Green grants come home

I am urging the Chancellor to say that anyone undertaking home insulation, buying double glazing, improving the energy efficiency of their homes should be able to claim one of the new Green grants for work underway since the announcement.

The Chancellor proposed £5000 per household by way of a grant to cover a possible two thirds of the cost of green energy projects undertaken. The short term problem is people are delaying or cancelling projects they were planning until the terms of the grant are clear and they can apply to get the money. More is on offer to people on low incomes.

It is one of those ironies of life that an intervention in the market designed to be good news to boost certain kinds of home improvement should lead to cancelled work owing to understandable delays in setting out the detail of the scheme. All can be put right by a helpful immediate statement, allowing applications for grants to follow commitment to the work this week. This will keep the orders flowing for an industry just trying to get over lock down and temporarily closed businesses.

Yesterday evening the Commons approved the Bill to cut Stamp Duty. There, contrary to some press stories, the government brought the measure in straight away and legislated afterwards. Otherwise the big temporary cut in Stamp Duty would have set back the housing market by putting people off buying until the tax cut came in. It is good news for first time buyers and for those wishing to trade up their primary residence that no Stamp Duty is payable on £500,000 of any purchase. This means 90% of all homes will be Stamp Duty free for those buying them as their prime residence.

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  1. Nigl
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 5:16 am | Permalink

    Insulation, double glazing? Tell me who needs it, surely not homes built minimum this century and probably earlier.

    You are giving ‘my money’ away but I cannot access it because I have been prudent. Yet again the less responsible get all the help. Broaden the scheme.

    Off topic I note the spin taking back control of our borders. The rights given to EU citizens post Brexit means we cannot get rid of any, however, dangerous criminals. We deported less than 3000 illegal immigrants last year, how many hundreds of thousands are here?

    How is any of that taking back control?

    • Everhopeful
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      They aren’t taking back any control. They are just committing us to global governance.

    • Andy
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      Literally half of my taxes go to whinging old people. I am prudent – saving for my own old age – and you get handouts of my cash.

      Also – we have never had to let in dangerous EU criminals. Free movement has never extended to those deemed a risk. And we can deport them. In future we will not know who the dangerous people are because you have withdrawn from these EU schemes which allow police forces to cooperate on such matters. None of it was ever taking back control. You were just duped.

      • Edward2
        Posted July 14, 2020 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        Literally they they dont.

        • Edward2
          Posted July 14, 2020 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

          And we have let in dangerous criminals.
          It’s a fact.

      • NickC
        Posted July 15, 2020 at 9:29 am | Permalink

        Andy, Literally those “deemed a risk” are not the problem. It’s those who are not known to be a risk, but can come here freely because they’re not, and still engage in crime.

        Are you sure it’s literally not “whinging old people” who are engaging in the crime, and blaming it on Albanians, as well as voting Brexit? Literally, it’s another epic fail of yours.

    • agricola
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      Yes I have read of a suggested 600,000 in London alone, and a guestimate of 2,000,000 in the rest of the UK. We desperately need a registration/ identification of all citizens entitled to be here. Then we will know who should not be here. having ascertained the extent of the problem we can then decide on a solution. They might be all good net contributors to the UK, but who knows, least of all the government.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted July 14, 2020 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

        The Tories prevented Labour’s ID card scheme, which would have done what you ask.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted July 15, 2020 at 6:50 am | Permalink

          It would not!

        • NickC
          Posted July 15, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

          Martin, Literally we can depend on your inner authoritarian to opt for more state control at every opportunity.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted July 15, 2020 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

            Address your comment to Agricola, not to my comment on his.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      Well, if those grants find their mark, then maybe we won’t need the Chinese to build those nuclear plants for us? (You know, those people, whom we can’t trust with the supply of mobile phone network infrastructure?)

      Oh, sorry, that’s all fine, I’m told.

      • NickC
        Posted July 15, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

        Martin, Are you literally employed by the Chinese communist party? You’re certainly always on the ball with a quick endorsement of China.

        • Fred H
          Posted July 15, 2020 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

          Well he says he’s not Welsh, has a daughter who taught in China, fawns over everything CCP – – what do you think?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted July 15, 2020 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

          It’s not me saying that the Chinese involvement in UK nuclear power is fine.

          It is your Tory Government!

    Posted July 14, 2020 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    Elevated levels of economic activity damage the environment and stimulate emissions to a higher plateau. If the aim of this policy is the protection of the environment then It will have the opposite effect but then policy today is driven by purely political considerations.

    The taxpayer is funding the fortunes of two parasitic political organisations who believe they are a fundamental component of the British political system. They are not systemic.

    What is required is not more ‘pee it down the well’ political spending by insincere politicians who couldn’t give a rat’s about the environment but a new political party that exposes the corruption and criminality of the duopoly that has created an almost gangster state in which centuries held freedoms have been legislated away to insulate it

    Our identity is being erased for party political convenience

    • Everhopeful
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      I keep praying that one will emerge and rise unscathed by the usual disgusting Labcon behaviour and prove strong enough to succeed.
      It had better bl**dy well hurry up!!!

  3. Mark B
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    If the government can afford to reduce Stamp Duty/ Tax now, why can it not do it in perpetuity ? End this theft of our money.

    Sorry off topic.

    I hear that we may need to wear face muzzles if we wish to purchase a pint of milk or a load of bread yet, we are expected to spend our money in restaurants and pubs. How are we going to consume our beer and sandwiches and still comply with the law if we are wearing face muzzles ?

    This government is totally clueless.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      +1 embarrassingly clueless. Fortunately it has been reversed on WA, Hauwei, we await urgent reversal on HS2, CV19 (stop panicking and ‘level’ with us that you were duped) etc etc etc.

    • NickC
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Mark B and Lynn A, Well said, both of you.

  4. Everhopeful
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    If these schemes are like previous ones then forget it!
    They are “farmed out” to companies who “cold call” with many promises, none of which, after much form-filling turnout to be true.
    I see the dire words “low income”in the article.
    As with former insulation and double glazing initiatives, oh and new boilers.. it will probably, in the end, only apply to those on benefits ie not to those who keep the show on the road!

    The compulsory mask wearing fiasco seems to be backfiring nicely. ( public shredding of Tory Party membership cards).
    Or maybe NOT if the true agenda is to shut all non virtual/online businesses.And really that DOES seem to be the case. If there are any MPs who still care..about life as we knew it…they should surely be a tad concerned?

  5. Javelin
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    Stamp duty is irrelevant. Stamp duty is a minor operational distraction set against a reckless strategy.

    The Conservative Party just killed the High Street by forcing people to wear masks. Now they are trying to save house prices. It’s like Thelma and Louise putting the windscreen wipers on as they drive over a cliff.

    The Conservative Party need to step back. Covid is a RNA virus, therefore it doesn’t mutate, it’s robust and it’s slowly mutating. Not this year. Not next year. Never. It’s not going. A vaccine won’t work because the virus will come back the next year. Your only option is to find a treatment.

    The population can’t be kept in lockdown forever whilst the virus slowly picks off the vulnerable like allied soldiers on a Normandy beach.

