Build us out of recession?

Yesterday we read of the forthcoming Prime Ministerial speech about the need to build new hospitals, transport systems and homes to help lift us out of the deep Covid 19 created recession we are living through. Investing in the future is a good idea. Better transport and some improvements to the health and schools estate are helpful.

There are many other things that are needed to get us out of the deep pandemic hole we and the rest of the world are in. The main  drivers of our future success and prosperity will come from the private sector, expanding the goods and services we make and supply at home, and in turn paying more tax to support better public services.

I have drawn attention to the way health activity actually fell sharply over the lock down, despite the huge efforts some NHS staff put into fighting the virus, which we all admire. The large reduction in  other NHS work to keep the hospitals clear for Covid 19 cases meant a big overall fall, which we now need to recover. We also need to get all the state schools back to work, either in classrooms or remotely, to regain that lost activity as well.

There is huge scope in  the private sector to do more and to invest more. We need substantial investment in additional energy capacity, to remove our growing dependence on imports . There is the opportunity under our new independent trade policy from January to recapture much of the market share in temperate foods that we lost during our CAP years. We can aim to replace many of our timber imports,  as the  UK has good growing conditions for softwoods compared to our Canadian and Scandinavian suppliers.  The UK has the liveliest and most promising tec sector in Europe, which needs more government contracts and full fast broadband rollout to assist it. The UK pharmaceutical industry has shown some of its strengths over the disease, and can achieve more.

Government can help by being an informed buyer, by setting a policy framework which advantages instead of disadvantaging UK based activity, by buying more UK sourced goods and services and by leading a movement to rely more on local output.

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  1. Javelin
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    Two statistical research working papers just published have found that commuting on public transport accounts for an order of magnitude greater mortality. Once these figures get out, I’m not sure commuting will start up again any time soon.

    The paper “Racial Disparity in COVID-19 Deaths: Seeking Economic Roots with Census data.” found differences between BAME and other deaths was almost all down to use of public transport. Commuting difference between LA and NY led to “an order of magnitude difference”

    The paper “What does and does not correlate with COVID-19 death rates” found commuting “ increase is nearly 10 times the average death rate”

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 7:12 am | Permalink

      Coming on here with logic, when you on the other hand you demand the most puritanical, destructive, implementation of what you claim to be a referendum result is, I think, rather inconsistent.

      • Edward2
        Posted June 29, 2020 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

        Wheere did Javelin mention the referendum or Brexit?

        • miami.mode
          Posted June 30, 2020 at 12:49 am | Permalink

          Ed2, it seems a bit obvious that some posters respond in any way at all to the early responses so that they, in effect, get close to pole position and thus get noticed.

      • NickC
        Posted June 29, 2020 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

        Martin, No one seriously doubted the meaning of Leave before the vote. Indeed, Remain even ran a campaign comparing the Leave UK to Albania.

        Cameron, the leading Remain politician, repeatedly stated that Leave meant leaving the EU completely including leaving the single market. Osborne, Benn, Clegg, etc, confirmed this.

        You’re just trying to re-write history because you are bitter that you lost the Referendum.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      Commuting on public transport seems likely to increase the chances of you being infected by Covid but how can it possibly result in greater mortality ?

      • Al
        Posted June 30, 2020 at 3:49 am | Permalink

        It isn’t hard to believe in greater mortality due to public transport. There are running jokes about sneezing soot after travelling on the tube, and the stress of dealing with timetables (e.g. Southern Rail being notorious to the point of being brought up in Parliament).

        And then there’s the indirect correlation that those with underlying health conditions and/or on low incomes are both more likely to use public transport, and to die younger.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      Return to mass transportation is crucial to rebuilding the economy so governments everywhere need to find a way to move us about.

      Germany has managed to restart public transport without a spike as has Hong Kong, China, Spain and Italy so it is possible

    • Caterpillar
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      I think your conclusion could be a little pessimistic, it will depend on how “it gets out”.

      That USA working paper found a correlation that was significant against telecommuting. It suggested two potential causal roots, a contribution during the commute and a contribution from interactions on the job i.e. all the increase doesn’t come from the commute. The suggestion was that this supports the need for disinfecting and social distancing. Generalising the result to the UK we could argue that this is consistent with the UK policy of masks on public transport and better designed workplaces.

      Interestingly the Lancet has recently published a more general study on commuting ‘Associations between commute mode and cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all-cause mortality, and cancer incidence, using linked Census data over 25 years in England and Wales: a cohort study’ – on the basis of this we should be getting out of our cars and onto trains and bikes.

  2. oldtimer
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    A recognition, in the national mindset, that businesses need to generate profits and cash to survive and prosper is needed too.

    • Bryan Harris
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 6:10 am | Permalink

      Exactly – Too many politicians see profit as evil, but it makes the world go round

    • Andy
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      As is as recognition, in the national mindset, that schools and hospitals and transport need to be properly funded too. Gone on the days when the only people who get adequate state help are pensioners.

      • Edward2
        Posted June 29, 2020 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

        When you say “properly funded”
        Have you got any actual amounts of spending which would satisfy your demands?

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

          Only Gordon Brown doubled the funding for the NHS thinking he would go down in history as their saviour. There was a day or so of respite before the song began again. You see the NHS got more extra money for patients, the extra was distributed between the managers and drs. Hence British Drs are the highest paid on earth.
          It was always thus.

          • czerwonadupa
            Posted June 29, 2020 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

            And lumbered them with massive debt through PFI or Perfidious Financial Idiocy said Richard Smith, editor of the BMJ for which the total bill for NHS PFI hospitals is ultimately projected to rise above £79B, way in excess of original build costs of £11.4B.

          • hefner
            Posted June 30, 2020 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

            From — 28/02/2019
            All figures in US$ for 2018, first column average salary of a GP, second average salary of a specialist
            10. ———- / 138,261 New Zealand
            9/ 74,920 / 147,421 Israel
            8/ ———— / 149,990 Germany
            7/ 112,530 / 171,928 The Netherlands
            6/ 85,250 / 174,068 United Kingdom
            5/ 186,863 / ———— R of Ireland
            4/ 181,981 / 202,034 Iceland
            3/ 208,560 / ———— USA
            2/ 237,106 / 258,000 Switzerland
            1/ 357,336 / ————- Luxembourg

            ‘Hence British Drs are the highest paid on earth’, cough, cough, not quite.

  3. Mark B
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    All nice and uplifting stuff. Who could disagree ? One problem though ? How are we going to pay for all thus stuff ? Only, a large part of the productive sector is going to be unemployed and, without their taxes how are going to pay for this?

    It seems to me that PM Johnson has morphed from being a pound shop Churchill to a two dollar FDR.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      There was an piece on the news last night about state intervention after 1945 being rolled back by Mrs Thatcher in 1979 and asking what was next.

      We can not incur this debt as a nation, our base was too high to start with.

      The QE programme should be used to provide funding, not to make banks profits. Time to print for the nation not for the money lenders. There is little demand at present so inflation is not an issue, but interest payments will be in later years.

      M0 can be reduced in the coming months and years as required.

    Posted June 29, 2020 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    Keynesian witchcraft

    Your party needs to decide on one simple issue. Does politics involve conflict?

    Thatcher understood that to impose reform conflict was inevitable. Since 2010 the Tory party’s decided that conflict is to be avoided at all costs and that means more costs for the taxpayer as the Tory party desperately try to appease the socialist State with ever greater increases in funding.

    And now we are here, at this point, once more ala 1970’s. Union tyrants telling this PM they aren’t going back to work and there’s nothing he can do because he’s fearful of conflict and so he passes on the cost of that to those who can’t fight back. Spineless, gutless politics

    Cultural destruction all around by people who’ve been allowed to infect the body politic since 1997. The PARASITIC BBC (enemy within) banning all forms of inappropriate references and terms.

