The Prime Minister’s building plans

The Prime Minister set out a vision of hope and optimism yesterday about economic recovery. He also detailed some £5bn of accelerated and useful public sector investment in better school and FE buildings, road improvements, health buildings and new schools. This is welcome.

We also need to recognise that even allowing for the temporary sharp fall in output the UK economy is still a £2 trillion economy. A recovery rests heavily on the positive response of the private sector . Better roads and communications help. Good quality education and plenty of educational opportunity for all is crucial.

The big numbers of state support rest in the furlough scheme and the 8 million people currently helped by it. Success in recovery will come from finding the right ways to get the companies that employ them off state support, and restoring as many of those jobs as possible. For those who do lose their jobs from their current employers, we need maximum job opportunities to speed new openings for those made redundant.

Here the challenge is to think through what the future offers for shops, cafes, restaurants and a range of services on our High Streets. Maximum flexibility is needed for landlords and tenants to adjust their use of buildings to new ventures or socially distanced versions of old activities. There needs to be many strands to generating more new jobs. These can come from the digital revolution, from the artificial intelligence reforms and from the onward march of the robots. They can come from growing more of our own food, catching and processing more of our own fish, growing more of our own timbers , generating more of our own power and all the other openings identified.

Yesterday the Environment and Housing Secretary set out proposals to make it easier to flex the use of commercial buildings with all this in mind.

We do need education to equip young people for the opportunities of the digital world. We are entering an era of rapid change, where the transition to a digital and on line economy has just been out into fast forward by the arrival of home working for the many.

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190 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    Better and newer shiny buildings is not really the main answer to bad schools and hospitals. Real freedom and choice for their customers and competition to these virtual state monopolies is the way to go. Nor is it the answer to reviving the economy. That is easy to do. We just need far less parasitic government, cheap reliable energy, lower taxes and a bonfire of red tape. Just get the government out of the way of the circa 85% in the private sector.

    • jerry
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 6:42 am | Permalink

      @LL; “Real freedom and choice for their customers and competition to these virtual state monopolies is the way to go.”

      Yes, lets go back to what had failed before the State took over the provision of both health and education, what could go wrong (again)?…

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 2, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

        Drivel.

      • NickC
        Posted July 2, 2020 at 10:29 am | Permalink

        Jerry, We were a very poor country in 1948, and medicine itself was no way near as advanced as it is now. So it is unfair to directly compare pre-NHS 1948 medical provision with 2020 (pun intended) without allowances.

        In 1948 the NHS took over what was there, so initial NHS figures reveal what had been extant in “private” health care. And that is a health system that spent 12 times less (so no wonder it was less effective than now), but had 4 times more beds in hospitals (so not all one way) – BBC figures.

        • jerry
          Posted July 2, 2020 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

          @NickC; So you want the many, if not a majority, to rely on charity for their health and education, that is what the state provision took over from, nor was I talking necessarily about 1948, whilst I believe the state took over education far earlier, certainly 1944 but a Board for Education dates from 1899.

          If you think, like Mr Life, that both general health care and education provision before WW2, much of it charitable, was (adjusted) anywhere comparable to the States provision today you are sorely deluded.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 7:19 am | Permalink

      The key to restarting the economy is to suppress the covid19 epidemic, so that people of all ages can participate safely in all areas of life.

      That is what Jacinda Aderne’s Labour government have done in New Zealand.

      That paramount task cannot be handed over to the private sector in any country.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted July 2, 2020 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

        What happens when New Zealand opens to travellers Marty.

        There is no immunity and they will just get it at that point.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted July 3, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

          There’s no immunity here with only 7% max having had it.

          That would cost about 500,000 lives it is estimated.

      • czerwonadupa
        Posted July 2, 2020 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        We’re not Rutland

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      Indeed why have shiny buildings when the people in them won’t turn up for work? When they do, all too often barking up the wrong tree with what they teach?

    • percy openshaw
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      Very well said – the germ of an agenda for a truly Liberal and properly Conservative government – not the social democrat mess of today.

    • NickC
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic, You may be interested to know about Michael Shellenberger’s apology for climate alarmism. It was on Forbes, but they took it down (presumably from CAGW groupies pressure) and it’s now on GWPF. Let us hope Boris (and Carrie) read it, and we might get the cheaper energy we need.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 2, 2020 at 8:16 am | Permalink

        Thanks I will take a look.

  2. Mark B
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    A recovery rests heavily on the positive response of the private sector .

    Well it isn’t going to come from the State !

    We have been in economic recovery since 2008. There has been vast amounts of money thrown around to little or no avail. Perhaps it is time for the government to realise that the Magic Money Tree has failed and that what business needs is less government and less regulation and taxes. That was what the Tory governments of past (pre-1997) did and it worked so well that it took New Labour a whole decade to mess it up !

    John Cowperthwaite is my economic hero. We need more of him than we do of John Maynard Keynes.

    • jerry
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink

      @Mark B; “We have been in economic recovery since 2008. There has been vast amounts of money thrown around to little or no avail.”

      Yes, most of it channelled via the private sector to aid recovery…

      “Perhaps it is time for the government to realise that the Magic Money Tree has failed and that…”

      …it is time to take matters (back) ‘in-house’ so to speak, just as it was done in the 1950s with the post war recovery, when within a few years a Tory PM was able to proclaim ‘You’ve never had it so good’ and the electorate agreed, giving the party a third term in a hotly contested GE (not being gifted a victory by a disunited & dishevelled Labour party, as was the case in the 1980s and 2019).

      That was what the Tory governments of past (pre-1979) did and it worked!

      • NickC
        Posted July 2, 2020 at 10:37 am | Permalink

        Jerry, Most of the privatisations have worked very well. Those that haven’t, are at least in part due to the type of privatisation.

        For example BR should have been sold off as two businesses (“East coast”, “West coast”), each responsible for all their own track, infrastructure and rolling stock. Not the gold-plated EU directive dogs dinner we got where track was separated from operators.

        • jerry
          Posted July 2, 2020 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

          @NickC; “Most of the privatisations have worked very well.”

          Yes, looking at it from the initial investors point of view, many made their fortunes within hours of the shares being first publicly traded!…

          But what has any of that has to do with my reply to Mark?…

          The contractors who built the 1950s council house estates, the New Towns and the motorways etc, or built the new stations and heavy engineering companies who designed and built new diesel locomotives for BR in the 1950s and ’60s were not State owned monopolies, they were private companies who submitted competitive tenders for the schemes & contracts.

    • forthurst
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      No attempt has been made to clean up the City such that it serves the interests of the wider economy rather than extremely greedy and untalented people to cream off. Why do Investment banks exist? What purpose do they serve? What about so-called Private Equity? All parasites that predate on the British economy rather than support it. Some time ago Warren East, a brilliant engineer, whose prior company was sold off to a rather unusual Japanese operation for no apparent purpose or benefit other than short term profit, said that many new start ups were lost to foreign predators after the first phase of growth as no new capital for the next growth phase was forthcoming, that in a country which boasts that it has the most important financial centre in the world. No, the banks still prefer to lend to rent seekers who then fail to provide the expected easy income stream after each major downturn. It is time to inform the banks that they are there for a social purpose which is to support the private economy as a whole and that if they don’t see it that way, the privilege of a banking license can be revoked.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      +1

      Quite right: Cowperthwaite was a leading exponent of how small government encourages wealth growth!

      Perhaps these simple principles (small government) can be adopted post Brexit? We can live in hope.

    • acorn
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      Mark B, I would tell you just how wrong you have got it; but, JR wouldn’t dare publish it and risk exposing the “Noble Lie” to the proletariat. The latter are not supposed to know about, let alone understand, how the currency system actually works and how the 1% profit from buying and selling financial instruments that have no socio-economic value, millions of times a day.

      Circa 94% of what the Spiv City of London does is pure casino style gambling. The proletariat supply the profits to Spiv City, by accepting poorer yields into their Pension and Bond funds but will never know it.

