The government should resolve to spend less on wasteful plans in 2024

The main reason we are running a large deficit is the public sector is spending too much. Controlling spending better is important to get the deficit down, to allow more tax cuts and promote more growth. There are four main areas where less can and should be spent.

  1. Public sector administration and civil service numbers.  Between fourth quarter 2019 and third quarter 2023 civil service numbers have increased by 69,000 and other public administration by 41,000 making a total rise of 110,000. The total is now 1,175,000. Productivity has slumped during this period of rapid additional recruitment. There has also been substantial grade creep with many more senior and higher paid people in the mix. The civil service is too keen on additional regulation, more international obligations and more meddling with people’s lives and business activities. Do less of it.
  2. The high costs of making provision for large  numbers of low paid economic migrants. Whilst this may be cheap labour for companies it is dear for taxpayers. Every additional 250,000 need a new city the size of Southampton to live in. That means many new homes, schools. surgeries, more utility capacity of all kinds. At an estimated £250,000 each of public sector capital and early years revenue spending 100,000  new additional  migrants cost £25bn.
  3. The high welfare costs of many more people registering as unable to work. Whilst it is important we have a generous system for those disabled who cannot manage a job, it is difficult to believe so many more people each year are being added to this category. With more support and better benefit administration more could get suitable work.
  4. Local government wasteful spending. In so many places as in Wokingham local Councils are spending so much money on narrowing roads, making unhelpful changes to road junctions, and  introducing cycle lanes where no-one uses them as part of their anti driver policies. Many Councils have been adding to property and other investment portfolios at foolish prices and finding in some cases they cannot rent them out at a rent that delivers any return for taxpayers. Some  Councils have expanded their administrative staff numbers and pushed up pay for  senior personnel.

The government says it wishes to tackle these problems. There are remedies it can put in place for 2024 to start to make a difference  and bring the growth rate in public spending under better control.

  1. Place an immediate ban on additional external recruitment of personnel for the civil service and other public administration. If an additional person from outside is needed a special case should  be signed off by a Minister. As people leave to change jobs or to retire so the departmental organisation chart should remove some jobs and amalgamate others. There should be some better  control over the ratio of senior staff to the rest.
  2. Implement the plans to cut legal migration by 300,000 and step them up to reduce it by more. The aim should be to get it below 2019 levels as promised in the Manifesto. As it comes down so the large budgets for extra public sector housing and services can be reduced.
  3. The government is proposing extensive further welfare reforms to help more people back into work. This needs speeding up as the numbers who cannot work again continue to surge.
  4. Put tougher controls on local authorities borrowing to buy assets and make investments. Central government should decline to fund anti driver schemes.




  1. Peter Gardner
    December 30, 2023

    I’d add in to the mix incentives for employers to employ Brits first and to invest in training Brits (not immigrants) in the skills industry needs. The UK perversely incentivises the import of cheap labour through its Shortage Occupations categories in which employers are permitted to pay immigrants less than Brits. In Australia such a policy would be regarded as insane. Australian employers have to pay a large premium in addition to paying the cost of the visa and this is paid into the Skilling Australians fund. Neither the immigrant nor employer are allowed to find alternative funding for these costs.This ensures investment in the human capial of Australia for the long term. The UK seems to reject investing in its human capital thus exacerbating skills shortages and increasing long term dependence on immigrant labour.
    Australia also requires immigrants to demonstrate they will not be a burden on the state. This requirement alone would reduce immigration to UK by well over half.
    I wonder if, although dressed up as an Australian style Points Based System, UK immigration lacks many of the important features of the Australian system and is merely a continuation of the EU’s free movement policy but opened up to the entire world. That certainly seems to be the mentality behind the system. Few in Government seem to be serious about reducing either legal or illegal immigration other than as a vote seeking gimmick. The few who are serious are sacked, forced to resign or squashed by senior colleagues.

    1. Peter
      December 30, 2023

      ‘ The government says it wishes to tackle these problems. ’

      Few believe them. ‘Carry On Regardless’ seems to be their motto.

      1. Guy+Liardet
        December 31, 2023

        You must stop the wasteful and useless Net Zero scam before it ruins us. Our one per
        cent of carbon dioxide exceeded by Indian coal production increases every month. CO2 does not affect the climate. Read it up

    2. Everhopeful
      December 30, 2023

      I was truly amazed to see that TB mooted the idea of Rwanda (and Mull!) when he realised ( I guess) the way things were escalating re immigration.
      ALL these years of inward movement, increased pressure, uncertainty and fear and those in charge have been fully aware of the pitfalls.
      AND the far Left gaining in strength to the point where such ideas have become virtually unutterable!
      It might have been better if Brown had stayed holed up in Downing Street?

    3. Renton
      December 30, 2023

      If any Conservative politician tells you “here is what we plan to do in 2024”, your reply should be “why didn’t you do it in 2010 or 2011 or 2012 or 2013 or 2014 or 2015 or 2016 or 2017 or 2018 or 2019 or 2020 or 2021 or 2022 or 2023?”

      1. Lifelogic
        December 30, 2023

        Indeed. If they mention proposed IHT reductions then ask why they ratted on Osborne’s £1 IHT threshold promise of 15 years back – why would we trust then this time?

        1. Mickey Taking
          December 30, 2023

          that £1m with house price inflation should now be at least £2m.

        2. Original Richard
          December 30, 2023

          LL :

          We shouldn’t.

        3. THUTCH
          January 2, 2024

          It was vetoed by the Lib Dems in the coalition talks.

