More jobs and lower inflation

This week has brought good news that unemployment is at a 45 year low. Although slowing,  the economy is still generating additional new full time jobs. Pay is rising at 3.6%, usefully faster than price rises at 1.5%.

The combined effect  of job availability in most places with rising pay means people can afford to spend a bit more. Pressures on budgets ease when pay rises by more than prices, and when people get promotion or move to better paid jobs.

It has been a battle to get the state deficit down from the unsustainable Labour levels of 2009-10 to something we can afford. It has taken time to reduce the high levels of unemployment the government inherited in 2010.

There is nothing  wrong with some borrowing, both for individuals and for companies. Buying your own home usually entails accepting a large mortgage. 20-25 years later you own the home with no more mortgage or rent bills to come.  Buying a car with a loan or lease arrangement also makes sense as most people do not have the cost of a car in their savings account. If you have a job and a stable income the car is affordable.

Similarly successful companies can borrow to finance their stock or work in progress, or to finance capital equipment they need to produce their goods or services. A sensible level of borrowing can help their business and enhance returns for their owners.

Some query the need for the state to borrow. Under the new rules the government will only borrow for capital investment. Where the government borrows to deliver a service which the customers pay for, it can be a commercial return like any other. In most cases the state will be offering the service free to the user, paid for out of taxes. This makes evaluating the return more difficult. It does not mean there is no return or no need for necessary capital spending on roads, hospitals or schools. The government has to assess the outcome sensibly.

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60 Comments

  1. Pominoz
    Posted November 14, 2019 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    Sir John.

    I see that Jo Swinson is proposing a massive cash give-away as part of the Lib-Dem manifesto, which would involve increasing Corporation and Capital Gains Tax.

    It is, therefore vital that the LIb-Dems do not hold the balance of power and that Boris, with the aid of the Brexit Party achieve a majority sufficient to be able to deliver on his manifesto commitments including delivery of Brexit and no extension beyond December 2020 of the costly transition period.

    I still have concerns about WA2 and yesterday, a most interesting, but rather disturbing, article (details removed ed) appeared on the briefingsforbrexit.com website. It detailed the many dangerous clauses still contained within Boris’s WA which need to be neutered in order to avoid extremely detrimental effects on the UK’s defence.

    Within hours, the article was pulled. Does anyone know why?

    If anyone reading here managed to read it before it disappeared, they will, no doubt, have understood the serious issues raised. I wonder if it was too sensitive for publication during the election campaign? Does anyone have any comment?

    Reply Ask the website itself. I did not see it. It may have been removed because it was inaccurate. I have been through the draft Treaty and talked to military experts and am satisfied the main issues preserve our right to decide whether to collaborate or not in any EU mission planned, just as the EU has the right to decide if they want our assistance. If I thought otherwise I would have set out my worries on this site.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted November 14, 2019 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      Swinson has seriously damaged her party’s standing, as the latest polls show.

      By sabotaging its very own Fixed Term Parliaments Act, their flagship law, she has enabled this Christmas circus, and increased the chance of the worst possible exit from the European Union. The Act was specifically intended, quite rightly, to prevent this very kind of opportunistic nonsense.

      She has been rumbled well and truly.

      • Fred H
        Posted November 14, 2019 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

        When she said she fully expected to be made PM – I fell about laughing. Hasn’t learned to avoid the question.

    • Pominoz
      Posted November 14, 2019 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      Sir John,

      Thankyou very much indeed for your reassurance. The article, before it was pulled, simply said that appropriate action was needed by Government to ensure that the UK was not unduly compromised in the independence of its defence choices. So pleased that you are comfortable. Your judgment is very much respected here.

    • Hope
      Posted November 14, 2019 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      JR, you should have read it in conjunction with t he articles relating to the EU foreign policy. Perhaps you will then realise it not as clear cut as you suggest. There are many military experts who disagree with you and have wrote at length about it including LT General Riley. Now perhaps you will explain why Mayhab signed up to military initiatives in June 2017 and Nov 2018?

      Then again you lauded the Bloomberg speech of Cameron and the Lancaster speech of Mayhab. How did they turn out?

    • Richard1
      Posted November 14, 2019 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      as set out very clearly by Allister Heath in today’s Daily Telegraph, anyone voting anything other than Conservative (with a very few exceptions in terms of constituencies) is voting for Corbyn.

