Getting the economy growing faster

Too much navel gazing about Brexit is crowding out time and space to discuss how we should respond to the worldwide slowdown in growth, to the recession in parts of the European continent, and to the need for policy change here to stimulate more enterprise, jobs and higher living standards.

In the USA, UK, Euro area and China the Central Banks have been tightening. Money and credit growth slowed markedly in 2018 especially in the UK. The US had rate rises and  reduced Quantitative easing, but there was a big offset with the large tax cuts the President put through the Congress. Money growth fell off late last year. This year the Fed has reduced its QE cancellation rate and signalled a softer approach, leading to some rebound in money growth and a big rally in share markets from relief.

In the UK we had two rate rises, the cancellation of special loan facilities for the commercial banks, no more QE and tough guidance on consumer credit, on  top end mortgages and car loans. Money growth halved. UK tax policy has been hostile to property and to cars, with big hikes in Stamp Duties on numerous transactions, and in Vehicle Excise Duty deterring purchases of new vehicles. UK fiscal policy has also tightened considerably, and this year there was an additional substantial further tightening from an unplanned extra cut in the deficit.

In China a doubling of car purchase tax to 10% and a credit squeeze brought down their car market and added to the slowdown induced by tougher money policies. In the Eurozone they ended Quantitative easing , continued to battle under reserved banks and hit the car industry with new emissions regulations. The gilet jaune protests damaged French sales and growth. Italy moved into recession. Germany had a fall in GDP in Q3 with no growth in Q4.

In such conditions with slowdown in our major trading partners around the world the UK should be taking sensible measures to promote expansion. Inflation is below target and unlikely to become a problem any time soon. The government should cut Stamp Duties. The present rates are reducing the revenues and have caused quite a shortfall compared to Treasury and OBR forecasts. The government should take VED back to pre 2017 budget levels to reduce the tax on buying a new car. Business rates on the High Street should be cut to help retailers. VAT should  be removed from green products and domestic fuel, helping keep inflation down.  The Bank of England should announce new good value loan facilities for commercial banks wanting to on lend for new business and growth. It should remove its special strictures against car loans as there is no evidence of credit danger threatening the system. It should state, as the Fed has now done, that it will be patient before any rate rise, and will want to see evidence of faster economic growth and a decisive upturn in money growth before a rate rise. This should all happen whatever we do on Brexit.

Let us assume  we leave on 29 March without signing the Withdrawal Agreement which is what will happen unless Parliament legislates to delay or stop Brexit or legislates some Withdrawal Treaty. The government should then hold a budget in early April to spend the money we will be saving from end March on our net budget contributions. It could spend an additional £12 bn next year on better public services and tax cuts without increasing the deficit. Given the substantial tightening and the low level of the planned deficit I would go further and spend £20bn or half the budgeted £39bn cost of the Withdrawal Agreement in the first year. That would provide a welcome 1% boost to the economy. Our schools, social care and public security budgets all need more, whilst selective tax cuts could boost home buying, cars, green products  and the High Street if we cut VED, Stamp Duty, Business rates and VAT. Some of these tax cuts would yield more revenues as they are currently stifling business.

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  1. Peter Wood
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    Good Morning Sir John,
    I do appreciate your relentless positive approach, but perhaps, as in your last para, you anticipate leaving without the WA capitulation, your wishful thinking needs help. May I offer a near term and urgent action plan.

    Over the last few months we’ve seen some European nations, and occasionally the EU, enter into ‘specific facilitation’ agreements with us that will endure come what may, to address particular issues that these countries alone, or the EU also, WANT to maintain with us. Will you energise the ERG to list, explain, and publicise these facilitation agreements, particularly for those MP’s in the HoC to review and hopefully understand why leaving on WTO terms is no ‘cliff-edge’ and the WA is a May BRINO plan that should be binned forthwith.

    Reply Will talk to ERG about thar

    • Stephen Priest
      Posted March 2, 2019 at 6:34 am | Permalink

      Weak assurances about the backstop does not make the rest of the worst than remain BRINO Withdrawal Agreement good. It must be voted down

      Obviously not everybody follows these things closely and would not be aware how bad the Withdrawal Agreement is. If MPs dared to delay or reverse Brexit the public would have a clear view of the betrayal. Even in that scenario we could still leave the EU as voted for. We could not do that with the Withdrawal Agreement.

      • Adam
        Posted March 2, 2019 at 9:14 am | Permalink

        A clean break, enabling our regainment of freedom to act in our best interests, is superior to recurring entanglement.

        • Hope
          Posted March 2, 2019 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

          I hope the DUP and leave MPs across the house vote down May’s servitude plan again. We read today Barnier yet to receive any proposal! None of the MPs who voted it down last time could with any honour vote for it this time. It is awful in its entirety. Not just the backstop.

          For May to give away north of £39 billion of our taxes, deal or not, just shows what an awful person she is. Our public services are dire, highest taxation in 50 years and she is determined to give away so much of our hard earned money! Overseas aid £15.1 billion plus EU overseas aid contribution of £3.75 billion! Nearly £20 billion! Then she wants you to sell your house for elderly care! Or the young get a lifetime of debt to go to a university when EU students get university education in the UK for Free!

          • margaret howard
            Posted March 2, 2019 at 6:24 pm | Permalink


            “Or the young get a lifetime of debt to go to a university when EU students get university education in the UK for Free!”

            Where exactly do EU students get free UK university education?

          • rose
            Posted March 2, 2019 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

            EU students get university tuition free in Scotland, officially, while English students there have to pay. EU students also get it free in England unofficially as they take advantage of our domestic loan system and then don’t always pay back. No-one chases them.

          • Adam
            Posted March 3, 2019 at 8:23 am | Permalink

            Jane spent all her money wisely & at age 70 owns her £100k house.
            Jim wasted all his money on booze & gambling until 70 ending up £2m in debt.
            Theresa proposed that Jane should sell her house to pay for her care & Jim’s.
            Jane loses & pays.
            Jim is not charged, so he wins & lives carefree.
            Theresa is careless about fairness, & unfit to govern.

      • Hope
        Posted March 2, 2019 at 10:02 am | Permalink

        JR, your last paragraph needs clarification. We read your govt has already written a statutory instrument to pay the EU vast amounts even if we left without a deal. Therefore what you say is in doubt to say the least. Similarly, we in May’s servitude plan the UK will pay/ give away to the EU tens of billions under different headings her thoroughly dishonest Kitkat policy. Also what has May agreed to be on the hook for under EIB liabilities?

        George Eustice is of course right in his article today. The traitors last week put the EU in a formidable position to take the UK to the cleaners. How much do,these politico,traitors think it will cost. For a delay or extension? Moreover this will impact for any future trade relationship. May has caved in on every single issue. She has got absolutely nothing of value for,our country over the past three years. This is collusion not negotiation. No right minded person could,accept the sefitude plan let alone put it before parliament three times with a record defeat each time claiming to change it and in fact did nothing of substance. There is no trust in May.

        Tory associations need to withdraw all support for those traitor MPs who have acted against them, their party and their country. These MPs want them to work to get them elected but had and have no intention to support the campaigns they were elected on or raise funds to get them elected on false grounds. In any other walk of life it would be fraud! They must surely realise not to do so means there will not be. A party or a small rump of a party that is unelectable.

        We read Gyimah’s association have woke up to the different stories he has been saying and writing. Good for them.

      • jerry
        Posted March 2, 2019 at 10:35 am | Permalink

        @Stephen Priest; “Even in that scenario we could still leave the EU as voted for.”

        Prey do tell us what that was? With 28 different Leave manifestos and groups, ranging from the political hard left to the political hard right, from wanting a WTO exit to converting our membership to that of a EEA member, no one really knows why 17.4m odd people cast their vote as they did, sure they all wanted to Leave the “European Union” but then Norway is not a member of the EU….

        “We could not do that with the Withdrawal Agreement.”

        Unfortunately, both legally and democratically, yes we can. 🙁

        Not having the guts to hold a second, clarifying, referendum that asked the How and When questions is coming back to bite some Brexiteers…

        • John Hatfield
          Posted March 2, 2019 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

          Jerry, if the government can’t honour the result of the referendum we already had, what guarantee is there they will honour a second one?

          • margaret howard
            Posted March 2, 2019 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

            John Hatfield

            Honouring the result of the referendum applies to England only as both Scotland and Ireland voted Remain with a far higher majority

            So if ardent Brexiteers insist the referendum results of 17.1m leavers against 16.1 m remainers must be strictly adhered to then that means that they are prepared for the UK to be split up to honour the Remain vote for Scotland and Ireland.

