Spending money with reform

Some write in to tell me increased spending needs to be accompanied by reform to ensure better quality and efficiency in delivery of the services provided. I agree.

Let’s take the case of schools spending. The government is promoting Free Schools. They have greater freedoms over the curriculum, teacher recruitment and rewards, and management. They can vary the school day and the length of terms. They receive their money direct from central government, removing the Council’s involvement and costs. 30% of these schools are rated outstanding, compared to a 20% level for all schools.

The government plans to drive forward its schools reforms, encouraging more free schools and ensuring more of the money available in the education budget gets to the schools where a Local Education Authority is still involved.

I wonder what is the point of Local Enterprise partnerships. They involve themselves in parts of the transport and training budgets in particular, but there is overlap with Councils who make local transport decisions and central government responsible for the national networks. There is an argument for having just two levels of decision making an budgets, under elected supervision, at central and local government levels.

The costs of government can be reduced. The preparations for Brexit can be achieved more cheaply. We need no more wasteful preparations for Brexits that Parliament blocks nor over the top preparations for eventualities that are not going to take place. Whitehall was gripped with unrealistic pessimism which cost us needless spending.

Government should stop borrowings by Councils that want to acquire portfolios of commercial properties that they buy off the private sector outside their areas. We do not need Councils to become portfolio investors, often buying shops the private sector thinks will fall in value. There may be a case for Councils being involved in new property development investments in their own area, but again there need to be controls over the extent and the wisdom of the investment.

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132 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted January 16, 2020 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    The last thing we want is councils betting on property values using tax payers money they are not even competent at delivering their core activities (see for example the Rotherham and Manchester child abuse). They are also in a totally unfair position as they have some control of the planning system. What is needed is some real, but level playing field competition with planning as a fair & impartial referee.

    It is good that free schools have (some) greater freedoms, though not enough and that they are free of council control and the council costs.

    They should however go the full way to give parent the power by making these free schools charge and actually compete directly for pupils. The parents paying with vouchers given to them and topping these up to get more money for the school. This would then give some fair and genuine competition between state and private schools. It would give use far better schools and parent far more freedom and choice. It would also cost the state far less but with more money put into education.

    Then let the parents choose freely but on a level playing field.

    These schools do not really have all that much freedom over the curriculum as the exam system largely determines much of this (and is now full of climate alarmism and duff distorted science too). Religious education is also compulsory by law. I suppose there is some merit in pupils having some understanding how vulnerable humans are to the many irrational believe systems. Particularly when these are ramming into them when they are often too young to question them.

  2. Mark B
    Posted January 16, 2020 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    Of course thanks to this government I now have to give my council more money to cover other people’s care. What makes it think that councils are best placed to do that. They don’t even empty my bin once a week.

    It seems we are paying in more for less. There are too many layers of government and far too many government departments. We, for example, no longer need the Scottish and Welsh departments. BREXIT and a government majority offers us the oppotunity of reform. Or will there be just more window dressing?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

      Indeed most councils and government have made a compete and mess of domestic and commercial refuse collection/disposals with fly tipping now largely out of control.

    • Posted January 16, 2020 at 7:19 am | Permalink

      Stripping away layers of bureaucracy is not going to please a lot of the people who cram into the local Council offices. Or the County Offices. Or through the back door of No 10 Downing Street either (their numbers have been growing fast).
      Then there are all those people in the NHS who have never even been on a ward and wouldn’t know what to do if they were. And all those people who do “feasibility studies” for our local railway as 1 million a pop.
      As the salaries of the bureaucrats rise, and more and more people see their way to a nice safe way to pay off their mortgage, services are bound to decrease. Fewer people to empty the bins: lots more people to make sure it is done in accordance with… Fewer doctors, but lots more people to check on compliance.
      I could go on…

    • Everhopeful
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      Agree.
      And the utter madness of turning us all into rubbish sorters with the “rule of the sack colour” changing almost weekly.
      We sort the plastic that no one ever wanted and which now is supposed to be problem number one!
      (Before packaging became an industry one metal bin per house was sufficient).
      BTW…if you ever actually get through to any department at the council they are usually “working from home today.” Oh yeah!
      And most councils have hived off responsibility for rubbish anyway.

    • Stred
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      The A,B and residential roads seem to be breaking up faster than ever. How is it that in France they have few potholes and all of their N or our A roads are surfaced with new low noise tarmac, but we can’t afford to mend the roads with holes, which are now joining up?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 16, 2020 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

        Also France is a far larger country (but with a similar population) so far more road surface area to be maintained per head. Plus higher summer temperatures in the south that can melt road surfaces.

    • jerry
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      @Mark B; “We, for example, no longer need the Scottish and Welsh departments.”

      Oh yes we do! The Scottish and Welsh (and NI) departments.act as the checks and balances to any nonsense coming from the devolved parliaments -especially Hollyrood, your idea would be the road to breaking up the UK by stealth. On your wider point though, I fully agree.

      • a-tracy
        Posted January 16, 2020 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

        Jerry, how do the Scottish and Welsh departments stop Holyrood from doing as they wish on devolved matters? Does the Westminster Government via that department have to rubber-stamp every decision the MSPs make? Weren’t ‘The Devolved Parliaments’ the road to breaking up the UK by stealth, wasn’t that why EU supporting Blair liked it so much, a way to split up the United Kingdom into EU regions, marginalise and set region-v-region and thus the UK would became just sub-regions of the united states of Europe, the damage was done.

        • jerry
          Posted January 17, 2020 at 6:44 am | Permalink

          @a-tracy; It is not about preventing the devolved parliaments “doing as they wish on devolved matters”, it is about preventing other matters becoming devolved matters! The damage done by Blair, for wholly political reasons, can not be (easily) undone but creeping UDI can…

          Without dedicated Scottish and Welsh (even perhaps NI) departments who within Whitehall/Westminster is going to speak with any authority expertise on matters as they affect those nations, would it not allow the nationalists to become the day-facto representatives of non devolved matters?