    • Stred
      Posted November 14, 2019 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      Clauses 103-104 of the PD agree that the UK will form an arrangement with the EU to exchange sensitive information relating to security with terrorism in mind. The other partners in five eyes may be concerned that their sensitive information may be shared with the less trusted members of the EU and withdraw this from the UK.

      Reply Yes, they could be. They are all allies of the US and there could be an agreement with different levels of clearance which protects ultra sensitive 5 eyes material.

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted November 14, 2019 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    Yes but the politicians so rarely do assess the outcomes sensibly. They are lobbied into idiotic spending by vested interests. The care not what they spend not what value they get. It is not their money. The politician is interested in votes so likely to spend it on propaganda or respond to vested interest perhaps even ones they act as “consultants” for.

    Look at HS2 or all the green subsidies for renewables.

    You say “In most cases the state will be offering the service free to the user, paid for out of taxes.“ Indeed and this is clearly grossly unfair competition for anyone else trying to compete in the market. We see this in health care, education, the BBC, in subsidised housing. We have fair competition rules but these never seem to apply to blatantly unfair competition from government. Government should always charge the market rate (perhaps giving people who really cannot pay more in benefits or vouchers so they can pay).

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 14, 2019 at 5:57 am | Permalink

      Frank Dobson who died the other day (some thirty years back) used to live in a very nice Camden council flat in Bloomsbury, opposite the British Museum and just round the corner from us. Perhaps he still did? But exactly why should he have had housing subsidised by the tax payer for all those years when people just round the corner had to buy or rent at the market rate (while subsidising his and lots of other people’s homes too through their taxes? Some even pass “their” council houses on to relatives & children. Surely if people can afford the market rent they should have to pay it?

      I do not Blame Frank Dobson here, but the system that pertains is grossly unfair. People also then tend never to leave the heavily subsidised flat. How are they allocated? (words left out ed) Perhaps for “essential“ as they call them state sector workers or worse still. The solution is simple charge the market rate and assist only those who really cannot afford it. Otherwise you kill fair competition and distort the market unfairly.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted November 14, 2019 at 7:54 am | Permalink

        Employers shifted responsibility for housing onto the rest of us.
        Police houses, mill houses, farm workers, gas workers,large department stores,schools,caretakers, post office etc etc ….all housing for workers at expense of gaffer/council/govt.Obviously govt and council provided houses involved taxation but those workers could never “benefit from the public purse”.
        Right to buy saw council tenants buying eg a council flat in Camden for £30k to be sold a few years later for £150k…proceeds taken to Australia!
        Now it is said that lucky recipients of our forcibly taken tax contributions actually sub let council properties in uber expensive.
        London areas …rent at market rates!
        I believe that now the allocation of council accommodation is based on perceived need…never mind if you have been on waiting list for eons.

        • a-tracy
          Posted November 14, 2019 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

          I wonder if checks are done on housing association/council workers and their families to check on fair allocations in comparison to the rest of the local population waiting for years?

      • Hope
        Posted November 14, 2019 at 9:19 am | Permalink

        JR states under new rules! How long will these last and will they ever be fulfilled that is the real question. Were the old rules ever achieved? Did the Tory party deliver on its central election plank to balance the structural deficit? How many elections was this promised before it was dropped? Say one thing do something completely different.

        I seem to recall Lord Meryin King saying back in 2010 that if any party made the necessary cuts to spending they would not get elected for a generation. Osborn claimed the 80/20 cuts versus tax rise split- never delivered as JR admitted on this site. In reality there was a paper widths difference between Darling and Osborne economic plans, but the Tories accepted all the rhetoric for cuts when they were minimal to what had to be done. Hence Tory govt never fulfilled its election promise but took the flak which they still receive today. It was a deliberate con like immigration, social care promises, big society clap trap by Cameron, leave the EU etc. Always everyone else’s fault not the Tory govt. in charge with all the resources and power to act.

    • Mark B
      Posted November 14, 2019 at 7:46 am | Permalink

      Agreed.

  3. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted November 14, 2019 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    With the government’s green agenda coming many of us will have no choice but to borrow. The price of energy is going through the roof. We’ll all be borrowing to eat and heat. The economics of such folly just don’t add up.