            So after over 300 years of union you are ready to become a rump England with about as much clout in the world at large as Liechtenstein.

          • rose
            Posted March 2, 2019 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

            Once again you forget all about Wales, and in Northern Ireland a majority of the Unionists voted to Leave.

          • jerry
            Posted March 2, 2019 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

            @John Hatfield; There is more chance that the Govt will honour the result of the instructive referendum when the result gives a specific instruction, rather than some vague notion, after all at least one Brexit manifesto advocated leaving the European Union but becoming a member of the EEA.

            How many people voted Leave because they agreed with the within the Flexcit manifesto, how many people voted Leave becausethey agreed with the within the Vote Leave manifesto, please be specific and cite your sources, if you can not tell me the individual votes for those two Brexit supporting groups you are proving my point!

        • Stephen Priest
          Posted March 2, 2019 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

          17.4m people (who weren’t odd) knew exactly what they were voting for.

          The anti democratic Remain establishment have concocted scenarios that just are not true.

          • jerry
            Posted March 2, 2019 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

            @Stephen Priest; Utter nonsense, unless you are seriously trying to suggest such diverse campaign groups as “Flexcit”, “The Socialist Party”, “Vote Leave”, “UKIP” and “Business for Britain” -just to name five out of the 28- all said the same, all had the same post Brexit policy wish list.

            Are you really suggesting that Mr Farage rejected his own parties Brexit manifesto, are you suggesting the author of Flexcit rejected his own work, Socialist suddenly found capitalism – what about such groups supporters?…

      • Richard
        Posted March 2, 2019 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

        “If MPs dared to delay or reverse Brexit the public would have a clear view of the betrayal.” Spot on. MPs didn’t dare renege on Brexit in 2017, so why should MPs be any more reckless immediately before a possible GE 2019? 74% of Conservative Party seats voted Leave and 64% of Labour Party seats voted Leave:

        A fascinating article today on how a Brussels-resident Irishman gave a 2013 speech that foretold with spooky accuracy exactly how the UK Establishment & the EU would collaborate to thwart a Leave vote. Because the exact same playbook had been deployed against Ireland twice previously.
        No wonder Brussels chose to ignore Cameron’s Bloomberg speech of January 2013 when they were planning the 2014-2020 Budget.

        • margaret howard
          Posted March 2, 2019 at 6:47 pm | Permalink


          If the Irish have been duped why do they keep voting for pro EU governments?

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted March 2, 2019 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

          That Irishman is called Mary Ellen. I know that these days that does not necessarily signify, but in this case I think it does … what I didn’t know is that she was born in Virginia of an American father:

          • hefner
            Posted March 6, 2019 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

            And what do her birth in the USA and an American father actually add to your comment?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 2, 2019 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      It’s far too late for that now, and if we said that we were just up and leaving without any agreement at all about anything at all, and without paying in any more, then the EU could quite reasonably refuse to talk about trade facilitation or anything else and lay the blame for the ensuing legal and practical chaos on us. And of course our own Prime Minister would take the side of the EU on that, just as she has almost always taken the side of the EU on everything else up to now.

      • Hope
        Posted March 2, 2019 at 11:17 am | Permalink

        I note Elwood advocating against govt policy to stop no deal ad what he voted for in the Withdrawal Act. Where is his credibility? What position does he think this would put the UK in for any discussion? Why has he not been sacked and dumped by his association? He has betrayed manifesto, supporters and country. Elected on false grounds like all the others trying to get no deal off the table.

        Good to Spelman having a vote of no confidence vote. She was not straight with her electors or,assocaition. If she had any honour she would have resigned during the expense scandal when charging for her nanny on expenses. etc ed

      • Richard
        Posted March 2, 2019 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

        “that we were just up and leaving” Au contraire, simply Parliament refusing to abolish UK democracy; or accept ‘The Worst Deal In History’.

        Professor David Paton: “Perhaps most importantly, MPs need to realise that, in practice, ‘No Deal’ has already been taken off the table due to the large number of side deals that have already been agreed with the EU and other countries. These cover areas such as citizens’ rights, cross-border transport within the EU, mutual recognition on standards with the US, a number of financial services and continued free trade with important partners such as Switzerland.”
        Sir john:

        Realpolitik. As German manufacturers & French farmers will say.

    • oldtimer
      Posted March 2, 2019 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      Good points. Regrettably we have in place a government that is low on coherent thought or a clear sense of purpose. Nothing much will change unless and until there is a change at the top. Whether that change will be for the better or the worse will depend on who succeeds May.

      • rose
        Posted March 2, 2019 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

        She shows no sign of going. Any party which could put her in, and then pass up the opportunity of getting rid of her when the whole world knew they should, is quite capable of letting her carry on.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 2, 2019 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      Well said, Peter. And thank you Sir John.

    • Nigl
      Posted March 2, 2019 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      Indeed and a simple list where the current agreement means we are open endedly tied to EU rules and policy and financial contributions. The analysis I have seen is far too wordy.

      Publish it and if someone will fund it, also take out page ‘advertorials’ in the newspapers under ‘leave doesn’t mean leave’

  2. Captain Peacock
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    More than any time in recent history we need a strong leader and government alas we don’t have one. Latest snub the Irish impounding one of our fishing vessels when we leave I hope we change Irish lorries heavily for traveling on our roads on their way to Europe.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 2, 2019 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      But the problem is not that our leader lacks strength, the problem is that she is on the other side using her personal strength and our public resources against us.

      • John Hatfield
        Posted March 2, 2019 at 3:12 pm | Permalink


  3. Mark B
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Too late about the £39bn, and possibly more, the government and your leader have agreed to give the EU that money regardless.

    Let us not spend the money. Let us have tax cuts instead ?

    • Peter
      Posted March 2, 2019 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      I am more concerned about the robbing bar stewards in government (it does not make a difference which party) turfing carers out of fairly modest homes in order to pay their scandalous, menacing tax demands (inheritance tax scam).

    • James
      Posted March 2, 2019 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      We don’t need higher government spending. Government spending is already far too high. What is needed is radically lower government spending, and for the money saved to be handed back to the taxpayers. Taxpayers are able to spend their money in ways that suit them in infinitely better ways than can politicians. Our trust should reside more in the common sense of the people and less in the altruism of politicians.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 2, 2019 at 10:29 am | Permalink

        Indeed let people spend their own money on things they actually want. It is far more efficient that way.

        Half the money the government spends (at least) is wasted, spent on things the public did not want anyway or worse still spend doing positive harm. Much is spend on government propaganda, greencrap subsidies, augmenting the feckless, blatant corruption, HS2, importing absurd Biofuels or trying to buy votes. (Gordon Brown’s idiotic baby bonds as a totally outrageous example).

        Though I am looking forward to my daughters’s 18th birthday parties that the tax payer will have kindly funded.

    • Richard
      Posted March 2, 2019 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      Tax cuts would in fact be a true end to ‘Austerity’.

      Economic theory & evidence indicates that UK GDP growth rates could now be significantly boosted by lower taxes:

      If the economist David B. Smith is right that “ the results of two tax reduction scenarios suggest that the UK may now be on the wrong side of the aggregate Laffer curve” then that must be true for several of our taxes – and our host gives examples.
      So UK GDP growth can be boosted at negligible/negative cost to HM Treasury. Why would a sane Chancellor not do that?

      And oh BTW, after 2020, the visible saving from a Real Brexit increases to c. £17Bn Net p.a.

      • acorn
        Posted March 2, 2019 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

        Lower taxes mean higher budget deficits, unless you reduce government spending. A reduction of government spending will be a continuation of “austerity”; purchasing power in the economy will drop.

        Government spending increases are always more effective than tax cuts at boosting an economy. Tax cuts tend to go into Household savings. The last thing the UK economy needs at the moment is more Households saving. The compulsory Workplace Pension Scheme, is about to extract even more spending power from the economy.

        No government taxes to maximise income using the mythical Laffer Curve. Taxes are used to (a) stop or reduce activity in a particular sector (tobacco smoking for instance). (b) to divert private sector output into the public sector for the common good of society. Taxes do not fund government spending. The government spends long before it taxes.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 3, 2019 at 8:23 am | Permalink

          You think higher taxes will improve our standard of living acorn.
          I find they make me poorer.
          Lower taxes can result in less state deficit as the economy grows.
          The laffer curve isn’t a myth.
          Adherents to your economic theory told us disaster awaited us when the state reduced levels of corporate taxes and reduced the top rate of income tax and increased the point at which you start to pay income tax.
          The opposite happened.
          Tax revenues went up.
          The opposite happened on capital gains taxes when they were put up by 10% and indexing stopped it was predicted that revenues would rise.
          They did not, they fell.
          Yours is a very strange economic theory which claims the more the state taxes borrows and spends the better off we will all become.
          I think economic history shows that policy leads to poverty and collapse.