    4. Timaction
      December 30, 2023

      Why are you writing about this after 13.6 years in office. All of these issues are a direct consequence of Tory immigration policy, a points based system set so low that everyone qualifies, unlimited pretend students with dependents subsidised by taxpayers where no one ever goes home and for some reason need replacing EVERY year. WHY? Could it be they go from low paid wage immigrants to social housing welfare dependents in quick order. As your non equality obsessed Government like showing under representation, perhaps you could ask your Government how many on welfare weren’t born here and now supported by oppressed English taxpayers.
      We need more public sector workers to replace those not working from home? Go to ASDA a d take a look Sir John. You may bump into one of a large number playing the system as their managers/supervisors are at it as well. Think part time MP’s multiplied by 1.2 million!

      1. Hope
        December 31, 2023

        How many urban ghettos need to be built each year for the mass immigration welfare claimants?

    5. Hope
      December 30, 2023

      Tory uni party wants and wanted mass immigration despite lies to the opposite to get elected. That demo o started the dishonesty of the party. 14 yrs and 4 manifestos! Come on, they are still lying is the only reasonable explanation. JR, states reduce immigration by 300,000. 3.5 million gross were allowed in not 745,000. The govt has no control who leaves. The number who leave are estimates, not accurate figures! This in itself is a scam to con the people the number is lower than it actually is.

      JR, tell us why the govt does not know exactly who comes into our country and who leaves our country? Based on JRs number he is advocating for 445,000 immigrants each year, is that right JR? Tell us how you propose to secure a fixed number to leave? If not, please us how you intend to achieve your goal? Why do we need 445,000 people to come here each year? Why not have a moratorium on immigration for 5 years with the exception of the 2,700 gold visas applicants- you know, the ones (best and brightest) your party promised to have, not the poor low paid uneducated in work and out of work welfare claimants.

      I know minister Plebgate wants UK taxpayers to feed Africa but this is taking the piss.

      Reply No I do not advocate 400,000 more migrants a year! Try reading what I write before accusing, I am telling the govt a 300,000 reduction from current levels is not enough. I support the 2019 Conservative Manifesto which said reduce it from the then level of a bit over 200,000

      1. Hope
        December 31, 2023

        So what number did you have in mind by advocating a cut by 300,000? That number deducted from total net immigration equals 445,000 each year! Not an accusation, fact based on your proposal of cutting by 300,000! The reality is you should be advocating your last manifesto pledge to cut the number under 219,000 which means a yearly 525,000 cut! Basic maths based on what you were elected so why advocate your current proposal of cutting by 300,000? So you are advocating much higher immigration than what you were elected on. Otherwise you would have written at leat 545,000.

        Reply It is the govt that plans 300,000 cut and I am urging them to do more!

  2. Wanderer
    December 30, 2023

    With regard to point 3 (unemployment benefits). I don’t condone those who play the system, they are stealing from the rest of us. However, many jobs – after tax NI, and transport costs – hardly pay enough to survive on, and that is part of the reason for trying to get on benefits. We should look at that side of the equation too.

    We’ll always have the feckless, but for others its not necessarily that all benefits are too high so pull them in, it is also that costs are exorbitant and push them towards living on handouts. It’s not cut and dried.

    1. Lifelogic
      December 30, 2023

      I too do not condone those who play the system either but they are often behaving rationally given the mad system that pertains. Why work 40 hours and be only say £3 a day better off after tax, NI, loss of benefits, commuting costs, child care, prescriptions, dental care… rather better off in fact if you shop and cook more efficiently using your extra free time or do a bit of bartering, baby sitting or cash in hand work, or sell things on ebay…

      Even junior doctors are not paid enough to live on after rent, student debt interest etc. But Heath Sec. Victoria Atkins a Barrister (with no knowledge of healthcare) on 4+ times their salary cannot do the simple sums it seems.

      A good edition of plank of the year on Talk TV. With a clip of Sunak saying:- “Five promises – we will grow the economy, half inflation, reduce debt, cut waiting lists and stop the boats – those are your priorities and the government’s priorities and we will either have achieved them or not”

      Well clearly not remotely Sunak!

      True The inflation that his idiotic policies as Chancellor caused – lockdowns, QE, vast taxes, test and trace, net zero, eat out to help out, furlough, duff often corrupt Covid loans has reduced to over two times the 2% target. None of the others – he is clearly not even trying to control legal or illegal open door immigration, sort out the NHS or Gov. borrowing and has anti-growth policies all over the place – net zero, very high and complex taxes, vast red tap levels, expensive intermittent energy, open door low skilled immigration, road blocking,

      1. JoolsB
        December 31, 2023

        Plus Junior Doctors have to pay out of their money, what’s left of it, for their own stethoscopes and equipment and their own membership fees just to enable them to practice. Compare that to our mostly untalented and useless bunch of self serving MPs who’ve just awarded themselves an extra £3k plus a year on top of their c£100K salaries if you include the £16-17K they get paid for sticking themselves on select committees which most of them do. Nice London apartments paid for by the taxpayer with an extra £9K a year allowance for each child of school age. Plus council tax and the sky’s the limit heating costs all paid for by us. And if that’s not enough they stick their top of the range iPads, iPhones etc. ear pods on their expenses.
        Meanwhile Junior Doctors are leaving in their droves because they can’t afford to live on what’s left of their meagre salaries because of this pathetic Government’s obvious contempt for them. But then why should Sunak care when he and his family have the luxury of never needing to use the NHS.

    2. Ian Wraggg
      December 30, 2023

      You’ve presided over this mess for 14 years. Your government is entirely to blame.
      It’s no good panicking at the 11th hour.
      Big announcement from Reform in 3rd January.