      • Mark B
        Posted January 16, 2020 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

        If that is the case then all I can say they have failed.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      Mark B,

      You are lucky to not have your bin emptied every week. This must be so nice compared with having it emptied all over the garden, roads and drains. I realise councils hope that bin rubbish and fly tipping will fill the ever increasing pot holes, and the floating rubbish provide something to hold on when roads don’t drain due to blockages from years of unswept leaves – I so look forward to more trees, more leaves and more blocked drains. Still it provides something to look at whilst sitting on a bus that stops and starts every 10om with doors inevitably opening besides overflowing drains, kids shouting obscenities – often lyrics of the latest woke artiste, holding tightly to one’s belongings as the literally never washed shove past. On a good day there may be a seat for a few minutes before 3/4 is given up to a neighbouring body expanded by the past decades of a plant based diet of sugar, seed oils, artificial vegetable saturates and excessive carbs (the epidemiology of the ‘good’ of plant based vs the ‘evil’ of meat, eggs and milk stares us in the face and knocks us off our seats). But these problems cannot be solved without efficiency gains and growth the politicians say – the bus passes a car wash of 8 able (or otherwise) bodied men (or otherwise) and one wonders if they could be freed up by some kind of carwash machine, a food delivery person passes by, innivatively increasing the GDP of the country by a person making a trip with food replacing a person making a trip with food… Still, each evening can be spent refilling the bin whilst wondering what is playing on the obligatory purchased BBC.

      I agree. The fact that much of the UK cannot do rubbish collection indicates how far it has fallen. (I have some sympathy for unpaid councillors, I don’t know the paid council officers)

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted January 17, 2020 at 1:10 am | Permalink

        Caterpillar: A certain amount of nonsense there. The vast majority of vegetarians and vegans are not overweight. There are far more fatties amongst the flesh tearers who stuff their faces with burgers, fried chicken, kebabs, dead pig and crap filled food like sausages. Many flesh tearers also over consume plant foods like crisps, chocolate, cakes and biscuits. Even the cheese laden pizza has to have pepperoni on it. What a revolting bunch of gluttons. And what a drain on the health service. Such people should surely have their jaws wired up to save ‘our NHS’

        • Caterpillar
          Posted January 17, 2020 at 8:26 am | Permalink

          Mike Wilson,

          I strongly disagree.

          The issue is that as people swapped to a more plant based diet over the past half century they did swap to unhealthier diets and obesity grew. Of course many people get healthier (at least in short term) if they switch to a vegan diet, they basically clean up what they are eating for sometime. (Indeed switching to any diet tends to mean people are more observant of what they eat). Nonetheless, just pushing to more plant based as animal products are painted evil tends to lead to replacement with more junk and, indeed, more calories due to reduced satiety effects. Moreover the impact on the elderly with increased muscle wastage due to reduced protein is dramatic, indeed the reverse has proved effective e.g. over 80s given 15 to 20grams of whey protein with breakfast slowing the decline (even without resistance training though of course that would help nearly everyone). In terms of tackling obesity by cleaning diets without cheat days (known to lead to failure), the progressive change by first adding more protein (meat and eggs are protein dense compared with calories consumed), then a vegetable a day, then tackle total calories via the bads has a tendency to stick as a diet pattern more easily.

          Of course reducing obesity and increasing strength would help the health of the country enormously. This is more readily achieved for many via increasing animal product consumption with associated diet changes (though with care it can be done with peas and hemp), progressive increased resistance training and avoiding muscle destroying endurance events.

          Telling people to reduce animal products will mean many will eat more s**t as we know from the past half century.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      On the LEPs yes, they do seem to have extended tentacle-like into areas of training, property etc.

      2 areas do bear thinking about.

      There’s a real need to extend the Innovate UK model, whereby smaller companies which don’t have the wherewithal to connect and hear about the problems encountered by larger companies are able to become their customers by proposing novel solutions. This needn’t be costly – it requires a handful of ambassadors to catalyse the process, no more than that.

      Second, education, training and apprenticeships-again, the system needs streamlining throughout. There’s so much wasted money washing around training the wrong people for the wrong things, evidenced by the need to import so many staff. Focussing on the end customer and working back should again be the goal, to revolutionise the UK learning system.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      Not only other people’s care – every one of those who walks in – or sets sail from Calais for a life here – costs us. They don’t care. They get into a country with a full infrastructure, having contributed nothing in work or taxes, then sit back and laugh as their taxpayer funded translators take up multiple appointment times at the taxpayer funded NHS, each time stopping several of us even getting a rushed ten minute appointment. Then they go back to their taxpayer funded housing etc etc.

      The govt should write a manual – “How to turn a decent country into a Third World Hell” – because they are doing a damn good job of that at least.

    • a-tracy
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      I agree with MarkB, why do we need Scottish and Welsh Departments, how many people are in them? They have enormously expensive devolved institutions employment very many people so what are the roles now? Where is the English Department?

      John, this is all talk, no cutting of roles will take place they will just be moved around and renamed as always.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted January 17, 2020 at 1:13 am | Permalink

        Indeed it is all talk. Just like Cameron’s alleged ‘bonfire of the quangos’. Once they are sucking on the public teat, it is impossible to remove them.

    • JoolsB
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      Totally agree Mark. Why do Scotland, Wales & NI need their own departments as well as their own parliaments/assemblies as well as sending an army of MPs to the UK Parliament where much of what they do nowadays is just interfering and voting on English only matters. Plus why do their constituents get far more spent on them than we English?

      Perhaps our kind host who purports to speak for England could explain.

      • Mark B
        Posted January 16, 2020 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        Jools

        Pop over to the EHRC website. At the top of its website you see links to Welsh and Scottish versions complete with flags, but no mention of an English version. And this is common throughout all government institutions. But it is the duplicity of it all. Can’t we just have one UK version and, if not, have an defined English one ?

        • JoolsB
          Posted January 16, 2020 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

          I agree. England’s very existence is denied by 650 self serving MP’s who put their own self interests before equality for England. This Tory Government with the exception of 20 seats owe their majority to England and yet they refuse to address the democratic deficit that is England. They deliberately don’t say England when they know dam well much of what they talk about only applies to England. Devolution is not going to be reversed so the only way forward if we call ourselves a democracy is a Parliament for England so we too have a voice and someone sticking up for England, unlike now, demanding an end to the rotten deal our kids, our sick and our elderly get compared to the rest of the UK but they’ll fight that tooth and nail because an EP would mean a dilution of their powers and a huge cull in their numbers and as their actions have proved their self preservation will always come before fairness for England.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted January 16, 2020 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    The costs of government can indeed be reduced. They could quite easily be halved, were there any government. There is clearly no such will. They will not even cancel HS2 or the insane renewable subsidies it seems.

    This halving of government admin. costs could be done without any loss of public services or at least the rather few that are actually worth having.