          • acorn
            Posted March 8, 2019 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

            OK, I accept that you know absolutely nothing about macroeconomics. Non-League players trying to better Premier League players, only happens in the FA Cup world.

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    Indeed tax rates are so absurdly high in some areas (stamps duty and capital gains in particular) that they would raise more if cut and encourage more useful activity. Lots of other win, win areas to cut red tape and simplify taxation (effectively secondry taxes on top of tax that does not even raise money.

    The ‘making tax digital’ regulations alone has forced me to buy new accounting software, use staff time and have additional training for three companies. This will cost me about £1000 PA thus reducing my profits and corporation tax with no benefit to anyone (other than accounting software companies). Then there is the absurdly misdirected gross over regulation of bank lending which is killing some perfectly sound business activity for no reason. The taxation of profits (that have not even been made) on landlords and thus passes on to tenants in higher rents and lack of supply is particularly idiotic.

    A massive bonfire of red tape, abolishion of the greencrap expensive agenda, relaxation of planning, employment and other laws would be another massive boost. Replacement of the visionless, disingenuous, remainer socialist May and her tax to death Chancellor with competent who will not give us Communist Corbyn would be yet another huge boost to confidence.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 2, 2019 at 6:22 am | Permalink

      Replacement with a PM who did not endlessly go on about “building on EU workers rights”. These ‘rights’ cut productivity, mean you cannot easily fire incompetent or inefficient staff (your children’s teachers or your surgeon perhaps) or perhaps the person you have to work with and cover for.

      In most cases workers rights destroy the availability of job, damage productivity, lowers overall wages and damages the economy. They are effectively another tax and impediment in the way of business efficiency and job creation. They create loads of unproductive legal, management time and other such pointless activity killing productivity. The best workers right by far is the right to leave for a better job if you do not like where you are lots of good available alternative jobs.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted March 2, 2019 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

        Supposed workers rights just leads to organisations hiring less PAYE workers, and instead hiring via umbrella companies, or personal service limited companies. So no net gain to the relevant workers.

        But we do need to establish how genuine freelancers are supposed to work tax wise as both umbrellas and personal service limited companies are being hammered by the state.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 2, 2019 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

          Indeed another back door tax increase attacking the gig economy. Yet another one with the reduction in the time you get to pay CGT too. Osborne’s help to buy scheme has created huge profits windfall for some large builders – but is another rather foolish misuse of tax payers money. Did any MPs act as “consultants” to these large builders I wonder?

          • Iain Gill
            Posted March 2, 2019 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

            IR35 and change of expense rules for umbrella company workers are counter productive. Freelancers whether they are doing that long term, or as a short term gig, need to be able to get hotel & travel tax free. Them being prepared to work far from home is needed by the economy, people with rare skills need to be able to work in different places. And making them pay for hotels and travel out of taxed income puts them at a disadvantage to workers subcontracted from one of the big consultancies, who retain the right to fund hotel & travel to their workers tax free (& helps those consultancies bringing in significant numbers of foreign workers with other big tax perks too like first 12 months in the country completely free of both employers and employees national insurance, so further eroding the native workforce and encouraging more out of control immigration)…

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 2, 2019 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      Much talk on the BBC about food standards US or UK or EU and chlorinated chicken. Yet few british people seem to have any problem going to the US and eating their foods. The solution is simple label food as USA, UK, EU or other satifactory standards and let the customers choose. “Simples” as Theresa May might say, were she were not such a government knows best dope.

      That is real democracy freedom and choice. We need the same in education, health care, housing ……. get the state and government out of the way as far as possible.

      The biggest danger of food in the USA last time I was there a couple of years back was surely the absurdly huge portion sizes.

      • Steve
        Posted March 2, 2019 at 12:45 pm | Permalink


        Re bleached chicken.

        I believe this is all anti-brexit propaganda aimed at convincing people we won’t be able to trade with the US. I ignore it.

        • rose
          Posted March 2, 2019 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

          It is propaganda. We used to have chlorine washed poultry, meat, and fish not so long ago. We still have chlorine washed fruit and veg, including salad leaves in supermarkets. And of course we have chlorine in our swimming pools, and drink it in our tap water. And notice they never mention the antibiotics. Or the GM which is already here.

      • Richard1
        Posted March 2, 2019 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

        Indeed. It would be good to know whether Sir nick Clegg – always a loud scaremonger Re chlorinated chicken and hormone fed beef – now allows his family to go to restaurants or to buy food in shops in the US. Perhaps he has food parcels delivered of goods meeting EU standards?

        I have always been happy enough to eat chicken, beef, etc in the US & Canada and have never noticed ill effects, not heard anyone else over there mention the issue.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 2, 2019 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

          Is that the Nick Clegg who assured us all there was plans for an EU army?

          • Lifelogic
            Posted March 2, 2019 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

            assured us there were no plans for an EU army I meant!

      • jerry
        Posted March 2, 2019 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

        @LL; “The biggest danger of food in the USA last time I was there a couple of years back was surely the absurdly huge portion sizes.”

        Indeed, twice the portion size but half the price.

        This is simple EU/UK protectionism, dressed up as food standards, when actually the US has a higher standard – the EU claim they don’t want chlorinated chicken because it might encourage risk taking by EU/UK food processors, but what if those standards slip anyway?

      • Iain Gill
        Posted March 2, 2019 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

        food safety standards in the US are far higher than those in Bulgaria and Romania which are fully signed up members of the EU

    • Al
      Posted March 2, 2019 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      “The ‘making tax digital’ regulations alone has forced me to buy new accounting software, use staff time and have additional training for three companies.”

      Lifelogic, working with many third sector clients we have similar problems, including a client firm that needs to hire someone to do it for them as apparently no one considered that “making tax digital” software should be disabled accessible – or perhaps merely agreed with Hammond that the disabled lowered GDP per capita and were thus undesirable in the workforce.

      We also work with certain not-for-profits with incomes of under £1000 per annum that provide useful services (e.g. environmental protection, sports clubs, etc.) that are concerned they will be forced to close by the extra cost.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 2, 2019 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

        Good news on this as apparently you do not have to comply if you are below the compulsory registration threshold of £85K and are registering for VAT voluntarily I understand. Yet!

        • Al
          Posted March 2, 2019 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

          Or if a company is caught by one of the zero VAT threshold traps still in EU VAT and forced to register (several EU governments do not accept the UK VATMOSS system, and require VAT registration).

          One zero-threshold transaction via Paypal or other online payment system can sink a small charity, and it is not always easy to block them or even identify them.

  5. Andy
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    We know that we will not leave on March 29 without a deal because MPs will not allow it.

    We also know that most of the ERG and DUP will end up backing Mrs May’s deal.

    So, however much you all whine on here, Mrs May’s deal is Brexit.

    That is what Brexit means. Not the fantasy side of a bus Brexit. Reality Brexit. Rubbish isn’t it?

    Anyway the Tory party’s only policy is to knowingly harm the economy to a greater extent than any governing party in history – I wouldn’t worry too much about figuring out the problems of economic growth. The main one is Brexit – which you all staggeringly still think is a good idea.

    It’s like you are advocating blowing out a candle to help when you have doused you house in petrol and deliberately set it alight.

    • jerry
      Posted March 2, 2019 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      @Andy; You are either trolling again or you really do not have a first clue.

      Many Brexiteers, perhaps even the ERG, would prefer to cancel Brexit (our A50 letter), remain in on our current terms (as the ECJ has confirmed we can), than accept the WA -with or without the backstop- if it was a straight choice between not leaving or accepting the WA (that leaves the UK a vessel state, having to obey laws that it has no voice or vote on).

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 2, 2019 at 11:10 am | Permalink


        Without a second referendum.

        Let it be recorded that there is significant (and on at least one day, majority) dissent in the EU. Not just here but in all EU countries.

        In a healthy democracy that sort of thing is acknowledged and treated with some respect. Especially when it takes place in one of the (now officially) least racist countries in the EU.

        Why are federalists so determined that it must be The People’s idea to remain.