    And we the taxpayer are being forced by the criminal law to finance this cultural brigandage

    A vote for Tory or Labour is a vote for higher costs and terror that we now see all around us

    Tory silence on the destruction we are seeing is VERY TELLING. This is Labour’s doing, we now they’re involved as are the unions.

    The British people will pay a heavy price in many ways for voting for these two charlatan parties

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      Much truth is this. The BBC has been appalling in endlessly encouraging the cultural brigandage – as you put it.

      • steve
        Posted June 29, 2020 at 5:36 pm | Permalink


        BBC is out of control, and needs taking off air.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

          Yes! Today! It is repeatedly in breach of it’s Charter.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      I agree with you about conflict (although there was conflict with the junior doctors as I recall).

      However now is really the time for Keynes, but into the pockets of the nation not the money lenders. This is a good opportunity to see if helicopter money works.

      As the middle earners did not get a bail out through universal credit and will not have been furloughed at their full pay rates, is now a good time to reintroduce child benefit for over £50K, that would be helicopter money spent into the economy. We lost £700 per month when my wife’s hours were reduced and non of the programmes to support were available to us so return our child benefit please.

    • Hope
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      Blaire’s mass immigration continued under Fake Tory Govt while lying to the contrary to get elected. Left wing policies to bring about cultural Marxism continues equality to suppress free speech, Human Right guff, left wing selection and promotion of all public sector bodies and quangos continues. Cameron selected former Labour ministers over Toriesie Odonis, Milburn etc. Miliband’s energy policy implemented and “built on” after ridiculing and smearing him, Corbyn’s hundred billion spending promise derided, now being enacted by Johnson, McDonnels promise to nationalist railways now being advocated by Shapps! Different cheeks of the same arse.

      Children can protest, celebrate football, go shopping, go to raves and now on holiday but they cannot go to school even though Fake Tories know it is central to get the economy going! Caved in to unions.

      I am at a loss why people voted Fake Tory, the evidence was there, they have a history of blatantly lying to get elected.

    • Jim Whitehead
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      A trenchant and timely analysis and warning.
      I would like to see such a decisive tract published in the newspapers.
      The BBC is so powerfully placed and so pernicious in its effects that the time has long past for inaction to be pardonable by a Conservative Government.
      Pusillanimity is in at core of everything with this abominable Government.

      • steve
        Posted June 29, 2020 at 5:35 pm | Permalink


        “Pusillanimity is in at core of everything with this abominable Government.”

        Give it (and Boris) a chance. It looks to me like they know the civil service must be routed of left wing influence, and they know the same is to be said of the Biased Broadcasting Corporation.

        If they fail to deliver on this, or capitulate to the ungrateful EU on fishing, then of course I shall not be voting conservative ever again.

        But for now I’d give Boris the chance to cut the disease out of this country, and I hope he doesn’t let us down.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 29, 2020 at 5:45 pm | Permalink


      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 29, 2020 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

        Even (usually middle of the road) Andrew Neil is sounding like a woke lefty nowadays. The BBC employs no one who is not way left of centre and suitably woke, PC, and full of climate alarmist lunacy.

        It is absolutely appalling and we are forced to pay for it.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

          Stop paying, I have.

    • nhsgp
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      The New Deal in the US in the 1930s was 1% of GDP in extra spending.
      We have had 20 years of 5-10% deficit spending in the UK.
      So you are quite right to ask why that Keynsian spending has failed.

      It’s simple. 220 bn a year, 30% of taxes goes on the debts. Socialist debts. All hidden off the books.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted June 29, 2020 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

        The deficit spending has been hoovered up by the lenders for their profits and not re-lent into the economy. It’s been like paying down credit card debts.

        QE should be used for helicopter money

    • Everhopeful
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      You often say this and I totally agree.
      Trouble is these two joined at the hip parties will not allow any pro British party to emerge.
      They use terrible tactics to stop new parties and very often new politicians are too naive to understand.
      After all…our so called democracy was only an illusion. To save their craven heads. A trick. Like Brexit probably is.

    • Andy
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      Impose reform?

      In a democracy you do not impose anything. But then we understand that democracy is a very loose term for these authoritarian goons in government.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

        In the clear Brexit Referendum result, the Scottish Independence Referendum Result and the Regional Government Referendum Result, you seem incapable of recognising Democratic will too.

      • Edward2
        Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

        Ridiculous comment andy.
        We had an election.
        It provided us with a Government with a huge majority of 80.
        Labour, Lib Dems and especially the Green did dreadfully.
        You need to come to terms with what the electorate voted for.

      • NickC
        Posted June 29, 2020 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

        Andy, You seem to think that only policies in agreement with your opinions are “democratic”. I have to inform you that’s not how democracy works.

        • margaret howard
          Posted June 30, 2020 at 7:19 am | Permalink


          But we do NOT live in a democracy. A country where 17m people can decide the future of 70m is not fit to call itself democratic.

          We live in a 2-party state run by an oligarchy with a figurehead PM.

          Smoke and mirrors.

          • Edward2
            Posted June 30, 2020 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

            Complete nonsense.
            There are some simple rules to vote.
            You have to be a UK citizen and be over 18.
            It is not compulsory to vote.
            It is only a 2 party state because the other parties are not very popular.
            I’m not surprised as their policies are dreadful.
            Nice to see you agreeing with my view that there are 70 million people in the UK.

          • Fred H
            Posted June 30, 2020 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

            Have a word with Putin and Xi Jinping, please?

          • NickC
            Posted June 30, 2020 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

            Margaret H, Nonsense. The Referendum was a single issue, non party political, free vote. The result could not have been clearer with a substantial majority of over 1.25 million for Leave. If Remain had got that you would have been happy – and it would already have been implemented.

  5. Nigl
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    Re Boris’ speech, half closing my eyes I thought Gordon Brown was back with Keynes as his Special adviser. The Tory party traditionally for small State, private enterprise and law and order seems dead to me.

    Two things caught my eye this morning. Brexit fudge looming and a key HMRC computer system installation poorly executed. Unlike the weather nothing changes.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      Indeed rather worrying indeed. Plus with have the scientifically illiterate fools on the Climate Change Committee wanting to ban gas boilers, petrol lawnmowers and chainsaws and ram every expensive heat pumps down everyone’s throats.

      The government just building things only make sense if the thing they build make sensible returns. HS2 is clearly a large net job destroyer as are nearly all the renewable porjects. Circa three jobs destroyed for even “green” job created.

      Government talk of “investment” but invariable it pisses most of the money down the drain destroying much more private sector investment in the process. The government is spending nearly 50% of GDP and delivering very little value back to the public indeed. Even providing the odd public loo seems to be beyond them. Blocking the roads and causing congestion is it seems far preferred to building them and getting them moving.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:04 am | Permalink

        First they made new cars expensive and unattractive to buy then they started on houses. All for a damaging war against harmless (indeed net benefit) plant food.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted June 29, 2020 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

          Or first they rammed compact fluorescents light bulbs down our throats, then inferior, impractical, green crap cars and now they want to do the same for new houses.

    • Robert McDonald
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      Yet I saw the signs of a dynamic approach to developing the UK infrastructure to meet the needs of a modern self sufficient and innovative economy. Brexit is clearly progressing positively for the UK, not so much for the EU; the HMRC “fudge” is down to the inept and bureaucratic civil service and the signs of change in that disorganisation is encouraging. I did enjoy the joke comparing the spend it all on the public sector approach and call it investment mantra of Brown and Bliar to the governments proposals.

    • jerry
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      @Nigl; You must hate the post war Tory govt, a nation that had never had it so good (and have never had it so good since) full of Keynesian people & polices.

