Any Questions? reveals the divisions on public spending and private enterprise

Last night I was not surprised by the arguments used by Margaret Hodge and her Guardian helper. Labour have gone straight into the public sector Union trenches. They plan to fight every cut, and make any discussion of improved public sector economy or efficiency into the actions of unacceptable axemen from the “Condems”, as they unkindly call the Coalition.

It was as if the last thirteen years had not happened. There is no sense that they left things in a parlous financial state, not even a memory that their last act in office was to pass legislation requiring that the next government halve the deficit, mainly by revising down Labour’s own plans for substantial increases in public spending. On capital spending there is complete amnesia. The Coalition government has decided to spend exactly the same amounts on new schools, hospitals and transport systems as the outgoing government. Because this was the one area which Labour did cut, they are now up in arms about the cuts they planned but failed to specify in detail.

What did interest me was the audience reaction. There was a strong body of support for any proposition that required the expenditure of more public money. It showed that Labour will find an audience for its advocacy of higher public spending, even at a time of national financial crisis over the levels of state borrowing and debt.

The Coaliton government needs a strategy for handling this situation. I think the government must present in a calm and measured way the truth about the figures. All too many people think that public current spending is going to be slashed. They express surprise when I point out the government plans to increase this spending from £600 billion in the last Labour year to £690 billion in 2014-15, with modest increases each year. If the public sector works together and accepts these figures, it should be possible to provide a good level of public service in all the important areas. There is no need to cut schools or hospitals or policing by 25%. There will be even more money for these core services, if there are 100% cuts in needless, wasteful and less desirable spending of the kinds we have often talked about on this site.

The government also needs to come up with some answers on its school building programme quickly. Many of us are happy to see an expensive and cumbersome way of building new schools swept aside, as Michael Gove has done with the Schools for the future programme. What we need to see is what projects we will then get for our money and how he will allow or approve the building of better value schools. I appreciate work needs to be done to sort this out, but Labour will occupy any vacuum, play on any uncertainty in the meantime.


  1. Mark M
    July 10, 2010

    The joys of the Leftie mindset – "Money spent now is better than money spent well". I would hate to see the state of some of these people's bank account.

    Or, I wonder, does the "spend it now" argument only apply when it's somebody else's money they are spending.

    1. Brian
      July 10, 2010

      Some of the people who work for quangos have such large salaries they don't need to check their bank accounts!

  2. Alan Jutson
    July 10, 2010


    I along with many on this site have blogged in the past (many times) that you need to produce a complete and totally independent audit of the accounts of UK PLC, which includes all of its liabilities. including PFI and all Pension liabilities of Public Workers.

    Then compare the now situation with that in 1997 when Labour took control.

    Most of the people do not yet understand that deficit is only a yearly shortfall and while this is negative, our actual real debt still increases.

    You have to nail the thought of many, that government has some sort of magic supply of money to spend. Few seem to understand that the Government has no money at all, only that which it takes from its citizens and business. Few people seem to understand that all Public Workers salaries and Pensions are paid for out of taxation.

    Can only suggest you use the KISS (keep it simple stupid) approach, to try and highlight the true workings of UK PLC finances, as it all comes back to how much TAX take is sensible or desireable. Most I would think would agree, the lower the better.

    You need absolutely to nail the Labour lies and spin of the last 13 years once and for all.

      July 12, 2010

      Alan – We have regularly argued for this comparison too

  3. Tim Carpenter
    July 10, 2010


    This will always be a problem when you have so many net gainers from the system.

    This is the problem for a big state, it gains too much psychological inertia, it has so many people mentally and financially dependent. Do not think for a moment that this was not the intention by the Fabians.

    I know it is radical, but there should be consideration about if it is wise to have those who gain their living from the State to vote. See Hackney Council and its what appears to be (partisan) behaviour. Could it be that this comes from employing too many politically partisan people in what should be an agnostic function? If one did not have the vote while working for the State, it might reduce the numbers of people with passions that override their common sense and Rule of Law.

