Cutting the overhead?

The government had a good proposal to cut its administrative overhead by 30% over the 5 years. The latest figures show they seem to have done this already.

Certainly the Health,transport and Communities departments report a fall of around 30% in their overhead costs. The overall figures are greatly helped by large declines at Treasury and Work and pensions. A footnote tells us that some of their activity has been reclassified from overhead to service expenditure, so we cannot see how well they – or the overall government- has done. The largest government overheads are obviously at DWP and Treasury, where they have armies of people collecting the money in and giving it out again.

Within the list the 261% increase last year compared to 2009-10 at Culture Media and Sport is understandable for the Olympics. Presumably this will collapse next year. The increase of 51% at Justice is less understandable. The small falls in the non English departments, at the Cabinet Office , Education,. Business and defence are also important to question.

It is also interesting to note that expenditure on total pay has risen in cash terms since 2009-10, despite these cuts. It appears that the governmetn has spent a lot on redundancies, but has also put salaries up and has recruited some replacements, so the overall savings have been less than simply following a natural wastage policy.

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  1. lifelogic
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 5:19 am | Permalink

    If expenditure on pay has increased then they have clearly cut their expenditure elsewhere. (presumably expenditure on supplies/ from the private sector, cutting grants or services or charging more in “fees and fines”. Cutting the numbers and the pay of staff would be far preferable. Since the state sector is 50% over remunerated (when pensions are included) relative to the squeezed private sector it should not be hard to do.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 9, 2012 at 5:32 am | Permalink

      Osborne in his speech seemed to have forgotten his promise to raise IHT thresholds to £1M as usual.

      He praised Beecroft but has done nothing about it. His shares in return for giving up employment rights sounds like a silly, rather restrictive, gimmick just for a few new employees only. A boon for lawyers no doubt.

      His only tax reduction is to not charge CGT on the shares. But a couple do not have to pay CGT unless they exceed £10,600 per annum each. So it is not likely to help many. Better than nothing, just, but why not easy hire and fire for all now – does he want jobs or not.

      Finally he admits 50% income tax costs tax and jobs, then claims, totally untruthfully, to have got rid of it. He has had it in place for 3 years and it still is in place. So he has, by his own admission, reduced tax revenues and destroyed jobs for a superficial political appearance for three years. Anyway 45% is nearly as bad too (when and if it finally is reduced).

      A pathetic offering overall from Osborne.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 9, 2012 at 5:42 am | Permalink

        Osborne is still pushing ahead with the absurd, over priced, green energy agenda. Though he did mention fracking and the large lowing of gas prices in the US. A Lowering, that renders the windfarms to be even more absurd. He claimed he would never do things that destroy jobs. Yet his green agenda, his tax borrow and waste, his gifts to the PIGIS, his 50% and the EU “fees” all do exactly that.

        • stred
          Posted October 9, 2012 at 9:45 am | Permalink

          Slightly off subject, we will be paying through our gas bills for the renewal of ALL gas supply mains, currently being carried out by the private monopoly National Grid and their subcontractors. The mains were only intalled during the ‘dash for gas’ during Mrs T’s period in office. Now, apparently, they are corroded and smaller plastic pipes are being inserted inside the old ones. I have been watching the installation in our street and enquiring, during the 3 weeks when my drive was inaccessible.

          The renewal is being carried out using clever technology with moles and cameras, dragging cables and finding connections. The men work long hours and expertly. However, the cost of the operation seems to be unlimited, all to be passed on with the consumer unrepresented in the decision to carry out the work. They say that they found cracks in places, but no leaks had been reported, and they seem to have to use heavy equipment to break into the steel pipes. Why should the consumer pay the company that put a corrodible system in, not long ago?

          Most difficult to understand is the decision to take away all the soil excavated from the footpath, load it into a large lorry and then decontaminate it in a distant plant and bring it back, to be put into the hole. I asked why they could not dump my neighbour’s soil in the hole blocking my drive, so that I could drive over. This, apparently, could not be done as it was the responsibility of ‘reinstatement’. Has anyone considered the risk of putting existing soil back down an adjecent hole and the cost or need for decontamination? This seems an absurd waste, producing more pollution in the process.