      • NickC
        Posted July 2, 2020 at 10:38 am | Permalink

        Acorn, Or we can have your MMT Soviet style finances.

  3. DOMINIC
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    What a tired and weak PM that instead of firing up the wealth creators with slashing taxes of all kinds he throws borrowed cash at the public sector bottomless pit to appease Marxist union leaders to try and persuade their members back to work

    We know what Labour stands for. Less freedom, more bigotry, more control and more spending on their client state. I still don’t know what the Tory party stands for.

    Like most Tory PM’s they filter their spending plans through a political prism with both eyes firmly focused on the political effects for the Tory party. The effects on the nation’s finances and its people are of secondary consideration

    The Tory party is a lost party. It stands for nothing, believes in nothing and refuses to defend our most ancient freedoms, symbols and culture.

    Johnson endorsed BLM. That revealed a lot about what he is and what the Tory party’s descended to. Empty vessel, utterly repugnant

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      Thankfully the armed forces haven’t caved in to the bandwagon. Establishment but not establishment, thankfully. It seems through all this, yet again the armed forces are the ones we should be clapping and taking a knee to.

    • percy openshaw
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      I agree with every word.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      Well, Labour’s sister party in New Zealand has recently been able to grant its citizens vastly more freedom and safety that the people in Tory UK are permitted to have.

      I would expect the UK party to have similar aims, and to apply like diligence.

      • NickC
        Posted July 2, 2020 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        That’s because NZ locked down its borders, something you have failed to support here, Martin.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted July 3, 2020 at 7:22 am | Permalink

          Wrong – I supported strict border control, testing and isolation of incomers right from the start.

          And what I think makes zero difference to what this government does anyway.

      • czerwonadupa
        Posted July 2, 2020 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        Your comparing a country with 4.5 million (your local corner shop) compared to a country with 59.9 million more @ 64.4 million & being a major international transport hub (Harrods)

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted July 3, 2020 at 7:23 am | Permalink

          OK, how about China with 1.4 billion, or South Korea, or Japan, then?

    • Everhopeful
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      +1
      I reckon the tories just do what the UN ( or whoever) tells them.

    • Original Chris
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      I too share your disgust at Johnson and his “progressive Conservatism”. His policies seem neither to be progressive in any positive way, nor Conservative.

      “Progressive” seem to stand for Marxist policies e.g. restricting freedom of speech through political correctness aggressively imposed and monitored by a police force which seems to not be focusing on policing but instead social engineering; the focus on gender identity politics which serves to create division, confusion and foment unrest; and the green deal scam which is creating vast amounts of wealth for the political and corporate elite, but which will impoverish the ordinary people, and cement their subservience to their political masters.

      We desperately need a true Conservative Party and leader. Why have Tory MPs allowed it to morph into this tool of the Marxist globalists?

  4. Mark B
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    Oh, I forgot ! Yesterday was, I believe, the last day to ask for an extension to our transition period. If so, then it seems that we are either really going to Leave the EU or, the government is going to capitulate – AGAIN !!

    My money is on the latter.

    • glen cullen
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      Sadly I believe you’re correct ….capitulation it is

    • beresford
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      ….. and if the EU strings things out into the Autumn and our Government then asks for an extension because there is insufficient time to prepare, do you think the EU will say ‘No’?

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted July 1, 2020 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

        But there will be a few billion to pay to compensate them! Bovine Johnston dare not do that!

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted July 1, 2020 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

        Then the Tories are toast for a generation.

      • Mark B
        Posted July 1, 2020 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        Only if we do not agree to more demands and pat more money.

    • NickC
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

      Mark B, Well, Boris did not capitulate on the WA treaty Article 132 extension. That’s a plus, isn’t it? Yes I know it has to be set against all the previous kneeling in supplication before the EU oligarchy, but that was due to the likes of Robbins, Sedwill, May, Bercow, Benn, Blackford, etc.

    • oldwulf
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      @ Mark B. On more than one occasion the UK electorate demonstrated that it wished to leave the EU. I believe that Mr Johnson is well aware that he is merely our messenger and that politically, he dare not renege on his promised effective exit date of 31 December 2020.

      Also, I believe that politically, he dare not risk an accusation of “capitulation”. So ….. I believe it is likely the UK will exit on 31 December 2020 on so called “no deal” terms, unless the EU is prepared to agree something better for the UK. Of course, whether or not any agreement is “better” for the UK than so called no deal, is a matter of opinion and might still risk an accusation from someone or other, of capitulation by Mr Johnson.

      On balance I therefore believe it likely that the UK will exit on 31 December 2020 on “no deal” terms. Presumably there is no reason why negotiations could not continue beyond that date unless either the EU or the UK does not wish them to continue.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      If Boris is seeking political annihilation, then back tracking from his concrete promises is the quickest way to achieve his aims?

      Is he really that naive?

  5. Bryan Harris
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    The plans seem appropriate, even though some will accuse the government of using socialist methodology. I won’t be doing that.

    What concerns most people is who will get penalised in the upcoming changes to tax rates and so on. OAP’s are an easy target – especially given all the fake assumptions about how the older generation is allegedly better off than the younger people.

    When are we going to get an honest and fair tax system, that is fit for purpose, that doesn’t need 50,000+ people to collect it, and is totally transparent?

    • Andy
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 6:42 am | Permalink

      Office for National Statistics figures show 47% of financial wealth is held by the over 65s. 41% of property wealth is held by the over 65s.

      The corresponding figures for under 34 year olds are 2% (financial wealth) and 3% (property wealth).

      Old people are not just better off. They are massively better off. This is why we will be coming for your pensions.

      • Bryan Harris
        Posted July 2, 2020 at 6:38 am | Permalink

        What absolute rubbish – “Wealth held” does not equate to standard of living…. and in any case that wealth was earned.

        Andy – You sound like the generation that expects the world to fund your lifestyle… Good old benefits logic

        The answer is to go earn the lifestyle you want.

      • Edward2
        Posted July 2, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink

        Is “we” the mob?
        Best of luck getting elected with ” we are coming for your pensions” as a manifesto promise.

      • Fred H
        Posted July 2, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

        and when the over 65s wealthy owner dies – where does it go?

      • NickC
        Posted July 2, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

        Or you could work for it as the current pensioners did. Yet you, Andy, would rather threaten to steal, than work like the pensioners did. Your morals are rotten.

      • dixie
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 6:36 am | Permalink

        By your own figures the majority of wealth (51%) and property (56%) is therefore held by people between 34 and 65 so why are you threatening to steal from the frail and least able?

        As it is you have boasted in past blogs about how rich you are, your 2 properties in France and threats to make your 30+ employees redundant, if true I suspect you will be one of the first in line to be stripped of your assets.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      Perhaps when the European Union, along with other principled associations of nations have shut down the tax avoidance operations in places such as The British Virgin Islands, etc.?

      • Al
        Posted July 1, 2020 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

        Maybe it should finish dealing with Luxemburg first.

        Unless you are suggesting Mr Junkers should remove the others to reduce the competition?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted July 3, 2020 at 11:41 am | Permalink

          It is dealing with Luxembourg etc. first.

          That is a main reason for the Tories’ frantic bid to evade those reforms at any cost, I think.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted July 1, 2020 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps when the European Union, along with other principled associations of nations have shut down the tax avoidance operations in places such as The British Virgin Islands, etc.?

        You do make me smile with your EU blinkers on. There was a program on the box recently investigating the massive tax avoidance undertaken by many large corporates – many of whom operate principally in the UK. The investigation led to particular street in the Netherlands – a row of houses used as accommodation address offices for some of the biggest companies in the world. Apparently, that address is their head office! And Luxembourg is another place where much tax avoidance takes place.

        But, no, you have to focus on the British Virgin Islands. Of course you do.

      • Original Richard
        Posted July 1, 2020 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

        What about shutting down tax avoidance operations in European “places” such as Monaco?

      • NickC
        Posted July 1, 2020 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        Martin, The only “principles” the EU has are corruption and power.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted July 1, 2020 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        And in Luxembourg ?

