More money for police and Councils

Yesterday the government presented it budgets for the police service and for local government for the 2019-20 financial year starting in April. The amount of money granted from central government goes up, as does the amount of money they are permitted to spend including local taxation. I was pleased that Wokingham Borough at last got some recognition that it has been receiving very low amounts per person for several years compared to most Councils, and has received some catch up money. West Berkshire too also got an above average increase, reflecting the low budget it has been given in recent years.

The questions to debate are how should this additional money be spent? How much extra should Councils and Police Commissioners raise from local taxation within the limits allowed? How can we be sure that extra cash committed buys us service improvements we want, and helps pay for the staff in these services to be empowered to work smarter and raise productivity?

Councils are gradually equipping themselves for the digital age. Residents are encouraged to pay their Council tax through regular bank transfers rather than through  a manual counter service in the Council offices or a postal based system with cheques. Benefits are being moved onto universal credit with scope to make it cheaper as well as easier to work out entitlement and  make the necessary payments. Much of government is about taking money off people in taxation and giving it back to people, sometimes the same, sometimes different people, in the form of benefits. This can gradually be more automated to make it more accurate and cheaper to administer.

Residents have three main experiences of their local Council. There is the tax bill, which they want the Council to keep under control, as it can be a large item in family budgets. The second is the refuse collection system, which every house has to use under the Council effective  monopoly.  People usually want regular weekly collections, and appreciate kerbside collection of recyclable materials as part of the service.  The third is the road system which everyone uses to get about. It is essential to get to work, school,  shops, leisure activities and social events. People want the roads to be well maintained, have sufficient capacity to avoid traffic jams and sensible designs to minimise accidents.

The education service is  very important to those with school age children, and social services can be vital for those in need of assistance with living in their own homes when disabled or elderly. Most of us are happy to help pay for good quality education and social care as part of our contribution to a decent society.

The issue before us is are we spending the right amount, and are these services delivered with the right degree of quality and with sensible cost awareness?

 

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156 Comments

  1. Dominic
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    A more useful analysis would be an article on the creeping politicisation of our public services, our police force, our legal system, our charity sector and a gamut of other publicly funded state institutions that are slowly and surely coming under the control of left of centre organisations allied to Common Purpose and Labour

    Public bodies packed with pro-Labour, pro-New Labour and pro-EU placemen and place-women

    I have no problem with paying taxes to finance the provision of essential public services but what we are witnessing and have been seeing for many years now is the infection of essential public service providers by a certain politics allied to the left

    And therefore essential services come under the control of politicised operators rather than under the control of apolitical providers concerned merely with the actual delivery of service

    The creeping politicisation of the police is a classic example. Police leaders taking decisions for political reasons rather than operational reasons designed to prevent crime. This is utterly unacceptable.

    The UK should NOT be a police state but a civil state but it is becoming a highly politicised environment in which many of our public service providers have fallen under the control of political operators

    Chief constables taking operational decisions to make a political point while turning a blind eye to criminality because it offends their liberal left principles

    The British state’s become infected by a culture that is highly political and we are expected to pay for it. I resent that deeply.

    This cancer of politicisation started under Blair. His cohorts with their liberal left sensitivities have a cut a swathe through our most treasured public institutions and now services are delivered with one eye on their political impact rather than one based on what is useful and purposeful

    Liberal left politicisation of our country will destroy the UK and the Tories have embraced it

    The British people are not political animals. They do not deserve to be treated as such. They do not deserve to be forced to pay taxes to a politicised state that treats with contempt

    And the Tories are complicit in the destruction of our civil nation and replaced it with a public service ethos that is highly political

    We are not political capital to be harvested. We are civil human beings

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    As you say much of government is about taking money off people in taxes. But you missed out that then they then waste about half of it and spend the rest on things most people did not really want or want in the form they are delivered. Much of it is spent to further regulate or inconvenience the productive.

    Indeed even the process of taking the tax off you wastes a lot of money. I pay about £300k PA in various UK taxes and about the same sums wasted in tax planning, complex structures and compliance to keep this figure down. This as we have one of the most complex, absurdly high and idiotic tax systems in the world. Thanks to Major, Clarke, Brown, Darling, Osborne and Hammond. Plus endless waste and countless overpaid and over pensioned people in the state sector doing little of any real value.

    Even just collecting the rubbish they have made a complete, virtue signalling, expensive and inconvenient mess of. The police in my experience do little or nothing about most crimes. They have largely given up on shoplifting, burglary, muggings and the likes. Though parking for an extra minute over time is clearly stamped on as is putting a tyre in an empty bus lane. Money in that you see.

  3. Mark B
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    The questions to debate are how should this additional money be spent?

    Well we all know were most of it will go first. Salaries.

    Much of government is about taking money off people in taxation, and giving it back to people, . . . (edit) . . . in the form of benefits.

    I other words, Socialism. I do not pay my taxes so that others can enjoy a comfortable lifestyle, I pay them for services.

    The issue before us is are we spending the right amount, and are these services delivered with the right degree of quality and with sensible cost awareness?

    It would cost money but, it would be an idea for central government to ask every household what they think of their council. It does not have to be done every year but it would be good to see. Perhaps link it to council employee wage scales so that if the council delivers a poor service this can be reflected in the remuneration of its employees. I mean, this is what happens in the private sector. If I do not deliver the right service then I do not get paid. Simple.

    • Hope
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      Well said.

      No mention of the broken promise of community charges or the 5.6 percent hike sat year plus add ons for adult social care and flood defence! JR, is your memory really that bad?

      JR deliberately omits the largest spend of council social adult care! May want some to tax you more and take your house off you under “nothing has changed”. JR does not mention it!

      Overseas aid could go a long way at home for U.K. priorities no need for the hike last year. The £100 billion bribe proposed by May to the EU to talk about trade without time limit- no transition, no implementation these lies from May can be dispensed with, could provide a lot of public service here rather than across EU countries. Similarly benefits sent across to EU children who never set foot here could be spent on children here. And university tuition fees for EU students should be stopped and treat them as international students!

      JR, I think you need to revise for very selective list and selective facts.

    • Adam
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      Mark B:

      Candidate councillors are likely to ask local folk what they want, & are expected to satisfy them or be rejected. Payment by results is an efficient incentive. Assisting the needy is our shared responsibility, but financing lazy people should not be at taxpayers’ expense.

      • Hope
        Posted February 6, 2019 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

        May was given a mandate by parliament to replace the backstop. She wrote she was battling for Britain and by today she meekly asks for changes! What an absolute liar. Even by her standards she did not keep her word for very long, no more than a week!

        Good to read Soubry siding with EU foreign leaders today rather than her countryman, what a traitor.

    • Merlin
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      It’s clear that councils need more money.

      I can’t see them being well-funded over the next ten years though. Demographic pressures mean rising costs for pensions and the N.H.S over the next ten years.

      I think any promises about austerity ending before 2030 are pie in the sky.

      • acorn
        Posted February 6, 2019 at 11:52 am | Permalink

        Local Government (LG) finances have been devastated since Osborne arrived in 2010. Hammond is maintaining the austerity. Here is another ONS chart that will probably fail moderation. Leavers can’t handle the truth.

        https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/grossdomesticproductgdp/timeseries/rpiv/ukea You can extrapolate the trend from 2010 value and see LG total resource should be circa £210 bn rather than £158 bn.

