stalwart and unshakeable leader who will carry out the manifesto commitments.

  23. Mike Wilson
    July 30, 2018

    Growth mainly happens thanks to free enterprise and the opportunities of the market.

    Not at all. Growth mainly happens because governments allow 300,000 extra people a year to move to this country. Bigger population = bigger GDP = ‘growth’. That’s why the Tories, since 2010, have done NOTHING to get immigration numbers down.

    If you think Brexit will have any affect at all on immigration numbers, you are in a state of serious self-delusion.

    Control our borders? Don’t make me laugh. The UK government already has plenty of tools at its disposal to limit immigration – it hasn’t used them by CHOICE.

    1. libertarian
      July 30, 2018

      Mike Wilson


  24. Chris
    July 30, 2018

    If the Chequers Plan means that we are to be under the jurisdiction of the ECJ (Moldovan strategy), then that will have implications for all aspects of UK governance including the economy. Lawyers for Britain are compiling a series on the Chequers Plan. This one on the ECJ factor (and the sophistry of the PM):

    Chequers White Paper Briefing No. 1: ECJ Jurisdiction
    On 7 July 2018, Martin Howe QC, chairman of Lawyers for Britain, published a widely read memorandum with an initial assessment of the Prime Minister’s Chequers plan, based on the 3-page press statement issued by the government on 6 July 2018. Following the publication of the White Paper on 12 July 2018, he and other legal colleagues are producing a series of in-depth briefings about different aspects of the Chequers plan. In the first of this series, Martin Howe QC deals with the future jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice under the Chequers plan.

    The Chequers White Paper does not end the jurisdiction of the ECJ in the UK
    The ECJ will have direct jurisdiction to bind the UK to make its law comply with the EU rulebook as interpreted by the ECJ via the Ukraine/Moldova/Georgia joint reference procedure. The ECJ will be able to make binding rulings which control the activities of UK businesses on British soil via its jurisdiction over the EU agencies to which the UK will submit under the Chequers plan.

    In the Prime Minister’s terminology, this amounts to ending its jurisdiction “in” the UK. This is sophistry at best….”

  25. Denis Cooper
    July 30, 2018

    Apparently a spokesman for Theresa May has now categorically stated that “there will be no second referendum in any circumstances”:


    But why should we believe a single word that she or her spokesman says, who can tell when her position is going to “evolve” further than it already has?

    1. mancunius
      July 30, 2018

      Given what has happened so far, I would take May’s assurance that there will be no second referendum as a guarantee that she will soon announce one.
      She out-Blairs Blair in her impudence and reckless disregard for the truth.

    2. George
      July 30, 2018

      Because it does not matter how we vote in another referendum the EU 27 will never agree to the change. A50 has been activated and that’s it..they have had enough

    3. Chris
      July 30, 2018

      The “truth” is what is expedient at the time, also a Tony Blair trait, in my view.

    4. forthurst
      July 30, 2018

      Denis, Theresa May is not a liar so there will not be another referendum on Brexit; that would not, of course, rule out a national consultation initiative to find out which form of Remain would be the most popular (least unpopular with the majority).

  26. getahead
    July 30, 2018

    “Going for faster growth – how the government can help.”
    The government can help by not keeping the country trapped in some form of EU-lite.

  27. GregH
    July 30, 2018

    Don’t see our PM too put out about faster growth and how she can help..at this critical juncture she’s taking the air in Switzerland..like all professionals do at this time of year, irrespective

    When we think about it she cannot lose, because deal or no deal, she will still win, carrying out the will of the people, it was only ever about leaving because we never voted on a deal or no deal, so no wonder she’s taking the air

    1. mancunius
      July 30, 2018

      So you’re not a professional then. We’d never have guessed.

  28. Dennis Zoff
    July 30, 2018

    Off topic John, if I may….

    What are you and your Brexit colleagues doing to negate and refute the latest preposterous “Project Fear version 2″ which is on the lips of many……is the Government deliberately manufacturing a National Emergency, again to try and unsettle the minds of the UK citizens, to pave the way for a crushing Brexit defeat and thereby initiating a second Referendum?