  4. Iain
    July 10, 2010

    But then that is the Conservative party for you , completely inept at fighting its corner, much of the nasty party baggage was just propaganda from the left that the Conservative MP's failed to deal with, only recently have we found out that Mrs Thatcher didn't cut , and didn't lay waste to our manufacturing base, no that took place under Blair and Brown. But Conservative MP’s didn’t care, didn’t fight their corner, and this is no better shown than Theresa May coming out with her Ratner moment.

    1. APL
      July 10, 2010

      Iain: "completely inept at fighting its corner, " Amen!

      Iain: "the nasty party baggage was just propaganda from the left that the Conservative MP's failed to deal with,"

      I would say, not only failed to deal with, but certain members of the Tory party actually made speeches that gave credence to the meme.

      Iain: "Theresa May .. Ratner moment." Ah yes, that's who I was thinking of.

      Not so much the 'nasty party', more the stupid party.

  5. Iain
    July 10, 2010

    (Part 2)
    If you want an example of how to talk to people then look no further than Lord Forsyth on Question Time who has been the only Conservative politician who has attempted to explain the financial problems we are in in terms people can understand. Conservative MP's should be banned from talking about the deficit, and told to describe it as the rate at which we are adding to our debt. And Conservative MP's should be told to tell people that they aren't trying to pay off any debt, but just trying to slow the pace at which the debt is increasing. There are too many Letwin’s in the Conservative parliamentary party and not enough normal people otherwise they would have seen this problem a long time ago.

  6. StrongholdBarricades
    July 10, 2010

    I'm not sure that this response to public spending should come as any surprise.

    Surely we should be able to point to the demonstrations in Greece to adequately demonstrate the response of some of the population

    I also think that your case was not helped on Any Questions by the man from the Guardian, who eloquently demonstrated why newspaper people are not publically accountable. He also has a vested interest since the Guardian may no longer be the benfactor of all those public sector job adverts.

    1. Mike Stallard
      July 11, 2010

      And it is going broke. Last year it lost £3,200,000.

  7. Iain
    July 10, 2010

    Finnally One of the problems the Conservative party is failing to deal with is trying to explain the damage that will occur if we don’t deal with the rate at which we are adding to our debt (deficit), currently the Conservatives are allowing Labour to make the augment for more spending without there being any downside to it. The downside if not the IMF running the economy will be higher interest rates. The Conservatives must quantify what the effect of a ½% 1% 2% rise in interest rates will have on the economy, how much money will an interest rate rise suck out of the economy? Then compare that with Labour’s profligate spending policy. That should kill off Labour’s argument, for an interest rate rise would be very much more damaging to the economy that cutting the deficit. It makes argument why monetary policy is more important than Keynesian spending.

    As I say there are too many Letwin’s in the Conservative parliamentary party and not enough Norman Tebbit’s who can take the people through the arguments step by step.

    1. simon
      July 12, 2010

      It is an infringement of Keynes moral rights to imply that Nulabours policies were originally proposed by him when they overspent in the good years too .

    2. Derek Buxton
      July 12, 2010

      I'm afraid that this is typical of the current party which can not be described as "conservative" by any standards. Look at the poor showing they all made in the run up to the election, it was their to win but they snatched defeat from victory.

  8. Norman
    July 10, 2010

    It's not the cuts part of this process that worries me, this has to be done and regardless of what the Unions and special interest groups say it must happen and everyone knows it. If the Unions go on a massive program of strikes they'll just be doing a rerun of the 80's, surely they won't act in so stupid a manner twice in a generation? Then again, looking at Labour's record……

    I'll be more interested in the reform part of the process that will take place (hopefully) over the next few years. Iain Duncan-Smith and Michael Gove are talking a good game in Welfare and Education but I can't even tell you who the Health Secretary (the department most in need of fundamental reform) such is the deafening silence coming from there.