        Meanwhile, Central Government’s total resource suffered no such attrition.
        https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/grossdomesticproductgdp/timeseries/rpdm/ukea

      • Peter
        Posted February 6, 2019 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

        Why is council tax so low in Wandsworth and Westminster, but extremely high in some Outer London boroughs ?

        It is not because of highly efficient local administrations, rather government support to these councils has been rigged. This is grossly unfair and should have been addressed years ago.

      • JoolsB
        Posted February 6, 2019 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

        But only if you live in England of course. Funny how Hammond has found billions of extra money to give to the devolved Governments in the last two budgets on top of their already over generous block grant. Meanwhile, England’s services and social care in particular have been slashed to the bone.

        • Hope
          Posted February 7, 2019 at 8:58 am | Permalink

          and no parliament of its own to demand an increase for England and its taxpayers!

      • Steve
        Posted February 7, 2019 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

        Merlin

        “It’s clear that councils need more money”

        Not when they have a Chief Executive on £150,000+ pa, who does little more than appear in the local rag standing next to the Mayor, once, maybe twice a year.

        No moral case at all.

    • Peter
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      No more money for police. They are no longer fit for purpose. Time spent seeking out those who say unkind things while neglecting burglary robbery and allowing violent crime to flourish. Anarchy tyranny in the words of an American commentator:-

      “What we have in this country today, then, is both anarchy (the failure of the state to enforce the laws) and, at the same time, tyranny—the enforcement of laws by the state for oppressive purposes; the criminalization of the law-abiding and innocent through exorbitant taxation, bureaucratic regulation, the invasion of privacy, and the engineering of social institutions, such as the family and local schools; the imposition of thought control through “sensitivity training” and multiculturalist curricula, “hate crime” laws, gun-control laws that punish or disarm otherwise law-abiding citizens but have no impact on violent criminals who get guns illegally, and a vast labyrinth of other measures. In a word, anarcho-tyranny.”

      Money would be better spent by people on their own private policing measures. The fact that the top policeman is a tiny woman who would not have passed police height requirements when they were required. She is a Common Purpose graduate though. So is deemed fit for such a role despite major blunders in her earlier career.

      Councils cannot be trusted with roads either and parking is now a huge racket to generate extra council income.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 6, 2019 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

        Much truth in that. Ms Dick even had time and the manpower to consult her hate crime “experts” over Boris’s fair comment post box comments and then even to do a press conference on the issue. This while they cannot even bother to turn up to most crime scenes. To me she comes over as a cross between a police union representative and a dire PC lefty politician.

        • Steve
          Posted February 6, 2019 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

          Lifelogic

          Good points LL. Though for the life of me I can’t see how it can be a crime to hate something or someone. I hate the unions and the labour party, and political correctness. I also hate the EU, does that make me a criminal ?

          You can hate what you like, it’s no one else’s business.

      • forthurst
        Posted February 6, 2019 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

        I don’t know about blunders. Are you suggesting that someone carrying a bomb would be allowed to get onto a crowded tube before being executed? People died under strange circumstances when Bliar was PM: nothing to do with the Iraq war for the benefit of another country of course.

    • Pud
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      Regarding council salaries, my county council is planning to close many libraries on the grounds of cost. As part of my response to their consultation I pointed out that of the seven senior officials listed on their website four were paid more than the Prime Minister, one about the same and two less. I’d like to know how running one county deserves more pay than running the country (and I’d expect council salaries to decrease, not the PM’s to increase).

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      Many left wing politicians think that taxing the richer people and then using the money to (in effect) use the money as a bribe to obtain more votes of poorer people is just fine. Beyond a basic safety net, for those really unable to work, then most sensible people surely think it is just theft and corrupt politics. It destroys incentives, destroys jobs and damages the economy hugely. It harms the poor most of all in the end.

    • a-tracy
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      The other big cost MarkB is pensions, poor local council pension investment decisions i.e. in Iceland resulted in sinking posts a million pound top up that’ll do nicely, little people scrimping to pay the Council tax bill working till they’re 70 and more to pay for others comfortable retirements at 60 and some cases 57.

      • a-tracy
        Posted February 10, 2019 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

        Sinking pots that should say sorry. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/02/09/bosses-gamble-workers-pensions-will-end-behind-bars/
        Amber Rudd – does this include local government pension investor bosses that lost a small fortune putting their workers pensions in risky Iceland, they compounded things by using Council reserves and rate rises to cover up their incompetence- that’s our money they were using on their pet projects, there was no call back or benefits for rate payers. Don’t just go after private sector bosses or people might just start asking about cover ups.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

      Simply, the police are too politicised. It’s all about raising revenue, ticking boxes and sycophancy. Solving crimes comes a poor 4th, and then the crimes are those which are politically expedient, avoiding offending people from areas or groups which are statistically more likely to offend.
      Like a lot else here, it needs a different starting point before a cent more is spent.

  4. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    We have just heard that Shrewsbury council is considering charging for the disposal of garden waste. Fly tipping will increase. Even dumped garden waste doesn’t look nice in the wrong places. Council taxes are increasing but we are getting less for our money. Money is wasted on a vast scale as with most public services. It has to stop. We are being taxed out of existence.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      Wokingham and Reading already make this charge.

    • Andy
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      No you are not. You probably pay next to no tax. And, if you are retired, you almost certainly receive more from the state than you put in.

      • Anonymous
        Posted February 6, 2019 at 10:53 am | Permalink

        You pay tax on pensions and everything you spend it on.

        • Anonymous
          Posted February 6, 2019 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

          The level of state dependency that Andy mentions requires the pillaging of the person’s estate. So lots of tax is paid.

      • graham1946
        Posted February 6, 2019 at 10:55 am | Permalink

        What a plonker you are, Andy. If people pay next to no tax it is because they have next to no income. The UK pension is just about the lowest in the civilised world. As for receiving more from the state than pensioners pay in, you are of course overlooking the 40 odd years they have already paid in and taken out next to nothing.

        Business man? Pull the other one.

        • Stred
          Posted February 6, 2019 at 11:55 am | Permalink

          This year my wife and I have had to pay for 2019 in advance on top of 2018 tax on pension and investment. She works a 12 hour day and 6 and a half days and they made her pay self employed NI over 2k, although she pays NI PAYE. They cleaned out her savings. She wondered how people without savings manage to pay up front on earnings they haven’t made yet.

        • Andy
          Posted February 6, 2019 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

          Yes. You have paid in over 40 odd years. But you now take out more than you ever put in.

          Pensioners are a huge drain on the state. More than single mothers. More than asylum seekers. I appreciate this does not fit in with the narrative you have been programmed to believe. But it is true. When you understand that YOU are the problem when can move forward with solutions.

          Graham 1946 is, I guess, around 73 years old. Life expectancy when you were born was only 66 for men. It’s now nearly 80. You have not paid sufficient money into the pot to fund all these years of retirement. My generation is happy to bail you out – but start being a bit more grateful about it. Our generosity is not limitless.

          Oh – and I agree our state pensions in the UK is too low. So is maternity pay. Social care is too expensive. So is childcare. I would like the benefits to be higher and the costs to be lower. But then I don’t mind tax rises and you do. And, yes, me and my little family probably pay more tax than any of you. So we are prepared to put our money where our mouth is.