    If Government reduce the economy by even a little there only has to be a rise in mortality of 0.3% to mean the lockdown is having a negative effect. It’s tunnel vision led by myopic scientists.

    As I said from the start, the only option, is to protect the vulnerable more and let the resilient people go out and live. Shutdown the airports. Have clinicians decide who is vulnerable. Work from home. Pay for theatres and closed spaces to close. Pay vulnerable people to stay at home. Figure out the best treatment. That’s all you can do.

  6. Nigl
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    Ps well done on the stamp duty. I know it is something you personally feel passionate about.Yesterday my town was almost literally ‘ghost’ few people about, a handful of cars in the station car park, normally full with London based commuters. I hope they are working but from home.

    The wearing of masks, now what is your policy today, which don’t give protection merely serves to remind us constantly that there is potential death all around us, so I and umpteen others will continue to ignore your pleas to risk ourselves by getting out and about.

    Sort out the ludicrously inconsistent rules about what we can and can’t do and, of course, track and trace (ha) and normality will start to creep back.

  7. bigneil(newercomp)
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    No matter what amount of insulation you do, the poorest, who have the decision of “heat or eat” will still be in the same boat. If you can’t afford to heat the place, you can’t afford to heat it. With taxes due to go up to pay for Sunak’s bottomless supply of cash and an ever increasing bill for an endless supply of freeloaders from Calais to pay for too, I can’t see anything changing for the ones at the bottom of the pile. Those 180 from Calais on Sunday will no doubt be put in fully refurbished housing, while our homeless ex-servicemen – will still be exactly that – homeless ex-servicemen.

  8. davews
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    For many of us we did cavity wall, loft insulation and double glazing many years ago so nothing in this funding for us.

    OT. Went to bed last night with the saying there would be an announcement about masks ‘in a few days’. Wake up to find it done and dusted. What made our leader change his mind so suddenly? Quickest u-turn in his career.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      Instructions from on high.

  9. jerry
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    OT; So were are 40m+ masks going to suddenly appear from, and how is someone going to buy their masks if they have no masks, are the shops going to have to hand out single use medical grade masks, and why now, why not back in March, if the virus is so prevalent then we should still be in lock-down. This will likely be the end of the High Street BoJo, not its resurgence.

    Mr Gove for PM…

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      JR please.

    • Edward2
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

      I’ve just gone online to several well known shopping sites and there are a long list of suppliers.
      Next day delivery too.

      In my local village three shops have masks for sale.
      Cheap too.

      • jerry
        Posted July 15, 2020 at 6:37 am | Permalink

        @Edward2; Err? Someone without a computer can not buy on-line, if they are not allowed to enter a shop without a mask how can they enter a shop to buy a mask – duh!

        • Edward2
          Posted July 15, 2020 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

          Errr?…phone up and get a mask posted out.
          Or get a friend or family member or neighbour to go and get them a mask.

          • Edward2
            Posted July 15, 2020 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

            And it is not illegal to enter a shop without a mask until next Friday.

          • Edward2
            Posted July 15, 2020 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

            Or make a temporary mask yourself out of materials in your home.

          • jerry
            Posted July 15, 2020 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2, What if you have no phone (deaf people [1] have little use for the telephone :idea:), what if you have no credit or debit card, and even if you do, who should one call.

            What if you have no family, live in a little village with but one shop and the shop keeper is the grandson of Mr William (put that light out) Hodges, a stickler to obeying the rules and laws to the letter?

            And yes it will be illegal to enter a shop without a mask, or at least refuse to put on on, on pains of a possible £100 FPN fine.

            How about the Govt supplies shops with free use-once low grade medical disposable masks, who then make them available (FOC) to their customers, such a system seems to work OK in other countries.

            One supermarket chain (no names but it is one of the top four) was charging £8 for a pack of 10 use-once disposable masks yesterday, some people have to feed themselves for the best part of a week on that amount…

            [1] they also often rely on lip reading…

          • jerry
            Posted July 16, 2020 at 7:07 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; “make a temporary mask”

            Some commentators to this site appear not live in the real world.

            How is an arthritic person going to use scissors to cut out a mask, even if they do have the cloth going spare.

            So someone on limited means has to destroy their property now, just to satisfy this govts political virtue signalling? It might be just a t-shirt to you mate but it could be someone else’s only wash-day alternative shirt!

            Don’t think I’m poor, it’s just that in my time I have known a few people who literally didn’t have two spare pennies to rub together, as indeed was the case with my fathers family when he was a child.

          • Edward2
            Posted July 16, 2020 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

            I gave you several options after your original post.
            Pick one.
            I can come up with of a few more if you want.
            I think you are trying hard to imagine any way someone might not be able to get a mask.
            And making yourself look rather silly in the process.

          • jerry
            Posted July 16, 2020 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; Your solutions, so far, are no solutions, just more problems to some or all.

            You want to offer a solution Eddie, fine, so tell me, how at no cost to the wearer [1] can someone get single use, medical grade masks each and every time they need to wear one? Expecting people to reuse masks is asking for trouble, should people start turning them inside out, leaving them mucus side down on tables, in pockets or just excessive handling etc.

            When even the Govts CSA doesn’t appear to know were 30m masks per month are coming from, judging from a reply he gave to a select Committee today, I doubt you have any answers Eddie.

            [1] perhaps someone on JSA/UC, or on a fixed basic pension, or still on Furlough at 80%, or with just the single payment (so far) of SEISS, but all the same Bills for the last 16 weeks etc.

  10. Lifelogic
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    “This means 90% of all homes will be Stamp Duty free for those buying them as their prime residence.” Yes but people renting will still have to pay extra rent due to the absurd extra 3% SDLT charged to landlords and the double taxation of landlord interest. These are usually poorer people than buyers.

    The green grants are a very foolish interference in the market. They take taxes off people then waste much of it in collections and distribution admin, then give it back to them with many expensive strings attached. They can only spend it on insulation etc (when they might need a roof and gutter repair) and only with approved (thus more expensive) suppliers. I looked up how to become an approved supplier you could easily spend three months just reading up the red tape surrounding that. All driven by the idiotic climate alarmism religion.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 6:35 am | Permalink

      Plus the temporary nature of the tax break give a huge incentive (up to £15K) to evict millions of tenants (so as to sell you property before March next year when the holiday ends). At least make it permanent Rishi! Then we still have punitive rates of SDLT on expensive properties at up to 15%. Damaging socialist fiscal lunacy as usual.

  11. Javelin
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    This Government does not have strategic problem solving skills. The strategic error the Government is making is their solution to covid is based on the problem and not the solution.

    For example R0 is a measure of the problem. If you base a solution on the problem, such as keeping R0 below 1, the actions fragment into contradictions as you work toward the solution. This is because you (a) have not defined a solution and (b) want to avoid any small bump in the road. (c) b. often leads to more of a.

    The solution is that resilient people can get on with their lives until a treatment comes along for vulnerable people. Therefore vulnerable people need to be locked down and therefore they need to be supported and therefore GPs need to decide who is vulnerable and therefore hospitals need to be separated for vulnerable people etc, etc. So start with the solution and work backwards toward the problem.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      The ‘experts’ are talking about 120k dead in the next wave of CV19.