    If we don't reform, and reform fundamentally, we're simply asking for the same to happen again next time Labour get in then after a few years of financial ineptitude we'll be looking at each other thinking 'How has this happened (yet) again?'

    I realise such things aren't easy to accomplish, or even talk about, and the fact that the Conservatives had to form a coalition with the Lib Dems may well turn out to be the biggest disaster of the last 20 years as this will hinder any real 'change' (that thing you campaigned on) from taking place.

  9. APL
    July 10, 2010

    JR: "Margaret Hodge …", "..complete amnesia."

    Margaret Hodge suffers amnesia about a lot of things, not least the controversy over allegations of child abuse in the London borough of Islington during her tenure there.

    What an insult but not a surprise Tony Blair should award this wretched woman the portfolio of 'Childrens minister' during the last revolting administration.

  10. APL
    July 10, 2010

    JR: ".. Labour will find an audience for its advocacy of higher public spending, "

    The Question time audience is not a random crossection of the population, they are hand picked by the BBC to support their leftist agenda .

    It does serve the purpose as you have illustrated of giving the impression that a large proportion of the population support that agenda.

    The ConDem alliance ( the term is not unkind by the way, rather an indication of what we can expect from the government ) has been foolish not to deal with the BBC promptly on taking office.

    Glad to hear Pickles is planning to take government recruitment away from the Guardian. Not before time and what a surprise to think that a Labour government has used the recruitment budget to support the Left of center proselytizing Guardian with public money.

    1. Chuck Unsworth
      July 10, 2010

      Exactly. We must never assume that the BBC, and Question Time in particular, is a neutral body. Time and again we have seen precisely the opposite. It's my view that the BBC should be sold off, unless it can show true neutrality and curb its appallingly reckless spending.

      1. forthurst
        July 10, 2010

        sold off? no. what's sauce for the gpose etc. throw out all the 'left-leaning' journos, cultural marxist traitors, whoever is banning actors without regional or estuary accents and just about anybody from North London. Sell it off and the opportunity to cleanse it would be lost.

    2. Amanda
      July 10, 2010

      Here, here. The BBC MUST be dealt with.

  11. Liz
    July 10, 2010

    Labour was always much better at oppostion than government, and better than the Conservatives were as they are prepared to be much nastier and not averse to twisting the truth. The Government needs to be much more vocal in the face of this as both TV and newspaper media talk about cuts endlessly and are aiding and abetting supporting the Labour and Unions position

  12. lola
    July 10, 2010

    The QT audience is a claque. Forget it.

  13. Mark Gordon
    July 10, 2010

    The strategy must be direct. It must expose the Left's self-interest in wasteful, cumbersome government. It must dispel the myth that creating efficiency = loss of jobs. Public sector terms and conditions are an anachronism and must be brought into line if the UK is to re-emerge as an economic power.
    We require John Redwood to be made Chief Sec to the Treasury.

  14. Neil Craig
    July 10, 2010

    The government should publicly set a proportion of GNP they aim to have in the state sector. That turns the argument from wanting spending on particular things (as who doesn't) to Labour either having to say they want a higher % or what cuts they would make to match the new spending commitment..

    Ideally I would like the spending % entrenched in law & changable, upwards or downwards, changable only with a referendum. The only poll I have seen suggests that the median public opinion is about 20% so the Tories would always be closer to that than Labour.

    Another option is to cost every Labour demand in terms of income tax. At 1p increase per £3,000 of spending I suspect it would quickly be possible to say that "Labour's spending commitments mean they want an increase in income tax to 50p in the £ or equivalent". This would be true as long as the qualifier is always mentioned.

  15. Richard1
    July 10, 2010

    It was (as usual) frustrating to listen to. Mrs Hodge & the guardian man were given free rein whereas you were interupted by Dimbleby every 15 seconds when trying to explain the point above. Both this programme and BBC1's Question Time seem to have loaded audiences – this week's Question Time was a particularly egregious example. The Conservative Party ought to look into what the BBC is up to on this.