      • hefner
        Posted July 2, 2020 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        Sorry MiC, one would have to distinguish between tax havens for individuals and those for companies. In terms of profits shifted from countries where they had been made then received, the top country for companies to shield profits are …
        Ireland with $106bn, followed by Caribbean with $97bn, then Singapore 70, Switzerland 58, the Netherlands 57, Luxembourg 47, Puerto Rico 42, Hong Kong 39, Bermuda 24, Belgium 13 and Malta 12.
        Depending whether you read reports from Transparency International, the EU’s own research on the topics, or books by various authors (N. Shaxson in particular) the list might be slightly different. It gets much more different when the money brought to a country is related to its population. Places like BVI, Jersey, Gibraltar move up the queue even if the total amount of money ‘stored’ there is smaller than in other countries appearing in the other type of table.

        So look closely at what the figures are and say.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      The Tories have been promising tax simplification for many years but over that time they have done the opposite.

      Indeed. The esteemed host of this site had to agree with Andrew Neill some years ago when Mr. Neill alleged that, rather than simplify the tax system, the first few years of Cameron/Osborne had seen the tax code increase from a notional 13,000 A4 pages to 18,000 pages. Quite an impressive achievement in just a few years!

      And yet you will still vote Tory because you think Labour will be even worse! What a voting system we have. And you won’t vote to change that either. Truly, you collectively adopt the position and take your medicene.

  6. peter
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    You say better roads are needed – where I work the temporary cycle lanes, reduced speed limits all look permanent and have been hailed as a green recovery! Once traffic returns to near normal it will be gridlock.

    • Bryan Harris
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

      Cycle lanes are a fine example of how officials get brainwashed by green liberal ideology.

      Cycle paths are everywhere, and are used very infrequently – Most cyclists ignore them and use the roads.
      Enormous efforts are made to placate the greens, for show, to say councils etc are doing ‘something’ – but it is all pointless posturing.

      In the vast majority of cases, cycle lanes are worthless and unnecessary – Some of course work, but those that do make roads more dangerous and/or more congested.

    • Stred
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Brighton Council has completed a ‘temporary’ cycling lane taking up one lane of the dual carriageway out of town for five miles to the boundary. The result is that it takes cars twice as long to get through the many traffic lights. I did not see a single bike on the road. There already is s bike path half a mile south on the coast.

      • a-tracy
        Posted July 1, 2020 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        Cyclists that break road rules and don’t use cycle lanes are beginning to annoy me, just this morning a lycra-clad specialist on the main 70 mph road causing people to heavily brake to get around them instead of on the purpose-built cycle lane, then they cut across both lanes at the traffic lights and turned right straight through a red light with oncoming traffic how they missed an accident I don’t know.

      • DennisA
        Posted July 1, 2020 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

        In Wales, there are miles of pavements to nowhere, never used. New cycle lanes, unused. They seem to think everywhere is flat like Holland.

    • glen cullen
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      We have new build 10k cycle lanes…..not used at all

      Complete waste of money

      • a-tracy
        Posted July 1, 2020 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

        If there is a cycle lane the cyclist shouldn’t be able to use the main road.

        • Fred H
          Posted July 2, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

          what are pedestrians supposed to do, apart from concentrate on the threat from speeding silent cyclists and the hurled abuse.?

          • a-tracy
            Posted July 6, 2020 at 11:38 am | Permalink

            I said if there is a ‘cycle lane’, pedestrians have their own pavements.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      And once they have ( deliberately caused ) gridlock – out will come the local congestion charges – ie – MORE tax.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      Same here in Ashfield, 20mph introduced through town centre to aid social distancing. More rubbish under guise of pandemic legislation.

  7. GilesB
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    We also need investment in advanced agriculture such as hydroponics:

    * Reduce miles travelled by food
    * Reduce import bills
    * Improved micro-control over growing conditions improves food quality

    Can use brownfield sites near existing housing schools and hospitals.

    • jerry
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      @GilesB; Would it not be better to use brownfield sites for job providing factories etc and use our plentiful farm land to grow food – rather than wild flowers, as is the case under the EU inspired set aside polices?!

      • dixie
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 7:04 am | Permalink

        hydroponics and aquaponics can be on roof tops (eg Singapore) and arranged vertically (vertical farming) so can co-exist with other functional structures.

        The question is, if there is so much good farmland why can it not feed our population.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      And stop the live export market. Calves transported to Spain from Scotland!! The animal welfare act needs improving – a lot.

    • Martyn G
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      Interesting that you mention hydroponics. The remnants of a quite large scale hydroponics beds remain on Donkey Plain at Ascension Island where, in WWII the USA grew vegetables to support their forces stationed there. They were very successful, the only problem being that in the absence of bees pollinating had to be done by hand of specially trained personnel. Should be viable, I would have thought, in the UK though scale and cost might be a problem.

    • dixie
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 6:48 am | Permalink

      Aquaponics is even more effective – grow fish which provide nitrates for the fruit and veg which in turn clean the water for the fish.

  8. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    Yes online working is a massive efficiency boost and reduction in commuting times and costs are substantial. It means the U.K. will no longer be Londoncentric, with all the wealth concentrated there, dragging all the talent from the regions.
    So a pity the PM did not announce minimum room sizes in all new builds and the rollout of FTTP across the country. Instead he is wedded to HS2 commute (so 19th century) Expanding rather than improving education and health.
    For improved delivery of education we need computer based courses provided by the best to overcome a couple of generation of educational disaster.
    For improvement in health delivery we need a true national insurance scheme with insurance companies bidding for blocs (ie no longer allowed to cherry pick the healthy). The private insurers will drive up NHS standards or ditch them. But ‘free at the point of delivery for British citizens’ sacrosanct.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      Indeed. Rail is looking more and more obsolete. Why HS2 ?

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      I’m English born and bred. Worked and (still ) taxed since leaving school ( over 40 years then an accident retired me ). I have been having an annual hospital checkup but this year the earliest they could offer me was 6 month later than usual – in October, even saying that that appointment could be cancelled. . Yesterday I had a letter saying THAT appointment HAD been cancelled “due to unforeseen circumstances” – over four month early ???

      Do the govt know there is another country wide lockdown planned for then?

      As for your last line Lynn – I think anyone coming here should have to pay in for a certain number of years before getting free treatment. We have loads of “British citizens” who have arrived, contributed nothing – yet cost us £1000s. THEY – with our own govts acceptance – are having us for mugs.

  9. Sakara Gold
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    Ours may well be a £2 trillion economy; but it also has a £2 trillion national debt. For the first time since WW2.

    Where is our national debt repayment plan?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 6:39 am | Permalink

      I think the debt repayment plan currently is devalution of the pound combined with trying to screw even more tax out of the already hugely overtaxed private sector. The second bit will just reduce the size of the wealth creating sector and will clearly raise less tax in the end. Exporting jobs, money and good hard working people and businesses.

      The plan should be to grow the wealth creating sector, release it from red tape, reduce and simplify taxes, go for cheap reliable energy, cancel expensive lunacies like HS2 and cut the size of the largely parasitic state sector – all very simple really we just need a real Conservative government in place. Only about 4 years left until we get to the next election.

    • NickC
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      Sakara, Are you advocating austerity?

  10. Adam
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    The 5bn spent in the public sector will convert into pay for consumers purchasing in transactions recurring throughout the economy.

  11. Fred H
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    To encourage the High St and entrepreneurs local authorities and other car park owners should consider free parking schemes for up to 2 hours and cheap rates for a further hour. Supermarkets have currently a stranglehold on shopping alternatives, this must be removed in order to revitalise High St commerce.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 6:58 am | Permalink

      Why must highs street commerce be revitalised?

      • Fred H
        Posted July 2, 2020 at 9:37 am | Permalink

        MW – – Freedom of choice beyond supermarkets, social interaction, entrepreneur activity for the Economy, a reason to get out which is health giving compared to PC order shopping, library visits, specific banking reasons, charity donations/purchases, keeping parking wardens in a job?