        Just defy us.

        I can tell you. A second referendum with a 52:48% for Remain (highly likely) would make things ten times worse than straight forward defiance.

        This is not The People’s Vote they are asking for – it is Operation Make The People Think Cancelling Brexit Was Their Idea.

        It stinks.

        It has Blair’s fingerprints all over it.

        • Pominoz
          Posted March 2, 2019 at 11:38 pm | Permalink


          Agree entirely that the May strategy, from the outset, aided by Olly Robbins (why did he get a ‘bonus’ before he had actually delivered anything?) was to deliver a deal so bad that anyone sensible, left with only either that option, or staying in the EU, would actually vote to remain. At least (in theory) that would still leave us the opportunity to re-trigger Article 50 when the ‘right’ MPs are in the HoC.

          In reality, not getting our ‘properly’ now, will see the UK controlled by the EU until its eventual disintegration. Hope that won’t be too long – glad I am well away.

      • L Jones
        Posted March 2, 2019 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

        ”…. remain in on our current terms…” What? Are people REALLY naive enough to imagine that there is a status quo that can guarantee such a scenario?
        Doesn’t ”ever closer union” suggest ANY sort of movement to you? Are you all completely bonkers that you imagine things will remain the same and that WE and our country will be allowed to remain as we are now?

        • jerry
          Posted March 3, 2019 at 8:47 am | Permalink

          @L Jones; “Are you all completely bonkers”

          No I’m not even slightly “bonkers”, but I do suspect you suffer from the red-mist before the eyes syndrome…

          I was not advocating Remain, in preference to leaving!

          I want a WTO exit, but if that is not going to happen then I would far prefer [1] the UK to retain its full membership of the EU, with our voting rights intact rather than still have to obey many the same rules of the EU because some half-baked WA has made the UK nothing but a vessel state.

          The ECJ have ruled that, should we cancel A50 before the 29th, our opt-outs from the Euro and Schengen etc. are retained, as are the UK’s voting rights, even our right to use the A50 process again.

          [1] and I suspect I’m far from being alone

    • Steve
      Posted March 2, 2019 at 12:42 pm | Permalink


      “So, however much you all whine on here, Mrs May’s deal is Brexit.”

      No, brexit is what we demand. If it is not, there will be trouble.

      Besides, if we leave without a deal on 29th I’d love to read your admission on here that you are struggling to get all that egg off your face.

      • Andy
        Posted March 2, 2019 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

        You can demand unicorns all you like – you won’t get them because they do not exist.

        A no deal will not happen. Parliament will not allow it. Mrs May’s deal will pass. Brexit will happen. It will be her deal. It will almost certainly not be on March 29.

        Incidentally I am the easy with a no deal Brexit. It is, by far, the best outcome for me. Not because it will be good but because it will be so bad that it is the quickest way to guarantee Brexit will be swiftly undone.

        Brexiteers made a huge mistake. You failed to understand that that the referendum did not give you a mandate for an amputation from Europe. You failed to bring the country together. Rather than reaching out to the 48% – and the vast majority of young people – you variously accused them of being traitors, collaborators and the like. Our attitude in response is clear: sod you.

        Consequently, as a traitor, I for one will not facilitate your Brexit. I expect you to get on with it and to stop whining. My job now is to help undermine you. It is to ridicule you. It is to do everything I can to guarantee you fail. It is then to ensure Brexit is permanently undone.

        I do not need to do much. You are all so embarrassingly hapless that you are managing to do this all by yourselves anyway.

        • Alan Joyce
          Posted March 2, 2019 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

          Dear Mr. Redwood,


          Well done!

          You have surpassed yourself today with a first class rant.

          I can offer the following advice. Re-reading your posts before sending them would help to cut out common grammatical errors, such as sentence fragments or split infinitives.

          In this way you can continue to boldly post your comments where no poster has gone before.

          • L Jones
            Posted March 2, 2019 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

            Well said, Mr Joyce. Andy’s posts are entertaining, if nothing else. He/she really should keep in mind: It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.

            Poor beleaguered Andy.

  6. Nigl
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    I don’t want any more money to go into the public services until there is a root and branch review of potential efficiency savings from using the I.O.T etc and then a business case and plan to show specific and time bound pay back, plus again time bound equalisation of public sector pensions with the private sector.

  7. agricola
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    For sure May and her team must go, they have become toxic. There are people in the HoC with talent and a previous track record in industry who should be brought into government. As you seem to understand finance and business better than most think about running the treasury. Your wife might have some input on this. Do not be fearfull of coopting none political talent from outside. Churchill had the whit to do it in WW2. Economic survival is a form of subtle warfare after all. Subject the civil service to a new path. One thing I would suggest is short service commissions in the CS for people of talent in industry, but you must ensure that they have real power. I would not wish them to be emasculated by the current “Yes Minister” mafia. Civil servants at the top end should be subject to hire and fire as in productive industry.
    All the above assumes that the conservatives retain sufficient financial and political credit to be considered for government when the debris from your present government has been cleared away. Your conduct over two and a half years of Brexit suggests to me that you are not fit for purpose. You have overall neither the people or they the resolve to see Brexit through to a possitive end. If Nigel Farage forges an efficient political machine that can conquor a slice of the HoC it will be tory failure that opens the door. Corbyn and his Marxist rabble have no traction for the British electorate despite his following now in the Labour party. We know what they are and where they are, but it is not in the heart of the traditional Labour voter. The present political no mans land has effectively disenfranchised a large segment of the electorate.

    Reply I do not have a wife.

    • agricola
      Posted March 2, 2019 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      Apologies for my error, I do now begin to understand how you manage to run this diary, Wokingham, and the Brexit battle in Parliament. The downside of my suggested career move would be the end of this diary.
      It is one of few informal means of keeping us all informed and exchanging views. For which thank you very much.

      • L Jones
        Posted March 2, 2019 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

        Even though it brings it home just how hard is the wall our backs are pressed against.
        Still – onward and upward. It’ll be worth the struggle.

  8. George Brooks
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    You are absolutely right Sir John but unfortunately for the UK we have staunch remainer Hammond in charge of our finances and he is total focused on hoarding as much as he can to pay the EU while we try to free ourselves from that bankrupt organisation. We don’t need the May Brino and should get out on the 29th if we are to get through this world downturn with the least amount of damage to our economy

  9. Ian wragg
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    You can waffle all you like but trade, fiscal, social and energy policy not to mention defence,procurement and security will be controlled from Brussels.
    May and the MPs will see to that.

    • Adam
      Posted March 2, 2019 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      JR’s piece made constructive suggestions.

      In contrast, ‘not to mention defence,procurement and security’ might seem like waffle when mentioned.

      • Ian wragg
        Posted March 2, 2019 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

        You obviously haven’t read the Withdrawal Agreement.

  10. Dominic
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Improving productivity is the key that opens the door to sustainable economic growth. Extracting the maximum value from our limited resources is the only method to achieve sustainable improvements.

    The idea that spending even more capital on public sector projects feeds into economic growth is a misnomer. It’s a classic political deception and constitutes political spending ie spending by the political class to achieve a political outcome. That’s inflationary not wealth creation and politicians know it. It’s also double-counting

    Less government, less political interference always leads to better productivity in a developed economy

    If Marxist Labour achieve power British productivity will be utterly crushed as all areas of the economy come under intense political and union control. Investment flows will fall off a cliff. The UK will sink

    If we dispense with the current socialist PM backed by her party in the Commons and install a small state, free-market leader and hopefully PM then the Tories will be able to take full advantage of Brexit and all that this affords. Flexibility of the private capital space is essential to this.

    Why do I feel like I and my family are living in a social experiment? It is me or is it others?

    We have an Uber New Labour government in power. The State’s become all directing. I can see it on my television. TV companies and advertisers being directed to use people that tick all the boxes of identity politics

    The UK is lost, directionless and rudderless. We have a zealous liberal left acolyte as PM and her social policy is driven entirely by crazy PC and identity politics agenda.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 5:00 am | Permalink

      As you say:- The UK is lost, directionless and rudderless. We have a zealous liberal left acolyte as PM and her social policy is driven entirely by crazy PC and identity politics agenda.

      Well she really she is an illiberal, red tape spewing, tax to death, remoaner socialist. One who is pathetically pretending to be a Tory. The other choice is Corbyn/McDonnall who are really a Communists. Who will rid us of this appalling PM and yet avoid Corbyn?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      As you say:- Less government, less political interference always leads to better productivity in a developed economy

      Indeed and certainly in one as over taxed, over governed (and very poorly too) and over regulated as the UK currently is. Yet we seem to have a choice between May and Corbyn/SNP both of who want even more taxes and more government.