          Then, having done the work, the company enters the customer’s property and inspects and starts the boiler. I was asked whether we rented and I asked why. The company has the right to put right a boiler it considers dangerous and charge for the work. My neighbour was told that his boiler was dangerous because the gas pressure dropped when his cooker was on. He asked them to increase the pressure, which now comes through a smaller pipe, but they refused and cut off his supply. This has cost him £1400 for a new smaller boiler. As far as I know, All that would happen with lower than ideal gas pressure is that the boiler would operate at lower output and this would not be dangerous. Perhaps engineers could answer this point?

          Someone should raise questions about the cost of this operation and the way it is being carried out.

          • stred
            Posted October 9, 2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink

            I should add that the LA sent their spy car around during the chaos, having spotted the opportunity for fines when householders had their parking spaces disrupted.

          • lifelogic
            Posted October 10, 2012 at 6:30 am | Permalink

            Indeed. It is all about mugging people very often the gas safety is often just a racket for more fees. The new boiler you are forced to buy more expensive, less reliable and have shorter lives too.

            Pointless very often.

        • Disaffected
          Posted October 9, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

          Spot on, Lifelogic.

        • Bazman
          Posted October 9, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

          Fracking is cheap? Cheaper than scam wind farms? Oh really? Only in your fantasies. Running down the economy destroys jobs lifelogic. Don’t forget that. annuities and car insurance will probably cost more for most this is true. Beecroft millionaire party donor and anti democratic activist, will cost the population as a whole millions especially the poor. You are a simpleton apologist for the rich and privileged. Grammar school product and no doubt failed university degree student. Ram it.

          • lifelogic
            Posted October 10, 2012 at 5:12 am | Permalink

            I did not fail my degrees, as it happens, but I do see a very large list of billionaire, college drop outs, including Bill Gates, Mark Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs on wiki. I would not really care had I dropped out to start my businesses. Education comes not just from universities – in electronics/IT/science they are often/usually teaching things that are way out of date anyway.

            Anyway so many universities have been bought by government to push the global warming exaggerations/quack science it is hard to take some seriously.

          • Richard
            Posted October 10, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

            Ref your comment to lifelogic.
            I apreciate you are passionate about your politics, as many of us are, but the way forward is to argue your views, not to resort to personal attacks.
            As the saying goes “play the ball not the man”

          • Bazman
            Posted October 11, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

            The politics are the man when many of the proponents of right wing fantasy ideology would not last five minutes under their own regimes. It is absolutely unacceptable to have policies that produce standards of living you yourself could not live under given the circumstances. I’ll play whatever I see fit Richard.
            Austerity for who and what sort? In a nutshell.

      • alan jutson
        Posted October 9, 2012 at 7:56 am | Permalink


        I agree, I think this is a non starter.

        Far too complicated.

        Far too confusing.

        What is the incentive for the business owner to give up some of their business when it has been started with their own money, their own effort, probably with years of sacrifice on a low salary so that all profits can be reinvested, and probably still with their own house on the line with the Bank !

        Pie in the sky thinking.

      • Disaffected
        Posted October 9, 2012 at 9:41 am | Permalink

        I thought they were all pathetic and uninspiring. Much criticism of Labour and none of Lib Dems despite what they said two weeks ago. Much talk of what tomorrow MIGHT be like and very little on achievement. IDS came close, but it was still a lot of talk about plans afoot and tomorrow. They forgot to mention Labour’s social engineering gurus in the background appointed by Cameron.

        Hague appeared a broken man reading his lines. Boring and monotone about a fanciful claim that the UK could repatriate powers from the EU (we heard all that before) and why the UK should be shackled and/or suppressed by the EU while it was some sort of triumph that the UK was involved in the Arab Spring movement which was against tyrannical rule and democracy- I thought this was a contradiction to his position on the EU. Time for him to retire and find a new past time.

        Osborne’s record has not a lot to be desired:
        The man that is reported to have recruited Andy Coulson to the government and subsequent media scandal that followed.
        The man photographed with a a lady of ill repute in his younger days- questions his credentials/judgment to hold public office.
        The man who had a meeting on a yacht with a Russian oligarch in Corfu raising questions about illegal political donations. Another enquiry about political donations ongoing. It makes you start to wonder if it is culture in the Tory party? Kelly report sitting on the shelf collecting dust after great expense to the taxpayer.
        The man who was not that interested in last budget and rather be in the US than refine, alter or amend the travesty of his budget (no 1 priority we are led to believe). Only to make embarrassing U turns thereafter.
        The man who by his inadequate action has steered us into a double dip recession and failed to meet his own borrowing and debt targets. But he is still prepared to borrow (with interest) and give away through bail outs and loans to EU countries, DfID and the direct EU contribution so we all pay huge interest costs on his economic plan- what a strategist. No wonder he did not have a lot to say. Look at the figures today.

