Getting people out of poverty

The ambition of improving people’s living standards is shared across the UK political spectrum. Our debates are not about what we are trying to achieve. All sensible people want their neighbours, friends and relatives to do well, to find worthwhile jobs, and to earn a decent living. The arguments are in practice all about how we achieve that, though some seek to misrepresent the views of others by implying some do not want people to succeed.

The good news is it is not a zero sum game. Someone doing well should not make it more difficult for someone else. As more people set up businesses they create more jobs. As more large companies sell more product and pay higher bonuses, so there is more money to spend on other things, in turn creating more employment.

Nor is the world of school and university a zero sum game. We have expanded educational opportunity substantially, by effectively raising the school leaving age and increasing the number of university places on offer. There is no ceiling on how well any individual can do, no firm limit on how many good degrees are awarded.

Today we read that some places appear better than others at assisting and mentoring people from low income backgrounds so they can succeed in education and go on to well paid jobs. We need to study what has worked best and what has not worked so well, and spread best practice from place to place. Schools need to be properly funded and good teachers valued and supported. It is also a task for the wider community and for the families concerned. Individuals are motivated and assisted by different things. It may only take one comment or expression of support to make the difference for a young person, but as we can never be sure what that is so those in the local community need to try what they can to show more people that there is opportunity for all and effort can be rewarded.

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  1. Mark B
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    There will always be poor so long as there are rich. Simple fact of life.

    But this is not about poor vs rich, it is about equality of oppotunity, which is a core conservative value. Pity that our PM does not share that with her virtue signalling quotas.

    We should not be attracted by the numbers. The Socialist like using numbers as and when it suit them because it is simpler and looks ad if they are achieving something when not. e.g. tractor production.

    It is about getting the right people in the right positions able to do what is required. Sadly something that modern politics seems lacking.

    I wonder if this post beats my post from yesterday, which seems to have beaten ‘LL, to be put up ?


    • Hope
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      Well said, Good point. A lot of what JR says about schools is becoming a myth. We saw the budget last week where mass immigration is central to our finances, public services and housing. Not mentioned. Suppressed wages through mass immigration causes poverty as well as hundreds of thousands of immigrants ‘lost’ to May’s and Rudd’s system. It creates Labour black markets! It is not possible to budget not knowing how many to cater for.

      May is incompetent and incapable of running a country let alone an economy. Giving away £13.4 billion of which £453 million goes to Pakistan which has a nuclear defense and space programme. She has caused immense problems for schools with her neutral gender claptrap, Cameron claimed to implement single sex words in hospitals for dignity etc, May as thrown this in utter confusion and problems in all public spaces, public toilets, schools and all walks of life for her weird view of the world where people can change their mind on a daily basis what sex they are! How much does this cost public services? Has she lost the plot? How about the majority and their feelings?

      etc ed

    • jerry
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      @Mark B; “But this is not about poor vs rich, it is about equality of oppotunity, which is a core conservative value.”

      It used to be, not so sure that is true these days, take housing, the biggest single investment the majority of average families are likely to make, Fifty years ago it was quite easy (for those who wished) to both pay rent (public or private) and save for a mortgage, but for what ever reason not today if the reports are to be believed -and if these reports are incorrect why the need for HMG scheme such as Help to Buy?… Sixty, fifty years ago, heck even forty years ago at the hight of “Benn/Heffer” style Socialism, it was relativity easy for those who wished to run, never mind start, a business, find premises, even become a employer etc, not now.

      Yet on both, and similar, current conservative values appear not to care, mere fiddling about the edges but little substantial change in policies. I doubt much will change after Brexit, at least not without a different or new broom – hence the rise of UKIP (even if they are currently asleep) and Corbyn-mania among those who remember, or those with only stories about the past from the grandparents…

      • Edward2
        Posted November 30, 2017 at 9:44 am | Permalink

        You have a very rose tinted view of life sixty years ago.
        Poverty, life expectency, social mobility and the power of landlords to exploit tenants were all far worse than today.

        • a-tracy
          Posted November 30, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

          I agree Edward, my parents had to live with two children in her mother’s back bedroom for four years to save up a deposit on a new home. However, where I do we have a problem it is in low-cost housing rentals for families, right to buy did reduce council houses considerably and now incoming families are given priority over social housing and low-cost housing association properties in Cities. So many have come that become homeless with no family connections they get priority.

          When starting a business from scratch it wasn’t so easy in the 1980 either, there are now starter units, even small towns have centres for startups and lots more free advice than used to be around. Finance was not easy to get in the 80’s and 90’s either. Many areas have enterprise zones now and small business groups and networks to get involved with if you’re struggling to get investment or your idea of the ground.

      • APL
        Posted November 30, 2017 at 9:45 am | Permalink

        jerry: ” never mind start, a business, find premises, ”

        In my locality, the authorities are converting old derelict industrial sites into multi-occupancy housing. I can hardly think of a more short sighted policy.

        These former industrial sites inside the cities, a good proportion of them ought be upgraded into industrial centres with workshops and office space.

        But no, because of the uni-party obsession with immigration, they only understand housing, housing, housing .. etc ed

        • APL
          Posted December 3, 2017 at 11:01 am | Permalink

          JR: “etc ed”

          How about a counter argument instead of censorship?

          Just once?

  2. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    The correlation between inequality and various ills in society would indeed be reason enough to address poverty issues.
    Interesting that brexit news doesn’t feature in today’s blog. Interesting too that a soft-spoken reaction to remarks made about Dutch elections some days ago is still waiting to be moderated.

    • eeyore
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 6:43 am | Permalink

      PvL – yes, a most eloquent silence in today’s blog. You won’t get people out of poverty by taking their money and giving it away. As the reports of a £55bn EU “divorce” payment are not categorically denied by Downing St, we must assume they are true.

      £55bn among 66m Brits is £833 each. A family of four is on the hook for £3332. On average wages that’s every penny of five weeks’ pay.

      What has Mrs May to say to this family? Why has she not already said it? Are they nothing to her? And what about JR, who has assured us for years that we have no legal or moral obligation? Will he vote for it?

      • Dave Andrews
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 7:11 am | Permalink

        I confess to being a little puzzled by the media coverage of a tens of billions divorce bill.
        The opposition would vote the measure down, just to oppose the government, and the Tory Eurosceptics will vote it down as well.
        I can’t see this getting through Parliament.

        • jerry
          Posted November 29, 2017 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

          @Dave Andrews; “and the Tory Eurosceptics will vote it down as well.”

          Will they, even if that resulted in a (threatened) snap GE, next you’ll be claiming that poultry vote for Christmas and Thanks Giving!

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 7:13 am | Permalink

        If you were to spread £833 over 50 years, it would be less than 5 penny a day. I’ve suggested months ago that apart from negotiating over calculation rules (not a final amount) payments could be spread so that much of the theoretical £350 million a week could still be sold to the UK public as a freedom benefit.

        • Anonymous
          Posted November 29, 2017 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

          I hope our free nuclear umbrella and troops stationed on the Rhine during the Cold War were deducted from our bill – as well as our net contributions to the EU and our success with assimilating unemployed youth from Eastern Europe, helping to make German reunification easier.

          We could go back a bit further in time but I fear I will hit a wall of moderation.

          • Anonymous
            Posted November 29, 2017 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

            ‘Gratitude’ please, Mr van Leeuwen.

          • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            Posted November 29, 2017 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

            @Anonymous: Of course it was deducted, but then we had to add some money for putting a DUtch man on your throne in this “glorious revolution” and turning you into a more civilized country. So in the end you still owe us some extra! 🙂 🙂

          • Anonymous
            Posted November 30, 2017 at 1:57 am | Permalink

            Funny that. I don’t recall ever reading that the EU existed during the 17C.

      • Know-Dice
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 7:13 am | Permalink

        eeyore – Agreed, you can’t have “austerity” at home and with the same hand give away 55 billion…

      • DaveM
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 7:17 am | Permalink

        Eeyore, “Are they nothing to her?” No. They’re absolutely nothing to her. The only person that woman (can’t hardly stand to speak her name any more) has any loyalty to is herself and Juncker. She’d sell her own mother and her husband if it meant keeping that man happy.

        • jerry
          Posted November 29, 2017 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

          @DaveM; Now you know how so many have felt in the past, when sold down the (economic) river, the only thing that has changed in the last 40 years of “conviction” & “gesture” politics is who the nation becomes subservient to at any one time.

          • DaveM
            Posted November 29, 2017 at 7:10 pm | Permalink


            It’s not even the economic side of it that rankles so much (although working in MOD it makes me want to scream when I see the money the govt manages to find to just give away). It’s the fact that the people of this country (and indeed any country) deserve a leadership which is strong, intelligent, and which stands up for the people who elected it. At the minute we are being held captive by a weak and feeble woman (although gender is irrelevant, and PLEASE don’t for a millisecond think that was a reference to Queen Elizabeth, who is probably spinning in her grave right now) who was elected as leader by a party that knew the alternative was the looming disaster which is a Corbyn-led govt. It absolutely exasperates me that people like our host are still letting her carry on make our country look like a pathetic laughing stock.

            I have genuinely been looking back through history, and do believe that my “schoolmate” Addison will no longer be considered the worst PM in the history of this country. It’s absolutely laughable that a country of 65+million people can find no-one better than the great appeaser.

          • jerry
            Posted November 30, 2017 at 8:59 am | Permalink

            @DaveM: “[a person] who was elected as leader by a party that knew the alternative was the looming disaster which is a Corbyn-led govt.”

            TM was never elected by the party, all other candidates removed themselves from consideration, unless of course you meant MT!

            But what ever, the Conservative party, it’s MP’s, members and core voters might well believe that a Corbyn lead government would be a disaster (and perhaps it will be for them) but obviously if a Labour party lead by Corbyn does get elected to govern at the next election it will be a fact that the majority of voters in this country got the government they wanted – I think it’s called democracy.