          • graham1946
            Posted February 7, 2019 at 10:50 am | Permalink

            Total rubbish, as usual from fact free Andy. Any actuary will tell you that what you say is complete tosh. Your hatred of the elderly is to be pitied – you must have had a very poor upbringing. Don’t attribute thoughts to me which you have no idea about. You know absolutely nothing about my financial position or what I did in 49 years of work, which includes being in business and employing people, unlike your fantasy firm.

        • James
          Posted February 6, 2019 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

          Well said Graham. Andy is entitled to his opinion, but does seem to consistently look only at one side of the argument and ignore the other.

      • Chris
        Posted February 6, 2019 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

        You have obviously not heard of indirect taxation, Andy?

      • Steve
        Posted February 6, 2019 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

        Andy

        “…if you are retired, you almost certainly receive more from the state than you put in.”

        Rubbish. If someone works all his / her life and on PAYE, then retires on state pension, they will die of old age before they get anywhere near recovering what they paid in.

        You have some kind of phobia concerning older people. I wonder what did it.
        Whatever it was I suspect you are highly embarrassed by the event.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted February 6, 2019 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

        Andy, I can’t believe how ignorant of everyday issues you are. Just because you are a pensioner doesn’t mean you don’t pay tax like everyone else. I pay tax on my shopping, fuel, electricity etc. My husband still runs a business and pays tax on his pension and his earning. Why don’t you engage what brain you have, even though it’s not much and think about what you are writing? John wouldn’t allow me to say what I would really like to about you but I’m sure many of us feel the same.

        • Andy
          Posted February 6, 2019 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

          You pay tax to pay for services – which you use. The NHS, roads, police, defence. You possibly have grandchildren at school. This is what you pay your taxes for.

          You still pay in less than you take out. However much you squeal.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 7, 2019 at 8:08 am | Permalink

            You describe progressive taxation.
            The richer you are the more you pay.
            Stop complaining Andy.

    • Posted February 6, 2019 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      North Hertfordshire introduced an additional charge to collect brown bins containing garden waste last year. They also increased council tax by over 5%.

      Council tax levels are already too high. Further above inflation increases are not sustainable.

      • Mark B
        Posted February 6, 2019 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        Those generous pension funds need to be maintained.

    • bigneil
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      Agreed – -but ALWAYS money to fund free houses, cash, NHS, translators and schooling for anyone from the back of a lorry, anyone who rows up from Calais to Dover – and inevitably, all their family members as well. A life ( and a good laugh ) at the UK taxpayer’s expense. All while £55m a day to the EU, billions in Foreign Aid and don’t forget the vitally important HS2.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted February 6, 2019 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

        Quite right BigNeil. Why doesn’t Andy go on about the youngsters who have goodness knows how many kids while not in a relationship and then get benefits and free housing? Who does he think pays for all that? We all do.

    • Hope
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      Already pay for garden waste here and fly tipping has increased. Council also charge for hard core waste.

      JR forgets the councils trying to charge for people parking at their work place!

    • Mark B
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

      My council already does. So I just burn it. But don’t worry the CO2 produced will be ingested by other plants.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

      That’s nothing.
      West Oxon charges for a plastic bag full of plaster hacked off a wall by the homeowner because it might be ‘trade waste’. However asbestos is taken free because they’re worried about the bad publicity surrounding fly tipped asbestos. But not plaster, evidently.

  5. agricola
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    UK police presence is a joke in comparison with what I see on the continent. Were I burgled the Guardia Civil would be there within five minutes. You might be considered lucky in the UK if the police turned up within five days and then only to give you an incident number for insurance purposes. Government has not given them the resourses to cover their range of responsibilities.

    I do not accept the inept way in which Universal Credit has been managed, to please itself rather than it’s customers. However when I see one complainant bemoaning her lot on TV this morning in a kitchen that would not disgrace a TV cooking programme any sympathy I might have goes out of the door.

    Councils across the UK are around 1/3 of a billion in rent arrears. I would suggest that they put their house in order before they clamour for more money. A commercial business would not last five minutes with such casual accounting.

  6. Dave Andrews
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Whenever the local elections come around, I see leaflets describing what the candidate wishes to do, which is all about how they will spend money. When it comes to saving money or promoting wealth creation, they are devoid of ideas.
    I come to the conclusion that councils are run with the objective of spending ever more and taxing more to pay for it.
    What do you suppose happens to a department where the manager is successful in making savings? Well it has its budget cut of course. No incentive there.

  7. Mike Wilson
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Council Tax is already FAR TOO HIGH. People on fixed, low incomes simply cannot afford ever increasing council tax. It DOUBLED under New Labour. If you allow 5% annual increases, it will double every FOURTEEN years. Stop doing it!

    For people who rely on the state pension for their income, these above inflation rises will drive them into poverty.

    Income tax.
    National Insurance.
    VAT
    Council Tax
    Duties on Petrol
    Car Tax
    Stamp Duty when you move home
    Parking Charges
    Tax on Savings Interest

    ENOUGH! We already pay enough tax. You need to start spending it better and stop wasting it!

    • JoolsB
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      Well said Mike. Council tax is the most punitive tax there is because it takes no account of someone’s ability to pay only the size of their house and as those of us in the real world know, politicians excluded, it is people that pay this tax not houses. No doubt this socialist government will steal Labour’s ideas eventually and find ever more ways to increase the council tax even further – taxes on land, taxes on views, taxes on conservatories etc.
      Love him or loathe him, at least Gideon had the good sense to freeze council tax in England when he was in office whilst one of the first acts of Comrade May was to put them up again to pay for the social care which has been so badly neglected under this Government.

    • Andy
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      Ironic you should mention pensions. Most of my taxes go to fund benefits for the elderly. More than HALF of my income taxes goes on pensions, social care (which is mainly for the elderly) and on the NHS (which, again, spends most of its money on the elderly).

      The solution is simple. Let’s make the elderly who have assets sell them to fund their own old age. Then the rest of us do not have to – and we can afford huge tax cuts. The items of expenditure you lot object to – international aid and EU membership for example – are negligible. Even if you axe them entirely your taxes will barely change. But the Tory right will never tell you that.

      • Merlin
        Posted February 6, 2019 at 10:55 am | Permalink

        It’s true that a lot of spending goes on pensions and the N.H.S.

        I think proposing the elderly pay for it is unlikely to be popular among the grey vote – and therefore politically toxic.

        Look what happened to May when she proposed amending the triple lock – another very difficult issue, as for the triple lock to remain, the retirement age will have to be raised to compensate.

        • libertarian
          Posted February 6, 2019 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

          Dear Mad Andy and Merlin

          The pensioners already paid for it in 50 years of tax and NI contributions. They’ve paid far more than you

          Meanwhile you too have not contributed sufficient to cover the costs of your healthcare, schooling and the raft of unnecessary public services that governments like to spend.

          The NHS spend nearly a third of its budget on wages

          By the way Andy ( i know you are the thickest person on this site) you might want to show us evidence of what half your tax is spent on, because the rest of us dont know because our contributions aren’t hypothecated

          • Andy
            Posted February 6, 2019 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

            HMRC helpfully prints it on the back of your annual tax statement.

            You get a nice little pie chart of where your taxes are spent.

            What percentage of it goes on each area of government spending – along with an amount in £s on each item. I can tell you precisely how much I contribute to all these things from my income tax.