    Allister Heath is surely right today:- Boris’s task is to rescue Britain from our absurd technocratic tyrants. A new establishment of ‘meddlesome overlords’ has seized control of most of our major institutions.

    But is Boris up to it?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      I’m sorry, but are you not endlessly arguing for the country to be run by scientists and engineers?

      That would, by definition be a technocracy.

      • jerry
        Posted January 16, 2020 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

        @MiC; I think Mr Life is arguing for better educated and more experienced politicians, I tend to agree!

        As for creating a technocracy, perhaps it might, but better that than the autocracy found in Brussels, Luxenbourg and Strasbourg…

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted January 17, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

          Can you please give an instance of any “autocratic” edict issued by a European Union official?

          That is, which is not part of a law, approved by our elected MEPs and by our appointed Council?

          • jerry
            Posted January 17, 2020 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

            @MiC; Just about every “Directive” that has come direct from the EC, rather than legislation that has come via the EU parliament!

            Try reading Article 288 of the TFEU…

          • NickC
            Posted January 17, 2020 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

            Martin “approved by our elected MEPs”??! Hahaha, oh ho hahaha, stop it I can’t breathe!!

    • Know-Dice
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      LL – I reckon the Civil Service is about 5% efficient (this conclusion is as a result of a friends dealing with a Treasury Solicitor), their SOP is:

      1. Cover your backside
      2. Cover your colleagues backside
      3. Empire build
      4. Achieve nothing
      5. End up with a “Gold Plated” pension

      • Fred H
        Posted January 16, 2020 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

        4. should read ‘Avoid making decisions’.
        5. should read ‘ When forced to, ensure said decision goes upstairs’
        6. Enjoy the “Gold Plated” pension.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 16, 2020 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

        I suspect you are right. How on Earth can it cost £500k to bash a large bell with a hammer eleven times? 5% efficient perhaps, but mainly at doing things that were not wanted by the public anyway!

  4. Mick
    Posted January 16, 2020 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    Off topic
    https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1229033/eu-news-leo-varadkar-ireland-boris-johnson-leave-Brexit-trade-deal-donald-trump
    Varadkar isn’t so smug now , now Boris as a huge majority and not being held back by Westminster the boot is on the other foot Mr Varadkar , Mr Johnson will dictate the terms and not you or your Eu loving mps in Parliament

    • jerry
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      @Mick; Indeed, and the UK needs to push for a full and speedy TA with the USA in parallel with our TA talks with the EC, and without the sort of nonsense we have seen coming out of DEFRA since 13th Dec. All that is needed is clear Labelling, the consumer can then make up their own minds. The market should be lead by the consumer, not the politico or those with protectionist agendas.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted January 17, 2020 at 1:16 am | Permalink

        Why do we need a trade deal with the USA? What do you want to buy from them?

        • jerry
          Posted January 17, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

          I already need to buy US sourced items, but tend to pay a premium due to on-going EU tariffs, there are other items I would like to be able to buy/use but can not legally do so because of the lack of a EU derived “E” mark test – not that the USA made product is any less safe.

          As for DEFRA matters, personally I would have no problem eating US chlorine ‘washed’ chicken [1] or hormone injected beef, the one thing the people of the USA are not doing is dying of food poisoning – quite the opposite, many seem to be overly nourished! Allow traders/consumers the choice, that is all I’m asking for!

          [1] in the same way as we already eat chlorine ‘washed’ fruit and veg due to EU regulations

        • NickC
          Posted January 17, 2020 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

          Mike Wilson, Your ignorance is showing. The UK sold the USA (goods and services) £121bn in 2018 (Pink Book); and we bought £77bn worth (inc their food, as it is higher quality than EU food) from them.

          If you mean a comprehensive trade deal encompassing goods and services, I do not think we should have a “trade deal” with the USA. But then I do not want such a trade deal with the EU either.

          • jerry
            Posted January 17, 2020 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

            @NickC; A “comprehensive trade deal” could be a simple agreement to trade without imposing tariffs or other protectionist regulations. KISS!

            Obviously goods imported/exported would have to be compliant with locality.

      • dixie
        Posted January 17, 2020 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

        We already have clear labeling on foodstuffs, if you can believe the stores, and I avoid all Irish products, along with German, French and Spanish. At the moment I do buy some Polish, Italian and Greek foodstuffs.

        With other products it is less clear which directly benefit Ireland, eg software, while with others you can find out quite readily, eg financial products.

        Cadbury’s have taken to obfuscating the country of origin so I avoid these items as well.

        I agree we must have clear, enforced and monitored marking so we can make informed buying decisions.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      No, Ireland has twenty-six nations of four hundred and fifty million people, with a GDP of umpteen trillion resolutely behind it.

      Johnson’s majority gives him far more scope, now that he can forget the DUP, and the extremists in his own party.

      I’d choose a more reliable source.

      • Edward2
        Posted January 16, 2020 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

        The EU Commission will drop Ireland if it suits them
        They have a plan and nothing must get in the way.
        There is no real community.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted January 17, 2020 at 7:43 am | Permalink

          The Commission is not the supreme power in the European Union.

          The European Council of the twenty-eight leaders is.

          The Commission answers to them.

          Ireland has general friendship amongst their nations.

          • Edward2
            Posted January 17, 2020 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

            I didn’t say it was.
            If Ireland have no political usefulness to the EU they will be ignored.
            Once their election is over and the current lot are ousted the EU will do just that.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted January 17, 2020 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

            Who are “the EU”?

            What do you mean?

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      It’s a shame the EU were led by May and Co into thinking we were a pushover. Boris’ job is sadly far tougher now than had it been otherwise.

      • Fred H
        Posted January 16, 2020 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

        you call it a shame, lots of us would call it a f’ing disaster.

    • Harka
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      Stupid comment- remarking like this on a different country with very different people- they with proportional representation- they have it right- and yesterday Mrs von der Lyen was over in Dublin on a ‘catchup’ with her old friend Veradkar and laid it out about Veradkars Ireland- Ireland will be in the EU mix- not forgotten about. Meanwhile most MEPs are just waiting around for 31st 2300hrs to clap out the 73 UK loser leavers- but out to where?- stupid

      • jerry
        Posted January 16, 2020 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

        @Harka; Wrong, Ireland will be in what ever “mix” its people wish to be in, not what some Eurocrat wants. PR or no PR voting system.

        Do remember that Ireland rejected the original EU Constitution (until they got feed up being asked to vote again and again), the Irish people have some very strong personal or historic ties with the USA, whilst Irish bushinesses have a very strong trading links with the USA.