            What annoyers you is this, the country is not being run how you want….

      • Cheshire Girl
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 7:45 am | Permalink

        I must confess that I worry about what is getting ‘under the radar’ so to speak, when many of the media and people are distracted by all this news from the Royal Family!

        • Mitchel
          Posted November 29, 2017 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

          Such fortuitous timing!

      • Hope
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 8:34 am | Permalink

        We need to stop importing poverty from the EU countries. Farage made it clear how (many eastern Europeans would come ed) because they could get more in family allowance than earn in their countries in a month. He was derided and lambasted by the May types. However his figures were grossly underestimated look at the amount of people from these countries last year, it is shocking! All of which have to be housed, have health care, education etc.

        £156 million in overseas aid to EU countries even though a sixth (£2 billion) of the overall budget is given to the EU to spend.

        A lot of good causes could be helped by £55 billion spent at home, or £13.4 billion overseas aid or the £82 billion (likely to rise to £132 billion) an EU infrastructure project on HS2! Brought to you by EU loving May and Hammond.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 8:42 am | Permalink

        At the same time we have reduced our armed forces to the bone.
        No vessels for fishery protection which means we are probably going to let Brussels continue with the ruinous CFP.
        If £55 billion is true just to talk about trade how much more will be demanded for a comprehensive trade deal.
        I bet we finish up in the SM and CU having paid billion for nothing. Why are kids less educated today despite staying on till 18 than we were leaving at 15.

        • JoolsB
          Posted November 29, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

          What’s more, for every three pound this Government gives to defence it gives one pound to the international aid budget. This Conservative Government should be hanging it’s head in shame.

          • jerry
            Posted November 29, 2017 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

            @JoolsB; It’s not the international aid budget par se, it’s how and how that money gets spent is the real problem.

            @Ian Wragg; As for Fishing, the problems pre-date our membership of the EEC, and will remain post the most political/economic of fundamental Brexit.

            If coalminers in the 1980s needed to ‘accept their fate’ and find alternate employment due to their pits/industry being ‘unprofitable’ then I am sure that the crews of any ‘unprofitable’ fishing boats can do like wise, as indeed those employed in the fish processing industry, just as those in the mining support industries had to… After all, why do we need to catch our own fish, why can’t we just buy our needs from abroad, just as we do with so much else, including coal.

            Or are there double standards involved here, more Tory/UKIP votes to be found in areas that have fishing ports/processing plants perhaps?

          • Edward2
            Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:26 am | Permalink

            I don’t see that these two things are comparable.
            We are an island nation yet due to a very poor EU common fisheries policy the UK has seen its own industry ruined whilst other nations fishing industries have flourished as a result.
            This can be changed round after Brexit.

            Whereas the coal industry was under great price competition from cheaper world tonnage prices and the rise in demand for less polluting forms of energy like gas and nuclear and more recently the growth of renewable forms of energy like wind and solar.

          • jerry
            Posted November 30, 2017 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; If you do not want to believe that our fishing problems pre date our entry into the EEC then that is your choice, it doesn’t change factual history though!

            Unless you plan on educating fish to remain in only the UK’s territorial waters nothing will change post Brexit either. If there are no or few fish to catch, if the price of that fish is to high, the fishing industry is by definition uneconomic and should suffer the same fate as any other uneconomic industry, such as coal, steel or BL/MG Rover – unless you wish HMG to use taxes to support them of course.

      • Anonymous
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 8:55 am | Permalink

        Scrap HS2 and the bill is more than covered, Eeyore. HS2 is really EU2 so we won’t be needing it anyway.

        The problems with the £55bn are not just the cost: a) it is a capitulation b) we are paying an access charge to negotiate a deal with the EU c) what comes next ?

        To me it seems we are showing great weakness. That concerns me more than the money itself.

        • JoolsB
          Posted November 29, 2017 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

          We are looking desperate and weak and are being humiliated by our own Government. Boris Johnson was right when he said they should go whistle for the money.

          • John C.
            Posted November 29, 2017 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

            I’m afraid I’ve just seen the very same Boris on the news telling us it’s a great deal.
            But then he is a Tory, and so cannot be trusted.

        • Tad Davison
          Posted November 29, 2017 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

          ‘To me it seems we are showing great weakness.’

          Anon – this is May we’re talking about here! Just another politician in the Major mould. Strength isn’t their forte’!

          In recent years, we’ve come to expect such things from the new social democratic Tory party. Time they dumped these wishy-washy goody-goodies and got some proper hardened steely and determined people in their stead. The only time this lot win, is when the opposition is so poor, so the voter is effectively left with a choice of the lesser of two evils.

          That’s not how it should be. We need to vote for a party for positive reasons. A strong leader will carry the nation with them, not always on the defensive and having to fight a rear guard action.

          Frankly, I am sick of them and their apologists of which there now seems many, including so-called Brexiteers. WTO is the way to go!


        • Alison
          Posted November 29, 2017 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

          @ Anonymous (8:55 am), last para – showing great weakness. So dangerous. Shameful. Shaming. This evening I listen to French news saying the Brits were the first to give in. Fury on top of fury.

          I don’t mind people allowing people to think one is weak if that is going to help in some way, but here, how is it going to help if our counterparty thinks the other is weak?? They will simply advance a little bit, make another demand, say, you pay this, agree to the ECJ, continue freedom of movement, then wait for another rapid surrender, then again, again .. And this capitulation sounds as if it is ‘agreeing to the items’ .. = blank cheque.
          Now listening to German TV, programme on auto industry ..they quote that 1 job in 7 in Germany directly or indirectly dependent on their car industry. Why are we giving in?? And the surrender is not just to Barnier and co, it seems to be to the CBI and ‘big business’ too. So she will cave in on Single Market and ‘freedom of movement’. Why doesn’t Mrs M understand that the overriding reason we voted Leave was to get our country and sovereignty and democracy back???

          V sorry to post so late .. saw pic of you .. I feel guilty posting, taking your time.
          PS Thinking about the poor .. heard this evening that Brussels’ underpasses are now full of homeless (migrants), sleeping out of the rain. There are miles of the underpasses.

        • Alison
          Posted November 29, 2017 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

          The HS2 money should be spent on broadband. The opportunity cost of not doing so is massive. It’s also a big competitive opportunity over Germany – watched programme in June in German TV about how very very slow broadband is in areas very close to the major cities, so slow it is difficult for SMEs to use online trading forms.
          That’s where the £ should go. There is a bit of me that says, if we pay that €45-50bn to get out (but it must be 2019, no ‘transition’, no ECJ post 2019), worth it. But my sick stomach tells me it’s going to be like this for months. and then worse.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 8:59 am | Permalink

        Y would not like your country to have a poor credit record would you? Not with a capital market dependent government. In the seventies there was talk of going “cap in hand” to the IMF. That could happen again.

        • eeyore
          Posted November 29, 2017 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

          My country has a credit record second to none. England has not defaulted since 1672.

          • acorn
            Posted November 29, 2017 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

            Except when it was downgraded by Moody’s in September. ” The UK’s credit rating has been cut over concerns about the UK’s public finances and fears Brexit could damage the country’s economic growth. Moody’s, one of the major ratings agencies, downgraded the UK to an Aa2 rating from Aa1.”

            Anyway, don’t worry about it. A credit rating for a sovereign country that issues its own currency is a nonsense. The UK Treasury is never going to run out of Pounds Sterling. If it had large debts in foreign currencies then that would be the foreigners problem. The moral is don’t use; borrow or peg to a foreign currency, including the IMF. Ask the Greeks and several South American Countries.

          • a-tracy
            Posted November 30, 2017 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

            acorn, what is Ireland credit rating with Moody’s now that it has fully recovered, is booming thanks to the EU and is overtaking us?

        • Stred
          Posted November 29, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

          This extortion will have to be borrowed. If Brexit means no more Lord Haw Haws and Dutch or German cars it will be worth it

        • zorro
          Posted November 29, 2017 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

          Quite possible if we continue to dole out billions to any Tom, Dietrich or Heinrich demanding it for nothing substantial!

          If this is factual re the cave in, we expect you and all other right minded MPs to vote this down. Anything less would be tacit acceptance. This is it.


      • BOF
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 9:39 am | Permalink

        My comment printed in a national daily in July read ‘Will The Great Repeal Bill (now EU Withdrawal Bill) be accompanied by The Great Betrayal of the British electorate by Parliamentary treachery?

        I now expect far greater betrayal to be soon revealed. I also expect Mrs May to step down before the next election and leave her successor with the nigh on impossible task in holding up the Tory vote.

        • Doug Powell
          Posted November 29, 2017 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

          Correct, but stepping down? More like a rodent leaving the sinking ship!

          As for holding up the tory vote, there won’t be one to hold up!

          • John C.
            Posted November 29, 2017 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

            There certainly won’t be mine. For years, I was a natural conservative, part of the reliable blue vote. I did not swing to Blair.
            But now, I’ve had enough of them. They are a weak socialist party. I will vote UKIP or a good independent or nobody. I have 40 thousand million reasons to feel contempt for the “Conservative” party,

      • APL
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 9:40 am | Permalink

        eeyore: “£55bn among 66m Brits is £833 each. A family of four is on the hook for £3332. On average wages that’s every penny of five weeks’ pay. ”

        And disrupting trade, putting British companies out of business would probably cost ‘Brits’ a lot more than £833 each.

        I hate it that we don’t actually know what the government is doing, that’s probably reasonable to expect in high stakes negotiations.

        If the UK regains our Political independence, and maintains economic prosperity – while maintaining cordial relations with our former EU partners, and it costs a one off £55bn, over the long term that’s still cheaper than full membership.

        By the way, that £55bn is not falling equally on 66m ‘Brits’, but disproportionately on those actually paying taxes.