    3. mancunius
      December 30, 2023

      Excellent point. We need to motivate those who are entire self-supporting – with no financial help from their families or inheritances – to make a living, save, buy a property to live in, and invest in their own future.
      This used to be possible – for most it no longer is.
      One fine day they look round and notice that it would be easier to skive off benefits. So they claim to be ‘mentally incapable of work’.
      That used to be impossible to pull off. It no longer is.

      1. mancunius
        December 30, 2023

        ‘entirely’ self-supporting.

      2. A-tracy
        December 30, 2023

        It depends where in the UK you live Mancunius, if you are prepared to invest in poorer areas to get your foothold and travel to work then you can still do it alone, I know many examples of this. The problem is this government and the one being proposed intends to hit these young adults doing this with road charging, and parking punishments, reduced speed limits and making their commute almost impossible, without realising they’re only moved a commutable distance away in order to get a property.

    4. Derek
      December 30, 2023

      The personal tax allowance until April is £12750 per annum which should be enough for one person to live off.
      I presume the problem is that with immigrants forcing down British wages, our lower paid can now earn nowhere near to that figure.
      Government should heavily penalise ALL of those companies that employ cheap, unregistered labour, depriving British people of a decent wage in the process. The punishment must be great enough to persuade others to stick with local workers.

      1. Peter Parsons
        December 30, 2023

        The current minumum wage is £10.42/hour. Someone working 40 hours a week at that rate will earn £21,673.60 in a year, well above the personal tax allowance.

        The idea that immigrants mean someone working full time will earn less than the tax allowance is just drivel. What you presume is just plain wrong.

        1. Derek
          December 31, 2023

          LOL. Precisely, it’s too much for too many small firms to take on employees. So you think the illegal/non-registered immigrants actually receive the minimum wage? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

      2. A-tracy
        December 30, 2023

        The national minimum wage now called the national living wage is £11.44 per hour from April 2024. For a full time job that = £22,308 gross for a full time job (37.5 hrs per week) from the age of 21 with no qualifications, or experience, the floor, the minimum. Labour said they wanted £15.00ph – that is £29,250 pa (37.5hrs) what will the FY1 doctor want then when a 21 year old with no qualifications can get their starter salary?

      3. formula57
        December 30, 2023

        The £12,570 personal tax allowance is around half the national minimum wage figure. (From April 2024 the hourly minimum will be £11.44 giving an annual wage (40 hours x 52 weeks) of £23,795.)

        1. Derek
          December 31, 2023

          What a burden that is for a self-employed tradesman if he takes on an employee. What chance will he have of expanding his business if he has first to find from revenue yet another £23,795 per year in salary, then NI on top. So much for a plan for growth.

      4. Lifelogic
        December 30, 2023

        Well not if rent on s small room in a shared flat cost you £12k PA plus council tax as it does in London! You pay NI too even at that level.

  3. Hat man
    December 30, 2023

    You say, Sir John, that many more people each year are being added to the category of the disabled who cannot manage a job. That’s surely because DWP ‘work coaches’ have decided they should be. Among their clients, people with disabilities, those with mental health issues form the largest category according to the ONS. The government’s psychological operation on the public’s minds during the Covid crisis, and especially lockdowns, have led to the spike in mental health problems now being reported. So I’m afraid the government is having to deal with a problem it has itself created. It’s especially regrettable, as for some years before the lockdowns government policies had been successfully helping the disabled back into work.

    1. Sir Joe Soap
      December 30, 2023

      Well these are mainly problems that government itself has created. Instead of doing what we voted for in 2016 and 2019, it’s done the opposite. The chance of it amending its own creation in 2024 is zero.
      Let’s remember what we voted for
      -every part of the UK removed from EU diktat leading to

      -control of borders
      -scope to incentivise business here by far lower taxes, in turn leading to incentivising people to work instead of laze on benefits
      -option to ignore EU low carbon policies

      The fundamental failure of Cameron and May to negotiate professionally with the EU has led to folks like Dyson, Ratcliffe and thousands of others basing themselves overseas, and who can blame them? It’s equally difficult to blame others retiring early or limiting work effort with the present level of taxes. If for no other reason than this, and notwithstanding pandemic stupidity, the Conservatives are at the end of the road.

    2. Everhopeful
      December 30, 2023

      Yesterday I came across a govt. video that “explains” PIPs ( a sort of life support benefit). On top of other benefits AND you are apparently allowed to work!
      To qualify you have to be having trouble ( as far as I could make out) with absolute basics..washing, travelling etc.
      Yet it seems to me that people far more able than me (globe trotting even) are on this benefit.
      I do think however that jobs have been made so woke and so terrible that along the IDS lines…people take the logical route.
      ie retreat from the job market and get whatever they can elsewhere!

    3. Mickey Taking
      December 30, 2023

      Reducing legal immigration by 300,000 is way too small. Overseas students come, they bring in so-called dependents, existing immigrants find ways to have relatives join them here.
      Overseas student numbers should be cut, especially Chinese, and border controls reintroduced to establish more accuracy on numbers and origin of immigration.
      Personal income tax allowance needs to be raised as part of measures to create a gap between those who work and those living on benefits. Housing benefits ought to encourage people to move out of big cities to cheaper areas thus improving the standard they can afford to rent. Tenancies need to be annually checked to ensure the property is not being sublet, or shared ilegally.
      No new entries to Civil Service employment should be allowed until a 10% cut is reached and jobs better justified. Local Council headcount should be reduced, and no more job creation permitted.

      1. formula57
        December 30, 2023

        @ Mickey Taking “Overseas student numbers should be cut…” – difficult for £1/2 million vice chancellors do not pay for themselves.

    4. forthurst
      December 30, 2023

      Many businesses faced financial hardship and ruin resulting from the lockdowns. Many people as a result suffered from extreme distress causing an increase in mental health problems. This also happens perennially to farmers and fishermen as they see their livelihoods arbitrarily constrained by eco-lunacy.