      • NickC
        Posted January 16, 2020 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        Harka, You demonstrate exactly why we voted Leave.

    • acorn
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      Have a read of the first six slideshows from the new improved, fully armed, EU UKTF (Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom). Northern Ireland looks set to be the proxy battleground; Boris’s weakest flank.

      https://ec.europa.eu/commission/brexit-negotiations/negotiating-documents-article-50-negotiations-united-kingdom_en?field_publication_type_tid_i18n=All&field_core_tags_tid_i18n=351

    • Mark B
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      Mick

      Let’s see. 😉 I seem to remember the May administration started off much the sameway, only to disappoint.

    • Lazlo
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      Mick- you gotta admit that Veradkars Ireland is punching well above its weight. There’s a GE going on there at the moment which is probably going to throw up another Irish minority government but from what I see they can cope well enoigh with that- sensible people that have been through a lot but get on ok without complaining.

  5. DOMINIC
    Posted January 16, 2020 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    We shouldn’t have to write in to inform you that reform is badly needed. And let’s not focus entirely on the issue of how public monies are spent by public sector bodies and those individuals with a political position to promote.

    Focus also on the political ownership of public spending control. Is public money being spent to finance the delivery of important services to the public or is money being spent to achieve the aforementioned while also promoting the influence and spread of a political party or the promotion of political ideas

    Education is a classic example of how public money is abused by those who deliver education to promote their political and social agenda. This is unacceptable. The left have infected education. They promote increasingly a form of education that is political and social indoctrination.

    Access to public funding is eagerly sought by those who see it as a conduit to finance their political agenda. Labour, the unions, ‘charity’ groups, Quangos and left-wing pressure groups like the BBC, CH4, Guardian and their associated allies constantly feed at the trough like rats on a carcass. They worm their way into the gilded cage of public lolly and cling on for dear life knowing a Tory government fearful in the face of criticism will allow this abuse.

    It is astonishing just how weak and pliable a government can be when the nasty card or racist card is played against you. You even see UK governments (ex-PM May) pass authoritarian laws to crush freedom of speech on issues hoping to protect their own party. Yes, freedom of express sacrificed to promote the interests of a political party. We truly have entered into a world so brutal that this can be allowed to happen

    So, this is not just about reform but depoliticisation of our public bodies. It is about moral based laws not laws to promote a form of politics. It is about bankrupting Labour and the left and stopping them from feeding off my taxes to promote their sinister aims

    The thing is, your party know this is happening and you do nothing about it. Well, if your party doesn’t care why should we? The more I read the CW and the real world topics they cover the more I realise just how morally bankrupt the Tory party is.

    • jerry
      Posted January 17, 2020 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      @Dominic; “Education is a classic example of how public money is abused by those who deliver education to promote their political and social agenda.”

      You mean like Section 28 etc…? Nice rant and own goal there Dom!

  6. Lifelogic
    Posted January 16, 2020 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Yet more absurd alarmist propaganda on BBC’s Newsnight last night following the Flybe decision.

    Complete and utter drivel like:- A drum beats that is getting faster ……. like frogs in a jar slowly boiling …………the Thames Barrier overcome, large parts of London would be uninhabitable, 1.5 million people to lose their homes and the most economically productive part to the country (London) completely lost. Best estimates are for about a 2 inch rise in sea levels in 100 years but this was not mentioned by the BBC!

    In fact aircraft can now be rather more efficient (per passenger mile) than a car with single occupancy. They also do not need a long track or road and are flexible on routes as demand changes. Trains when occupancy, ticketing, staff, end connections, track etc, are considered are not very much better (BBC staff never seem to understand this). If they are that efficient then why do train tickets often cost £1 per mile when a full car (or even a flight) can be as low as 2p a passenger mile?

    Then we have Matt Hancock going on about electric aircraft! Perhaps he is anticipating some huge miracle breakthrough in battery technology weight/cost/capacity ratios or he perhaps he just does not have a clue (PPE yet again so rather likely). Range anxiety is even more of a problem on aircraft than cars Matt! Also aircraft are turned round in about 45 minutes so recharging them for 10 hours for an hours flight would have to have perhaps 10 times the number of aircraft parking/charging points and 10 times as many aircraft for the same capacity!

    Even if you accept that CO2 is a huge problem (which is not really what the science says at all) then it would be far better to fly (using current aviation or later artificial aviation fuels) and then to mitigate the CO2 by using carbon capture, nuclear and saving CO2 emissions on ground transport systems where weight/range/charge times and safely issues are less critical of by other carbon offsetting.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      Can Matt Hancock not find some sensible engineer or physicist to explain energy, climate and transport realities to him. As Richard Feynman put it:- For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.

    • Stred
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      The current rate of sea level rise. as in the previous century, is about 3mm a year or 300mm/100. This could easily be dealt with by raising barriers, as could the extreme warmist estimates of a metre.
      Yesterday then flipping channels we were treated to a Labour MP saying that “half the world is burning” and extinction rebellion children should be invited into government to discuss what is needed to stop it. We had the head of the Met Office saying that the bush fires in Australia would become normal, when the Australian firefighters are telling everybody that they are caused by green zealots refusing to remove undergrowth and dead wood.
      The worrying thing is that ministers and civil servants are similarly brainwashed by the green propaganda put out every day by the BBC and other ignorant journalists. The ban on alternative views needs to be reversed, otherwise poverty and hypothermia awaits.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 19, 2020 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

        Indeed.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      Now, I believe that CLOCKWORK is the answer!!
      Or would the effort of winding create more CO2??

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 16, 2020 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        Well if wound up by hand it certainly would – especially if the winder lives mainly on meat. Sun energy, to plants, harvested, fed to animals, to abattoir, to (some usable meat), packaged up, to freezer, to butcher, packed again, to fridge, to frying pan, cooked on gas or electricity, to human food to glucose, to arm muscles, to spring (and much waste heat). Not a very efficient energy chain. The same applies to cyclists and walkers too not that the BBC or the greens understands this.

        Springs (or rubber bands) that the hold very much energy are rather heavy and rather dangerous. But about as sensible as batteries.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted January 16, 2020 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

          Fire planes from big spring loaded cannons perhaps. The G forces might be a bit much for some of older frail passengers though. Helium balloons perhaps – to carry the heavy battery behind the electric plane so it can stay plugged in as it flies.