        • zorro
          Posted November 29, 2017 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

          Dream on if you think the EU will stop after this. They will smell blood and also charge us annual access to their silly Single Market and the rest… ‘Free tariff free trade’ is now for the birds after this supine climbdown. Why should they now? T May should be surcharged for this nonsense, and any cuts imposed on her own nation because of this largesse


        • acorn
          Posted November 29, 2017 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

          The £55 bn will not fall on taxpayers. Just like the £1,300 bn did not fall on taxpayers in 2009 when we had to bail out the banks. Unless Mrs May wants to use it as an excuse to call off Brexit; saying we can’t afford it; or, we will not be living within our means.

          Have a look at PSA1 in

          You will see that in 2009, the Household (Muppet) economy had a debt to GDP ratio of 60.5%. The true debt to GDP including the banks was 149.1%. And you never felt a thing. There is no such animal as “austerity” or “budget deficits” in the Banking side of the economyeconomy.

          • APL
            Posted December 4, 2017 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

            acorn: “And you never felt a thing. ”

            That’s simply incorrect. I am acutely aware that the official inflation rate is utterly disconnected to the actual devaluation of sterling in the domestic economy.

            If you haven’t noticed, you’ve probably got too much money.

            acorn: “There is no such animal as “austerity” ”

            That may well be true, but irrelevant to inflation.

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 10:35 am | Permalink

        The average family would already be £3500 better off with UKIP.
        This is already a very bad deal, worse than no deal, and we haven’t even started.
        Let’s tot it up as we go and finally put these Remainer parties to rest in a yes/no General Election before (or even after) this lousy deal is completed.

      • Alan Joyce
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 10:54 am | Permalink

        Dear Mr. Redwood,

        Following the announcement that Mrs. May has more or less agreed to pay a £40 – £50bn Brexit fee and is meandering towards allowing the ECJ an interfering role in UK law, we now await what she has in mind for the Irish border issue. Does a one-sided trade deal in favour of the EU await the UK when trade negotiations get underway? One thing is sure – all the tough talk from the UK side evaporates when the two sides face each other across the negotiating table.

        Perhaps, it would not be so bad if the Prime Minister committed to be open and honest with the British people and set out her case for paying such an astronomical sum of money by way of an itemised bill showing the cost of EU pensions, development projects, etc. It could also show the effect of the British rebate and the return of our monies from the European Investment Bank and other monies due to us.

        Instead, it seems we may never know how much Mrs. May has agreed to pay. It is reported that the Brexit bill will be paid over many years, perhaps, even decades. However, it beggars belief that detailed calculations of how much we are going to pay do not exist already.

        What other delights will we discover further down the road, for example, in relation to the role of the ECJ? Will we really be in control of our borders? And what does Mrs. May have planned for our fishing grounds? Her actions do not match her words. What ever happened to the red, white and blue brexit? A circle of twelve gold stars has been superimposed on it. What happened to taking back control of our laws, our borders and our money? A deep and special partnership has taken its place.

        It looks like the UK public are being taken for fools by the Prime Minister. Too ignorant to have ever been given a referendum and certainly too stupid to be given the facts of withdrawal.

        The Government has committed to a meaningful vote for MP’s on the final deal. It will be a take it or leave it deal. If the Government loses the vote then the UK will leave the EU without an agreement.

        In reply to a previous blog of yours I commented that sooner or later you and certain others might be called upon to square their opinions on Brexit with the actions of their party. That time cannot be too far away.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

        It was pointed out on the Sky Campaign Against Brexit that the Leave side in the referendum never mentioned that we would have to pay the EU this huge sum to leave, for them it was all about that supposed £350 million a week we would no longer have to pay in.

        If voters had known about this exit bill then a majority might have voted to stay in. Of course that would have only meant that instead of paying off these massive liabilities that the UK has supposedly accumulated over the last 44 years they would have been rolled over, and more would have been added year by year in perpetuity, but probably that would not have been obvious to everybody then just as it is not obvious now.

        However set aside for the moment the reality that these billions to be paid over are part of the cost of membership of the EU rather than part of the cost of leaving the EU, and that the people to blame for it are not those who wanted and voted to leave the EU but those who took us in and then kept us in so that our supposed liabilities could build up year after year, and just ask why the Remain side also said little or nothing about the EU extorting a vast sum if we voted to leave.

        I will refer specifically to the government’s official pamphlet produced and delivered to every household at a cost of £9.3 million:

        because while other parts of the Remain campaign may not have realised it is inconceivable that Sir Ivan Rogers and other UK officials did not warn the government that if we voted to leave then we would be hit by a massive bill, and yet there was no mention of that in the government’s leaflet.

        Why not? Perhaps a Commons committee should get David Cameron and George Osborne along to explain why they decided to keep quiet about this fact rather than present it as another strong argument for voting to stay in the EU. Could it be because:

        “Although the government has only ever told you about the benefits of EU membership part of the flip side is that ever since we joined in 1973 we have been accumulating massive debts, which could be as high as £100 billion, which we will have pay off if you vote to leave”

        did not seem a convincing proof of the merits of EU membership?

        Reply I think the EU cooked up the idea of a bill after the vote, as they are very worried about losing our large contributions. I don’t believe there was a plan to charge us before the vote.

      • Atlas
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 11:17 am | Permalink

        Agreed eeyore.

        I seem to be seeing Jellyfish everywhere in the Government these days.

      • NickC
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

        Eeyore, Exactly right. The extent of the May government’s appeasement is a wonder to behold. As well as so obvious. In many ways it surpasses paying for entry in 1972 because we don’t actually need anything from the EU this time.

      • passé port
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 11:46 am | Permalink

        You are grasping at straws eeyore. The fright is on the faces of Remoaners in Parliament right now. ANY deal is okay to them , they have said so ANY deal is better than NO DEAL. .
        Actually, nothing has been sorted at all but panic has set in with Remoaners. Just time eeyore to make your way to EU-land before our doom sets in.Good luck in Calais!!!. Don’t get stamped on by fleeing asylum seekers to France from the UK.

    • Bert Young
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      Don’t despair Peter ; most of us have suffered the same fate .

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      “The correlation between inequality and various ills in society would indeed be reason enough to address poverty issues”

      Nonsense, is it cause or correlation. Does being poor make you more likely to be a drug addict or alcoholic or is it the other way round? Inequality is essential for the economy to work. Otherwise why would anyone lazy bother to work at all?

      • Peter Parsons
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

        Studies from all over the world show that societies with the highest levels of income inequality also have the highest levels of violent crime, whereas those with the lowest levels of income inequality have the lowest levels of violent crime.

        While some inequality acts as an incentive, too much has bad outcomes for society and individuals.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      You sound like a moaner (lol). But you are right, there is some news today about a possible breakthrough and not a word on this blog. Of course we all know that it is not meant to be objective or unbiased. Mr Redwood is an activist and I am very glad to have the opportunity to provide as much as possible, comments from a mainstream economics perspective to counter some of the rather irrational stuff that you see here sometimes. I do not mean that Mr Redwood’s posts are irrational, on the contrary, his posts are very clever and show a great deal of economic insight, be it packages and tweaked to suit his preferences. Some commenters however seem to be obsessed by nationalist themes and that is not always amusing.

    • Nig l
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      Yes all indications are that we have been sold out. The sums look so large that the position of MPs like JR looks untenable so will they do the honourable thing and resign the whip or vote against it. Sadly if what is quoted is correct we will see the deal magically turn into reasonable, acceptable and in our best interests etc.

      • John C.
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

        See my comment on Boris above.

    • Mark Riley
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      £55 Billion is likely to be a gross underestimate. does the fabled formula agreed include a refund of our contribution to many assets we have funded? Of course not, next they will still refuse trade talks due to the NI border, I assume we shall capitulate and accept ECJ jurisdiction.
      when it comes to trade deals how predictable is it that they will seek to impose customs union and single market rules and we shall blindly agree.
      we are constantly given justifiable reasons to walk away and prepare for a WTO based deal but cravenly faill to do so.. time for any genuine tories to stand up and be counted.
      i have voted Conservative for the last time, Corbyn gets my vote next time if we are to go Socialist under Theresa let’s go the whole hog and bring the disaster and subsequent phoenix of a sensible UK true conservative revival

      • Mark Riley
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

        please explain why not published very weak beer! truth hurt? could it be that Hannan, yourself even JRM are useful lighting rods to draw critical opinion whilst the great betrayal goes ahead?

    • NickC
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      PvL, No I don’t find the views of an EU apologist to be interesting. The EU is a bane for the people of Europe.

    • passé port
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      “Interesting that brexit news doesn’t feature in today’s blog” No, as the years go by one would expect a brief mention of Brexit.
      “inequality and various ills in society ” Yes that is the way of all the world since at least neolithic times. The Labour Party started here just over one hundred years ago and they say every year “the rich get richer and the poorer get poor”. You could help them out by asking them to take a look at just who is paying their 500,0oo Party membership fees. It can only be rich people.

    • a-tracy
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      It’s for Mrs May to communicate the ‘Brexit News’ to the public then John Redwood will hopefully blog about it because hopefully, we will have the full picture first before everyone gets hot and bothered by ‘guesses’.

    • Ken Moore
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      Could someone explain to the EU that we are not a ‘rich country’ and have people ‘in poverty’. We are massively in debt and face a very uncertain future and cannot afford to meet the EU’s demands.
      Does Mr Barnier believe our streets are paved with gold ?

      • John C.
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

        I don’t suppose Barnier could give a hoot about us .His job is to get the most money he can out of us, and he must be laughing himself to sleep every night at how easy it’s turning out. His “opponents” are so riddled with secret supporters and open supporters that he can, and does, push us around at leisure. Inevitable when you have Leave negotiated by a Remainer government.

  3. James Doran
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    Here’s an idea to reduce poverty. Stop taking money off people by taxing them them at every turn. Conservatives used to be in favour of that.