            If you don’t get one of these statement from HMRC you obviously do not pay enough tax to qualify. Which proves my point.

            And I agree. You have paid into the system for decades. But, overall, you have almost certainly taken out more than you have ever put in.

      • MPC
        Posted February 6, 2019 at 10:56 am | Permalink

        When I dip into this site I rather enjoy your wind ups! Surprised in response to the assertion ‘Council tax is far too high’ you didn’t mention that for all its faults Council tax is a good proxy for wealth, is certain and is relatively cheap to collect – unlike other alternatives proposed in the past such as a poll tax, local income tax and local sales taxes.

        • libertarian
          Posted February 6, 2019 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

          MPC

          A good proxy for wealth? Really , you’re going to need to explain that with some evidence

      • Anonymous
        Posted February 6, 2019 at 10:57 am | Permalink

        A real force for unity, this EU thing, eh ???

        So what do you think of the president of the ALDE Party’s policies ?

      • Pud
        Posted February 6, 2019 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

        The state can either provide health care and fund it through taxation or it can chose to charge less tax and expect people to fund their own health care. Your suggestion of selling assets in old age is rightly reckoned to be unfair as under it the state still taxes but doesn’t provide the service so the tax-payer pays for it themselves.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted February 6, 2019 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

        If you work in the public sector Andy – which I guess you do – precisely none of your income tax goes on the benefits you mention. 100% of your income tax simply recycles into your own salary.

        • Andy
          Posted February 6, 2019 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

          I don’t work in the public sector. Me and my little family of 4 probably paid more income tax this year than you have in the last three decades combined.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted February 6, 2019 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

        Are you the only person that pays taxes? I’ve paid them for 48 moody years and now it is my turn to,AT LAST, receive insty or give – you want to take my pension away- LOW AS IT IS – because you don’t like paying tax! You, matey, can, as they say, do one!

      • John Hatfield
        Posted February 6, 2019 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

        Andy, “Most of my taxes go to fund benefits for the elderly.”
        As did ours when we were young, Andy. Life’s tough, eh?

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted February 6, 2019 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

        Andy, do you think it possible that you could start picking on unmarried young mothers instead of pensioners and feckless fathers who don’t pay to bring up their own children?

      • APL
        Posted February 7, 2019 at 7:49 am | Permalink

        Andy: “Most of my taxes go to fund benefits for the elderly. ”

        Of the Public Sector.

        Andy: “Let’s make the elderly who have assets sell them to fund their own old age.”

        The ‘elderly’, have been told all their lives that they are contributing to a pension fund. The fact that specifically in the Public Sector, that was a lie, or that their contributions were grossly inadequate to fund the cost of their projected pensions, is neither here nor there.

        Your point seems to be, pensioners have not made provision for their old age. Many did, many were lied to about the level of contribution necessary to make adequate provision, some, decided to ‘wing it’.

        But many pensioners with a pension, have already contributed to their pension.

        What provision are you, Andy, making to your own old age?

    • Bryan Harris
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      My sentiments too Mike

      Government is broken, and a quick fix will not do – We need a thorough re-engineering of the way our society operates.

      • Merlin
        Posted February 6, 2019 at 10:58 am | Permalink

        I don’t think government or the country is broken. I think it is very complex and has evolved over hundreds of years to meet the people’s needs. And tearing it down would leave us with … I’m not sure what, but nothing good.

        A clear parallel is universal credit. When you take something that looks overly-complicated or ‘stupid’ and simply put a sword through it, you may find out the reason why it is the way it is.

        • Bryan Harris
          Posted February 6, 2019 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

          Yes, and it’s all been made complex by governments of different shades of red… who had no clear idea where they were taking us…

          If you have a car that constantly breaks down, then you replace it, no matter how complicated the workings of the car are… In our society there isn’t one thing that stands up as working well, from justice to integrity, from banking to our excessive debt, and from treating our own folk, (soldiers and elderly), with decency – We do of course need to know what shape and colour our new car would be like though, and what trimming or extras would be required – but it does need trading in.

    • bigneil
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      A recent repeat of a tv program said 200,ooo of a certain group came from Europe when the gates were opened. I reckon they’re costing us over £20 million a year, while laughing their heads off. Some getting hundreds a week in various benefits for years and years. Me – -Born and bred here I worked 40+ yrs and when had to stop early through injury I got £21 a week for one year – -then was told I didn’t qualify for anything else.

      Oh – and you forgot that the tv license is going up soon.

    • Hope
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      Highest tax in fifty years under This Tory Govt.

      There is no need of community charge. Other countries do not have it. They have local sales tax. This country cannot or dare to do this because VAT is so high! Remember Osborne saying/lying no plans to increase it and then did exactly that a few weeks later! Tories cannot be trusted on anything they say particularly taxation. The record for taxation under the Tories is appalling. It took the lib dems to reduce the personal allowance and in turn reduce unemployment so it paid to work! The effing libmdems!

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted February 6, 2019 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

        Highest tax in fifty years under This Tory Govt.

        Not that I am disagreeing – but I would be interested to know what you base that statement on.

    • Stred
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      And finally, up to £20k probate tax if you managed to buy an overvalued house before mass migration made it ridiculously expensive.

  8. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    I understand why police and education spend comes out of central funding and why social care may be paid out of general taxation (national insurance).

    However all the other machinations of local government should come from local taxation. Why should funds be shunted around the country (without considering the unfair Barnett formula).

    Councils should raise their own funds wholly through council tax. That way they are accountable. If this was so there would be more pressure to reform council tax and introduce new banding.

    Lower income tax and raise local taxes. Council chief executives are extremely well paid, let them earn it.

    • Stred
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      The people starting the new party to replace Conservative and Labour welchers and Brinos are proposing that ridiculously high salaries for civil servants such as council officers, senior police, railway managers, vice chancellors and university managers, NHS managers and some charities and all the quangos should be regulated downward to a reasonable level about half to a third of the present rip off.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

      NIC Is just another tax as confirmed to me by our kind host on here. ie It does not go on the NHS or pensions.

  9. Dominic
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Why should the apolitical taxpayer be expected to finance the construction and operation of Labour’s liberal left client state that then delivers public services to achieve a political outcome?

    Why should I pay tax to be exposed to political decision making by public servants?

    The legal system, the police and the CPS for example have been infected and taken over by liberal left acolytes whose decision making is now based both on political considerations and on evidential considerations. That is not acceptable

    It is the Tory party’s responsibility to purge Labour’s client state not embrace Labour’s client state.

    It should be a Tory government’s responsibility to restore morality to public services and purge all political infection

    Every taxpayer funded state employee should be forced to sign an agreement that they act apolitically. Expressions of political allegiance to any group should be banned

    A state employee is employed to provide services to the end user in an impartial manner. They are not employed to indulge in political activity nor should they be aligned to any form of political party

    • Stred
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      Or decide to lead beyond authority of elected politicians.

  10. Dominic
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    The more the State takes from us the more powerful it becomes. A politician that calls for more state spending is in effect demanding that we, the people, hand-over ever more power to a State that’s becoming all too powerful. I find that state of affairs deeply concerning especially now that democracy’s under attack

    How do we respond to living in a political space? We have lost our civil culture and are now being turned into political capital

    • Andy
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      And, yet, you will undoubtedly be the first to complain if you can not see a doctor when you need one. Or if your children or grandchildren can not get into a decent school. Or if there are not enough police to investigate crime. Or if elderly relatives can not get the social care they need.