      “Tory party traditionally for small State, private enterprise and law and order seems dead to me.”

      Appears alive and kicking to me, just as it must have been in the 1950s, who do you think build all those council homes, the New Towns, the new roads and motorways back then, armies of civil servants or armies of private contractors – even the railways were modernised by the private sector in the main, new stations, civil engineering works, and much locomotives and rolling stock.

      That HMRC computer system, no doubt it was contracted out to the private sector, with only “small govt” oversight, after all what would any civil servant know about such matter and what they wanted from such a system! Funny how, when the govt owned their own IT company, ICL, the govt appears to have had greater success with IT projects… Bloated it might have been but it delivered the goods, and on time, ever wondered why the PRC is so successful?!

    • Everhopeful
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      Pension age raised again to facilitate mass immigration. A tax on home deliveries now that the high streets have been systematically destroyed and the fate of all transport hangs in the balance. No free deliveries allowed. What the ******* are we meant to do?
      Building schools for non existent teachers and pupils so said pupils ( if they ever re-emerge from next door’s garden) can go to Marxist “unis”(yuk!). WHERE is he going to build schools? And WHY?

      This govt….. NEVER has the total pointlessness of any education EVER been so clearly illustrated. My cats would do better. Imagine them giving up our fishing waters ( which I have no doubt will happen under this **** lot).

      Oh and BTW…MASKS have no place in everyday healthcare. Only use is to prevent surgeon’s spit etc. entering open wounds. Masks worn in public are a philosophical thing…stemming from Taoism and trad Chinese medicine!! We could go back to wearing the Christian cross.

    • glen cullen
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      Sad but very true

    • hefner
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      Re: HMRC computer, are you hinting at the GVMS?

      • hefner
        Posted June 30, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

        wrt HMRC’s Goods Vehicle Movement System, why does the UK not get the already implemented (and working) French system? It would likely be cheaper than developing a ‘world beating’ UK one, likely not to be ready by 31 December 2020 and possibly not even working properly.

        Recent experience with such other ‘envy of the world’ UK Covid-19 test-trace-track does not augur particularly well in that respect.

        • NickC
          Posted June 30, 2020 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

          Hefner, The GVMS does seem to be a dire problem on current information. Though you must admit that the constant negative Remain driven propaganda may be colouring the issue. Perhaps JR can look into it?

          • hefner
            Posted July 1, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

            Well, most of the concerns appear to come from the BIFA (British International Freight Association). To me this looks like a professional association concerned by potential future problems that might hinder their operations. Does that make them a source of Remain driven propaganda?

    • DavidJ
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      If Boris fudges it he and the Cons are lost, even though we do not yet have an alternative. However I believe a new party will emerge shortly. Hopefully our host, one of the few we may trust, will “hold his feet to the fire”.

    • John E
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      Watching Boris on the news with the child sized hard hat atop his ridiculous hair do – he looks like a man who knows he is totally out of his depth. Certainly not inspiring any confidence.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

        I’m angry that he is ‘doing night feeds and changing nappies’. You pay a nanny to do that, not a PM. We need his full attention.

        • a-tracy
          Posted June 30, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

          When I was on a short maternity leave and my husband was working I did all the night feeds and nappy changing so he could rest and my husband did them on his days off, when I went back to work we shared the night nappy change. If his partner can’t cope though I agree someone in his position needs to pay for extra help and create a job.

  6. Ian Wragg
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    There’s not much incentive for the power companies to build more plant.
    Importing power is easy fot them, no capital cost, no maintenance. As most of them are foreign owned by EU countries their loyalty is to their own national government.
    Hence the EU pushing for us to import 10% of our power.
    We must be self sufficient in generation and get on with fracking to reduce dependence on imported fuel.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 7:12 am | Permalink

      Dear Ian–Yes fracking is good and we should build the Swansea barrier and of course stop the crazy idea of spending £100 bn plus (which we haven’t got, BTW, not that that matters apparently, even under the Tories) on destructively building HS2, a, soon-to-be-archaic, railway of all things, ridiculous in this day and age. If it has to be built it would be doubly bonkers if doesn’t join up with HS1–which would beggar belief as it is the only idea that makes any sense. Overnight freight is good unlike the dreaded businessmen and their briefcases allegedly desperate to get to Birmingham of all places. And why don’t we hear these days about small nuclear power plants (along lines of those that power nuclear submarines), which we could hopefully build ourselves. At least defer the “green crap” for say 25 years, given so much else to worry about and pay for.

      • Mark
        Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

        Please NOT the Swansea lagoon. The “estimate” is a cost of £1.3bn for a plant that will provide on average 60MW of extremely variable output, with costs for dredging that will rise as the lagoon silts up. For the same price you can build 1,300MW of CCGT plant, or even 350MW of expensive offshore wind if you really must have something that produces intermittently rather than when you need it.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 7:34 am | Permalink



      Power production and water storage and distribution should be under the control of either UK businesses or the UK Government.

    • jerry
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      @Ian Wragg; You mean like in the days of the old CEGB and the regional distribution companies?…

      What more do we as a nation need, the cheapest possible (not-for-profit) tariff for the customers sector/usage, Domestic; Business; Industrial; and last but not least Special (such as those industries that might take the entire output of a small power station over-night, aluminium smelting for example).

      As for fracking, that is but one source of fuel, there is nuclear, then of course if we stopped being ‘political’ about it there is always UK coal, with scrubbing technologies it can be a clean versatile fuel.

      • NickC
        Posted June 30, 2020 at 9:52 am | Permalink

        Jerry, “Not for profit” is not necessarily – or even usually – the cheapest. Nationalised industries like the CEGB showed us this.

        • jerry
          Posted June 30, 2020 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

          @NickC; You will note I said the cheapest possible price, not ‘the cheapest price’, the problem today is that there appears little or no money available to invest in new infrastructure, that was not the case with the CEGB (nor the CEA & BEA before).

    • Andy
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      It. Was. Literally. The. Tories. Who. Sold. Our. Power. Companies. To. Foreigners. Literally.

      • Edward2
        Posted June 29, 2020 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        Thought you were against Little England.
        Make your mind up andy

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted June 29, 2020 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

        Apparently, only the ERG are “real” Tories, Andy.

        • Edward2
          Posted June 29, 2020 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

          Any actual proof for that claim?

      • Mark
        Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

        No it wasn’t. I’ve pointed it out to you before. The foreign purchases overwhelmingly happened under Labour in 2002.

        • Andy
          Posted June 29, 2020 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

          The electricity industry was privatised by the Tories in 1990.

          Once in the hands of private owners those private owners can do what they like with it unless restrictions were put in place at the point of sale. Which they weren’t. And the private owners who the Tories sold it to eventually sold it on Tom foreigners.

          Incidentally British fishermen also sold off fishing rights in British waters to foreigners. A practice banned by most European governments but allowed by, you guessed it, the Tories. So it was, literally, the Tories who allowed British waters to be flogged off.

          And it’s why you’ll end up in court over fishing. Because foreigners bought those rights in good faith before the Faragists started whinging about it.

          • NickC
            Posted June 30, 2020 at 10:04 am | Permalink

            Andy, The Tories weren’t in power, so why didn’t your Labour government stop the foreign sell of of our electricity industry then?

            As for fishing, it will be your EU empire up in court for stealing our fish in the first place. Moreover, as has been explained to you before, the EU only allowed miserly fishing rights, insufficient to make a living, which made the selling inevitable.

          • Mark
            Posted June 30, 2020 at 10:39 am | Permalink

            If the Labour government wanted to it could have prevented the sales. Instead, it created the conditions that encouraged them. I think you also forget that several privatisations included golden shares, including many in the utilities. It was Stephen Byers who authorised relinquishing them in 2000, leading to the takeover splurge in 2002.