    • DaveM
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      But how else are we supposed to fund the EU, WHICH WE VOTED TO LEAVE????

      Mr R, seeing as how the PM has caved in to demands of pro-EU MPs to have a parliamentary vote on anything they don’t like, how about demanding a vote on whether she hands over £45bn of OUR money? Someone should take her to court for theft if she signs that cheque.

      If my local MP wasn’t a really principled man who fights for what he believes in I would never vote Conservative again.

      • The Prangwizard
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

        I am forced to say this issue is bigger than that and they rely on such misplaced loyalty. Nothing will change if we let them get away with such betrayals – he should go down with the ship.

      • John C.
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        I’ve long supported a second referendum: Do you a) agree to the terms the government has negotiated or b) want us to leave the E.U. without a deal?
        I’m sure many Leave voters back in 2016 would not accept the mockery of the terms that are now taking shape.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      They still claim to be “low tax at heart” but never ever in practice it seems. If you invest say £10 million for 30 years (and produce a return of 10% PA) then without tax if would grow to about £175 million. But with all the UK taxes more likely to be about £34 million the rest going to the government. In real terms this is perhaps only the same as the initial £10 million you started with.

      The current taxes IHT, CGT, Income tax, NI, council tax, duties, SDLT and the rest take 80% of your wealth off you.

      Thus UK is hardly a good place to invest unless you like dancing round their absurd and constantly changing tax system. Very many tax increases and new absurdities in the last Hammond budget too, hugely damaging to the economy.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 8:57 am | Permalink

        And I even missed off corporation tax, road tax, the green crap energy taxes and the many other licence fees and other back door taxes.

        The biggest problems the UK has are over large taxes, over complex taxes, expensive energy for misguided religious reasons, endless misguided red tape and a daft socialist government with potentially an even dafter magic money tree Marxist one to follow. All cheered on by the lefty loons at the Guardian and the BBC.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

        Damian Green, just now in the house;- “Supporting small business is absolutely at the heart of what this government does”!

        Lies, lies and more lies – milking them, mugging them, taxing them, tying them up in red tape, preventing them expanding through restrictive planning, fining them, inflicting bonkers employments laws on them and ripping them off with expensive green crap energy is actually what this government does. The courts too with their absurd tribunal ruling (and making self employed retrospectively employed) plus the attacks on the gig economy. That is what they actually do.

        So is Damian Green:- A totally ignorant of reality on the ground or B. Totally dishonest in the Cast Iron promise, “low tax Conservative at heart”, Cameron mode? Perhaps he could tell us?

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      Milton Friedman, the American economist, once said “If you want to get rid of povert, tax it, because whatever you tax, disappears”

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

        The government’s approach is the total reverse reward it with loads benefits so that it grows and grows and working becomes relatively unattractive. So grow & grow it has. Also define it as a percentage of average earning so it is not poverty in any real sense anyway and can never go anyway.

  4. Caterpillar
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    Effectively increasing the school leaving age in some/many colleges often obliges those belatedly wanting to achieve in maths and English being disturbed by those who do not – the latter can come from UK schools or from EU. Providing the opportunity is one thing, but then preventing those who seek to benefit by populating the classes with those who do not wish to attend (but the collegs take to get their per head funding) is, I think, an error.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      Another couple of years in one of the worst performing schools or colleges does not help anyone. In the old days people would often have moved to the local dominant employer, such as mine, shipyard, steelworks or whatever and that employer through their training would have compensated for the rubbish local schools. With such employers gone that route for many people has disappeared.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

        I would rather maths and English was available for anyone of any age, but not forced on 16 and17 year olds who just disrupt. If people disrupt the opportunities of others at this age I would be nasty and get some community service going. Clearing the flytipping, cleaning closing libraries etc – any area we are resource short.

  5. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    We all know that if you have worked hard you can achieve great things and hopefully a well paid job. Unfortunately, a lot of people are only too happy to sit back and claim welfare. The welfare state under labour gave away so much that people felt work was unnecessary. Rents are paid, no poll tax, free prescriptions, dental treatment and money on top. Why would they,? The incentive yo work has been taken away especially when many have jobs on the side. We all know who they are but the authorities don’t act when told about them. Its those on low wages that are poor.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      John, can you explain why, when this country is struggling yo fund social services, schools, the armed services, councils, police NHS etc Mrs May thinks its OK to hand over what is reported to be near £50b to the EU meaning poor people in this country will go without? If this is the case when there is no legal reason to do so I hope UKIP make a big come back and I will know where to put my cross. Please don’t talk about people being poor when this government is prepared to make each and every one of us poorer so that EU countries can prosper. Many of us are angry at May’s betrayal.

      • Ken Moore
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

        I’m furious I voted to get out of the EU socialist superstate. Spain, Portugal Ireland have the begging bowls..the Uk Germany, are expected to prop them up.

    • Hope
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      The Tories have increased taxes more than any other party for decades. Hammond introduced even more taxes last week to long term savers! All so he can give away to the EU or the world to make May and him feel good. May wanted to introduce dementia tax, sell your home to pay for social adult care, as she claims we cannot afford! Of course we can, she prefers not to. Tories high on tax and give it away.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      Indeed the government was augmenting the feckless with the benefit system. Why bother to work, they are being rational no to given the absurd system that pertains.

      • John C.
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

        In many cases, it is indeed the rational decision not to work. The benefits will provide a secure standard of living and the chance to have a life of leisure. If you’re not ambitious, there’s no need to think too long about it.

    • JoolsB
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      Exactly. Welfare is still far too generous and so often discourages work. Gordon Brown’s tax credits for the ‘working poor’ merely disincentivises people to work longer than the required 16 hours a week. Why should they when the taxpayer will top up their wages by thousands of pounds with bungs from ex partners on the side?

      If only we had a Conservative Government instead of this bunch of socialists calling themselves Conservative, the welfare bill would have been slashed dramatically by now.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      I dont subscribe to this view.

      I am 100 % certain if you took one of the children of our elite and brought them up in a sink social housing estate and put them in a sink school they would be unlikely to “achieve great things”.

      And as much as I think the tax and benefits system puts the wrong incentives on many people, it is a mistake to imagine that modern jobless communities are all feckless as many within living memories were the workforces of shipyards, mines, steelworks and so on AND IT IS NOT THE PEOPLES FAULT THAT THE SOCIAL HOUSING SYSTEM HAS FORCED THEM TO STAY IN A LOCATION WHERE THE LOCAL DOMINANT EMPLOYER HAS SHUT AND NOTHING HAS REPLACED IT

      Given the vast sums spent on benefits and tax admin I think a simpler system which allowed anyone to survive would be better for us all, the admin savings would more than offset the amount from those currently sanctioned in the benefits system (for instance).

    • Tad Davison
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      Fair point, but I wonder how Theresa May feels about taxpayer-funded in-work benefits, especially those paid to newly arrived immigrants to the UK, that effectively subsidise employers who pay crap wages?

      Whilst there are over a million indigenous people unemployed in the UK, it makes me wonder just how indispensable these immigrants really are when they don’t exactly make a net contribution?

      There’s one school of thought that says, ‘skint out of work, skint in work, so why work?’

      Clearly, work has to pay to give an incentive to an individual to improve their lot in life. The government regularly tells us that work must always pay, and that is the best way to get themselves out of poverty. But there’s a caveat. The UK still needs to be competitive globally, so unit labour costs have to be factored in – the very thing that has given China such a huge advantage in recent years. Our exports can’t be competitive unless we offer value for money. Are we then to drive down benefits to starvation levels in order to keep the differential and get people to take only marginally better in-work pay?

      That could see more civil unrest on our streets than we have witnessed for many a long year, and even a change of government. It’s a bit of a conundrum, that’s for sure!

      Tad Davison


      • Iain Gill
        Posted November 30, 2017 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

        China is competitive for a number of reasons:

        1 Cheap power (produced with less expensive anti pollution kit)
        2 Less strict (and expensive) anti pollution rules
        3 Not bothering to pay for a lot of the intellectual property they are using, from processes, to software, to designs
        4 Less strict (and expensive) safety kit
        5 State manipulating currencies so that their output is effectively subsidised on the the world market

        Its far from all to do with cheap labour

        And it would be madness for the UK to try and compete on a race to the lowest pay, we need to compete on quality, innovation, leading intellectual property, and so on such that our output is worth a premium on the world market. But that means we need to be much more careful about protecting our innovation and intellectual property etc.

        • Tad Davison
          Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

          I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with any of that Iain, but if I made those same points substantively, the post would have been prohibitively long.

          I do speak to some Chinese businessmen and low wages account for a big slice of their competitiveness. British people generally wouldn’t believe how little some Chinese workers actually get. Conversely, a lot of Chinese wouldn’t believe that so many people in the UK get paid so much for doing little, or for doing nothing at all. But do we adopt their model and engage in a race to the bottom, or do we try to raise their standards and expectations to meet ours?

          As I said, it’s a conundrum, but somebody needs to solve it unless we are happy to let others ‘eat our lunch’ as Donald Trump said.


    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      A fairly well paid job often makes you little better off than anyone else given the tax and benefit system that pertains. You also have far less time.

      • Anonymous
        Posted November 30, 2017 at 2:05 am | Permalink

        Tax can be mitigated by putting extra into your pension but you watch. Means testing will come in for the state pension.

        I’m seriously considering losing my job. Masses of responsibility and god awful hours.

        This blog, believe it or not, is my social life.

        • Anonymous
          Posted November 30, 2017 at 2:06 am | Permalink

          Hence posting at 2am.

          Where’s the …….money I ‘m meant to be earning ?

          • Iain Gill
            Posted November 30, 2017 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

            Come round for a coffee!