      So what do we do ? Lock down the whole country again ?

      Next is compulsory masks which has the smack of permanence about it. So just as we’re given £10 to eat a meal in a restaurant we’re told we can’t shop without a mask.

      This is the Bandemic. The authoritarian Left are determined to ride this swan and ban everything from driving to smoking outside a pub. They are determined to crash the economy and destroy this government and ban us from doing anything we like.

      • Mark
        Posted July 14, 2020 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps we should divide the “expert” opinion by a factor of 10? It was a better guess the last time.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted July 14, 2020 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

        Your favourite pastime appears to be whingeing. I think that’s pretty safe.

        • Anonymous
          Posted July 15, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

          I’d like to go to a pub and watch a band.

        • NickC
          Posted July 15, 2020 at 9:43 am | Permalink

          Says the man who has spent years whingeing about Brexit.

  12. Alan Jutson
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Why is it the Government always want to complicate matters.

    Why not simply have all home improvementProducts at Zero Rated Vat.

    This would help eliminate those in the alternative economy that only want to work for cash and puts legitimate companies on a level playing field with such people.

    No need for any policing extra administration and encourages the uprating of all home.

    New build is Zero rated, so why charge VAT on existing properties.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

      Precisely! It’s more ‘green’ to upgrade an old house than demolish and rebuild. If anything the new build should be taxed!

  13. Thames Trader
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    The move to cut stamp duty is a good thing but it’s been undermined by the banks and mortgage companies withdrawing 5% and 10% deposit mortgages to protect themselves against negative equity if house prices fall. This is a prime example of protective behaviour causing a problem. Of course house prices are going to fall if there aren’t enough first time buyers to buy at the beginning of a property chain. Let’s leave aside that many consider the housing market to be an overpriced house of cards – the priority now is to get things moving and money flowing through the system. The government should guarantee the mortgage providers against the negative equity shortfall if a buyer with a 5% or 10% deposit mortgage defaults and the property sale won’t cover all the mortgage. The cost of this would be relative peanuts: if a buyer defaults the government would only be covering the negative equity portion of the mortgage. Unless something like this is done the market will grind along slowly.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 6:57 am | Permalink

      Fist time buyers don’t by at the start of a ‘chain’. They buy a new house – no seller moves out, no chain started, but the Corporations which charges 10% premium for a new build, doing well.
      So First time buyers are irrelevant to the current ‘second hand’ housing market.

  14. Sharon Jagger
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    Off topic

    The Telegraph are saying that face masks will become mandatory in shops and supermarkets – in 10 days time.

    And the response in the comments section is that people will not go shopping. They’ll buy online.

    This decision is a big mistake.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      I reckon all MPs should read those comments.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      Given the history of this pandemic there is no logic to the decision other than to cave in to those with an authoritarian streak.

      They should present the science on how masks save lives.

      I cannot help but think that this country is finished and is going down the toilet fast.

    • miami.mode
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely right, Sharon.

  15. agricola
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Government has an historical habit of creating green subsidised schemes, solar electricity generation for instance, and then pulling the rug from beneath the feet of those partaking. So my advice is caveat emptor, if they have not published the detail it means they have not thought it through or are busy trying to dilute it. Can an old gas central heating boiler be replaced with a modern Combi Boiler and be supported with this grant. Like most things government do they are done to satisfy a political need, reality comes later with the detail.

  16. MickN
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    Never mind green grants what is this garbage with the masks?
    I am a normal joe soap edging towards my three score years and ten. I have never been in trouble not as much as a parking ticket or speeding fine. I have always stayed on the right side of the law.
    Through this pandemic I have followed to the letter what I have been expected to do.
    I have stayed at home other than to go to work. I’ve not seen children or grandchildren and missed the funeral of a family friend. I have understood from the beginning that hindsight is a wonderful thing and that mistakes would be made and accepted that.
    In the meantime I have seen crowds on Westminster Bridge applauding the NHS with no social distancing, demonstrations around the country with no social distancing and crowds on the beach doing likewise on a sunny day.
    It seems that from 24th July I will be fined if I set foot in Tesco without a muzzle on.
    I will be able to sit in a pub or eaterie in an enclosed space for a prolonged period of time without a mask, but should I venture into a huge superstore I risk being fined.
    Well Sir please convey to those people in government that I have had enough.
    THIS is my red line.
    IF it was a game changer why was it not brought in in March?
    IF it is considered such a gamechanger now, WHY is it not coming in immediately ? Why an 11 day wait?
    It makes no sense at all and if Boris persists with this madness I am done with him too.

    • clive lester
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      Well written , and may I say there are a hell of a lot of other people who absolutely agree with you . The death knell of the high street can now be heard ,and with this latest announcement it will become deafening .
      More U turns than I care to think about .

    • Mark B
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      Remember. This àll started to “Save our NHS”


      It very soon turned into a power grab. The UK has just undergone a Coup.

  17. Ian @Barkham
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    Sir John

    The trend in your views of society suggest you are turning into a form of socialist.

    Grants tax breaks and so on while seemingly well intentioned only have the effect of ensuring those that can afford something get at a cheaper price funded by those that can’t afford it in the first place. Strange concept.

    This is exactly what is happening with in the so-called green initiative, whether it is homes or cars. the richer you are the more the state funds you at the expense of the poor. Although now I have written that, that is the opposite of socialism.

    We don’t do means testing nowadays, but that was the point of it. So those that cant afford something get funded by those that can. A complete reversal of what is need to rebalance the country.

    To bang on a tired old drum. If you treat every one as equal, recognize everyone as being equal. Let everyone contribute to the wealth, the wellbeing and the security of the country based on economic ability. We will all pay less, have a less of a burden to carry in our daily like as a consequence we will achieve greatness together. We need to stop this pandering to the Woke and chattering classes.

  18. jerry
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    If the Govts CSA is suggesting (via a commissioned report frpm The Academy of Medical Sciences) a second wave is highly likely later in the year and that it could be worse than the first, that 120k deaths from this second wave is a “reasonable” worst case scenario (suggesting an actual death rate still far higher than the first wave, what ever) then surely the govt should not be opening-up high-risk areas such as hospitality and Tourism (both where masks are impractical), and certainly not very high risk areas such as swimming pools and gyms (where masks are impossible) and international travel etc.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      Jerry. Then those things are dead and cannot possibly recover – gone forever.

      Economic depression is going to kill far more people than the pandemic.

      Why aren’t we doing what we should have done first time around ? Protecting those with known comorbidities and the aged.

      My only consolation being that our people have proven to be so cowardly that they deserve to have it all taken away.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted July 14, 2020 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        What is cowardly about being willing to make sacrifices to protect the elderly and the weakened?

        Your slur is disgraceful.

        • Fred H
          Posted July 15, 2020 at 7:40 am | Permalink

          so you’ve joined the ranks of protestors about Andy!

