How much extra public spending is appropriate for the UK?

There is a change in approach to public spending with the new Prime Minister wanting to tackle areas in the NHS, education and security where more money is needed to recruit more people, improve facilities and ease pressures on budgets. It will be welcome to see more cash for schools suffering from low per capita budgets currently, and to see better facilities and more capacity in the NHS. I have been seeking both these for my local area.

It is important that as the extra  money is released it is made clear how it will be spent to  boost service quality and provision. Ministers will need to be firm about how the money is spent. It is best to ask first what extra personnel and facilities are  needed and why, before then asking  how much they will cost, and considering authorising them.

All of this extra spending needs to fit  into a state budget plan with suitable limits on borrowing.  The extra spend can come from savings elsewhere, from more tax revenue from economic growth, or from more borrowing. There is plenty of scope to boost the  growth rate as discussed here before by tax cuts and a more appropriate money policy.

There is also plenty of scope to cut out wasteful and undesirable spending elsewhere, as I will discuss in more detail tomorrow. Ending all payments to the EU from 1 November provides substantial opportunity to spend more and tax less.

State borrowing at a little over 1% of GDP today could rise to 2% given the world slowdown and the lack of inflationary pressures in much of the advanced global economy.

All this points to the opportunity for a decent boost to core public services and some enterprise and job promoting tax cuts soon. My original Brexit bonus budget did not spend much more than the savings on  the EU contributions.,

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208 Comments

  1. Mark B
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 5:13 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    Most of the money will be absorbed in higher wages for staff. What public services need is both reform and competition. Let us choose where to spend our money.

    When public services like the BBC actually have to face and ask the consumer for money, rather than a politician, they might be more humble .

    I was speaking to an ex-nurse of more than 30 years recently. I asked her, if she was put in charge of the NHS what would she change ? Her answers were illuminating. There is therefore enormous scope for reform and more money is akin to papering over the cracks.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 7:02 am | Permalink

      When public services like the BBC, the NHS, schools, LEA etc. actually have to face and ask the consumer for money, rather than a politician then they might provide what the customer wants and needs for a change. Freedom and choice with a safety net for the few who really need it only. Education vouchers is the way to go.

      • Hope
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 9:01 am | Permalink

        None, until our taxes are reduced severely to normal levels and the public sector overhauled to provide value for money including the very wasteful NHS.

        Council tax is the largest waste of money going while your govt is trying to separate out costs. Disgusting wasters. About time a minister truly had the brief and grip on each department. Why do we need ONS and OBR as well as Treasury? Scrap left wing quangos they provide no value like the Adertising standards Agency or NHS England.

        Most decision makers could ruthlessly sort this out in a week.

        • cornishstu
          Posted August 7, 2019 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

          Indeed, down here in Cornwall we have the council giving away millions here and there to what amounts to private enterprise but cannot keep public toilets open. They also can find money for schemes no one wants, so there is plenty of money sloshing around it just needs to be spent responsibly in the right places. I think that we the tax payer should have the right to veto such projects both at national and local level. What can be ring-fenced can be un ring fenced.

      • bigneil
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 9:51 am | Permalink

        The BBC should be renamed the Anti-British Broadcasting Co, it is so biased in favour of the EU. Funded by threat of jail for producing nothing. School funding cuts. Council services cuts etc. . . .but . . .ALWAYS cash to fund the free lives of the never ending queue of smiling new arrivals. The end result is blatantly obvious – glad i’ll not be here to see it.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 7, 2019 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

          Just a point, bigneil. Do you think that any prisoners at all should be permitted to vote?

          No?

          So that includes people who are in prison for non-payment of the BBC licence fee then?

          • Lifelogic
            Posted August 8, 2019 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

            I think prisoners should be allowed to vote it does no harm and might get the mp to visit the local prison and learn something.

    • tim
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      THE NHS DOES NOT NEED MORE MONEY IT NEEDS LESS MANAGERS.
      There are more managers getting £200,000 PLUS, for doing NOTHING! A colleage (the secretary) was asked by the 4 managers she served How can we save money? she wanted to say, by getting rid of you 4, you do nothing but travel to courses, working parties, and claim your expenses, free cars, the list is endless. She runs the department as they are never there. But if she said that they would fire her and get some one else. So she decided to buy cheaper materials.

      • NickC
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

        Tim, Exactly. I know of very similar goings on in the NHS management – endless meetings, coffee, free laptops, absences for useless courses, etc, where the secretary ran the department because the boss was never there.

        • Hope
          Posted August 7, 2019 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

          A lot of the public sector now work from home! Not very productive all very casual without any scrutiny. Choosing to work what hours they like when like etc. Council workers epitomise the overpaid under worked ethos of the public sector.

          • Iain Gill
            Posted August 7, 2019 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

            You should see network rail hq functions, lots of people supposedly working from home, few contactable or producing anything. Makes local government look efficient.

      • JoolsB
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

        Exactly – my nephew is high up in NHS Management and is constantly on holiday. He is on a three figure salary and pays only half a percent towards his pension which in return will be gold plated when he retires. Since he and his wife had a baby last year, he now ‘works’ from home 2 days a week to save on nursery fees and when he has to go into the office is home by 5. Whereas my son after having spent 6 years studying medicine at Cambridge not only has a huge debt hanging over him but started on a salary of less than £30,000 for working all the hours God sends. No wonder there is a shortage of Doctors but no shortage of Managers in the NHS.

      • forthurst
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

        The NHS has always been a disaster waiting to happen. Go to e.g. Germany where they have a properly functioning healthcare system and examine how it works e.g. how a teaching hospital in Berlin is run; look at how the doctors are trained and selected and remunerated and same with the nursing staff. Look at how the service is funded. Then start to restructure towards something which is known to work. Do the Germans employ civil servants to compile door-stoppers to entertain dorks sitting in an office with nothing else to do? Doubtful. Get rid of the drones and then start spending money where it is genuinely needed. Warning: it may be necessary to re-introduce grammar schools.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted August 8, 2019 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

          Did may not promise more Grammar schools another fail to deliver.

    • Simeon
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      Again, very sensible Mark B.

      Sir John,

      In essence, your plan is to increase the amount of money spent by the government, with the implication that government knows best how to spend this money.

      I understand that your approach is predicated on lower taxes, and I certainly have sympathy for the view that a lower percentage of taxes can lead to higher revenues of tax as wealth increases. But the government, except in very specific areas (certainly national defence, probably order – though not necessarily law), is never the best purchaser of services. Bitter experience, not just in this country but even elsewhere where public services are less bad, amply demonstrates this.

      The problem is that far too many people are either oblivious to the problem of government spending and power, or are indifferent to, or even happy, with the present state of affairs. And of course, there are two other groups that are naturally delighted with colossal state spending and power, and they are the politicians and the civil service.

      The minority of people that are appalled by this arrangement are of course stuck with the consequences – mitigated to varying degrees by personal wealth, but nonetheless profoundly affected because the economy as a whole is horribly skewed by massive state interference. We are stuck because, being a minority in a democracy, we are therefore oppressed by the majority – or even by a larger minority, or a minority better equipped to influence state power. This is neither justice nor freedom.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

        Government defence spending is done very badly. The mod is full of the wrong people in the wrong job, kept there on the old boys network, and getting paid for having every Friday off.

        • Simeon
          Posted August 9, 2019 at 8:57 am | Permalink

          I agree. What I meant was that the state is the only practical provider of national defence. It is best-placed to provide national defence. It really ought to do this better. Having a clear idea of what its objectives should be would help.

    • jerry
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      @Mark B; I have also spoken to many current and ex NHS staff, including a couple of ex ward sisters, one went on to set up a private nursing home and made her fortune (but I digress…), the one thing she made sure she did though, like most private health care companies, was to pay all her staff well above NHS levels, doing so she had little of the staffing problems she had faced daily whilst in the NHS.

      But what of the other changes, many would like to see the end of a fragmented NHS, in other words the very changes made in the last 40 years, and people like you still demand. If you want Value For Money then you will get better VFM if the service is run as not-for-profit, as the NHS is…

      • a-tracy
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 10:36 am | Permalink

        jerry, I agree about paying the best-qualified nurses very well. Out of interest your private nursing sector friend did she pay the same NHS pension guaranteed return for minimum staff contribution of what? Did she pay them all full sick pay and the same terms on holidays that NHS staff have? All the private nurses I know don’t have the NHS pension, they take the extra money now in return for defined contribution pensions and I think this is something new nursing staff could be offered a higher pay with nest pension and an insurance policy on sick pay. Too many bank nurses are also used in the NHS instead of full-time staff often working 3 days per week for enormous hourly rates 12.5 hour shifts in order to work less days per week (they are too long a shift and these nurses are often constanly complaining they are exhausted and when I say well do 7.5 or 8 hours they respond no I only want to do three days).

        There are people that profit very nicely out of the current (not-for-profit) NHS that are not clinical staff from Managers etc. with all sorts of extra holidays, perks and benefits you wouldn’t get for the extra pay in the private sector.

    • Enrico
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      It would be very interesting to know what the ex nurse of 30 years suggested to help and streamline the NHS.

      • Mark B
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

        One was conceding IT. Apparently various local NHS Computer Systems do not talk to each other. This creates waste as their has to be duplication when a nurse or a patient moves areas.

        • cornishstu
          Posted August 7, 2019 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

          I believe this has already been attempted at great cost in the past though they were trying get the different software used to talk to each other instead of having everyone use the same software. Another example of waste!

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      Four-out-of-five people would choose to spend their money with a democratically-accountable, single supplier of energy, water, and other utilities, than with the present hotchpotch of exploitative, timewasting privateers that we currently have. However, they are denied that option.

      So much for “the will of the people” then?

      Why is it so essential, that the apparent will of about one-in-four of them be rammed through irrespective of any change in that wish, in that case?

      • NickC
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        Martin, What are your sources for your claim “Four-out-of-five people . . .”. Can you explain how I democratically controlled the NCB in the 1970s? It seemed to me then that the coal unions undemocratically controlled me.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 7, 2019 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

          Yes, there have been various polls, and it absolutely depends on the question asked. If you ask “would you prefer a not-for-profit, democratically accountable, single supplier for your energy?”, then you can get over ninety percent saying yes. If you ask “do you think that electricity and gas should be renationalised?”, then you get a lower figure, but still a majority.

          You could elect politicians depending on their policies, including those on coal. If people weren’t interested enough to inform themselves as to what they were, then that was no one’s fault but their own, Nick.

          But you divert from my main point, which is why is the so-called will of the people – however divided and confused – of paramount importance on one issue, but not on so many others?