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      Private car parks cannot even recover the business rates they have to pay. Once again it’s the state that is the problem.

      • Fred H
        Posted July 1, 2020 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

        But they typically (in the south?) charge very high rates, even for 1 hour or two. And employ wardens to fine!

      • hefner
        Posted July 2, 2020 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

        There was an interesting ‘Leader’ in the 27/06/2020 FT called ‘Watch this space’ about commercial properties. The last sentence was: ‘For two decades a reliably easy way to make money has been to buy a commercial property and go to sleep. Time to wake up’.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted July 3, 2020 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

          Not to make money.

          To exact it.

  12. Lifelogic
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    Richard Curtis has joined Mark Carney in backing the Make My Money Matter pensions campaign.

    Has Osborne’s overpaid Mark Carney (PPE yet again) not done enough economic damage? Not content with the government wasting billions on renewables now they want to waste your pension pots on them too. Studies suggest (rightly) that every (invariably heavily subsidised) green job destroys or exports about three real ones.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      Wasting other people’s money is what govts do – after sticking their own in Panama first.

  13. Andy
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    £5bn – some of which was not even new money. Pathetic. How old, tired and devoid of any sense this mess of a government is.

    Meanwhile our hopeful young people yesterday lost their right to free movement. Taken from them by a bunch of sneering old Tories in Parliament.

    Young Britons now have fewer rights to move abroad than any other Europeans. Taken by the pensioners.

    • Fred H
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 6:54 am | Permalink

      If young Britons want to abandon their birthright, let them go where they might be admitted. The future for England (Britain?) does not lie with those who want an easy ride elsewhere. You missed your own opportunity. Your problem, not ours.

    • Richard1
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 7:07 am | Permalink

      What are you talking about. The vast majority of young people’s travel is for study, tourism, gap years etc, which they continue to be free to do in the EU, in European countries which aren’t in the EU and around the world. If they want to live and work in another country young people can of course also do that, by meeting the criteria such as getting a job. Just like young people from around the world can come to the U.K.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      The EU recently published a list of countries from which people could visit countries in the EU. Why did they do that? They seem to be under the impression that the EU is a government. When asked on the box yesterday, Mairead McGuinness seemed unclear on whether compliance with the EU list was mandatory for all EU members. She seemed surprised when the interviewer suggested countries might want to decide for themselves.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 7:13 am | Permalink

      Would you like global free movement? If not, why just within the EU?

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      Don’t moan.
      Just get on with life. If you’re good enough, you can move anywhere. What’s stopping you opening a business in the EU?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      In a civilised country, nothing, which by enlightened standards could subject people to unconscionable treatment would be put to a popular vote. That is why Germany’s constitution, given its history, bans referendums.

      The 2016 result, as acted upon by the Tories, does exactly that, by destroying businesses and livelihoods, and by removing a swathe of far-reaching rights from the entire population.

      Which simply proves that the UK is no longer a civilised, enlightened country.

      This is apparent to fair-minded people in their billions the world over now.

      • jerry
        Posted July 2, 2020 at 6:49 am | Permalink

        @MiC; I wonder what your SNP friends in Hollyrood might have to say about your diatribe on legitimacy of referendums?!

        MiC, you appear to have formed tunnel vision due to Brexit, try looking at the wider picture for once…

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted July 3, 2020 at 7:25 am | Permalink

          Yes, the SNP would have to think very carefully about the future that they envisaged.

      • Anonymous
        Posted July 2, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

        Well. 47 years of EU membership did us the world of good then, obviously. *Sarcasm*

        We’ve only just left – 47 years of EU membership has been an utter disaster for us.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted July 3, 2020 at 7:26 am | Permalink

          Compared to what, exactly?

          • jerry
            Posted July 3, 2020 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

            MiC; “Compared to what, exactly?”

            The 2 millennia that went before our joining the EEC perhaps…?!

      • Edward2
        Posted July 2, 2020 at 8:41 am | Permalink

        Your fellow Welsh citizens don’t agree with you.
        They voted to leave the EU.

      • Fred H
        Posted July 2, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

        What like the popular vote in Hong Kong?

      • NickC
        Posted July 2, 2020 at 11:02 am | Permalink

        Martin, Businesses lose and gain customers all the time. Unless you want to completely ossify all transactions? There is no reason why changing our top tier of government from Brussels to London in itself will result in anything other than normal customer churn.

        As for the billions in the world you claim to be on your side, I doubt if they even know about the EU or our Referendum. Certainly, they – living in independent nations – would be at a loss to understand your need to be governed by a foreign political oligarchy.

    • jerry
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      @Andy; “Young Britons now have fewer rights to move abroad than any other Europeans. Taken by the pensioners.”

      I have known many young people who moved abroad, without the political strings that came with the EU, some moved to European countries before their adoptive countries were even members of the old EEC, one moved to the Middle East (running a very successful company in the UAE), more recently, I know people who emigrated to live and work in Australia, NZ, the USA.

      All Brexit will do is stop, most often irresponsible, youth waking up one morning with nothing to do that week deciding to go and live in another EU member state simply because they are allowed to, having little or no plans nor funds behind their dream – winging it in other words!

    • agricola
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      Utter Cobblers. The irresponsible young are already raving in selected areas of the UK with more reversion to lockdown quite likely. Meanwhile the rest of the population is apparently booking like mad to destinations all over Europe. They must be enjoying their freedom to continue travelling. There is no restriction on moving to Europe other than your ability to support yourself. Europe does not want free loaders any more than does the UK.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      The ones with anything to offer still have their freedom of movement.

    • Peter van LEEUWEN
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      @Andy:
      If these investments in infrastructure and other sectors will prove to be a first step towards decreasing the gap between the poor and rich in Britain it may said that it could have been worse. Or is that me being naive?

      • NickC
        Posted July 1, 2020 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

        PvL, Well, EU infrastructure projects in the southern part of the EU empire have not decreased the gap between the rich and poor in the EU.

    • IanT
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      I was a young person before the EU ever came along Andy – and I don’t remember anyone having problems traveling or working abroad. All you needed was a passport and the ability to enquire about the correct visa. Many didn’t even bother doing that – they just went.

      I know that I’m old and a pensioner (e.g. mean, rich, conservative, selfish, home-owning – you will fill in the sub-text I’m sure) but I’d be very happy to swop all my material possessions to be young, fit and healthy again.

      And if granted such a wish, I think I could find ways to work and live pretty much anywhere I wanted to. What I wouldn’t do is waste my time gnashing my teeth and raging about all the injustices in the world (and there are many). I’d probably just be very thankful for all of life’s blessings and focus on enjoying my new found youth all over again – whilst hopefully having learned a thing or two from past experiences.

      So please don’t waste your time arguing with us old people Andy – find something better to do with your time and enjoy your life. Maybe, when you are finally a pensioner yourself, you will have more sympathy for them and less patience with those who preach patent nonsense. 🙂

      IanT

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      Young Britons can’t move abroad because their poor education precludes them from clocking up the requisite number of immigration points.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted July 1, 2020 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

        Plus most of them can only speak English. I guess Andy’s kids will have to get a gap yah bar job somewhere else.

    • ed hirst
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      Your often expressed hatred of pensioners is abhorrent Andy. Hopefully you might be a pensioner one day.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted July 1, 2020 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

        Hopefully not if he’s due a public sector gold-plated pension that the younger generation will have to pay for.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted July 1, 2020 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

        I’m a pensioner but I don’t sense any hatred from Andy towards me.

        It’s just a fact that most of my contemporaries voted Leave, and he does no more than to state that.

        Another fact, that the young, who would be affected for many years, were generally happy with the European Union was one very strong reason – among many – for my voting Remain.

        Switzerland age-weights many of its votes for precisely this reason.

        • a-tracy
          Posted July 2, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

          Martin, what do you call wanting to remove state pensions from your ‘contemporaries’ that have compulsorily paid into the National Insurance System all of their lives and for an extra six years if they’re female (a 25.8% contribution if they’re paye half of which was intended for their State Pension when it was set up).