      People on this site, mistaken, think these are things only other people need. At sole stage you will find yourself needing one or more of them too. And, when you do, you can be thankful that the vast majority in this country want to protect these sorts of services from the rampant attacks of the hard right. Remember Mr Mogg won’t ever need state funded social care. He can afford staff. You probably can’t.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted February 6, 2019 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

        Some children where I live can’t get into a decent school because recently arrived Polish children live closer to it. That’s not an issue of money.

      • Posted February 6, 2019 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

        Too much strain on services perhaps, Andy? Now, why ever would that be? Nothing to do with too high a population as a result of too many newcomers, then, Andy? Or is that idea too ”hard right” for you?

      • John Hatfield
        Posted February 6, 2019 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

        “And, yet, you will undoubtedly be the first to complain if you can not see a doctor when you need one.”
        No, that will be you, Andy.

    • Hope
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      Well said. JR, fails to mention 20,000 police officers cut under his govt. two attrocities and still no secure borders. In fact the watchdog said in no stretch of the imagination are our borders secure! All under Rudd who was put back in govt! Who wants to vote with a minority of Labour MP rather than govt!

  11. libertarian
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    This shouldn’t be anywhere near Central Government . Local services taxes should be raised, managed and spent locally

    The services provided by local government should be ring fenced and be focused on providing basic services . All other “entrepreneurial” projects should be stopped and taxes reduced

    • a-tracy
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      Yes but only if an area is balanced properly with banded housing, otherwise impoverished Labour areas with low Council tax receipts and lots of social needs spiral down because posh Borough’s get all the big houses, the big rates, the big shops paying your new higher local taxes (that draw in people from the impoverished shopping centres because their local shops are so poor and down and down that area spirals.)

  12. JoolsB
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    The tax take is far too high in this country. I am thinking in particular of young graduates leaving university with meaningful degrees who in a few years time are lucky enough to land themselves a well paid job. They could be paying the top rate of tax at 45p plus NI at 12p plus 9p student debt plus interest. A whopping 66p in every pound to the Government before they even think about trying to get their feet on an ever increasingly difficult housing ladder. Add to that exorbitant council tax rates and all the other taxes imposed on them by this socialist Government, what incentive do they have to stay and work in this country and pay the taxes that this Government loves to squander?

    • a-tracy
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      JoolsB I agree, even from £18,330 pa plan 1 English graduates are paying 46.8% you forgot a NEST contribution 5%. Tax 20%, NI 12.8%, SL 9%, NEST 5%

  13. Bryan Harris
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    So the unasked question is; What are the priorities for spending this money?
    Police: More police patrolling areas on foot, and concentrate on identifying burglars and troublemakers. Wrap accidents up quicker.
    Councils: Do something about road congestion, and provide a lot more free parking spaces.
    The rumour on the streets is that taxes are due to rise to an extortionate level. We are already over-taxed, and more taxes are not going to make this government more palatable.
    It is time this government did something concrete to improve the lives of the average person … but all I see on the horizon is more aggravation and little hope for the future.

  14. oldwulf
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    People in power should prove their competence before they assume responsibility for collecting and spending our money.

    For example, a few weeks ago, my local authority announced that it was on target to reach £1bn of borrowings. I believe ths equates to £4k for every man, woman and child. At the time, the leader of the council said that he was not concerned. He has recently announced his retirement as leader.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

      On a very generous pension no doubt ? Funded by YOU !!

  15. Ian wragg
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    So May is going to push for a 10 years max for the Backstop.
    She desperately wants us under the EU jurisdiction for ever. When is she going to be removed.
    A Corbyn government is preferable to her in charge.

    • graham1946
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      If Corbyn gets in, we can get rid in 5 years or less. With May’s plans, we will be in the EU forever and probably bankrupt in another 10 years, especially if they bring in other bust countries for us to support.

      We must not forget, the Tories are the natural party of the EU, taking us in on a lie, inventing the single market, Maastricht Treaty without a vote (although its enforcer seems to like referenda now), allowing our veto to disappear and finally appointing an arch Remainer to ‘get us out’ which she won’t.

      The Tories can’t be trusted full stop, on this, taxation or anything else. The only time they don’t lie is when they say nothing.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      It is shocking that she will even consider meeting with EU representatives given how considered the likes of Mr Tusk are. I did want a soft / no border in Ireland, but now I am starting to desire a very hard border with the EU – it is not a friendly neighbour.

    • James
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

      A Marxist government is not preferable to a May government. However, Brexit is the most important thing that has faced us in two generations, and Mrs May has shown that she is unquestionably the wrong person to lead the case. She appears to suffer from the fundamental handicap that she doesn’t believe in it. That being the case she should have the decency to resign and hand the job over to someone who does believe in it, and who will tell his or her counterparts in Brussels what we are doing – not ask them what we should do.

  16. The PrangWizard
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    I removed some old rotten trellis from my garden recently which I took to the tip only to find I could not leave it unless I paid a charge. I refused and took it back home to burn it. Even garden soil is charged for. Fly tipping is on the increase and costing lots of money to deal with, and it is often the case that private individuals or groups have to pay to remove the waste from their land. The Councils refuse to acknowledge that the two issues are related. Naturally they are not at all concerned when conveniently for them they don’t have to pay to clear up a lot of the mess and in such circumstances are never going to admit a connection.

    It is also the case that the Council has been wanting to close the tip for years – what better than to make it difficult for people to use and then close it for ‘lack of demand’, another brilliant cost saving! If they do there will be a round trip of more than twenty miles to the next nearest and then, guess what? It’s not rocket science.

  17. Mr Ison
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Taxee!

    Aye, paying the customer for a service you provide…is it recognised in legal terms?

    I dunno, reparations?

  18. Adam
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Police Commissioners are elected to satisfy local needs cost efficiently, guided by voter priorities. Govt duplication in charging tax & paying benefits to the same people generates worthless transactions, needless work, complication & wasted expense. Roads malfunction owing to wear & congestion. Overuse & waste are reduced in part by internet communications, & siting traffic attractors in better locations. Perhaps later much of domestic packaging waste may be dissolved & released via sewage routes, or burnt as fuel instead of collecting for decanting.

  19. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, the lead letter in the Telegraph today runs as follows:

    “I would like to make an obvious point about the Irish border issue.

    The border is a problem for the EU, which wishes to protect its internal market, while keeping Ireland – a member state – happy. The United Kingdom is very relaxed about goods coming in this way from Ireland. Brussels has cleverly made the problem ours by saying we have to come up with a solution before we can get a trade deal.

    The only way we can go forward is to leave with no deal. It will then be apparent that the dilemma is between Ireland and the EU. We really mean it when we say that we won’t instigate a hard border. They don’t.”