          • NickC
            Posted August 8, 2019 at 9:39 am | Permalink

            Martin, According to YouGov the figure in favour of renationalisation of power companies is 53%. But polls are notoriously unreliable indicators. Unlike an actual national referendum.

            As for the NCB, Heath even went to the public with the slogan of who controls the country. The answer was not him, but the point that it was the unions which controlled the NCB (and Labour), not the demos, was well made (Heath got more votes than Wilson).

            The reason that the will of the people matters in all elections and referendums is axiomatic for a democratic country. The problem in general elections is that the will of the people is often not clear on specific issues.

            Referendums are single issue binary questions, so provide clarity. It is not a matter of “importance”, it’s a matter of clarity. Under the rules set by Parliament, Leave won by getting 1.2m more votes than Remain. That’s clear.

            Reply The poll should also ask how much extra tax would they like to pay in order yo buy up these utilities for the taxpayer?

      • Edward2
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

        You really think a State monopoly will give you a customer focussed nd good value quality service?
        Economic history suggests you are wrong.

    • Richard
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      State inefficiency arises because: “The same individuals who tend to be gullible as voters are typically savvy as customers. When let down by a business, they readily take their money elsewhere… Because customers hold them accountable, entrepreneurs also do a much better job than politicians at alleviating scarcity through efficient, value-creating production.” https://capx.co/free-everything-and-the-first-law-of-politics/

      As I referenced: http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2018/08/09/tax-rises-do-economic-and-political-damage/#comment-953485 “The welfare-maximising share of government spending in GDP is probably in the range 26.5–32.5% of national income.” The reason why higher % public spending makes us worse off? The Andrew Lilico article there cites eg ECB & IFS studies evidencing that higher % public spending and taxation is associated with slower growth.

  2. Peter Wood
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 5:17 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    I fear you are counting your chickens….. We hear there are plans to leave on WTO terms being advanced, but no details, we know there will be further payments to the EU that are our legal obligations – but no details of how much, we know there will be adjustments needed to our import and export arrangements but no details or costings. This is why project fear keeps the public scared of Brexit. And worse, we hear of plans to disrupt leaving on the 31st October by the Remainers of all colours in the House.
    Perhaps more attention on resolving the issues and informing the MSM and us voters before claiming success

    • jerry
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 6:54 am | Permalink

      @Peter Woods; “we know there will be further payments to the EU that are our legal obligations”

      We know no such thing, (international) legal opinion is at best mixed.

      “we know there will be adjustments needed to our import and export arrangements but no details or costings.”

      Nonsense, if companies do not know then they are sticking their heads in a bucket of sand, anyone who imports/exports to a non EU single market destination knows both details and (likely) costs, for example using TIR customs carnets.

      “we hear of plans to disrupt leaving on the 31st October by the Remainers of all colours in the House.”

      Unless the govt is defeated by a motion of NC I suspect there is little that can be done, statute law (which can only be amended by the Govt) says we leave at 23:00hrs 31st Oct.

    • Simeon
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      Au contraire Peter! There is a plan for a WTO exit. It probably has a codename – Operation Trash-the-constitution perhaps. It might be a ridiculous and/or dangerous plan, but it is at least a plan.

      The failure by the leader and bulk of the Conservative party to respect and therefore implement the result of the referendum was/is an outrage. But it is a political outrage, with a well-established means of recourse available to the people, namely the ballot box.

      The outrage suggested by yesterday’s Times (a Remainer zine no doubt, but this was sufficiently straight reporting) is constitutional. I can’t imagine that BJ would actually ignore a vote of no confidence and call a GE after 31.10, and invite all manner of horrors as a result. Even if he did, I do not think this would then amount to Brexit. Legally we would be out, but not politically. It is easy to imagine that the UK government-in-waiting and the EU would agree to an extension in principle that would cover the period between our technical exit and our actual exit, or our remaining. It would inevitably be messy in all kinds of ways, but what will not happen is an accidental exit of this kind.

      For better or worse at this particular moment in history, the UK is a parliamentary democracy. Given the nature of the present Parliament, the two ways of delivering a WTO Brexit are a GE or a referendum. Yes, the present Parliament won’t deliver what it really should, and this is an outrage. But there are perfectly sensible provisions already in place to tackle MPs refusal to implement the will of the people.

      Sir John, it would be interesting to hear your views on the British constitution and in particular its direct relevance to the current political situation.

    • James!
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      If on 1 November we do not experience the dire over the cliff chaos and catastrophe that many Remainers appear to be predicting, are they going to be pleased or disappointed?

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 9:27 am | Permalink

        Well, that would mean that the UK had continued access to European Union ports, roads, airspace, fisheries, and to a market which has given its business four hundred billion pounds a years for some time.

        In other words, it would mean that a sensible agreement had been reached with an implementation period. So yes, as a resolutely pro-European Union Englishman I’d be delighted.

        • NickC
          Posted August 7, 2019 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

          Martin, It’s not “given”, it’s not profit, and it’s not £400bn. The Pink book current account for 2017 (2018 will be out shortly) shows UK sales in the EU were c£250bn after the Rotterdam effect, not your invented £400bn.

          Our fisheries were stolen by the EEC (EU) in 1972, so the EU has benefited from our fisheries not us. After getting all your trade claims wrong you can’t even say why we should continue to be ruled by your EU empire.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 7, 2019 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

            Well, I’m relying on Full Fact, whose report related to revenues not just from sales in the European Union, but also from enhanced cash flows at home from inward investment from the EU, from services rendered here to EU customers, from British companies operating in the EU, e.g. UK farmers who bought Polish land, and so on. That gave the figure I quoted, but that report is now some years old, so likely on the conservative side.

            It was the UK government which sold off the fishing quotas to non-UK operators, not the European Union. And our fleet presently has access to non-UK EU waters.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 7, 2019 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

            That’s a very partial view of the UK fishing industry Martin.
            Given the very poor deal and the very low level of quotas only large fleets could survive.
            Smaller companies were left with one option.
            To sell up and get out of the industry.

          • NickC
            Posted August 8, 2019 at 10:30 am | Permalink

            Martin, The ownership of foreign assets is always subject to the laws of the country of residence. So “access” is not an issue after Brexit any more than before it. Relying on any sort of “fact” “checker” rather than going to the original sources is asking for trouble, not least because of their unspoken assumptions and biases.

            As for fishing you have simply misunderstood the central point. After 1972 the EU (EEC) under the CFP controls the quotas (Total Allowable Catch – TAC) that each country is allowed to have. Why should the EU have that power? Foreign ownership of UK TACs is largely a myth. Most of the UK’s TACs are owned by a few UK businesses and rich families. Nearly 60% of fish by tonnage from the UK (notional) EEZ are caught by foreign vessels.

        • Robert mcdonald
          Posted August 7, 2019 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

          This is the same market that gives business less than the other market, the world market does, at c500 billion a year. The other market that is expected to provided 90% of future world trade demand. I don’t need to comment about the lack of reference to how our fisheries and agriculture have been decimated by the eu protectionist policies.

      • bigneil
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 9:57 am | Permalink

        James! . . . Whatever they feel – -it will be the Leavers fault.

      • The Prangwizard
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

        Whatever happens, even the most minor inconvience, the BBC, Sky and the rest will portray it as a disaster, and anything worse will cause hysteria among them.

    • Ian!
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      Under EU Laws and Rules

      Trading under WTO is the default a fallback position in the absence of any other trading arrangement. For everyone.

      Article 50. Clearly says the EU shall conclude an agreement with the leaving state, taking into account the future relationship.

      That’s the law the EU broke on day 1 when the future relationship was excluded.

      That of course is the problem the EU doesn’t honour its own laws and the ECJ is a politically controlled court, not an independent one, so the EU cant be challenged!

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 10:57 am | Permalink

        Ian, all civil law includes an implied clause “as far as reasonably possible”.

        If there were to be an international hearing as to which side had behaved reasonably, the European Union, or May with her absurd “red lines”, then which side do you think would win?

        As far as I can see, the European Union did no more than to remind May etc. of its obligations under the Lisbon Treaty, and as signatory to the Good Friday Agreement, and has been consistent ever since.

        It is the UK which has constantly shifted the goalposts, and behaved as if it wasn’t told anything that the European Union has aways said.

        I think that it would lose, therefore.

        • Edward2
          Posted August 7, 2019 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

          You are wrong.
          Not all civil law has that implied clause.
          So the rest of your post is based on a false premise.

        • NickC
          Posted August 8, 2019 at 10:40 am | Permalink

          Martin, You think EU apparatchiks gloating that the EU had finally made the UK a “colony” is reasonable?

          And you have simply used the well known debating trick of inventing a bigger daddy with a bigger stick to back up your feeble opinions – “an international hearing”, indeed! Headed by Back of the queue Obama, no doubt.

      • Know-Dice
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

        Ian!,

        That’s all correct although I would suggest that the EU doesn’t make “laws” as it’s not a country, just thinks it is….

    • Mark
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      Clearly we will pay for our final month of membership as usual by the end of the month following. We will then be expecting the EU to refund our rebate for our final 12 months of membership a year in arrears as normal, won’t we?

      After that, there are no further payment obligations unless we agree them.

  3. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 5:18 am | Permalink

    Are you including letting doctors off additional tax on pension contributions over the tax free allowance within your additional spending plans.

    Why are public sector pensions now “more equal than others”* – fat cat pensions are surely still fat cat pensions whether they are public sector (which tend to be more generous and are underwritten by the taxpayer) or private sector.

    Shocking them and us scenario. Just scrap the threshold and put it back to £250K

    *I have no skin in this game other than principle

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      I second you Narrow Shoulders, no skin in this either but I can’t stand unequal treatment that is not appreciated by the worker in the public sector as a benefit that other’s just can’t obtain.

      “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

    • acorn
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      Worth having a read of https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/nationalaccounts/uksectoraccounts/articles/pensionsinthenationalaccountsafullerpictureoftheuksfundedandunfundedpensionobligations/2010to2015 It is the a very good summary of UK pensions; funded; unfunded; government and non-government.

      “The 2015 total included £5.3 trillion of pension entitlements (279% of gross domestic product (GDP)) that were the responsibility of central and local government.”

      Don’t panic! The UK Treasury is never going to run out of Pounds Sterling to pay government sector unfunded Pound Sterling pensions. At the rate our austeritised “66 million boiling frogs” economy is going, the non-government, funded, pension schemes; will all end up in one of the DWP’s pension Quangos; particularly the Pension Protection Fund.

      BTW. The IFS has published https://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/14303 about the 1% to 0.1% of the world’s richest, that are currently nesting in London and paying minimal tax for the privilege. Courtesy of a neoliberal Conservative Party government’s tax regime. Sadly, the IFS still hasn’t worked out where the magic money tree lives, (it’s in the National Loans Fund office).

