People are feeling the squeeze


        Out on the doorsteps  the voices of  voters can be heard complaining of just how much money government takes from them in differing ways. There are many complaints about public sector car park charges, the Congestion Charge in London, the Council Tax, taxi licence charges,  planning fees, Stamp duties, Child Benefit withdrawal, tax credit changes, higher National Insurance, rising  postage stamp prices, the failure to increase the Age Allowance for pensioners, the charity tax allowance changes: I have even had a strong complaint about ice cream vendor licence charges. From public sector workers come worries about their pension contribution increases and the worsening of the terms of their pension plans.

           The doorsteps are reflecting the growing feeling  I have that we have reached tax saturation point. Councils are looking for all sorts of fees and charges to raise, as a way to maintain spending levels without large Council Tax increases.  Central government is looking for ways to tax individuals more, including  their own public sector employees, through increased taxes, charges and deductions. Some on the doorsteps demand more cuts in spending, and give examples of less desirable or wasteful expenditure they could do without. Many others are more reticent than in previous years about demanding more spending, as they appreciate that money is tight and that maybe we are up against the limit.

          There is a growing frustration with all political parties. People do not feel the parties are listening to them about how squeezed they feel. In one nearby Council area I was told that a single person ice cream vendor in a  van has to pay £3000 for an annual licence, on top of his fuel duty and VAT on inputs, National Insurance and Income Tax. At the petrol pumps  the best part of £1 a litre is now paid as tax on every litre of diesel. If you travel 20,000 miles a year on busienss in a 40mpg diesel your fuel tax bill would be around £2000. Someone trying to buy a modest one bedroom flat in Central London would pay £20,000 or more in Stamp Duty for the privilege. A typical Council Tax bill is now well into four figures.

             For small businesses the level of compliance costs with regulations, licence fees, initial banking charges, and the continuing round of public sector fees and charges can be enough to put people off starting, or to drive the business under in the early years. Tax saturation is a serious condition which undermines enterprise, reduces demand, and makes many individuals and families feel bad about their own personal circumstances. That is why government and local government need to ensure every pound they spend is well spent, on a cause supported by many voters. The country is down about the extent to which people on modest incomes are having to pay the government’s bills.

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  1. Mick Anderson
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    This must be the Governments idea of fairness. Everybody is now able to claim that the suffering imposed is more than they can bear!

    As observed, any political doorstep canvasser will be given a list of things that can be done to save the Country some money. I’m sure that the Cabinet is fully aware of all of them, and a heap more that those without access to the figures would never think of.

    However, all they ever do is to soak the “rich” (which now seems to be an all-inclusive term) further, and bungle the PR in the process. I can’t point to a single thing done by the Coalition that has improved my world – inertia, incompetence and tax rises are the trademark of this shower.

    • libertarian
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      I have to say I totally agree Mick.

      I was about to expand one of my High St based businesses until the business rates valuation office went to work. No longer, I’m not prepared to pay that amount of extra tax in return for absolutely nothing. So I’ve shelved the expansion plan and won’t be hiring the extra staff either. I guess this is what passes in current “Conservative” politics as a private sector lead expansion….not.

      Yet our Borough Council is awash with taxpayers money to spend on their various diversity schemes, worklessness conferences, European twinning deals etc.

      We are in the process of paying millions of pounds having a section of the High Street paved in lovely looking bricks and making it a pedestrianised area. Shame most of the independent shops are either boarded up or charity shops.

      Politicians are the problem, not the solution

      • lifelogic
        Posted April 15, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

        Yes similar to Major’s ERM fiasco when streets in London had thousand of repossessed flats and houses but were all still being redesigned with bike lanes, islands, humps, ramps, zig zags and countless other nonsense.

        • zorro
          Posted April 15, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

          Oh yes, please don’t forget the interminable pedestrianisation and greenification schemes which abound. Whenever I go into London from Slough, I see the never ending traffic improvement scheme causing traffic jams and almighty hell around Slough railway station creating a pedestrianised walkway of no use whatsoever and causing unnecessary delay and noxious fumes from cars stuck in traffic. Yes very green….not


    • Susan
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      Mike Anderson,

      Taxes will remain high for a very long time so I suppose people may as well get used to it. There is no magic wand which will turn the economy round quickly. Politicians never talk about the years of austerity to come, but it would be rather helpful if they did. Of course it does not help when every time the Government does identify a cut to Government spending some group or other in society oppose it and the Government caves in to pressure. The Labour Party still believes in more spending by the state, so the message of how urgent cutting spending and waste really is never reaches the public in the way it should. Therefore we have this situation where the public complain about tax rises whilst they still would oppose any cuts which would effect them. So spending continues to rise and so does taxation.

      Soak the rich I don’t think so. I did a little exercise of looking at the tax take for the wealthy in the 1970s, that really did soak the rich and believe me tax was much higher. It is the middle classes which are being unfairly squeezed and particularly those professionals and skilled workers who earn over 100,000 and have lost their personal allowance who also suffer from the lowering of the 40p tax band. This is the group of people I would worry about if I were the Government, many may decide their future lies in another Country. The UK already has a lack of skilled workers and any further loss could significantly effect the economic future of Britian. No business or company can operate successfully without a skilled work force and no company will want to come to the UK in the first place if they cannot fill the jobs created with skilled people.

      • Mick Anderson
        Posted April 16, 2012 at 5:53 am | Permalink


        There may have been worse tax regimes in the past, but that doesn’t excuse the current situation. For one thing, the wealth-creators are a lot more flexible now. Also, excessive taxation and borrowing is a symptom of the real problem, not the cause.

        The most effective solution to over-spending is to spend less money. Mr Osborne seemed to understand this pre-election. You might remember that he promised (ha!) that the cure was to be 80% cuts and 20% tax rises. He has delivered 20% increased borrowing and the the same disastrous policies that Mr Brown left in place.

        When we were all worrying about the Labour “Scorched Earth” policy, none of us expected a Tory-led Government to give us more of the same.

        You say that the public will oppose any cuts, but as a member of the public myself, I want lots of deep cuts. As far as I can tell it’s only the Unions and the two Eds who are opposing them, and I don’t believe that they represent the bulk of the population in the UK. If they did, we would have all voted Labour a couple of years ago.

        • Susan
          Posted April 16, 2012 at 9:02 am | Permalink

          Mike Anderson,

          Wealthy people are not necessarily wealth creators, it is wrong to confuse the two. I didn’t say the public oppose cuts, of course a lot of the public want cuts until it effects them directly then it becomes a different matter entirely is what I said.

          You seem to have a bee in your bonnet about the wealthy being the only ones being soaked for tax I merely pointed out they were not and that tax has been and could go much higher for them. Everyone is paying high taxation and it will remain very high for some time to come. I also pointed out the wealthy are doing much better under this Government than many others in society as far as taxation goes.

          The real problem is 80% cuts and 20% tax rises was never going to be realistic in an economy in so much debt. There is little point in just shouting I want cuts all the time. I agree with cuts but done in a targeted and responsible way. Britains economy has not actually grown in real terms for years. All its growth has relied on cheap credit and all that flowed from that. Once that was gone it takes time to replace and rebuild the structure with real growth in the private sector. In the meantime the gap has to be filled and so for now tax has to remain high for everyone including the wealthy.

      • Mick Anderson
        Posted April 16, 2012 at 5:55 am | Permalink

        PS to Susan,

        I was referring to the so-called “squeezed middle” with “rich” (which now seems to be an all-inclusive term)

        • Susan
          Posted April 16, 2012 at 9:10 am | Permalink


          Well they are not the same thing and it would be wise to not to confuse the two. There are some very wealthy people in the UK who contribute very little to society and are not paying their fair share of tax either because they are agressively avoiding and in some cases evading tax. This then throws the burden on those who are working hard, have far less money and are seeing very little reward for their efforts after taxation.

      • Timaction
        Posted April 16, 2012 at 9:54 am | Permalink


        You are right and it is those young professionals that are leaving to go to the “colonies” NOT EU as our politicians would claim. In the mean time our NET immigration English replacement programme comes straight from the 3rd world.

    • Dan
      Posted April 16, 2012 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      “I can’t point to a single thing done by the Coalition that has improved my world”

      I hear exactly that so often now. People whom Cameron arrogantly assumes are his core voters whom he can ignore are turning away from the Conservatives in droves. All of them citing the fact that there is zero practical difference between the parties. Both are big spending socialists who won’t cut.

      I find myself having to try so hard not to think about this stuff because it makes me so angry. I am being mugged by the government every day. Not only 40% tax, but another 13% NI, mine and employers. Then 20%, plus duties and fees every turn. Then because government can’t pay its day to day bill and is printing money I face another 10% inflation tax. I’m a young married man, and all my wife and I want to be able to afford a nice basic family home in a safe area and have kids, but government is stopping us doing something as basic. Overtly restrictive planning laws have driven house prices in to the stratosphere. Child care is so regulated that costs are impossible, so the wife would have to quit work, so we could not afford housing costs and other costs, and I earn £60k+ a year for God’s sake! How on earth are the 20 something’s coming up behind me struggling to get a job at all supposed to cope?
      I really don’t know what to do. I feel like getting a mob together and burning down parliament and all of Whitehall. The country cannot cope with this level of government choking the life out of us. Its too much, its insane, please please politicians just stop, go away, leave me alone!!!

      If it does not go without saying I will never again vote for a tory party lead by Cameron. I would not doubt that a very large part of the supposed ‘core vote’ feels the same way.

      • Susan
        Posted April 16, 2012 at 9:31 am | Permalink


        I feel for you, I really do. However to be fair to the Conservatives they did not cause this problem. The Labour Party spent all the money this Coalition is merely dealing with the fall-out of all that debt. As I pointed out to Alan Jutson I think it was, the public had a chance to put a stop to all the spending by Government in the 2005 Election under Michael Howard who identified all the problems that the economy was facing by spending and wasting too much. He even identified the problems with the banks not holding enough capital and that controlled immigration needed to be introduced. The public was just to busy spending all that cheap money going around to listen. Now all those years of overspend have to be paid for.

      • uanime5
        Posted April 16, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

        House prices are high because people buy multiple houses either as an investment or so they can rent them out. Changing the planning laws won’t fix this, though building more flats might.