          Andy 15 Jan 2020 “In contrast my plan, to scrap all state benefits for pensioners, would save the average income tax payer £3000 a year – nearly £60 a week…. those taxpayers who still want to donate to old people could choose Age UK or other pensioner charities instead.”

          Perhaps John should suggest the government sets up Andy’s voluntary charity for waspi women beause Andy thinks his generation “would make a much more sensible job of it than the government.”

          Andy “I say that old people should not get handouts just because they are old. I say that state pensions should be scrapped because too many people take more out than they ever pay in – and that is unsustainable. I say that older people should pay for their own social care – and not expect it to be subsidised by the rest of us.
          I say that older people should contribute more to the NHS because they use it more. I say that older people should pay for themselves and not expect their lives to be subsidised by younger people – which they are now.”
          Aug 27, 2019

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted July 3, 2020 at 7:27 am | Permalink

            I didn’t take that point literally.

        • Edward2
          Posted July 2, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

          If you are a pensioner then Andy hates you.
          Just because you share some political views won’t stop him coming for you as he threatens to do in a post above.

        • Fred H
          Posted July 2, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

          what nonsense Martin. Andy has focussed on the perceived problems he has with people who have worked their years and now wish to live off their savings and contributed state pension. How you can pretend he’s all sweetness and light is laughable.

        • NickC
          Posted July 2, 2020 at 11:05 am | Permalink

          So, Martin, you don’t sense that Andy has your pension in mind when he says “This is why we will be coming for your pensions”?

        • anon
          Posted July 5, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

          If you age weight the statistics for wealth, e.g. divide by age.
          However the fact you have not suggests irrational bias.

          Indeed this is one way the means tested system discriminates against older people or self sufficient until they are dependent.

    • Robert Mcdonald
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      Being a pensioner I recall that I could holiday and work abroad before the eurocracy existed, so I don’t see how leaving it is going to make any difference.

    • ukretired123
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      Andy dear chap were you referring to the due process of law resulting from the democratic choice on 23rd June 2016, with implementation overdue 4 years ago?

      Don’t be such a spoil sport now with Anti-democratic, Anti-aged, Anti-Britain etc.
      The Magna Carta needs restating and be mandatory history for all students.
      You would be so proud of its profound importance and spiritual legacy to many other countries too!
      You remind me of Bercow in your attention seeking …….

  14. John E
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    What a damp squib that all was. Touting £5bn of spending that was already announced at least once before as some sort of New Deal is pathetic. This PM is an utter disaster.

  15. Nigl
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    All this working from home and the digital economy. So what’s the point of HS2 then? Even less reason to proceed and save the 10p billion or so which dwarfs the amount Boris announced yesterday and could be spent to much better effect, or horror of horrors, not spent at all. No doubt the houses will be trashing the green belt in the long suffering South adding to even more local traffic, pressure on water etc. I see Redrow has already announced it will be pulling out of London to concentrate on the suburbs.

    The BOE is forecasting a faster recovery so as stated by other correspondents this is more about ‘buying’ votes, trying to make Boris look leaderly. Too late Covid has shown up the reality.

    Great quote in a review of a biog of Robert Haldane. How many members of British governments in the 21st century have shown themselves capable of thinking past next Monday or of advancing the most meagre of objectives beyond their narrow self interests.

    How true.

  16. Fred H
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    read Shaun Lintern in the Independent for serious journalism and truth.

    We don’t get a lot of publicity on that, do we Sir John.?

    As Sir Alex used to say ‘squeaky bum time’ reading that, isn’t it!

  17. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    1 Education
    Why not use this opportunity to ditch the luxury of Micky Mouse courses and instead match tertiary education to opportunities in the real world?

    2 Building
    It’s clear that retail shopping is dead for the foreseeable future. If we need houses, convert the many empty office blocks and shops to living accommodation. Don’t keep building new when half the commercial world is empty.

    3 Infrastructure
    Build for the new age. Use AI to completely overhail health and transport. You don’t need to be sitting in queues of traffic or in hospitals if time and space are used efficiently.

    4 Immigration
    A halt while an audit is done of what the country needs and doesn’t need in its workforce. This piecemeal +you can stay 3 years if you have a PhD+ is again a patch up. We need to build teams around our top academics and business people to push forward technology – AI, healthcare, efficient transport and 5G comms. We don’t need more teams of Baristas and sandwich sellers.

  18. Richard1
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Let’s hope the money for building is spent wisely and we don’t end up with lots of vanity projects like HS2.

    There were hints of other good policies such as planning reform, public service reform and even tax cuts. But no substance or details.

    We need bold and radical free market policies to get the economy moving, not just spending. Let’s aim to have the simplest and clearest tax and regulatory regime at least in Europe. We are miles from that at the moment. No free lunch after Brexit, we need to compete.

  19. Everhopeful
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Well, Boris won’t do any shop-to-house conversions here, nor in the historic town where a relative lives! I know that for certain.
    Because both high streets have already been given over to houses (aka destroyed).
    This is not a new idea…the intention was made clear years ago.
    Boris just delivers the globalist script.
    Agenda 2030…long planned…herd us into the cities.

    If they cared they would have slashed business rates!
    As ever…ever…it’s the poor what gets the blame.
    And he who steals the common from the goose…goes free!

  20. Dave Andrews
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    I expect the people of Leicester would like a dose of hope and optimism. Instead they have lockdown restrictions continuing.
    As the spike in infections occurred whilst lockdown was taking place, surely continuing the restrictions isn’t the answer.
    If public behaviour is the cause of the problem, then tackle that. Don’t impose restrictions on businesses that have made adequate infection control precautions – they are low risk.

  21. a-tracy
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    It’s not buildings that make a good school! We had a fantastic relatively modern High School bottom of the league, full of problems, not many decent teachers wanted to work there because of discipline problems, insufficient pupils signed up all choosing to pay for buses far to far away better schools in the expensive catchment areas, perfectly good school pulled to the ground now full of boxes of new build houses minutes away from the most smelly waste dump. I’m sorry but I just don’t see money being thrown at the same old – same old problems being useful.

    More computerised lessons from the best teachers with tests to ensure understanding, this is the time to provide sweeping changes in the way education is provided.

    • a-tracy
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      Plus you’re going to have big offices emptying all over can’t they just be repurposed for education, we had an old college it could be reused as a school extension whilst the social distancing requirements are on?

  22. agricola
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    Great speech, but we now wish to see the substance. It is up to Ministers their ministries and local government under re-direction to facilitate the playing field for private enterprise. We have experienced how the latter , our medical NHS and military can quickly rectify the failures and omissions of government and the civil service when presented with a task.

    One MP went on at length yesterday in the Commons on the ways and means and requirements of producing more houses. I would merely add that if you want high standards, high specifications for homes produced at speed, you do it in a factory. The building industry is far too slow, of dubious quality and expensive. I want to see factories set up with the speed of Nightingale Hospitals run by Cad/Cam on just in Time principals under a regime of ISO 9000. Leave the foundation platform and the laying of services to the building industry. On such evidence I would then know that the housing problem was heading in the right direction.

  23. Anonymous
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    What can be done about the large numbers of highly skilled people being made redundant from aircraft and motor engineering and aviation ? Surely it isn’t just building we can be doing to keep people busy ?

    PS, This leading scientist reports that CV19 has a global fatality rate of 0.1% – that it can be suppressed with vitam C, D and Zinc and a course of hydroxychloroquine if the disease takes hold. And that the reason why some areas got hit so badly across all age groups (the dramatic hospital scenes) is because vaccination programmes for other flus had resulted in bad cytokine reactions when CV19 appeared.

    She says there was no need for lockdown and that there IS no need for lockdown.

    Why are we in lockdown ? Why are healthy people in locdown ? Why are we losing our jobs and our futures ?

    Professor Dolores Cahill.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      The above was not written by Prof Dolores Cahill – her name was mentioned for reference only and this information was from an interview with James Delingpole.