  4. Iain Gill
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 5:19 am | Permalink

    I would rather the money was given directly to patients who are being most let down by the NHS.

    I am happy to endorse a state backed medical insurance scheme where we all pay in via tax, and we get out according to need, but the state owned providers of care, and unaccountable CCG’s have had their day.

    We need to learn from the best of the rest of the world, the conservatives continuing to hype the NHS brand is a massive mistake.

    Same with schools, parents should have far more power and the state far less. The education authorities are out of control and a complete disgrace.

    Cummings and Boris are wrong on this stuff.

    • Richard1
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      There is no public support for such a policy and it’s inconceivable there would be a majority in Parliament for it.

      • Simeon
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 8:18 am | Permalink

        There is no public support because the case for alternative health care arrangements has not been made with either energy or intelligence. Also, there are many people with an irrational attachment to the idea of the NHS that is akin to religious fervour. From where we are now there is no easy way forward, but perhaps some kind of opt out is in order. It would be a logistical nightmare to implement and administer, and maybe a more gradual move towards this kind of destination is necessary. But absolutely the wrong answer is splurging even more taxpayers money into a black hole, whether this is accompanied by promises of reform or not.

        Reform may well be one of the most overrated ideas anyway. The Reformation wasn’t actually that. Rather, the Church split. Is reforming the NHS even practically possible, or is it just a politically convenient notion to justify ever more funding?

        • Iain Gill
          Posted August 7, 2019 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

          At least half the population have serious reservations about the NHS, many with first hand experience of crap service. The only force for improvement and ongoing optimisation that will work is empowered consumers. Top down state control, delegated to little communist dictatorships in CCG’s and trusts will never produce success.
          Funds should be rationed in an “insurance policy” document, and not when you need treatment by some random unaccountable rationing decision, or simply “resource constrained” by capacity.
          New Zealand, Australia, Belgium etc all do healthcare a lot better than the UK, and at least 40 % of the population already think that. That those people have no politicians prepared to voice their views is ridiculous.
          Change could be sold to the population by simply saying emperor has no clothes, the NHS is not good enough, and we are going to copy from the best of the rest of the world (and not allow politicians to tinker with what we copy).
          If we do keep the NHS “brand” then it needs radical change to hand most of the power to patients and away from the state in all its forms.

          • Simeon
            Posted August 7, 2019 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

            The NHS as is, is, as you say, not good ebony, and, again, as you say, many countries have systems that have better outcomes at lower prices, and are also far less politicised. Where indeed are the brave politicians?

  5. Dominic
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    You sound like a Labour politician. I find that depressing. Spending more does not equal better service provision. You appear to think it does. A typical politician’s response

    The public sector is one of Labour’s political and strategic assets and you intend to strengthen their hand by providing it with more funding. That’s incomprehensible

    Look at the NHS. It’s an employer first and a medical service provider second when it should be the other way around. That unionised, pro-employee culture damages the patient and turns the organisation into a political asset for the left and the unions. And John wants to finance their position even more

    What’s perverse is the Tories know Labour owns the public sector and still they accept that situation. Why?

    Reform is the only way to force change and the Tories haven’t the conviction to do it.

    • NickC
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      Dominic, I am generally more supportive of JR than you. Nevertheless this time I think you have a point. I was rather disappointed at JR’s tone today. The state sector is riddled with inefficiencies that are crying out to be found and eliminated. This is nothing to do with private vs public provision – that is a separate issue.

      I have always found that the people actually doing the job have a far better notion of what is wrong and right about what they do – they should be listened to. They don’t always get it right, because they may not get the bigger picture. The problem is the Minister has to get his hands dirty, work hard, be supported by the PM, and have the time to implement it. That’s a big ask.

  6. Bob Dixon
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    None of this will happen unless Boris and Nigel get together. It is quite clear to me that May and Brandon Lewis made sure that the recent bye election was lost. A General Election is coming soon so this Brexiteer needs the comfort that the Brexit voters have a working majority in the next parliament.

  7. Ian Wragg
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    We don’t need extra spending just ‘re prioritising what we already spend.
    The first casualty should be foreign aid and stupid HS2.
    We are already at the highest tax level ever.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      Ian, the UK spends about 0.7% of GDP on aid, but ten times that, 7% of GDP – it could be more, it’s almost incalculable – on home-grown crime and on its effects. It is at twice the average, pro-rata rate across the European Union as a whole.

      So, if the UK crime rate could be reduced to the European Union average, then it would save a huge five times what it spends on overseas aid.

      To be tough on crime and on its causes is more than a moral obligation, it is of paramount economic concern.

      That should be any decent government’s priority therefore.

      • NickC
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

        Martin, Rubbish. According to Eurostat the EU28 spend on average 1.7% of EU GDP on public order (police, fire, courts, etc), and the UK spends c1.8% of UK GDP – all 2017 figures. Far less than you claim. Where do you get your fake stats from?

        The foreign aid given by the UK is excessive, and is mostly either wasted or counter-productive, as shown by international studies from P T Bauer to Dambisa Moyo (“Dead Aid”). DfID should be scrapped and a small amount of the money given to the FCO and the armed services to help in natural and medical disasters. The rest is better spent here.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 7, 2019 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

          Cabinet office papers. That figure does not include the damage to property, costs to businesses, health costs in treating injuries and damage from illegal drugs use, nor the cost of corrupt or fraudulent deals in the private and in the public sector – think Grenfell – nor other concatenated expense.

          We spend a billion quid a year just on clearing up Brexit Party voters’ dog muck for goodness sake. (Joking about the voters bit).

          • Edward2
            Posted August 7, 2019 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

            Complete nonsense.
            Comparing what we spend on policing with what we spend on overseas aid in percentage terms is ridiculous.
            What connection is there?
            Two completely different areas with no connection.

          • NickC
            Posted August 8, 2019 at 10:53 am | Permalink

            Martin, You’re hand waving about your stats. Again. I could add the costs of the FCO, most of the MoD, foreign residents benefits, foreign criminals, and the EU itself, to prove that we spend far more on foreigners than on “home-grown crime”.

    • Enrico
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      Ian Wragg,never truer words spoken.The NHS should never be a political pawn.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 9:19 am | Permalink

        Enrico, in countries with proper, written constitutions, such as France, health provision may be implicitly covered by the rights guaranteed in them. So may be education, etc.

        So that means that they are largely taken out of the arena as cynical party political playthings, and they are not subject to endless election-gimmick reorganisations and “efficiency” measures.

        The outcomes of those two mentioned are often notably better in such countries than in the UK, unsurprisingly.

        • Edward2
          Posted August 7, 2019 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

          In France health provision is partly privatised being covered by insurance.
          You all OK with that Martin?

          • ian wragg
            Posted August 7, 2019 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

            I think it’s Martin in Brussels.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 7, 2019 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

            I have no problem with that at all. The question is what is the legal framework within which the system operates? It must follow the pillars of the Constitution, and so that lifts it out of the party political arena to a large extent, giving it stability, which is essential to those working in it.

            Our NHS is intentially on its knees from endless doctrinaire change-for-change’s sake on the other hand.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 7, 2019 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

            So you either have health care on a nationalised basis in which case the government must control spending levels or you have a part privatised service where the state has reduced involvement.
            And the NHS us not “on its knees”
            You are being silly considering record funding year after year.

          • NickC
            Posted August 8, 2019 at 10:58 am | Permalink

            Martin, If the NHS is on its knees, it is because of unlimited demand, not because of your invention of “doctrinaire” changes.

    • Rob Pearce
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      Ian,

      No, the highest tax rates ever were the ones imposed on ordinary working people in 1977, by Chancellor Healey – Standard Rate of Income Tax was 35%.

      35%!!

      • ian wragg
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

        Total tax is highest ever, not just income tax. Government figures, tax freedom day.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

        Yes, but a cheap house cost just a couple of times the average annual income back then.

        • sm
          Posted August 7, 2019 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

          Such may have been the case in Cardiff, but definitely not in Greater London in my personal experience.

        • NickC
          Posted August 8, 2019 at 11:11 am | Permalink

          Martin, Your claim that houses “back then” cost a couple of times average income is false. It was more like 4 or 5 times.

  8. Lifelogic
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    The government are of course spending (largely wasting) far, far too much already and delivering fairly dire & declining public services despite all this spending. The volume of waste, pointless expenditure and positively damaging expenditure is huge. This on top of the damage done by endless misguided red tape, damaging employment laws and absurd tax complexity.

    Start with some tax breaks for people who use private health care and private schools to lighten the load on the NHS and the state school system. Then cut out all the pointless universities degrees (it must be well over 50% of them). These worthless, pigs in a poke, being sold to so many of our youth for circa £50K and three years loss of earnings. Then kill all the green crap subsidies. Idiotic waste is everywhere you care to look in government.

    So Javid finally say he is going to address Hammond’s moronic 100% + pension mugging rules, but when exactly? Operations being cancelled every day it seems and hugely damaging all over the place. Get on with it man what are you waiting for do it today and not just for the NHS? Then deal with Hammond’s idiotic property and landlord/tenant mugging taxes and the £1M each IHT threshold that the Conservatives & Osborne promised many moons ago!

    Get the sick leave levels in state sector down to private sector levels and get the remuneration (pensions included) of the state sector down to private sector levels too. About 2/3 of current levels it seems. Loads of people in the state sector are taking six month off for stress or similar then going back for a while just to take another six month off. But nothing much is done about it (not their money after all so what do they care). Some even get £10,000 for the stress of having to see a picture of the Queen on the wall it seems

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      Reports on BBC that Javid is going to fix the NHS pension problem. No it is not an NHS pension problem. It is a tax problem from the economic illiterate Hammond that need fixing for all. As does his Stamp duty and property taxes.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

        Pension mugging and the destruction of confidence in pensions was all started by Gordon Brown and was continued in spades by IHT tax to death ratters Osborne and Hammond.

        Javid should sort the system out. But since he pushes for Islamophobia Inquiries and seem only to be sorting out pensions tax for the NHS I have very little confidence in him so far. Economics and Politics at Exeter it seems. I suppose it is better than Oxford PPE but probably not very much. Can he add up? Is he economically literate? Not being so seems to be the main criteria for becoming Chancellor certainly from John Major to date.

    • Eunice Ridley
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      Wonderful comment, I entirely agree!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      Javid, the government and the BBC seem to be talking about sorting the “NHS pension” rules. It is not “NHS pension rules” it is a daft tax rule introduced by Hammond that applies to everyone in that tax bracket. It needs changing for all & not just for NHS staff Javid! Anything else would be a big political and economic mistake. It is not just damaging to the NHS to have 100% plus tax rates. They are absurd everywhere.