        • Anonymous
          Posted July 15, 2020 at 8:10 am | Permalink

          They are scared for themselves – or enjoying the lockdown, or a bit of both.

          There is a heavy price to pay.

        • NickC
          Posted July 15, 2020 at 9:46 am | Permalink

          Martin, So what part of “Protecting those with known co-morbidities and the aged” don’t you understand?

          • jerry
            Posted July 15, 2020 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

            @NickC; That’s what the Lock-down does, why, because there are tens of thousands of people walking about with unknown co-morbidities.

            Yours is the approach Trump took, look at States such as Florida, Texas, California and counting, with hospitals now full to bursting, not of the aged or those with known co-morbidities but the young and middle ages who worked out daily daily.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted July 15, 2020 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

            What bit of “making sacrifices” don’t you understand, Nick?

      • jerry
        Posted July 14, 2020 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        @Anonymous; “Then those [economic sectors] are dead and cannot possibly recover – gone forever.”

        You mean like the UK coal & motor industry etc, and the many, often privately owned, companies that supported those industries? I recall the govt telling those affected that new career/business opportunities would come along to replace those lost, and in the main they did, the same will be true again.

        “Why aren’t we doing what we should have done first time around ? Protecting those with known comorbidities and the aged. “

        The reason very few govts are taking such a course is because it’s fake news at best and a outright lie at worst, it’s not just the old and already ill dying now from CV19 in the USA, yes the old and ill are the first to succumb but anyone can catch CV19 once the R# spirals out of control and that its-self will damage the economy anyway, perhaps more so than a pre-planned lock-down.

        “My only consolation being that our people have proven to be so cowardly that they deserve to have it all taken away.”

        Your attitude is called “Defeatism”. The only cowardice is coming from those like you, bleating that it’s all to difficult, all to expensive, all to damaging etc – but so was WW2…

        • Anonymous
          Posted July 15, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

          I’ve read reports which said “Without lockdown many would have died and 70% of those remaining would have been very sick.”

          This is patently untrue.

          Most people don’t get very sick at all and certainly not at the same time.

          Yours and Martin’s failure is to realise that economic depression is going to kill very many more people than the disease itself.

          • jerry
            Posted July 15, 2020 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

            @Anonymous; “Most people don’t get very sick at all and certainly not at the same time.”

            Yes, because of the lock-down and now heavy restrictions on what is allowed, the flip side of the coin is what you want, what is happening in the USA.

            The economy suffers what ever, either because of lock-downs or shut-downs, due to excessive numbers of staff sickness.

            Have you ever worked with production lines, loose any part of the line due to no operatives and you can not carry on making the product, it is the same scenario as an outside supplier failing their JIT contract, no parts no production, the whole line or factory shuts.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted July 15, 2020 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

            Sounds like an indefeasible argument against brexit, if your claim were correct.

          • jerry
            Posted July 16, 2020 at 4:09 am | Permalink

            @MiC; No, actually it’s an argument for Brexit, the EU restricts our ability to trade freely and thus our economic recovery from this pandemic.

    • a-tracy
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      Can we sue the Academy of Science if they get this prediction wrong with the resultant hesitation of re-opening this has caused and many more businesses that will be closing down because ‘the second wave is coming’ from October.

  19. Lifelogic
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Market interventions by Government are almost invariable a bad idea. As we see in transport, energy, health care, employment rules, housing, universities and schools and much else. Get the state out of the damn way please.

  20. ChrisS
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    On the subject of stamp duty, it has always seemed unfair to me that this unwarranted tax should be levied purely on the price of a home. People in high priced areas are hugely disadvantaged, especially since stamp duty rates were elevated to the obscene levels we saw under Osbourne.

    The tax would be far better levied on the floor area of a home in square metres rather than the price. If you want to buy a large home, you should pay the highest rate, wherever it is located.

    The charging of 12% is completely unjustified and all rates should be capped at, say, 5% which most people would accept as reasonable. Osbourne’s additional 3% on second homes would not seem so bad if it were on top of a 5% top rate.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      It a indeed a tax hugely unfair to people living living in higher prices areas. People who are perhaps already suffering from having to take large mortgages and pay a fortune to buy a small flat. Some people in London can easily be earning £100K but be not better off in disposable income terms (after tax, commuting cost and mortgage etc) than someone earning £30K in an area of cheap housing. Or indeed than someone earning this with subsidised social housing.

  21. a-tracy
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    It’s not ironic its simple don’t announce something until all the rules are written to issue at the same time.

    Excellent on stamp duty to allow people to downsize and get the family housing market moving swiftly. However, first-time buyers I’m speaking to that were told they would be able to get 95% mortgages are now being told the banks and building societies will only offer 90% at the most some 85% they can’t raise the extra money now in the next three months and will have to pull out because they need the rest of the 5% they’ve saved for solicitors and other related costs, furniture and curtains etc.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      In our area ‘NHS workers’ are still be offered 95% mortgages. Surely they are all so deserving we should just give them houses?

      • a-tracy
        Posted July 15, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

        I honestly don’t mind NHS workers being offered 95% mortgages they have very safe and secure jobs, essential to the local community and it should be for homes near to the hosital they work in to cut down on commuting it is another benefit-in-kind though like the extra 22% pension contribution by the State, the free full sick cover, the extra holidays over 28 pa, all of these super benefits aren’t appreciated, the only salary that is discussed is the starting rate without any enhancements for weekend working or grade increases that are frequent throughout. It’s time we listed all the benefits of working for the State this will encourage people into state care homes, state hospitals, other jobs and make workers face their benefits in kind and a very attractive option and if bought in the private sector would cost an extra 40%+ of pay, rising as grade and status rises.

  22. Andy
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    As a thank you the French government is giving French health workers an historic pay rise.

    As a thank you the English government is making English health workers pay for parking.

    Two countries divided by just 20 miles but a gulf of decency between them.

    • Richard1
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      So you think a hospital consultant on £120k should have the taxpayer pay their parking but a checkout clerk at sainsburys on £18k should not?

      • Andy
        Posted July 14, 2020 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

        What an odd response.

        I very much doubt Sainsbury’s charges its staff to park at work – and if it does they should complain.

        The NHS shouldn’t charge its staff – any of them – to park at work either.

        While I am all in favour of encouraging people to walk, cycle and use public transport the fact is that this is not always an option for keyworkers. Many of whom work shifts.

        I would give all NHS staff a significant pay rise. I would give teachers a pay rise. And care workers, police officers, firefighters and most state workers.

        I would pay for it by taxing billionaires, clamping down on those involved in excessive tax avoidance, scrapping many of the outrageous exemptions for the self-employed (no, your lunch is not a tax deductible expense) and by slashing pensions. There is plenty of money to go around if we stop giving most of it to old people.

        • NickC
          Posted July 15, 2020 at 9:53 am | Permalink

          Andy, I thought you had managed to make your usual misinformed comments without mentioning “old people”. But alas, you slipped it in at the end. You are literally transfixed by “old people”. Your epic ageist phobia is probably treatable though.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 14, 2020 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

        Transport to and from work (and parking for work) should be tax allowable as it is clearly an expense caused by this work.