    Regarding school buildings, this argument is utter nonsense. In other countries some of the best schools in the world operate in unused office blocks. The concept of rebuilding every school in the country was a ludicrous Brownite idea which paid no regard to economic reality or to whether this was of any educational benefit. Michael Gove is a target for the left because his free schools policy is such a threat to the leftist establishment – especially to the NUT (the largest single source of Labour Party members). I hope he's got the balls (no pun) to keep at it.

  16. fearandloathing
    July 10, 2010

    What you fail to mention is the point that John Harris or, as you disparagingly refer to him "the Guardian helper", put to you on the program- that the school building program has had its funds withdrawn to fund the "free schools" initiative. Do you truly think that this "free schools" project is an essential use of government money?

    Btw your comments on how large food corporations "really care" about their consumers gave me a good laugh. Good one!

    1. Mike Stallard
      July 11, 2010

      Absolute rubbish! In fact, the BFS has already been agreed in many cases – to the exclusion of free schools. Plastic cladding does not make a school – as we are about to find out.

    2. PaulS
      July 12, 2010

      Asking food corporation to self-regulate is (unlikely to work -ed). (Some food companies-ed) are in the same business: to create and exploit ( cravings for -ed) sugar, salt and fat.

  17. Citizen Responsible
    July 10, 2010

    Good to hear JR on Any Questions. It’s a hard and never ending slog trying to win the arguments about the country’s “parlous financial state” and what needs to be done. I am encouraged the BBC are inviting JR onto the panel but it would be even more helpful if Johnathan Dimbleby would let JR give an answer without interrupting him for once.

    BTW, you can now vote for this blog on the totalpolitics best blogs poll for 2010.

  18. Steve
    July 10, 2010

    Personally, I can only say that I am extremely disappointed that government spending will continue to increase, albeit at a slower rate than before, Echoes of Mrs Thatcher's time/problems. So much for the small government idea.

    I am also extremely disappointed at the ConDems decision to index private sector pensions to CPI rather than RPI. Combine that with Mervyn King and his MPC's continued incompetence and the resulting excessive RPI (and CSI) inflation, and it seems that the ConDems have decided to follow the Socialist path and rob every prudent saver/pensioner in the land to pay off its debts.

    I have been a Conservative voter all my life, and have spent my time on the streets canvassing for the party in some very difficult places in the valleys of South Wales. But with no sign of inflation being reined in, my private sector pension being cut, and my state pension being deferred, I am rapidly becoming completely disillusioned with this new government.

    Why should people such as myself, who have never borrowed money or had a mortgage in their life, have to pay the price of 0% interest rates and broken promises, not to mention a devalued currency that is largely causing the excess inflation? I am innocent in this global fiasco, yet it seems that I must pay for it. Why are we treading this Marxist path, with the government stealing from the middle classes to pay for the rampant excesses of the benefits system, and to bail out the rich bankers and their ilk? Is this really Conservative policy? If so, I will wash my hands of the party.

    1. billyb
      July 11, 2010

      Hear hear! – I would welcome some answers from the government on these points! any idea when we might expect something John?

  19. Austin
    July 10, 2010

    As an American, it's extremely sad to see once great Britain only succeed in going from a free-fall decline under Brown's NuLab to it's all to familiar "graceful" decline with the coalition government. Why aren't men like Mr. Redwood in government? The world will be a less hospitable and more dangerous place without the influence of a strong, conservative, Britain.