      Javid do not do a pathetic fudge and cheat on the public again (as Hammond tried with his inheritance tax threshold fudge). It should be one (simple) tax code for all. Including members of the Lords with their tax free daily “allowances”, that for anyone else would suffer tax and NI is £300 a day tax free for them. Nearly all are remoaners too.

      Then move on tackle to the absurd stamp duty, CGT rates and the landlord and tenant muggings.

  9. Andy
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    Still spreading these lies I see.

    There is no financial boost from Brexit. There is simply less money to spend on services for your constituents.

    Brexit is becoming a war. And it is a war the Tory Brexiteer MPs will ultimately lose.

    Many will be spending their retirements in prison – which is where the grossly negligent criminal liars belong.

    Reply There will be more tax revenue to spend at home or give back as tax cuts when we stop sending EU contributions!

    • Richard1
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      There is a net saving of £12bn pa, other things being equal. Plus, if the EU wants to play silly buggers with tariffs (unlikely I think), another £13bn of receipts. Perhaps £5Bn of that will have to be used to compensate those businesses paying EU tariffs. So that’s a £20bn benefit – almost the whole current budget deficit! And That’s of course excluding any growth dividend from low tax / free market policies which the govt might adopt if returned with a majority.

      Meanwhile it’s interesting to hear a fanatical and uncritical supporter of the EU argue continually that politicians he doesn’t agree with should go to prison. A revealing mentality and a great advert for Leave.

      • Andy
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 8:22 am | Permalink

        I don’t want politicians I disagree with to go to prison.

        But politicians who lie, who cheat, who dismiss facts, who reject evidence, who slander experts – and who deliberately and knowingly harm their country deserve to be punished. And that is what the no dealers are doing.

        Brexit makes you and your children poorer. Of course I genuinely don’t care about that. If you end up eating from bins then that’s okay because you voted for it. I am happy for you to own your own misery.

        But you voted for millions of others to get poorer too. And no you advocate no deal which is the dumbest form of Brexit possible. And all forms of Brexit are dumb. When you advocated the dumbest of the dumb please do not be surprised when those negatively affected, eventually, exact their revenge.

        • sm
          Posted August 7, 2019 at 9:17 am | Permalink

          “OUTRAGE SPIRAL” …when the attention-seeker makes evermore outrageous statements until metaphors of suicide or murder (or in this particular case ‘punishment’) become the norm.

          A handy definition from Lord Adonis 9 Sept 2018

        • Richard1
          Posted August 7, 2019 at 11:05 am | Permalink

          What a stupid post. You don’t know how I voted.

        • NickC
          Posted August 7, 2019 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

          Andy, But you lie, cheat, dismiss facts, reject evidence, slander experts, and knowingly harm your country all the time on here!

          “17.4m angry far right Tory pensioners”? – a lie.

          “all forms of Brexit are dumb” – trying to cheat us out of Leave.

          “harms” our nation – your attempts to keep the UK a province of the EU.

          “dismiss facts” – like Lisbon Declaration 17 which says EU law has primacy.

          “slander (!) experts” – your (selected) “experts” keep getting it wrong.

          “reject evidence” – of how much harm the EU does to the UK.

          You are still unable to say why the UK, uniquely, cannot be independent of the EU like New Zealand. Fortunately people like you are few and far between. Most Remain voters recognise that they cannot be selective about the democratic votes they will accept. Your hysteria underlines the paucity of your case.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      Just being free of bonkers EU regulations and laws, being far more nimble and able to make our own rules, plus restoring real democracy is a huge gain. Especially if we can get a sensible small government, low tax and bonfire of red tape PM and Chancellor. Less so if we have to suffer Corbyn/McDonnall/SNP but still worth it.

      Lies like “for every pound we send to the EU we get ten back”?

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

        Yes, that is apparently inaccurate, LifeLogic. According to Full Fact, it would seems that for every net pound of our European Union contributions, UK business gets about fifty pounds in revenues, from commercial and financial ties of all types connected with the EU.

        That’s not just exports of goods and services, but returns and enhanced cash flows from reciprocal investments, use of European Union infrastructure, and so on.

        • Edward2
          Posted August 7, 2019 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

          Well in that case we should give the EU hundreds of millions more than we do now and the UK would be incredibly rich.

        • NickC
          Posted August 8, 2019 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

          Still trusting in Full Fake, Martin? Still think we’ll sell nothing to the EU after Brexit? Still think businesses depend on turnover rather than profit? Remember “turnover is vanity; profit is sanity”?

          Assuming you’re right that UK exports will deteriorate after Brexit to half current levels, rather than your absurd 0%. Assume trading is difficult (your scenario) and profits are therefore at the low end – 5%. Then the business benefit is 0.05 x £250bn x 0.5 = £6.25bn. But the EU costs us about £10bn net from profits. Therefore for every £1 of our wealth we send to the EU, our nation benefits to the tune of about 63 pence.

  10. Fred H
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    Reasonable extra spending is acceptable to reverse austerity. I am not equipped to judge how much. Rules on what is funding to be used for are required. I suggest only projects or subjects where the money will end up in the UK labour market and materials are developed. Why spend where most will go outside UK?

  11. Dominic
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    The public sector is not a provider of services to the public. It used to be, many decades ago. Today, it is Labour’s power base, a conduit of politically driven social change and a source of funding for the left. And John wants to finance the left even further

    Reform the unionised and Labour owned public sector or the public sector will undermine the next Tory government

    Reply Try reading what I write rather than criticising a view I do not hold

  12. agricola
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    Skye news tells us today, repeating an article by Neil Basu, Assistant Commissioner of the Met, in the Guardian, that up to 80% of those who wished to attack the UK were born in the UK. This poses more questions than it answers. Do this 80% belong to a particular ethnic group. ………. How have they been radicalised, was it by their parents, was it by our education system, specifically who or what in their daily lives has caused this radicalisation. Is there an identifiable trail to the source of their radicalisation.

    What are the solutions to the threat they pose to normal innocent members of the UK general public. How should the majority in the UK , who like it here and wish a threat free life for themselves, react to this if we accept that it comes from an impecable source. Governments first responsibility is national security and protection of it’s citizens, so do you have advice to offer or do you prefer it is not discussed.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      He actually says “born or raised” but that is the vast majority of the people in the country:-

      “Neil Basu told the Guardian that up to 80% of those who wanted to attack the UK were British-born or raised, which strongly indicated domestic social issues were among the root causes.”

      It is the usual PC drivel trying to vastly exaggerate the risks of far right terrorism. Since 2001, there have been almost 100 terrorist-related deaths in Great Britain, the vast majority linked to Islamic extremism. I imaging he too thinks they should recruit on diversity grounds rather than taking on the best and that Boris should be referred to their hate crime “experts” just as the, insufferably politically correct Ms Dick did.

  13. jerry
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    Whilst I agree with the general thrust of your argument, and I did note that you are now talking about tax cuts to boost the economy, not just the individual, I am concerned with the following;

    “It is important that as the extra money is released it is made clear how it will be spent to boost service quality and provision.”

    My problem how is the Treasury going to be assured of getting this value for money from other govt depts. when so many have had much control devolved away from the the core or from those under them, for example DfT or DfH. Who is going to decide which improvement schemes are more worthy than others for extra funding, I fear that without a return of greater centralised planning oversight there is a real risk that this extra money will do nothing but fund many an unnecessary ‘pyramid’ made of icing sugar, rather than the ingratiated services the country actually needs.

  14. J Bush
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    Even with BJ’s spending proposals, he could easily reduce the overall cost of State spending by:
    • Culling of all the quango’s
    • Dropping vanity projects such as HS2, which was always part of EU policy
    • Drop May’s stupid sjw projects, such as 0% emissions, gender equality gumph, hate crime resulting in police sitting at laptops rather than tackling actual crime
    • Drop all the contracts she wanted to give to foreign businesses
    • Remove all wind and solar power subsidies
    • Remove all the public sector ’empire builders’ and hone down the 1000’s of civil service none jobs
    • Remove the excessive layers of public sector management
    • If the government are not going to do anything about the BMA refusing to charge health tourists, take its cost out of the foreign aid budget
    • Remove all State benefits from migrants until they have paid into the system for 5 years
    I am sure others can come up with lots of other suggestions, to reduce State spending and return to true conservative values

    • tim
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      THIS IS HOW MOST OTHER COUNTRIES OPERATE

    • Fred H
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      some possible savings, others no!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      Exactly. Government waste is everywhere. Much of the spending not only does no good it does positive harm.

  15. Leaver
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    More borrowing? Am I mistaken, or is this country not suffering from a huge deficit that we have been trying to clear since 2008.

    Surely it’s better to be honest that Brexit will mean leaving the single market. This will cause a hit to the economy, but we will get our country back and stop immigration from the E.U. It’s a price I and 17.2 million others are willing to pay.

    Reply The deficit is mow low and the debt modest if you adjust for all the state debt now bought in by the state

    • jerry
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 7:03 am | Permalink

      @Leave; Your are mistaken, having been (willingly?) taken in by the Cameron/Osborne election spiel and spin. Both our national debt and deficit since 2008 is vastly less than they were after 1945…

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 8:22 am | Permalink

        But still very high Jerry

        • Lifelogic
          Posted August 7, 2019 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

          And not reducing as May and Hammond falsely claimed that they were several times. Perhaps they are rather daft or perhaps they were just lying again?

    • Andy
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      On here you are mostly secret socialists – happy to spend money on all sorts of service which benefit YOU.

      I am the only one who has come up with an easy plan to slash taxes. Not cut taxes. Slash them by almost half.

      How? Axe pensioner benefits. No state pensions. Full chargeable social care. Extra NHS contributions required by the elderly as they use the biggest share of NHS resources.

      If we make old people pay their way – like everyone else has to – then we could have much lower taxes and no deficit.

      And, no, I keep telling you all – you have not paid as much into the system as you now take our. You are a drain on the state and we should turn off the tap. Let you fund you own retirements.

      • sm
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 9:31 am | Permalink

        You are presumably referring to all State employees’ salary-related pensions, including all politicians, junior nurses, town-hall clerks, prison warders and social workers, as well as the State basic pension for all introduced in 1906, and amended by the Attlee government?

        Because if you are, lots of us have condemned the whole damn shebang as a Ponzi scheme, but if you’re forced to pay into it during your working life, you’re happy (sort of) to take the payments when you retire.

        And if you are over a certain basic income level, you do – as a pensioner – have to pay social care costs.

        And yes, the elderly have been and are the biggest users of the NHS in financial terms, and many of us are in favour of charges being introduced in some way or another – but try making that case to Labour politicians in particular, and get a shield in front of you to deflect the abuse!