        Child care is high because of the cost of looking after children (food, nappies, toys, toilet paper, trained childminders, etc) and the lack of Government subsidies. The only thing reducing the regulations will do is increase the number of poor quality child care facilities, it will not make the better facilities any cheaper.

        Less Government won’t fix these problems because none of them are caused by too much Government. If anything it’s caused by too little Government support for childcare and too little regulation for house prices.

        • Dan
          Posted April 16, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

          @ uanime5
          I think you and I will have to agree to disagree if you think that ‘not enough government is the cause of market failures’. Further I can point you towards an excellent recent study from the highly respect Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) that clearly explains why too much government planning is exactly the cause of high house prices. Read it free, here:

          I’m also curious as to your politics as you post on Mr Redwood excellent diary. Are you one of these big state, big government Tories like those that seem to occupy the upper ranks of the party today.

  2. lifelogic
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    Indeed but pointless and damaging waste still abounds from the green nonsense subsidies, the Pigis “loans”, carbon capture, counter productive wars, the green deal, the dis-functional NHS, transfers to the feckless and the EU, paying people to do nothing useful or nothing at all ……

    Council need to be stopped from heaping all the back door taxes, parking charges, fees on everything and everyone.

    You say “From public sector workers come worries about their pension contribution increases and the worsening of the terms of their pension plans”.

    Well as they are paid perhaps 20% better than the private sector, have shorter hours, more holidays, more sick days, better working conditions and have pensions about 10 times better than the private sector they should be told to get lost and be grateful they still have a pension. A pension funded by many who have non at all.

    But do not worry with the idiotic GAAR (General anti abuse rule) Osbourne has a plan.
    Under it someone can have no income and no net assets, may still find they have a tax bill of hundreds of thousands of pounds PA. This as 75% of their interest may not be tax allowable. The only problem is who on earth will lend them the money so they can actually pay the tax bill? The damage from floating this idiocy is huge and already taking effect, the sooner he clarifies and backtracks the better. Indeed who will lend any business much on this tax basis.

    Do you have any more clarity on this JR?

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 7:46 am | Permalink

      I see that Daniel Hannan has judged the FT and the French about right today.

      “If Nicolas Sarkozy thinks the FT is a free market newspaper, God help France”

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      There is a reported (in the Times) U turn by Greg Barker who has declared their will be no significant expansion in the number of turbines on land beyond those in the pipeline.

      Fine but as they do not work in economic or environmental terms then why bother with those in the pipeline? Anyway offshore ones make even less economic sense.

      Also Miliband seems to want to jump on the idiotic band wagon started by Cameron and Osborne to publish their tax returns. He wants to exclude their wives though. So it would all be rather pointless would it not as anyone can put everything in their wife’s name anyway?

      They should forget it – it will just open a Pandora’s box that will go one for every incubating the destructive politics on envy.

      Meanwhile the BBC seems convinces the attack on charities is an attack on the “nasty rich”. It will clearly have no effect on the rich and just reduce income to charities.

      • uanime5
        Posted April 15, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

        I thought the rich donated the most money to charities. So if this won’t affect the rich then it will only have a minor effect on the income of charities.

        • lifelogic
          Posted April 15, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

          If someone with high income decides they can afford to fore go say £100K then they give (in effect) £200K to the charity and are £100K worse off net after 50% tax relief (that they and the charity recover together). If the relief is no more or restricted they might still perhaps give the £100K. The donors are in the same position regardless the charity has lost £100K. It make no odds to the donor (other than he knows he has only done half as much good for the charity).

          Of course he might think half as much good for the charity is not worth it and just not give the funds at all.

          • Susan
            Posted April 16, 2012 at 6:26 am | Permalink


            I would stick to green issues if I were you, because some of what you say on the financial ones are not right. I think though that you would think it was ok for the wealthy to aggressively avoid tax in any circumstances. What if all of the public decided they wanted to do that. Of course not all of us are allowed to are we? I agree with you on a lot of issues such as cutting spending by Government etc, however any Government has to be seen to be fair when dealing with taxation when it is too high for everyone. Otherwise once the public gets the impression there is one rule for the rich and for the less well off, problems will really start to begin.

          • lifelogic
            Posted April 16, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

            If you tell me what you think I am wrong on I can address it.

            The government spends circa 10K per head of population. I someone is paying £1M PA, perhaps 300 times what they get in services back (as they are likely not to use state schools etc.) are they not paying enough already? Anyway the more you leave with them the more they have to use wisely as opposed to being largely wasted.

            20% flat rate is fine – the high earners will then pay far more than the poor ones that is how percentages work, higher rates are counter productive.

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      Still no shortage of Cash in government I see. Rod Liddle reports that the EU is to give the Chinese £30M to plant trees and in the London we can afford to send 25 firemen to a seagull in distress.

      • alan jutson
        Posted April 15, 2012 at 10:36 am | Permalink


        Last week it was reported as £210,000,000 for trees, and it was a loan to compensate for climate change.
        The press suggested that the Luxembourg Bank involved has George Osbourne as one of the directors I believe.

        Perhaps this week they have added a £30,000,000 gift, who knows !

        Does anybody in power really care ?

        Of all of the Countries in the World, China sits on a money surplus do they not.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted April 15, 2012 at 10:44 am | Permalink

        I don’t mind the firemen being sent out, because they need practice at being ready to go and obviously cannot and should not wait to be certain it is an emergency but why on earth couldn’t these 25 firemen have formed a human chain to get out ever so safely to the deep (3 ft hah!) water? In any event what is so unsafe about 20 yards I reckon of deep water to anyone who can swim? And is it impossible these days to ask for volunteers?

        • zorro
          Posted April 15, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

          It is ambitious senior managers who enforce this nonsense, often with little or no experience of the job in hand.


    • uanime5
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      So your solutions for public sector pensions is a race to the bottom based on the politics of envy. Here’s a radical idea, why don’t you try to drag up private sector pensions rather than push down public sector ones.

      Reply: With whose money?

      • uanime5
        Posted April 15, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps the private companies that employee these people. Especially since they can usually afford to give their executives large salaries pensions.

        • zorro
          Posted April 15, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

          Indeed, private companies need to understand who creates their wealth. It is not fat (physically or metaphorically) executives or managers sitting in their offices but those who actually work and make the goods. They deserve a commensurate reward as well.


          • lifelogic
            Posted April 16, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

            Indeed and the best way for them to get it is more choice of jobs lower taxes and a solid economy.

      • lifelogic
        Posted April 15, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

        Private sector workers might invest in their own pensions if they could afford to. Perhaps if they were not so over taxed to pay for the state sector ones.

        • uanime5
          Posted April 16, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

          Given that those who earn the least pay the least tax yet are more likely not to have a pension it’s clear that overtaxing isn’t why some people don’t have a pension. They don’t have a pension because they don’t earn enough.

          • lifelogic
            Posted April 16, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

            And they do not earn enough due to an over large inefficient state making the private sector uncompetitive and over taxing the goods they buy, their council tax, parking taxes, vat, fuel and VED ……….

  3. Bernard from Bucks
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    All very true John. I hear it too.
    You don’t sound very happy this morning about this government.
    Could you be one of those in secret disscussions with Nigel Farage?

    • dan
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 10:26 am | Permalink


    • APL
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      They could swap places, Farage could use the Tory party as his plaything, Redwood might shape up UKIP into an effective political force.

    • libertarian
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      Sadly John isn’t a fan of UKIP.

      He is one of the few politicians of talent and integrity. He really should at best be Chancellor of the Exchequer and at the least Business Secretary. It is a total waste of talent. The people of Wokingham are lucky to have him as their MP. Sadly under our undemocratic 18th century system of elections the rest of us don’t have a say in it.

      Personally I wish that JR, Carswell, Hannan, Field, Reckless and a few others would have the courage to leave the totally discredited Conservative Party and form a new break the mould party in England. Not likely to happen though sadly

      • lifelogic
        Posted April 15, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

        Not likely to do any good if they did either.

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      Farage and UKIP will clearly never have any impact at Westminster, so that would be very foolish.

      It would not surprise me though if UKIP were to come second in the the Euro elections 2014. Probably not long before Cameron starts making empty promises again. Not that anyone will believe him this time.

      I assume we we still have no real growth in 2014, due to his policy of anti business, over tax, borrow and waste.

      • Jon Burgess
        Posted April 15, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

        How do you know that Farage and UKIP will clearly never have any impact at Westminster?

        The SNP took some time to get their electoral majority.

        Reply: I do not recall the SNP ever being part of a Westminster government or having much to say in Westminster that influences UK or English policy. Their importance came from having a majority in Edinburgh. This something UKIP will never achieve in Brussels, as they only fight in one modest sized part of the EU. They need to offer pull out to all EU countries and to win a majority in the European Parliament to do what the SNP are doing.

        • Jon Burgess
          Posted April 16, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

          All I was getting at, was that it took the SNP some 30 years to get their first MP, and another 40 years to become the largest party in a minority government.

          Now I’d rather it doesn’t take UKIP that long to do the same in Westminster, but who knows? To say, though, that they’ll never have any influence at Westminster seems a tad arrogant to me. How do you know?

          I couldn’t care less that UKIP don’t have a majority in the Eurpean Parliament; it’s Westminster that matters, and the way your party leadership is going on is only driving more dissaffected voters to UKIP.

          (Please note, as I have said before on your site, I have no gripe with you, what you say and what you vote for – it is the majority of your party that doesn’t agree with either of us that I have a problem with).

        • lifelogic
          Posted April 16, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

          To reply:


          They cannot win at Westminster as there are far too many, died in the wool, Labour and Tory voters who always have and always will vote the same. They will never break through, they cannot even get the excellent Nigel Farage elected against the (word left out) speaker Bercow (etc etc).

      • zorro
        Posted April 15, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

        I can’t wait for the promises to come……and then he sees the opinion polls show no improvement and he faces his Waterloo.


      • LBS
        Posted April 17, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

        “Farage and UKIP will clearly never have any impact at Westminster”
        They are already having an impact, by denying the Conservatives seats, and it is the Conservatives’ fault.

  4. Adam5x5
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    We passed tax saturation a long time ago and are now going down the other side of the Laffer curve and picking up speed.