        In stark contrast, Boris was able to talk about his achievements, delivery and vision for the future in an intelligent, charismatic and humorous way that elevated the spirit of those present. And yet, it appears someone in the Tory party encouraged others to write badly about him when he is the most outstanding of the bunch.

      • Vanessa
        Posted October 9, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

        Osborne’s idea of giving shares instead of employment rights is against the EU directives and so will be ILLEGAL.

        Who runs this country?

        Please somebody tell me the truth!

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 9, 2012 at 5:52 am | Permalink

      The new EU gender insurance rules which come in very shortly will also cost jobs and indeed probably lives by distorting premiums irrationally. Robbing men on their annuities and women on their car insurance. Why does Osborne stand by and let that through if he does not want to destroy jobs?

      • waramess
        Posted October 9, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic, Everything you say is true and the Conservatives are no more than scraping the barrell: and the wrong barrell at that.

        This is not only a mediocre administration but also a dishonest one and the electorate know it. I guess next will be the in or in referendum on the EU.

        Heir to Blair and all that, well I guess they have made their point but at least Blair was competent when it came to con tricks

    • Disaffected
      Posted October 9, 2012 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      You are only helping the government in its strategy to pit private sector against public sector. Look at today’s headlines, private pension inflation rate is going to be reviewed. MPs still get RPI even though they wreck everyone both pension schemes.

      The real problem, I suggest, with public sector pensions is that the government has not capped the pay of the top few people who are paid unreasonably. Pickles should have been all over this two years ago- he could also start now if he wanted.

      Instead of cutting services, the pay of top public sector servants should be cut. No one should get over £100,00 as a CEO of a local authority , head master, chief constable, fire officer, manager in the NHS AND CIVIL SERVANTS etc. All senior and middle managers then peg their salary to the person at the top and then pensions are calculated on their final salary. A lot of public sector staff do not get paid a lot of money and hence their pension is not that good. Once more, it is not hard to reduce the bill, but the government do not have a clue, determination or where with all to do anything about cutting spending.

    • Bazman
      Posted October 9, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      You have yet to come up with one example of a 50% overpaid average job. Silly fantasy from someone who is vastly overpaid and supported by the MCSSS from day one.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 10, 2012 at 5:15 am | Permalink

        They all are over paid, on average (when pensions are included). Take any example you like.

        • Disaffected
          Posted October 10, 2012 at 9:07 am | Permalink

          Not ALL, Lifelogic, that is an exaggeration.

          • lifelogic
            Posted October 10, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

            All, on average, I said.

        • Bazman
          Posted October 10, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

          Mindless propaganda without any checkable basis like most of your posts when confronted with facts or asked for facts you are unable to give any or produce any ‘logic’ to justify your views or indeed argue against any points made against the results of such policies. BBC? Don’t make us laugh.

      • Mark W
        Posted October 10, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

        I’m still interested in exactly how the MCSSS works, and as ever will be delighted to be ramming it!

        • Richard
          Posted October 10, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

          Mark, I may be wrong and if I am I’m sure I will be corrected, but I believe MCSSS stands for middle class social security system.
          Things like posh people who work in banking, the stock exchange, councils, the civil service, quangos, BBC, legal professions, media and arts etc
          What used to be called “the old school tie”
          Overpaid, underworked, jobs for the boys and girls.
          Stuffed full of lefties these days!

          • Mark W
            Posted October 11, 2012 at 6:14 am | Permalink

            Thank you, I see

        • Bazman
          Posted October 10, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

          How do you think many of the contributors to this site get and keep their jobs when they have such simple political views?

          • Mark W
            Posted October 11, 2012 at 6:13 am | Permalink

            I’m not sure I’d use the term simple. You clearly have a point to express with this MCSSS term, that even in full there is no google answer to.