      We have paid and are continuing to pay for the dire quality of those recruited into the administrative civil service
      who generally lack the educational backgrounds to provide appropriate and informed advice to ministers.
      How many senior civil servants have science degrees; how many in the foreign service can speak several foreign languages?

  4. Javelin
    December 30, 2023

    We live in post-democratic world

    In the Daily Mail today Boris complains about judges trying to overturn democratic decisions. He cites as examples Democrat judges trying to take Trump off the Ballot and British judges undermining the Rwanda decision and trying to delay Brexit.

    However it is not only British judges who are trying to subvert democracy.

    The main policies of this Government of mass migration, net zero and woke policies are all vanity projects that are not wanted by the public.

    The Prime Minister was not elected by the public or the MPs. The foreign secretary was not elected. The civil servants try to undermine democratic policy at every turn.

    We live in a post-democratic age.

    But there will be an election this year.

  5. Lifelogic
    December 30, 2023

    Government should also stop doing the many things they do that do or did positive harm. Net zero, road blocking, the net harm lockdowns, the net harm (as is now very clear) Covid vaccines, HS2, over taxation, expensive and pointless degrees for 50k+ of debt, the lockdowns, immigration levels, the anti-growth policies, over restrictive planning, over the top red tape strangling businesses everywhere, pushing EV cars and heat pumps…waste and misdirection is everywhere.

  6. Robert Miller
    December 30, 2023

    Spot on – as usual. Add to your list:

    1) Take an axe to development aid. This does more harm than good as has been been pointed out by Prof Sir Angus Deaton – winner of the Nobel Prize in economics. Not to mention Lord Bauer of yesteryear.

    2) a generalised cut in subsidies

  7. Richard1
    December 30, 2023

    A good list but I’m not sure the solution to 1) grasps the nettle. The civil service needs to recruit eg new graduates and could probably benefit enormously if it did more lateral hiring from the private sector as happens in most other countries. If it can’t hire new people it will atrophy.

    The only way to get the numbers down – which most certainly needs to happen – is to identify unproductive and or underperforming people and make them redundant. Many whole departments could probably be closed either with no negative effect or even with a positive one. A good start could be to say that attendance in the office 5 days per week is mandatory unless in special cases alternative arrangements are agreed. Repeated breaches of this should result in termination for cause. Last year there was a particularly absurd case of a very senior civil servant who it turned out was living in South America!

    1. A-tracy
      December 30, 2023

      Richard1 how on earth could they make working from the office compulsory now after allowing them to work from home without critique for three years, it would be a tribunal nightmare. Constructive dismissal claims unaffordable. It was a trial, it went horribly wrong, the fall out in commercial property values will be horrendous, the fall out in companies selling to those offices and lunchtime purchases is horrendous, trying to put the lid back on now will be almost impossible.

      We were supposed to have a three week lockdown, can you remember the adverts showing a line of matches extinguished by a gap, it went on far too long, too many people got comfortable without having to pay for childcare, no commuting costs, fitting their job around their household duties, taking on pets, picking up grandchildren from school, the corporates facilitating this lost all their arguments against flexible working, working from home and didn’t do sufficient productivity reporting.

  8. Margaret
    December 30, 2023

    Influence and said credibility play a great part where cases for spending take place.
    Who you know,how certain professional relationships can develop to benefit some rather than others is an unequal practice.

    Manchester spent millions on an iron bridge which hasn’t been finished and is not used .Who gave the go ahead for that project without sufficient insight of future potential problems?

  9. BOF
    December 30, 2023

    Don’t forget the many disabled by government policy of injecting experimental substances into people who never needed them to halt a scamdemic, to cause long term harm and disability.

  10. DOM
    December 30, 2023

    Who gives a toss. anymore. I now couldn’t care less. It’s obvious to most that politicians and bureaucrats treat taxpayers money with criminal contempt. They see it as a way to finance their power, their politics and their ideological agenda. I genuinely couldn’t care less if these Oxbridge snakes spend this nation into bankruptcy and collapse. We see it local levels where budgets are designed to fail knowing central funding will always intervene. No one is ever prosecuted.

    Without a leader with a chainsaw this sorry Socialist saga will spiral out of control and as ever it will your average private sector individual who will pick up the entire cost because that’s what Oxbridge snakes do.

    1. glen cullen
      December 30, 2023

      Agree, no one in this tory government appears bothered

      1. JoolsB
        December 31, 2023

        Also agree and that’s because not one of them is Tory. EU loving, pro immigration, big state, high tax socialists calling themselves Conservative. That’s why this life long Tory is voting Reform, the real Tory party.

  11. Lifelogic
    December 30, 2023

    The New Year Honours list is hugely depressing as usual. Circa 20% deserved 80% nor remotely.

    The House of Lords appointments commission appears to have blocked a peerage for Mark Littlewood, Far too sensible and too anti-government waste to be allowed in to the Lords I assume. Who is on this appallingly misguided appointments commission?

    Unlikely to get in if you, quite correctly, believe that taxes are far too high, government spends and waste far too much and that net zero is total economic and environmental insanity.

    1. glen cullen
      December 30, 2023

      Its satisfied its aim, gongs to the wokes and the supporters of woke

  12. Bloke
    December 30, 2023

    This government is virtually full to the brim with wasters. They spend money on needless and often harmful nonsense, carelessly or by intent against what many of the people they are supposed to represent want. SJR proposes sensible advice for change to the better. The first effective step should be to cut out the wasters themselves: Now!