    You forgot the other brilliant brainchild that was recently introduced in Nottingham – work place parking tax. If that doesn’t drive businesses away/under I don’t know what will. This tax comes on top of other economic and transport policies that have seen Nottingham be the worst performing city in the UK.
    I was dragged there by the other half late last year to see some of her friends – I was kind of looking forward to it as I’d never been to N’ham and had always heard it was good.
    After getting lost in countless one way systems and dead end streets (thanks to a tram system & google maps) I finally managed to park and arrive well over 90mins late, then had to pay a perfectly (un)reasonable £40 for two nights’ parking…
    Suffice to say I’m never going back to that nightmare again. Ever.

    I use this as an example of how the councils are suffering from the unintended consequences of driving up charges to fund their excessive overspending. They have a funding gap, so they charge for a service or tax something, which drives people elsewhere, creating a funding shortfall, so the charges/tax goes up, driving more people away. It’s a positive feedback loop to penury and economic suicide.

    On top of local govt incompetence like this, we have the central govt taxing more to “tackle the deficit”, yet doing naff all to curb spending. A govt serious about cutting would do so and fast. Start by trimming the bloated benefits (which to be fair, is being addressed, if inadequately), then move onto the NHS – fewer managers/admin, negotiate better prices for drugs, remove homeopathy/anything not proven by double blind.
    Cut the public sector pensions – they’re overly generous as is.
    Cut charitable donations – let people make donations if they want to, it’s not the business of government to give my money away to causes I don’t want to support.
    Cut foreign aid – we simply can’t afford to give it at the minute.

    You are right Mr. Redwood, the parties are not listening. Which is why people are saying vote UKIP and voting in the dreadful (to put it mildly) Galloway in Bradford.
    We are having to tighten our belts across the country and until we see that the parties understand our pain and problems (by cutting tax, bueracracy, spending) the rift will only get wider between the public and politicians.
    If we keep going down that road, trouble lies ahead.

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      I was wandering thru’ a local council car park when I noticed a car with a sticker on the windscreen I hadn’t seen before. A passing attendant told me it was a council employee’s car. I was paying £1 an hour; he or she was paying £5 a YEAR! There are also numerous free car parking slots in various locations for council workers. Is it the same in Nottingham?

      • lifelogic
        Posted April 15, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

        Indeed just like the soviet union it will be parking, cars & car lanes only for state sector officials of required rank soon.

    • Bazman
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      I’m not defending this charge as I expect many companies will just deduct it from their employees pay, but how did you end up paying £40 for workplace parking? This is paid by employers and is at present £288 per year per space for employers providing more than 11 spaces. Not for people visiting friends.
      If you got stuffed for forty quid for parking then fair enough, but don’t spread lies and fantasy about a tax you did not pay.

  5. Alan Radfield
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    “That is why government and local government need to ensure every pound they spend is well spent”

    They need to do far more than that. In any case a ‘pound well spent’ by a public official is an oxymoron. The inexorable expansion of the State must not only be stopped, it must be reversed, but George Osbrown has proved incapable of even the smallest reduction in spending. We have followed the socialist path to ‘wealth’ for 60 years, where the formula is that the state writes itself ever bigger and more generous payments at the expense of the dwindling milch-cow private sector. It’s not hard to see where this going.

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      Indeed heading to a very dead milch cow.

  6. Johnny Norfolk
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    We just need far less government, yet nothing appears to change in this at all. more rules and regulations all the time as if nothing has changed.I see so much tax money being wasted on projects that should be stopped. In my own local area I read of state spending all the time on so many small projects that add up to very large sums. No one is yet in control of all this. My local council is spending £50.000 on investigating introducing parking charges. It just goes on and on.

  7. Peter Richmond
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    It is time for this government…every government to begin to reduce spending rather than trying at every turn to seek to increase the amount of takes off people. Quite why governments find it so difficult to cut spending beggars belief!

  8. Alan Butler
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 7:23 am | Permalink


    You are right but what will the government do? Nothing?!

    When will the people of our once great nation we need an equivalent ‘Tea Party Movement.’. The role of government is to defend our borders and uphold the law. They can’t even do that, (words left out-ed) because of unchecked immigration.

    We need to wake up to the fact that social security, the NHS and the bloated public sector are unaffordable. The answer is to spend less, a lot less but this is the political equivalent of turkeys voting for Christmas, will never happen. We will be bankrupt within 40 years, no-one has the courage to tell the electorate the truth. The so called ‘difficult’ choices Osborne has made don’t even scratch the surface of the problem.

  9. Bernard from Bucks
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Just read this on ConHome.
    “There are MPs who are indeed talking to UKIP, and they appear to be from the ‘younger generation’ of MPs, which will worry Cameron considerably.”
    Maybe that lets you ‘off the hook’? (jest) or just?

  10. JimF
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    And this, in a nutshell, is why there will be no recovery until taxes, charges and regulations are reduced. This is what was promised and it hasn’t happened. Spending has carried on at a high level and we’re not impressed. Some of us detected prior to the last election that this wouldn’t happen and voted accordingly, regardless of “tactics”. We need now, more than ever, a good right wing responsible party to stand against the Lib Lab Con Socialist pact.

    The Conservatives will leak votes at the next election, because the job which should have been done in the first two years hasn’t been done.

  11. julian
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Brighton & Hove council are consulting about a plan to extend cycle and bus lanes. How can this be needed in the current climate? The root cause is the vanity of the politicians and public employees – they can not bear the idea of just maintaing essential services – they have to boost their egos with grand schemes.

    • Johnny Norfolk
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      This sort of thing is at the root of our problems, it must be stopped.

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      They all suffer from the green religion and group think which cannot be changed.

      Science shows, all in all, that buses and bikes are less green than a full efficient car even if you believe the CO2 poison theory. Bikes are also 10+ times more dangerous but health and safely do not even insist on decent brakes and indicators on them let alone air bags.

    • James
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      Brighton and Hove Council have also just doubled parking charges on the sea front to £20 per day. This endless theft by government both local and national seems to know no boundaries. Still, I suppose it serves people right for voting for them. It’s not as though we didn’t know what they were like is it?

      • lifelogic
        Posted April 15, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

        Last time I went to Brighton all the lights seem intentionally phased to block all cars out of town. So I have not been since.

      • stred
        Posted April 17, 2012 at 9:25 am | Permalink

        I just received a consultation document from Brighton to every house in the area about proposals to revamp Lewes Road with more build outs etc. They only finished the last lot in Lewes Road a few years ago, with all the ensuing delays and costing millions. Then, a while ago the Team produced a big glossy brochure showing how the Levels could be altered with a few features, presumably to improve things for all the vagrant alcs that stay there all day. A friend asked how much they had spent on the consultation for altering some space in Wild Park and this was about 3 houses council tax for postage and printing alone.

        Are they following directives from the Ministry? The Council Tax just had to go up because they found it impossible to keep costs down.

  12. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Worse still, what most of the people you spoke to probably don’t know, but you most certainly do, is that, far from spending less, the government is spending more. The pain of extra taxation could have been used to reduce the deficit more quickly but your leaders prefer to spend and continue to ramp up the debt. This governement, in less than 2 years, has shown itself to be as profligate as Labour was and probably even more incompetent. Perhaps Cameron’s strategy (for his party’s fortunes, not the country’s where he has no strategy) is to dump all his core voters and pick up Labour and LibDems; if so, he is succeeding in the first part but doesn’t realise that the second part won’t happen even with Labour’s current useless leader.

  13. Peter T
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    I wish that more politicians at all levels exhibited the degree of understanding that is expressed by Mr, Redwood above but few do and even fewer take action.

  14. MickC
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    I’m afraid we’re way past saturation point both with tax and regulations.

    It is unsurprising that 40% of the population would emigrate if it could. The UK is effectively finished as a country. Morale is at rock bottom and the Jubolympics are unlikely to improve it. Circuses are fine-but bread is also needed, and this government cannot provide the conditions for people to get it.

    Camerons sole aim was to become PM. He has achieved that-perhaps he would be so good as to leave in order that someone competent can take over.

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      Only 40%?

  15. Steven Granger
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    I can’t disagree with your above assessment but what you haven’t said is what you and like minded colleagues are going to do about it? By any measure, the government which you prop up is doing all it can to exacerbate every one of the problems you identify. It takes a special kind of incompetence to be universally acknowledged as a government that is making massive cuts whilst actually increasing real terms expenditure even beyond levels presided over by the egregious Brown. As regards regulations affecting businesses, the number of SI’s (the means by which mostly EU inspired regulations are introduced) has actually gone up under the coalition. Much more is yet to come. What happened to the bonfire of the quangos? It’s all very well setting out the problems but when you prop up a government that is making them worse, then you are equally responsible.

    Reply: We urge, advise, warn and soemtimes vote against the government to try to get improvements.

    • APL
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      Stephen Granger: “the government which you prop up is doing all it can to exacerbate every one of the problems you identify.”

      It’s lucky they have ceded all power to the European Union, because this is the most talent free government bar the last three.

      On the other hand anyone with a preference for living in a democracy where people may actually be able to change the way things are run, won’t like the current European Union setup.

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Permalink


    • Alan Radfield
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      “We urge, advise, warn and soemtimes vote against the government to try to get improvements”

      Better than doing nothing, John – but not much. It clearly is having no useful effect. It is frustrating that so many competent MP’s like yourself appear to be content to keep their jobs in compromise of their principals and duty.

      Reply: Why do some people writing into this site want the MPs who are on their side to leave the Commons to those who are not?

      • lifelogic
        Posted April 15, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

        To reply: They are just frustrated by the direction of travel and do not understand the psephology and how the electoral system works (or fails to).

      • Jon Burgess
        Posted April 15, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

        We don’t want you to leave the Commons to those not on ‘our side’.

        We want you, who are on our side, to either:

        Force a leadership challenge to Cameron (by telling him you will all resign en masse) and take back control of the party, or, failing that,

        Resign en mass, stand down and fight re-election on these very issues – maybe under Peter Hitchens ‘Justice and Liberty’ banner. You’ll be returned with increased majorities and force Cameron to ‘do a deal’ with you to stay in power. You’ll have much greater influence than you do now.

        Failure to do either of these will mean a Lib Lab Government next time and another 5 years of inaction. Is this what you want?

        Reply: NO, I do not want another five years of inaction of sorting out the EU problem. Your suggestions would not work.

        • Jon Burgess
          Posted April 16, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

          So you’re pinning your hopes on a Tory majority at the next election, I presume?