  20. James Clover
    July 10, 2010

    I'm inclined to agree with Steve.
    Mr Redwood, you sound surprised at the labour party's predictable attacks on any cuts. They are inevitably going to take the line that the cuts are overdone, are malicious etc. They don't really deserve to be argued with.
    A huge display in Parliament square, showing the rise and rise of the National Debt, mentioned every day by at least one minister, woud be effective as a reply to continuing Labour complacency.
    Preface each reply in any broadcast debate with labour with the running total. Make it simple by giving the debt amount for each person in Britain.
    It's crude, but I suggest it would work. Conservatives do need to cut out the complex reasoning when dealing with Labour. You can see the reaction of many people when they feel their "due" is threatened.
    I was rather disappointed in the quality of the debate about the question of whether buildings or quality of teaching matters. I suspect our buildings are superior by far to most of the world's, whereas our discipline, ambition and basic standards are something to be ashamed of.

    1. Alan Jutson
      July 11, 2010


      With regard to your point about showing the National Debt,

      I made this very point last year on this Blog.

      In New York, (some years ago) the National Debt figures were shown on a very large electronic counter, up in lights (think opposite Empire State Building) for all to see,, with the figures increasing every second. Made your eyes water.

      Only one Problem:
      Do we really know the actual figures when you include everything including Pension and PFI liabilities.
      Could we get a screen big enough !

  21. Mark
    July 10, 2010

    Why is the coalition NOT cutting capital spending on schools? Surely it is extremely wasteful to rebuild every secondary school in the country in a decade, as Labour planned, and then to do more or less the same for primaries by 2023? PfS hoped to spend £6bn in FY 2010/11 on capital projects. Call it a General Election debate sum. You could do the other half of the National Insurance cut.

  22. George
    July 10, 2010

    These cuts are difficult to deal with. The manner that they are being annoinced is causing unrest. It is no surprise that Labour regardless of recent history is going to be popular.

    These cuts and the thought of them is hitting people hard. Despondency and a lack of motivation is emerging in areas of the public sector. This can be as dangerous as the actual cuts.

  23. Andrew Johnson
    July 10, 2010

    Many have blogged about the failure of the Conservatives (now the Coalition) to understand that they are involved in a "Propaganda War" every bit as important as that between Britain and Nazi Germany. In 1929 the ultra-patriotic Lady Houston sailed her yacht round the coast lit up with the sign "Wake Up England". Mitchell (designer of the Spitfire) told her England (Britain) was in danger not just from the sea but from the air. When the government declined to help subsidise Vickers enterprise, she came through with a large cheque. The rest is history. Wake up Coalition! Allocate some serious resources to this. Set up a Department PDQ and start countering the malignant, mendacious propaganda coming from the Labour Party, the left wing media, the unions, the public service intelligentsia and many departments of the BBC.

  24. Andrew Johnson
    July 10, 2010

    Continued: If this is not done, the country will be brought to ruin. Why can't MP's and government ministers understand the majority of people have been "brainwashed". They think it's a political choice as to whether government can continue to borrow to spend and there is no real financial urgency.
    Thank you for this excellent blog – an oasis of real politik in a sea of political wishful thinking.

  25. David
    July 11, 2010

    I agree that we need a simple narrative that makes sense to Joe Public.

    At the moment, viewed by a casual watcher, the narrative is 'cuts, cuts, cuts'.

    But for what? To reduce the deficit. But what's this? And what's the difference between deficit and debt? Sadly, most don't know or care. They just think it's 'cuts time', and the Tories are cutting…

    Forced to give any kind of explanation, Joe Public would probably say we need to make savings to pay for the greedy bankers – and that's it.

    The coalition needs someone with the easy, relaxed charm of Tony Blair (don't laugh – stay with me on this) who can explain, in very simple terms:

    [a] we have a massive debt – mostly because Brown started borrowing heavily (£40 billion extra every year?) from 2003-04; the extra cash we spent on the bank bail outs was actually a fairly small proportion of our debt. SO WE ARE NOT JUST PAYING TO BAIL OUT THE BANKERS, WE'RE PAYING FOR BROWN'S BORROWING SPLURGE FIVE YEARS EARLIER – NOW!