    • Posted January 16, 2020 at 7:54 am | Permalink

      Whether you agree or not decarbonisation is the current go to word with the investment strategies and politics increasingly channeled in it’s direction. The CEO of a massive fund manager said recently that he would be switching investment from traditional ‘fossil fuel’ companies to those with and promoting green technology and other analysts are saying that is where future growth opportunities lie.

      We are already seeing massive cost reductions and increases in efficiency in both solar and wind generation.

      Massive investment already in battery’s etc can only be good for economies. I see only benefit no downsides.

      The dinosaurs were wiped out by a massive meteor strike 65 million years ago.Be careful that carbon does not do the same now.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 19, 2020 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

        When it works and is cost effective fine. Rolling out duff and premature technology early with tax payer bribes is idiotic.

    • dixie
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      “anticipating some huge miracle breakthrough in battery technology weight/cost/capacity ratios or he perhaps he just does not have a clue”

      Apparently IBM labs are claiming just that – minerals and compounds from seawater and not needing “conflict” materials such as cobalt; non-flammable electrolyte, recharge 80% capacity in 5 minutes, 100,000+ recharge cycles.

      They reckon low power products could be available in 2 years with high power demanding apps like EVs taking longer but there is not enough data yet as they are being very coy with commercially sensitive data. For example I have not seen any info on charge retention or cost as yet.

      The issue of power generation remains but the limitations on that are primarily political rather than technological.

    • jerry
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      @LL; “If they are that efficient then why do train tickets often cost £1 per mile when a full car (or even a flight) can be as low as 2p a passenger mile?”

      Might I suggest you try comparing apples with apples, rather than with oranges, road users have never paid the full cost of infrastructure, TOC have to pay Franchise costs etc. You might also wish to examine the cost of fuel between the three transport sectors – remind me, what’s the usual/current taxation duty rate on aviation fuel?

      All three modes of transport are economic, when used optimally, all three can fall well short when not.

      “perhaps he just does not have a clue (PPE yet again so rather likely).”

      Cough! After all, one of the differences between your beloved STEM degrees and a PPE is the latter includes economics…

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 17, 2020 at 6:28 am | Permalink

        What do you mean road users pay far more than the cost of road maintenance in fuel duty about 80% of of the cost, vat and vehicle duty. Trains pay no taxes on fuel, no VAT and are very heavily subsidised too!

        PPE may included Economic but so few with such degrees seem to have understood real economics. Most seem to be magic money tree merchants.

        • jerry
          Posted January 17, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

          @LL; If you truly think VED and fuel duty alone has paid for road maintenance and new road building … and you then have a nerve to suggest others do not understand economics, and that they believe in magic money!…

          • Lifelogic
            Posted January 19, 2020 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

            Wrong again look it up.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      The Sir David Attenborough BBC “interview” (of the what would you like to say next Sir type BBC1 about 8.05am) by David Shuckman apparently the BBC’s first science editor (Durham Geography). He then goes on to tell us all how spot on and wise Sir David was!

      Attenborough went on about the all the oxygen we breath coming from plants. Indeed and one of the big positives of more atmospheric C02 is that we get more plant, crop and tree growth all nicely greening the planet (and giving us more oxygen). But Sir David (nor Science Editor) failed even to point this out.

      The BBC is totally absurd on this topic pure propaganda almost everyday.

      Please, please cancel C026, tell the BBC to show some balance, repeal the Climate Change Act and abolish the absurd Committee on Climate Change chaired by Lord Debden (Gummer). Abolish this whole crony capitalism industry now please.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 16, 2020 at 10:34 am | Permalink

        COP26 I meant.

        I read that:- The cost of a UN climate change conference in Glasgow could be “several hundred million pounds”, police say!

        Why? Just for a (pointless and actively damaging) conference?

  7. margaret
    Posted January 16, 2020 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    Whilst an attempt to cut out the middle man seems cost effective , I wonder how many possibly could be unemployed with the inception of direct free school grants , although councils always do seem to complicate things and are not able to see wood for trees.

  8. Everhopeful
    Posted January 16, 2020 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Two seemingly conflicting laws on this 2003 law says it’s ok …2009 law says unlawful. Position needs to be clarified?
    Artificially low interest rates have allowed this.
    Gambling with taxpayers’ money and not doing the day job is really just not on.
    And why ( in the face of so called austerity) does the Town Clerk earn so much??
    Can’t mend potholes but can waste millions on those horrible new street lights which do all sorts of damage to eyes and brains.
    Not to mention the councilly habit of scooping up land and buildings specifically donated”to the people” of wherever.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      Weren’t similar shenanigans revealed in the wake of 2008 crash?
      Still at it?

  9. Pete S
    Posted January 16, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    OT: It was something I saw that took part in the EU Parl yesterday. The discussion, was about Democracy in Europe, headed by the Commissioner for Democracy. It was about how to improve democracy. I was bemused that an institution that is supposedly built on the bedrock of Democracy, is so bad that it needs a commissioner to go around Europe to put it straight.

    The Irony and farcical nature of the discussion is lost on the EU project zealots. When will the citizens of Europe wake up and see the institution for what it is.

  10. Lifelogic
    Posted January 16, 2020 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Sir David Attenborough with yet more BBC climate alarmism today they never stop:-

    “As I speak, south east Australia is on fire. Why? Because the temperatures of the Earth are increasing,” he said It is “palpable nonsense for some politicians and commentators to suggest that the Australian fires were nothing to do with the world becoming warmer”.

    Well Sir David if you have lots of flammable wood and scrub lying around in a hot dry climate then sooner or later it is likely to catch fire from lightning, human activity or similar. It has done so for many millions of years. Insects have even evolved to detect & exploit the absence of predators following such fires. Trees, plants and animal species have evolved to be able to survive and regrow or recover the gene pool following them. You surely must know from your understanding zoology/evolution but you did not mention it for some reason.

    The idea of leaving lots of flammable material around in a hot dry climate and then expecting it not to catch fire (sooner or later), just because you have installed a few more solar cells on some roofs or some more bird and chomping wind turbines somewhere and by this have reduced atmospheric CO2 by virtually nothing (or even actually nothing) is for the birds mate and indeed the poor exploded bats.

    You are surely making yourself look rather daft taking this absurd, emotional and clearly irrational line. You line is surely the “palpable nonsense”.

    The really climate crisis is caused by the absurd war on carbon dioxide and fossil fuels which is killing thousands here and now.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      People cooking over fires because they do not have electricity or gas or clean water or electric lights for example.