      • jerry
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 10:32 am | Permalink

        @Andy; Nice rant, say hello to the 1800s for me, and they call JR-M Mr 1800s!…

        “service which benefit YOU.”

        Tell me Andy, what is your take on student tuition fees, should Higher education be subsidised/free or not, what about the availability of child tax credits, maternity pay/leave, what about schemes like Help to Buy.

        “make old people pay their way – like everyone else has to”

        But who do you think paid for your ‘free’ State education as a child, your ‘free’ State health care as a child etc. Clue, it almost certainly cost more than what ever income tax and NI payments your parents made to the State, even if in a higher tax band.

        Shouldn’t all adults have to pay their way, repaying their own debts to the State, once of working age and in work, after all age is not the issue in your world is it, just (assumed0 ability to pay.

      • a-tracy
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 10:49 am | Permalink

        Andy,
        Are you self-employed and paying minimal 9% national insurance?

        How many years have you been an employee earning above the lower earnings level (currently £8632 pa) and having a national insurance payment of 25.8% being contributed on your behalf?

        THE CURRENT STATE PENSION IS NOT A BENEFIT it was a contributory pension for most people, the majority paying in their fair and correct contribution to get the current basic state pension back.

        In your no state pensions do you include all public sector staff on final salary pensions which is an enormous cost?

        Only the pension credits are benefits that are received whether contributions were made or not.

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted August 7, 2019 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

          A-Tracey

          What you write is easily proven to the doubters. They can go on gov.uk and search pension entitlement. By putting in their national insurance number they can see if they have paid in enough to get something out.

          It is a ponzi scheme but what you get out is based on what you paid in.

      • NickC
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        Andy, You could not legally axe current state pensions. But you could axe future state pensions from where they stand at the minute. It would take about 45 years to work through the system, so you wouldn’t see any short term tax gains. But young people would not thank you – they would have the dubious privilege of paying current pensioners without the prospect of a state pension themselves. Another fail for you, Andy.

    • Posted August 7, 2019 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      Comment on reply. Smoke and mirrors surely, which will come back and bite us.

      • Mitchel
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        My view too.Debt monetisation.As a country heavily dependent on imports,and with a demonstrable inability to balance our books,what happens when our overseas suppliers start demanding real money from us?

        When our insatiable appetite for tea caused balance of payments problems in the early 19th century(the Chinese Qianlong Emperor had told us dismissively “we have no need of your manufactures”and continued to insist on payment in silver bullion),we sent gunboats to force open their ports and get them hooked on opium to redress the matter.That option no longer exists.

  16. Nigl
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    Once again we talk about spending more money with the token nod to improved services etc. Everyone should read Dominic Cummings contribution on his blog about change and Brexit. The systemic dysfunction of our national institutions (civil service) and their wilful refusal to accept/seek out change and greater talent and the kafkaesque nodding of government ministers to the demands of Jeremy Hayward especially relating to the EU.

    I suspect most/all of it will go over the heads of those he criticises but if he and Boris can hold on it does offer hope for-the future. In the meantime it will make its readers cry with tears of frustration. It intellectually explains what we all know at a simplistic level, money will be spent by people not fit for-purpose and most likely wasted.

    So on that basis Sir J R when will you realise that people like me are fed up with this constant ‘pouring money down a drain’ together with the bribe of reduced taxes so more borrowing to mortgage our grandchildren’s future.

    After decades of BS about efficiency etc with nothing happening it is time for ‘you’ to stop and us to get real change. Reading Cummings blog about the mutually supporting inefficient back slapping society that is our politicians and civil servants, I am not holding my breath.

    • Andy
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      You mean the unelected, unaccountable Dominic Cummings?

      Who voted for him and how do we remove him?

      • Nigl
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 11:58 am | Permalink

        About as much as I expected from you certainly once again no critique of the subject matter I referred to.

      • NickC
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

        Andy, By voting out the government at the next general election. Something you cannot do in the EU.

        • Andy
          Posted August 7, 2019 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

          You mean voting out the Johnson government which was never actually voted in?

          • NickC
            Posted August 8, 2019 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

            Andy, It is the Conservative government that was voted in. And, yes, you had your vote on that. There are no direct national elections for Ministers, PMs, Shadow Ministers etc, because the UK doesn’t have a Presidential system. You didn’t vote in the new EU government or its new Presidents, you cannot hold them to account, and you can’t vote them out.

      • Edward2
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

        Every PM has advisors.
        Didn’t hear you moan about Blair and Brown’s team.

      • Fred H
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

        Like Alastair Campbell ( with Blair) you mean?

  17. agricola
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    First define the extent that government should involve itself in our lives. Reduce the ridiculous tax burden to increase national and individual wealth. Assess the effect this has on encouraging enterprise and the creation of further wealth.

    Decide the priority areas for greater spending. Health, education, security, and infrastructure for instance. All of which have deteriorated in the period of failed social tinkering since Margaret Thatcher’s premiership. Do not spend what you do not have or cannot borrow sensibly. Put an end to the ridiculous mass immigration we have encouraged under Blair and May. In fact through financial disincentive throw population into reverse for the next fifty years. 45 million would be a sensible target to aim for with AI looming on the horizon.

    • James Bertram
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      Agreed, Agricola. Reducing population is key, both here and abroad.

      Just imagine, half the people in Britain equals no wait to see a doctor, more places in schools, no traffic jams, plenty of housing, etcetera. Most problems solved.

      I posted this a week back:
      …instead of adopting May’s expensive Climate Change CO2 strategy (on which the jury is out?), it would be far more environmentally effective if this Government put money into reducing the human population (tax incentives, education and access to birth control), both here and abroad.

      Very few politicians have the wit or balls to propose this.

      We can stop overpopulation by dramatically reducing births around the world. Increasing numbers of resource experts agree that in order to stop global overconsumption, depletion of resources and unprecedented loss of species – and significantly reduce dire human poverty – total world population needs to be between 1 and 3 billion people.

      • Andy
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 8:44 am | Permalink

        Half the population just means half as many doctors, half as many teachers.

        It solves none of your problems.

        • James Bertram
          Posted August 7, 2019 at 9:38 am | Permalink

          Far too simplistic, Andy – but thank you for raising the point.

          It is clear that different problems arise dependent on the level of population (for example: if there was just one person in the UK, or if there was 8 billion in the UK) but at a certain level there will be an optimal population for the kind of society we think we want, and are capable of organising.

          ‘Optimal Population’ on Wikipedia will introduce you to the subject.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optimum_population

          You will see that it has been a long-recognised issue:
          ‘Excessive growth may reduce output per worker, repress levels of living for the masses and engender strife.’ — Confucius 551 – 479 BCE

          • James Bertram
            Posted August 7, 2019 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

            Another good source of information is Population Matters (Optimum Population Trust:
            A study from 2008 suggests: ‘…The United Kingdom is drastically over-populated and could support only 17 million people if it had to provide for the current 60 million from its own resources….Yet even if Britain was carbon neutral, it could only sustainably support 40 million people with the same standard of living,… The latest official figures show the number of people living in the UK is expected to hit 65 million within 10 years, and top 70 million by 2031…Valerie Stevens, the chairman of the OPT, said the study showed the extent of the UK’s overpopulation and the threat it poses to the environment and people’s quality of life.
            She added: “It also shows how desperately we need a national population policy.”

          • James Bertram
            Posted August 7, 2019 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

            Some facts from Population Matters;

            Population density in Europe is just 34 people/sq km. At 426 people/sq km, England is the most overcrowded large nation in the EU. (UNPD);

            Since 1955 (except in 1976) the number of births in the UK has been higher than the number of deaths. Net migration increased the population by more than 250,000 people per year on average from 2004 to 2016. (ONS);

            The UK has the highest teenage birth rate in Western Europe. (Family Planning Association);

            According to the Global Footprint Network, the UK uses nearly three times the renewable natural resources its land can provide.;

            More than two-thirds of the land needed to produce the UK’s food and animal feed is abroad;

            The UK is one of the most “nature depleted” countries in the world, with more than one in seven species facing extinction and more than half in decline. (State of Nature Report 2016);

            The government estimates the UK needs 200,000 new houses a year to meet growing demand. Some experts say 300,000. (Architects Journal);

            An extra 750,000 school places will be needed in England by 2025 because of growing population. (Department for Education);

            There were just over 16 million total hospital admissions in 2015/16, 28 per cent more than a decade earlier. The UK population grew by a little under 10% in the same period. (NHS Confederation);

            The south-east of England ranks 161st out of 180 areas globally in terms of its ability to deliver sufficient water to its population. (Royal Geographical Society).

      • NickC
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

        James Bertram, If there were no immigration, the population of the UK would be shrinking. We are not having enough children to even replace our own numbers contrary to your claims. One of the main tools to reduce fecundity here is the promotion of the barbarous practice of abortion, which is of course no different to infanticide.

        • James Bertram
          Posted August 7, 2019 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

          Thank you for highlighting abortion, Nick.

          Some facts: Overall number and rate of abortions
          In total, there were 205,295 abortions notified as taking place in England and Wales in 2018, of which 200,608 were to residents of England and Wales. This represents an age-standardised abortion rate of 17.4 per 1,000 resident women aged 15-443.13 Jun 2019
          Abortion statistics for England and Wales 2018
          https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/…/Abortion_Statistics__England_and_Wales_20…

          Please note that I am not for one minute advocating abortions; nor euthanasia. Other, far less controversial methods are discussed on the Population Matters website – see, the example of Thailand, which reduced its fertility rate by nearly 75% in just two generations with a targeted, creative and ethical family planning programme. [Note: I haven’t researched just how ethical the programme was.]

          But, yes, Population Matters does support a woman’s right to safe abortion:Aims
          1. To promote universal access to safe abortion as a women’s health and human rights issue.
          2. To support women’s autonomy to make their own decisions whether and when to have children and have access to the means of acting on those decisions without risk to their health and lives.
          3. To campaign for a moratorium on prosecutions for abortion and the removal of abortion from the criminal law.

          But clearly, without abortion, at a cold unemotive statistical level, then the UK would be even more overcrowded.

        • James Bertram
          Posted August 8, 2019 at 7:37 am | Permalink

          Nick, you raised an important issue regarding abortion, and I replied, giving you the facts on the high rates of abortion in this country, about 200,000 a year, but this post was removed by the moderator (who must have found the subject too controversial?).

          In reducing population I am not for one minute advocating abortion or euthanasia – there are less controversial methods available, particularly about education and empowering women – see the Population Matters website (Thailand example).