    I see Tusk is interfering in our election. I wonder if he will get as much critisism as Trump did?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 14, 2019 at 7:31 am | Permalink

      I do not suppose Tusk will get any criticism from the BBC. They do not like Trump because he is sound on energy policy, against the anti-democratic EU, against all the green crap subsidies and for cutting taxes – some of the very many things the BBC gets totally wrong.

      I assume Boris is bright enough to cut or at least severly back pedal on all the green crap – post the election – assuming that is he wins. If Corbyn wins perhaps he will listen to his brother Piers (of even appoint him) he being an honest physicist is very sound on green crap, climate alarmism and the real reasons it is being pushed by governments.

  4. GilesB
    Posted November 14, 2019 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    It is impossible to track UK government investments through the current reporting of Public Sector Accounting.

    It is time, indeed long overdue, to move to a modern system.

    The approach used by Australia for example enables them to provide clear reports such as the following from their GFS report on budget 2019-2020

    General government net capital investment
    Net capital investment is broadly defined as the sale and acquisition of non-financial assets less depreciation expenses. It provides a measure of the overall growth in capital assets (including buildings and infrastructure, specialist military equipment and computer software) after taking into account depreciation and amortisation as previously acquired assets age.

    Government capital spending involves acquisition of physical assets, financial assets and provision of grants and subsidies to others (primarily state and territory government), which they use to acquire assets.

    Australian Government general government sector net capital investment is expected to be $4.7 billion in 2019-20, $1.7 billion lower than the net capital investment in 2018-19. This change is largely due to the auction by the Australian Communications and Media Authority of spectrum licences in the 3.6 GHz bands. Overall, the Government’s investment in capital assets is expected to continue to increase over the forward estimates.’

    Reply UK publications provide similar information

    • acorn
      Posted November 14, 2019 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      Depends on Giles which set of books you read, for instance; Cash flows from capital expenditure and financial investment (WGA) are:

      Purchase of non-financial assets £62.6 billion (bn)
      Proceeds from disposal of non-financial assets £3.1 bn

      Net cash outflow from purchase and disposal of
      financial assets and liabilities £47.6 bn

      Net cash outflow from capital expenditure and
      financial investment £107.1 bn.

      However, if you follow the ONS “National Accounts” (a politicised accounting system designed to bamboozle the voters), you will see that “Public Sector Gross Investment” is £83 bn minus £41 bn depreciation equals Public Sector Net Investment of £42 bn.

      As Mr Terry Smith said in his book. If you want to know how a company is doing, follow the CASH. That should apply to governments as well alas, no chance other than WGA gets closer. The fact is if the government used basic cashbook accounting it would totally expose the existence of the magic money tree.

  5. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted November 14, 2019 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    I am gob smacked John. It seems the extra tax on the value of a car is paid on a vehicle costing £40k and above. It’s currently £455 per year. Imagine my supreme to find out this even applies to electric cars. It proves this is just an envy tax. A woman bought an electric car and had a couple of extras fitted but it wasn’t made clear to her that her road tax would be more because of the purchase price. What a joke. Hamming did so much damage while he was chancellor and I doubt it will get any better with the next government. We are obviously being punished for wanting something nice. Shame on us. Bring on the Traban.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 14, 2019 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      But why would anyone sensible buy a car costing £40K+ my three perfectly satisfactory cars 2 petrol and one diesel are worth about £10K in total. They have ranges of 500 to 800 miles and can be fully refilled in a minute or two. They are cheap & easy to maintain and insure and cannot depreciate very much now. Investing the money I have saved (by never buying any new cars) must have made made me at least the value of a nice flat in central London over 35 years or so.

      • Mark B
        Posted November 14, 2019 at 7:52 am | Permalink

        LL

        For a daily, around town runabout I would agree. But for those who aspire and can afford it, why can they not spoil themselves and have something better ? Why should people be punished for their choices ? They worked and saved hard and have probably sacrificed say a nice holiday.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted November 15, 2019 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

          I certainly would not ban them. But I would prefer to invest it in other ways. Each to their own.

      • Fred H
        Posted November 14, 2019 at 8:13 am | Permalink

        Why would you need 3 cars?

        • Lifelogic
          Posted November 15, 2019 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

          Myself, the wife and the children.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted November 14, 2019 at 9:00 am | Permalink

        LL. You could apply to that argument to anything. Why buy an expensive house when you could buy a flat in a tower block in the centre of a sink city?. It’s freedom of choice. Why are people being penalised for spending their already taxed money on a car they like? I’ve had enough of driving old unreliable cars. I am now in a position to buy what I want but to put the road tax up just on cost is unfair when the emissions from that vehicle are probably better than that from an old car. Governments have got to make up their minds.