  11. Andy
    Posted January 16, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    I agree some of the Brexit spending has been bonkers.

    We paid millions for ferries to a company without ships.

    We paid to practice creating lorry traffic jams in Kent. (Really).

    We paid for a scheme to turn the M20 into a lorry park.

    We are now paying to remove the M20 lorry park scheme.

    Collectively we all paid to close down the European Medicines Agency – sending thousands of good jobs to the continent. We are paying to replicate the work of the agency we paid to mov.

    Our contribution to Galileo has been pointless as you voted to leave it.

    We paid to shut down Parliament and for 2 Queen’s Speeches in a few weeks.

    We paid for an extra two general elections because Brexiteers didn’t like the result of the first ones.

    We pay a lot of money for extra security for MPs – particularly women MPs – to protect them from angry Brexit voters.

    Mr Farage and Mr Francois also wanted taxpayers to pay for Big Ben to bong. They are trying to crowdfund this now but, no doubt, we will still have to pay to police it.
    We didn’t need police when a million remain voters marched but security has been required whenever a few dozen angry Brexiteers gather in public.

    This is just the tip of the Brexit iceberg. It doesn’t mention the bribe to Nissan, bailing out Flybe and the £170bn (so far) Brexit hit.

    But apparently many of you think it is worth it. Though none of you has ever come close to having any evidence to prove it.

    • Edward2
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

      You still don’t get it Andy.
      It isn’t about trade.
      It isn’t about money.
      It is about being independent.
      Look back at history, most conflicts have been about people wanting to be free.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted January 17, 2020 at 7:48 am | Permalink

        No, it absolutely isn’t about money to the European Union either.

        So give up on all the “they need us more than we need them” nonsense finally, yes?

        It is about furthering the values of the Enlightenment at heart.

        • Edward2
          Posted January 17, 2020 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

          Again you attribute words to me that I have not said.
          I have told you why I believe most people voted to leave the EU.
          It is up to you whether you accept that.
          I don’t really care if you do or you don’t.

        • NickC
          Posted January 17, 2020 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

          Martin, For the EU it is about furthering EU power.

        • dixie
          Posted January 18, 2020 at 10:04 am | Permalink

          MiC … please don’t say nasty things about the EU because they really have your best interests at heart and are seeking Enlightenment ….

          Codswallop.

          The EU is in the process of destroying nations and they really, really do not care about the people. Quite the opposite when you consider their adulation for Merkel, the architect of so much misery throughout their empire

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted January 17, 2020 at 1:23 am | Permalink

      The usual inaccuracies. No money was paid to the ferry company with no ships.

    • NickC
      Posted January 17, 2020 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      Andy, The country has changed direction – from old fashioned EU policies to new independence policies, so of course we are spending money on the new, just as you spend on a new car when you dump the old one.

      Your entire list (except your imaginary £170bn – evidence??) amounts to less than one week’s bill that the EU levies (about £370m/wk) which we’ve had to pay up until now. Yes, there will be a crossover where we’re still paying the legacy Danegeld to your EU empire, but that will soon be over.

  12. Fred H
    Posted January 16, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    From the BBC website.
    The Westminster government is to give the NI Executive an extra £1bn to support the Stormont deal. A further £1bn will be added to Stormont’s budget as an automatic result of spending plans for the entire UK. The government said there will be “a rapid injection of £550m to put the executive’s finances on a sustainable footing”.
    That will include £200m to resolve the nurses’ pay dispute.

    The government said the financial package will “be accompanied by stringent conditions” contained within the Stormont deal, around “accountability for public spending” and the development of “sustainable public services”. It added that the deal includes strict financial conditions, such as the establishment of an independent fiscal council. However, the government added there are no stipulations for extra revenue-raising by the executive.

    -another sweetener to calm the unrest. Do we really want to continue this bribery? Isn’t it about time the N.Irish sorted out their own mess?

  13. margaret howard
    Posted January 16, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    The cost of Government should be slashed as a priority. 800+ lords? 650 MPs? How do these numbers compare with the American system?

    Their restaurants, bars, cellars etc should have their subsidies removed. The number of unelected civil servants and all the privileges they enjoy should be curtailed.

    The cost of the unelected head of state and family should be drastically reduced. If the country is not ready to do without such an outdated institution then at least we should have a say in its succession along the line of the Spanish system.

    In fact the whole outdated, creaky, expensive administration needs a drastic overhaul.

    • Peter from Leeds
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely agree. The whole system was designed to running an empire. Considering that many employers now do not allow alcohol to be consumed hours before work – for example working at sea, working on the railway or flying – it seems ridiculous that our MPs feel it is appropriate to allow alcohol (subsided???) anywhere near the machinery of government.

      • Peter from Leeds
        Posted January 16, 2020 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        Sorry – subsidised.

      • Peter from Leeds
        Posted January 16, 2020 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

        Sorry sir, should have said most MPs – present company excepted.

    • Ian@Barkham
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

      USA – 435 lower house (mps), 100 upper house (Lords). All elected and accountable to the people

      Population 350 million

  14. dixie
    Posted January 16, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Spending money with reform? How about the idiocy of £500,000 to ring Big Ben. The vast majority of Leave voters won’t hear it directly so the sound will likely be broadcast so why not use a recording anyway. If you must fund bells then donate to the many bell towers around the country and have them ring so much more of the country will actually hear the peals.

    • a-tracy
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      Where on earth did that figure come from? How was it calculated? I thought they rang out at New Year.

    • Bob
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      The £500k is just an invented excuse to stop it from happening.
      They’re now saying they wouldn’t accept the £500k from private citizens anyway.
      Big Ben is not for hire.

      The fireworks have also been cancelled.

      Anyone would think that the civil service don’t want to mark the occasion.
      I suspect that the attendees at the party may find themselves being kettled and issued with section 14 notices.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      I tend to thing most bell ringers will be lefty, remainer types but perhaps I am wrong. Maybe just the ones I have met.

      • dixie
        Posted January 17, 2020 at 4:27 am | Permalink

        @LL – just to clarify, are you saying that anyone who is not completely self centred but spends any amount of time in the community is left wing?

    • miami.mode
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      Agree, Dixie, they’re bonging away every night on Radio 4.

    • Ian@Barkham
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

      After the new year , as part of the ongoing refurbishment the interals of the tower have been removed I.e floors stairs and so on.

      Reinstalling something to let the bells ring has a cost directly and in directly with the contractors whom under a time constraints contracts to finish.

      Nice idea, bad timing .