          My feeling is it will be either a lib lab coalition or a labour majority. So we’ll see where your euroscepticism inside a pro EU party gets you, and neither of us will be any closer to leaving the EU 8 years from now.

  16. Gary
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    “If the government is big
    enough to give you everything
    you want, it is big enough to
    take away everything you have.”
    Gerald Ford.

    • uanime5
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      Rest assured a Government is big enough to take away everything you have even if it can’t give you everything you want. Every dictatorship has managed this, even when they couldn’t provide any welfare.

  17. alan jutson
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Well clearly you get the tax message John.

    Does anyone else ?.

    But it does not stop at tax charges it also goes for a huge range of regulations, and other normal living life type complications as well.

    On a personal level
    Try comparing utility bill charges, phone charges, bundled prices for tv and broadband, car insurance, health insurance, pension provision, annuity rates, savings plans, ISAS, car hire fees, bank charges.
    All of these include or exclude certain terms and conditions, which make it almost impossible to compare (done deliberately for that purpose), aware the government can do nothing much about theses things, but it all adds to the frustration of life epecially when you are working hard and your own relaxation time is limited.

    We now have in Wokingham a new green waste collection system using wheely bins.

    The Councils contractor used to collect green re-usable hessian type sacks once a fortnight, free of charge, house owners used to purchase the sacks for £5.00 each, and you could have as many as you wanted to purchase, typically the sacks lasted a couple of years.

    Now we have a system where you pay £60 per year for one wheely bin for green waste, or purchase once only use type sacks for £1.00 each. Still collected once a fortnight as before.
    Ok so they have changed the system a bit, (a bigger container) but now its £60.00 per year minimum or a £1.00 per paper sack (the sack is smaller than the old re-usable ones)
    Thus we have in effect a new Council charge for a service which was free before.
    BUT in Addition.
    You now get points for recycling, to gain such the house owner has to contact the waste company each week, to let them know you have recycled your rubbish, the waste Company then give you points to your registered account, (and we all know points mean prizes) which you can eventually redeem with certain companies for goods.

    Why not just do without the complicated and expensive and time consuming hastle of having to contact the waste company each week, and for them to update thousands of accounts, and reduce the cost for everyone. !

    Life itself is getting so complicated now.

    It does not have to.

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      Indeed confusion marketing and outright cons a bound.

      Just get all electricity and gas quotes to be in a standard comparable form with a minimum period say 1 year at the agreed rate.

      Insurance is a similar mass of confusion and pointless complexity often leading to people not actually being insured when they reasonably think they are.

      • Bazman
        Posted April 15, 2012 at 11:39 am | Permalink

        Use a comparison website and every time the company announced a price rise change suppliers. Takes about six weeks which is shorter than the announcements of price rises. Keep all bills and take readings when changing. Be prepared for disputes and arguments. This is with way they want to play and this is how it should be played. Lost count of the number of suppliers I have had and the number of times they have pleaded me to stay with them.
        Use high efficiency appliances and lighting with massive amounts of insulation. Follow this and you will pay them less money. In my case enough to pay the water meter bills. Another scam.

        • alan jutson
          Posted April 15, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

          Bazman I agree with you, I to have lots of insulation, and now I am retired, have more time on my hands to make comparisons, but what a waste of time and money for every one of us this is.

          Forgot another pain “Banks”

          Give a higher rate of interest (a bonus they call it) for new customers for only a year, then interest rate drops to next to nothing, thus leading to you having to open yet another account the following year, causes absolute havoc attempting to keep a record of all of these changes of account for my tax return, which in itself raises yet another question.

          There was a time when Companies valued customer loyalty, not any more, which I do not understand, as its surely cheaper to keep an existing customer, than advertise for a new one.
          Unless there are so many people who just cannot be bothered to change out of apathy.

          • Bazman
            Posted April 16, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

            Loyalty is for mugs. Once companies have got your loyalty then they have got you. Applies to employers too and always has done.

    • uanime5
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

      What you have is another example of a Council trying to reduce their costs by outsourcing a task to the private sector. Expect to see this happening on a national scale when the Government uses the private sector to replace services and save money.

      • alan jutson
        Posted April 16, 2012 at 8:08 am | Permalink


        I have no problem with the Council outsourcing work if the task is completed to the required and agreed standard, and costs less money overall. I just wish it were not so complicated.

        I do wonder sometimes if the cost to the Council of overseeing such contracts is added onto the outsourcing contract cost, in order to get a true reflection of the real cost for comparison purposes.

        If you want to encourage people to re-cycle, then make it easier for them to do so, reduce their individual costs, or appeal to their sense of community spirit.

  18. merlin
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    To put it simply we are over governed and overtaxed. A fundamental principle of conservatism is that with low taxation and small government the population can save more of its own money business’s can be more competitive and entrepeneurial . Surely it is the duty of this government to roll back the dead hand of the state whose negative effect we have had since the last labour government. The present constraint , of course, is the fact that the conservatives are in a coalition with a left leaning party and it is obviously more difficult to be truly conservative at the moment. As you state quite rightly we have reached tax saturation point, so where do we go from here? The coalition is likely to remain in power for at least another 3 years and I do not think that there will suddenly be a damascene moment in the liberal democrat’s tax philosophy, so unless we get a truly conservative government, an unlikely prospect in the near future, I do not see any change in the present administraion’s tax and spend approach at this time, not forgetting the massive financial drain of the EU which already controls much of our lives anyway.

  19. Liz Elliot-Pyle
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Exactly so, John. The question is: what are you going to do about it? what is your government going to do about it?
    You do seem to have grasped the point. And yet, nothing changes.
    It seems that the Conservative party is beginning to wake up to the threat of UKIP – and the fact that if a vote for UKIP allows a labour government in it will make virtually no difference.
    I have always voted conservative, but no more. I shall be voting UKIP at any available opportunity, because I no longer trust the conservatives on ANYTHING. I do not trust any of the 3 main parties. I am totally disillusioned and just want change.

    Reply: I do what I can as an MP – I raise the issues, question Ministers, support motions in the Commons, vote against the worst ideas of the government etc.

    • libertarian
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      I agree totally Liz.

      John we know that you do what you can, I don’t think there is anyone who regularly comments on this blog who doesn’t sense your frustration and hard work warning the government about their errant ways.

      As you are aware though a large number of the people of this country ( especially those regarded as to the right/libertarian side of politics) are deeply disenfranchised with the 3 political parties. A growing number of people have come to realise that the politicians on the whole are more responsive to each other and the media commentators than they are to the public.

      There are gimmicks and stunts like e petitions that repeatedly backfire in the face of the talentless dross that now runs this country on a daily basis.

      It can’t be hidden any longer. The politicians repeatedly deny the public a say in the major issues that affect our lives on a daily basis. At the same time our once great institutions that were beyond reproach are continually caught out as hot beds of sleaze, corruption, fiddling and hypocrisy . Meanwhile the parties are haemorrhaging members at an alarming rate whilst being entirely funded by special interest groups.

      As an entrepreuner we call this spotting a gap in the market.

      There is now a glaring gap waiting to be filled by a new type of political party. One that engages with its grass roots members, that is driven bottom up, that is not repeatedly fighting fake class wars from the 1950’s that calls for an overhaul and drastic reduction in the amount of government we have . That puts the needs and aspirations of a majority of the people first and ascertains this by a willingness to entertain referenda on the important issues.

      Lets call it The Direct Democracy Party. All we need is someone prepared to lead, step into the breach and break the mould of our disastrous political system.

    • Liz Elliot-Pyle
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      Alright then, why dont you just defect to UKIP? Put your money where your mouth is, so to speak?
      It would cause a sensation and get a real debate going.
      You tacitly admit that there is nothing you can do about anything, at the moment. So stop trying, and do something BIG!
      I bet there would be others who would follow your example. At present you are just wasting your time…..

  20. colliemum
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Two points, the first leading to the second:
    * “From public sector workers come worries about their pension contribution increases and the worsening of the terms of their pension plans.”
    The TaxPayers’ alliance published a report about the hole in Local Council pension schemes, which can only be filled by every singe person in the UK paying £2000.
    Now I understand that public sector workers are worried about their pensions, as are those in the private sector. However, it is our council taxes which pay for those particular pensions, and I well remember that such holes were already existing some years back, with the corollary that council taxes had to be raised to cover those pensions. So what happened in the intervening years that yet another huge hole has appeared?
    Will we be told? What does your experience tell you?

    That question leads straight to the second point:
    * “… government and local government need to ensure every pound they spend is well spent, on a cause supported by many voters.”
    They not only need to ‘ensure’ this – they should be forced to publish in detail where our money goes and what it is spent on. I don’t mind paying the Police Precept, which goes on top of the council tax – I do mind not being told what the money is being spent on.
    Once people know where their money goes, they can then tell government on all levels what they better cut back on.
    They should not, for example, cut back on day care centres for the elderly while paying for ‘entertainment’, ‘hospitality’ and such things.
    They must itemise what they spend on, it should not be the task of us citizens to find out via FOI (for which we pay!) or via research done by e.g. the Taxpayers’ Alliance.

    We are indeed Taxed Enough Already, and it is only due to the British character that something like the TEA Party hasn’t made an appearance here … yet.

    Reply: This governemnt has required public bodies, Councils and central departments to publish details of what they spend, so thos einterested can now see all the items they do n to want, and could help highlight them. Public sector pension funds have larger deficits in some cases owing to a) greater longeivty b) recent pay rises before the freeze c) early retirements d) weak asset performance during the Credit Crunch

  21. Single Acts
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Wait, wait, wait….. the council want three grand vig off you to sell ice cream?

  22. Sue
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    The stupidity greed and pettiness of the last government has only been surpassed by this one. Never, in all life could I imagine that a Conservative government could possibly be more unconservative than this one.

    Read :

    ” And that’s the problem with the entire Cameron government; it’s full of petty, spiteful, jejune, immature, bigoted and dreary ministers dosing out exactly the same petty, spiteful, jejune, immature, bigoted and dreary policy that we had under Incapability Brown. There is no renaissance, no localism, no rolling back of the State, just more of the same old. More and more traditional Conservative voters are now thinking ‘Why the hell shouldn’t I vote UKIP in 2015? Who cares if Miliband wins? What’s the difference?”

    It just about sums up I feel about this government.

    • APL
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      Sue: “It just about sums up I feel about this government.”