            I have often, not always, but often found many things are usually simple. Action reaction. Complexity is often subterfuge and nothing more. I don’t think the contributors your comment is aimed at are being simplistic, there is only limited time to post on sites like these so posting is brief. And it goes with out saying reference my enjoyment of ramming it.

          • Bazman
            Posted October 11, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

            What!? Even the great god Google says their is no MCSSS. I must have invented a new conspiracy theory! Beanie obviously needs upgrading with better tin foil and more deflective angles now you have told me this. Maybe you should Google ‘middle class welfare’which of course does not exist… Especially with the contributors to this site.

  2. Julian
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    Surely the fact that total pay has increased means the overhead hasn’t been cut at all. It’s just been reclassified by clever civil servants.

    • alan jutson
      Posted October 9, 2012 at 8:03 am | Permalink


      Whilst cost of living increases have been frozen, yearly scale band rises have still been going on as before.

      In addition some people may have been regraded to another, perhaps higher scale.

      I understand redundancy payments are often from other budgets, thus it would be interesting to get the total amount spent on redundancy, if that figure was available.

      Redundancy of course if handled poorly can mean someone who was going to retire anyway, is lucky enough to be made redundant with only a few weeks to go (a very popular reason for volunteering), thus gaining significant sums of money over and above what they would have earned if they had remained in situ until they retired.

      • Bazman
        Posted October 10, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

        Often the payments decrease according to age in many of the schemes. Someone aged 64 would usually get very little, but would still have to find a job for a year.

  3. Nina Andreeva
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    Would it be possible to add a list of your upcoming speaking engagements, that are open to the public,to the website?

    Reply: I did give my list for conference, and can give advance warning of others that might be of interest.

    • Nina Andreeva
      Posted October 9, 2012 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      Yes I would like to know when you will be next in the SW

  4. Pete the Bike
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    So the 30% fall is actually an accounting fiddle and more than balanced by rises elsewhere, Not exactly Dave’s “Falklands Victory” then?

    • alan jutson
      Posted October 9, 2012 at 7:51 am | Permalink


      Agreed, costs and expenses seem, to have been shifted between differing budgets, as has always been suggested to manipulate the figures by a number of people on this site over the years.

      Thus one budget is shouted from the rooftops as making cuts, whilst another where the budget has risen remains very silent.

      The truth only comes out when overall spending amounts are published, the fact that we are still borrowing, is proof that not enough cuts have been made so far.

      • uanime5
        Posted October 10, 2012 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

        Don’t forget about using misleading percentages to hide the lack of cuts.

        For example if department A has a budget of £10,000 and department B has a budget of £100,000 you can transfer £1,000 from A to B and claim that A’s budget has been decreased by 10% while B’s budget has only risen by 1%. So it seems like there have been major savings and minor increases when there have been no savings or increases.

  5. David
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    John, you must be aware of how the departments can make it look as though overheads have come down, through the manipulation of the books.

    End result as you say is that total expenditure on pay goes…………surprise, surprise…..up!

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 9, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      Indeed it is mainly pay and jobs that motivates the state, they will be sure to protect those at all costs. They will just cut back on services, increase charges (in effect back door taxes) and subcontract. Many government activities are just monopoly extraction of fees/licences and fines for no actual service even rendered.

      As we see with the new HSE hourly charges on Directors of £140+? was it.

      • Bazman
        Posted October 10, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

        You will not be paying the £130 an hour fee for being the director of a small engineering business will you lifelogic? Give us examples of the industries that could face these charges not your silly propaganda? Do tell everyone which industries. If you do not know, then shut up.

        • Richard
          Posted October 11, 2012 at 7:38 am | Permalink

          Its all very well having a rant, Bazman, but it is sensible to check the facts first before reacting.
          Its not “silly propaganda ”

          All companies can now be charged £124 per hour whilst HSE carry out their work, if they find fault.
          As you quite rightly say ,”if you dont know, then shut up”

          • Bazman
            Posted October 11, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

            Usually large companies in serious breaches and small ones breaking health and safety laws not regulations as you want us to think. Moving the cost of breaking these laws onto the company responsible and not the taxpayer. Many suffer from poor health & safety and at great cost to the country. As I said silly propagandist from many who are in no more danger than stabbing themselves when sharpening a pencil.

  6. waramess
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    It does have all the signs of the repositioning of deck chairs.