  11. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    I’m afraid unless we have a true Brexit we are hamstrung in every quarter. We can do nothing whatsoever – ‘Britain’s will always be slaves’ – do whatever is necessary to stop May in her tracks. Bring down PARLIAMENT. All Leave MPs to resign en mass. That will encourage th fence sitters too.
    You can’t leave the ‘Leave’ goal to Farage exclusively again! He cannot provide a viable alternative, and we need one!

  12. Iain Gill
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    I thought the plan was just to swamp us with immigration and grow the economy by having a compliant low cost workforce.

  13. A.Sedgwick
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    If May and her dummies pass the WA this country is finished as an independent entity. The EU is a Teutonic, Napoleonic enterprise where we do not fit and have spent centuries fighting against. The common sense of the British have given the UK one last chance to regain our heritage, very sadly the majority in Parliament probably have lost their marbles, the end game is nigh.

    • Mitchel
      Posted March 2, 2019 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps we are not the same people as we were when previously we stood against and apart from menacing Teutonic and Napoleonic forces.

      As Oswald Spengler wrote in “Decline of the West”:

      “The name Roman in Hannibal’s day meant a people,in Trajan’s time nothing more than a population….Peoples are neither linguistic nor political nor zoological but spiritual units.”

  14. Dave Andrews
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    I would put employer’s NI up there as a priority for tax cuts, rather than VAT and stamp duty.
    Businesses should be encouraged to employ, rather than having their efforts taxed as if employment was some kind of social evil that needs to be discouraged.

    • BR
      Posted March 2, 2019 at 3:43 pm | Permalink


      How can a UK worker compete with a foreign-based worker when they have a 15% surcharge on the Brit? They’ve lost before they reach the starting gate.

      • margaret howard
        Posted March 2, 2019 at 7:18 pm | Permalink


        “How can a UK worker compete with a foreign-based worker..”

        Or maybe this is the reason:

        “British workers were a third less productive than their German and French counterparts last year with a record low”

        Life in Lax Britannica today. Report in the “Financial Times”, 29th September, 2015

        • L Jones
          Posted March 2, 2019 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

          Your love for your country shines forth, Margaret, in every little thing you write.

      • Lucas
        Posted March 2, 2019 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

        Twenty years ago I was in charge of a work project in southern Europe which included work placements for thirty British. Unfortunately the Brits coming out to work must have been a little confused or they thought they were on holidays because of the booze and sunshine. It got so bad with some of the crew being continually late and missing work that after two years the whole lot were eventually changed out for East European workers- and following that we had absolutely no problems anymore.

        • L Jones
          Posted March 2, 2019 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

          Not a particularly good case study, Lucas. I worked in sunshine postings and I can honestly say that we all worked well together with the local employees and I believe we were all worthy of our hire.

          Perhaps you believe everyone has this trouble. Or perhaps there was another reason for it.
          We all know that a workforce’s efficiency and effectiveness is often a reflection of its management.

          • margaret howard
            Posted March 3, 2019 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

            L Jones

            “Not a particularly good case study, Lucas”

            What would count as a proper case study for you then? When I posted the following by a respected newspaper:

            “British workers were a third less productive than their German and French counterparts last year with a record low”

            Life in Lax Britannica today. Report in the “Financial Times”, 29th September, 2015

            you accuse me of hating my country.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 4, 2019 at 9:33 am | Permalink

            Very odd way of measuring productivity if you bothered to drill down into the actual data.
            As the UK has more office based workers and service industries the UK gets measured as less productive under the methodology used.

            But you keep cutting and pasting from the FT and Guaardian Margaret if it makes you happy.

  15. Alan Joyce
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    Scrap the £100 billion+ white elephant that is HS2 and divert the money to improvements to local road and rail networks in order to get Britain moving – particularly where there are known problems.

    Scrap the BBC. That is a circa £4 billion boost to the economy by way of £150 for every TV licence taxpayer in the UK to spend how they choose. As the BBC is confident that it provides first-class programming it will become a subscription service for those who wish it to continue. The courts will no longer be full of licence fee dodgers and will be able to concentrate on real offenders.

    Scrap the relentless pessimist who inhabits N0.11 Downing Street. That should provide a probably huge but possibly unquantifiable boost to the UK economy.

    • Peter Wood
      Posted March 2, 2019 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      Excellent proposals. Much too sensible for the present government I fear…

    • Bob
      Posted March 2, 2019 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      Only in Britain could you go to prison for watching TV without a Licence and then legally watch TV without a Licence in prison. We seriously need a UKIP govt to get some common sense instead of Common Purpose.

      • Richard
        Posted March 2, 2019 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        The BBC have a huge back catalogue & IP that could be far better exploited, eg by charging for the iplayer overseas. But the BBC’s champagne socialists would rather complain that >75s are exempt from the BBC Tax.

        BBC executives ‘should’ ponder why Netflix shares have increased $8 in July 2012 to $357 (MV $156Bn) today – and all without running a BBC Tax State Extortion racket. But with guaranteed safe jobs, why ‘should’ they care?

    • L Jones
      Posted March 2, 2019 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

      Great wish list, Mr Joyce. If only….

  16. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    This morning on the Sky press review one of the guests, a normally intelligent and in fact scientifically trained woman, referred to US-style chlorine-washed chicken as “bleached” and described it as “poisonous”.

    Of course the media unit in Michael Gove’s DEFRA department will be straight on to this blatant falsehood with a correction, NOT, or perhaps it will be the rapid rebuttal team in Stephen Barclay’s Brexit department which reacts, NOT, or maybe even Liam Fox will be concerned that trade relations with the US will not be helped by such misconceptions and insist on the government putting it right, NOT; just as the convinced Tory Brexiteer David Davis always had a section of his people constantly watching out for anti-Brexit lies being spread around and ready to instantly quash them, NOT.

    This is from August 2017:

    “Off-topic, JR, I’ve finally come to the end of my patience with David Davis and his now massive department and so I’ve have just send this email to the so-called “media unit”, copied to him and to the “correspondence unit” in the Cabinet Office:

    “Hello, anybody at home?”

    “Day after day, week after week, I see pro-EU, anti-Brexit propaganda flooding into the mass media, but I never see any response from you lot … ”

    This is one reason why having won the referendum we have so comprehensively lost the subsequent propaganda war, because Theresa May and her pro-EU friends and allies have made sure that anti-Brexit lies are never effectively rebutted, if there is any response at all, and in fact have been responsible for originating and spreading many of them.

    • acorn
      Posted March 2, 2019 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      US Chicken is Chlorine “bleached” in lay terms. Household bleach is a 5% Sodium Hypochlorite solution; made from Chlorine and Caustic Soda (sodium hydroxide).

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 2, 2019 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

        We know that – some of us actually have various scientific qualifications – and it does not mean that the chicken is “bleached” or that it is “poisonous”.

        • acorn
          Posted March 2, 2019 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

          The chlorine wash is also used to “whiten” poultry meat. Hence they don’t use Chlorine wash on red meat.

          ” … some of us actually have various scientific qualifications” LOL

          • rose
            Posted March 2, 2019 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

            Chlorine used to be used on red meat here. Not so long ago. I can still remember the smell.

          • L Jones
            Posted March 2, 2019 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

            ”LOL” loses you the argument.

      • forthurst
        Posted March 2, 2019 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

        “The USDA has approved several antimicrobial rinses for use in poultry processing, including chlorine dioxide, acidified sodium chlorite, trisodium phosphate and peroxyacids, and meat treated with such rinses is considered safe for consumers to eat.” The Grocer.

        Farmers in the USA are subject to relentless pressure to reduce the costs of production of chicken breast meat; hygiene can be applied after slaughter.
        Should production priorities be the same irrespective of whether the productive item is animate or inanimate? As chicken is unsafe to eat however pre-treated unless it is thoroughly cooked, what actually is the point of reducing the external bacterial count? Who should ultimately decide the quality of produce: the producer or the consumer?

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted March 2, 2019 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      @ Denis Cooper,

      Opening the UK for US agricultural products is not necessarily bad for the UK consumer (although US resideints live shorter lives than Europeans) in the short term but cheap US imports will be very bad for UK farmers. And without agriculture, intellectual property protection enhancements and investor protection that would be a greater breach of UK sovereignty than anything that the EU does, an FTA with the US is unfeasible.