  6. Dave Andrews
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    There is poverty through misfortune, such as an avoidable illness, your livelihood taken away from you or a bad start in life.
    There is also poverty caused by folly or idleness.
    Unfortunately, our system doesn’t distinguish between them. Added to that, we have a system that encourages dependency, reinforcing a disability by necessity.
    Perhaps the state should do less, and focus more on helping charities, who are better placed to distinguish between genuine and fake needs.

  7. Duncan
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 7:24 am | Permalink


    Your readers do not take too kindly to being manipulated and patronised. Don’t believe you can simply ignore the main story of the day by composing this socialist nonsense

    We are all aware that May, the leader you voted for, has betrayed this country, its people and its democracy. It is obvious to most that your decision not to address this vital issue is an insult to your readers

    I despise Labour will all my being as I know what they are. Lying, deceitful, overtly political and view human beings as nothing more than political capital. It seems that my party is so different after all

    Your leader’s betrayal will last for generations

    • Duncan
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      ‘It seems that my party is NOT so different after all’

    • Ken Moore
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      Time for the Conservative party to be wound up…ERM nearly finished it off but that will be nothing compared to a bungled sell out of a brexit. Our kind host aside, goodbye and good riddance to the useless un conservative modern Conservative party.

      • eeyore
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

        Ken Moore – and who else will govern the country after the next election? There are truly dangerous Marxists waiting in the wings. We may grumble as we please but, come polling day, we’ll hold our noses and turn out – and the Conservative Party knows it.

        • Anonymous
          Posted November 30, 2017 at 2:01 am | Permalink

          Not this time.

          Prepare for Corbyn.

    • James Doran
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      John’s been ignoring the big issues for years that’s why this blog flits from arcane economic technicalities to the minutiae of Catalonian independence by way of proposals for improved railway signalling. He sits quietly in the corner of the Conservative Party boat, not rocking it and carefully avoiding the major issues whilst the flat-footed, tin-eared, uninspiring, risk-averse serial under-achiever that purports to lead it presents the country to Corbyn and his mates. If you want some conservativism try Peter Hitchens or the Conservative Woman website.

  8. Peter
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Wealth is being transferred from the many to the few. That is ongoing and nothing is being done to stop it.

    The rich can avoid paying tax. The rest cannot.

    I note inheritance thresholds are unchanged.

    An average London property costs in excess of the £325,000 IHT threshold and this has been the case for a long time now.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      A studio flat in London cost more than £325K.

      It is not at all easy for the rich to avoid tax in the UK now. It cost a fortune in tax advice too.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

        If one considers tax advice to cost a fortune, one’s fortune is not worth mentioning

      • Mad Hatter
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

        Only a fool would live in London, anyway, if they had a choice.If you have £325K to throw away then I guess you can be considered an Olde English Eccentric like Ken Clarke MP

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      And takes a lifetime of graft with a 13x mortgage only to gift much of it to the state (including a stamp duty at the start.)

    • eeyore
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      Peter – Wealth is not being transferred from the many to the few. It’s being transferred from the few to the many. “Sir, you may talk cant but don’t think it” (Johnson).

  9. Student
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    I am concerned by the recent ousting of the University of Bath VP purely on the basis of her salary rather than her performance (which her salary would surely have reflected). I think this sets a dangerous presdedent; to continue to compete with the likes of he US institutions, we need the best leaders at our universities, and they should be paid what they are worth relative to the rest of the World rather than what leftist academics/politicians see fit.

    • a-tracy
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      Who ousted her?
      I heard she’d gone on a fully paid year’s sabbatical then was taking retirement on a final salary pension agreement!

    • Threadbare Engels
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      Personally, I would not comment on a named person’s salary. If a person is offered a great wage then he would be fool not to apply for the job and not to accept it if offered.

      The late Karl Marx thought especially skilled workers should get paid more since their work produced a “concentration of value”. But Marx was a political pragmatist. He knew that only middle class educated people who were skilled could actually read his complicated writing and understand some of it. Also they were the only people who could administer a state as it requires especially academically educated brain cells
      Away from the pragmatism and necessities of realpolitik, though I myself have received some education I found the most arduous, backbreaking and tiring job, which I have done was washing dishes and pans in a very busy pub kitchen. Minimum wage.

      In a proper society we must pay people not just in accordance with Karl Marx’s jocular “concentration of value” but on the compensation, rather than pay, they get for sacrificing 40 hours of their existence on this earth doing ANYTHING other than singing and dancing in flowery sunny meadows with the love of their life.
      One is dealt a hand of cards when born. It is just as hard playing a poor hand as being lucky and playing a great hand. Just as hard work for each.

    • sm
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      The lady in question got a salary of almost £1/2 million pa, and also negotiated an interest-free loan on the purchase of a car for £31k – I suppose she has earned an award for sheer chutzpah!

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      Then Bath university should open up its VP position to international candidates as well as British ones.

      Only then can we be assured that there is true global competition reflected in the salary.

    • rose
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      Universities have turned themselves into businesses now. Taking on as many students as possible, giving them as little tuition as possible, and charging them as much as possible. They are able to do all this on the back of the real scholars who built up our universities and their unsurpassed reputation in the last century. Those 20th century vicechancellors were paid little more than the professors who were paid little more than the lecturers who were paid little more than teachers. Education is supposed to be a charity, not a moneymaking exercise.

      The present ViceChancellor of Oxford is comparing herself to American principals of universities and saying she should be paid at the same rate. You would think these remainiacs would compare themselves to Continental universties, not American ones. But when it comes to money, it seems all their principles go.

  10. Richard1
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    £45bn for talks & even then we hear briefings that the U.K. “may not have done enough”?! Unless there is a clear commitment at the Dec European Council to immediate talks towards a comprehensive free trade deal, including financial services, this offer needs to come off the table and the govt should walk away and say call us back if you change your mind.

    • Richard1
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      And I hope & assume the money only gets paid / liabilities assumed if there is actually a deal in place at March 2019. Of course everyone should expect compromise on both sides to get a deal, but we can’t agree this payment and then be offered a choice between Norway, Canada or Clean Brexit. Clean Brexit should cost nothing.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

        Dear Richard–It should have been an unequivocal condition, but instead we get somebody in Brussels immediately saying that the God-only-knows-how- many billions (which we do not actually owe in any event) we are now saying that we will give away “does not buy a trade deal”. I have said many times here that starting and finishing negotiations are two very different things but it was apparently too much to expect that the Government would think this obvious. In any event even if agreement is reached (and we do manage to leave) how long will it be before the 27 sit down and decide they want to change it–especially if it is working OK?

      • rose
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

        And I would like a refund of all those years when the EU witheld half our rebate in exchange for CAP reform which still hasn’t come. I would also like compensation for pollution and wear and tear on this country caused by unplanned overpopulation.

        • rose
          Posted November 29, 2017 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

          I still don’t understand why so many people are agreeing to the idea that we should be paying the EU for trade, when they should, if anything, be paying us. Who has the surplus? Who has the incentive to reduce imports, not increase them?

          • John C.
            Posted November 29, 2017 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

            We should agree to pay 45 thousand million if they agree to OUR “divorce” bill, which would allow free trade with us, of 85 thousand million. Why not?

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      Richard1. Too true. I am concerned that we will hand over all this money for the EU to say at a later date that there will be no free trade or that they care going to control have much trade we can do in the free world. I don’t trust the EU an inch. I wonder why?

  11. Colin Hide
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Wise words and perfect sense.

  12. Chris S
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    If reports are correct Mrs May has given in to blackmail, pure and simple.

    To pay anything more than the €20bn already promised plus a very small amount for odds and ends is foolish in the extreme.

    Any payment does not even seem to be directly linked to a trade deal acceptable to us. An essential prerequisite to any deal.

    They are desperate for our money and throwing away our strongest card is a clear dereliction of duty.

  13. NHSGP
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    I notice you left off wealth.

    If people have wealth, they aren’t going to vote for people like Corbyn to steal their wealth.

    If people know their wealth is being stolen then they won’t vote for any government that does this.

    That’s why the debts matter. Reporting the debts, sending the bill to individuals matter.

    So when we look at the news last night there is talk that May will pay the EU for its debts.

    That’s just proof of a fraud. If we pay, it should have been in the UK accounts. It’s not in the accounts.

    Payment is admitting that the UK state has committed a fraud and mislead the UK population into thinking they were not liable.

    Very awkward for MPs. You are going to have to pass a law that says if you commit fraud it is legal, if other people commit fraud they go to jail.

    Equally, since retrospective changes to the law are illegal under the EHRC, going to be very hard to do that.

    • anon
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

      I suspect the lack of transparency by both sides is endemic and one must be enquiring about the reason and it would not surprise me if illegality was involved.

  14. Turboterrier.
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    It is also a task for the wider community and for the families concerned.

    It is down to the family. Why do we have to spend and waste so many resources on treating children the basics of education? Because if you ask any teacher and classroom assistant the someone else will pay and do it for you. Far too many are allowed to abdicate from the parental responsibilities and leave it to the state.

  15. Turboterrier.
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Sorry should read teaching

  16. Lifelogic
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    The main obstacle to people working is the idiotic minimum wage law. A law that makes it illegal for many of the lower skilled workers to get a job and thus learn how to work up the wage ladder.

    This plus the absurd employment laws which basically almost make employers adopt staff rather than just employ them.

    The other problems is the fact that the punitive tax & benefit system means that working or doing extra overtime often makes little financial sense. Particularly if you have any additional travel or other cost of getting to work.

    Then we have far to many people getting into debt to the tune of £50-60K for degree, many of which, have little or no real value. The result of this is that people can often get to age 30 or even 40 and still have earned less than their education (school and university) has cost!

    The government as almost always is the problem get them out of the damn way please.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      The other thing that government should do is stop the courts writing and extending laws on, for example, employment tribunal fees, compensation for unmarried partners (yesterday) and the hugely damaging attack on the self employed like UBER drivers.