      It sure is a government of all the talent(less).

      But be fair to them, they are just support actors on the Brussels stage. It is the way they wanted it, the salary, expenses and pomp and trappings of state, but without any of the power.

      All they have taught us is that we can do without them all.

    • David in Kent
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      It is only now that the ‘stupidity and greed of the last government’ is having to be paid for in taxes.
      The public sector is still spending money as if Brown was still in power but now some of it has to be paid for even though we continue to borrow a fortune.
      Cutting about a third out of government expenditure will have to be the aim.

    • Johnny Norfolk
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      I will be voting UKIP next for the first time. Cameron despises the true Conservatives.i

    • LBS
      Posted April 17, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      Not “jejune”. A bit more jejuneness would be a good thing.

  23. backofanenvelope
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    You are just telling us what we know! The question is – why don’t you lot in Westminster know? Excluding your good self of course. And if the inmates of Westminster know all that you, and we, know – why don’t they do something about it?

  24. Leslie Singleton
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    You have ignored my hunble but heartfelt request that you include the Annual Fishing Licence Fee in your various Tax lists. This is by no means small, nearly £100 for a full one, including Salmon and Trout, per year and everyone fishing over 12 is supposed to pay it. Many don’t of course and personally I don’t blame them. When I was a teenager there was no time for rioting and all the rest because I would be fishing. I have never come close to understanding why the Salmon and Trout Licence is so much larger than that for Coarse Fishing. Some sort of prejudice like that against Foxhunting I guess. Salmon and Trout Fishing should be encouraged as a God given natural source of food.

    • zorro
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

      ‘In yonder shallow streamlet where flows the water clear…..’ As a member of the Trout Liberation Front we demand that you pay your taxes!


  25. Bazman
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    You forgot to mention the 754 billion 50% of GDP that companies now sit on and are not investing, so much for entrepreneurial ambitions and relying on these organisations to provide jobs. They have acquired this vast amount of cash whilst avoiding tax and paying ever lower wages, so how do you square that one off?

    Reply: Many companies are holding cash because they are worried about demand and market prospects throughout the EU, and are also concerned about the difficulty of getting bank cash when they might need it. Rather hold cash than go bust later through imprudent management.

    • Bazman
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      Or for increasing their bonuses by increasing their share prices? A vicious circle caused by large payments to an elite few. I suspect this is the case and much evidence points to this. It would be interesting as a Tory MP and a real Tory John to defend the poor and middling instead of putting forward propaganda for rich individuals and corporations?

      Reply: Which is what I do much of the time: I hjave been calling for tax cuts for people on lower incomes, and devising a sensible way to get the rich to pay more.

      • matt
        Posted April 16, 2012 at 12:34 am | Permalink

        Cut taxes for everybody including the rich. Give us our money back and allow us to spend it in the way we see fit.
        Encouraging economic growth is simple…..remove the barriers to economic growth.
        Stop tinkering at the edges and get on with it. Where are the politicians with conviction?
        Do politicians think that the public are buying the nonsense that they spout? Stop treating us like idiots.

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

      Companies need to hold cash for emergencies especially when the banks are not working very well – anyway they keep it in banks who just lend it on to others so what is the problem with them holding cash they will invest it when they think it is wise and save to do so.

  26. Mike Stallard
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Where is David Cameron at the moment? Where was Boris Johnson at the time of the start of the London riots? Or Nick Clegg’s wife’s work? Or George Osborne on holiday? Abroad. And when they are not abroad, like the rest of the jet set who rule us, they are comfortably ensconced in London.
    They have absolutely no idea how the plebs in the country who are not old Etonians actually feel. They are not here most of the time. And guess who pays for their party fiestas? Well, the rich of of London, of course, they are jet setters too. So we feel we just don’t get a look in.
    I could go on.
    This needs reform. A couple of pictures of Mr Cameron in a Primary School or the old saw of Mr Cameron entering a NHS ward doesn’t do it for me.

    Secondly, you yourself noted that the way to cut down the government was simply not to replace the Civil Servants who left. Well, is this being done? Why isn’t the deficit being addressed? We don’t mind suffering so long as it is for a real purpose.

    • zorro
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

      No, they have retired them early and now need to re-employ them to cope with shortages!


  27. Nick
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    You say squeeze. Many would say extortion.

    1. Money extracted – yes
    2. Threat of force – yes
    3. Goods or services for the cash – no

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      Or even 50% + slavery.

  28. Nick
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Its very simple. Government employees are determined to keep their jobs so they are creating more and more excuses to regulate.

    You as politicians are going along with this, for the simple reason it needs laws to do so. Laws you have created. There is no excuse to say, oh its Brussels, or some other body to get you off the hook. No passing the buck. MPs make the law in the UK – period.

    There is no opposition, because part of the pitch by PS workers is that you can increase taxes to get out of your 7,000 bn debt problem. That’s the sweetner for MPs.

    However, the end result is we get shafted.

    As for any bonfire of regulations, all we have had is the proposed abolishment of a few bills that are hundreds of years old, and the regulation of Belgium chocolates, which is good for the chocolate makers of Brussels. Now why did Vince get rid of that first? Who is he pandering too.

    A good example of this is taxation on giving to charities.

  29. fox in sox
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Dear John,

    I couldnt agree more. There is a lot of political emphasis on income tax rates, and neglect of these stifling stealth taxes. I am off to the USA on business shortly and the tax is more than the cost of the flight, perhaps I should not bother to try to earn.

    We are often reminded of the punitive rates of income tax in the seventies and eighties (top rate of 60% for most of Mrs Thatchers time), but there were much lower rates of other taxes, such as VAT at 8% until 1979, and big tax allowances for mortgages, insurance etc. The headline rate is down but overall we are taxed more.

    Would a Conservative (not coalition) government in 2015 be elected on a tax cutting manifesto? Probably not while 60% of UK households are net recipients from the state.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      fox in sox,
      We won’t have the option of voting for a tax cutting manifesto from the Conservatives in 2015. They have shown themselves to be as addicted to tax/borrow and spend just like Labour and the LibDems. Even if they did have such a manifesto would anyone believe they would adhere to it?

      • fox in sox
        Posted April 15, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

        I think that we have to remember this is a coalition government, with all the compromises that this entails. The Pro-EU Lib Dems and especially Vince Cable must be at least as uncomfortable as Mr Hammond around that table.

        Would a minority government followed by a second election have returned a Conservative majority? or would it have put Gordon Brown back in? We will never know.

        I suspect that the Lib Dems will keep the coalition going for the full term, not least that a quick election will see most of them seatless. In the run up to May 2015 we will have a clearly distinctive Conservative and Lib -Dem manifesto.

        It would be good if it were a tax cutting, pro-free enterprise manifesto, but that may not work as a way of getting a majority, unfortunately. That is particularly likely if UKIP takes enough votes to put a Lib Dem/Labour coalition in.

    • uanime5
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      Well as long as people can’t earn a living wage by working full time there will always be a large number of people who are net recipients from the state.

  30. Steve Cox
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Quite right, John. Osborne has done the easy bit of the deficit reduction, in other words raising the level of taxation until the middle classes can hear their pips squeaking (to paraphrase a former unsuccessful Chancellor). The big question now is will he have the cojones to do the tough bit, i.e. cutting public spending sharply? Personally, I am unconvinced that he will. As the party’s chief election strategist, and with an election at most just 3 years away, I suspect that he will find any and every excuse to water back the deficit reduction plans and delay implementing any serious cuts. What effect that will have on Sterling and interest rates is anybody’s guess.

  31. dan
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    All that and not one mention of billions wasted on membership of the EU. …which you want to remain part of.

    Reply: I have often mentioned the billions wasted on the EU, and voted not to remain in it when we last had a vote on that topic. You forget I was one of those who wants another referendum on the EU now.

    • dan
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      yes, but correct me if I am wrong, you want renegotiation of our membership terms as opposed to leaving the EU completely.

      Reply: I want to see what government can negotiate and then a vote on whether to stay or leave. I want trade and friendship, not EU government.

      • dan
        Posted April 15, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

        Thats exactly why you’ve lost me this last few months as your position on the EU has been flushed out…..and found wanting.

        We need out of this EU nightmare asap…your way will see years of negotiations, trade-offs, and doubtless more billions wasted, before what, a promise from a sly Tory leader which will be reneged on at the first opportunity.
        Not thanks, Mr Redwood.
        I’m out.

        Reply: I think the only way to get what you want is to back a referendum so the British people can decide. I have been pressing for a referendum for years, and have voted for one in the Commons. I will do so again, though there is no point yet, as we know how few MPs will vote for one. If the Commons will not even vote for a referendum, it is not about to vote to pull the UK out of the EU altogether! I deal with the intractable realities of modern politics. A voting public which tells pollsters it is Eurosceptic regularly elects federalist Parliaments.

        • dan
          Posted April 16, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

          Doesnt there come a time when you question your remaining within a party which simply doesnt represent your views for the future direction of the UK?
          Maybe its different when you are a politician, but for me, honour, integrity and principle would have to take priority.

      • zorro
        Posted April 15, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

        ‘I want to see what government can negotiate…’ ……I hope that your expectations are not too high!


  32. Martin
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    An example of this saturation was a tax deduction certificate I received in the post yesterday from a private sector bank for the sum of 24 PENCE. If instead of paying next to no interest they just said zero it would be so much less hassle.

    So my suggestion for cutting red tape is to tell HMRC and the banks to stop the red tape for amounts under say Five Pounds.

  33. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    I long ago stopped reading his blather, but I noticed the trailer for an article today:

    “The harsh truth is that the age of austerity will last for many years, and the public’s resolve will be severely tested, says Matthew d’Ancona”.

    My perception is that the public has little resolve to be severely tested, because it has little real understanding of the gravity of our situation.

    I pointed out in a recent comment that this year the government will still have to borrow on average roughly £9000 for each of 18 million families, £166 billion in total.

    Walk around your neighbourhood, and as you pass each dwelling add another £9000 to the government’s borrowing requirement for this financial year.

    It quickly adds up; just for our street it will be about half a million; for the average street with homes at the current average price of around £230,000 the amount the government will have to borrow this year would buy every twenty-fifth home, so mark those off as representing the value of the increase in the national debt just for this one financial year, excluding interest.