  13. Sakara Gold
    December 30, 2023

    Indeed, the Ministry of Defence has increased headcount from 62,000 to 67,000 this year. However, despite the vicious war of national survival that is being fought by Ukraine, this organisation has again reduced our defence capability – they have decided to break up for spares 30 of our expensive Typhoon aircraft. Do these people live in the real world?

    It seems that a great deal of the additional £24bn of additional funding secured by SoS Defence Ben Wallace has been spent on an upgrade to the UK Space Agency’s National Space Operations Centre (NSpOC) at RAF High Wycombe, which has required the additional MoD staff. Even worse, they have apparently decided to award a £multi-billion contract to the American defence company Raytheon NORSS (alongside Intandem), to produce a 10-year strategy for the NSpOC. Having spent £billions of taxpayers money on this, cannot our grade-inflated MoD/RAF bods produce our own 10-year strategy?

    Sadly, Britain is now only a third-rate military “power”. Why are we again scrapping warfighting capability to pay for space toys for the RAF and techie types in the MoD? Who makes these decisions?

    1. Bill B.
      December 31, 2023

      It’s spending decisions like the one you mention, on “national space operations”, that remind us who controls this country, Sakara.

  14. Charles Breese
    December 30, 2023

    In order to create a virtuous circle to address the various issues mentioned by Sir John and other commenters I would include the following in the UK’s planning:
    i) focus on developing businesses (SMARTCOs) which a) develop solutions to global B2B problems (ie are exporters), b) enable both their direct customers and also the end consumers of the latter’s to benefit from step change productivity improvement (ie achieve more with less resource, which generally results in improved sustainability). The UK is great at developing enabling technologies which are the platform from which SMARTCOs get built.
    ii) focus on increasing the pool of higher paid and interesting jobs – SMARTCOs deliver these.
    iii) I am aware of SMARTCOs which are working with local schools to a) increase pupils’ knowledge about Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, and b) generate job applicants (whether as apprentices or graduates) to fill positions for which there are currently insufficient skills available in the UK (ie assist with Levelling Up).
    In summary, the UK needs to re-industrialise based on the industries of the future – it has the basic ingredient (enabling technologies) to make this a realistic aspiration.

    1. Iain gill
      December 31, 2023

      The reason our world leading producers shut was 1 power too expensive here 2 mandatory anti pollution kit far more expensive than other countries use 3 mandatory safety kit far more expensive than other countries use 4 our best intellectual property leaks far too quickly to other countries which undercut us. If we sorted this stuff out business would do the rest.

  15. Lifelogic
    December 30, 2023

    The government should resolve to spend “Nothing” on wasteful plans in 2024.

    Start with Net Zero, the moronic energy energy, HS2, the road blocking agenda, Ethel net harm Covid vaccines, carbon capture, the soft loans for worthless degrees (about 75% should go)… Most students going did not even understand their A levels. About half have lower than CDE A level grades it seems. Plus many university degrees are in idiotic meaningless subjects anyway even at many of the better universities. Often teaching dangerous lies, warped history, duff left wing economics and other propaganda to them.

  16. Rod Evans
    December 30, 2023

    Just cancel Net Zero policies John and all will suddenly move in the right direction.
    The other easy and obvious thing to do is establish binding ratios on employment numbers in the public sector.
    For instance, as the public sector is funded entirely by the private sector then a ratio of say ten to one should be mandated. That is, only one public sector worker for every private sector employee.
    Do that simple thing and the run away costs and borrowings you mention would be sorted in a single parliamentary term.

  17. Rod Evans
    December 30, 2023

    Just cancel Net Zero policies John

    1. glen cullen
      December 30, 2023


  18. Bill Smith
    December 30, 2023

    Sir john,

    This is nonsense, the government will be able to do nothing during 2024, as it is so confused within its own party that it will be able to deliver noting through 2024, and you faction of the party is partly to blame for this

  19. Walt
    December 30, 2023

    Should state welfare be “generous”, or should it be a basic safety net?

    1. Mickey Taking
      December 30, 2023

      what about being generous to those workers trying to raise families struggling to survive?

  20. Rodney Needs
    December 30, 2023

    Totally agree we also need include NHS it could and should be better run. Do away with percentage rises that make lower paid poorer and top of tree richer. Have a percentage with a miniumm uplift.

  21. Narrow Shoulders
    December 30, 2023

    1a Make ALL public sector pensions defined contribution from 1 January. 3% employer contribution as mandated by the workplace pension scheme.

    2a Introduce well written legislation so that immigrants and asylum seekers can not be supported by taxpayers. They either pay their own way or leave.

    3a Taper benefits over time and make them contingent on paying in through having a paying job at regular intervals for at least a year.

    3b Make it clear and stick to a policy of not increasing benefits by the rate of inflation.

  22. Old Albion
    December 30, 2023

    Immigration needs to drop to zero until we have zero unemployed. Get the unemployed out of bed to do some work. If they refuse remove their benefits.

  23. Guy+Liardet
    December 30, 2023

    John, you must campaign to stop the Net Zero unscientific nonsense. Manmade CO2 does not affect global temperatures appreciably. We produce one per cent globally. Our energy prices are killing us. I can’t get through to my MP Flick Drummond who thinks we must triple our windmills. She knows nothing about the Grid nor what to do when the wind doesn’t blow. I’m beginning to lose my temper over this utter stupidity

  24. Michael Saxton
    December 30, 2023

    I suggest the following,
    1. Stop all further civil service recruitment and formerly order every one working from home to return to the office. And advise anyone who fails to return to the office they will be summarily dismissed.
    2. Place a 5 year moratorium on ALL immigration to allow those already here to properly settle and integrate. Surely this proposal has the added benefit of helping the government’s Net Zero aspirations as less CO2 will be emitted?
    3. Everyone fit enough to work should be told to immediately find a job and if after 3 months they are still claiming benefits without good reason those benefits will be reduced on a monthly basis until their benefit is zero.
    4. Introduce legislation to prevent ALL local authorities to implement or change local traffic schemes within their jurisdiction.
    We need radical and robust policies to save this country from terminal decline Sir John.