      The Judges are using things like “right to a family life” to extend the law and ensure we end up with more and more damaging litigation and more and more largely unproductive lawyers. We already have a 3 times as many as France and 12 times as many as Japan. One good way to do this is to severely limit the legal fees that can be claimed back when a claim is won perhaps to 5% of the claim maximum or similar. The other is to get rid of vague idiocies like ‘right to a family life’ which judges exploit to enrich lawyers.

  17. Bob
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    I imagine you have been left quite speechless Mr Redwood at the news that Mrs May has offered to pay Brussels 55 billion without any apparent justification.

    Your govt seems to excel at giving money away to foreign powers.
    Presumably this money will be added to the UK’s national debt?

    BTW, I have a bridge for sale, do you think the govt would be interested?

  18. Nig l
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Agree totally with your sentiments. Having seen how government money was spent in another sector it supports, they need to stop being obsessed with numbers of interventions but focus on outcomes. We used to workout how light a touch (interaction) we could get away with and the Department loved it because a Minister could use the number to show how successful the government policy had been. Actually the money spent had hardly any effect and that was not robustly measured.

    HMG s has completely over ambitious expectations about what can be achieved from the budget and equally Providers, often unsuited, would scramble to bid for pots of money and get it because their bid would quote the most numbers for the least money and we see time and time again across government well intentioned projects fail, need to be renegotiated etc

    Apprenticeships are an example where an excellent intitative is devalued and money wasted by the government demanding vast numbers resulting in a scramble to develop the easiest and shortest schemes possible with employers often ‘bribed’ By the promise of a grant towards the cost.

    So once again spot on JR but again it comes down to public sector commissioning and delivery and unfortunately we know where that often leads us.

  19. Chris
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    You refer to the key role of education in lifting people out of poverty. As long as our education is dominated by cultural Marxism there will be little real improvement to ordinary people’s chances. Also the very large sums indeed that the EU are pouring into the education systems of Europe in order to educate students about the virtues of the EU is, I think, very dangerous both for our democracy but also the students themselves. Indoctrination benefits no one except those in power. We really have to make a clean break from the EU

  20. Bert Young
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Getting the right return on any sort of investment – be it in people , markets or other , is a reasonable expectation . Motivation does play a key part in achievement and a lot depends on who is at the helm . I spent a lifetime in education and business and recognised what leadership meant to the followers . I regret very much that this lesson in life does nor show in the practice of our Political scene .

    Today I am horrified and gobsmacked at the announcement of our latest financial offer to Brussels . The voters have been let down and they should now make every sort of protest .

  21. Anonymous
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    There will always be poverty if we keep importing it. Incidental to that is the issue of the working poor, whose earnings and quality of life are affected by the immigration of poor people to compete with them.

    The working poor are the ones I feel sorry for but in many areas you’re not rich up to £100k pa if you’re on PAYE. A lot goes in tax and benefits reductions. It does enable you to borrow more to buy a house though.

    Tax can be mitigated by paying voluntarily into a pension but it’s obvious that will result in means testing for the state pension on retirement and we won’t see that either.

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      We did not used to need degrees to get good jobs.

      It seems their abundance has made them the minimum entry requirement for a job.

      Universities are scam to keep the youth unemployment stats low and have diminished the value of a degree. They are now ten-a-penny and everyone seems to have a ‘first’ these days, as well as being 6’5″ tall.

      We don’t need degrees in the majority of roles – particularly not the police where it can actually be a hindrence.

      We need kids coming out of 15 years of schooling literate, numerate, preferably able to speak another language and with good work ethics.

  22. rick hamilton
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Poverty is of course a relative concept. Having seen real grinding poverty in Asia I am interested to know if there is anyone actually starving or without clothes or a roof over their head in the UK, other than genuine homeless who are very often estranged from society and may have mental or drug issues. Driving to a food bank in an SUV doesn’t qualify.

    Considering the vast sums allocated to welfare it must be a failure of the DSS and their numerous staff if there are such people. However Corbyn seems to think the country is full of them.

    Gordon Brown used to boast about ‘lifting people out of poverty’ which meant moving their income one pound about the OECD benchmark which was 40% (?) of the median wage. Meaningless, but sounds worthy to Guardian readers.

    Considering many of my grandparents’ generation knew real poverty I would like to know what defines poverty nowadays in a real sense.

  23. am
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    We are helping poor people in Europe by paying out 50billion for nothing in a divorce bill it seems. What a cave in by a weak collection of negotiators. And it is still 50billion without guarantees on trade, CJ or Ireland just wishful thinking and talking. I hope you and someone else makes a challenge to the leadership. Else your position will seem to have been empty words.

    • Andy
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      I hope this too. Hopeless May will see the Tories roundly beaten at the next election. But with a hard-Brexiteer in charge they will be completely anhiliated.

  24. margaret
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Was your tongue in cheek when you wrote this. Of course there are many many people out there who want others to fail. Jealousy is rife.

  25. Duncan
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    You and your colleagues are too blame for this Mr Redwood. We placed our faith and trust in you and your colleagues to carry out the wishes of the people and you have betrayed us, abused our loyalty and treated us with unabashed contempt

    It breaks my heart to see what my country as been reduced too. Grovelling on our knees to a vile political entity namely the EU while subjected to threats and intimidation

    We expect deceit and contempt from vile Labour but I always thought the Conservatives held to a strict moral code of decency, patriotism and dignity.

    This woman, Hammond, my party and the conniving and treacherous British civil service will go down in infamy as the people who BETRAYED THE UK


    • Peter
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      You cannot point a finger at one MP just because negotiations are not going the way you want.

      What do you expect one person to do?

      If there are not the numbers to effect a change then it will not happen.

      Globalists have thrown everything into the battle to scupper Brexit and they seem to be succeeding.

    • David Price
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      But it isn’t the country that is grovelling, it is the spineless bunch in government.

      • rose
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

        It is the majority in the government, not the intelligent minority. What is the minority supposed to do? If they resign, they will be in a minority in the H of C too.

        • David Price
          Posted November 30, 2017 at 8:48 am | Permalink

          In which case the core issue is that parliament and government is utterly disconnected from the electorate which cannot end well.

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      They lied to us when joined. They have lied to us all along on the way out. They were always going to betray us. They were always going to pay. They are traitors. May and all Remainers incabinet must be removed now one way or the other and I don’t really care how.

      If it means taking to the streets then so be it. And don’t expect any help from our host.

    • LenD
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      Cool it Duncan..this brexit thing was always going to end in tears because it was never thought through properly..slogans on the side of a bus..and false statements from delusional politiciams have landed us in this place. Truth is that despite what IDS and Liam Fox assert there are no new trade deals out there waiting for us that would go any where near compensating us for our loss of trade with the EU..we’ll eve tually end up with a deal with them that will mean we are half in and half out of the EU. The two remaining things the irish border and the movement of people have still to be agreed and might prove to be more problematic than the money. So best save your wrath until the final chapter is written

  26. Cobwatch
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    John…this is today’s topic…seriously. Not depriving UK citizens to collapse before the EU would help with opportunity and poverty. I would rather see this Tory Government fall than agree to this ex-Gratia payment. £55 billion is just the start, other contingencies and liabilities will take that to at least £80 billion. Also folded on ECJ, limited ability to make trade deals, will have to follow EU regulations etc. Worst PM in history?

  27. BOF
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Reduce the size of state, drastically reduce benefits to the bare minimum and provide equality of opportunity.

  28. Tabulazero
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    In 4 months, Cabinet Brexiteers have gone from:

    1. No Transition to a 2 year transition 

    2. Parallel trade talks to non-parallel talks 

    3. No ECJ transition jurisdiction to No ECJ over new rules 

    4. Go Whistle” to £20bn 

    5. £20bn to £40bn

    6. £40bn to £45-55bn

    That is thoroughly enjoyable.

    • Stred
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      Enjoyable to traitors.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

        He is a foreign enemy rather than a traitor, as a foreigner he has no duty of allegiance to this country.

        • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
          Posted November 29, 2017 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

          @@Denis Cooper: The EU27 is no enemy. It just negotiates in the interest of the EU27 and e.g. Barnier has never estimated some total divorce bill. The UK hadn’t prepared itself very well it seems, and have used media anger as pressure. That didn’t work so far.

        • Rien Huizer
          Posted November 29, 2017 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

          Aforeign enemy no less. Where is yout tin hat and your (Yankee) Lee Enfield. Pathetic has beens, the British

          • Dennis Zoff
            Posted November 30, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

            Rien Huizer
            and to a lesser extent Peter VAN LEEUWEN

            “Pathetic has beens, the British”

            JR. Why on earth do you allow such anti-British sentiments from certain individuals on this blog.

            In the past, these individuals have made interesting contributions, which have added a bit of spice to the discussions and this has been, by and large, appreciated!..a sort of discussion check and balance!

            However, when individuals make such blatant, unnecessary, disrespectful and rather nasty comments to British people on your blog this will, in my opinion, bring resentment and antagonism! Perhaps it is time to act?

            It is one thing to argue one’s point, which should be respected, but quite another to bring a puerile anti-British attitude into any conversation, or indeed vice versa!

    • Richard1
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      It does seem to be a very weak approach. They should have made clear before triggering Article 50 that No Deal was the walk away position and spelt out its potential benefits with thorough analysis and then approached these negotiations being clear that nothing is agreed until everything is. So no money etc until there is a clear free trade deal, inc financial services.

      • rose
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        They should not have triggered article 50 at all. They should have got us out by repealing the 1972 act and notifying the EU of our wish to continue with free trade. If the EU wanted to put up barriers against that, they would have had to do all the negotiating amongst themselves.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      Not enjoyable from my point of view, but it is par for the course.

      This is the sort of demonstration of gutlessness we have come to expect from our useless politicians.

      I’m glad I don’t go to Westminster these days or I’d want to throw something at them!


    • John
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      I assume you find the £40bn enjoyable because you are a beneficiary on the continent and not a UK taxpayer?