    Almost anything that the government tries to do to narrow its annual budget deficit provokes a hostile, often unreasonable and extreme, reaction from one quarter or another, whether it’s an attempt to restrict its spending or an attempt to squeeze out more revenue; the exceptions where the general public would actually like to see spending cut are almost all cases where the government insists that it must continue and/or increase its spending.

    Meanwhile the government continues to borrow that £9000 a year on behalf of each family, on average, that annual borrowing will only slowly decline, and the cumulative national debt piles up and up.

    The only saving grace is that when private investors begin to tire of lending existing money to the government it can fall back on borrowing newly created money from the Bank of England, and if truth be told that is the real reason that the UK government still has its AAA credit rating and can borrow at low interest rates.

  34. APL
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    JR: “People do not feel the parties are listening to them about how squeezed they feel.”

    Ha! It ain’t about feelings, it’s about first hand experience.

  35. Richard Cavin
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Two suggestions:-

    1. Get out of the EU asap and spend the saved billions wisely.
    2. Scrap that iniquitous tax, the TV licence and redirect the £3.5 billion p.a. to worthy causes.

    • uanime5
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      If they scrap the TV licence they won’t have £3.5 billion p.a to give to worthy causes.

      • LBS
        Posted April 17, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

        The worthiest cause is letting the viewers keep their money.

  36. John Eustace
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    And now philanthropists are being branded as tax cheats. Gordon Brown wrecked the nation’s pensions and this government looks set to wreck the charity sector. The State is sucking in every penny it can so it becomes ever more dominant – exactly the opposite of what I hoped for and expected from this government.
    Big Society anyone?

  37. English Pensioner
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    High taxation encourages us all to try to avoid tax.
    I need a fence repairing, two old posts need to be dug out and replaced. At one time I would have rung up a well known local firm that does that type of work; now I’m looking for a casual worker who can do the job and who will expect to be paid cash. I won’t pay any VAT (except on the cost of the posts from B&Q), he’ll probably not pay tax on the money earned, but that’s not my concern.
    The higher taxation becomes, the more incentive there is for normally law abiding people to avoid it, and for those on the fringes, such as jobbing workmen, to take bigger risks by declaring less income (“didn’t do much last week, it’s the recession”). Lower tax rates, and more of us abide by the rules.
    But then the government’s still spending money as if there’s no tomorrow. There have been no real cuts in expenditure and the bonfire of quangos seems to have been a damp squib. Cameron’s doing everything to become a one term prime minister.

    • alan jutson
      Posted April 16, 2012 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      English Pensioner

      You sum up the situation in a nutshell, but unfortunately by giving the work to those who do not charge or pay taxes, you are putting those Companies who do, out of work, as they cannot compete on price with the barter and cash payment contractors, thus they also eventually have to operate the same way or go bust.

      Unfortunately it is a downward spiral for the government in tax take, that it has yet to realise is happening by keeping tax rates too high.

      We are slowly but surely begining to operate like our Southern European EU citizens, and the government has only itself to blame, as people act for self interest and preservation of what income they can get or retain.

  38. A.Sedgwick
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Barring social unrest or UKIP emulating the SNP nothing will change. The vast majority of our best young talent would not touch politics with a barge poll so we end up with what we have got. There are a few high minded young MPs and Zac Goldsmith springs to mind. Until the old fence sitters stop putting their seats and pensions before what is best for the country we will continue to suffer a steep decline in our fortunes.

  39. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    During the recession, there was an 18 month period during which GDP fell 9% below the long term trend line (6% contraction vs 3% growth). Allowing for population growth, GDP per capita fell by about 10%.

    What should have been put over to the electorate – very forcibly – was that there was a lot less to spend. Even the Coalition failed to do this sufficiently, let alone the Opposition.

    We simply cannot afford to maintain our vast expenditure on health and welfare, paricularly on the retired elderly. Investing in yesterday is really dumb.

  40. Phillip Downs
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 11:26 am | Permalink


    All the voices above reflect my views. Why your government cannot actually cut spending is beyond comprehension. Quite simply, there will be no recovery until taxes are reduced. We reached tax saturation a long time ago. Back in the eighties higher rate tax came in at the current equivalent of about £62,000 and we did not have the myriad of other extortions by the state that now exist. What is the current level for higher rate tax? £34,000? It is absolutely pathetic – and your government are just perpetuating the process of robbing people blind devised by Gordon Brown. It is simply not good enough.

    You are one of too few MPs who seem to understand the mood of your core voters. I do not know a single person who I would consider one of your voters who does not feel the same way as I do. If you cannot persuade your leadership to change tack radically then I predict that you will lose a significant proportion of your votes at the next election. It is so dismaying that virtually everything that is being done at the moment is incompetently executed and with so little consideration of the wider consequences. We waited for years to be rid of Labour and what we get seems worse! Perhaps you could tell me where our hope for change now lies. Your colleagues may dismiss UKIP but I fear we are now so desperate that that is where your votes will go. If that lets Labour back in, then I’m sorry to say this but frankly I’m not sure anyone cares any longer.

    • zorro
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

      Hear hear, show Cameron this……he is no more use than the previous government. He is the Son of Gordon….


      • alan jutson
        Posted April 16, 2012 at 8:24 am | Permalink


        Agreed, they have lost the plot.

        Ref: Voting patterns.

        John, people will cut of their nose to spite their face if it is thought it will teach someone a big enough lesson. I have done it with business decisions, short term pain for long term gain.

        Cameron and the present Government would do well to understand this.

  41. John Page
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    government and local government need to ensure every pound they spend is well spent, on a cause supported by many voters

    John, no one can police that, as you well know.

    If that formulation is the best that even you can do, there’s no hope for our politics.

    Just leave the proles with a little pocket money to fritter away, and government can waste the rest, for instance on trying to cut emissions of life-giving trace gas carbon dioxide.

    And heaven forfend government should do anything to cut our energy bills, for instance by getting on with shale permitting, which also has the potential to bring in huge tax revenue.

    Our household should be natural Tory supporters, but we’ve reached the stage with this government where we don’t believe anything heir-to-Blair Cameron says.

    If it weren’t for family ties, we’d probably emigrate too.

  42. Phil Richmond
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    If we implemented the Conservative-Party-In-Exile manifesto then all problems would be on the way to being solved.
    I am of-course referring to UKIP.
    John you have two options in my opinion – defect to UKIP or overthrow that useless Lib-Dem PM masquerading as a Conservative.

  43. AJAX
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    I’m continually amazed to watch apparently fiscally literate politicians who sit there month after month, & now year after year, in total silence watching the nation’s savings capital base be attritionally (if that’s not a word it is now) wrecked via an extraordinary experiment in wild Keynesianism on a gargantuan scale originating in the Federal Reserve of the USA – with the Bank of England going along in compliance – & only ever talking about micro-economic side issues in response.

    What a spectacle of economic statesmanship from the political class this is.

    • sm
      Posted April 16, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

      The public sector is insulated the higher up you go from much of the economic pain, short of an economic collapse like greece. Even then the creme de la creme manages to skim still on behalf of the creditors.

      If all material decision makers were not in fully protected positions particularly pensions, which are wildy in excess of what the contributions would purchase, after the ravages of QE and imho overpriced financial services which tend to self-serve first.

      Now if all public sector pensions (defined benefit )were capped at a capital value of say £500k or lower we might see some one nation politics arise.

  44. Trevor Chenery
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    When will the UK ever be governed – at all levels: Westminster, Unitary Authority, County Council and Borough Council level – by people who have any grasp whatsoever of sound financial and economic management and the professional qualifications and skills to back this up. Until all levels of government stop spending other peoples – aka taxpayers’ – money at such a profligate level and rate I can see no other scenario other than we are doomed.

    One after another, from the top downwards the exposed vacuousness of Cabinet Ministers and their failure to grasp and understand the basic tenets of prudent financial management and strategic planning is quite alarming.

    Would elected Mayors – for a fixed term on a fixed mandate – for the large UA’s, CCs make a difference have an impact who can tell but something needs to change to give power to the people.

    Until a major change happens then I will contiune to believe that the majority of elected politicians in high, official positions are totally in thrall to the bureaucracy of the UK Civil Service and on a more extended level the bureaucrats of the EU.

  45. Neil Craig
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Yet though the Tories promised they would cut state parasitism we have not seen them doing so.

    What this country needs is a free market liberal party committed to growth. Except we do and it is called UKIP.

    OK what we need is a state broadcaster that doesn’t censor free market liberals off the airwaves and a democratic electoral system that allows opposition parties to get elected. Like Russia has. Surely it is not impossible dor the UK to be as good a democracy as Russia but by OECD terms we are barely 10% as much.

  46. Trevor Butler
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Nobody has yet mentioned the ‘social engineering’ taxes on tobacco and alcohol designed to modify behaviour – Well they worked for me – I now grow my own tobacco and brew cider at home – another consequence of over taxation reducing government income.

    • S. Donald
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      Or the thousands of pubs that are closing due to the smoking ban and higher alcohol tax. Bankruptcies, jobs lost and tax lost to the Treasury.
      It does,nt make any sense.

      • uanime5
        Posted April 16, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

        It’s only a tax loss if the people who lose their jobs can’t get new jobs that pay the same amount of tax and people purchase less alcohol. While the former seems to be occurring the latter does not because people can buy alcohol from supermarkets.

        • S. Donald
          Posted April 17, 2012 at 7:25 am | Permalink

          I really am not aware that there are an abundance of jobs to be had.
          Neither does it make sense to compare the amount of excise and vat ect gained from alcohol at supermarket prices compared to the amount raised from the higher prices collected in pubs.
          I do seem to remember that the blanket smoking ban was opposed by many conservative MP,s.
          Where are they now?

    • carol42
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

      Totally agree. I buy all tobacco products quite legally abroad and have done since the ban, if they want to treat me as a second class citizen they don’t need my taxes. Also rarely go to pubs now, don’t have meals out much, miss my cigarette and coffee after. I wonder just how much has been lost with the idiotic total ban, not what was proposed at all. Now they are at it with alcohol and food I see. All supported with junk science and fake charities like ASH getting our money. Don’t think I will even bother to vote next time, first time ever, they are all the same.