  15. dixie
    Posted January 16, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    “Profit with a purpose” In the context of spending and reform I would also urge looking at two further aspects, borrowing by local authorities and the trend towards commercialism by local authorities.

    Recently Wokingham Council borrowed a staggering amount to build commercial premises in the centre of Wokingham laying responsibility on tax payers in areas that do not enjoy the benefits. As a rate payer I was never consulted and frankly find the councils focus on the needs of their local centre to the detriment of outlying settlements obnoxious to say the least. As a result of the discriminatory treatment and neglect of my area I voted other than Conservative in the last local elections. I will likely continue to do so while the Wokingham centrist approach continues.

    I find the related trend towards local authority commercialisation questionable. In the light of the large borrowing for the recent development Wokingham have now announced a £24m allocation for a commercial solar farm. Apparently their was a consultation which I never heard or or was asked. This seems to be driven by a policy of “commercial activity driving a social purpose” but using funds extracted from the rate payer without consultation or choice. I also don’t see any concerns that they may be damaging existing or future private sector businesses – ie the people who pay the rates.

    Until it is clear how such public sector activity is balanced against private sector this needs to stop and a proper debate held.

    And, no Wokingham council I don’t want a bloody tree.

    • Ian@Barkham
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

      I can just about remember when Wokingham Council was one of the most efficient and effective in the UK. It also was able to boast one of the lowest rates to its residents in the UK.

      The are now intent on giving everyone tomorrow’s slums today at a high cost.. They are hell bent on causing traffic chaos – the traffic problems are all 100% of their own making. The Wokingham Council has put in place restrictions and hold ups, that increase pollution. As I see it deliberate.

      While some on the Council present themselves as Conservative it is obvious they left leaning labour Democrats in disguise. Wokingham is not their personal ego trip, they are servants of the whole community not just the ‘WOKE ‘ sect

  16. Kevin
    Posted January 16, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    “better quality and efficiency in delivery of the services provided”

    One of the services the Government provides is a continuous at-sea (nuclear) deterrent (CASD). As I understand it, for example, in 2016 the House of Commons gave the go-ahead to build a fleet of Dreadnought-class submarines so that we can maintain this CASD in the future. Can the Conservative Party please explain how it is compatible with the efficient operation of this service – with all the expenditure that it entails – to ratify Art. 129(6) of the WIthdrawal Agreement, which has the apparent potential to stop us, permanently, from taking action in matters of “vital…national policy” that is “likely to conflict with or impede” the action of a foreign power (the EU) based on a foreign policy decision that the latter may take during the transition period? In other words, why is the Government committed to maintaining an expensive and controversial continuous defence operation without at the same time jealously guarding control of our foreign policy at all times?

  17. GeorgeP
    Posted January 16, 2020 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    In 2010 David Cameron promised a ‘bonfire of the Quangos’, apart from some minor tweaks I don’t think that this ever happened as far as I’m aware. I’d like to see a comprehensive and transparent review of the Quangos. What they are, where they are, what they do, who runs them, what their budget is and what is the democratic oversight.

    • miami.mode
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      George, the way they work, they will probably create a quango to look into them.

    • NickC
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

      GeorgeP, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with the phrase “transparent review”. And that’s the problem – I don’t think the vast majority of voters trust this government (or any government!) to have a genuine review of what the government does, or a real determination subsequently to increase governmental efficiency.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      Indeed Cameron ratted on his Cast Iron treaty referendum too and Osborne’s IHT £1 million threshold promise and his promise to stay on and serve the section 50 notice the next day. He even claimed to be a low tax at heart, Eurosceptic Conservative. He was clearly not of these things. Just another PPE graduate a green crap pushing socialist conman pretending to be a Tory.

  18. Posted January 16, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Fifteen more days to our official subjugation under the Withdrawal Treaty.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      Less of the silly victimhood pleading. Is there nothing that pleases you?

      This is brexit. It is exactly for what you voted, and how it was repeatedly explained to you that it would be before the referendum.

      • dixie
        Posted January 17, 2020 at 4:34 am | Permalink

        That your are defending it speaks volumes.

        And No, I didn’t vote for a WA or transition period – these were not in the referendum nor in the 2019 Conservative manifesto.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted January 17, 2020 at 7:51 am | Permalink

          No, you didn’t vote against them either.

          The paper was silent on that.

          • NickC
            Posted January 17, 2020 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

            Martin, We voted to Leave – to become separated from – the EU. Both the Leave and Remain campaigns agreed on that before the vote. You must have been asleep?

      • NickC
        Posted January 17, 2020 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

        Martin, No, this is Remain. We voted to Leave the EU, not accept continued EU control over the UK via the new WA.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted January 17, 2020 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

          So you voted to have the country physically leave planet Earth, where the European Union could have no influence at all, since that influence is in fact global?

          What else can you logically mean?

          • NickC
            Posted January 18, 2020 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

            Martin, You’re just being silly – quite clearly I did not vote for the UK to “physically leave planet Earth”. “I said “control” not “influence”. And your EU empire has much less influence than you suppose.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      It is amazing to see and hear so many happy faces and people. They really do not know what is coming.

      • Anonymous
        Posted January 17, 2020 at 11:00 am | Permalink

        And an EU army being created under the European Defence Union.

  19. acorn
    Posted January 16, 2020 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Back in 2010, the UK was the most centrally planned and operated country in the EU. Local government spent 25% of all government resources mostly by a myriad of “penny packet” budget allocations from Westminster. Local Council Tax raised less than 18% of its own resource requirements. By 2018, local government resources have shrunk to 19% of all government resources and, in cash terms, have dropped from £167 billion to £161 billion a year.

    It appears that this government wants to intervene even further into local government, such that there is very little local democracy left that needs anyone to vote for it at all.

  20. Roy Grainger
    Posted January 16, 2020 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Good point on councils getting involved in commercial property deals – one near me bought a large set of office buildings for £360m and leased them back to their previous owners for a limited 12-20 year period – the local view is they’ve been taken to the cleaners over the deal – this was pure speculation in commercial property in an attempt to make money not linked to any local services at all. Such practices need to be stopped.

  21. a-tracy
    Posted January 16, 2020 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    All three of my children were involved in several ‘test ideas’ academies within the school being a big one that restricted choices in Year 9, changing opening and closing times, moving one long lunch break where sport and dance could be accommodated to two shorter breaks, changing English teaching styles which could result in increased unchecked plagiarism, shorter school day and this was all under the local education authority not a free school? The student board also sat in on teacher recruitment etc.