      Still as IDS intimated today, for 40 years we have paid net about £10bn a year to the EU to spend which is £400 billion that the EU will not now get. Paying £40bn so we don’t have to pay £400 billion over the next 40 years is not all bad.

      Now that’s what I call enjoyable!

    • Mad Hatter
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

      We never hear of OUR demands. Of OUR timetable. Of what we wish settled before we are willing to talk about trade. We should charge the EU for the costs of the Referendum. Without the bad behaviour of the EU against its constituent member ( the UK ) we would not have needed to expend this money on a Referendum.

    • anon
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

      Except the cabinet are hardly clean cut brexit types are they?
      What this shows is that democracy is really in poor shape in the UK .

      All we need is the politicians to do nothing and we exit with no deal. Except they dont want to exit without paying ex-gratia sums over. Why?

      Crikey could Jeremy be better than Hammond and May after all?

      – No £50 bn
      – Clean exit

      Home run!

  29. forthurst
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    There is no equality in how much money is being spent per pupil; the governments much prefers to expend huge sums on people they have recently imported than on English people, who, if they do not have wealthy parents who can afford private school fees, are consigned to an education which is worse than when I was a youngster insofar as there are not even grammar schools and technical schools to give some a better chance in life. The government is hostile to English people in very many ways and I hope they are severely punished electorally for it.

    • JoolsB
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      This Conservative Government who rely on England for their very existence are no different than Labour in their contempt for England and the English. The English are denied so many things the rest of the UK have enjoyed for decades. Only our kids pay £9,000 tuition fees, only our sick pay prescription charges and only our elderly will be hit by the proposed dementia tax because not only does England, the only net contributor to the UK coffers, get far less money per head than the rest of the UK but we have no voice and no representation like the others. Just a bunch of UK politicians from across the UK who can’t even say the word England let alone demand an end to this blatant discrimination. England is nothing more than a milch cow for the benefit of the rest of the UK. Anyone who cares about England’s future should not vote for the anti-English Con/Lab/Lib parties.

  30. Kenneth
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Preventing some 16 year-old from working is a big mistake in my opinion.

    We need to learn to value young people.

    Some will have much greater self esteem by letting them get away from academia and get on with some real practical work that will be valued by their employers and their families.

  31. JimS
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    We will never get rid of First World poverty as it is defined relative to what the population as a whole has rather than an absolute meeting of needs.

    This is ‘Lake Wobegon’ logic, “.. where all the children are above average”.

  32. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    You will never remove people from poverty if you continue taxing them to the hilt.

    This ridiculous bill to leave the EU will be the final straw. To add a random unnecessary £45bn to our national debt as a gratuity payment to remove ourselves from a dictatorship is a moral and financial outrage.

    How do you propose to pay for it?

    Expect ANY party to do better than the Conservatives at the next election. This deal needs undermining, scuppering and forgetting… FAST.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      We will pay for it in the same way as we have paid the equivalent of half a trillion into the EU in the past and as we would be paying this £45 billion anyway if we had voted to stay in the EU, and then paying in more and more in perpetuity.

      It cannot be said too often that officially this is not part of the cost of leaving the EU, it is part of the cost of having joined it in the first place; and the people who should be blamed for it are not those who voted to leave but those who took us into it and then kept us in it while our liabilities quietly built up year after year on top of all the money we were actually paying in.

      The correct question is “Could we have avoided paying this money by voting to stay in the EU?” and the correct answer to that question is “No, clearly we would have paid it anyway, and a lot more besides afterwards.”

      • a-tracy
        Posted November 30, 2017 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

        Very good point Denis and should be repeated frequently by our MPs.

  33. Bob
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    So we are making savage cuts to the British military while subsidising the creation of an EU army. It that wise Mr Redwood?

  34. formula57
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Education as a route out of poverty may not be true for many today, at least at graduate level.

    The Labour Party abandoned as too expensive its “aspiration” of writing off past student debt – although a sum of c.£50 billion would meet about half the cost of course.

    • Lender
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

      Why should a student have their debt written off and not everyone else? The litigation if any government “writes-off” student debt will be financially debilitating on any government.

  35. Student
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood, is it really true that we are offering 50 bn euros just to sit at the table and negotiate? Surely given that we are a net contributor to the EU, our departure shall leave a large hole in their budget, and therefore the amount of money we pay them is a major bargaining chip for us which we shouldn’t just give away so easily without any concessions on their part?

    I feel like Mrs May et al. are just using taxes to pay for some deal (regardless of how bad) so that they can go down in history after 2019 as not being the ones who took us out of the EU without some form of deal and therefore not hold responsibility for anything from there on…

    • Ken Moore
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      Tough sell….here your local A & E unit is to be is more cuts to the border force just when it is needed most. Oh we also need to cut back on defence….per pupil school spending..

      But hey lets pay the Eu 50bn for the privilege of allowing the them to sell us more than we sell them. What services will be cut to pay for this ..or will it just be added to the 2 trillion national debt ?

      Good look with that Conservatives.. Corbyn must be laughing his dirty socks off…

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

        Interesting to see this supposed bill is being invoiced in Euros. Basically we need to do all we can to diss the Euro. STOP buying Eurozone products, going on holiday to Eurozone countries, and persuade others to do the same. Sign trade deals advantageous to other third countries which place the Eurozone at a disadvantage. Encourage Turkey, Ukraine and other non-contributors to their fold… the Euro will collapse and along with it our “bill”.

    • acorn
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

      No, “we are offering 50 bn euros just to sit at the table and negotiate”. That is why the EU deliberately separated the “divorce” bill from the subsequent phases of possible trade negotiations.

      Appearing to be paying up-front for a trade deal is a violation of WTO subsidy rules. The EU Commission knows that from extensive knowledge and experience of the WTO, that, the UK does not have. The EU is currently negotiating fourteen other trade deals beside a possible “reverse” UK trade deal.

      I am advised by fellow number crunchers, that financial commitments inside a Treaty are legally similar to international commercial contracts, I don’t know if that is true.

    • rose
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      Spot on.

  36. Epikouros
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Society has invented a system to take everyone out of poverty, allow equal opportunity and improve social justice. It does not do so for everyone at a speed, intensity and is as equitable as that we would all like because it is constrained by many negative factors that are only gradually overcome. Creating a new system or imposing non voluntary rules and regulations in attempt to speed up and make it more equitable does not work. It in fact creates greater imperfections at best and considerable harm at worst and reverses or stagnates the process. The system itself was not designed by those with greater intellectual abilities but by everyone of all intellectual abilities by voluntarily cooperation, exchange and interaction.

  37. F. Nightingale
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    “Getting people out of poverty” We ARE out of poverty. If not then I died of poverty over half a century ago in childhood. The only income coming into my home was from my father who earned less than a coalminer. To keep a wife and three children. My stomach was always full of food honestly bought.
    End of story. Except. Well I have lived the life of riley ever since childhood by comparison on never more than three quarters the pay of a first year nurse in the NHS.
    I love my country!!!!!

    • Miss Brandreth-Jones
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      Today in the freezing cold in my home town 3 people were preparing themselves with bits of blankets and dirty sleeping bags for a night outside the shop windows on the floor. ! This is poverty.

      • rose
        Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:14 am | Permalink

        This is overpopulation. Our population could have been and should be 35 million.

      • a-tracy
        Posted November 30, 2017 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

        What is your solution to that?

        • Miss Brandreth-Jones
          Posted December 1, 2017 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

          I would love to help in some way. This lack of care for our fellow humans is criminal. There isn’t any excuse for anyone to sleep rough . Churches should be open at night. There are so many empty that could be used for temporary beds . Councils could re open boarded up houses. Instead of employing youngsters to sit behind a desk and perpetuate paper / IT work, they should be involved in preparing emergency places for freezing weather. If this is not a display of cruel poverty then perhaps those who say it is not ought to try it.

  38. Cassandra Hill
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    A good way to get people out of poverty would be to use the £50 billion Mrs May has promised to the EU here at home instead. Mr Redwood, you made clear the UK owes nothing once it leaves. Please explain yourself.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. Telling your constituents this in order to procure votes then sitting by while your leaders indulge in doing the opposite is at a minimum disingenuous. Just saying you disagree with them and leaving it at that doesn’t cut the mustard I’m afraid. You have greater responsibilities toward UK taxpayers.

      • Ken Moore
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        It’s a fair point, Redwoods approach has been too low key. Time for the Doctor to go over the top of the trench all guns blazing. If he believes we don’t need to pay the EU a penny he should tell the PM publically at PMQ.

        • rose
          Posted November 29, 2017 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

          How do we know what he says to them? We didn’t know at the time about the pressure they put on David Cameron to give us the referendum. He can’t resign as he isn’t in the government.

        • Sir Joe Soap
          Posted November 29, 2017 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

          Precisely. It’s all too easy to talk tough then just fall in with the so-called will of the party, on the pretext of #retaining influence#. What’s the point when they take no notice whatsoever? Mr Redwood and others like-minded would perhaps be more forthright to say ‘ I think x, but for now frankly my party leadership is far too timid to entertain this, so you’re likely to end up with y.”

    • sm
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      It may have escaped your notice that, unfortunately, our host is neither our Prime Minister nor our Chief Brexit Negotiator.

      • rose
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

        And our chief Brexit negotiator and his civil servants are being out-manoeuvred by other forces.

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

        Not the point. Doesn’t being an MP count for anything?

      • John C.
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, sm, your cool irony has left us all ashamed.
        Look, here is the biggest capitulation in our recent history, in an area in which our host is an undoubted specialist, and instead of commenting on it he waffles on about poverty in the the vaguest of terms.
        People are angry, especially when they see someone whom they respected apparently unwilling to tackle this major issue. Is Dr Redwood conjuring up some excuses for this pathetic climb-down? Is anyone left to support the genuine Conservative.?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      This has been going in since last December, or even before:

      “Britain will be handed £50bn exit bill by EU when Theresa May triggers Article 50, chief negotiator for Brussels warns”

      JR has repeatedly explained himself but he has also repeatedly been offered advice to correct or refine his position, which he has not always accepted.