        • NickC
          Posted June 29, 2020 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

          Mark, Andy doesn’t do facts; and doesn’t respond when he’s corrected, as he is frequently.

          • Edward2
            Posted June 30, 2020 at 7:31 am | Permalink

            Or if he does, he replies with more misinformation and nonsense as in his post above.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      We must break the monopsony power by fracking and burning our own clean coal. In this very situation the the Energy Minister, Peter Walker, implemented a paper written by my husband and stopped energy companies importing oil rather than developing our own North Sea fields. That saved our country £100,000,000,000 in 1980’s £ values.
      Nothing new under the sun!

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      No thanks to fracking. No thanks to burning carbon. We need massive investment in
      nuclear and we need to build it ourselves.

      Every hour enough energy hits the earth from the sun to power the whole world for a year. Surely we ought to be intelligent enough to use that instead of the filthy burning of carbon

      • NickC
        Posted June 29, 2020 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

        Mike Wilson, Yes please to fracking, and using the resultant natural gas, the cleanest, safest, cheapest energy both directly and for electricity generation. We don’t really burn carbon, whatever you’ve been told; the useful exothermic reaction occurs as a result of combining carbon with oxygen.

  7. Newmania
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    No – The answer to recession is not protectionism. Imports are a good thing and if the government can save our taxes by buying better abroad , that is another good thing.
    Reinventing pre Adam Smith economics for the ill informed, takes us backwards, and the tec sector remains horrified by Brexit which has compromised its largest market.
    Had the government not approached the restart of education in such a despicable and stupid way we would be much further along the way. Now the Labour Party has a shadow Education Minister not picked for an ability to parrot moth eaten Marxist twaddle the free ride on that is over .
    On which subject a new cabinet secretary selected on the basis of political ( in) correctness sums up the sickness that has infected this government.

  8. Nigl
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    Off topic but current. It is alleged HMG is looking to stop free delivery of internet items purportedly to,protect the environment by reducing emissions. Rubbish of course, it is to push us back to a ‘failed’ high street. So what will the umpteen substitute short car journeys do?

    One efficient multi drop journey against umpteen individual ones? Another example of the death of the Tory party, nanny state reducing choice.

    • Mark B
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      It’s just another cash cow they have discovered.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

        If you can’t get shop owners to pay you 20 grand in business rates for a small shop … well, what’s a government to do?

    • Mark
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

      In my experience companies either quote a delivered price – which may be to a convenient collection point (e.g. an Argos counter or other retail click & collect – how is that different from buying in store?) or your home, or they price out delivery (and sometimes installation as well) separately. They may offer a discount for larger bulk purchases by waiving explicit additional delivery or postage charges, but that encourages an element of bulk buying and increases distribution efficiency. Amazon Prime is not free delivery: customers pay an annual fee in place of per order charges.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

      The online deliveries are mostly from the supermarkets. So you don’t get pushed back to the High Street but to Tesco et al. where you may buy more in person than you will order online.
      With Costa, McDonalds etc still shut on the High Street, ie with no competition, Greggs are doing half their normal turnover.
      I’m certain Boris has no idea of the disaster he has unleashed. Mass unemployment so that they are time to chase the police down the streets…
      What is he going to do? Call out the Army?

  9. Dave Andrews
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    More infrastructure – that sounds like a good thing.
    Only the contracts will go to offshore companies, who aren’t encumbered by UK taxes and can put in a lower bid, using imported cheaper labour, European bricks and Chinese cement to reduce costs even more.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

      Why is Chinese. Dementia cheaper than ours? If you really think about it, you realise what an utter failure governments of the last 60 years have been. One credit boom after another, high inflation and high house prices. So, massively higher cost of living here.

      • NickC
        Posted June 29, 2020 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

        Mike W, Because Chinese energy costs are lower than ours. They use cheap coal which you oppose. Cement is the most energy-intensive main industry by a long way.

  10. agricola
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Yes government needs to facilitate our native whit and reduce its take of the result. Free up the individual and the economy. People have got to realise it is worth the effort and then they will respond. I would like to see a marked reduction in both government and civil service who are almost exclusively a cost to the economy. Some of it necessary but much of it not. Six hundred and fifty MPs and a reputed eight hundred lords is beyond a Whitehall farce. Two hundred and fifty and a hundred respectively should be more than enough. As turkeys do not vote for Christmas perhaps Mr Cummings can sort it , like Moses from the doors of No. 10.

    • agricola
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      Something you don’t like perchance.

  11. BeebTax
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    I can see us spending on some things we do need but also on a lot of things of things we don’t urgently need, which are announced/built simply to buy the government some good PR.

    Every government and body that spends other people’s money has a tendency to do this. For example, do we really need more hospitals (big shiny things the government can boast about), or would better health outcomes arise by improving primary care, or encouraging more exercise, or a host of other less glamorous things? Should we not examine our whole health service (boring to do, politically difficult) before doing “more of the same”? Oh to have a government with guts, intelligence and determination!

  12. Richard1
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    I’d suggest a radical overhaul of the tax system – better to do it earlier in the 5-year term. Much flatter and simpler taxes would boost incentives at every income level. The triple lock on pensions should clearly go – or we might find pensions rising by 15% or so with average earnings in a V-shaped recovery. I would suggest allowing businesses to expense 100% of capital expenditure immediately.

    There needs to be a relentless focus on making the U.K. the most attractive destination for investment and entrepreneurship in Europe. Building lots of infrastructure (highly questionable in some cases such as HS2), and hoping interest rates stay low will not on its own be enough.

    • a-tracy
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      I’d like us to encourage Nissan or Kia to make small vans in the U.K. and the parts for them.

  13. Bryan Harris
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    There are several things that will make a difference to our recovery, apart from no further lock-downs.
    The Chancellor will make or break Britain for a generation, at least, if he doesn’t do enough to stimulate growth, and that has to be done with tax cuts. The small private sector needs all the help it can get.

    Investment in provision of raw materials and means of producing what we need is vital, as well as producing more of our food by modern methods.

    What we cannot have is more vanity projects like HS2 – Real infrastructure projects, for example on improving existing railways would help. But let’s not get carried away creating things that we don’t really need.

    House builders are under-productive and need a good kick to provide more homes.

    The whole thing about climate change is overdue a thorough review – It’s a con and is costing us dear for no good reason.

    Improving our tax system – A rewrite is totally overdue. It’s too expensive to collect, unfair and irrational. I’d be happy to explain how it can be remodelled effectively.

    Leftwing depressing dogma is still flooding the country – The BBC and other MSM are responsible for the mood of defeat with their propaganda. They constantly remind us about the virus (and every other negative issue) to the point that most people are too scared to do anything. The British Brainwashing Corporation is beyond redemption. Take it off the air and many of our problems will go away over night!

  14. Nigl
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Our economy has been held back by HMGs woeful track record on Broadband not challenging BTs hegemony, like Corvid it has now realised how unprepared we are and is struggling to catch up.

    We have a world lead in 5G technology but of course HMG is happy to risk this in exchange for a fight it cannot win with China.

    Disappointedly no mention in your blog but this is one of the most vital technologies for our future success and it is solely in the hands of private enterprise.

    If only it could get on and do its job without the anchor of political interference tied to its leg.

    • Mark
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

      How about 6G? We seem to get a new one every few years.

      • Fred H
        Posted June 30, 2020 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

        6G – is rub the Chinese mobile handset and a Chinese genie appears granting you a good fortune cookie.

  15. Iain Moore
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Building building , building seems such a well worn trick by politicians, a short term fix, where politicians look good cutting some tape on a school or hospital, but something that fails to fix the long term problems in our economy.