    Government statistics can no longer be trusted and to the extent that they boast a fall in adminastrative costs without an overall significant fall in the deficit it might be worthwhile defering any thoughts you might harbour of congratulating them.

    • sm
      Posted October 10, 2012 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      Our politicians are what they are they. They say what they need to to get elected. They then do what has been decided by a power group controlling the executive and hence career compliant MP’s in parliament.

      Why be surprized if the statistics are not only misinterpreted or subject to presentational spin?

      Remember the expenses saga

      Remember the FOI requests and attempts to avoid it (sms texting, emailing from so called ‘private’ addresses )

      Cast iron promises? (suitably caveated of-course potentially using information not generally known to the public.

      The referendum lock which does not do as it was advertised.

      Now get ready for the spin being put in place regarding worldwide price increases on food.

      If we removed inflation protection for all senior public servants, maybe with a a maximum nominal cap on salaries, pensions and benefits in the private sector we might get less inflation.

      Manipulation for good or ill motives is only part of it.

      We seem to have a parliament and controlling power class that looks after itself first and foremost.

      Cut the deficit;

      Start extracting peoples fingers from the pie! Particularly those that may donate significant sums to political parties.

      Quit subsidizing banking (£100bn pa) and move to full reserve banking, cut the EU contributions (£15bn), cut overseas aid (which isnt £8bn), end immigration temporarily for several years.(£xx bn’s in spending). Cap senior public sector salaries/pension in nominal terms.

      Meanwhile let the Bread and Circus continue!

  7. forthurst
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    “The increase of 51% at Justice is less understandable.”

    Without some clarification, that’s putting it mildly. Most organisations would find it quite difficult to manage such an increase.

  8. JimS
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    The MOD has for years transferred work from in-house (admin. overhead) to defence contractors (equipment support) sometimes hidden within the equipment supply contract. So back-office, administration costs become ‘front-line’ equipment expenditure.

    The worst thing ever for the public was the introduction of Resource Accounting and Budgeting, bringing in corruptible commercial accounting methods, (allocating arbitrary amounts to imaginary resources) rather than a ‘vote in, expenditure out’ balance sheet, surely the ONLY way to do a proper departmental account.

  9. ciconia
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    To anybody with even limited experience of running a business or branch, it will be obvious where the money is going and how much redundancy costs have influenced reported employment costs. It should also be relatively easy to see the influence of variable costs due to say the Olympics, or implementation of new policies.
    The private sector continues to drive down cost while improving product and service quality- it’s do or die. We don’t have those competitive pressures in the public sector, and pfi seems to have amalgamated the worst of both systems, to enormous cost.
    My personal view would be it’s all too big, often dependent on mammoth IT projects that are out of date before they fail to deliver.
    Centralisation is the problem- too big to manage.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 10, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      The private sector in the rail, water, and energy industries isn’t improving the product or driving down costs. It seems not all of the private sector has to compete.

    • Bazman
      Posted October 10, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

      How much have redundancy costs cost? Do you know the legal amounts appropriate to age and service or just your fantasy amounts?
      Here it is again.

      • Richard
        Posted October 11, 2012 at 9:35 am | Permalink

        You are linking to the Government website which shows the statutory levels of redundancy payments.
        Redundancy payments particularly in the public sector are often many times these base figures.
        Its no fantasy.
        One friend of mine in the public sector has just been given over 2 years salary and a made up pension, to go after 25 years
        This is a level of payment unaffordable in most of the private sector and in all small private businesses

        • zorro
          Posted October 13, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

          Quite right too Richard….Bazman, get your facts right, we’ve mentioned them enough on this site, and you are very quick to criticize and defame others. The legal minimum is not what people have been getting in the public sector. As it is, they should not have been made redundant, there should have been natural wastage, restructuring and retraining to meet demand.


          • Bazman
            Posted October 15, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

            You can be sure it is not the average worker in the public sector, more like the higher managers or the bosses which is what you constantly fail to mention in your redundancy propaganda and high pay in the public sector. Like lifelogics claim that the public sector is paid more than 50% more whilst being unable to name on single job carried out by the average public sector worker who is paid 50% more. Touch feely right wing propaganda with no checkable basis. Used to promote the erosion of pay and conditions for everyone but themselves. Regressive right wing nonsense.