      For example, on January 29th he wrote:

      “There is no legal basis for making any extra payments to the EU”

      to which I replied:

      “Well, JR, from what she told a Lords sub-committee on January 18th it seems that Dr María-Luisa Sánchez-Barrueco more or less completely agrees with you:

      However even if the strict legal position is as you and she describe it there is a political and diplomatic sting in the tail:

      “What will happen? First, the UK or the Union will suffer an immense loss of international prestige. In my opinion, that will hit the UK, which is poised to become a new international global actor, harder. What message will be sent to the potential partners of the UK if the UK did not honour its commitments, even though it is no longer legally obliged to do so? The consequences will be in the political and diplomatic spheres. I would expect retaliation in a variety of domains.”

      And suggested:

      “So it might be wise for the government to say something like:

      “Her Majesty’s government admits no legal liability for the payments demanded by the EU. However from its goodwill towards the peoples of the other member states the UK is prepared to negotiate certain ex gratia payments towards the satisfaction of future financial commitments made by the EU which were agreed while the UK was still a member state.””

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted December 1, 2017 at 10:26 am | Permalink

        There may be an element of denial in your approach but the result is that there will be payments and peace. What else can one want. After all, this is not money that must be raised suddenly and I would not be surprised if lifting this blanket of uncertainty called Brexit and replacing it with credible prospects for an FTA, (preferably as close to a customs union in fact, so that just in time cross border flow face minimal interruption) and Air/transportation services and financial oversight arrangements (plus a very large stand by arrangement with between the BoE and the ECB once the UK ceases to be an ECB member) that all of that might just result in much better growth (say .75 to 1.5 % annual GRGDP growth over the current pace) and appr 40bn extra revenues at least for mr Hammond. This should continue during the transition period while the FTA is being approved by the member states.

  39. David
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    I sometimes think that all politicians want to make us poorer. Obviously no one wants people who buy house to lose money. However most politicians seem to think that it is great that housing costs more than in the 1970s – no would think that it is great if food cost more than then.

    • HenryS
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      Tory politicians are first and foremost interested in big business and in banking afraid that ordinary people come only very far down the list

  40. David L
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    From a position of strength to falling on our knees in a matter of weeks. I had hoped for a bit more backbone from this lot. Corbyn must be chuckling as he digs his allotment..there’s enough of the brown stuff to fertilise his plot for years to come.
    Incidentally, Labour supporters should be aware of the rest of the lyrics of the song that starts “Oh Jeremy Corbyn”, it goes on “Doh! (slapping of forehead) John McDonnell, Aaaargh! Len McCluskey,” and so on. Trouble is, it ain’t so funny now.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted December 1, 2017 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      There is really no alternative. One can walk out (happily or in anger, that does not matter) but there are bills to pay and the only discussion can be about the amounts involved and the timing. Not paying what is due is not an option for a civilized government.

  41. hans chr iversen
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    the Princes Trust works very well in this context

  42. VotedOut
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    £50 billion given to the EU when we don’t need to do so, would go a long way to getting people out of poverty!

    If you lot do give £50 billion, you’re going to get annihilated at the next chance we plebs get – because your not going to talk your way out of that.

    We should walk away in December.

    Only the politicians we have had in the last few years would countenance such a disgraceful idea of a modern day Danegeld.

    • Nig l
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      But we are not giving 50 billion or whatever away. If you saw the Ian Duncan Smith interview with Kay Burley he explained over 40 years we are getting 400 billion back or similar (sub text we are giving away the 50 billion to get 400, so a good deal) the fact that on leaving we would get all but the two year transition cost, any way seemed lost.

      Looks like the new government spin position to justify giving more of our money away.

    • Fed Up
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

      Here here

  43. hefner
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    All you (might) want to know from the “other side” is available from the site of the
    European Parliament Information Office in London (, search for “Events & Info”, then “Brexit Impact Studies.

    The real, properly existing 47 documents are there for anybody to see, not managed, massaged, nor edited.

    From our side we get “Britain xxxx prosper. Land of xxxx and xxxxx for everyone. Everything xxxx xx alright”.
    Thanks to JR-M for not being a Legatum jelly.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      They are studies commissioned by the EU Parliament, not the government studies that some MPs on the select committee want to see so they can leak the confidential information and try to put more obstacles in the way of Brexit.

      • Street Mogger
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

        In Parliament it was said recently that “A Committee of Parliament has the right over and above Parliament in itself to publish whatever it sees fit irrespective of whether that information was given to it confidentially. This was said by a high profile Brexiteer who insisted on such information be provided by the Brexit Minister. Obviously, the House needs to change the rules about the power a Committee of a tiny number of people having power even in excess of the ruling Cabinet.

  44. ChasE
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Education and training programes can be only the start. There are other things in this society that will need to be urgently tackled as well like the huge disparity in the class system pertaining in this country. UK has to be the most class ridden land in europe or the world, no doubt. Just this week we’ve had wall to wall coverage of Prince Harry’s engagement and almost non stop- just as if nothing else important mattered.. It’s about time the number and size of the Royals was drastically scaled back. Then we should look at the House of Lords with over 800 is just all too much and sends out the wrong signals to the middle classes. The signal it sends out to the lower orders is that there is little or no chance to climb the greasy pole and so we end up with large swathes of the people trapped like in ‘Shameless’ circumstances

  45. Peter
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    If it comes to the worst the Brexit ministers have the option of resigning and trying to bring down the government.

    This is more acceptable than going along with a fudge, or a very bad deal.

    If Labour get in so be it.

  46. Beecee
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    What happened to – ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’?

    There is another agenda at play here, and it is not very subtle!

  47. Instant recall
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    I cannot say it was part of the official campaign to join the Common Market in the ONE referendum, it was a long time ago, but I do recall vividly at least by the media we were repeatedly told our retirement age on joining would soon thereafter go down to 60 years of age,men and women, then 55 and then remarkably 50 years of age “Europe is more advanced in such thinking!”.
    The reasons, because of the prosperity that the Common Market would bring… the increase that technology would bring across the whole of Europe. Our holidays would increase to 9, yes 9 or at least 7 weeks per year in the worst scenario.
    So, our Remoaners go on about an advert on the side of a bus. They don’t remember how we were conned in the first place. The ones who can remember, refuse to recall it as it doesn’t fit in with their comfy gravy-train jobs in Brussels and in these jobs where so-called EU money keep their own children in a FAKE JOB.

  48. Backofanenvelope
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps the Labour Party will save the day by voting the whole deal down!

    • Beaky Person
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

      That would require guts. The Labour Party is ample in paunch though short in guts judging by its EU-compliant and subservient energy-saving leading lights.

  49. libertarian
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    Actually Mr Redwood, increasing the school leaving age, pushing everyone into university and our appalling outdated education system is entirely to blame for the high levels of “poverty”, the skills shortages, unfilled jobs and vast welfare bill.

    Another society failure caused by meddling idiotic politicians

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted November 30, 2017 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      Absolutely correct.

  50. Andy
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    A good way to get people out of poverty would be to not spend £50bn on something which will make most of them poorer.

  51. Dunedin
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Re the ever rising “divorce bill” – do you know whether we are negotiating for permanent access to the EU market. Will we have any assurances that the EU cannot come back in future and demand more money for continued access?

  52. Fed Up
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    Let’s give 50BN to the EU for a bill we don’t owe, that’ll really help get people out of poverty.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted December 1, 2017 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      The voice of the expert

  53. Awe Will
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    Downing Street condemns the retweeting of tweets from a UK political party which is a legitimate political party, non-proscribed, and therefore fully and completely authorised in legal terms by in effect Downing Street itself . 29th November 1984

    • rose
      Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      Downing Street doesn’t any longer believe in free speech, and the BBC doesn’t believe in the right of reply, however polite and reasonable.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted December 1, 2017 at 10:15 am | Permalink

        No friends left at all then..

  54. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    Add the money we give in foreign aid to the Brexit bill and we are well on our way to caring for the rest of the world while our people get poorer. Sorry, I didn’t realise this was the role of government.

  55. Turboterrier.
    Posted November 29, 2017 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    This government history will show is something akin to the government that tried to appease Herr Hitler. Sadly the current incumbents of the house of Westminster it would seem have learnt nothing from history. How they have let this once great country down and made us a laughing stock

  56. Ian Dennis
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    My view on Brexit was that it would be a great development for this country if it were done well.
    It is impossible now to defend the charge that the government are executing Brexit extremely poorly.
    We are weak and vacillating and have conceded far too much for literally no concessions.
    We have lined up all our trump cards, defence, security and money and given them all away for nothing.
    The government is undermined by elements of the remain side who have refused to accept the referendum, their behaviour has been despicable. Some of these elements are at the heart of government and in the negotiating room, no wonder our negotiation has been a catastrophe.
    The results of this will have dire consequences for the Conservative party.

  57. a-tracy
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    In England, Childhood has extended to 18 since 2015 by raising the school leaving age. The point we were told was a decline in low skilled work and a necessity to give the skills required for modern day employment. Childhood effectively extends to the length of compulsory education/training. The first of these children are now becoming adults and entering the world of work or extending their Childhood into higher education (with their allowances calculated on their parents income with no consideration to how many siblings they have and still requiring parental support and funding) – it would be interesting to follow their progress and tell the general public if this compulsory extension of childhood under the ‘parents’ duty to assist’ works. What % of them went into work at 18 and what sort of work, what income brackets, and what are the rest studying? Then in 3 years time we need to follow up, in 2020 to discover what jobs our University Cohort are doing, what income brackets they start in? Just what are we educating them to do? Is it working?

  • 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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