  16. Julian Flood
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Energy: if you let the Green loons get their way they will give us the economic heft of a bandana republic. Buy 6 SMR demonstrators from Rolls Royce, shipping them to the sites previously planned for the unbuildable EPRs; tax the wind farms and solar parks to recoup their subsidies; allow unsubsidised renewable energy if it comes with guaranteed despatchability of 99% with severe fines if that goal is not reached; Frack, but impose the obligation to supply free energy to all private households within five miles of the wellheads. Close down Drax. Forbid the use of food based ethanol in fuel.

    Infrastructure; build the water supergrid, forbidding any firm involved in HS2 from bidding. Connect Haverhill to Cambridge by rail (you can take the councillor out of Haverhill but…)

    Safety: the biggest threat to humanity, possibly after disease, is asteroid strike which could leave us resourceless in a depleted world, all hope of improving our lot gone forever. Assemble a team including RR, BAE and Reaction Engines to build the first true rapid reaction spaceplanes. Use this facility to disrupt incoming civilisation killing asteroids with kinetic energy. Big tungsten steel poles would do the trick.

    Defence: build the capacity for conventional hyper-deterrence. Tungsten steel poles from space should do it.

    Disease. Use CRISPR-CAS9 modification of farm animals to stop them acting as incubators of disease – pigs, ducks and geese for example – they generate flu viruses.
    Food: modify food crops eg trehalose giving frost resistance, move the haemoglobin gene from the roots of beans to the seeds, preventing anemia in vegans. Etc.

    And etc.

    Mr Cummings, you know where I am, you know where everybody is. Gissa Job.


    • hefner
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      GI Joe’s retaliation?

  17. Roy Grainger
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    How does building new hospitals help to lift us out of recession ?

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      Hopefully they can repair our hips and knees and get us old farts back to work – instead of loafing about after working (in my case) for 48 years, living high on the hog on the state pension. (This one is for Andy.)

    • Mark B
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      It doesn’t. But it keeps a lot of Tory donors happy

  18. Adam
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    We should build precisely what we need. Building anything else would be like delivering mail by donkey, which generates jobs and work: built on worthlessness.

    We do, however, have essential needs as SJR portrays. Needs pull useful work and that work helps pay for its value. Values built enable others with capabilities to do more, easier, faster and more cost-efficiently, which are also increasingly worth paying for.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

      How about a couple of aircraft carriers shaped like white elephants.

      • NickC
        Posted June 30, 2020 at 10:07 am | Permalink

        Indeed, what on earth was Gordon Brown (and Tony Blair) thinking?

        • Fred H
          Posted June 30, 2020 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

          Scottish dockyard workers employed for a few years !!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 30, 2020 at 4:10 am | Permalink

      Do not suggest “deliveries by donkey” or the idiotic Climate Change Committee will be making it compulsory.

  19. APL
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    “Build us out of recession?”

    Build us into more debt.

  20. Mike Stallard
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    ” The main drivers of our future success and prosperity will come from the private sector,”

    I am not at all sure that this is the plan. It seems much more like President Roosevelt’s new deal to me. I can also sense that taxes “will have to up” when this will discourage the Richard Bransons and Dysons of the future.

  21. Nigel
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Absolutely right, Sir John. Rather than borrowing further huge amounts (which will eventually need to be repaid by taxpayers), and spending that on Government projects, the Government would be better to enact the recommendation put forward by The Taxpayers Alliance and allow the private sector to get on with the job.
    If the Government feels that it wants to do something (or more likely wants to be seen to be doing something) then it should cancel HS2 and use that already committed funding to fast forward on fast internet countrywide (hopefully without the Chinese involvement). At the same time, it could usefully put some funds towards improving rail and other connections across the North of England.

  22. a-tracy
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    The first thing I think you should do is buy a Health IT system that works in hospitals that can log who is using A&E and why then recharge people’s medical insurance policies for treatment at the average costs for each operation/service provided at the level we provide and bill other Countries if on EU cards to offset against the charges we receive from them. Don’t write a system from-scratch look at the best around the world and adapt it to talk to our NHS Spine.

    Where is the money going to come from John?

  23. Fred H
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    Now that the first few bosses of Civil Service Departments are resigning (pushed?), does Sir John view futher moves positively or too disruptive?
    Have we been waiting for serious restructuring, and are these the signs of it beginning?

  24. nhsgp
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    220 bn a year on the state debts. That’s 30% of tax. Add on expenses, and we are talking a 35% gross profit by the state.

    You overcharge us by 35%

    So scrap HS2. No one is travelling. Instead lets have the money on fibre to premises.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      Scrap HS2 certainly.

      • glen cullen
        Posted June 30, 2020 at 9:20 am | Permalink

        ahh HS2 that brillant idea proposed by an un-elected Labour peer…….yeh that will make a good tory policy !!!

  25. nhsgp
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    No one should be forced to fund propaganda. That means the BBC goes subscription. It will then of course go broke.

    I’ve 10 days left on my license. I’ve not watched any broadcast TV since the lock down, and I won’t pay for it any more.

    So I’ve the letters written. Not to the BBC, but to the head of ITV to inform him I won’t be watching any of his output, any of his advertising, because of BBC bias.

    It doesn’t stop there. I’ve a list of the top 10 TV advertisers. All the CEO’s will get the same letter.

    When the BBC screws other companies. they have to make the choice as well

    Every little bit helps.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

      Well done. I have done same, but not written all the letter, I will follow your example. UTube has incredibly interesting material. We are not missing the ‘media’ at all, and are laughing much more as we find we have a better sense of humour than the current comics to which we were subjected.

    • Andy
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

      You should probably just print out the letters and put them straight in the recycling bin. That’s where they’ll go anyway. Nobody will read them.

      Perhaps you should watch or listen to the BBC. You might learn something.

      • NickC
        Posted June 30, 2020 at 10:14 am | Permalink

        “Might” is the operative word, Andy, because the BBC has confined itself to pandering to the few unpopular woke Remains left – the BBC boasts about it. And I’ve heard all the BBC’s propaganda already anyway. And I can refute it all with facts and logic, too.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted June 30, 2020 at 12:08 am | Permalink

      I sadly continue with a TV license so that I can legally watch live Bloomberg. It is a corrupt situation. The BBC should be subscription and any materials produced prior to switching to subscription should be freely streamable in the U.K., we have already paid for them.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted June 30, 2020 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      Everything that you buy has advertising costs. Those revenues go in part to the eleven-billion-a-year industry in the UK that is the right wing, eurohostile press.

      Everyone is funding their disgusting propaganda, distortions, and sometimes outright lies.

      The BBC does not even begin to counterbalance that, not that it even appears to try.

      • Edward2
        Posted June 30, 2020 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

        Who are the right wing euro hostile press.
        Name them.
        I’ve asked before.

        Guardian…Mirror…Morning Star.. Daily Star…Independent…FT…Times ..Observer…London Evening Standard?
        And even the Daily Mail has altered its editorial position.
        The majority of newspapers are not right wing.

        • Edward2
          Posted July 1, 2020 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

          As usual after the claim by Martin
          No response and no real evidence.

  26. Steve
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    The private sector is the only driver of economic success. If government could drive success the USSR would never have fallen whereas in reality the only contribution it can make to prosperity is stay out of the way. Cease attempting to impose a totalitarian, centrally controlled nanny state, cease printing money that merely papers over the damage government has done and most of all stop pretending that it can produce anything of value.

    • Ex-Tory
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 5:43 pm | Permalink


    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

      Well is does give some value, perhaps 10p for every £1 they tax. But then much of what they do clearly does negative value and huge economic damage. Nearly all of the red tape they bind us up in for example.