    That analysis should not really be anything new for Theresa May, given that it was offered to her through the medium of her local newspaper last April:

    https://www.maidenhead-advertiser.co.uk/news/letters-to-the-editor/130695/irish-border-a-problem-for-the-eu-not-the-uk.html

    “Irish border a problem for the EU not the UK”

    One of an increasingly tedious succession of letters published in that journal over the past twelve months, starting in February with:

    https://www.maidenhead-advertiser.co.uk/news/letters-to-the-editor/128146/easy-solution-to-eu-border-conundrum.html

    “Easy solution to EU border conundrum”

    And both of those letters pointed out that this problem is primarily a matter of UK law, not of technology which may or may not exist, or of precedents elsewhere in the world which may or may not exist:

    “After all, the previous need for checks was removed when the Single European Act came into force, which was only possible because the UK Parliament had passed the European Communities (Amendment) Act 1986 to approve that treaty.

    If the existing UK law provides a sufficient guarantee to the Irish and EU authorities that there is no need to check imports from the UK at the border, as it does, then there is no reason why a new UK law could not also provide such a guarantee.”

    “However the problem will be for them, not for us as they like to pretend; in principle we could just tell them we will do nothing to restrict the present free flow of goods coming in from the Republic, and it is entirely up to them to decide what they want to do on their side of the border.

    On the other hand we could decide to overlook their unreasonable attitude and helpfully offer to enact and enforce new UK laws to prevent any goods which the EU would find unacceptable being exported across the border into the EU, and if they were prepared to trust us on that it might at least ease their near-paranoid concern about the integrity of their precious Single Market.”

    So why has Theresa May wasted more than a year ignoring the logical solution to this problem, whereby a new UK law would apply just to the goods exported to the EU, and most importantly to the goods carried across the Irish land border?

    Because she doesn’t want that logical solution, instead she wants to placate the likes of the CBI with a totally illogical solution which keeps all the goods in the UK under EU control, including all the goods in her own Maidenhead constituency which will never go anywhere near the Irish border to trigger EU paranoia.

    Oh, and the author of today’s Telegraph letter was not exactly right on one point, because as Jacob Rees-Mogg pointed out, page 4 here:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/27051801.pdf

    Theresa May gratuitously agreed with the EU that this is our problem not theirs.

  20. Mr Ison
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    From the other side it equates to accepting a payment from a service provider,could be endorsement or bribery but if i make an enforceable law which guarantees the service provider pays me then i’ve effectively alienated the electorate and signed up to the EU’s political integration strategy of subversion.

    Or merely seen it for the contemptible proposition it is.

  21. Everhopeful
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Already we get no services.
    Why pay even more for more nothing?
    Police Station closed.
    Council Offices just a “Customer Care Line.”
    Local councillors totally disinterested until election time.
    We have to sort our own rubbish …which anyway is the result of overpackaging which no one asked for.
    And most importantly…as others on here have said, council tax money goes to pay for left wing policies …which a “ Conservative” government should have put a stop to.

  22. Bob
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    “Wokingham Borough at last got some recognition that it has been receiving very low amounts per person for several years compared to most Councils, and has received some catch up money.”

    First a Knighthood and now this? Don’t let them buy you off Mr Redwood, stand firm.

  23. Ronald Olden
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    This is all a waste of time and yet more money.

    The levels of waste, duplication and inefficiency in local authorities, the police, the NHS etc etc, and the amounts of money they spend unnecessarily (and even to negative effect), is astronomic.

    They’re like rest homes for people who can’t, or won’t get proper jobs.

    The idea that councillors and national politicians, most of whom who have no experience of running anything, can run operations which are as, or more complex and demanding than most commercial businesses, is ludicrous.

    Running things like this would be a big challenge for the most able, saintly and dedicated person in a commercial environment. For someone with no commercial management experience or who’s elected in elections in which the employees in the services have votes is impossible.

    The first thing to do is to get rid of local authority direct provision and contracting altogether, and set up dedicated centrally funded regional providers for specific services with the bosses paid BY RESULTS.

    Councillors and politicians at all levels can then question the bosses and if they’re no good, sack them WITHOUT redundancy payments and hire someone else.

    It might also be an idea to get rid of public sector pensions altogether and leave employees to put their money and their employers’ contribution (if any) into money purchase schemes.

  24. Iain Moore
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    The Spectator reports on a 74 year old woman who was hassled by the police for something she said on Twitter regarding the Trans lobby, and here in Wiltshire the council is having a month long celebration of LGBT when they claim to not having enough money to clear our roads. I think we know where the extra money will go.

  25. Posted February 6, 2019 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Provide proper PUBLIC recycling facilities in the form of depots (as part of the tips) where people can take their recyclable items (as in Canada). Everyone then is directly repaid the deposit that is initially charged on EVERY returnable item.
    This does away with the need for the transport to collect every household’s recycling, fewer ugly plastic wheelie bins (and their carbon footprint, whatever that is), less casually disposed-of plastic bottles (they’re worth something). People there tend to take their own recycling to the depot as part of their every day trips in town.
    Charities will collect recyclable items ‘donated’ by a householder, for those who can’t or don’t want to dispose of their own.
    Then the collection of waste can be concentrated upon, that which people can’t dispose of themselves, and the money saved on transport collecting recycling used for waste collection.
    Money well spent, I think.

    • a-tracy
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      I thought the actual cost of collecting waste from each average band C/D house was actually quite low and a low % of the overall budget.

  26. Mr Ison
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    I have experience of this, the spiriting away of the means of production with collusion by Common Purpose, the Conservative party of the UK, the EU, the Communist in Malta.

    Vulgar for sure but more than this there are prominent EU firsters still suggesting people are better off in work, i know i was, it still bothers me.

    I look at the Mayists and their glee about finally imposing poverty on all Britons who are not something in their cult and it makes me sad.

  27. Sakara Gold
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Foxy is stirring it again. I see that he now proposes to scrap all tariffs on goods imported into the UK. This will have the effect of destroying those remaining UK manufacturing industries that would be damaged by cheap imports from non-EU countries.

    The pottery industry would suffer from cheap, poor quality dinner services, the cutlery industry (likewise) what remains of the UK car parts industry, pharmaceuticals etc would all be damaged should this proposal be enacted

    Having totally failed to close any post-Brexit trade deals whatsoever, having destroyed the ability of the armed forces to defend us when Minister of Defence, having cost the party its majority at the last election (he made a speech at Conference in 2017 before the election, proposing to scrap the pensioners triple-lock – widely believed to have cost us 20 marginal seats) he now proposes to destroy jobs and profitable companies in the Black Country.

    Regardless of his impeccable right-wing views, it is time that Liam Fox found something else to do before he does any more damage to our country. Maybe he could do a refresher course and go back to practicing medicine, though I personally would not want him treating me.

    • Stred
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      We need to keep farming and expand salad production like the Dutch, with a lower tariff than present but enough to keep Spanish stuff out, where it is grown in polytunnels using badly paid migrants.

    • mancunius
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      Sakkara, High tariffs are no more useful than high taxes. Scrapping all import tariffs is exactly what we need to do. Once outside the EU we can directly support home-grown agri-and other industries in need of shoring up against the tide of Asian competition.

      • mancunius
        Posted February 6, 2019 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

        And btw such a move also incentivises our global import markets to cut their import tariffs against us.

  28. Geoff Homer
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Since the post of Police Commissioner was introduced in my area we have added a Deputy Commissioner, a Chief Executive and a staff of 16. All to do what the Chief Constable did for however many years. Crime has increased by a large percentage particularly on farms and new building works and yet from approx. 8pm to 8am 7 days each week there is no Police cover for 30 miles.