      Besides, the Democrats are not going to ratify any FTA dat offers the UK fevourable terms plus the Irish lobby will make sure that Irish interests are looked after. Pie in the sky, with or without chlorine. I guess the good doctor has been briefed about this months ago. Of course Mr Lighthizer would love to have a European country (ie the UK) accepting his terms.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 2, 2019 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

        Are you trying to imply that the slightly lower life expectancy in the USA is down to the consumption of “bleached” and “poisonous” chicken?

        The effect on UK farmers would be an important issue but it was NOT under discussion on the programme, and it is not relevant to the truth or otherwise of the claim that chicken in the US is unsafe to eat.

        As usual, you do not attempt to answer the point being made, instead you try to create a distraction by going off at a tangent.

        • Rien Huizer
          Posted March 4, 2019 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

          @ Denis Cooper

          What do you mean? I did not suggest that chlorine-treated chicken is necessarily bad for your health. On the contrary, I owned a swimming pool for many years and swam in chlorinated water. If that is the point being made, my reply shows that the chicken is not a problem as a healt hazard but as one of the features of US farming, processing and regulation. And if one adopts these features (plus a very low population density combined with a steady supply of immigrants, the way farming is done in the UK combined with restrictive immigration and strong consumer preferences are going to be a problem for trade negotiators. The chicken is not the problem, farmers and consumers are.

          I understand what your complaint is towards Tory ministers etc involved in brexit, but maybe they are doing a better job than you give them credit for, although the ones you mention do not seem to have an abundance of talent for acting in the public interest, intelligently.

      • rose
        Posted March 2, 2019 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

        Chlorine has nothing to do with sovereignty. On the other hand, if the EU had compelled us to use it, as they well might have, it would.

    • Man of Kent
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      American chicken is washed once at the end of the production process to ensure it is fit for consumption .

      The EU demands testing at each stage ,much of which is not conducted properly ,so we get many scares

  17. Bryan Harris
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    We surely are going to see little or no change to our financial planning while the current Chancellor is in number 11. He follows the EU line on all things, no matter what the consequiences…
    There are many things he should have done by now, least of which is to give us a tax system fit for purpose. Time we had a vote of no-confidence in his handling of our economy, but that may have to wait until the next GE.
    Our problems remain until he is gone – with a risk of ever more oppressive taxation, a lack of real growth, and limited confidence in the UK – Oh for a real Tory government

  18. Bob
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    A young man has been suspended from the University of Central Lancashire for expressing unfashionable opinions. He is now trying to Crowdfund a Judicial Review to salvage his career

    This increasingly Orwellian society seems to be benefiting the legal profession which is well represented in Parliament, and it’s happening on your watch.

  19. ian
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Bailouts are on the way, money printing and QE forever, no worries.

  20. waytogo
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    More headbanger stuff- already spending 39B which we don’t currently have unless we borrow. Why not borrow it and divide it out amongst 65 million as a brexit bonun to one and all.

    Loosen the purse strings to all irrespective of the damaging consequences of a society already consumed with credit, debt, mental illnesses and sleepless nights, mind boggling stuff that could only come from a backbencher with little to lose and looking for notice- great stuff

  21. BOF
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    How I agree with your contribution today. Unfortunately getting any positive message past Hammond and May is highly unlikely. No positive plans will be forthcoming in order to get May’s rotten ‘deal’ approved, with or without Cox’s codpiece!

    Until that duo are replaced, nothing positive can happen, and then it may be too late, with the EU firmly back in control of our country.

  22. The Prangwizard
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Politician speaking. Sir John may think it will help the Tory party by splurgjng £20 BILLION in one year but it is madness. It will disappear into the public expenditure black hole and no-one will notice. Complaints will continue, service will not improve as the mindset of those spending it will not change, even more money will be available to waste.Shows how much our host’s politics have moved to the Left to follow his disastrous leader.

    Reply Its tax cuts as well as spending increases.

    • Chris
      Posted March 2, 2019 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      Freedom to run our economy unfettered by the EU would be the biggest stimulator of the economy, coupled with tax cuts. President Trump has demonstrated enormous economic success which pre election Obama mockingly said was impossible (excellent videoclip on “Obama – these industries are gone forever – can’t be brought back) and companies are now relocating in the US and investing billions, and new trade deals being struck. The economic growth rate has defied predictions, and employment has shot up, and very significantly has benefited those left behind by Obama e.g. Hispanics and African Americans.
      P Trump is fighting for Main Street as opposed to the globalists who favour Wall Street at the expense of everyone else (see The Last Refuge/Conservative Tree House website for details).

      We will not manage growth in our economy, wage rises and rise in employment levels under the WA deal (it will apparently be a treaty). The EU is a product of the globalisation model, which is already outdated and which is hugely unpopular as it focuses on producing wealth for multinationals and the political elite, but not for the SME and mainstream workers. Huge disparities in wealth develop through this model. Low wages(topped up by benefits) and mass migration to supply large amounts of cheap flexible labour are key to this model, a model which achieves this through centralised control and regulation and which requires the break down of social, societal and national bonds and identities.

      Thus economic wealth concentrated in the hands of the few is achieved at a huge sacrifice: destruction of the sovereignty, identities and societal structures of individual countries, and the strangling of the SMEs by bureaucracy and regulations which only the multinationals can afford to comply with.

      So, please let us break free from a failed, outdated and hugely damaging globalisation model, and follow P Trump’s lead and display enterprise and boldness, and apply real business/economic/trade experts’ brains to problems (e.g. in USA, Robert Lighthizer, Steve Mnuchin, Wilbur Ross) instead of often clueless Ministers who hardly know their brief and who are easy fodder for lobbyists and for manipulation in true Sir Humphrey style.

  23. Dominic
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    To save the UK from the duopolistic arrogance of the Tory-Labour agreement, voters must withdraw their support from both parties

    We can only hope that in the not too distant future a new party emerges that embraces truth, morality, principle and the depoliticisation of our nation and crush the liberal left authoritarianism of both vile parties

    John and his fellow Conservatives must take great pride in belonging to a party that is openly liberal left and socialist. How do these Tory MPs sleep at night knowing they belong that doesn’t represent their true beliefs? Or are we being deceived?

    • Steve
      Posted March 2, 2019 at 12:34 pm | Permalink


      “Or are we being deceived?”

      It’ll all come out in the wash on 29th or thereabouts.

      “John and his fellow Conservatives must take great pride in belonging to a party that is openly liberal left and socialist.”

      Give Mr Redwood a chance, Dominic. At least he’s hanging on in there despite being surrounded by idiots, most people would have walked ages ago.

    • Timaction
      Posted March 2, 2019 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      It’s about principles that left the bubble dwellers a long time ago supported by a complient fake msm!

  24. hans christian ivers
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    SIR JR

    Are you sure that the saving of £ 39 billion if we do not sign the WA, is actually going to turn into a real saving that we can walk away from?

    Otherwise a good summary

  25. Anonymous
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    What I cannot fathom is how Remainers such as Andy reconcile their greenism with their determination to have continual EU economic growth (?)

    Stuff the country with several hundred thousand people every year – ambitious to consume more than they could before they arrived.

    Threaten us that leaving the EU might mean we can’t get a new car or fridge every three years.

    Brexit could be very environmentally friendly if what Andy says is true – so what’s not to like ?

    • Steve
      Posted March 2, 2019 at 12:28 pm | Permalink


      “What I cannot fathom is how Remainers such as Andy reconcile their greenism with their determination to have continual EU economic growth (?)”

      ….well anon they don’t. Fact is they don’t know what their talking about.

      “Stuff the country with several hundred thousand people every year – ambitious to consume more than they could before they arrived.”

      Yep. Though to be fair it depends where they’re coming from. Those from the eastern EU are by and large a hard working bunch and people of impeccable standards, it’s the non EU migrants dumped here by the french that don’t pay their way. I believe we should have some immigration, but be very selective as to whom we allow in.

      “Brexit could be very environmentally friendly if what Andy says is true – so what’s not to like ?”

      Well for a start it isn’t Andy’s brexit. He keeps saying it’s mine and your brexit, why?….because Andy and his kind don’t accept losing the referendum especially to angry tory pensioners.

      Basically, he has a hell of a chip on his shoulder. It’s very unhealthy.

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 2, 2019 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

        Everyone comes here to improve their life and that means being able to consume more of the planet’s resources.

        Whatever it is it is not green.