  27. Walt
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Our country needs a dependable supply of energy and that means nuclear. Build our own high standard nuclear plants, engaging Rolls Royce and others. Impose it: no waiting years for committees, reviews, etc. Similarly with other tech., e.g. 5G (for which we had the expertise (Marconi) but sold it to Ericsson after Lord Weinstock’s successors messed up GEC). Use our own people where we can, otherwise engage only those whom we might reasonably view as friends, e.g. USA and Scandinavia.

    • Mark
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

      We have to sort out nuclear regulation before attempting that. The present system is designed to impose very large costs on anyone who wants to build a nuclear plant, which is why the official price for Hinkley Point (never mind the cost overruns) is twice what the Koreans have been building similar capacity for. We also need to ensure that we build our own workforce with the necessary skills. Many of those with the knowledge are retiring or already retired.

  28. steadyeddie
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Turn the clock back to mid 2000’s and Labour was spending on infrastructure as the economy performed well until the banking crisis. 12 years later and the economy is struggling so spend money we haven’t got. And to add to this, we are giving up on our largest market to do deals with the US in a parlous state or the dodgy Chinese.

    • NickC
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

      SteadyE, Labour were mainly responsible for the UK financial bust. Surely you remember Gordon no-more-boom-and-bust Brown and his mate Fred-the-Shred?

      • hefner
        Posted June 30, 2020 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

        NickC, is that all you can do as an analysis of the 2007-2008 financial crisis? What about informing yourself, there are plenty of books on the topics from authors with very different takes on the crisis, its origin, its development, its consequences. And none of the four or five I read have such a simplistic diagnostic for the crisis. But obviously reading books and not your usual websites might prevent you from entertaining us with daily wisdom.

        It is clear that Labour had a part of responsibility but they were far from being the only ones. What about the financial system, the banks’ behaviour, the generalized subprime market (worth ~$1tn), the Federal Reserve Board, the ‘moral hazard’ meme so easily used by politicians to take themselves out of the equation.
        Isn’t it a bit reductionist to put the essential of the blame on the UK Labour Party?

  29. A.Sedgwick
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Vat to be reduced to 15%? – wrong; selective cutting perhaps e.g. abolish on all building work and materials.

    Much better to abolish Corporation Tax – both return about £40b but with a long term deluge of investment as opposed to more trade deficit.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

      The Corporations already pay sod all tax. But they are finished unless their customers have some money in their pockets. We need tax cuts for the peasants who work half the year for the new overlords – the political class.

  30. Gareth Warren
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    I fear government priorities for investment will favor industries we need less, an example would be Gordon Browns decision to pour money into the car industry.

    I am happy that the UK uses imports, but not from authoritarian nations like China, nor should we rely on them. A good example of this is PPE equipment, we can easily produce this in the UK in large quantities.

    I also see a worrying trend to not invest longterm, hence our delays in producing enough nuclear power.

  31. Javelin
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    I have been told by my girlfriend that prices in the chain of hair salons she manages need to “more of less double”. I’m no hair expert but a cut and colour will go up from £150 to £250+.

    So inflation will jump, hair salons will become very expensive against the cost of home hair. Hairdressers will leave and work cash in hand doing hair at peoples home. Tax will fall. An industy will collapse.

    You can’t buck the markets.

    And the mortality rate is 0.3% and falling.

    • Gareth Warren
      Posted June 30, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      Doctors in Italy reported the lungs they removed from dead patients under autopsy were unrecognizable as lungs.

      The real risk from this disease is far more than death rates.

  32. BOF
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Build, build build will mostly be a waste of taxpayers money if Government or its agencies decide what and where. The private sector should be consulted to see what and where infrastructure is needed.

    Trying to bring manufacture of essentials back to the UK will not work unless the cost of energy is reduced, which means SMR’s from Rolls Royce and gas from fracking.

    Next, deregulation, simplification of the tax code and reduction of taxes.

    If the Govt. fails on these why would manufacturers want to make goods here?

    • BOF
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      And better get the unions back under control!

  33. The Prangwizard
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    If the headlines are correct, that priority is to be given to public sector projects then these priorities deserve criticism.

    We need to encourage the private sector in expanding home production, new machinery to build more things more efficiently and to expand upon self reliance.

    We must not go back to the wrong headed idea that what we desire should be bought from wherever it is available and not even attempt to buy it here when we do have it. It may well be that it won’t be quite as freely available that it once was.

    And as for hospitals, it could well be that the pandemic has and will continue to deter the time-wasters, the lazy and the freeloaders from demanding hospital treatment that they don’t need or could get in their home countries, so freeing up resources for real need. Let us hope so.

    • zorro
      Posted June 30, 2020 at 5:09 am | Permalink

      It’s all to puff up his over-bearing ego – public-funded works to the honour of ‘King of the World’ Boris Johnson, more lovingly known by the populace as our Dear Leader Kim Jong Son!


  34. acorn
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    The UK could do with a Ministry for the National Resource (MfNR), now that the more enlightened politicians, have realised that a Sovereign Treasury that issues its own currency MMT style, can never run out of its own currency. The metric that is Debt to GDP ratio should be banned from the lexicon along with the phrase “government borrowing”.

    Soon they will come to realise also that such a Treasury never has to “borrow” its own currency from anybody. Nobody can have any Pounds Sterling unless the Treasury has created and spent its unique monopoly currency, into the non-government economy. You can’t get Pounds Sterling from anywhere else. Gilts are risk-free savings certificates for pension and insurance funds. They do not fund government spending.

    So, the government can buy anything and everything it wants as long as it is available to buy in Sterling and in sufficient quantities, without exhausting the supply and creating inflation.

    The problem is nobody in government really knows what resources are available domestically, without having to import them; particularly, what knowledge and skills are available in the national labour force and what is it short of. It would be the MfNR’s job to find out to three decimal places.

    This way you can run all sectors of the economy flat out to the point of a couple of percent inflation. Spending can be throttled back if more inflation shows up and take that as a signal you need more supply.

    BTW. When the “furlough” schemes end, the government should look at the MMT Job Guarantee system to tackle large scale unemployment.

  35. stred
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Times radio started this morning and because I can’t listen to Talk Radio now that they have left this frequency and my relatively new radios can’t get Digital plus, I caught Boris being given a very cushy interview in which he explained how he felt about being ill and fat and how he was going to get the country going again by spending lots of taxed or borrowed money ( he didn’t answer that one) on building schools, hospitals, railways, broadband and presumably all the other green stuff like 15,000 extra windmills in the North Sea. To do this we are going to spend more money on training in schools and universities.

    Could some MPs explain to him that schools and universities no longer train students how to build anything. We get East Europeans to do what British builders no longer build. Perhaps someone could take him onto a site in London and see whether he can find anyone except someof the managers who is British. Hecould also take a trip to an offshore wind farm under construction and se if he can find any hardware apart fromthe rotors or workers who are British.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

      Although I think Sunak is an abject failure and needs to dumped immediately, I will give him credit for echoing Javid’s comments on the importance of FE. Hopefully this will remain or expand/focus from that promised in his pre-covid budget. It is the FE colleges that teach level 3 through 5 construction courses and these remain key. Yes the Uni civil engineering courses are important but the expansion of these should be encouraged by more degree apprenticeships.

  36. glen cullen
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    You don’t need to build us out of recession

    You need to buy yourself out of recession with 2 policies

    1. Government (national & local) to buy British products
    2. Reduce taxation to allow people to spend and buy products

    • turboterrier
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

      glen cullen

      Agree. Every company, public service, charities that receive either direct or indirect funding or assistance have to purchase British vehicles for example Today Forbearehighlighting that Tata the owner of JLR are considering exiting from Britain due to the high taxation from government making their vehicles uncompetitive.