  10. Lord Blagger
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Why 5 years? Why not 6 months? Pathetic performance.

    Now for the evidence. Spending is up in real terms. More than inflation.

    There is no evidence for any cuts.

  11. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Yet more mendacity from government. Is anyone capable of just telling the truth? Your own colleagues are still not spelling out the severity of the economic situation but pretending that they are cutting whilst current spending continues to increase. They never admit that they are planning a massive increase in the debt they inherted by 2015. The only things you will deliver on are higher taxation and inflation. Speaking of the latter, I see that those figures are now to be manipulated to make inflation look lower. I have no confidence at all in any government statistic from any department. They had a chance to retrieve the situation but they have blown it. Trust has been destroyed by the three main parties.

  12. Winston Smith
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    What do you think of Osbourne’s silly proposal for workers to exchange employment rights for shares? I think his left-leaning advisers are playing games to make him a laughing stock.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 10, 2012 at 5:18 am | Permalink

      We will see it looks like a gimmick I suspect the courts will undermine it anyway and say the rights were not really given up – lets see the details.

    • Mark W
      Posted October 10, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      I thought Osborne said it as a joke to get a few laughs. Are you suggesting Osborne actually meant this. The drink must be good in brum

  13. The PrangWizard
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Just to say I was able to watch Messrs Duncan-Smith, Pickles and Maude yesterday. I was encouraged by the tone and content of their speeches – but was there something wrong with the aut0-cue, they all talked rather slowly? Eric Pickles’ comment though – referring to a poster of Che Guevara – that after 2 years in government he realised that ‘cigar chomping commies come in all shapes and sizes’ was a classic. He gets my vote!

    As for the figures above, I would like to know more. Is more detail available somewhere? But take the last point; forgive me if I’m missing something, but redundancy costs are immediate and presumably multiples of salary, and will be often for highly paid long-serving staff. These are paid in ‘year 1’. If some others are taken on, their salaries, which I guess should be lower, are also payable in ‘year 1’. So the figure for ‘year 1’ is high. But in ‘year 2’ the redundancy payment will drop out, and so on.

    I am guessing that the natural wastage method is deemed too slow, and in any event fresh people are bound to be needed, especially if restructuring is surely going on.

    So this will pay off, if staff numbers are falling.

  14. Adam5x5
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    What’s the bet the department for culture, media and sport starts shouting about how much money it has saved after it’s budget reverts to mean?

    Although I think this department should be cut completely – it would save the taxpayers a lot of money and doesn’t really do much. We managed to develop some of the world’s best culture and arts over the past few hundred years without one (DCMS was only founded in 1997).

  15. David John Wilson
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Yet again you are quoting examples of the civil service not saving jobs but moving them out of sight. This activity applies not just to the civil service but also to the government agencies and local government.
    We will only successfully reduce overheads when the reductions in overall headcount are identified rather than virtual reductions in particular departments.

  16. Phil Richmond
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    John I just read what you said on the BBC website about your “plea to Eurosceptics.”

    Maybe next time you MPs could elect a Conservative leader, who follows Conservative policies and who wants us out of the EU.

    The current Tory policy on Tax/Spend, Defence, Europe, International Aid, Immigration, Energy/Wind Farms etc etc etc is not only wrong but it sits somewhere out in left field.
    Your party has no chance of winning the next election with Cameron.
    I first voted Conservative when I turned 18 in 1987 and have been loyal to the party ever since. I was even invited to the party Summer Ball two years ago where I met Cameron and made a hefty donation to the coffers.
    If I had gone to Oxford maybe I could explain more eloquently how much I despise Cameron, the Conservative party and politicians in general. You have destroyed this country and I dont see a way back.
    Mr Redwood you are just as complicit. You may say the right thing but you dont do anything. Maybe you should step down and let someone in who is going to restore the Conservative’s back to the party of Thatcher and Churchill.
    Anyway my vote and money has gone to UKIP and the Tory party can go to hell!

    • Mark W
      Posted October 10, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      We are of a similar opinion and age. Although I don’t see JR as complicit. If he fell on his sword he’d be replaced by a leadership sycophant. I do wish to see a mass defection along the lines of the Referendum rebels, of which JR was one. But it seems unlikely.

      Also JR was alone in sticking his neck out in 1995, so complicit is a little unfair.