    • sm
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      I agree – I have never understand the point or value of Police Commissioners, nor indeed of Mayors of major conurbations such as London and Manchester.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      Since the post of Police Commissioner was introduced in my area we have added a Deputy Commissioner, a Chief Executive and a staff of 16.

      Yeah, but look at all the well paid jobs that got created! Every cloud.

  29. Mr Ison
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    You’d think it the resposibility of the Home Office to protect the British Isles from domestic cults inspired by and subordinate to a foreign power structure, a bit of push back against May, Rudd and now wee Enoch but it’d be a mirage as they are so in league as to foist preposterous returner agreements on parliament to be secured through threats and bribes.

    Aye, the right of return is not the brainchild of the electorate.

  30. Christine
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    I think we should be looking at where the money is currently being spent. I don’t think we get value for money. The annual council tax for my property in Spain is the same as one month’s here in the UK. Everything this Government does is to increase taxes under the pretence of protecting the public e.g. sugar tax, airport tax, share dividend tax, draconian parking rules, speeding fines, stamp duty it just goes on and on. Meanwhile services are cut, our roads are full of pot holes, vulnerable children are sacrificed on the altar of political correctness. Getting rid of Police Commissioners and Mayors would be a start and capping the excessive pay of council chief executives. Just look how their pay has increased in the last 20 years. People are getting angry.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      People are getting angry.

      Nah. We Brits never get angry. We adopt the position and take it. Look at Brexit. We told them to leave the EU and they simply WON’T do as instructed.

  31. piglet
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Your topic of local government has understandably inflamed the much wider issues of taxation and the relationship between people and the State. At the end of the 70s it was the power of the trades unions that needed to be addressed; now it is the power of the State. The State should act in deference to the people and exercise its powers with caution and responsibility. Today, those in government see themselves as our rulers rather than as our servants, and this is infecting and undermining our entire democratic system. Where are the Keith Josephs, Norman Tebbits, Cecil Parkinsons of today? Those people used their powers to stand up for the individual viz-a-viz the State. Indeed, I believe Mrs Thatcher’s governments even had a Policy Unit tasked with, amongst other things, finding ways of assuring and enhancing the rights of the individual over the State … it had some good people in it.

    Unfortunately, today’s Conservative Party is infested with Liberals and has become a social democratic party, only slightly to the right of Labour. John, your articles are “go-to” reading for me every morning, and eagerly anticipated; sadly there are few others in your party I hold in such regard.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

      The State is heavily unionised. That is where they all went once the private sector got the powers to deal with them. What we now need to do is privatise the State Sector as much as possible and turn it into a proper market were the customer is king. We will then get the services we need for the price we want.

  32. Iain Gill
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    We could save a lot of money by giving education funds directly to parents or schools and cut out the large wasteful education authority overhead in the middle.

    We could save a lot of money on planning, by for instance agreement to a portfolio of standard house designs nationally which local planning are not permitted to meddle with. Building regulations enforcement should be handed over to a national body, with proper impartiality rules, and a proper complaints mechanism when they get it wrong.

    Speed camera partnerships should be disbanded, hand over to the police, again so that proper impartiality and complaints procedures exist.

    Don’t just hand money over without reform.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      by for instance agreement to a portfolio of standard house designs nationally which local planning are not permitted to meddle with

      Errr, NO THANKS. We already have virtually standard house designs from all the big builders. Tiny rooms, tiny gardens, bugger all for your money. No innovation. No imagination. No flair. Nothing to make you think ‘ah, a modern house – instead of a version of a hundred year old design’. Down with identikit brick houses. Up with timber / glass / steel / contemporary houses.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted February 6, 2019 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

        I sympathize but the changes made by local planning depts are often ridiculous and make the houses far harder to maintain.

        The standard of new build design and quality yes you are correct but local planning don’t help.

        I’d rather copy cheap New Zealand houses, painted breeze block walls inside, no plasterboard anywhere. Far more resistant to children etc.

  33. Original Richard
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Mrs. May should ask each local government to put in proposals for how they would spend the £500 per person which becomes available when we exit with “no-deal” and hence do not pay the EU’s £39bn withdrawal fee.

  34. Pete Else
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    I’m interested to see how you describe government. “Much of government is about taking money off people in taxation and giving it back to people, sometimes the same, sometimes different people, in the form of benefits.”
    With a couple of minor changes that is the definition of organised crime. It also manages to be a description of theft. This really isn’t surprising to anybody that understands what government really is but it is interesting that you can describe criminal acts and not even be aware that you have done so.

  35. KZB
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    In Lancashire we have towns being systematically destroyed by the councils. The more money they have the more damage they can inflict. It’s like they’ve been given a brief to finish off what was left of the local economy.

  36. ian
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Back to the poll tax, per person instead of per house, it should be per person and by income from A to H and start at age 25, that when a person is entitled to full housing benefit or be A for anybody under 25.
    As more people come into the country, quite a few are living 8 or more in one property in some areas and causing over pollution which leads to poor services, this needs to be addressed by moving to per person according to income and uniform across the country so that richer councils can give to poorer councils with money left over pooled.

  37. They Work for Us?
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    The clue is in the term “Local Government “ which is how they see themselves rather than as providers of services like waste collection, road mending, public libraries, parks and gardens etc etc. There should be an over riding responsibility to promote easy traffic flow, cheap parking to promote trade in/ near city centres etc etc.
    There should be no freedom to operate outside this service envelope. Eastleigh for example has “Tackling Climate Change” on many of its street signs, what nonsense, but we are captives to paying for any virtue signalling “Initiative” that a local authority inflicts on us.
    We are living in a quasi Socialist state with little ability to do anything about it except pay up and accept. Police Commissioners, Mayors and their supporting staff should be abolished and the work like much of “Management “ be done incidentally carried out by those that did it before.

  38. Martin
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    George Greenwood in The Times yesterday reported that Wrexham Council had paid PWC £2.1m to advise it on saving money. The consultancy identified savings of £6.4m.
    Surely the council’s own staff should have been able to budget and identify savings?

  39. Chris
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    How much money have Councils had to expend just to fulfil Directives from Brussels (via Westminster) with all the accompanying mindnumbing and timewasting bureaucracy?

  40. N Murphy
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    To what extent is policing in the UK driven by an ‘operations analysis’ effort similar to that undertaken by the Allies in WW2? Such an approach might ensure that extra money is deployed in the right manner to get on top of the shocking explosion in knife crime.

  41. Andy
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Mr Tusk thinks there will be a special place in hell for the Brexiteers who sold Brexit withit a plan.

    I agree with him. There will be a special place in prison too.

    • Edward2
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

      Brexiteers have been able to implement their plan.
      It’s been hijacked by people who think like you andy

      • Edward2
        Posted February 7, 2019 at 5:44 am | Permalink

        Should say…have not been able to implement their plan.

    • Stred
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 6:27 am | Permalink

      Brexiteers had a plan, produced by Davis and almost agreed by Tusk. There is another similar one on Con Home today. It will be ignored. May cancelled it and send her pro EU Robbins to produce a Brino, tieing us in forever. Tusk thought they had it sewn up. Now she can’t get it through parliament and he is narked. They haven’t told him that Selmayer and Robbins have complete reversal and punishment lined up.