      • Richard F
        Posted November 14, 2019 at 9:28 am | Permalink

        You can purchase a second hand £10,000 vehicle and if its original list price was £40k+ then you pay the additional tax. It’s nothing to do with the value of the car but to do with the original list price.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 14, 2019 at 9:36 am | Permalink

        Perhaps even two nice flats thinking further on it.

      • libertarian
        Posted November 15, 2019 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic

        It doesn’t matter what you paid for the car on the second hand market its what the list price of the car was

        This is more Conservative Party extortion and envy taxes . Oh for a political party that believed in freedom, aspiration and rational taxes

  6. Mark B
    Posted November 14, 2019 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    I am sorry Sir John but I cannot follow you logic.

    In most cases the state will be offering the service free to the user, paid for out of taxes.

    Well unless you have never paid taxes it cannot be said to be free.

    I have, touch wood, have only five times in my life have needed the services of the NHS. And one of those times was for my delivery. I have paid taxes most of my working life and it therefore can be said that I am a net contributor. I take good care of myself, eat sensibly and take long walks. I am not overweight and have few vices. I accept that there are those that do not and, as such, can be considered a burden to the NHS and Social Services. Some through no fault of their own, others through reckless behaviour. It is this last group that I wish to address.

    Is it not time that those who through their activities, whether it be sport or reckless behaviour (eg drink and drug abuse) were charged for the cost for the use of the NHS ? Those that pursue high impact or risky sports can take personal insurance and those that turn up on a weekend drunk and in need of treatment charged a fixed fee or, if they have to stay overnight, the full cost. Only government is really rather keen to tax us for salt and sugar use.

    Finally, and I am glad others here are coming to the same idea, we need to make compulsory health insurance mandatory on all those entering our country. No health insurance, no entry.

    • MickN
      Posted November 14, 2019 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      Finally, and I am glad others here are coming to the same idea, we need to make compulsory health insurance mandatory on all those entering our country. No health insurance, no entry.

      That should go without saying, but what of the estimated 1 million that are here illegally? We will not solve the problems in the NHS if we continue to treat anyone who turns up free of charge.

      • Mark B
        Posted November 14, 2019 at 7:54 am | Permalink

        . . . but what of the estimated 1 million that are here illegally?

        Deport them. Other countries seem to manage it.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted November 14, 2019 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

          The authorities have no idea who or where they are,

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 14, 2019 at 7:59 am | Permalink

        The NHS are so inefficient that often they do not even charge non UK patients even when they are insured!

      • Hope
        Posted November 14, 2019 at 9:26 am | Permalink

        Tory govt dropped their promise to crack down on health tourism. Another broken promise while Mayhab and Rudd lost hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants! Where do they live, get education and health care? Where do they work? Do they contribute to the hig rise in crime? Perhaps Brandon Lewis wants to blame the EU for that as well!

        Speeding motorists are punished more than criminals inflicting serious injury who are let off with conditional discharges or suspended sentences! Amazing but true. Read your local paper or visit your local court to see the left wing Tory criminal Justice system in action.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 14, 2019 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      We should make everyone who can do pay for the NHS. Then we can get some more private GPs and other private services. Also people would then have some incentive to look after themselves rather than expect everyone else to pay their medical bills. If they took medical health insurance it would be cheaper for those that take care giving further incentives not to smoke, drink too much, have dangerous hobbies or get over hugely over weight.

      This insurance would of course be cheaper still had Hammond & the Tories not put a 12% tax on all insurance! Though insurance to me in general is a bit of duff investment unless you are a high risk and the insurance company do not know this. As you end up paying for all the insurance company profits, overhead costs, large broker commissions and fraudulent claims. Plus the 12% tax! And you have all the hassle/costs of buying the insurance and making the claims. Plus they often try to short change you anyway.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted November 14, 2019 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      I doubt if there is such a thing as a “guiltless” illness. If a principle of self infliction were to be established there would be a spate of “discoveries” involving all manner of lifestyle choices.
      “You should NOT have eaten so many eggs!” Or “ You were warned about meat!”.
      Endless litigation.
      In its communistic desperation the NHS forced people to give up their health insurances. Medicine had worked perfectly well up until then and the two systems could have run concurrently had the great redistributive planners not realised that CHOICE would be their enemy. Many would have wanted to stick with the old system.
      Interestingly a lot of doctors did not want the NHS and took to overprescribing in the hope of bankrupting it.