    Project Fear 2.0: It has been sinisterly suggested that the Government’s fifth column is promoting the possibility of a”Brexit no deal” Armageddon (again) with airplanes being grounded; the country forced to stockpile food; the Army deployed to remote areas; the NHS moved to “winter crisis” mode as medicines and insulin run out, etc….which would be classed as a ludicrous joke if it was not so serious! Is there no end to Remainer’s outrageous balderdash!

    Someone of your stature must speak out against such mendacious sophistry!

    Your thoughts, please?

    1. Dennis
      August 3, 2018


  29. anon
    July 30, 2018

    Leave the EU and start acting like a democracy!

    Encourage growth by ending direct negotiation and moving to WTO terms and facilitation of the WTO terms.

    -Increase the VAT limit and add a 10% flex provisions to exempt business from penalties for a transition period.
    – Bring in a Land Value Tax.
    – Reduce NI taxes so IR35 reduces as an issue and align Income Tax rates for small close companies with personal rates.
    – Allow small companies to build up a “capital reserve” pre tax.(if utilised for distributions to owners the relief can be recalled).
    -Abolish leasehold for residential property.
    -Regulate monopolies by actively supporting new entrants.
    – Remove the direct costs of going green on industry and fund it via QE. Especially enable technology for renewables, storage etc.
    – Direct incentives to scrap polluting or older vehicles.
    – Ensuring EU laws do not have to apply to non-EU trade.
    – Aid must be supplanted with Trade opportunities. Unless the goods/services are manufactured in the recipient country, they should be purchased in the UK.

  30. Max Taylor
    July 30, 2018

    I live in Bradford, West Yorkshire, grew up in Lancashire, was born in Manchester and I’ve lived in the Pearl River Delta for most of the last 20 years. The state of road and rail transport in the urban North coridoor is pretty dire. London also has poor roads I feel, but very nice public transport I think we should have in the North too, thank you; by comparison rail/bus in the North of England is mostly useless & there’s not much of it. If you re-apply the area covered by/and the intensity of the Greater London transport system of road and rail onto the Liverpool-Manchester-Leeds axis, you can see how poorly connected things are in the North. The M62 coridoor transport system has to be one of the most physically underdeveloped transport arteries in the world relative to its economic weight. To get from a major town/city in West Yorkshire to a town in Lancashire, which might only be 60 niles apart will most often take perhaps 1h30 to 2h30 driving and c. 2 hours and several connections by rail and/or bus, and require multiple tickets. Major urban centres only 10 to 20 miles apart are often uncommutable except by driving. Overall the degree of fragmentation in road and rail is amazing. I would abolish/reform the public-sector mass transport regions of Yorkshire Metro, Greater Manchester, Merseyside etc, and create one super north network (can be of seperate major services) with integrated ticketing like Oyster and full co-ordination of the services. The UK needs to learn from folks like Hong Kong MTR or the Japanese, and invite companies like Google and Uber to re-organize and re-plan things. UK business and gov’t is often arrogant and fails to learn from other countries. In all transport the private sector should innovate, finance and operate it (there’s no shortage of firms globally happy to come and do these things in the UK); and the role for government, if it’s needed, is only to provide subsidies/free-use for those that can’t afford to use it. The UK is a rich country with often developing country standards of transport infrastructure. Why is that?

  31. Denis Cooper
    July 31, 2018

    I am sad that I have not been allowed to offer my congratulations …

  32. Richard
    July 31, 2018

    Two interesting recent articles on HS2: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/07/28/hs2-over-budget-unpopular-unjustified-stop-pouring-billions/
    “In a new blow to the scheme, it was revealed last week that a document prepared for the Government in late 2016 warned that HS2 is “fundamentally flawed” and likely to overshoot its official budget by 20-60 per cent. The final cost could reach an astounding £90 billion.
    Disturbingly, it was also suggested that these damning conclusions were not disclosed to MPs before they voted on the scheme.”

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