  24. Ex-Tory
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Either the crisis is still too severe for the government’s emergency powers to be lifted, or it has subsided sufficiently for the PM to know that the government can borrow enough money to finance these projects. He can’t have it both ways.

    • Mark B
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      Because he us in power with a healthy majority with over 4 years until the next GE.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      At present the government can borrow as much as they want at negative interest rates – I suppose it is a pity not to use that facility.

  25. a-tracy
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    You say the private sector needs a positive response to lead the recovery. Then your government chokeholds many of these businesses instead of dealing with the proper issues.

    1. All business closed in Leicester because one community has let this virus come back in the last three weeks and run rampant, it’s because of overcrowing and poverty we’re told – well all homes of multiple occupancies should be registered if homes are on shared rental. If they’re all family homes of multiple occupancy why are they in poverty even with three minimum wage jobs that would bring in £54,000 to the one household a year – or are we just meant to ignore people who won’t work.

    2. No-one on the news addressed the issue that 4000 protested in Leicester three weeks ago all gathered together, half with masks, half not bothered and no-one in government thinks this is linked? You’re having a laugh!

    3. No more than 30 at a wedding, what if the venue was massive and could accommodate 2m distances between family tables? How could that same venue open their restaurant safely but they can’t operate as a wedding venue? Or did you restrict restaurants to a maximim of 30 guests from 6 families only because I haven’t read that?

  26. George Brooks.
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Why my comment from yesterday did not get moderated, I don’t understand, but if you don’t move in the direction I suggested and sort out the Civil Service the government will make very little progress. Would you try to run the London marathon with a ball and chain round your ankle?

    Until you get those members of the CS who want this country to succeed running the departments and remove those who want us totally under state control little or no progress will be made. You need to find and promote the David Frosts of this world.

    It is the private sector that will play a major part in getting our economy back on it’s feet so cut the paperwork, launch the tax incentives and make it very attractive to get back to work. Every town has a lot of vacant office and retail property that could be requisitioned to give schools the extra space to ensure social distancing and get ALL the kids back in September.

    Pubs, restaurants and hotels need the revenue from the next 3 to 4 months if they are to survive the winter and be in business next year. The same is true for the travel industry and although they will make very little profit there is far less chance that they will go bust.

    Relax the rules on working hours especially for those who have found that they can work very effectively from home. Work the time that one would be commuting which in a vast number of cases would convert to an extra 10 hours work a week.

    Get rid of the ball and chain and think outside the box.

  27. Caterpillar
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    “education to equip young people for the opportunities of the digital world”

    This is absolute ageism, it should be retracted, such opportunity should be supported for all. Young privilege is already widespread.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      I see young bias in the words of the PM and the BEIS Secretary as well. It is a little distasteful.

    • Al
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      Believe me, young people already know where these opportunities are (although many hiring groups complain that they have to be retrained out of using libraries and into knowing how to actually code), but most of them would prefer a little less admin when they try to take them up. Digital VAT, still at zero threshold, GDPR, the joys of data management paperwork when third party storage is concerned, it all adds up.

    • zorro
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      Fits in quite well with the actualite of what has happened, why and how over the last four months if you take it at face value….

      zorro

  28. Caterpillar
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Yes FE support is hugely important. I heard from some acquaintances that some FE colleges were cutting Entry Level courses next academic year to concentrate on Govt funding for the higher level courses. I do not know whether this is individual colleges’ decisions or due to Govt funding, but there are sadly too many in the UK who have zero qualifications and in particular limited literacy and/or numeracy. I assume Mr Williamson will be thinking about this. (I assume he will also be thinking how to encourage and reward colleges for those students who are able to pass through Level 1 and Level 2 English and Maths in one year).

  29. ChrisS
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    There is no point in spending money trying to resurrect the High Street because the downward trend has already been going on for years. The Pandemic has been a Tsunami that has accelerated the decline in footfall by at least five years.

    The same applies to home working. Hundreds of thousands of office workers will have no desire to go back to spending up to three hours a day commuting and all the expenses that this entails.

    If I were the Finance Director of a large company, I would be demanding that up to half the office staff continue to work from home so that I could make a dramatic cut in the amount spent on office accommodation. For new employees, working from home would be mandatory and salaries could be reduced by £3-8,000 a year because of the saving on commuting costs. This will have a dramatic effect on city-centre pubs and cafe businesses but there is no point in trying to resist the change because home working can be so much more efficient for the general economy and at the same time will reduce congestion.

    We now have an opportunity to make a dramatic change in both the way we shop and work and it should be embraced by the public and encouraged by the government.

  30. Caterpillar
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    It is indeed not clear how the economy will adapt to 8 million leaving furlough. After the initial three weeks of lockdown, it was quite clear that furlough (job retention scheme) was inappropriate. It remains unfair in arbitrarily attaching different value to different people and stupidly pays to keep resources immobile. Apart from initial implementation UBI was always and remains a better option.

  31. Caterpillar
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Digital/AI/robotics not only allow algorithmic processes to move from labour to capital, but also areas of acquired/tacit knowledge to move in the same direction. It is highly doubtful that sufficient jobs of sufficient vale add can be created for income to shift back to labour from capital such that the majority can live flourishing lives.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      At an even more fundamental level we could be reaching a point where it is possible for a nation to be inside its production possibilities frontier and still produce sufficient to consume and sufficient to replace its capital i.e. we have to start preparing by asking how economics reformulates without a scarcity assumption.

  32. DOMINIC
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    What we are seeing here is nothing less than the buying of public silence using taxpayers cash.

    Both parties have conspired with the woke authoritarian State created under rancid Labour to smash us down on our knees using oppressive laws and to keep the majority backing the Tory-Labour duopoly in place they bribe them with more cash and more freebies. It is the most appalling DECEIT

    We so desperately need the 2 party grip smashed before they do any more harm to us all.

    Farage and the Brexit Party should have stood against every single Tory candidate at the last election and exposed them for what they’ve become even if that meant a brutal Marxist government

    The Tory party have betrayed our most sacred nation by embracing Cultural Marxism which is only now having the most destructive impact. That destruction will only accelerate as the Tories retreat back into their shell by capitulating even more to thuggery, violence and intimidation

  33. Original Richard
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Covid-19 has shown how exposed we are to attack by novel viruses which may occur either unintentionally or even intentionally by a hostile state and data has shown how much more dangerous it is to travel on mass transport systems – even today, whilst trying to open up the country/ease lockdown, the government is saying that public transport should be avoided if at all possible.

    So I believe that building very expensive mass transport systems, such as HS2, is not only uneconomic and ungreen but also unusable when we under attack by viruses such as Covid-19.

    The current pandemic has shown that we firstly need to spend the HS2 £100bn+ on fibre optic cable to every location in the UK.

    And if we need a fast link between London and the North we build a new tarmac motorway designed for small driverless electric vehicles and with junctions so that all those along the route can benefit and not just those at the terminals.

  34. glen cullen
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    If the effect of this building policy is to boost the economy…

    He should have put money in everyone’s pocket in the form of tax cuts

    We’d spend the money and boost the economy much quicker than govt

  35. Nivek
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    “The Prime Minister set out a vision of hope and optimism yesterday”

    My hope is that the Conservative Party’s economic recovery programme accords with the Government’s duty to protect the right to freedom of expression, both of the public in general and employees in particular.

    I look forward to hearing more on Mr. Johnson’s plans during the forthcoming general election campaign that needs to happen as soon as possible in order to reaffirm democratic control over the government post-“lockdown”.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      What are you after? Weekly general elections? Spare us from the farce and cost of another one. It does not matter a jot who wins them.

  36. agricola
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Picking through your submission to day I would comment as follows:-

    1. Yes education at all levels is paramount, but put the emphasis on useful subjects that can be turned to the advantage of man and the country. For instance , a back at work friend is short of good plasterers to employ on his contracts. Technical education should be supplying them.

    2. Leave the change of use high street premises to private enterprise and risk. Government national and local only needs to be a facilitator.