    1. formula57
      December 30, 2023

      @ MIchael Saxtn “…those benefits will be reduced on a monthly basis until their benefit is zero” – at which point they will self-fund through crime?

  25. agricola
    December 30, 2023

    Your first sentence, three stars💥💥💥, but are the consocialists listening. The real socialists waiting in the wings can’t wait to get their grubby little hands on other peoples money.

    The civil service need a comprehensive rethink on numbers, function, WFH, and most important contract. Undermining democratic government, overtly or covertly should be a sackable offence. Pensions should revert to the same pattern as everyone else in employment, if not self employment. Automatic “K”s should evaporate. Pay should be based on performance, productivity of the department, and customer, you me us, satisfaction.

    Reducing legal immigration by 300,000 is totally inadequate. The gross figure is 1,200, 000. It is the immigrant, nett and gross , that impacts on the infrastructure and costs the indigenous taxes. I would set an absolute limit of 100,000. What the country needs should be educated and trained from within.

    Another three stars for paragraphs 3. And 4. 💥💥💥. However unless Reform get influencial traction if will not happen.

    1. Clough
      December 31, 2023

      Reform is covering ground, 10% already in the polls, and as an election approaches we’ll get more interest and attention from the public.

      We know where the Tory-in-name-only MPs are, we know where the fence-sitters are who accept the government’s nanny state/high migration/net zero agenda without really believing in it. Not much can be done about the first lot, like the Committee on Climate Change members, but we can influence the fence-sitters to come out in favour of conservative policies. Then if they do so, we stand down our candidate, as the Brexit Party did in 2019.

  26. Lemming
    December 30, 2023

    “Wasteful plans”? If there are any wasteful plans out there for 2024, they are because the Conservatives have spent 2010 – 2023 serving up wasteful plans. General Election now, let Reform, Labour and the LibDems give the Conservatives what they deserve

  27. Keith from Leeds
    December 30, 2023

    But it is the culture, the lack of consequences, the spend, spend, spend attitude that is sinking the UK. Perhaps you could ask the Chancellor how much he has reduced government spending by in his time in that office?
    I guarantee you the answer will be zero!
    Over 20 years of government overspending and yet our MPs simply accept it, with the possible exception of Sir John.
    We need a PM/Chancellor who know how to cut Government spending in every area, starting with reducing the Civil Service to a maximum of 100,000 and making that work. Tinkering around the edges will not work, but this PM/Chancellor will back down at the first sign of criticism.

  28. Dave Andrews
    December 30, 2023

    These objectives require people with real world management skills, not PPE degrees. There needs to be a more competent pool of MPs.

  29. Peter Humphreys
    December 30, 2023

    Totally agree about the anti-driver measures. The California crossroads scheme is a prime example of a solution to a problem that does not exist. I’ve used the junction hundreds of times by both bike, car and on foot & never experienced a problem.

    Money is to be spent on the Reading Road cycle lane which is fine in principle but shows the council acknowledge that the existing scheme they installed is not fit for purpose.

  30. Bert+Young
    December 30, 2023

    The Civil Service is guilty of promoting staff merely to increase their wages ; the numbers involved add up to a considerable sum and make nonsense of the system . The other major anomaly is the lack of control over immigration and the knock on costs . As it stands I have no faith in the management organisation that exists in the country and its lack of support to industry . The Police are not doing their job and the increase in crime is the result we witness everywhere ; knife crime is occuring all over the country – I despair . A major change has to occur in how and who runs the country .

  31. henry curteis
    December 30, 2023

    You almost get the feeling that the Conservatives are deliberately sabotaging the economy as well as the Police, armed forces, families, education as part of world government plans to destroy the current order, and replace with technocratic systems. The UK is a key part of world government sold out by treaties to many bodies, UN, WEF, WHO etc etc. England should be getting free of the imposed federal government the UK and going independent, nullify the treaties an re-establish English Law, free speech over woke, and rebuild our country. The Teds are the only way to go as the current system goes deliberately into collapse.

  32. Mike P Jones
    December 30, 2023

    The parasitic state sector is far too large. The Tories should set s firm policy of reducing the public sector payroll by 10% annually for ten years, bringing the total parasitic load down to about 30% of the current number. In step with public sector employees being moved to the productive private sector, the legislation and regulations they manage should be taken off the statute books. One of the reasons that we have too large a state is that we have too much legislation, probably by a factor five or six.

  33. Ian B
    December 30, 2023

    Sir John
    Historically speaking a ‘Conservative Government’ has meant a small State, dogged action to control spending, as a result low taxes are achieved. Thus, creating a framework and environment were business and therefore the people of the country thrived. The consequence of Conservative Management is the money to spend is created, it is created first.
    As reported yesterday in the media, “British households are on course to be poorer by 4%, or £1,200 on average, going into the coming election than they were coming out of the last one. That is something never seen before in modern British history.” This is in addition to the already highest tax take and borrowing ever seen in peace time.
    There was never in tax reduction coming it was all increases. We haven’t as stated by the Minister reduced Carbon emission, the deed has been distorted, Carbon emission (for the World) have been increased because this Conservative Government exported them. Our energy security now relies not on ourselves our own government but the whims of foreign governments that profit immensely from the UK taxpayer. The list of This Conservative Government failures is gargantuan all these failures demonstrate daily this is and never has been a Conservative Government. For those in it and at CCHQ to pretend it is, is disingenuous.