    Local Enterprise Partnership – I had to google my local LEP out of curiosity. I’ve never had dealings with them. 29 top executive roles are highlighted on the website including Enterprise Co-ordinator, 6 pledge facilitators working for a pledge Lead (what does this even mean?), growth directors, head of skills etc. We looked at hiring an apprentice for the first time in many years last year, our Manager googled who to speak to about this because we didn’t know and got the information about who to contact about apprenticeships on-line, the recommended organisation sent us one unsuitable applicant that lived too far away with no means of transport and no great response so we gave it up and decided not to bother!? As we heard nothing from them I assumed there must be no youth unemployment in our area so perhaps this department is so successful on their key performance targets SMEs get no support. I’m also curious now how do they let SMEs know they are there to support them because they pay a Communication and Marketing Director, a Marketing administrator and a Communications Officer and I don’t know about them nor have we ever been offered help from them?

  22. BJC
    Posted January 16, 2020 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    I have never considered the EU anything more than a hugely expensive and usually unnecessary Middleman, a structure that has been adopted over the years for our own governance. Effective administration doesn’t need multiple layers of management, a la the EU, but should be a structure designed to support the work of the highly skilled experts we need to drive the economy, i.e. provides the robust framework in which experts can operate, rather than dictating how they operate when they’re simply not qualified to do so, e.g. would CFP be such an issue if fishermen (experts) had a voice in deciding what they need from the EU in support of their industry?

  23. Nigel
    Posted January 16, 2020 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    How about the bonfire of the quangos that David Cameron promised but failed to deliver?

    The Equality and Human Rights Commission for example has 11 directors. Do they really need that many? Think of the salaries, staff costs, pensions etc.!

  24. kzb
    Posted January 16, 2020 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    REFORM TRANSPORT !
    Remove all current senior management from Agencies and councils running our roads.
    Replace with new bodies whose first and foremost objective is to Get Britain Moving Again.
    Only in Britain would we have persons in charge of road transport who see their job as actually destroying road transport. This is clearly the case at present.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

      Indeed blocking or constricting roads for cars is their favourite activity (after finding ways to fine them that is).

  25. NickC
    Posted January 16, 2020 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    JR, I agree with all your points except the idea of “increased spending”. You are right that only two levels of government are necessary for proper administration; and right to curtail Councils from extra-territorial activities.

    In my comment to your previous post I identified about £40bn/yr savings, to which can be added the c£10bn/yr saved by not paying the EU fees – so at least £50bn/yr. I would return some of that as tax cuts; some to pay off national debt; and some for needed infrastructure investment.

    I suggest undergrounds for Birmingham and Manchester – they are both big cities. It would take traffic off the roads and off the existing overground railways which in turn would improve intercity capacity. Also needed is a motorway connection between south Manchester (M67) and Sheffield (M1).

    • kzb
      Posted January 17, 2020 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      The HS2 money would be far better spent on Tube systems for our large cities outside London.

  26. Bob
    Posted January 16, 2020 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    The pension lifetime allowance another reason that people don’t trust the govt on pensions.

  27. DavidJ
    Posted January 16, 2020 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Time that councils were prevented from indulging in activities once prohibited as being “ultra vires”. One particular squandering that gets my back up is Manchester’s squandering taxpayers money on their “Manchester Pride” celebration of homosexuality. I’m sure there are many more events and activities that should not be funded by the taxpayer.

    • margaret
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      I agree , there are many more single people not obsessed with their sexuality and making a life , continuing to be discriminated against in every walk of life , What is so special about this group of people ?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      Indeed they are just trying to buy votes using tax payers money.

      It should clearly be made illegal.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted January 16, 2020 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      Well, yes, arguably unless an equal amount were spent on celebrating heterosexuality then that would appear to be counter-equality.

  28. forthurst
    Posted January 16, 2020 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    The school reforms don’t go nearly far enough. Publicly funded schools have either to follow the national curriculum or they can follow a more vocational path (Building etc), but apart from residual grammar schools, schools are open to all abilities. Consequently a school can neither become selective nor take academic exams such as the Cambridge ‘O’s and ‘A’s which are standard in Singapore. What is the point of tinkering with the system if you eschew ensuring that academic children have the same options in the public sector that they do in the private? Obviously stopping LEAs from maintaining a large and expensive bureaucracy should cut waste.

    It is time to reign in the public sector whose costs are spiralling out of control with over-generous salaries and pensions, golden parachutes galore followed by immediate re-employment, which are out of sync with the private sector and are becoming unaffordable.

  29. Posted January 16, 2020 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    I can’t believe Boris has ‘retained’ Carney! I was counting the days ….

    • Bob
      Posted January 17, 2020 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      Astonishing! He moves from one globalist fear project to another.

  30. Fred H
    Posted January 17, 2020 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    OFF TOPIC.
    from Berkshire Live (internet).
    Wokingham council bosses plan to spend more than £50 million to combat climate change. But the authority has warned that still might not be enough to make the region carbon-neutral within a decade. Wokingham Borough Council will soon reveal full details of its climate action plan, after councillors declared a climate emergency in July last year.
    Budget proposals from 2020 to 2023 show more than £15 million will be spent each year on infrastructure which could help to make the borough carbon neutral by 2030. This includes investing in new and existing public rights of ways and cycle networks, creating solar farms across the borough, building new relief roads to manage congestion and more.
    Asked at a meeting whether these measures would be enough to achieve the council’s goals, finance chief John Kaiser said: “I don’t think we’ll achieve carbon neutral by 2030, it’s a big ask. “Although going forward, everything we do will be done with that in mind.
    “To make a commitment to be carbon neutral would be foolhardy in the extreme.
    “We have to live within our budget and start somewhere and this is where we are kicking off. “Are we spending enough? You could argue solar farms and all the other things that go with this is a big commitment. “It’s something that’s never ever appeared in a council budget before.”

  31. Posted January 18, 2020 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    Sir John, we asked the Leader of our council, who at the time was the political representative on our LEP, if he would brief SCC on the directions being taken. He stood up, said ‘no’ and sat down to a chorus of appreciative chuckles. No reports in the compliant local press, no interest from local broadcast media, so the fact that these mega-quangos with their enormous budgets are beyond democratic control is not appreciated by the taxpayers.

    You might ask Steven Barclay what happened to his LEP. It’s an interesting tale – I wish we knew.

    JF

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  • About John Redwood


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

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