    3. Government needs to encourage the long overdue work from home approach. Control and management via computer is well within the bounds of current technology. The reduction in commuting could be considerable.

    4. A major key to future success is cheap power. Stop pandering to ill informed Nimbies, and acknowledge that we have two sources for the future. Fracked gas and oil and miniaturised nuclear. Stop pretending that we are dependent on expensive and erratic windmills.

    5. For food and fish, government can facilitate cheap finance to implement technology. I would like to see a battle plan for fishing covering conservation by species , geographical area, and methods to be employed. We can then decide the extent to which EU fishermen should be allowed to fish in our waters. I also want to see a robust policing of the new regime indicating to some of the fishing voices in the EU that they play by the rules or be put out of business.

    We have had the rhetoric, now we want meat on the bone for all that has been hinted at. We have had political aspiration, we now want the detailed way to realisation.

  37. a-tracy
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Building Plans.
    Social care is a massive problem, there is a big difference between social care and nursing care through incapability to look after oneself in basic functions, separate the two.
    Keep the solutions simple. Build more retirement apartments, a good size apartment with nice views with balconies, a communal garden, possibly an onsite cafe and lifts. This allows people to free up large social housing they no longer need as their families departed and aren’t there to provide their personal day to daycare. Communities can develop without anti-social behaviour of local teenagers and trouble makers affecting the residents. Less transport for carers to go from one to another, less transport for Doctors, social workers, mobile hairdressers, food delivery trucks, other home based services.

  38. Lifelogic
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Certainly fewer planning restrictions, planning fees, planning delays and planning costs is most welcome. As would be fewer misguided greencrap building control costs inflicted on builders and this customers and everyone.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      Certainly fewer planning restrictions, planning fees, planning delays and planning costs is most welcome.

      Indeed. Let’s get those wind turbines up without the endless ‘Black Oil Matters’ protestors such as your goodself objecting and slowing down our transition to a greencrap economy.

  39. The Prangwizard
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    I speak with some experience; much money could be saved if more, much more emphasis were to be placed on quality regular maintenance but it not glamourous.

    So many properties suffer from the lack of it and would last considerably longer if cared for properly and would function better and be looked upon differently. Tragically maintenance budgets are so easy to cut and short term thinking is a ruination.

    It’s always easy and attention grabbing to announce shiny new things.

  40. Christine
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    I’m sorry John but until Boris commits to some meaningful reforms I have little confidence that he aims to improve this country. We see the continued modern day book burning with the left leaning media shutting down debate. Our education system is no longer fit for purpose. Our police are no longer fit for purpose. Our voting system is no longer fit for purpose. People are in fear of losing their income if they have the wrong opinions. Mao would be proud.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted July 1, 2020 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      What “debate” has been “shut down” by the Left?

      What proposition would you like to examine?

      The debates, which very much are shut down, are those on improving rights for employees, on protecting occupational pensions, on the re-socialisation – not necessarily nationalisation – of strategic undertakings, on the return of powers to local democracy, and so on, shut down by the Right and by their media.

      So come on, Christine, please tell us what you want to discuss but cannot?

  41. JohnK
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Boris Johnson really is a prat.

    He likes to be photographed wearing a hard hat, pretending to drive a JCB. He supports ludicrous schemes such as the garden bridge, a bridge across the Channel, a bridge across the Irish Sea and the colossal waste that is HS2. Added to which his insane devotion to “net zero” will kill the economy stone dead.

    I voted Conservative in the last election because I support Brexit and could not stand the evil communism of Jeremy Corbyn. That does not mean I think Boris Johnson is an effective or honest leader. Here’s a hint to Boris: The New Deal of FDR did not solve the Great Depression. By 1937, the USA was in a second wave of recession, and FDR did not know what to do. It is only because of World War II that he is remembered as a great president.

    If Boris really thinks that covering England (and I do mean England) in ticky-tacky boxes to house the endless tidal wave of immigrants he shows no interest in stopping or even reducing is a recipe for success, then I pity the fool. I have no sympathy for Keir Starmer at all, but he is not a communist lunatic like Corbyn, and Boris may find out that an 80 seat majority can evaporate quicker than he ever imagined.

  42. Christine
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Your Government has given us plenty of brown field sites. Over the last 20 years, I have seen the destruction of multiple office buildings in my area with the loss of thousands of well-paid jobs. All these jobs moved to the cities under Osborne’s Power House of the North. Boris tells us he will invest in the North of England but we see no improvements. We want local jobs not more houses with people having to drive huge distances to get to work. We want good jobs not minimum wage jobs. We want a future for our families where they can live and work close by. We deserve better. I’m tired of words and broken promises.

  43. Anonymous
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Well… I suppose you have to train up people to be builders, which means plenty of apprenticeships… or is it going to be the usual which is to ship the builders in from other countries meaning even more building needed to house them ?

    Without the trades courses how is this going to create employment for people sacked by Airbus or Flybe or any other business destroyed by social distancing ?

    Building isn’t the problem. The lockdown and the disease is the problem. The social distancing is the problem.

    The disease is still here.

    Social distancing is still here and so long as it is then a well rounded economy cannot be recreated.

    With a 0.1% kill rate by CV19 (of which 90% are old and ill) the social distancing measures are going to kill five times the numbers that the disease will through poverty and restrictions on medical care.

    The majority of people are only paying lip service to social distancing now. Why are we continuing with it ?

    Western governments have overreacted and see the interview by James Delingpole of Dolores Cahill (leading immunologist in the EU) for reasons.

  44. David Williams
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    It is better to pay people to build than not to work. Furlough indefinitely would be wrong.

    There are many opportunities for our town centres if planning is not restrictive. Any premises above ground floor should be residential (more dwellings will be needed when BNOCs come from Hong Kong). Former retail outlets at ground level have many uses, for example “indoor gardens” employing vertical horticulture for local supermarkets, e-scooter and e-bike rental bases, click and collect cafes, venues rented out by the hour). The private sector will innovate many uses for former retail premises if flexibility is allowed.

  45. Iain Gill
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Well since the government is allowing 3 million people from Hong Kong into this country… we are going to need a lot of houses, hospitals, schools etc to simple stand still.

    So not impressed.

  46. DennisA
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    We do not need to spending £100 million on attempting to suck CO2 out of the air. The climate is not in crisis, the economy is.

  47. Mike Wilson
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    People are in fear of losing their income if they have the wrong opinions.

    Where are you finding that?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted July 2, 2020 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      That is the case for many employees, and it goes to show how under UK employment law, employers have far too much arbitrary power over employees.

      The Tories gave it to them.

  48. ian
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    The government which john supports will make nothing but malinvestment with your money to suit companies and people that they like and support, they don’t care about fraud and value for money all they are interested in is getting your money out of the door for the purpose of GDP, all they said about planning and money was already in the manifesto.

    GDP to debt will be 130 to 140 per cent by the next election, as for 3 million people in Hong Kong coming to the UK, the rich and middle-class people of HONG KONG already have second homes in AUS, CANDA, NEW ZEALAND and the USA, mostly only people with no collateral will be coming to the UK and did the gov think to ask you first, NO they just go there own way like they always do, you as citizens of the UK might as well be living on the moon.

  49. ian
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    I like to point out today that this is the fourth time the UK economy has gone broke since the big bang in the COL in 1986 on con party Keynesian economic policy and had to go to the BOE for some kind of bailout and each time the bailout get bigger, it won’t be long before the gov is calling on BOE again. 1989 to 1991 bailout, 2001 to 2002 bailout, 2008 on, never-ending bailouts and bailouts will continue till this Keynesian policy is dumped for something else, from 1946 to 1976 the UK had only one bailout as far the people know, today the UK goes broke about every 8 years, its a great policy for 10% of the people live in this country like John himself but does nothing for the majority of people living in the UK, just never-ending steam of inflation and currency debasement and malinvestment.

  50. David Brown
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Overall I agree with your comments, mine are:
    Ensure existing redundant buildings are (where appropriate) regenerated.
    Back to FE topic ensure the former Tec Colleges are up to providing IT education.
    Review all state costs the Private sector faces eg Business Rates etc

  51. Ian
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    I pulled up the PM Speach in the U N
    I have to say I liked what he had to say and it was delivered as only Boris can.