      BMW and China are showing an interest . Reduce taxation one vehicles especially diesel (they will be around for years) no matter how hard the government try to get rid of them, until the infrastructure is in place for other means of propulsion.

      Building intermittentl forms of energy production is not what the country needs. Millions are paid out every year to wind and solar in constraint payments.

      The cost to the West Midlands if JLR is lost to the country just does not bear thing about.

      As for building for that you need material and today in a merchants no plaster board, no plaster and timber decking all on back order from foreign companies.

  37. David Williams
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    “Paying more tax to support better public services” – I hope not, but thanks for the warning. We can start planning ahead.

  38. Everhopeful
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Build = Borrow.
    We are already in 100% club.
    New normal? “Build Back Better”??

  39. Ex-Tory
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    I’ll reserve judgment until the PM has made his speech, but he needs to say that we shall need private investment and entrepreneurship in order to get the economy back on its feet.

  40. Peter
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Planting more sitka spruce all over the hills of Scotland and Wales is a terrible idea. The environmental cost of ploughing up fragile peaty soil (a huge store of carbon) is too great.
    The loss of habitat for moorland bird life is a disaster. Tax breaks and grant aid for this vandalism should be stopped.

    It is entirely sensible for us to import our timber from those parts of the world (like Canada and Scandinavia) where it grows naturally.

    • Mark
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      The wind farms will get annoyed if the trees they had cut down to speed and smooth the winds are replaced.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted June 30, 2020 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      Peter, Scotland has already trashed the countryside and dug up vast areas of peat to replace it with concrete platforms supporting wind turbines which then kill birds and bats. Scotland receives more money for switching off the turbines than it makes actually working. If trees must be planted then for goodness sake plant evergreens. Oaks, beech, sycamore and chestnuts. These will do the ground and the mammals more good than a concrete platform. Most wildlife move out of the wind farm areas but then so do a lot of people if they can sell their homes. I know from personal experience.

  41. JohnK
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    I am afraid Boris Johnson has some lazy New Deal/Keynesian ideas.

    He seems to think government spending on almost anything is a net good. Thus, if HS2 was a good deal at £50 billion, it must be twice as good at £100 billion. And is a useless garden bridge across the Thames is a good idea, a bridge to Ireland must be even better. Let’s see how much money he wastes on that madcap idea.

    Some public spending is of course necessary. The transport system most people use are the roads, which are in dire state. They need improvement.

    However, most public spending is waste. I think 80% of “public servants” could be sacked and no-one would notice.

    I would like a Conservative PM who would stand up for British history and culture against the left wing mobs tearing down statues. I would like a Conservative PM who would back British nuclear power, and British gas power, instead of shutting down fracking because of a few tremors. I would like a Conservative PM who would stand up to Greta Thunberg and the Green Blob, instead of banning proper cars. I would like a Conservative PM who would defund the left wing BBC and take on the liars and fellow travelers of the left wing MSM.

    It looks like I am going to be disappointed with Boris, doesn’t it?

    • percy openshaw
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, it does.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

      Yep! The Tories have only one potential candidate who will deliver what you describe, basic Conservatism.

  42. Yossarion
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    To do this you will have to stop sending the young to University and give them a trade, or once again you will have foreign labour doing jobs that our own People should be doing with high unemployment.

  43. NickC
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    We can only respect other people’s nations by respecting our own. Yet much of our establishment rages against nationalism. It is a disease set in motion by post WW2 propagandists. We are then “surprised” by their serial betrayals.

    The clearest example over the last half a century has been the tendency to promote the EU above our own nation. A complacent and arrogant establishment has arisen owing allegiance to a ghastly mish-mash of cultural-marxism and the ideology of the EU empire.

    Consequently the government should encourage free enterprise (not corporatism), the rule of (limited) law, free speech, the family, and patriotism.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 9:05 pm | Permalink


  44. Richard1
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    The collapse of air travel and the rise in remote working, which is surely here to stay, gives an excellent justification for Boris Johnson to announce, together, the end of the Heathrow runway which would probably still be a bad decision but one he’s committed to, and the end of HS2 which is a terrible project but one which he has been committed to. Never let a crisis go to waste – a brilliant opportunity to save £100bn and direct it more usefully.

    • James Freeman
      Posted June 30, 2020 at 5:16 am | Permalink

      More remote working will lead to an increase in people living more than 2 hours from London commuting in once a week. This will more than offset a reduction on those doing this daily at the moment. Thus boosting the case for long distance rail capacity and HS2.

      • Fred H
        Posted June 30, 2020 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        bizarre – you sell remote working really well, then want high speed monstrous cost half-empty trains, for perhaps 10 years in the future between only 2 cities……
        You are being funny, surely?

  45. Grahame ASH
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Sir John

    I am very disappointed my comment and question submitted yesterday on Remodelling Universities was deleted.

    This is a big problem that has to be faced up to and fair & corrective action taken by the Conservative Party and Government. It cannot be swept under the carpet. I am saying this as a Tory supporter. I dread to think of the alternative.

  46. percy openshaw
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    I cannot believe that the parliamentary Tory party is letting Johnson get away with so much profligate, interventionist nonsense. Borrowing now exceeds GDP! The manoeuvres by which a state can avail itself of liquidity carry hidden costs and even at a time of low interest rates they present a risk of inflation. Nor is the spending directed to good causes – HS2 will simply drink up funds, with no benefit whatsoever to the Red Wall. I am aware that many seasoned financial observers are convinced that the risks of such a splurge are currently so low that we might as well incur them; but respected military men ignored the Ardennes in 1940. It is better to be safe than sorry. If, in the current climate of opinion, Johnson’s slap dash disregard for fiscal rectitude destroys the Conservative reputation for competence, then we will be plunged into a bout of hard socialism – so hard that freedom may never be recovered. How I wish I had the option of leaving the country! I hope, Sir John, that you can imagine and sympathise with the plight of millions of loyal Tory voters, locked by age, fixed incomes and family obligations into a situation which alarms and affronts them. We voted to avoid the danger of reckless expenditure – and yet here it is!

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

      The Conservative reputation for competence …

      Good one! They are competent at creating credit booms and inflation. I’ll give you that.

  47. Timaction
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Get rid of HS2 and improve our road networks. This is how people/businesses get around outside of the M25.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 5:54 pm | Permalink


  48. David Brown
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    On balance I agree with your comments.
    I have 2 comments:
    I read the EU will take Britain to the International court over fishing rights on the basis waters around Britain have been fished by European countries for centuries. If Britain loses that’s a big dint in Gov policy and imagine.
    Recession building is linked to yesterdays Uni comments, in my view many good Technical Colleges were given Uni status under Labour and are filling academic space with useless degrees and entry through alternate certificates. Much better to get back to recession building – training apprentices from private sector that many employers pay for, indeed some sponsor year technical certificates. Many young people are much happier with a proper training apprenticeship scheme. Leave the big national uni’s for the academically gifted who achieve good A Levels or better International Baccalaureate and yes ok a range of finance options.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

      In-house Training as opposed to University degrees includes IT. The companies are at the cutting edge, whereas the university IT departments are playtime by academics for accedemics.

      • David Brown
        Posted June 30, 2020 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

        Lynn, Wow I have to write I totally agree with you. Too many young people are pushed into Uni when ideally they prefer craft based training. We need academic excellence but not at the expense of watering the hole system down

  49. Mike Wilson
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    It is very interesting to come on here and observe the number of (presumably) dyed-in-the-wool Tory supporters saying, over and over again, that we have an ‘abominable’ government.

    Makes you wonder how they won an 80 seat majority. Presumably, the idea of a Corbyn government was so horrifying you all prefer a bog-standard, ‘abominable’ government.