      • Edward2
        Posted July 14, 2020 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

        Health workers include NHS admin staff.
        My partner works nearby to a hospital car park for a company regarded as an essential business which has remained open during the pandemic.
        She uses the same car park and pays several pounds per day.
        As do other Police and Fire and Council and Court staff.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted July 14, 2020 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

        Porters and the rest of the staff use the car parks too, not just the top brass.

        • Fred H
          Posted July 15, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

          the top brass can probably afford a chauffeur, or a taxi service to work.

    • graham1946
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      Is that ‘decency’ why we put illegal immigrants up in hotels, feed and clothe them and give them money to live on whilst the French let them live is squalid camps, under bridges and they all want to get out of the paradise that is the EU?

      Really Andy, you are hopeless and just spout endless tripe.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      Our doctors are very well paid by European standards – second to Belgian doctors, if I remember correctly. Any increase in pay should be in the form of a one-off bonus – but it shouldn’t be across the board.

    • steve
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 7:59 pm | Permalink



      A subject of which you are ill-informed.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 7:03 am | Permalink

      Have French health workers, with their ‘historic pay rise’ caught up with British health workers on their pre-pandemic salaries yet?

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      I don’t notice any rubber boats going from this awful country to ever so decent France.

  23. Roy Grainger
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Removing stamp duty will increase house prices. For example, the stamp duty boundary at £250,000 has been removed. Up to now this acted as a psychological anchor point for houses which were priced at exactly this level to avoid going into the next higher section, and buyers would negotiate down to this level, now prices can drift smoothly above this level.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      Well they did get rid of the large jumps as you only now pay the tax on the excess over the thresholds. But yes for me it has probably put up the price of my properties by circa £15K X 20+ units. Thanks very much Richi but to realise this I would have to kick out my (usually) delightful tenants out – which I do not really want to do. Even though that is probably what I should do in purely economic terms.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 7:06 am | Permalink

      The point is that the registers owner of the property gets the money rather than the Government which arbitrarily took a never reducing % of all British housing, worth trillions.
      When the seller sells he swaps his interest in the property for money. The government get is % in cash and keeps that %. What is good about that?

  24. Adam
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Heat rises. Loft and cavity wall insulation deliver high value, but double glazing achieves less. It has a long RoI and often its seals fail before even then.

    Grants should be fit for purpose. Muddles over details, timing, knock-on consequences and other problems involve different matters that an efficient Govt should foresee.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      A free seal-replacement scheme would probably be more effective – but cost-effectiveness is no longer a concern of this government, if it ever was.

      • Adam
        Posted July 15, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

        Your intelligent suggestion, Sea Warrior, is well-targeted and much more cost-efficient the Govt’s. Conservatives tend to make well-reasoned decisions, but with exceptions. Perhaps their intention is in part to increase business by promoting sales of new double glazing; or perhaps the person responsible is naïve, careless on detail, or just daft!

        Members of some parties exhibit all three attributes.

  25. Iago
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    How proceeds today the government’s organized invasion in the Channel and the far greater one at the airports? As yesterday.

  26. ukretired123
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Well said we need to hit the road running in line with the real world where 24/7 now operates. Clear guidance and the Keep It Simple instead of letting the Civil Service interpret this like 10 pages from an EU directive in triplicate…..

  27. Mike Wilson
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    I heard about the insulation grants on the box but where are the details? What does it cover? Where can you apply? This government is getting unbelievable. Wear a mask. Don’t wear a mask. Work from home. Go back to work. Stay 2 metres apart. Stay I metre apart. Meanwhile the NHS feels inaccessible. Grants for insulation are coming. When? What for?

    It’s all talk.

  28. Caterpillar
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    A statement on the green grant should not be issued until the details are clear. It is not appropriate to encourage spend should it turn out that the conditions of the scheme require an assessment and specific work to be undertaken. Early encouragement may for example persuade people to change their windows (it looks good to the neighbours, can help security etc.), but it might well be that other interventions are preferable on an energy basis and so may be a condition on the funding.

    My views of this Chancellor’s policies remain highly critical (the serious and broad ranging lack of ethics, the ineffectiveness, and the long run zombie company & household creation), in the case of the green grants he has added another dimension in choosing to virtue signal prior to having the full scheme worked out.

    I do not believe the UK will ever again have decent and competent policies flowing from Number 11.

    (I am hoping we do not have further inappropriate retrofitting of cavity wall insulation).

    • Caterpillar
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      Aside: back to face masks/coverings. Although my attempted post a few days back was deleted I still believe smiling faces matter for social interaction. There are at least USA and SA news reports of criminal opportunism flowing from the normalisation of face coverings, which both provide anonymity and dehumanise potential victims. We know that this Govt did not fully (or even at all) consider the consequences of the lockdown and the vast socio-economic damage it has predictably done. The Govt should immediately publish its considerations of the downside of masks and the associated precedent of mandating people’s clothing. The attack on social interaction and individual liberties are big costs on top of the reckless damage already caused. It really appears that the whole Govt is stuck in a single issue way of thinking.

      • UK Qanon
        Posted July 14, 2020 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

        Caterpillar – I have found as you have, that if your comment does not fit the establishment narrative, it will be deleted. Not sure who deletes it though.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      Given Sunak’s enforced profligacy, the decision to combine the Spad operations in No 1o and No 11 now looks fraught with fiscal danger. Some creative tension is needed. Neither the PM nor Cummings know much about Economics – and yet they have control.

  29. formula57
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    That is a most welcome initiative and hopefully this Chancellor has now worked out he does the right thing when he takes your advice.

  30. Jim Whitehead
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Off topic.
    Sir John, your Diary is a daily source of quality insight both from your wise words and also through the informed comment which it elicits.
    I have long been an admirer of your achievements, sagacity, and limitless patience.
    Many a time I saw you slowly win over an audience on Question Time. Scorn and scepticism in the room would give way to quiet respect then increasing murmurs of agreement as your explanations and good sense released the ‘better selves’ of the listeners.
    Like the enlightened audience, I try to be patient and understanding, the better to appreciate the finer points of any issue.
    I am sorely tried now by the PM’s decree that face masks must be worn by shoppers.
    Will the shoppers be culpable?
    Will the shop keepers be culpable if they tolerate or do not actively insist on masks being worn.
    The implications are horrendous.
    The deliberate obfuscation and deceit by many in your Party over Brexit provoked a resolve in many voters to vote for the Brexit Party and also, in anger, to cast a vote AGAINST the treachery of the Conservative Party, regardless of who would benefit. I certainly feel that way, and I share the detestation of Peter Hitchens for Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock.

    • Bill B.
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      This is going to be Michael Gove’s opportunity to be the PM we should have had, not the hopeless clown currently in office but not in power.

      I hope, Sir John, you will support Michael when the time comes.

    • Andy
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      Virtually nobody voted for the Brexit Party. The Greens got almost twice as many votes. The Lib Dems got 6 times as many votes.

      Farage is a phenomenon only in the sense that some people still listen to him, despite the fact that he is the most accomplished serial failure in politics.