  17. Neil Craig
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    One option would be for government to take one ministry, presumably the one with the fastest unexplainable growth (ie justice now) and put under the control of a minister whose job is specifically to prune it massively – 50-90%.

    I have previously suggested yourself for such a job, following your experience in Wales.

    Apart from the money saved it would “encourager les autres” across the civil service.

  18. David Langley
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    You identified the departments once before that had in fact spent enormous amounts on redundancies and had then re – employed numbers more. Unless these had salaries at a very low level it seems that the machine is looking after itself to our disadvantage again.
    When you have a balance sheet that is as complicated as the governments only a very diligent and supreme mind could ferret out the millions switched about the balance sheets.

    By the way UKIP has just published an interesting booklet ” A referendum stitch-up”. I hope your jaunt to the Tory Conference has not blinded you to the fact that very little has been said about our favourite topics that makes any sense. A veil is being drawn over the UK publics eyes about where £20Billions per annum could be saved very quickly which would take care of many of our problems and set us up for a much more prosperous future. Still when you are on the fiddle it makes sense to draw attention to other less distracting topics, like don’t bash a burglar when he’s down.

  19. Bert Young
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    I would be more interested in discovering how many of your previous recommendations on reducing the deficit were discussed and how it was proposed that action should be taken . I have commented before that reducing headcount is no solution if it is followed by hiring the same individuals via service agreements and companies ; total departmental cost is the only criteria .

  20. Bernard Juby
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    “The largest government overheads are obviously at DWP and Treasury, where they have armies of people collecting the money in and giving it out again.”
    The biggest waste is through us having to adopt VAT as part of the “aquis communitaire”!
    The ONLY time that the Exchequer collects and KEEPS the money is at the final point of sale when the purchaser is outside the VAT system. It is thus a vast merry-go-round of paying and claiming back with all of its attendant possibilities for fraud.
    What was wrong with Purchase Tax, levied at the final point of sale? Even a high-ranking German Treasury official publicly agreed with me when I put this to a continental conference for small businesses where I gave the example of the stages on the paper bag which was eventually given away so NO money was actually kept by the Exchequer!
    What to do with obsolete VAT personnel? Put them onto Immigration Control instead!

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 10, 2012 at 5:19 am | Permalink

      Indeed VAT is a mad tax like most EU policy.

  21. Pleb
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Scrap HS2 .
    Scap Trident
    Cap Public sector pay and pensions
    Stop public sector first class travel on expenses.
    Halve the house of lords.
    Cut MPs to 400.

    • Mark W
      Posted October 10, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      Public Pensions.

      These should be totted up now and shipped out into the same funds as used in the private sector. Then their contributions added with the tax reliefs like in the private sector. Then see if the unions with all there “race to the bottom” nonsense, think that it would be fair, and regret that they did absolutely nothing when G Brown taxed pension funds, to whack the already lower private funds.


      I’m no CND peacenik etc etc, but even I can see a weapon designed to defend us against soviet Moscow became redundant between 1989-91. We had to have our own capability when the Warsaw Pact contries and Moscow could have rolled over Western Europe, seriously does anyone believe that the USA would have put New York or LA in the firing line to save Doncaster or Norwich.

      But now. It’s useless and a little vain. Rogue states in the middle east have not got Inter Continental Balistic Missiles. If a terrorist set a bomb off in London (unlikely but for the sake of argument), who the hell would we fire back at.

      Sept 11 2001 was not ennacted by Iraq or Afghanistan. The culprits I believe were mainly Saudi Arabian.

      If in the future a dangerous state became Nuclear and ICBM capable maybe we could take a decsion then, but for now, utter waste of money.

  22. A different Simon
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t it time England stopped sending money to countries which do nothing to help themselves like Spain and Scotland ?

    If they have to stand on their own two feet they will learn that they have to start taking risks again , and speed up project approval processes in their country .

  23. Pleb
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Off topic but its worth spreading the news.
    BBC news – Drivers face new surprise ‘repair’ motorway fees.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 10, 2012 at 5:26 am | Permalink

      Indeed more state rip offs.

      I was once charged, by the council, some absurd fees, which were then, unknown to me, registered against a property title. This as they removed a tiny bit of roof flashing on a shop they claimed was dangerous and urgent. It was a job I could have done in 5 minutes had they just asked me. I think it cost about £700 from memory – and that was about 10 years ago.