    • Adam
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      Donald Tusk Polish is the EU mirror
      He should reflect on the L-word
      In English, polish is smooth buffing
      and Tusk is bLuffing
      Germans read hell as bright
      Exitears are laughing with joy

      Brexit shines right & bright for 29 March
      Noel: Just freedom in Independence

  42. Mr Ison
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    I’m back from cycling and i turn on the TV but it’s still EU propaganda, but this is Great Britain so i’d look into making arrests.

    Conspiring to blackmail is not journalism or news reporting, it is an active role in securing an advantage for undemocratic foreign institutions.

    Clearly they are not the police or councils.

  43. Chris
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    How much money is wasted by apparently vindictive Councils taking honest businesses to Court and pursuing appeals? I refer to a recent ruling by the High Court that in my view put one part of Wokingham Council to shame.. What great misery, financial loss and uncertainty the Council, through its apparently wrongful pursuit, caused over a period of years to said business owner(s), and why were they allowed to expend so much taxpayers’ money during this process? It would appear that they have become too powerful with no adequate checks on them with regard to wasting taxpayer money

  44. margaret howard
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    “The softly-spoken politician who holds the authority of all EU countries has just completely condemned a chunk of the British cabinet, wondering aloud: “What that special place in hell looks like for those who promoted Brexit, without even a sketch of a plan how to carry it out safely”.

    And so say all of us.

    • Edward2
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

      Do you not see he is an unelected politician previously rejected by his own people.
      Yet you still feel he has a legitimate right to abuse over 17 million voters.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 5:29 am | Permalink

      The only part of that I disagree with is the bit where he blames BREXITIERS when, as we all know, it is a Remain government and Civil Service that is responsible for this cockup.

  45. Mick
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1083306/BBC-news-donald-tusk-Brexit-hell-comment-BBC-Laura-Kuenssberg
    Who the hell do these tin pot dictators think they are talking to some backwards thinking country, I’ve got news for you short tongue tusk along with your buddy Varadkar the British people and not the remoaner mps will only be pushed so far before we fight back, there’s only one hell and that’s the Eu

  46. Mr Ison
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    I can not hear and have not seen any evidence that a small clique of people in the process of suborning Great Britain to the whims of continental europeans have not created a paper trail of crimes.

    The dog that did not bark in the night…

    Cui Bono?

  47. agricola
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    First create your utopian society on paper then cost it. Eliminate all those features which dilute the self reliance of mankind and turn it into a dependency culture. Make sure that all those who are physicaly and mentally capable take responsibility for the lives of their families and themselves.
    You might then find that looking after the really needy and running properly funded health and internal/external security is financially acceptable to the taxpayer. It will upset those who pray at the altar of the EU, HS2, the Dome, Overseas Aid and other ill thought out vanity projects, but what the hell , we might just about afford such things as care for some of the elderly for whom we have a moral responsibility.

  48. Mr Ison
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    You’d think wee Enoch would assist parliament in comprehending the nature of the criminality that MI5 are paid to explore and thwart, nothing, no credible excuses even.

    I’ll give them a hint, Olly Robbins wants MP’s to vote his impunity into law, the price is rather steep, too steep perhaps?

  49. Bank
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    My Council and its ALMO or whatever is inspecting using a contractor all its social housing electrically. It has rewired many houses twice in a three year period through various boxes of money from government, uninsulated then reinsulated, updated gas appliances twice or three times without need nor desire, asks repeatedly for a third upgrade to tenants in the past 3-15 years, replaces whole kitchen suites twice in three years, a tenant I spoke with told me and I saw both ” They asked me, so I said yes” , “modernising” unnecessarily other stuff and much much more ongoing. Do send them more money!Do!!!!!
    The C-tax is going to rise to the maximum permissible this years and precepts as always. Give the guy at the top another knighthood.What IS government thinking?????

  50. GregH
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    You’ve gotta hand it to that Tusk- he knows just what to say to send the ERG into a huddle

  51. mancunius
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    I have just checked the tax-free allowances of my local councillors.
    The ‘Leader’ gets £44,736, nine others get £36,253, one gets £33,944, four get £27, 775, four more get £26, 231, seven get £26, 231 (one of those for being ‘Leader of the Second Opposition Group’).
    Travel and other exes are separately awarded on top of that.
    So nine councillors are getting the equivalent of a taxable salary of £60,000 – additionally to whatever remuneration they obtain for their daily employment or business.

    In justifiably seeking to cut the appalling wastage in council spending, I suggest we start there. Make all council ‘allowances’ taxable, and perfromance related.

    • Chris
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

      Several years ago there was a list compiled of local government salaries (no names, but categories of jobs, and pay bands). Probably still available on the internet. An eye opener.

  52. fredH
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    So about funding the councils and police, why agonise? just take it out of the 39 Billion

  53. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Donald Tusk’s assertion earlier today that there is a special place in hell for Brexiteers is correct. It is called the European Union!

  54. Mr Ison
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    Not saving Olly Robbins means Great Britain is not the cash cow it has been.

  55. Cliff. Wokingham
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    I suppose that “More money for police and councils” reads better than ” People to pay even more tax.”

    To answer President Tusk’s question about the special place in hell for Brexiters and what it would be like I would suggest it would rather look like remaining in the EU.

  56. Mr Ison
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    It is quite frightening to witness to what extent the Conservative are willing to destroy their own country to involuntarily botch the saving of their leaders face.

  57. acorn
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    Would I be taking the piss on this site; if, at 19:00 hrs GMT, I referred to Chris Rea’s 1989 album “The Road to Hell”. I don’t know if it is on EU Council President Donald Tusk’s favourites list. Today, my continental number crunching group, are berating me; they never imagined they would be witnessing the UK’s global template for “democratic government” to be proved a fallacy that, when really tested, fell apart.

    • Mitchel
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      Give me Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” anytime!

  58. Dominic
    Posted February 6, 2019 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    How long do we have to tolerate Juncker and his sidekicks expressing their hatred for the British people day after day after day?

    Now we have the Irish government displaying their contempt for our democratic decision to leave the authoritarian EU

    Get rid of May NOW
    Get us out of the EU NOW

    We are now growing tired of being openly ridiculed by the EU’s political elite

    And the Irish government. What can we say about the Irish government? What a shame it is that all decent Irish people have to live in a country ruled over by such political detritus

    It is now surely time to stop pandering to May and her whims. We want her gone and we want our country back

    • Chris
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

      May is now not going to allow vote on her deal until 4 weeks before the date we are supposed to leave. An extension of Article 50 would accompany this, it is reported in the Press online tonight. What catastrophic damage Theresa May has wrought on this country and no one seems willing or able to stop her.

    • nothappy
      Posted February 6, 2019 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

      Dominic..in a few more weeks the EU will kick us out and that was Tusks message today.. Veradkar is only the collateral in all of this so no point in having a go at him.

      Lately I have been looking back at the promises spin and lies made by of our own Ukip and Tory leading lights over the past couple of years and it makes for some interesting reading..

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      The time has come to remove the strange anomaly allowing UK resident Irish citizens to vote in our elections.

  59. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted February 8, 2019 at 1:30 am | Permalink

    It seems that expenditure on the police, on education and on defence has been cut by more than is healthy. On the other hand, expenditure on the NHS is great and is about to increase by a major amount, to 38% of all public expenditure. A few blogs ago, I proposed the introduction of modest charges in the NHS in order to introduce some form of demand management. No reaction?

  • About John Redwood


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

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