    1. Ian B
      December 30, 2023

      A tip for the Conservative Party and the Conservative Campaign HQ. The easiest way to get a Conservative government elected at the next election, is to ditch the incumbents, then find the least experienced ‘Conservative’ MP and one that hasn’t been tainted by the remnants of the Boris Johnson Cabinet.
      All that is needed is someone willing to serve their electorate and the Country, the shower the party has in place have shown the do not serve the UK, the electorate but themselves and the Socialist WEF cabal.
      How many more indicators do the Conservative Party and CCHQ need to demonstrate they have weak failing individuals trashing the Party. David Cameron – come on how many more times are they going to insult the electorate?

  34. Roy Grainger
    December 30, 2023

    You write as if you were in the opposition. That’s the problem. The government aren’t interested in any of these ideas.

  35. Original Richard
    December 30, 2023

    “Central government should decline to fund anti driver schemes.”

    This is but a small fraction of the costs of the Net Zero Strategy, the plan to bring economic ruin and thence social unrest to the UK with expensive and unreliable, chaotically intermittent “green” renewable energy resulting, together with electrification, in the rationing of energy, food, heating and transport controlled with smart meters.

    There is no CAGW and the Happer & Wijngaarden calculations on the real atmosphere, including water vapour (unlike the IPCC models) show doubling CO2 causes negligible additional warming (see the CO2 Coalition website for their paper).

  36. Bryan Harris
    December 30, 2023

    Yes – but what they need is some basic education on working to a budget.

    Colossal debts will be the end of the UK – we don’t expect any changing of spots from this regime.

    Time to stop being soft on a government that always had the intention to wreck the UK.

    JR, PLEASE – explain what a real budget should look like and it’s real purpose — HMG badly need to know.

  37. Ian B
    December 30, 2023

    Sir John
    “The government should resolve to spend less on wasteful plans in 2024” while I genuinely understand you believe that. But who in your Party this century has ever demonstrated the brain power to understand that. They will come up with a catchy ‘bonfire of the Quando’s’ phrase then do the opposite.
    So far, the last 13 years has seen successive so-called Conservative PM’s stuff the labour lead establishment (the Blob) with more and more socialist independent control. That is not a Conservative Party, that is not a Party serving the UK.

  38. Ian B
    December 30, 2023

    Over the last 13 years, we have the record of the Conservative Party laid bare, manifesto promises are just the lies told to get elected. So all the aspiration and promises in Manifesto’s never ever come into being just more demonstrations of how they will find ways not to do what they are empowered and paid for – manage the UK and serve it for the Peoples of the UK.

  39. Ian B
    December 30, 2023

    One thing that has become clear in recent days and as an accumulation of the deeds of the last 13 years, the Conservative Government will always look to blame others rather than do anything.
    Sir John, you list of actions is but a pipe dream of a Conservative that has found himself stuck aligned to a big State, high spending Socialist Party in Government

  40. Ian B
    December 30, 2023

    Mean while more abuse of the UK as a Country, the New Years Honors list is more trashing of common decency by the actions of an out of touch ‘Ruling Class’

  41. Peter Parsons
    December 30, 2023

    No mention of the House of Lords on a day when yet more people who’s main “contribution to public life” seems to have been the ability to write a cheque or two to a political party or a politician get to become legislators for life at our expense?

    1. Mickey Taking
      December 30, 2023

      but the dog-walkers should be recognised!

  42. Aaron
    December 30, 2023

    In sheer frustration at the amount of tax payers money being spent on welfare, may I suggest an extreme solution? Treat the welfare budget like the tote betting. The government set a figure, either annual, or for the life of the parliament, and this is divided up by the number of recipients. The more recipients, the less each individual gets.

    I also like the previous comment around training indigenous citizens for jobs first before training someone who has immigrated to the country, and ensuring immigrants won’t be a net drain on the economy. That seems sensible.
    Perhaps the rump of the Conservative Party remaining after the next GE could get a few Aussie MPs to advise them on how to run a country securely and start to rebuild some actual conservative policies to put to the electorate in 2029?

  43. Everhopeful
    December 30, 2023

    What new and appalling madness is this??

    1. Everhopeful
      December 30, 2023

      Oh..and it is going to cost a lot
      Each of the 55 towns/cities gets £2 m set up funding.
      Wasteful and undemocratic plans.

  44. MFD
    December 30, 2023

    The first move must be to repeal the stupid law that caused the government to throw away money to countries like India, which can afford to play with rockets aimed at the moon
    A stupid idea from Cameron I think, this frivolous action must stop, now!

  45. XY
    December 30, 2023

    The legal migration announcement has already been watered down and pushed back.

    They announced a minimum salary of £38,700 to be applied in 2024. Then it was reduced to £25,600 or so – and then it was pushed back to 2025 (which will be beyond the next election).

    Having got the credit for the main announcement in a fanfare of trumpets in the media, they sneakily reduced it and pushed it out to a time beyond their governmental remit. Anyone reporting it will be on some website off the beaten track, the mainstream media won’t say anything about it.

    More reasons to vote Reform. Punish these charlatans (all the parties currently in parliament deserve to be ousted).

  46. Lifelogic
    December 30, 2023

    So Covid modeller Prof John Edmunds, who strongly urged the government to lockdown over Christmas in 2021 to avert a disaster that never materialised, has been awarded a knighthood. For services to causing large net harm to the economy and healthcare I assume.

    1. Francis J
      December 31, 2023

      Well said, and meanwhile people like Sunetra Gupta, Carl Heneghan and Karol Sikora have been sidelined. Heneghan is ‘only’ the Professor of Evidence-Based Medicine at the Univ of Oxford.