  24. Vanessa
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Do I really care ? Seeing that you politicians got us into this mess you are the ones who should be getting us out of it. Taking our money to sort out your (and Labour)incompetent decisions smacks, to me, of thieving. Especially since you seem to think we can pay for your mortgages, duck houses and moats.

    Reply The duck house was disallowed at the time, and mortgage spending is no longer allowable

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 10, 2012 at 5:29 am | Permalink

      We even have David Laws back in office.

  25. David Jarman
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    I could still cut it in half again, no problem!

  26. Bazman
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    Anyone see Channel 4 dispatches last night? It was about the secrets of your bosses pay. John made a comment about dispatches the other day….Ram it.

  27. Jon
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    If there are real cuts there then that is to be commended encouraged and pat on the back. If that’s what it is, it would take a forensic accountant to confirm no doubt.

    I’ve cut back on my spending. I see increases everywhere and not a lot being cut so think the money I have is perhaps best kept for the rainy day rather than the home improvements which have gone on hold.

    A few years ago on my commute to work I noticed how a rail depot started to fill up with empty freight carriages (for cars). They eventually were put back to use. I’m starting to see that empty space being filled up again like before.

    Further down the commute on the train there is a builders yard. A few years ago I saw the yard it fill up with construction vehicles. Later I saw it start to get empty. Just started to see it being used again as a parking lot for those construction vehicles.

    Poor young Polish girls in the city, I used to buy a coffee from them on my way to Lawrie’s modern day factory. My pay hasn’t changed, still naff just not buying the coffee.

    If the bucket is leaking why keep filling it.

  28. uanime5
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    Here are some other Conservative proposals to save money by cutting benefits to the poorest in order to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy (such as reducing the 50% tax rate). The effects will be as follows:

    1) If you’re under 25 you can’t claim housing benefit, so young people won’t be able to move to areas where there are jobs available or be able to work in unpaid internships.

    2) People will no longer be able to claim the £13.40 per week per child of they have more than one children.

    3) Employees will be forced to sell their employment rights for shares in a company. Expect demotivated workforces with shares that quickly become worthless.

    Here is the Conservatives’ latest scheme to encourage people to get jobs.

    1) Anyone who comes off benefits and gets a jobs but voluntarily leaves their job or is fired for misconduct loses their benefits for up to 3 years.

    2) Anyone who refuses to go on voluntary programmes will lose their benefits for up to 13 weeks.

    It’s like they don’t want even want people to try to get a job and are trying to make the unemployed as hostile as possible to the programmes that are mean to help them.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted October 10, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      It might be possible to introduce an ‘on yer bike’ mobility grant or loan for young people taking up employment in a new area, say a one way ticket plus 2 months rent. But it would have to subject to the usual restrictions:
      – there must be an equal or bigger reduction in other public expenditure
      – it must be wide boy proof

  29. Mike Stallard
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    Meanwhile the figures for the deficit and the debt keep inching upwards……

  30. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted October 10, 2012 at 1:12 am | Permalink

    Redundancy costs, salary increases, replacements – we need to be told the breakdown.

  31. Robbo
    Posted October 10, 2012 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Yes but the real savings are from cutting responsibilities, functions and departments, and accordingly headcount. There is a very tight limit to the amount of overhead that can be eliminated, but a lot more scope for reduction in expenditure if it is core functions that go. Remember the Price Commission ? If we rolled back the scope of government and its functions to 1997 levels, and dropped the multiple conflicting goals, we might get somewhere.

  32. David Langley
    Posted October 10, 2012 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Giving equity to an employee of a small business is a stupid idea and will not happen. I also dislike the idea that hard won industrial relations can be thrown away by an appeal to greed and fear is a winner is farcical.
    This why the Tory party gets the vote as the nasty party. Work hard for your boss and the company and you will be rewarded by both a good job and supported by decent and humane legislation that will prevent employer abuse if things dont turn out as they should. How many of the current Politicians in the Tory party have ever been a boss of a SME? I smell old money talking here, not the smell of cordite from burning new money in risky SMEs trying to survive.

  33. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    Posted October 10, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

    Does the Government wait to receive Taxes before it can spend?

  • 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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