          • James Bertram
            Posted August 8, 2019 at 7:47 am | Permalink

            Apologies, Sir John.
            I thought the post was removed, but now see it was not (- not sure what goes on with my computer – or whether senility is fast catching up with me).
            Anyway, it’s your choice as to which of the posts to remove – it’s your blog, your initiative, and your hard work.
            Much appreciated.

          • NickC
            Posted August 8, 2019 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

            James Bertram, You have rather skated over one of my two points: that current UK – particularly English – overpopulation is mostly due to immigration. There are over 9 million foreign born people in the UK officially – probably nearer 15 million in reality.

            So it is not that the native British that are too fecund. Without immigration it is likely that our population would naturally shrink towards a more sustainable 40m in the next few decades.

          • James Bertram
            Posted August 8, 2019 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

            Nick – apologies – I probably didn’t understand what you were getting at – but still, I cannot see how your sums add up:

            The population size of the United Kingdom is now more than 66 million people, which is the biggest it has ever been. In 1950, the population was 50 million: it is projected to be nearly 73m by 2041 (ONS).

            You seem to suggest that the 9 million immigrants will result in a population increase to 33 (73 less 40) million immigrants + their offspring in 20 years. (If we continue at the current rate of new immigrants coming here of 250,000 p.a. then that accounts for just an extra 5 million only).

            You also suggest that the ‘native’ British increased their population by 7 million (66, less 9, less 50) in the last 70 years (on average 1 million for every decade); but in the next 20 years this will reduce from 57 million to just 40 million.

            Please explain.

  18. Peter Miller
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    The three great areas of waste in the UK budget, from which we derive no benefit whatsoever, are:

    1. Payments to the EU,
    2. Green taxes/subsidies, and
    3. Foreign aid.

    I concede the fact we need to make some foreign aid, but not 0.7% of GDP, nevertheless these three factors represent around £30 billion of complete waste, which would be much better spent elsewhere.

    • Posted August 7, 2019 at 6:34 am | Permalink

      Well said Peter…

      and if we are looking at other savings , what about that promised bonfire of quangos …. Perhaps Government could take a close look at the NHS drugs bill and come up with some other options…?

    • tim
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      good comment, but why could we not just pay off some DEBT?

    • Fred H
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      other great areas of waste – –
      The H of L, the size of the H of C, the Civil Service, NHS admin, HS2 phase 1, the aircraft carriers,the highest salaries in Councils/Boroughs.

    • Andy
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      Three of the four most important areas of govt spending are:
      1) Overseas aid
      2) Green subsidies
      3) EU membership
      The fourth is education. And it is no surprise that most of those who have a good education strongly back the other three.

      The real wastes are defence – ludicrous buying expensive boys toys we never use. Police and criminal justice. Educate people and give them better access to healthcare (particularly mental health and addiction treatments) and they are less likely to be criminals. And stuff free cash pensioners – who should be made to work for the enormous handouts they receive.

      • Edward2
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        So spending on areas like the disabled, on our health services, on public transport, on welfare for those unable to work and on the emergency services and income support for the less well off are less important than the four you list and are a waste in your opinion.
        You have some very odd ideas Andy.
        And yet again you fail to realise State pensions are paid from National Insurance contributions made during your lifetime at work.

      • Glenn Vaughan
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

        Andy

        Your numerous ludicrous and immature interventions today suggest you are suffering from an acute case of digital diarrhoea.

        I suggest you remedy the problem via self-medication. Others might offer you similar advice on how best to relieve your evident discomfort particularly regarding the quantity.

      • NickC
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

        Andy, I assume from all your diatribes that you want to “stuff” free state education for the young as well. After all why should the young benefit at the expense of the older and wiser? And supporting your three (Overseas aid, Global warming subsidies, and the EU) is the very definition of having had a bad education, not a good one.

      • Fred H
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

        You make a ludicrous comment that ‘those who have a good education strongly back the other three’. As usual no evidence.

      • dixie
        Posted August 8, 2019 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        What is a “good” education?

  19. Dave Andrews
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    Pressure on the NHS can be relieved not by more public spending, but reducing demand.
    This can be done by:

    1. Diverting lifestyle disease treatment to the private health sector
    2. Introducing workplace health insurance schemes, with tax incentives, that allow
    employees to opt out of the NHS
    3. Diverting ineligible visitors to the private health sector
    4. Introducing private health insurance schemes to cover adult sports injury treatment

    The NHS isn’t under-funded, it’s over-subscribed.

    • agricola
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      While I do not feel myself at odds with what you suggest, we do need to define matters.
      1. Are lifestyle diseases confined to drug use and venereal disease, or is the term much wider to include obesity, smoking related disease, sport related injury.
      2. We already have work related insurance called NI contributions. That these are just tax in another name is another matter. I do agree that private health via the workplace, which incidentally already exists, would be no bad thing if carefully thought through. It needs to be transferable for instance.
      3. Yes but anyone who has worked all their lives in the UK and contributed all their lives to the UK tax system should not be excluded just because they opt to live overseas for their retirement years.
      4. Yes

      Bare in mind that private health has its limitations. Great if you want a hip replaced, but to the best of my knowledge it does not offer mental health cover, age related diseases, cancer treatment, or most important the treatment of any debilitating disease you may have suffered prior to private health. Private health must be all embracing, not a cherry picking exercise for easy profit.

      Another question, should those who work in the private sector also work for the NHS. Should the private sector pay for the training of their own staff.

      The oversubscribing you mention could be corrected by throwing the process into reverse by taxing reproduction and limiting immigration drastically.

      • Fred H
        Posted August 8, 2019 at 9:37 am | Permalink

        I think it is a fair expectation that a person who has worked all or most of their life here should spend their pension here.

    • NickC
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      Dave Andrews, Well said. Though I would add – making immigrants pay for the likes of the NHS, schooling, etc, for the first 15 years they’re here.

  20. sm
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    I fully understand that at the moment the new Government is totally preoccupied with implementing Brexit and shoring up some public goodwill.

    However, once the current furore has calmed down, in whatever direction, an urgent enquiry into the management and aims of the NHS is required before any more £billions gets shoved down its ever-gaping maw. And before the resident hysterics start to sharpen their keyboards, I am NOT recommending total privatisation, nor selling it lock, stock and barrel to the USA, nor leaving the sick and the poor to die in roadside ditches.

  21. Toffeeboy
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    Can I ask why you and your chums aren’t betting your houses on the pound going up against the euro and making a killing. I’d suggest it’s because you know full well there isn’t going to be any ‘Brexit bonus’. The savings from future EU contributions will be dwarfed by the impact of a 20% decline in the pound against the euro (which has taken roughly £1000 out of the pockets of each family travelling to Europe for the past 3 years).
    The government is planning on loosening the purse strings because it is desperate to stop the economy sliding into recession which incidentally has nothing to do with monetary policy being too tight. Are you seriously suggesting a 25 basis point hike in interest rates has done all this damage?
    The trouble with that strategy is that once again it’s the young people who are going to have to pay back all the extra debt.

    • Dominic
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      Yes, let’s sacrifice the independence and ancient sovereignty of the United Kingdom so you can enjoy a cheaper holiday in Europe. And therein lies the vacuous, valueless, empty mindset of your average Remain supporter.

      Brexit was and still is an expression of a belief that political accountability as expressed through direct democracy is an essential prerequisite of a free nation. Without recourse to democracy we are mere slaves

      • agricola
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 8:22 am | Permalink

        Well said Dominic.

      • Simeon
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 10:07 am | Permalink

        Too many people prefer existence in a gilded cage than the opportunity to make their own destiny. For some who’d have no idea what destiny to pursue, the comfortable cage is the rational choice. The problem is, if the cage door remains shut, those birds with plans are stuck. No wonder feathers fly!

  22. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    We are still spending more than we collect from our burdensome tax regime and you are advocating borrowing more.

    Pare back the state: education, health (through proper insurance not tax), security, some infrastructure, social services and law and order. We do not need so many MPs, their acolytes and the accompanying facilitators and advisers.

    Public sector pensions need addressing. How does a doctor earning over £110,000 breach the £40,000 pension contribution limit. How much of that is employer contribution. Astounding.

    Please do not advocate spending more money until you have learned to use what you already have. Your Brexit bonus should be a tax cut.

  23. Posted August 7, 2019 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    Certainly there are a host of things that need money spent on them after years of neglect, like roads, pathways, and transport generally, but we go too far into this, we should consider our credit rating:
    “Standard & Poor’s credit rating for the United Kingdom stands at AA with negative outlook. Moody’s credit rating for the United Kingdom was last set at Aa2 with stable outlook. Fitch’s credit rating for the United Kingdom was last reported at AA with negative watch outlook.”
    Almost certainly those that oppose our escape from the EU will ensure the UK credit rating is affected badly when we do leave. Perhaps we should be cautious in the short term about what borrowing we incur.

  24. Shirley
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    The government should give priority to British firms and the British people. Giving contracts (especially sensitive ones such as passport production) should be given to British firms wherever possible. It provides work for the British and some tax income on profits.

    Employers should be made to subsidise low paid immigrant workers and seasonal workers should be given temporary visas for the duration of their employment. This would help reduce the cost of welfare to the UK taxpayer.

    The government appears keener to ‘virtue signal’, or appease other countries, by giving business to foreign companies and workers instead of putting Britain and the British first. It doesn’t happen in other EU countries. They use every excuse in the book to keep profits and taxes within their own country.

  25. GilesB
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    The Public Sector needs to draw a much sharper line between recurring expenditure and one-off investments.

    Borrowing to finance recurrent expenditure should be very rare: only when the tax take is much lower than expected.

    Borrowing for investment should be freed up. Especially when interest rates are low. Government should be issuing thirty year or perpetual bonds at today’s rates. Limited only by the availability of sensible projects, not ‘bridges to nowhere’.

    A particularly egregious example of muddled thinking is unfunded pension liabilities.

    Without clarity about what is an investment and what isn’t it is meaningless to discuss the level of investment.

  26. GF
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    Hard to see where this extra money is going to come from. Rolls Royce spending £100m on Brexit preparations, investment down not because of “uncertainty” but because a future outside the EU single market may leave expensive assets stranded with no route to market for goods/services.

    As Mark Carney says, “There are some very big industries in this country where that which is highly profitable becomes not profitable, becomes uneconomic”.

    Inevitable that hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost in the short term, corporation tax receipts will be down, paye/nic taxes will be down.

    Personally, I don’t care — hold very few sterling assets and have made many plans. In fact, I confess to being a little curious, even excited about a no deal. But I would imagine that some people, perhaps many people, will be angry, perhaps very angry, at the outcome.

    (My predication, BJ will do anything to avoid a post-no-deal election since the reality and the headlines will be dire so is hoping parliament will block, A50 will be extended and election held on a Brexit promise. Like Christmas, expensive gifts and other baubles these things are often better anticipated than realised).