    What we really need to hear from him is that with the rise of the numbers without jobs, as we run into the last quarter of this year.
    We do not want to hear he is give I giving free Free Passage to 4 Million from HK.
    Not to mention the hundreds crossing the English Channel.
    It is our people First, they are here now, we need to chuck out the Chinese doing 5 G, make that happen, I have been told we can do it our selves !
    That goes for production of more Cheeper Energy, never mind the Green rubbish, that just makes us un competitive.
    Rolls-Royce can produce atomic power units. Etc etc
    It is a bit like PPE, look every were but home ??

    Look after Home First please, for anything, you need to buy, it is only Common sence

  52. Dave
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    “growing more of our own timbers” – so putting aside how long it takes to grow a tree to be usable for construction, isn’t the Forestry Commission under your government’s control?

    Regarding planning and red tape, the devil is in the detail. I fear it means that here in the west of your constituency, we are going to lose what little powers we have to prevent further destruction of the natural environment. In which case, the Tory councillors will need to either resign the whip or we the electorate will continue to replace them with independent councillors or ones from other parties. The massive overdevelopment imposed on us is already causing transport gridlock, difficulty accessing health services and shortages of school places. We haven’t forgotten Bridge Farm Quarry.

  53. steve
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    JR

    The trouble with digital technology is that when introduced to the young, the outcome is serious detachment from reality.

    • hefner
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 12:06 am | Permalink

      It depends how it is introduced. I know of children (my granddaughter among them) who started to play with a simple children-related ‘coding’ system (Scratch Jr) when they were about seven. Seeing that they could make ‘things happen’ from what they were typing, some of them went on with more object-oriented programming (OOP) still aimed at children (Kodable). Now in her first year of secondary school my granddaughter has belonged to the school computer club and was introduced to Visual BASIC.
      She does not look particularly detached from reality and has recently told her parents she wants to become a software engineer, to write not use programs.

      So I would argue it has little to do with the technology itself (digital or otherwise) but depends much more on what adult/family/school environment is prevailing when children get access to a given technology.

      Is your surname Luddite?

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

        VB is pretty much dead. No-one writes new stuff in VB. Unless your grandaughter is going to work on legacy stuff, you want to ask her computer club why she is not learning C# – for example.

        • hefner
          Posted July 8, 2020 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

          Thanks for the advice.

  54. Andy
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    Tory Government:

    We have ended your free movement and right to live in 30 countries because a handful of people, who don’t qualify for free movement anyway, arrived on a dinghy.

    Also the Tory government:

    3 million Hong Kongers – of course you can come here, bring your families. And stay!

    Tory government:

    We will ignore the Withdrawal Agreement – an international treaty – because we don’t like what we signed up to.

    Also the Tory government:

    It is outrageous that China is ignoring the commitments it made in an international treaty.

    • jerry
      Posted July 2, 2020 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      @Andy; Stop repeating yourself, no one has been stopped from living and working in any other country (subject to local laws), all Brexit has done is stop irresponsible free-loading – it most certainly does not stop those with internationally sanctioned rights to reside from doing so.

      Hong Kong citizens are (were) UK subjects, and well before the UK joined the EEC, before the ECSC existed – your point being what exactly?

      Stop imagining things. The UK govt has not ignored or driven rough-shod over the UK/EU Withdraw agreement. Your comparison with the agreement made with China with regards Hong Kong and how China is now behaving does nothing but show either total ignorance or utter contempt (for both the UK and Hong Kong people), probably the latter.

  55. Jane
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir John,
    I read with dismay at all the money being spent from the newly found money tree which Mrs May, in the HOC, said did not exist.
    Eighteen month’s notice of moving my pension back six years was all the notice I received.
    I suggest the government find the Waspi women’s lost pension money and rectify this injustice.
    At least ten years should be given as a timeframe for people to plan for the loss of 6 years expected income.
    Trust is earned and so easily lost.
    In these trying times people have to spend to kick start the economy and get people back into work to generate much needed taxes through the velocity of the money supply.
    The economy would have of course been helped by my lost £48k, but sadly it is still on the branches of the money tree!

    • a-tracy
      Posted July 2, 2020 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      Jane, I’m surprised Andy hasn’t been on to berate you he thinks all state pensions for everyone should be stopped or means-tested. It was a gradual rise over seven years speeded up by Osborne.

      When you say you only had 18 months notice what year were you born? Blair and Brown announced the equalisation of female-male pension ages in 1995. In early 2006 all of the papers reported on Blairs announced white paper on pensions.
      They passed the Pensions Act 2007, which raised the state pension age to 66, 67 and 68 for both sexes.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

        I keep correspondence from the government – about tax and pensions etc. I have no correspondence informing my wife that her pension age was to rise to 65 instead of 60. For most of our working lives, we expected her state pension at age 60. It was only by chance, listening to something on the box, that we became aware that the noise we had heard about pensions was now, in fact, happening. We found out in about 2011/12 that instead of retiring in 2018 at the age of 60 my wife would have to wait until 2023 to get her pension.

        I would add she has been employed all her life and already has full contributions to provide a full pension.

        6 or so years is not enough notice to change our plans. I feel we have simply been robbed of 5 years of pension for her.

        • a-tracy
          Posted July 6, 2020 at 11:33 am | Permalink

          I had been complaining about this equalisation of retirement ages since 1995 Mike, equality was an EU objective (relating to pension age, insurance etc) and the UK decided they couldn’t afford to set the joint retirement age at 63 for example and used the excuse that rising longevity meant previous pension predictions from when the NI fund was created weren’t accurate and couldn’t be funded.

          I admit I do read lots of news, as an employer made all my employees aware of this very early on, writing about changes in our Staff newsletter. Perhaps we should be asking our National broadcaster paid out of compulsory taxes how they told the general public about this change from 1995 onwards on our News programs and on the Radio.

          I feel I have been robbed of 7 years of pension.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted July 6, 2020 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

          You have indeed been robbed of it.

  56. M Brandreth- Jones
    Posted July 1, 2020 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    If we continue to separate differences such as young / old & black/ white & poor / rich and side with who we think suits us best, we are not going to use our collective abilities and knowledge to better our society and become economically strong. In country divisions will not get us that leading world place where we could influence all on growth and well being. Stop the verbalised hatred, stop being so arrogant , stop being so negative . Remember the lock down is showing us who is really necessary and it is not the bigots.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      The grip on power by the Tories has always hinged on creating division.

      You might even get 43% of the turnout to vote for you, if they think that you will upset those whom they hate enough.

      That’s what Cummings understands.

      • Edward2
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

        Very odd logic considering the result of the last election.

  57. hefner
    Posted July 2, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Five GDP figures to keep in mind (from http://www.statista.com gross-domestic-product-per-quarter-united-kingdom):
    2019Q1: £521,610m
    2019Q2: £520,779m
    2019Q3: £523,513m
    2019Q4: £523,617m
    2020Q1: £513,273m
    Why are they important?
    Because one can bet that over the coming months and years, we will hear a lot about percentages related to these figures. It might worth considering not the % but the actual GDP figures … and even better the corresponding GDP per capita.

  58. APL
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    Around here, a reasonably affluent middle class, area with fair amount of student rents, we’ve had what is probably our first (Accident ed), a thriving business selling coffee and cakes until March 23 when the business was forced to shut.

    Well they’ve been open and trying to sell a few take away coffees and buns but going from a fully staffed cafe to a dozen people queuing outside in the cold every day. Has destroyed their business model.

    Today someone left the microwave on in the kitchen, and the whole place has been burnt out, and then what remained has been destroyed by the fire brigade.

    The business had just re-fashioned it’s interior in January too, which must have cost them a pretty penny.

    Odds on, this business never reopens. As empty commercial premises start to increase, the value of the residential properties start to decrease.

    Thanks Tories.

  • 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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