  47. Barbara Stevens
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Well those fortunate to be in work are taxed far to high taking away rewards they should be spending, to increase growth. Councils are fools to themselves; I’ve mentioned before the new department that as come from private sector housing, because of the complaints brought against ‘bad landlords’. The private sector housing as mushroomed in the last few years, the problem is landlords are buying properties without the funding to do them up. Resulting in unsuspecting tenants living in substandard properties. Complaints are now rife within local Councils, and the private sector departments are over run with these complaints which have to have officers from the Councils to respond. We pay for these officers through our Council Tax, which I strongly object to. If private landlords did their repairs as they should, the department wouldn’t need such a large number of officers who work within them. I therefore think, landlords should be charged and have all properties registered within the Councils and a fee charged, to help pay for these departments. They are after all only there because of the complaints. Why should the council tax payers pay for something created by them; we are in effect being subjected to costs that are not of our doing. Having a fee system would put money back into the departments, and help pay for the costs that have developed from bad landlords.
    I’ve seen this close at hand, and believe me it’s not nice living by this kind of problem, when one as paid ones dues all ones life. The landlord had to be forced to erect proper fencing to his boundryline to give us and his tenants privacy. That is my whole point, no repairs and one could evoke his licence to rent if we had a registery system with licence issured. Their problem therefore they should pay for it.

    • ChrisXP
      Posted April 16, 2012 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      What, create yet another database? Aren’t we supposed to be trying to get rid of these things, rather than create more? Not all private landlords are rogues and if a register is ever started then I shall quit renting out because I have no intention of paying ever more fees merely to be “certified fit”. You obviously havent read some of the posts here that are already complaining about over-regulation, too many licences and too many fees. Good landlords having to fork out because of the bad……usual trick.

      • LBS
        Posted April 17, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

        I recently had to pay the council for the privilege of having scaffolding put up for painting my house. When I asked what I was getting for the money I was told that scaffolders had to be registered and supervised – i.e. I wasn’t getting anything: scaffolders already had a responsibility to know their job; now we must pay for somebody else to make sure.

  48. Barry
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Government departments need a fundamental change in their attitude towards the efficient spending of taxpayer’s money. Industry is well used to the necessity of continual performance improvements. Driving down costs is a matter of survival….less cost for the same output, more output for the same cost or ideally less cost for more output .
    Regrettably, government departments do not appear to willingly embrace the notion of efficiencies. They prefer the notion of “cuts” or departmental growth … less cost for the less output or preferably more cost which might include more output. Even the notion of successfully achieving less cost for the less output is not willingly accepted for fear of diminishing the department’s status. Moreover, any success in cost cutting is best avoided lest it invite further demands for “cost cutting” in the next financial round.
    This lamentable attitude towards the spending of taxpayer’s money is driven from the top. Change for the better is possible as has been exemplified by outsourcing successes. Sadly, many of these successes could have been achieved by the government department prior to outsourcing and at less cost to the taxpayer. Poor performing Government Departments are probably associated with poor leadership at the very top including failing practices and procedures handed down to the department.
    Taxpayer’s deserve a better accountability from the Government concerning OUR funding of government departments particularly in providing more services for less cost. We need to hear less about just cost cuts. Leadership particularly at Ministerial level need to be exposed to the public concerning Government Departmental drive towards increased efficiencies. Perhaps more exposure of Ministerial performance might allow retention or removal of a Minister being determined by his/her departments’ performance rather than a PC gaff pumped up on TV!

  49. BobE
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    The EU is forcing equality on annuity rates. So any man getting an annuity after December will see a 13% reduction. Will this government wave this through?

    • uanime5
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      Why were men getting higher annuity rates than women?

      • A David H
        Posted April 15, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

        Because men have a shorter life expectancy than women.

      • Bruce of Burghfield
        Posted April 16, 2012 at 5:58 am | Permalink

        Easy – men do not on average live as long, so they are not so expensive to fund. So in financial terms this decision is completely bonkers. Which of course completely sums up the EU!

      • Susan
        Posted April 16, 2012 at 7:07 am | Permalink


        Women get less than men because they live longer. In the same way as a smoker would get more because they would most probably die earlier.

      • ChrisXP
        Posted April 16, 2012 at 8:00 am | Permalink

        So you agree that a 13% drop is justified “all in the name of equality”.

  50. Paul Danon
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    The proposed income-tax statements could usefully have added to them an estimate of how much each person is paying in taxes which aren’t deducted from the wage-packet or by the building-society. I suppose there is a kind of fairness in having multiple taxes: I don’t have a car* so don’t buy a tax-disc; when I’ve not had a telly, I’ve paid no licence-fee; when I used to drink, I paid duty on booze – mercifully none now. The community-charge made more sense than the council-tax, which is really the rates redux. Think, however, of the cost of collecting all these diverse taxes – that would be another item to go on the HMRC-statement.

    * nor an ice-cream van

  51. Robin
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    I can understand why you are not in government John. You are far too good for this lot!
    Nothing this government has done inclines me to believe that they really understand or care what they are doing to the working men and women of this country. We have woken up to what is happening but they never will. On the other hand, maybe they really do want to destroy us and our country.

  52. Richard
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    On charities tax relief surely if someone gives a million pounds and claims the tax back or the charity does then are we therefore entirely ignoring the amount given away to the charity? Am is missing something?

    Every day now with what I hear the phrase the lunatics are running the asylum comes to mind.

  53. merlin
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    The constant theme of most of the posts I’ve read is that since the conservative/liberal coalition assumed power 2 years ago taxation of the general public is still at a high level and government spending in general continues unabated. The question that sems to be repeated constantly is- What are you John, going to do about it? The answer is that you are as an individual MP going to oppose and debate all those measures that you and conservative MP’s of a similar persuasion disagree with,this is self evident and to be applauded. There is very little else in practice that you can do apart from this. Of course I absolutley realize you do a hell of a lot more! From reading the contributions I would say that UKIP is now figuring more in people’s minds, apparently a number of younger MP’s have been having informal discussions with UKIP( this ,of course, may be just a rumour). Even so, I can understand why serious conservatives are considering voting for this party. With the constriants of the conservative/liberal coalition, I think that this has created a desire for real conservatives to look for alternative in the future i’e UKIP.

    Reply: I know of no Conservative MP having conversations with UKIP, as there is no-one in Parliament representing UKIP to talk to – so what is the point? We need more votes now in the Commons.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply
      Not sure what you mean by: “We need more votes in the Commons”. Sorry John if that means more voting then we can assume no change, and if it means more Conservative MPs it also means no change as long as you all bend your knees to Cameron and Osborne. I think you will have understood from these contributions that your party is very unpopular with those who should be its core supporters and although Cameron and Osborne will assume that we have nowhere else to go they underestimate the scale of their failure to deliver. May will show the beginnings of the terminal decline of your party unless you MPs exert some real influence and chang the leadership and policies. I don’t think any of you is prepared to undertake the task.

    • zorro
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

      Well John, you had better get to work on your ‘Eurosceptic’ Conservative Party which can apparently only get 80 or so MPs to vote in such a way….unless you can make some more Eurosceptic MPs. Funnily enough, the ones who seem Eurosceptic before the elections change their tune soon afterwards!


  54. A Different Simon
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    We are on the same trajectory as we were when Labour left office .

    All the CCTV’s in the World won’t protect the politicians and bankers when the angry mob has had enough and civil disorder breaks out .

    The sums do not work out for the majority of workers . Most struggle to make ends meet and they will have nothing to provide for them in their old age .

    To add to this they’ve watched the financial services sector ransack what was left of the public coffers . Just to rubb our noses in it none of them are going to go to jail either .

    Even if you abolish taxes for the people at the bottom it wouldn’t make any difference .

    All that would happen (in the absence of proper regulations and regulators) is their rents , energy and food will go up leaving them no better off .

  55. Electro-Kevin
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    As usual this is a very well observed post, Mr Redwood.

    I feel that the problem we have in the regional UK is that most of us are paying each other in order to maintain our standard of living. I know of a tiny proportion of people who actually work in the wealth creating export sector (two to be exact.)

    The majority of those in the private sector are not involved in export are reliant on people who are paid from the public sector purse buying their services.

    The restaurant I was in the other night was full of teachers, police officers and retirees – all in different parties.

    This sort of system requires a lot of taxation.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      Taking in each other’s washing is what I think they call it.

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted April 15, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

        Mr Whippy has to pay £3000 in order to help create his customers.

        The withdrawal of such taxes will result in an implosion in business for the likes of Mr Whippy.

        My point here is that I agree with you about tax saturation, but its withdrawal, as with a return to normal interest rates (and the innevitable fall in living standards for our state sector oriented country) is what we’re all going to have to go through in order for things to even begin to get better.


        We cannot go on as we are.

        • uanime5
          Posted April 16, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

          “Mr Whippy has to pay £3000 in order to help create his customers.

          “The withdrawal of such taxes will result in an implosion in business for the likes of Mr Whippy.”

          I have no idea what this is meant to mean.

          Mr Whippy isn’t creating customers, he’s selling ice cream to anyone who wants to buy ice cream. If Mr Whippy wasn’t available they would just buy ice cream from a shop.

          If Mr Whippy’s business imploded I’m fairly sure that would be a bad thing because an imploded business is one that has collapsed. If you meant that sales would increase if this tax was removed then this is also wrong because not having to buy a £3,000 license won’t automatically mean more sales even if prices are proportionately reduced. It may even lead to fewer sales as more people will be able to sell ice cream, so there will be more competition.

          In conclusion licenses for ice cream vans don’t reduce the sales by these ice cream vans. The main things that affects the sales of these vans are their location, price, and variety of products. All removing this licenses will do is make the ice cream van owner £3,000 better off per year before taxes.

  56. uanime5
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps the Government should take steps to reduce tax avoidance and evasion if they want more money. Alternatively they could stop giving the rich tax cuts. Both of these would ensure that the Government doesn’t need to raise money by increasing taxes for those on modest incomes.

    Reply: Dream on – have you been following any of the arguments on this site about how to tax the rich and who gets tax breaks?

    • JimF
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      Your attitude is the reason people won’t vote Labour
      JR original post is the reason people won’t vote Conservative or LibDem

    • uanime5
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      I have. I believe you said that the 50% tax rate was causing people to the leave the UK but couldn’t provide any figures showing many had left, where they had gone, what professions they were in, or how many would return if the tax rate was reduced to 45%. Though you did mention that the self-assessed tax returns for higher earners was down this year you didn’t provide any information on whether the non-self-assessed tax returns were affected; nor any evidence that this was due to the 50% tax rate as opposed to problems with the economy, bankers bonuses being capped due to public pressure, or increasing tax avoidance.