    • NickC
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      GF, I’m constantly amazed – though I should be used to it by now – at how Remains get things wrong and peddle fake news. The RR figure of £100m – “for Brexit” – is mainly for extra inventory – which will be sold for a profit in due course. It is not a lost cost. Meanwhile RR has taken a hit of £245m due to the cancellation of the EU flagship A380 program. That is a loss.

  27. JoolsB
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    With respect John, how about you and all the other UK MPs ‘representing’ English seats in the UK Parliament demand fairer funding for your English constituents? Putting an end to the skewed Barnett Formula would be a good start. Apparently Boris went laiden with cash for Nicola Sturgeon in the form of £300m last week whilst the next day offering only £200 million for the whole of England for English councils to prepare for no deal of which of course Scotland, Wales & NI would benefit even further thanks to Barnett consequentials. This on top of Hammond bunking the devolved nations billions of extra (bribe) money in the last two budgets whilst cutting English services to the bone.

    Maybe if you and your colleagues demanded a fairer deal for England, England would get to benefit more from their hard earned taxes instead of seeing them benefit the rest of the UK with freebies which are denied to them on grounds of cost.

    Reply What I am doing with my arguments for better funding for Wokingham/West Berkshire schools and other services, which are well below Scottish levels and below the English average, is to urge greater equality around the UK

    • JoolsB
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      Good to hear it John but why aren’t you and 550 other UK MPs with English seats demanding an end to the Barnett Formula?

    • Mark B
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      For someone who claims to speak for England you certainly avoided using the dreaded ‘E’ word.

  28. StephenJ
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Good morning, my support for exiting the EU dates from a meeting at which our host spoke.

    Save our Fish, which was I recall at the Methodist Hall in Westminster, although it is true that I did not need much persuading, I had voted “No” in the 1975 referendum too, but this triggered me into joining UKIP, my first ever membership of a political party. The idea that the party’s two main objectives were to leave the EU and to introduce a greater degree of local and binding direct democracy. The latter was the real radical idea that local people should govern themselves locally.

    I would say, that not much has changed. The more locally that executive power is pushed down, the better the overall governance and participation in society.

    Rather than printing money and making yet another excuse for appropriating yet more power at a national or supranational level, the less effectively our our concerns addressed.

  29. BJC
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    It’s refreshing to see the Tories adopting a different approach to fiscal policy. For too long they’ve played by the rules set by Labour’s profligacy. They spend and borrow; the Tories steady the ship. It’s rather like the battle of parenting where the responsible, nurturing, but drudge of a mother does the caring and scolding, whilst the ne’er do well father only wants a good time and never says no. Guess who’s “mother”?

    The general perception of public spending is of massive inefficiency and waste. Every pound spent because “that’s what we always do” is £1 less spent on “what we should do”, e.g. Government appears to have abandoned any drive for efficiency in return for reward and acquired an evangelical zeal for throwing more and more money at the NHS, because “that’s what we always do”. They’ve already committed a third of their spending to the NHS, and of course, it’s never going reduce. Is this “what we should do”?

    The NHS could be allocated 50% of spending and would still squander its finite resources doing the same old, same old, so it needs a radical rethink and restructure, perhaps through the introduction of some form of personal insurance scheme. It’s “free” for all ethos has also actively encouraged the creation of a nation of irresponsible people who demand treatments for self-inflicted illnesses that might never have occurred if better lifestyle choices had been made. Is this “what we should do”?

    We need to take a sobering step back from the hysteria and decide through clear and objective eyes exactly what the purpose of the NHS should be in the 21st century, then decide the level of funding to support it. Indeed, this should be slowly but systematically applied across all demands on the public purse to release resourcing for “what we should do”, perhaps starting with the quickest of fixes, a genuinely costed Foreign Aid budget.

    • Nigl
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      All of this and from other people is common sense stuff and I agree but it is the same old same old ‘sticking plaster’ we have heard for ever.

      The discussion needs to move from where it always is ‘the what’ to the ‘how’ and before that the goals, barriers, cultural, physical etc.

      Real change management.

  30. ferdinand
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Absolutely right. The availability of funding is not the result of a decision but the beginning. Justification has to be sought and precise details of how it will be spent.

  31. Everhopeful
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Phone the surgery before 10am ..get a home visit after lunch.
    Or just turn up at the surgery and wait and you will be seen.
    See a dr you have known all your life who knows YOU.
    Why not?
    Surely we are still worth a little compassion, kindness and care?
    But no…politicians have purposely made this country so inefficient…so chaotic,overcrowded and so dangerous ( making home visits impossible)that now we have to wait weeks just to see some unknown dr…if lucky.
    Privatise the whole thing.
    Have private COMPETING walk in surgeries.
    Why not?
    Why waste more WORKER’S money on a nasty, socialist, failed project?
    ( Although actually, if as suspected, the original aim of the NHS was to help create a socialist state and become a vehicle for mass immigration and political correctness…then the NHS has been a resounding success! Rather like the BBC.).
    Oh yes and the NHS thinks it is soooo condescendingly, smugly wonderful. A very nice lady with whom I was friends….she and her entire family ALWAYS flew all the way back home for medical treatment…far superior to any available here apparently….well obviously……

  32. Kevin
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    The point I believe that Dominic is trying to make is covered in an episode
    of Yes, Minister called, “The Compassionate Society”: would the extra
    money earmarked for the NHS be spent on “healing the sick”? You write that
    ministers will need to be firm about how the money is spent. Could
    you spell out some principles that you would expect them to apply in doing so?

  33. Sea Warrior
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Sir John, Are you of the opinion that health tourism has been stamped out? And if not, what do you think is the relationship between the amount spent on foreigners abusing the NHS and the PM’s extra couple of billions.

    Reply The NHS is meant to charge visitors for use of its services but does not always bother.

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      Reply The NHS is meant to charge visitors for use of its services but does not always bother.

      Could we get a list of how many treatments each hospital in England is performing per month and the number of nights of hospital care required by visitors and foreigners without UK national insurance contributions? Can we have a hospital table to see where the issue lies and in a balance column at the side how much £ was billed, recovered from insurance, recovered from patients or recovered from their home Country?

    • Nigl
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      Please would you inform us all how senior managers can not bother if they don’t want to? Presumably that is a culture throughout the public sector. What is your government going to do about it.

      Any chance of real performance management? I thought not.

    • Al
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      “Reply The NHS is meant to charge visitors for use of its services but does not always bother.”

      It was only in June that the Times reported 500 delegates at the British Medical Association’s annual conference voted to stop charging overseas patients and said charging health tourists was ‘racist’. These doctors are currently lobbying the Department of Health to make not charging them policy.

      Given the shortfall, is there no way to make hospitals or doctors who fail to charge accountable for the costs?

    • Mark B
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      So what do think the government should do to prevent this abuse of public money ?

      Perhaps that can be a topic for another day ? 😉

  34. DanielJames
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    To my mind, it is pointless and self defeating just to throw more at public services without proper and radical reform not just of how that money is raised but also how it is spent. Currently our Tax Code stands at over 17000 pages and as such, it is vastly over complicated and not fit for purpose. Compare that with the Tax Code for Hong Kong which stands at 276 pages and is generally regarded as the best and most efficient in the world. We should be aiming to radically reform our tax code and the way HMRC works to bring the code down to a more manageable level below 1000 pages and probably nearer 500. It will reduce waste, tax avoidance and tax evasion, make taxation simpler and more effective and efficient. From this, other departments can then be reformed and funds needed evaluated and used much more effectively. Stop the tinkering around the edges that has gone on for so long and reform it properly.

  35. J Bush
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Reform the HoL.

    Change the system. Maximum 100. None should be failed politicians or worked in the public sector. All should have considerable business experience (and not just lawyers) and subject to public election subject based on said business experience. Exclude all those who receive any sort of EU remuneration.

    Not a huge saving by government standards, but it is still over £200,000 which could pay of the debt or be used on more worthwhile project.

    • Fred H
      Posted August 8, 2019 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      and move your 100 to an empty bland tower block in the suburbs – save a lot more.

  36. James Bertram
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Apologies for off-topic:
    There are 3 very entertaining and informative videos on today’s BrexitFacts4EU website which readers here would enjoy.
    Robert from Dulwich’s no-nonsense approach leaves most of our politicians in the shade.

  37. Dominic
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    For all the expressions of frustration seen on this board it is testament to Sir John’s decency that he can still maintain this blog, respond politely in the face of at times hostility and still keep his composure. For that he should be applauded.

    Sometimes I myself become a tad heated at the lack of conviction at the heart of the Tory party and the absence of a desire to smash Labour and their client state into the abyss but at least Sir John always steps up with his blog

    Apologies if at times I become a tad confrontational. I can assure it isn’t personal merely frustration at seeing my country being hollowed from the inside by a vicious, nasty form of politics called liberal left-leftist fascism

    Thanks

  38. Gareth Warren
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    For me I believe we will see the greatest benefit in reform, often to achieve a smaller government.

    Here I would cancel hate laws and enshrine free speech in law, this frees up a lot of policing time.

    Health and safety overkill wastes millions, perhaps billions for the NHS. Our local authority spends £9 a ream for paper for example and all hospitals have a policy of throwing millions of pounds of medicine away. Along with strange requirements, why are blister packs safer then bottles? The simple solution is to privatize the supply to NHS and remove pointless legislation to watch costs fall.

    Government is due a healthy weight loss, here many departments could be dropped, with the people left to decide what is hate speech we can close that comission down. An acceptance that government is not responsible for certain areas I am sure can shut down un-needed departments too.
    Here if honesty replaced virtue signalling we would get more down, we do not need a climate change department – just enviroment to establish minimum atandards and people will opt for lowest costs.

  39. Mick
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    What a lot of people forget it’s the mess that 13years of a labour government left Britain in, and who as to pick up the pieces the tax paying public of labours incompetence, I’m married to a nhs nurse and believe me they have been at the sharp end of the stick through austerity not caused by the Tory’s but labours incompetence

  40. Newmania
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    The National Debt is above 85%, we have just had a horrible quarter ( borrowing up 33%)and the EU payment ( net of net) is under 1% of annual spending all of which and much more will be consumed in Brexit costs and the on going increased borrowing required due to the self imposed loss of tax receipts and strructural costs (£30bn say the OBR to start with ). Good time for unfunded promises? Course it is.
    The No Deal Disaster is nearly upon us which until days ago was a !”Million and one” chance” … part of the “easiest negotiations ever” . U Gov 25% say “Good outcome” “50% Bad outcome “ only 13% say “acceptable compromise”
    Of the options 37% support staying in as compared to 26% for ‘no deal “
    Requiescat in pace Conservatism, nothing but worms left now.