      ‘Modelling’ is the modern fashion. Science and also medicine used to involve more measurement, testing and observation.

  47. Chris S
    December 30, 2023

    All very commendable, and I can imagine that everyone who posts here will support the ideas ( well, with the exception of Lemming, obviously ).

    BUT if your proposals were adopted, the people who would be charged with implementing them would be the very same people who have created the problems in the first place ! At best, the implementation would be half-hearted, and almost certainly, in true Sir Humphrey style, in such a way as to have no effect whatsoever.

    The only way would be for a sample group of Whitehall departments to be reviewed by independent management consultants (ideally from the US), who would be charged with coming up with a manpower plan that cannot be then be argued with. The same percentages of manpower reductions could then be enforced on all other departments.

    In the meantime, a recruitment freeze should be implemented from January 1st, and all proposed promotions reviewed independently.

  48. Bingle
    December 30, 2023

    They could also stop throwing £billions of tax payers’ money down the war drain in Ukraine; prolonging the death and destruction.

  49. A-tracy
    December 30, 2023

    I don’t mean to be funny but why did your government allow them to spend so much on admin and civil servant numbers? Didn’t you set parameters on spending? Don’t they have budgets and rules on front-line workers to admin/management ratios to maintain. This rush to make everyone a head of a department who authorised that? What are the repercussion if they overspent and made too many chiefs for not sufficient workers?

    When comparing a civil service department such as Passports Agency or the Probate Service, what % of each grade of employee are there? How does that compare to private organisations such as a similar sized group of conveyancers or a large group of insurance brokers.

    We have no alternative but to use these Agencies even though they delayed one probate claim for an estate worth around £150,000 in total with all the paperwork provided by a solicitor for 18 months after death, holding up the sale of the retirement flat property and costing the estate an extra £8,000 with no repercussions for the Agency that caused the delay.

    I know a person that has had five different GPs see them in three months, sent for tests can’t get a face to face appointment to discuss their results, can’t get a telephone with the GP who asked for the tests as they’re only locum, no resolution to the problem, now considering going private but needs the test results or would have to go through the tests and pay for them all over again for something they’ve already gone through.

    People are getting sick of it. Having to put up with an inferior services we’re paying through the nose for with no choice. And if you’re in one of those posh areas with a great GP and hospital service good for you, but the postcode lottery is a nightmare for others.

    This not being able to get an nhs dental appointment is becoming a nightmare for retired people who can’t afford private charges. I know men just getting teeth pulled with no dentures or replacement teeth because they can’t afford.

  50. John Hatfield
    December 30, 2023

    Excellent article John but will the government take heed? I think we know the answer to that.

  51. Derek
    December 30, 2023

    The Government must spend less but invest more. Stop the nonsense that is net-zero, stop the green tax levy on household utility bills, stop paying the Lords just to attend their HoL, stop further waste on HS2, stop paying people not to work and stop benefits being paid to non-British citizens. Instead, invest in our self-employed!!

    1. A-tracy
      December 31, 2023

      I wonder what % of the Lords would attend if they just covered their travel expenses? Or for just the UK national living wage.

      1. Derek
        December 31, 2023

        Dare I wish, none?

  52. Ukretired123
    December 30, 2023

    Incredible that you still have excellent ideas for intelligent government but so sad that the hierarchy never listen Sir John.

  53. XY
    December 30, 2023

    I’ve seen no attempt by the Tories in govt to reduce spending or the size of the civil service. NOe evrn to hold them to account for what they do actually spend.

    It’s as if they are afraid of the backlash – perhaps the media will report it as nasty Tory behavious. or perhaps they will be accused of bullying by some woke little newt in the civil service.

    Our host’s party has been very weak in government and deserves to lose the next election. Labour will be no better, of course – that goes without saying – but I see a time coming when people say “Enough! We need something new”. And not just a politician in some ancient party with vague promises of “change” – that’s become old now as well.

  54. The Prangwizard
    December 30, 2023

    How about saying which activities carried out by national government ought to be closed down, now, not in a few years time. And which in counties.

    And let us know if anyone can do this for England.

  55. Iain gill
    December 30, 2023

    I see the head of Aviva who actively discrminates against white men in recruitment and promotions has been made a dame.

  56. glen cullen
    December 30, 2023

    You either cut spending or rise taxes ….this government choose to rise taxes (against a manifesto pledge not to rise income tax, VAT or NI)
    They’ll never cut spending as they now need the woke left redwall vote, to have any chance at the next election

  57. Geoffrey Berg
    December 30, 2023

    John Redwoods’s list is all very modest. We should ask of every single job paid for out of taxes in the public sector, first is that job really necessary either in whole (for instance I and most older people went through our whole schooling without having or needing any teaching assistants to ‘assist’ teachers in the classroom) and even if part of the job is necessary can we eliminate all the unnecessary parts and merge it with another job that also is only partly necessary? Also even if the job is necessary would it be done more cheaply and more efficiently (if like some prisons) it were transferred to the private sector? If we really wanted to create really low taxes and significant growth as some countries in the Far East have had we need to do more than just chip away at some of the most recent encroachments made by the public sector but instead introduce comprehensive root and branch reform and downsizing of our swollen and wasteful public sector.

  58. glen cullen
    December 30, 2023

    STOP sending me text every week, letters every couple of months and TV ads every day about ‘smart-meters’ …..I don’t want one …..stop wasting our money

  59. The Prangwizard
    December 31, 2023

    Action this day.

    Local authorities to be instructed to sell their ‘investment assets’ immediately. If there is a gain then take the benefit – if they are showing a loss the chances are that a better time will not come, so sell immediately.

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