    [b] we're not trying to reduce this debt at all – we're trying to slow down, and eventually stop, the rate at which the debt is rising. That's because Brown committed us to spending £4 for every £3 we have coming in. EFFECTIVELY WE'RE BORROWING AN EXTRA THIRD OF OUR YEARLY SALARY, ON TOP OF OUR ALREADY MASSIVE DEBT.

    [c] to slow this all down, we simply have to ratchet our spending back a notch or two to were it was a few years ago. Life wasn't horrible and unliveable in 2006, was it? We you really much worse off then? Actually, prices were generally a bit lower. WE'RE NOT TALKING PUBLIC SECTOR ARMAGEDDON HERE, JUST A BIT OF A SPRING CLEAN.

    [d] even if the Labour party got back in, they'd be doing 5/6th of all this 'cutting' – because they'd passed a law making in compulsory for the next government, of any hue, to do it! LABOUR WOULD BE DOING ALMOST ALL OF THESE CUTS TOO – THEY EVEN PASSED A LAW TO ENSURE THIS!

    [e] the 'greedy bankers' caused a crash which made a massive mess. But ask yourself why didn't this happen in 1975 or 1985 or 1995? The answer is that it couldn't happen – because the Bank of England prevented it. THIS CRASH WAS GORDON BROWN'S OWN MAKING – HE REMOVED THE SAFETY NET OF THE BANK OF ENGLAND REGULATION FROM THE ECONOMY. THE REST IS HISTORY…

    Pretty much like the populist folklore of the eighties; if you believed the Beeb/Guardian then that was a grim decade of recession and 'savage cuts'. Err, np – if you look at the figures. So how come this is how eighties history has come to be written?

    1. James Clover
      July 12, 2010

      All you say is true. But the problem is- it's all too subtle for the Great British public.
      We need communicators who will state the problem very simply, and very often.
      The Coalition is just not rolling its sleeves up and getting down to some vigorous, forceful infighting. It's the only way to deal with the pervasive Socialist propaganda.

  26. Mike Stallard
    July 11, 2010

    Our very failing Comprehensive here in Wisbech, Cambs has been given a rebuild of tens of millions of pounds. This means that we cannot go ahead (so they think!) with our little school because the money has already been promised.
    We do not know how much the pupil allocation will be. We do not know, either, how much we will be supported by the government when push comes to shove.
    Already it is getting dirty.

  27. Matt
    July 11, 2010

    It’s just part of our culture that many people consider public spending to be beneficial, providing services and jobs,

    Yet the average taxpayer has to work for over six months of the year to pay for this.

    I think this was illustrated during the election campaign when Mr Brown went on and on about “taking money out of the economy”… as if there was no converse to this… virtually unchallenged by the interviewers.

    All this was before the “cuts” were upon us, so I don’t think you will have much luck in presenting the case now.

    Look at all the fuss over the stalling on the school building programme, parents, teachers “traumatised”

    Our school was an old board school over 150 years old, with poor facilities, yet in the scheme of things this was a minor consideration. The quality of the teaching was such that many of the pupils went on to good universities.

  28. John Hatch
    July 11, 2010

    The combination of JR's normal erudition and Patience Wheatcroft's crisp common sense showed just how tawdry the rest of the programme was. The Dimblebeys' always exude the attitude that any non-Marxoid views are, at best, a bit dotty. Margaret Hodge will say anything to promote state power and 'equality and diversity'; and to undermine the traditional family. The yappy John Harris, from the Guardian, seemed incapable of reasoned discourse and should plainly not be invited onto nationally-broadcast discussion programmes.
    The audience did indeed seem rigged. However, I gather it was Falmouth. Better to have them on the public payroll, perhaps, than reviving the traditional family businesses of (benefitting from shipwrecks) and smuggling?

  29. Javelin
    July 11, 2010

    It would be nice to hav a NUMBER/S – any basic number/s New Labour can't argue with and have them drummed into the publi lke a heart beat.