      Many of us are now calling the Kent Brexit lorry park the Farage Garage in his honour. A tribute to epic failure.

      • NickC
        Posted July 15, 2020 at 9:59 am | Permalink

        Andy, Farage is a “serial failure” only if you literally ignore the EU elections and the Referendum. Literally leaving out those successes shows your epic bias.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      Boris is starting to look like another pathetic tax, borrow and waste red tape pushing grand project pushing socialist and Hancock is clearly another PPE dope trying his best (his heart is, I think, in the right place though but not his brain) but he is a bit out of his depth.

      But Boris and Cummings deserve a Dukedom if only for saving us from 9% support Appeaser May and rescuing us from the dire Corbyn/Mc Donnal/SNP and a trip to Venezuela.

    • zorro
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

      Please do not disparage our Dear Leader Kim Jong Son and his dreaded Health Commissar Mat Hang Kok, or you may face a ‘dark rain’ from the Ever Feared and Dreaded Commissar of All The Intelligences Dom Khuo Ming!


  31. Everhopeful
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    I see that the powers-that-be are not too busy with the “crisis” to hammer the final nail into the coffin of buy to let.
    Or rather into that of the stripped-of-pension-funds small landlord ( before they have a chance to avail themselves of green-gadgetry-govt. largesse that is).
    For surely they will sell up rather than be FORCED to take benefits claimants as tenants?
    No doubt the cut price houses will be handed over to large Housing “Trusts”.
    Yet another transfer of wealth to the 1%.

  32. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Because I will no longer be going to the shops, as I refuse point blank to wear a mask, there will be no ‘green insulation’ or any other purchases in our house.
    Boris dragged kicking and screaming to to the right thing by our mobile network, now he must be force fed that fact that HS2 is not only redundant but rated RED, and then he fires the last shot to completely kill off the High Street and Supermarkets.
    I think he is worse than May. At least she believed in what she was trying to force on us ‘for our own good’ – Boris believes nothing, knows nothing, truly useless.
    Boris must go!

    • miami.mode
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      Boris’s life seems to be a litany of letting people down, so why would he be any different now?

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted July 15, 2020 at 7:12 am | Permalink

        That’s why the May Parliamentary party allowed him onto the ballot paper with two dead sheep.
        The Members must recover the power to freely support any candidate and maybe to vote for the last 3 on the Leadership ballot paper.
        The Parliamentary Party has been substandard for a generation, at least.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      You voted for his governance.

    • Mark B
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 4:50 am | Permalink

      I disagree with you regarding TM. CMD was much the same. In fact, post Thatcher, the last thing the Tories and the Establishment wanted was a PM with ideas and, worst still, an ideology.

  33. forthurst
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    So last century. Many houses with single glazing also have overgrown gardens so why not grants for bringing them back into cultivation and what about giving people grants for planting trees in order to save the planet by absorbing CO2; this will help the Tories achieve their goal of zero net carbon which otherwise had to be achieved by closing down British industry and sending it off to China which is now verboten.

  34. Al
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    I would say a scheme to help a market, which adds complexity to that market, resulting in problems dealing with this added complexity, and therefore the cancellation of work in that market, is fairly typical of the government. It certainly doesn’t help the market.

    Makes work for the civil service though.

  35. RichardP
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    I don’t welcome the Government’s green grant home improvement scheme. Just as with previous home insulation initiatives, we will now be inundated with cold calls from cowboy traders.
    The other concern is that if it isn’t safe to go into a shop without a face mask then how can it be safe to invite tradesmen into your home to rip out the windows!

  36. Norman
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Off topic – and now face masks for shopping – this nonsense needs to stop!

    • Barbara
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      Hear hear. Absolutely horrifying.

  37. glen cullen
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    There you go again, social engineering with grants here and grants there

    Home insulation grants have been around since the early 80s, in some politician guise or another, and none of these projects have reduced the unit cost of energy

    Please stop messing with the energy markets at the consumer/tactical end and get the strategic security of energy source sorted

    The unit cost of energy is the key not insulation grants or green badges

    • Original Chris
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      Boris is apparently hooked on all things green. The problem is that he has little basic knowledge it seems, nor innate common sense. That makes him a victim to apparent scams such as the Global Warming agenda.

  38. Ian Wragg
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    O.T but relevant, HS2 has been given a red card as being unable to deliver on time or on budget, if ever.
    HS2 must have a massive property portfolio which if the project is cancelled and the property sold, it would go a long way to recovering the amount spent.
    Why are face masks a good thing in 10 days but not today. Following the science my elbow.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      The outer estimates for all of HS2 is 100bn over many years. Sunak has spent that on furlough, grant, self-employed bailouts this year – paying the same in one year as HS2 in total to largely produce nothing (in the case of furlough to insist on producing nothing). These comparisons show just what good value HS2 will be – once the Hancock influenced madness is stopped and the economy allowed to recover. Connected, innovative cities are the only viable future to get UK back as a developed country – HS2 remains one of the few (only?) sensible policies of this Govt. Admittedly it alone cannot do much heavy lifting whilst the shallow Hancock, Sunak and Patel policies continue –

      Insulate your face,
      Insulate your house,
      Don’t insulate your borders.

    • steve
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

      Ian Wragg

      “Why are face masks a good thing in 10 days but not today. Following the science my elbow.”

      Well I did wonder if, hypothetically, someone who might be sitting on a stockpile of millions of masks needs the time to get affairs in order.

      Perhaps it’s just my suspicious mind, or perhaps something stinks. Either way I think it needs to be investigated as to who will gain from the purchase of millions of (probably useless and shoddy) face masks.

      I would also say; ‘following the science my ar 5e’

  39. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Will you please set out your strategy for reducing State debt, which by the end of this financial year will exceed 100% of GDP. It’s no use pretending that the interest we have to pay on that debt will stay low, any more than the Greek and Italian governments pay low interest on their debt. And it’s no use pretending that the State debt generated by QE isn’t there. If it could be ignored, then we could – and should – unwind the current highly regressive QE and put £1000 in each individual’s bank account, the closest we could come to Milton Friedman’s helicopter money – a progressive method.

    The thing that’s seriously wrong with the British economy is that ever since 2001, the ultra-rich have been ripping off the middle classes through the mechanism of grossly inflated asset prices. It is survival of the fattest, not survival of the fittest.

  40. glen cullen
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Someone had better tell the mandarins at the high office of the Tory party that they’re going to lose faith with the electorate and the next election if they can’t stop the illegal passage of immigrants crossing the channel

    If the combined efforts of the royal navy, border control, customs and the home office can’t secure and protect our country the whole government should resign

    Reported 180 illegal crossing on Sunday

    • steve
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 7:44 pm | Permalink


      “Someone had better tell the mandarins at the high office of the Tory party that they’re going to lose faith with the electorate and the next election”

      It’s a bit late for that now. Tory defeat at the next GE is a certainty. The only variable is whether Labour or one of Mr Farage’s concoctions gets elected.

      If Farage then great, but if we elect Labour then at least we won’t need a face nappy to look stupid.