    • L Jones
      Posted November 14, 2019 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      ”No health insurance – no entry.” Yes, indeed. And this should include everyone, including those people from the EU bloc, on holiday or whatever. If they’re coming to the UK for the purposes of work, then the employer should be arranging health insurance for them.
      No employers’ health insurance – no entry.

      • glen cullen
        Posted November 14, 2019 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

        100% agree ….and this is the policy in many countries

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted November 14, 2019 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    We need real competition not dire state monopolies. In education make nearly all schools private and give children education vouchers that can be topped up. In healthcare scrap free at the point of use and just have a safely net with subsidies for those who really cannot afford to pay. Freedom, choice and fair competition please not “you get what you are given and like it mate so tough”. Not a state monopoly that kills nearly all competition (and many patients too) and is then rationed by long delays, waiting lists or just by not delivering any proper service of any value at all.

    Huge damaging and totally misguided government market distortions in transport, energy and the legal professions too. Yet people like Philip Hammond like to complain about poor productivity in the private sector. Look at the state sector mate (well over 40% of GDP) productivity is abysmal (much produces nothing of value or negative value) and it hugely damages the private sectors productivity too with over taxation, complex taxation, daft employment laws, restrictive planning, dire public services, blocked roads, lack of runway space and endless other red tape. Red tape like May’s totally moronic gender pay reporting and diversity agenda – rather than recruiting on ability to do the job.

  8. agricola
    Posted November 14, 2019 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    And everyone lived happily ever after, but not if the big bad Corbyn and his friends were in power.

    Please put an end to IHT because for far too many it makes a nonsense of that 25years of frugal living that leads to mortgage free home ownership. Decisions as to which car to own have been made difficult due to over hasty government interference in the market place.

    While pointing to the necessity for government investment in health and education because of the obvious return I note you make no case for HS2, a £100 billion plus running subsidies that do not add up.

    As we are in election mode I would emphasise the positive aspects of being free of the overly restrictive EU. With a true Conservative majority and not bound by anything the previous government cobbled together we could have any sort of Brexit we wished. The WTO exit that we have both promoted would I suspect concentrate EU minds on an FTA. Something that WA2 will never achieve because all the levers are in EU hands for the express purpose of keeping their income stream flowing. It would also have profound benefit to all those still within the EU who are fast losing their national sovereignty.

    It could all be over by Christmas.

    Reply I voted against HS2 when Parliament decided to back it. I would support a decision to scrap it if the government concludes in that way following its current review.

    • agricola
      Posted November 14, 2019 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      Thank you for that, however there must have been a majority of the remaining 649 who for varying reasons were in favour. We now know it’s cost and the cost of cancellation. Let Parliament review it before cancellation becomes too costly.

    • Alan Joyce
      Posted November 14, 2019 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      Dear Mr. Redwood,

      I doubt the government will scrap it although I fervently hope it will. Hs2 has bought up land and property worth over a billion pounds already and, no doubt, continues to do so as fast as it can. With some £7.5 billion spent so far, the report will conclude that too much has been spent already to scrap it now.

      What is the latest projected final cost? A snip at £100 billion! For such an astronomical sum of money you could improve every road and rail network in the country and still have money left over to do something about the dreadful flooding in areas that keep flooding.

      It will be scaled back in scope, with some ‘branch lines’ removed. The hourly frequency of trains will be cut and they will run more slowly. There are two things that will not reduce; the final cost of this white elephant project and the salaries of those who are in charge of it.

      And while we are about scrapping useless things, the government should add the BBC to the list.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 14, 2019 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      They have, it seems, ensured the the review is positive – so I assume the daft waste of tax payers money will continue. Read the letter and complaints from the sensible Trinity Cambridge educated engineer Lord Tony Berkely.

      The project is almost as bonkers as all the billions of subsidies for “renewables”.