    Boy, does our first-past-the-post voting system have a lot to answer for. A choice between the unthinkable and the abominable.

    I wonder if Mr. Redwood ever conveys to the ‘higher ups’ in the party what Tory supporters on his blog think of the government. Mind you, do they care? Heaven knows I have lost interest in our polictics but, nonetheless, it will be interesting to see what happens when you have to face Keir Starmer at the ballot box. I must admit, not having voted Labour since 1974, I think I could be persuaded to with him at the helm. His position on Brexit notwithstanding.

    What’s the problem? The economy’s going down the plughole and we’re borrowing even more just to stay afloat.

    What’s the solution?


    Errr, borrow more and spend it on some roads, schools and hospitals.

    Yeah, that should do it. Well done. Thank heavens for some original thinking.

    To be honest, you couldn’t make up the lack of competence of this government.

    • NickC
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

      Mike W, You complain here that others are complaining, and then don’t offer any solutions yourself. The solutions you have offered in previous posts – intermittent windmills and short range battery cars – are practically useless.

      But that’s what all “green technology” is. The example is CFLs – hated and useless, and only imposed because they were “green”. Along comes LEDs and people take them up voluntarily because they are cheap to run and practical, not because they are “green”.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted June 30, 2020 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

        Nothing wrong with wind turbines. We need a lot more of them and investment in energy storage.

        Cancel HS2 and find the money to build 10 Hinckley sized nuclear power stations using British firms. That would cover 130% of our electricity requirements. Subsidise solar panels on every roof in the country. Use them to heat the latest high efficiency storage heaters in homes and forget gas central heating.

        There’s loads of sensible things to be done but no one sensible in power to do them.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted June 30, 2020 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

        For most people a short range battery car would be fine. Drive to work. Drive to the shops. Drive the kids to school. We should find a way to pool cars so that when you need a bigger one with a longer range you can grab one for a weekend away etc. And before you say ‘pie in the sky’ someone is probably working on the software now. Look shot things like Uber. The world is changing but it is not being driven by government.

  50. Ian Wilson
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    It will be interesting to see if Heathrow expansion appears on the list. Obviously there is ample spare capacity right now but by the time any building is completed growth should have resumed (unless Boris/Carrie wreck the entire economy with their zero carbon madness)

  51. a-tracy
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    Just tell the Mayor of Leicester lock down or we won’t treat you in NHS hospitals for goodness sakes, how just how has this got out in Leicester when we’re locked down for 14 weeks – be honest, who are the 800 new cases!

    • a-tracy
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      Are you telling us Matt Hancock can’t explain where the new cases tested are?
      I suggest they’ve probably flown in from South Asia and we need to lockdown these flights.

    • Cheshire Girl
      Posted June 30, 2020 at 5:58 am | Permalink

      I believe that they had BLM demos in Leicester, like in many other towns and cities.

      Maybe those people are feeling smug now, but by defying the rules on large gatherings, have they spread the virus.? Maybe not, but I am only saying what many others are thinking.

  52. Anonymous
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Build factories, power stations and reservoirs.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

      Make it illegal to buy foreign goods.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted June 30, 2020 at 7:08 am | Permalink

        This poster is entirely serious, dear reader.

        Perhaps he believes that “WTO rules” would allow that, and anything else that he might propose?

        • Mike Wilson
          Posted June 30, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

          You are so up yourself you can’t spot irony when it is a 40 ton truck bearing down on you.

          That said:

          Would it be a good or bad thing for OUR economy, and our society, if we bought more goods made here?

          Has outsourcing manufacturing to countries with lower labour costs been good or bad for people at the lower end of the wage scale?

          Why have we lost the ability to build our own nuclear power stations?

          Is it sensible to be partly dependent on imported energy?

          Just think of the tax revenues if all the money remitted abroad to buy foreign made goods was spent in this country. Think what good that would do.

          And before you start gibbering about what would happen to our exports, we have had a massive balance of trade deficit for years. If we had a sensible government that at least bought the balance of trade deficit to sere, we, as a country and society, would be much better off.

          Argue otherwise.

      • NickC
        Posted June 30, 2020 at 10:20 am | Permalink

        Why? There’s a whole range between being dependent on Jonny Foreigner, and being totally self-sufficient. Many, like me, are simply saying we have become too dependent on Mr Foreigner – the pandemic illustrated that clearly.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted July 1, 2020 at 10:16 am | Permalink

          See Mike’s reply above, Nick.

  53. ChrisS
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    The behaviour of China should be increasingly setting off very loud alarm bells in Western democracies. They need to take action and ensure as far as possible that we cease to rely on that communist-run state for strategic goods and services.

    China will react badly to this policy, as they have recently towards Australia, but they have only themselves to blame. They have to learn that not cooperating with the rest of the world and taking unilateral and illegal action in the South China Sea will have consequencies.

    The democracies have to enforce freedom of the seas by regularly traversing the areas that China lays claim too, even though the UN has expressly rejected their demands. Sooner or later, this is going to result in conflict which could be even more serious than the Cuban Missile Crisis.

    Then there are the worrying developments in Hong Kong, a clear breach of the treaty signed by China and the UK in 1997, again demonstrating that China ignores the usual niceties of diplomacy anytime it suits them.

    Increasing Chinese pressure on Taiwan is also high risk as any attack on the island will involve the USA directly as the US Navy rightly has a visiting naval force there most of the time.

    Finally, Merkel has made probably the most serious strategic mistake of any Western Nation by deliberately ditching Nuclear power and becoming 100% reliant on Russian gas.
    In the next decades, strategic self-reliance and cooperation amongst allies are going to come to the fore.

  54. Julian Flood
    Posted June 30, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    How curious. I could have sworn that I laboriously composed a post (on my phone which is some indication of its value in my eyes) with a long list of sensible suggestions for a way of avoiding dangerous damage to the economy. It seems to have disappeared.

    Loyalty is a fine thing, Sir John. If the object of the loyalty is worthy.


  55. Iain Gill
    Posted June 30, 2020 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    The only news I got from the PM’s speech was a plan to upgrade the A1 from England to Scotland. And an admission that its been promised for decades but never delivered, and a promise to actually do it now. Well of course we will all be watching. He was not specific about what he meant, hopefully he means all the way from Leeds to Edinburgh, I await news. Hopefully this is not another “down to the tens of thousands” style promise.

    This is one of those classic things that a Southern dominated chattering class of politicians, civil service, journalists, etc never really “got” as a priority.

    Lets hope there is more like this. When they upgrade the train line from Middlesborough to Sunderland I will believe they are on top of it.

    Nothing else he said was really news to me. Was it really so surprising to anyone else?

    Really the whole software sector needs a boost, freelancing needs a boost (especially as covid help has been missing), etc. And we should have a general theme of more power to individuals and away from the state instead of just pumping money into public spending.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted June 30, 2020 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      Shouldn’t cost much, to upgrade the A1 from one side of the River Tweed to the other.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted June 30, 2020 at 9:02 pm | Permalink


  56. Richard416
    Posted June 30, 2020 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Abolish the elected mayors, especially London’s. Waste of money.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted June 30, 2020 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      Yes, it should be simplicity itself, to erase the material result of a democratic vote.

      • Edward2
        Posted June 30, 2020 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

        Have another referendum.
        I love them.

      • NickC
        Posted June 30, 2020 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

        Well, you should know, Martin.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted July 1, 2020 at 10:22 am | Permalink

          The referendum result has been implemented.

          The UK has left the European Union, as I believe, on that basis, that it should have done.

          Rubbish, isn’t it? And you can’t leave again, either.

          • Edward2
            Posted July 1, 2020 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

            We dont actually leave until 31st December.
            Surely you know this being obsessed with the subject.

  • 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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