      • margaret howard
        Posted March 2, 2019 at 7:25 pm | Permalink


        ” it’s the non EU migrants dumped here by the french that don’t pay their way”

        How have the French been able to dump non EU migrants on us?

        • Fedupsoutherner
          Posted March 2, 2019 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

          Margaret. Keep up with play

        • Steve
          Posted March 2, 2019 at 10:33 pm | Permalink


          “How have the French been able to dump non EU migrants on us?”

          ….by not moving them back to the previous country of transit / origin, which is what they’re supposed to do in the case of non EU migrants.

          Easier to move them north and dump them on us, been going on for years.

          • rose
            Posted March 3, 2019 at 9:21 am | Permalink

            Even our saintly Archbishop of York has pointed this out. He calls us “Soft touch Britain.”

          • margaret howard
            Posted March 3, 2019 at 1:21 pm | Permalink


            “Easier to move them north and dump them on us, been going on for years.”

            How many exactly? In their hundreds? Thousands? How do they support themselves if they are still illegal after all those years?

          • Edward2
            Posted March 4, 2019 at 9:36 am | Permalink

            The government estimates over 500,000 illegals
            Migration Watch estimates over a million.

          • hans christian ivers
            Posted March 4, 2019 at 9:38 am | Permalink


            Or maybe it is because they speak English and not French and wish to come to the UK.

            The French are actually takin gin more legal refugees than we are for the moment

    • hans christian ivers
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 1:14 am | Permalink


      Your comments are a disgrace.

      1) Economic growth can actually happen without more environmental risk, just look at Scandinavia
      2) Consuming more after they arrive. you have no idea on the structure of the Eu arrivals, so stop this underlying discrimination


      • Steve
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 9:26 am | Permalink


        “so stop this underlying discrimination”

        ….and er, who are you to tell us what we can and cannot do ?

        • hans christian ivers
          Posted March 4, 2019 at 2:36 am | Permalink


          If, I believe there is discrimination I will react and speak out against it

  26. formula57
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    A concern is that the UK will have been shackled by understandings or worse with the Evil Empire that prevents it from taking all manner of prospectively helpful economic measures, like cutting corporation tax rates (as hinted at by W. Schäuble when he was German finance minister).

  27. ian
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Your gov already increase spending every year by 1 per cent of GDP, now you want 2 per cent every year if the money there or not.

    your banker to the last Sir John.

    Reply I am talking of diverting spending from the EU not borrowing more

  28. Den
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    It seems incredulous that the current Conservative Government has been one to promote higher taxes rather than the opposite – a glowing standard of true conservatism.
    Mrs May and her Remainer Cabinet act more as Liberals than ‘True Blues’ and it is for that reason, Britain has become such a Top-Down shambles. More’s the pity is that there is no General Election this month when Mrs May would have stepped down (Only if she became honourable) in order to save the Tory Party from a wipe out.
    We voted to Leave the EU and anything coming up short of that will be a betrayal of the people and of British democracy itself.

  29. Steve
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 12:17 pm | Permalink


    “without signing the Withdrawal Agreement which is what will happen unless Parliament legislates to delay or stop Brexit or legislates some Withdrawal Treaty.”

    Which is what I suspect will happen. Then the fun starts.

  30. Newmania
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    The £39 billion (plus) was money we already had that you lost, the additional money we will have post Brexit is a lie according to the governments own figures and everyone else’s . What a joke , yes why not, spend this “Brexit bonus” , put it on the side of a bus and send it around the country. Worked last time.
    In town today there were a number of people out campaigning against Brexit and for various causes and I was struck by a growing consensus the the solitary good thing about Breixt is that it has shown just has unfit for purpose pour constitution is . If this is the product we need a new supplier

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 2, 2019 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      It has shown us how unrepresentative our government and institutions are.

      You could not foist mass and unselective immigration on an enfranchised population that don’t live in an unaffected area like yours and not expect there to be consequences.

      Well here they are.

      So. The country is now broken and I’ve a pretty horrid feeling about where we go next and neither you nor I can escape it because I have a localised trade and you a useless arts degree.

      You called us racists and I told you it was a bad thing to do. It’s my right to say I TOLD YOU SO as your offensiveness pre-dates and caused my Brexit.

      • Steve
        Posted March 2, 2019 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

        Well put, Anonymous.

        I suspect where it will go is mass civil unrest, actually happening across Europe right now, but reporting is censured in the UK by the leftist remain lot.

        Then potentially; aligned far right ideology in a number of European countries, including the UK.

        History repeats, and when it does I too shall take great pleasure in telling those who betrayed our sovereignty…TOLD YOU SO, got a problem with it ….TOUGH, YOU LOT CAUSED IT !

        • hans christian ivers
          Posted March 4, 2019 at 9:35 am | Permalink


          Mass civil unrest happening across Europe. Your sources are full of nonsense or your interpretation is

  31. Rien Huizer
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    Once again, an economy at full capacity can only grow faster if capacity is expanded or efficiency increases. What you propose will have no effect on growth, unless
    – you increase immigration (contrary to gvt policy) or
    – incentivise business to increase net capital; expenditure.

    Boosting consumption in an economy like the UK (full capacity, overall savings deficit) will only lead to a greater CA deficit.

    I suspect (with many others) that uncertainty about brexit (will it happen, when and in what way) is having a negative on business propensity to invest. Should there be a no deal outcome next month, spending a couple of billions of pounds may have no effect on the deficit (but businesses calling it quits will not be good for corporate tax revenue or private income tax ) but it is unlikely to boost investment. It might boost consumption and that is exactly the opposite of what you would want in a situation as described in recent government publications. Granted, these publications may be wrong, but why take the risk?

    Reply I am talking about boosting capacity and productivity

  32. NickW
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    It is an observable fact that economic activity is cyclical and that attempts to smooth out the peaks and troughs are not only unsuccessful, but often make things worse.

    Linking all of Europe’s Economies together only serves to ensure that the slumps involve the whole of Europe rather than just one Country, ensuring that it is impossible to use correcting influences such as currency devaluation to boost exports and curb imports.

    Europe would be best served by a vibrant UK Economy on its doorstep, decoupled from European economic cycles. They should be giving us all possible help rather than trying to sabotage Brexit at every possible opportunity.

    As for Global Government with a single World currency, the economic cycles would affect the whole World, and in the absence of trading with Martians; there would be no way out of a unified Global slump, (other than World War III).

  33. BR
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    I was never clear where the £39bn was coming from anyway. The old ‘general taxation’ wheeze?

    Because wherever it’s due to come from, perhaps it can just be left where it is (in the pockets of the people who earned it).

    On another tack, perhaps you could discuss with the ERG how to thwart May’s run-down-the-clock plan? Timing your refusal to vote with the government, en masse, could see the back of her?

    A GE starting now would prorogue parliament while the clock ticks to zero. Of course, you couldn’t guarantee that they wouldn’t ask for an extension using ministerial powers to negotiate treaties, but you could rescind that if in power afterwards (citing the Miller case).

    Winning a GE is possible if Brexit is in the delivered column (and May is gone), otherwise the Conservative party will be finished.

    P.S. Please position yourself ready to take up a senior role (Chancellor, PM).

    • margaret howard
      Posted March 2, 2019 at 7:30 pm | Permalink


      “P.S. Please position yourself ready to take up a senior role (Chancellor, PM).”

      Third time lucky?

  34. BR
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    “without signing the Withdrawal Agreement which is what will happen unless Parliament legislates to delay or stop Brexit or legislates some Withdrawal Treaty.”

    Please clarify what the Withdrawal Treaty might be if it were not May’s WA?

    It seems odd to suggest that a new and different treaty could be produced out of a hat at this stage after nearly 3 years of negotiating the one that, in this scenario, we wouldn’t be signing?

    Reply I am talking about the WA

    • Chris
      Posted March 2, 2019 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

      BR, apparently Sir Bill Cash asked May a key question in the H of C which apparently revealed that the WA would become a Treaty which would have extremely damaging consequences for us. Sir John, can you give us some advice on what exactly is going on here. I found this tweet replying to J R-M:

      Bill Cash mp, caught you out, didn’t he Mrs May? Your withdrawal agreement isn’t what you packaged it as…its a flipping TREATY, isn’t It? One that gives Britain away! How can you live with yourself?

      There is then a link to a much more detailed comment on Facebook which alarmed me with the details, but at this stage I would prefer Sir John to advise. Can I post the Facebook comment and link?

      Reply The WA has always been a bibding Treaty which is why I oppose it!