  9. Dominic
    Posted November 14, 2019 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    No one can deny that State debt is a necessary but reform should always be the priority as it unleashes savings and imposes new methods of arriving at the same point with less cost. But reform it seems is politically inconvenient and would involve conflict with vested interests of the left and Labour. With this in mind it is far easier to capitulate to Labour and continue expend billions with no return. This is pure, pork barrel politics and the liability is absorbed by the ‘man in the street’ who is in effect being asked to finance political cowardice

    Labour’s grip on the State remains and the Tories haven’t the courage to confront that one simple fact. Far easier to keep throwing cash at it

    Debt is a politician’s answer to the sacrifice of principle

    • Nig l
      Posted November 14, 2019 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      Indeed. Just yesterday I read about a million plus illegal immigrants in this country, frankly the Tories have lied on this for years. The Environmental Agency again failing. An HS2 report prepared without the deputy chair with Treasury assumptions unchallenged etc not forgetting the vast cost increases, again dubious spending of the Overseas Aid budget and finally the passing of a war hero whose legacy was trashed and was hounded by an unaccountable Met Police protected by a lily livered Home Secretary.

      That’s just in one day. One hundred billion plus of unnecessary/inefficient spending, add 35 billion to the EU it just goes on.

      And what are we getting during the election. A blizzard of ‘I’ve got a bigger one’ than yours’ statements. Is it any wonder that people view it as the ‘imprudent’ election?

  10. Dave Andrews
    Posted November 14, 2019 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Somehow I feel government borrowing is more to do with a bloated state than capital investment. Yes, I also took out a mortgage when I bought my first home, but I didn’t do so from a position of already being dependent on increasing my debt to support my lifestyle.
    I remember a previous chancellor who claimed he was borrowing only for investment – until everything blew up in his face and his financial rules were all broken.
    The amount the country spends on debt interest dwarfs the amount spent on EU membership, and at least we can claim to get something back from that.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 14, 2019 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      Labour and the Green loons even want to count the £ billions of pointless proposed “investment” in zero carbon as capital expenditure! Complete and utter insanity from them. More like shooting the economy very expensively in the foot or rather both legs and arms.

    • Fred H
      Posted November 15, 2019 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      Dave ….I suspect you may be of an older generation? Back in those days Building Societies arranged by far the most of the mortgage market. I imagine the really wealthy arranged bigger sums on bigger estates/properties. The BS gathered income from their mortgagees/ investors/savers. Thus new mortgages granted roughly equalled income. Once Banks got into it major risks began and sound economics went out the window. Couples could be advanced almost unrepayable sums – and when it inevitably went pear-shaped, enormous deposits became the norm. Does Sir John wish we could go back in time?

  11. Kevin
    Posted November 14, 2019 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    What is the current unemployment rate of people who would rather “die in a ditch”, as a matter of principle, than do what certain legislation demands of them? Would a majority Conservative government take steps to protect such people by amending or repealing particular statutes so that they are not exposed to the humiliating alternative of having to obey them in order to keep their jobs and possibly their liberty?

  12. Fred H
    Posted November 14, 2019 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Until a government is elected that brings consistency of policies, confidence and the courage to do what seems common sense to most folk, small businesses will stay careful avoiding surprise financial risks imposed by each government.

  13. Alan Jutson
    Posted November 14, 2019 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Borrowing for a house to live in, because the only alternative is to rent, is very different to borrowing for something that is not absolutely essential.

    Far too many people, borrowing far too much, for far too long, for things which depreciate far too quickly, seems to be the norm now, then when things do not go to plan work wise, or interest rate wise, they blame others for their problems.

    Funny old World of instant gratification, that we live in now.

  14. Everhopeful
    Posted November 14, 2019 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Off topic but alarming!!
    Sky News voice over just read out a newspaper headline stating that the Tory party is on the verge of wipeout.
    In fact the headline clearly showed that the article is about LABOUR wipeout.
    A mistake maybe…but a very convenient/political bias mistake??
    Neurolinguistics?

  15. Ian @Barkham
    Posted November 14, 2019 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Recently someone somewhere was muttering in the MSM that there was a need for a sovereign wealth.

    If you follow that through all State Investment should be via a wealth fund. The objective being the fund directly receives a return, so has more to invest and the never ending cycle begins.

    Slightly of at a tangent but in the same vein. Sky TV over recent years aired something called the ‘Game of Thrones’ this TV series was funded by the UK taxpayer. By all accounts it was a highly profitable venture for Sky, did any of the taxpayer funding come back directly to fund further similar investments?