      • glen cullen
        Posted July 15, 2020 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        Correct…..they just don’t get it, they don’t understand the electorate

  41. Sea Warrior
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    The grants are too generous. Home maintenance is the responsibility of the owner – not the state.

  42. Otto
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Govt. of incompetence AGAIN. I need to insulate my loft roof but was told no grant as it only covers floors! Who knows if this is correct – not the Govt. it seems.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      Government grants in my experience are more hassle than they are worth. In the time it take you to investigate the rules and schemes & then apply and then claim you could have earned more than the grant doing other things. Plus they always force you to use approved suppliers who are usually expensive, inflexible and slow.

  43. Otto
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    I’m surprised that the Govt. didn;t take 5 years to decide to declare war on Germany.

    • steve
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 7:40 pm | Permalink


      In a way the gov’t of the day did. It piss-farted around for years and wasted opportunity after opportunity to attack the German capital ships when their keils were laid. Same for the Luftwaffe.

      Now we have gov’t too scared of the Chinese, they’ve just given Huawei seven years to get out, rather than have the guts to kick them out pronto.

      Nothing changes mate.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted July 15, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

        Because the BBC (a monopoly at the time) kept Churchill off the air for 28 consecutive months, we hardly had a gun when we should have stopped Germany in her tracks. So we had to mess about allow Adolf to strutt his stuff and get more and more confident, until we had sorted ourselves out.
        Same with Hauwei.
        The British alway delude themselves that other nations are just british with different accents. They always pay the price and the self-delusion is never acknowledged and therefore … round and round.
        One day we will leave it too late.

  44. Michael
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Yes because that will entirely make up for the government caused destruction of the UK economy. Good to see Boris iis following the communist party lead by forcing harmful masks on healthy people. That should finish off the old people the NHS hasn’t managed to kill yet.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

      You don’t have to wear them all the time, you know?

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted July 15, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

        You don’t have to wear them anytime. I’m not.

      • Fred H
        Posted July 15, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

        Hancock might announce that next week!

  45. Bryan Harris
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Just read of the ‘announcement’ Copy of letter to my MP
    I really must protest at the government’s authoritarian approach to wearing masks.

    It is nothing short of idiocy. We all know the alleged experts cannot agree on how we should proceed, and yet the government has decided to fine those people who do not comply. TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE!

    Masks were designed to protect against bacteria. The virus is tiny by comparison and will easily infiltrate a mask – WE might as well wear a tennis net for all the good it will do! Yet the government persists with this nonsense.
    All this does is to heighten the fear aspect.

    With such vagaries in the PM’s statement, those in authority will be left to make up their own minds about how this new useless fashion item will be worn, and we all know there are plenty of those that will overstep the mark.

    The government need to wake up to the fact that they are groping in the dark, and that masks will do nothing to return us to a normal life, far from it.

    I want to see less PR rubbish from media and government, and I want a real policy to improve the state of people’s health so that they can withstand a virus attack.

  46. Mark
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Here is a chart that shows the number of housing transactions (seasonally adjusted) monthly back to 2005:

    The market had already peaked in late 2006 before the run on Northern Rock in September, 2007 sent it into free fall, and it was almost at rock bottom by the time Alistair Darling instituted his SDLT holiday which was said to cover 60% of transactions (Brown refused to let him allow exemptions on transactions of up to £250,000, as was evident in the appendix to the press release of the announcement, which gave examples of saving to that level). Whether it prevented much further fall, readers can judge, but I have read that it only increased transactions by about 8% over what they otherwise would have been. The silver lining is that the real cost in revenues is much lower than assumed.

    SDLT Receipts:

    The impact of the virus on transactions has been even more catastrophic in the short run, but it is the longer run impact of threats of unemployment to those in furlough which will likely produce a lot of people looking to trade down but few willing to buy in a falling house price market that are the real concern. The SDLT measure is likely to be like trying to inflate a balloon with a hole in it. The small downward kick in RPI on the back of falling oil prices with considerable uncertainty about measured prices for many items hardly represents improved affordability, but it lies behind the apparent uptick in “real” prices. We can expect some sharp falls, followed by a prolonged gradual bottoming out, much as in the 1990s.

    Nationwide House Prices deflated by RPI:

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      Yes I sold everything I could in 2006. It was obvious at that stage, and various economists were warning of the crash to come. They did not try to predict the exact timing of course, unlike the Climate Change geniuses.
      That’s why we were agog when HM asked why nobody knew of the impending disaster? Those who knew were muzzled, just as they are now.

  47. Yossarion
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Does this include Solar Panels Sir John?

  48. David Brown
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Various grants have been around for decades, I believe there used to be a grant for toilet installation. The UK housing stock has the lowest thermal efficiency in Europe, yet we have good quality build in terms of older terraced housing but they lack insulation that in turn wastes fuel heating costs. So its a good idea in principal for thermal grants.
    Face masks in shops is also a good cautionary policy, there are many reports about a potential second Covid wave that will totally wipe out the economy so tolerating face masks is good practice.
    How do we pay off national debt – in my opinion through a asset based wealth tax.
    Who should be next PM if Boris is kicked out Rishi Sunak – why because he looks good he has PR abilities and he is young. Dont want any old politicians around once they reach 70

  49. Mark
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    I see that the BEIS Select Committee was so lacking in ideas about what it needs to be scrutinising that it invited the public to make suggestions, from which it has picked a short list of the usual suspects (green evangelists) to pontificate in two days’ time. It did however publish the public submissions it had received

    many of which were highly critical of previous Green Deals, with inappropriate insulation being foist on householders that resulted in considerable problems and costs that far outweighed any energy savings, and many cases of scams and poor work standards from the approved contractors. Perhaps it is fortunate that this particular case of the Chancellor’s generosity only amounts to about £2bn or just 0.1% of what we might have to spend on insulating our homes to meet the unachievable standards that are part of the zero carbon folly.

    I am sure there would be plenty of employment for a “red team” to go over zero carbon policy and offer a proper criticism of it in every detail – something the Select Committee are unwilling to do on behalf of voters. It is employment we need to recover from the virus: generating a handful of “green jobs” that destroy many more jobs and impoverish us as a nation isn’t going to work. People will stay home, unemployed.

    • Mark
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      Perhaps I should note that the other day OFGEM announced a programme of £25-35bn of spending, while slashing the returns for the gas and electricity transmission and distribution businesse

      They give so little detail – just saying “so energy networks can deliver more clean energy for consumers” that it qualifies as a South Sea Bubble “company for carrying on an undertaking of great advantage, but nobody to know what it is”, but that is enough to know that the bill is for renewables and hydrogen in the gas grid which are totally unnecessary expensive replacements. OFGEM gloss over the cost by pointing out that limiting the returns will mean an initial saving of £20 a year per household, but that £25bn will be going on consumer bills. They are in effect acting as the board for these companies, dictating their capital spending programme and dividend policy, in the interest only of their green friends who own wind farms etc., and very much to the detriment of consumers.

      Something for sure that the BEIS Select Committee should be thinking about.