      According to the most recent budget by reducing the top tax rate from 50% to 45% the average higher rate taxpayer will be £40,000 per year better off. By contrast those on those earning minimum wage will be £220 per year better off due to minimum wage being raised by a few pence and the Lib Dems’ raise in tax allowances. The middle class will lose out by several thousand pounds due to the 40% tax rate being lowered and child benefit being withdrawn; and 4.4 million pensioners will be worse off because of the granny tax. So yes I do know exactly who is getting the tax breaks.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted April 16, 2012 at 4:09 am | Permalink

        I am one of those pensioners you mention, although I do have the sense to take work as and when I can get it without depriving a youngster of an opportunity. I am not worried about the misnamed “granny tax”, which is simply a phased withdrawal of the current preferential treatment.

        Most pensioners should try to work until 70 in order not to be a burden. We don’t need handouts like concessionary fares, cheap swimming, winter fuel allowances and (later) free TV licenses. Just deliver zero inflation and interest rates at reasonable levels – the two things that HM government point blank refuse to countenance.

        I would not be bothered if the top tax rate were to be reduced to 40%. If you want to make an assessment of fairness, then take into account all of the national taxes, council taxes, duties, charges and lack of benefits the “the rich” suffer from; it’s quite a list. Nor would I be concerned (indeed, I would be very happy) if the 40% tax threshold were to be raised to match salary increases that have taken place since 1992. The figure is £52,500 if you are interested.

      • Epigenes
        Posted April 17, 2012 at 5:50 am | Permalink

        More garbage from Unite5. It is so ignorant it does not know that annuity rates for men are higher that women because of longevity.

        This level of ignorance is reflected in every post it makes here. It is an economic illiterate posting propaganda.

  57. David Cooper
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    There’s the wicked and iniquitous Holiday Tax too, more officially known as Air Passenger Duty. The Chancellor is evidently not only oblivious to the particular adverse effect this has on travellers to and from the Caribbean islands who deserve all the tourist money they can get, but also to the fact that those in the know will soon just hop over to Paris, Schiphol or Frankfurt and make their long haul connection from there. Regardless of the adverse effect this will have on the UK aviation industry.

  58. DiscoveredJoys
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    Have the Civil Service and Local Councils stopped recruitment? I’m aware that there are issues with a recruitment ban, but natural wastage is a relatively painless way of reducing costs. I’ve not yet encountered an organization that couldn’t manage with 10% fewer people, especially if some rebalancing of skills is allowed.

  59. david englehart
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    i have a business in brighton and hove and pay substantial business rates.
    i live in the country outside brighton where i pay council tax.
    as a business owner i have no vote in brighton yet i have 35 people working for me and my out of town clients often invest in the area.
    the green party are the largest party.
    the local universities and colleges provide a useful target for the greens yet these students only have at most 3 years here.
    so how my money is spent is decided by transient people and i have no vote at all.
    the unemployed,students and those paying little or no tax will happily vote for more taxes and spending as they do not see it as affecting them even if they could understand economics in the first place which most dont.
    we have been and continue to be mismanaged by politicians for as long as i can remember and frankly i can see no end to it.
    with noteable exceptions of whom john redwood is clearly one MP’s are interested purely in following the party line in the hope of a post in the government and the opposition sees running down the country and blaming it on the incumbent government as their job.

    • alan jutson
      Posted April 16, 2012 at 8:49 am | Permalink


      Your interesting post outlines why myself, and another on this site, floated an idea (and it was only an idea for discussion) that perhaps only those who pay taxes should be allowed to vote.

      Yes I know its not democracy in its present sense, it would also be complicated by the fact that everyone pays VAT which is a tax, but your post sums up nicely the real fault with the present system.

      Those that simply take, have the same power to influence policy with their vote, as those who provide (pay taxes).

      That is perhaps why Politicians try to manipulate the system, with promises to the electorate, because turkeys do not vote for Christmas.
      This appeared to be the way that a certain Mr Brown intended to remain in power and came close to doing so, with social engineering and re-distribution of wealth policies, via a complicated tax system.

      We have a very long way to go before we sort out the mess we are in.

  60. Caterpillar
    Posted April 16, 2012 at 12:07 am | Permalink

    (1) If one accepts that the Govt cannot go bankrupt since it has the (continued) printing escape route, then perhaps concentrating on the size of the state as a % of GDP, rather than taxation may enable some progress in the argument? (The ‘who pays’ argument seems to lead to a popularity contest in politics, rather than on ensuring the efficiency of the market mechanism and attempting to limit market failures – Gift Aid essentially admits that the free market better determines where people want to see money spent than the Govt can).
    (2) With respect to taxation the time may have come to fully examine the flow vs stocks argument for taxation. By introducing the ‘mansion tax’ idea the Business Secretary may have muddied the waters, but (i) poverty is a wealth issue not an income issue, (ii) change – hence progress – is about flows and so oughtn’t be hit, (iii) Gift Aid carrying back and much so-called ‘tax-avoidance’ seem to be smoothing of income and so more similar to a stock, (iv) economic commentators observe cash on companies’ balance sheets -admitting relevance of wealth – but less so for individuals.

    In brief:

    How mixed should mixed economy be?
    Could some flow taxes be dropped and replaced with wealth taxes?

    • waramess
      Posted April 16, 2012 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      The government cannot print foreign exchange reserves, without which we will be unable to import

  61. James Reade
    Posted April 16, 2012 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Wow, censorship now?!

    I did have other points to make there John other than the ones you want to hide from the world. You’re actually giving me reason to side with the rather unpleasant folk that write things at Liberal Conspiracy at this rate…

    Notably, how best should the government collect the taxes it needs to raise. Clearly underhand and sneaky methods are bad and wrong, and we object morally to taxes on those things we consider necessities and hence have a low demand elasticity (which is what we want when taxing).

    Of course, we can reduce the size of the state, but that isn’t going to happen quickly (and nor should it necessarily if we want to do a good job of privatisation so all the kinds of fiascos of the past can be avoided), and so we do in the meantime need to think about taxes, and the more the coalition appears to be putting the burden of this on to the squeezed middle rather than those earning above, say, £150k, the less popular they will become.

    Reply: I delete possible libels and false allegations about all, including myself.

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted April 16, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      Your problem Mr Reade lies in the sentence:
      “how best should the government collect the taxes it needs to raise” It’s that word “need”. Most of Mr Redwood’s correspondents think that the government is doing lots of things it shouldn’t be doing. If it took our advice, it wouldn’t “need” to raise so much tax. For instance, it might not fund £30 million pounds worth of tree planting for the Chinese.

      • James Reade
        Posted April 18, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for the diagnosis backofanenvolope. I will try not to sound patronising in my response.

        The fact is that the government does need to do quite a lot of things that you think it shouldn’t be doing, on efficiency grounds (not even equity).

        But regardless of that, the fact is there’s quite a large debt to be paying off (main cause – the recession before you go all party political on me) and hence taxes are “needed”.

  62. waramess
    Posted April 16, 2012 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    So, what might happen if this continues?
    Those who might be able to evade taxes will do so? Companies will devote an ever increasing resource to avoiding tax? The burden of tax might fall increasingly on the employed? To avoid despondency in the workplace employers will take to paying staff non taxable income wherever they find the opportunity?
    In the end, in spite of the Moody’s re-affirmation of credit status, the UK will need to apply to the IMF for a bailout, if such a thing is still on the cards, because even a AAA rated country needs to pay its Civil Service..

    All this because the chum(p)s are not willing to address the size of government

  63. Derek Emery
    Posted April 16, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    There is a pecking order are far as the interests of MPs are concerned. Top is brainlessly following the directives of the EU and any EU projects; second comes looking after the interests of lobbying companies and companies that suck up to the state; third are the interests of immigrants and terrorists. At the bottom of course comes the interests of the UK public at large whose main use is funding all these higher interests. At least that is the order that most of the public see as political interests.

  64. Jon
    Posted April 16, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    If my medium term plan goes well then it will benefit the French taxpayer. For me it means a move near the southcoast beech. It will also include an extra fuel tank added to the back of a 4 x 4 to stock up in France not just with diesel but also cigarettes and cash and carry household goods from washing up stuff to larder goods. All taxes that will go to the French but atleast I’ll be better off.

  65. David Langley
    Posted April 17, 2012 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Its not the voting public thats the problem its the voting MP,s. My local MP does not vote the way I want him to. I have no idea what he votes for except I have perhaps an unworthy suspicion that he is voting for himself first. As a career politician he may have no interest in what his constituents really want and will probably hide behind some election promises when they become due.
    I am totally frustrated at the current position regarding the budget. Taxing to the hilt your supposed comrades is no way to go on. Why are we fiddling about when we could be dishing out big licks to the deficit situation. When the government blandly talks about helping the world with our money and is stupid and limp when dealing with the EU monstrosity it is totally out of order. Just how corrupt John is the Parliament when faced with what the electorate really want?

  66. lojolondon
    Posted April 17, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    Yes, and then, having taken OUR money, you waste £15Billion on the EU, and you say “The UK’s position is also undecided”.(wrt bailing out Spain).

    Having already wasted £9Billion enslaving Ireland and loads on the IMF.

    I am sure you can see why people are annoyed?

  67. Joyce
    Posted April 18, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    I have plenty of spare cash as do most of my friends and family.
    If the Government want to raise more tax then they could easily do so plus having the benefit of people wanting to pay.
    My social circle used to visit pubs/clubs/restaurants quite a few times a week and spent a lot of cash.
    We now do not.
    The majority of my friends and family are smokers and we are now excluded from society.
    None of my ‘crowd’ go out any more and all stay at home or go to others’ houses to socialise. We all buy wine from France (etc -ed).
    So there is at least 40 people who I know that are spending around £100 average a week less since the smoking ban.
    I am sure that this is happening all over the country. The loss to the economy must run into £billions plus more jobseeker benefits to the hundreds of thousands put out of work by the smoking ban.

  68. pluck_comments_list
    Posted January 3, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    cups as well as spell things out for him. (we produced a heart, a yellow ribbon as well as the unit’s name in the fence around our housing area in Germany).

  • 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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