    To much of taxpayer money is used as bait seed for commercial adventures. Its part of the system were the ‘tail wag’s the dog’. If one bunch of taxpayers wont fund a so called private enterprise, another in another domain will. That is an inequality that is draining the real need and purpose of taxpayer funded Government.

    As always there is a section that believes Governments have their own money and if they don’t splash it about they are being mean.

  16. Lifelogic
    Posted November 14, 2019 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Indeed nothing wrong with borrowing, both for individuals and for companies. The key thing is to make sure the banks are not ripping you off on interest, terms & fees and that you are investing in something that makes sense even after the interest/fees you have to pay. In the case of the house if you do not have the money you have to either rent the house or rent the money to buy the house.

    Also beware the banks they are quite likely to move the goal post part way through the loan or demand it all back when “they” get into difficulty or if government regulations change. Many UK banks behaved absolutely appallingly to sound and good customer after the banking crash of 2008. Also you cannot trust the banks not to sell the debt to another bank who may be far more expensive and aggressive. Many seem to demand endless pointless red book valuations at your expense now too!

    Gearing a business up can be a good move – but beware of over gearing. Especially until after December 12 – when (hopefully) we can be certain we are not going to have to suffer a Corbyn/Mc Donnall/SNP/Greens/Plaid trip to Venezuela without the sun.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 14, 2019 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      Due to the absurdly high stamp duty rates for expensive properties it usually does not make little sense to buy an expensive one unless you are going to be there for many years (or it is a big bargain). The in an out costs are far to high. These SDLT rates need to be cut preferably to 0%. Turnover taxes are very damaging and at up to 15% they are moronic – thank goodness tax to death and then piss down the drain Philip Hammond has finally gone!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 14, 2019 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

        sorry delete “little”

      • Fred H
        Posted November 14, 2019 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

        stamp duty on any property costing under say £700k is absurd.

  17. glen cullen
    Posted November 14, 2019 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Yes more jobs…that’s great news

    However the increased number of new jobs created in recent years are in direct proportion to the numbers of annual immigration

    • Forward!
      Posted November 14, 2019 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      If you emigrate a person from Country X into Country B then B will not be able to export products to the person from Country X who may have required products specifically needed when resident in Country X
      By a real example. If a person from Latvia emigrates to here, he will have available medicines which he does not need to buy because they are always in the shops and in the hospitals here. But if remained in Latvia he would need to BUY medicines we could export to him for him to keep in his home just in case they were required. Latvia is much depleted of transport, infrastructure to get him to shops and his medical health service is much depleted. It’s doctors, nurses , truck and bus and taxi drivers have been looted by richer EU nations such as France, Austria, Germany, Denmark and, HERE.
      With Independent nations in Europe, we could have a more humane and economical way of distribution of solid goods and humans.Each could have his home surrounded by family and friends who in the main could speak his language and where his children could master his mother tongue and absorb its rich culture and yes proud…history.

  18. Lifelogic
    Posted November 14, 2019 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    You say:- “Under the new rules the government will only borrow for capital investment”

    But Governments count almost anything as investment – even the bonkers renewable energy subsidies which is clearly just pissing money down the drain?

    An investment should be something that pays for itself in say 15-20 years max. including the interest and depreciation – otherwise forget it.
    Reply A lot of things politicians call investment are not so categorised in the national accounts, where an investment is an expenditure on an item that is used for many years like a road or school building. Although people often say we are investing in a young person’s education the costs of teaching are a revenue item

  19. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted November 16, 2019 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    Maybe you should start asking the question “Is providing services free at the point of use a good idea?” or even “Is providing subsidised services a good idea?”

    Why should transport services be subsidised? Transport is a secondary demand; it exists because people wish to go from point A to point B in order to do something. I can just about accept the provision of a few subsidised low frequency bus services that go all around the houses to provide access for the poor and the elderly. However, the PM goes much further and wants bus services all over the country to be run the way that London bus services are. The railways could be run free of taxpayer support if we created privately owned vertically integrated regional railway companies, with income from renting out franchises at stations used to support expenditure on the railway.

    What is the argument for tying housing subsidies to particular properties rather than helping the poor financially and allowing them to spend their own money in their own way? Once a family no longer needs financial support from the State, it should stop.

    This is not an academic matter. The more that we spend on unnecessary support systems, the less there is available for spending on mental health, on new hospitals, on universal broadband etc. Unless, that is, you agree with Corbynomics.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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