  50. Jonah
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Off topic: The government keep telling us that they are following the science so can they please direct us to the peer reviewed evidence that reusing masks or other facial coverings ( as people no doubt will ) will not result in contamination and increased risk of infection.

    Are the government planning a mass marketing campaign to teach people how to use masks properly?

  51. Freeborn John
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    The EU now appears to be suggesting a deal might only be agreed in December. The U.K. has to avoid planning be put on hold for WTO trading to be put on hold until then. Nothing would give the EU Commission more pleasure than to delay ‘no deal’ until the last minute and then try to do as much damage as possible while Remainers in the U.K. blame the British government for lack of planning. The U.K. has to avoid this trap and say that talks will end by September 1 at the latest in order to give certainty to British business of the changes coming in January.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      End talks now. If they can’t agree now they can’t agree ever.

  52. mancunius
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    In a genuine free market democracy homeowners would regard the modest outlay of £5K as a fair price for the increase in value their house would get from such an upgrade. It would need no grant, as it’s a no-brainer. Or at least, it would be, except that – as a glance at their EPCs instantly shows – most competing properties are equally poorly insulated, so why bother. No prospective buyer round here has ever been known to enquire about the insulation.

    The many properties owned and rented out by non-resident owners couldn’t care less about the insulation, as the heating costs are borne by the tenant. But they may well apply for the £5K grant, as the actual window costs can be either inflated or imaginatively relocated as other expenses in the accounts.

    And bingo, yet another nice little greeny scam effectively supported by the future taxpayer.

  53. Lifelogic
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    Companies used to pay these cost in tax allowable relocation expenses but not these are over taxes too. You have perhaps 50K of stamp duty tax to pay the company has to give you about 100K so you can pay this 50K after the tax on it. So £100K for the government to waste.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 7:13 am | Permalink

      Tax and NI sometimes too that is.

  54. mancunius
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Should read: ‘Many properties are owned and rented out by non-resident owners who’ etc

  55. steve
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    All good ideas JR, but I’m afraid it’s wasted on me. I’ve given Boris the benefit of the doubt time and time again.

    This latest buffoonery to make us ware face nappies AFTER lockdown is eased just beggars belief. If it was that important why the hell were they not made compulsory before ?

    One can only surmise the guy doesn’t know what he’s doing, or is doing what so-called ‘experts’ tell him, or we’re being had over in some way.

    Why now ? who will gain from millions of face masks being bought ?

    I can tell you this: Boris looks stupid in one of those things, we too are being forced to look stupid by him.

    At least we can look stupid by voting Labour into government, and won’t be needing a face nappy to do it.

    Whatever his reason, he’s just lost the conservatives millions of votes, mine included. This was the last straw.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      Look out for big price rises in face masks

    • Zorro
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

      Unless and until our Dear Leader comes crawling on his knees begging forgiveness for his ‘panic’ and sabotaging of the economy, we will be cursed with these ridiculous, impertinent impositions on our lives!


  56. Sea Warrior
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    Have you just, inadvertently, identified a potential improvement to the post-crisis operation of SDLT? Perhaps those moving house to take-up a new job should be exempt from having to pay the tax on their new property?

  57. Anonymous
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    I think extending furlough was a mistake and a friend of mine reports his BMW sales room has had the best month ever.

    A combination of fraud and sloth paid for by the taxpayer.

  58. Polly
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    More to come..


  59. Fred H
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 8:50 pm | Permalink


    Wokingham area libraries did not re-open on 4th July. The 30 staff have been redeployed.
    Nothing has been suggested to collect the 37,000 books on loan- but advice is to quarantine them for 3 days prior to presumably putting them on the shelves.
    Is it too much to ask for a plan? Surely a member of staff could receive returned books ‘at the door’ for maybe a couple of sessions of 2 hours perhaps over 3/4 days. Libraries could remain essentially closed for another week. Thus allowing stacks of books to be available to reshelve on subsequent re-opening?

  60. Ian Wilson
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, I regard the £5,000 insulation grant to be a total waste of taxpayers’ (our) money, chasing the obsession with CO2 reduction. It is quite possible homeowners who take the offer up will allow their homes to run a degree or two warmer and energy savings will be non-existent.
    In a decade or two’s time when the climate may well be on a downward trend our successors will look back in wonderment at the hysteria over climate change and CO2.

  61. Max Taylor
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    I am not a homeowner (but hope to be soon). I very much support this policy push for home improvements and home owning and all the obvious ideas behind it to create work, a sense of belonging, and use the power of the public purse wisely; after all it’s sensible, and a sign (in JRW) of someone who understands real life and what has value. To all here : if you look at life from a perspective chez Redwood, or try to learn from him as I do, I think one can learn a thing or two, I have and continue to learn quite a bit from him. To Mr Redwood : Thanks for always being a great MP; all you did from wayback till now; and I hope the ‘key’ people are listening to you now, because what you say matters (esp. here in the north), and while you might think you are past ‘offices, I would like to see you come back in some way to make/help make the changes needed, with an injection of your acquired wisdom, especially on big matters related to economic policy (like this posting of yours’). I say this from a part of the north of England that has little left to recommend itself, but there is still hope; that is what we need now.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 7:30 am | Permalink


  62. Stred
    Posted July 15, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Two points. I insulated my houses DIY using insulation which was subsidised by the energy companies because they had to spend a minimum on green measures. It was about a third of the usual price in B and Q. Friends did the same and a lot of houses were improved at minimal cost. I insulated and damp proofed walls using multifoil and floors with board or fibreglass. With draught lobbies, conservatory and chimney blocking, my energy bill is halved. Subsidizing materials is by far the most effective way to improve the housing stock and the cheapest to administrate.

    Face masks. By testing using hamsters , with a mask on the cage and a fan, Hong Kong researchers found that infected hamsters could only infect 15% of uninfected and when uninfected hamsters were masked 60% were infected. This means that if both are wearing masks, they reduce the risk greatly. This is in contrast to the earlier advice given by the chief medical officers when they were worried that there wouldn’t be enough for the NHS. Ordinary cloth masks work now too. How many unnecessary deaths have occurred because of this advice?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      Well, it was about suppressing the public clamour for PPE, when the government’s agencies could not even get it for front-line clinical staff, surely?

      In other words, face-saving as ever?

  63. a-tracy
    Posted July 15, 2020 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    “Adam Bienkov@AdamBienkov 2h
    After Michael Gove was pictured without a face covering in a Pret A Manger, Boris Johnson’s spokesman says masks will not be required when buying takeaway food.”

    Just who is Boris Johnson’s ‘Spokesman’ – seriously I’m getting thoroughly sick with government messages right now and the misrepresentation through the media, who the hell is talking for Boris to the press pack, why on earth don’t you get a decent spokesperson (the lady Trump has right now is very effective).

    So John,
    a) will masks be required in takeaways from 24th July or not? If not why not? Will the takeaway have to make people queue outside and keep a 2m distance in their shop or not?
    b) Matt Hancock has said masks aren’t required in the office (I’d suggest unless you’re within one metre, 1.5m or 2m ask the scientists to decide please) of someone else. Who told the media they were required to be worn in offices who was the source?

  • 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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