    • Edward2
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      Yet the Conservatives are still ahead in the polls.
      Another NM prediction fails.

      • Newmania
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

        Yeah that drop from 43.5% to 29.7% is real ringing endorsement and that is facing a joke opposition leader who is as committed to Brexit as John Redwood.
        Great system isn’t it , I like the fact that on 14-15% the Brexit Party get no seats while on 3.2% of the vote the SNP get 50 . I make it a dead heat for what its worth 321 Con / DUP / Brexit ,against 321 everyone else ( and 7 SF)
        But aside form that farce Remain is quite clearly beating Leave

        • Edward2
          Posted August 7, 2019 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

          Yet still ahead in the polls despite Brexit concerns and it being mid term in the life of the Government.
          Normally when the government is at its most unpopular point.
          Not sure what your last paragraph is about but you carry on NM it always entertains us on here.

    • NickC
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      Newmanis, “No deal” – if you mean “no trade deal” – is not a disaster any more than no trade deal was a disaster a year ago or two years ago. It is the EU that has intransigently insisted that they would not agree a trade deal, and that was accepted by Parliament.

      Indeed, Remains on here, including yourself, never raised the issue of no trade deal as a problem previously. Why now? Or is it actually because you see the prospect of the UK leaving this time, and your ridiculous project fear has failed (again)?

      • Newmania
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

        Nick C- Yes no trade deal a position that is not problem in the EU but is, if we are going to get an outcome Parliament and the people are united in not wanting by default . This is not complicated what the matter with you ?
        The possibility of a complete failure was denied routinely by John Redwood and everyone else . Look back on his blog and count up the many promises of super trading conditions because ” They need us more than we need them …” ha bitter ha.

        • NickC
          Posted August 8, 2019 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

          Newmania, No you are wrong. According to the recent poll from Public First (Metro): 44% opted for “no deal”, so parliament and the public are not united in opposing “no deal” as you claim.

          I have always wanted, and called for, what Remains mistakenly call “no deal”. Like Gerard Batten, and many more, I said the UK should repeal the ECA 1972, patriate EU Regulations (to provide continuity), and only make agreements with the EU that we also make with other countries over issues such as driving licences and double taxation.

          So every point you made was false.

    • Fred H
      Posted August 8, 2019 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      Requiescat in pace remaining.

  41. Alan Joyce
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    @Andy is really on top form today! First class entertainment!!

  42. BillM
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    The elephant in the Public Spending room must be the huge amount handed to The Overseas Aid Programme. Around £14 Billions was spent last year. This is an outrageous amount of taxpayers money to donate to too many less-than-worthy causes and MUST be cut to fund more services at home for the British people in need of it!
    Although China, USA and Germany spend more than the UK, I suggest their contributions are carefully targeted to do the most good for the recipient and the donor country. We should adopt similar principles and with a lower amount of funding.

    • Fred H
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

      Where does the money go?
      About 15% goes as humanitarian aid, or crisis relief, with the rest focused on strategic or long-term goals.
      36% of the money goes via multilateral organisations, like the United Nations. The other 64% goes to programmes in specific countries as bilateral aid.
      The five biggest recipients of bilateral aid are Pakistan, Syria, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Afghanistan. When it comes to continents, significantly more gets spent in Africa (51%) and Asia (42%) than anywhere else.

      The Department for International Development (DfID) is responsible for most of the UK’s aid spending. They spend 74% of our ODA target; the rest is spent by other government departments and organisations.

  43. TomTomTom
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    The biggest issue with the NHS is that it has been elevated up onto some mythical pedestal that means that any attempts to change it meet with shrieks of complaint and howls of anguish.

    The Germans, French, Swiss ( and plenty of other countries ) all have decent health care systems but I don’t think their populations idolise their healthcare systems in the way we do.

    Don’t you think it’s a bit wierd to “love” an organisation?!

    The problem with unconditional love is that it blinds you to the obvious shortcomings and prevents you making changes to fix them.

    Personally I would like to see a radical change to the funding. As citizens we should pay into a personal “Health Pot” which could be used to treat us when we are sick. I’d make it inheritable as well, so if you lived a virtuous life you could pass it on to your kids ( or use it to fund your final years ).

    There are plenty of health issues that are essentially lifestyle choices. If you drink half a bottle of wine a night, smoke, don’t exercise, drive to work and sit on your backside typing into a computer all day then guess what? You are going to get ill!

  44. BR
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    So JR is in favour of more public spending. When are we going to start living within our means?

    And, as an aside: please stop using the term ‘austerity’. We have never even balanced the books let alone run a budget surplus since the Conservatives took over in 2010.

    This should be part of winning the war of words which the left like to play. Take control of the lexicon of politics, don’t allow words like ‘progressive’, ‘austerity’, ‘ hard-right’ etc to go unchallenged. And invent a few of our own on the right – profligate, irresponsible…

    Key point: if it is austerity then it its Labour austerity, not ‘Tory austerity’ since it was they who ran the country’s finances into the ground and created the need for it.

  45. a-tracy
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    The NLW for a 25-year-old on a 37.5 hour week is currently £16,009.24. If they are an employee their employer contributes 13.8% (over the lel of £8632) as well as their 12% employees contribution giving a total annual national insurance contribution of £1903.31 (9.9%). How much would a national private health cover in comparable countries cost?

    I also wonder what contribution you would have to make from 16/18 years of age for 49 years to obtain a State weekly pension of £129.20 per week from 67 years of age would cost?

  46. Prigger
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Not possible to calculate just now.
    We need to do a Worst Case Scenario for each of the nations states of the EU on Brexit.
    on particular importing enterprises in each of their nations. How it will hit each one of them?

    If for example Estonia, Latvia, Estonia, Slovakia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Slovenia, Sweden, Denmark, Romania, Greece on the 31st October suddenly find they are the ones
    that imports from the UK the thing that drills the hole that holds the ring that drives the rod that turns the knob that works the thingy a me-bob and the new price wipes out their profit margin and stops the drilling of the hole that holds the ring that drives the rod that turns the knob that works the thingy a me-bob and the workers there don’t have a job to buy everything each and every one of them usually buys from one another. Does the EU totally collapse within one month as they have lots of thingy a me-bobs of every description across all their over-integrated EU nutty interconnected enterprises? The Domino Effect in non- military-political but in real economic terms .
    So how are our pre-Brexit advanced trade talks going aimed to can pick up some really cheap stuff across the board from third countries who will suddenly have ultra cheap EU thingy a me-bobs dumped on them and wish to resell them to us for a delightful price?

    • Prigger
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      We can sell the information to each of those smaller EU nations before Brexit for a good price. They will be interested for the smaller EU nations do not have the expert staffs to do such Worst Case Scenarios as they are all working here in the UK

      • Prigger
        Posted August 7, 2019 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

        As I write the BBC are looking at Danish exports to us of bacon. But only from the perspective WE may not get it.But no study by the BBC of how Denmark is going to persuade German Green people, vegetarians, to buy it instead.

        • Prigger
          Posted August 7, 2019 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

          South Africa soaks up much of EU odds and ends of meat. Chicken bits EU nations will not eat much. They cannot afford to buy chicken breasts for the EU producers to secure a profit margin. So if WE don’t buy EU overpriced meat including bacon then they have not got anywhere to go because of their own export regulations.
          Oh shucks! America can afford to buy EU stuff but they have a surplus of Agricultural goods so it is a nothing burger.

          • Eh?
            Posted August 7, 2019 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

            Germany will be told via Brexit as if once wasn’t enough or even twice, that they should not sing prematurely “Tomorrow belongs to me” .
            If anyone should sing it with far more moderation, it in fact belongs to we British, as always and as it should be. 🙂

  47. backofanenvelope
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    I have a radical suggestion. If (!) we leave the EU on Oct 31st we stop paying them anything. We keep careful track of what we save and on Nov 1st 2020 the government adds it all up and that is the extra we have to spend in 2020/21. Put another way, we only spend what we have saved when we have saved it!

    • Mark B
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      Too sensible. I am shocked that this was not moderated out ?

      😉

  48. Prigger
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Tory controlled Local Authorities join with Labour controlled ones to plead poverty.
    The Tory Party does not have the political will and strength to cut boxes of money in increasing size going to Local Authorities for them to waste.
    Cuts to Local Authorities are absolutely necessary. Everyone can see how much they waste. It should be a scandal and Heads of Councils and their ‘Cabinets’ dissolved, sacked, by whatever method. ‘Cabinets’ indeed! What a false, don’t-you-look-good tinny medal of honour for scoundrels.

  49. Prigger
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Are they no Hong Kong people who would like to come and work here with guaranteed accommodation, schooling, transport, social welfare, etc etc who speak enough English to work for at least a time in agricultural food processing until they are back on their feet?

  50. Sunny
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    No point spending anything at all.
    Last year we had a three-week long proper summer. This year so far a two-day summer. Nasty sunshine everywhere.
    Because of Brexit combined with Climate Change we’ll end up next year with summer sunshine for five or six whole weeks covering childrens’ school holidays. Doomed!
    Why can’t it rain like the traditional British summer??????

  51. The Prangwizard
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    I don’t like this talk of spend spend spend. It will be frittered away and after a while there will demands for even more as no-one will acknowledge the benefits should there be any improvements to notice. More likely it will go on further inefficiencies and waste.

    In education for example pupils have not been taught more and to a higher standard. How much money is being wasted on teaching assistants? How have they helped?

    Spend more on building ships for the Royal Navy.

  52. MarkW
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Money needs to be put in place for the changeover from Ro-Ro to containers. The Dover Calais route for trucks rolling on and off is not going to continue. Dover Calais will revert back to what it was in the 1950’s 60’s a route largely devoted to cars and foot passengers with connections to trains.^

  53. Frankh
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Govt will need to spend more on upgrading rundown holiday resort towns – because from now on more people will be taking their hols at home

    • Edward2
      Posted August 7, 2019 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      Well if people flock to UK resorts then they will generate more revenues and these resorts will be able to upgrade with their own money
      It is another win win for Brexit.

  54. Chris S
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    There is no need for much additional public spending.

    By the time the government cancels HS2, leaves the EU and brings Scottish expenditure per person in line with England, there will be no need to increase taxes to pay for a larger military and care for the elderly.

    Sweeping changes to education and the NHS will mean that the money released from the Scottish budget and an end to EU net contributions will be enough to fund both properly.

  55. jonP
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    Yes John- it’s a pity that Boris didn’t make you Chancellor- am sure you’d have it all sorted by now

  56. margaret
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    Quality not quantity

  • 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.

    Promoted by David Edmonds on behalf of John Redwood both of 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU

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