      • L Jones
        Posted March 2, 2019 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

        This is beyond awful. What on earth is going on?

      • Steve
        Posted March 2, 2019 at 10:56 pm | Permalink


        The WA is a European concoction, devised by the likes of Tusk, Merkel etc. Everyone suspects it to be so, and they will be proven right.

      • Chris
        Posted March 2, 2019 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply: can you tell us, Sir John, why J R-M and some of his ERG (if reports are true) are indicating that they will support the WA, with just a minor tweak or codicil regarding the backstop. This does not make sense as J R-M seems to have abandoned principles and red lines. A person who does that will be ditched very quickly by a very angry electorate on high alert for any sign of further betrayal.

  35. MarkW
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    We need a new government, we need new politics, we need new politicians..the whole current lot needs be cleared out..all we get are lies spin and deceit..350 on the side of a bus two years ago sent us on this wild goose chase but people are starting to realize what a lot of hot air it has all been that has almost destroyed today the old magic is reappearing, fly the kite, once more, lower taxes everywhere and give more credit to the people, much more, to the miserable ignorant people to spend as they wish without question and in this way to stimulate our economy so it will be saved..jeez heaven help us if this idea ever takes hold

  36. gregory martin
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    Thinking outside of “the box”, perhaps the £39,ooo,ooo,ooo could be invested in a real printing press, producing Euro bills in national versions, in multiple denominations. These could then be infiltrated into mainland Europe in subtle ways, used to ‘pack’ exports and accompany tourists as gratuities to ‘helpful’ officials and those ‘in need’.

  37. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    Off-topic, our local newspaper the Maidenhead Advertiser has not published my last letter pointing out that once the Irish government had got us in economic shackles through the ‘backstop’ it would never, repeat never, agree to release us, the editor choosing instead to print a letter from a local Tory councillor sympathising with Theresa May over the poor treatment she has received from the eurocrats, and a letter from a local Remoaner with a load of the same boring old rubbish about soaring food prices if we leave the EU without a deal which the totally untrustworthy Michael Gove could very easily have quashed if he wanted to, which of course he didn’t; so I have just offered this alternative letter:

    “Dear Sir

    Last week 288 MPs showed that they would willingly give up the UK’s unilateral right of withdrawal from the EU.

    Because that was the significance of voting for an amendment which stated that the House …

    “… is determined not to leave the European Union without a withdrawal agreement and future framework under any circumstances, and regardless of any exit date.”

    Only 36 more MPs, 324 in total, voted against that proposition, which would have meant we could never leave the EU without its consent.

    Surely it is obvious that if the EU chose not to consent to the withdrawal of the UK it could refuse to make any withdrawal agreement, or only offer an agreement designed to be totally unacceptable to the UK?

    Of course even if the amendment had been passed that in itself would have had no effect upon Article 50 in the EU treaties, which was created in 2003 specifically because top eurocrats were concerned that the EU was beginning to look like a prison.

    In retrospect it seems they need not have worried too much about that, given that even the notoriously “eurosceptic” UK has now reached a point where nearly half of elected MPs would be perfectly happy for it to become a prison.

    Perhaps some of your pro-EU correspondents would care to comment on this, and in particular tell us whether getting the UK inescapably locked into the EU, whatever circumstances may arise in the future, formed part of whatever sketchy plan they may have had for after they had won the referendum.

    Yours etc”

    • Steve
      Posted March 2, 2019 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

      Dennis Cooper

      “Last week 288 MPs showed that they would willingly give up the UK’s unilateral right of withdrawal from the EU.”

      Let them dare assume a right to do so, just let them dare.

  38. L Jones
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    ”Let us assume we’ll leave on 29 March….”
    You would not have said this even a couple of weeks ago, Sir J. Even YOU know we are being betrayed by YOUR party and YOUR choice of PM.
    This is truly dreadful. Who can we trust?

    • rose
      Posted March 2, 2019 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

      Not his choice of PM.

  39. Lr2
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    There is nothing you can do. They have an army and militarised police force and we have been disarmed exactly for scenarios like this.

    Your remaining choices are: bury your head in the sand and wrap yourself in the fantasy that we still have a democracy and that democratic change is possible, learn to live with the fact you have no say and accept whatever the establishment dictates, or get shot or imprisoned trying to change it.
    The IRA have had far more consideration during this process than the 17.4m citizens who played by the rules and exercised their right to enact change peacefully through the ballot box. There is only one lesson which anyone can possibly take from this.

    Democracy may work where it is backed up by the credible threat of violence -such as in the US thanks to the Second Amendment- but it cannot long survive once the electorate has been disarmed. If democracy ever existed in the UK it certainly doesn’t today. Once those in power have broken the taboo of openly overruling one result without consequence, it becomes trivially easy to do so for any future result they don’t like.

    There is absolutely no reason to believe that a second Leave result would be accepted where the first hasn’t been. There is absolutely no reason to believe that a pro-Independence party would be allowed to form a government even if by some miracle you could overcome the rigged electoral system and get one elected.

    The establishment has show that when push comes to shove, if it ever gets a result it really doesn’t like, it can and will just suspend the illusion of democracy and dare the unarmed electorate to do something about it.

  40. margaret howard
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 1:29 pm | Permalink


    “The IRA have had far more consideration during this process than the 17.4m citizens who played by the rules and exercised their right to enact change peacefully through the ballot box.”

    So no doubt you support me when I suggest that as both Scotland and NIreland voted overwhelmingly to Remain in the EU they should be allowed to split from the UK which would then spell the end of our 300 year old union?

    Reply We are democrats. We gave Scotland a vote on independence and they voted to stay in the UK. The majority in NI do not want a vote as they wish to stay in the UK

    • margaret howard
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply:

      That was before the Referendum. Surely you are aware that that changed everything?

      • Edward2
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 9:39 am | Permalink

        But margaret neither Scotland nor N Ireland want to become independent as recent polls long after the referendum show.

  41. agricola
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    A good news vibe I picked up from the Sunday Times Business & Money. Government, I hope with technically minded ministers, the car industry, and Tesla are discussing building a state of the art battery factory somewhere in the UK.

    My plea would be to build a standard size battery to maximize productivity and minimise production costs. Think of it as a same size petrol tank. Then devise a system for service station wherbye the car owner can drive into a bay that recognises the vehicle, removes the dead battery and replaces it with a fully charged one. All in the space of time it takes to fill a tank. We have the technology it just needs thoughtful coordinated design, something the Brits are very good at. Something we could sell to the EU at great profit to rebalance the EU/UK trade figures. Go to it.

    • Steve
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 7:01 pm | Permalink


      “A good news vibe I picked up from the Sunday Times Business & Money. Government, I hope with technically minded ministers, the car industry, and Tesla are discussing building a state of the art battery factory somewhere in the UK.”

      You may also have noticed in the news this weekend that a certain electric car manufacturer’s battery plant in the UK went up in smoke.

      You can only laugh at the stupid green crap concept, which actually has more to do with profit, screwing people over, and of course control.

  42. Steve
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    @ MH

    “How many exactly? In their hundreds? Thousands? How do they support themselves if they are still illegal after all those years?”

    No one knows how many, mainly because the number is so high and it’s a political hot potato. But the fact that one government promised [lied] to reduce migration to the tens of thousands should give you some idea.

    They don’t support themselves, here’s how it works – The EU tells our soft government we have to accommodate these people, and the British taxpayer will foot the bill. Our politically correct soft governments do as they’re told by their EU masters.

    If it was any different our governments would simply send them back across the channel which is supposed to be the rule for non EU migrants.

    • hans christian ivers
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 2:04 pm | Permalink


      All fake news from you

  43. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Fiscal control must be maintained whilst State debt is so high. Most of the people who want an ‘end to austerity’ want to increase one or more areas of public expenditure (e.g. on an unreformed free-at-the-point-of-consumption NHS, and on subsidised council houses). After a year or two of fiscal folly they will then accept that taxes have to rise. Far better to introduce demand management through charges payable by the people that receive the services and put a lid on public expenditure.

    For a couple of years after Brexit, we can accept some loosening of monetary policy, but only in terms of letting people borrow for whatever (legal) purpose they wish to. Base most continue to rise if more slowly. The housing market won’t come right until base rate exceeds inflation by half a percent. Only then will the obscene bias in favour of the ultra rich (whose daddies can pay the deposit) at the expense of the middle classes come to an end.

    Sorry, I forgot. It’s very Un-PC to champion the interests of the middle classes.

  • 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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