    I would say debts of 1 trillion, borrowing of £150 billion a year and interest of £40 billion a year, 7 million workers not working, 1 million illegal immigrants. If you start jumping around dates trying to be too accurate you miss the whole message. Just make sure there is a standard set of figures that George can stick in a email and publish, then any Con-Lib politician will know they will get back up from their party if they cite the terrible "Legacy of Labour".

  30. Conrad Jones
    July 11, 2010

    Public spending such as: Housing Benefits, Child Support, State pensions all need to be cut. This support that the Government has eagerly given has the effect of state control over it's citizens. If you have to ask for money from someone – in affect – you become their servant. Why is it that everyone who has children is given Child Support – I see many people taking their children to school in new Range Rovers and Mercedes Benzes and even a Porsche. I have also seen a car with the personalised registration plate similar to "EASY M"oney. They should not receive automatic money from the state which will only be used to fill up their shiny new luxury 4×4.

  31. Conrad Jones
    July 11, 2010

    It is essential that State Schools be adequatley maintained – and on the whole – I believe they are. The few serious examples of schools that fall into disrepair are the ones which the socialist left focus on for their own political aims. Unfortunately with a Property Bubble still in full swing, money has been sucked away from essential public services as well as private businesses as the Banks prime lending strategy has focussed on the Private and Public Property mortgage markets. Increasing the Salary multiples that they are "willing" to lend caused this and has forced both parents of a typical family to work for their home causing family life to be unnecessarily stressed – in many cases causing the breakdown of the family unit. Subsequently causing the state to rush in with aid and help for the broken family. The Housing market is manipulated in favour of the Banks, and the Government is completely unable to resolve this issue. Until it does, we will see further invcreases in taxation – direct and through inflation.

  32. PaulS
    July 11, 2010


    I was trying to talk to you after the programme about a real danger to the current (very good) policy of cutting costs, pointing out that all the plans rely on future economic growth, which unfortunately is now highly unlikely due to oil depletion and consequent scarcity and high cost of energy.

    The high cost will show itself every time the world economy starts to grow at a pace and in a manner that requires increase in energy – as soon as that happens, oil prices, followed by all other energy prices, will skyrocket – just like in 2008, bringing any recovery to a halt and causing another little recession.

    You dismissed my arguments out of hand, not helped by my stumbling delivery. However, the arguments are clear and the events very likely.

    Reply: I did not dismiss out of hand but was beseiged by people wanting to ask questions and was trying to fit them all in. I do happen to agree that higher oil prices will bring world growth to a halt. …

    1. PaulS
      July 12, 2010

      Quite true, there were a lot of people wishing to speak to you.

      Lats word: if you have any influence with the Government, pehaps you can suggest some kind of a commission as suggested below, so that we don't end up in a depression through ignorance.

  33. PaulS
    July 11, 2010

    In support of these arguments, see this, the latest of a whole stream of reports on this subject as summarized below. Btw, all I would ask of the Government is to set up a commission to look at these warnings to make sure we don't end up in a depression through ignorance!
    Lloyd's warning on Energy: Lloyd's and ISS report "Sustainable energy security: strategic risks and opportunities for business".:

    Wishing you well

  34. manicbeancounter
    July 11, 2010

    Labour's tactics seem a bit like Holland's in the World Cup Final. Stop the better team from playing by brutal fouls. The differance is that that this political game is being played at the expense of the greater good of this Nation.

  35. Lindsay McDougall
    July 12, 2010

    £690 bn in 2014/15 vs £600 bn in 2009/10. If you strip out 5 years of inflation at 2.5%, that is a real increase of 0.3% per annum. That is why the public sector and its political champions are screaming. It is much less than the anticipated GDP growth rate and implies a contraction of the state's share of the economy.

    Keep up the good work.

  36. christina sarginson
    July 12, 2010

    The cuts in budgets are as the Coalition government have said necessary there is a lot of slack in the public sector what I hope is that the cuts are taken from this slack and not from other places which has been the case before.

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