Mountains of debt

As we count the cost of the response to the virus, it is time to sketch out what future plans for public spending might look like.

As one who thought the government had to spend whatever it took to combat the virus and to keep jobs and companies afloat once the government decided on a national lock down I am not in a panic about current levels of debt. All the time interest rates are kept so low this is affordable. It is a one off cost which can be repaid gradually in years ahead.

It has, however, to be a one off, with a substantial reduction in new borrowing next year and beyond as a result of the ending of the expensive special measures and the restoration of more normal levels of revenue and employment.

Over the next few days I want to explore how the government might bring its budget back into a better balance. So far interest rates have been kept low thanks to official action by the Bank of England. They have both lowered interest rates and bought large quantities of UK state debt up to keep its price high and the interest rates low as a result. Last month debt interest fell owing to lower inflation and the cost of index linked debt, despite the large increase in total borrowings. Again this is feasible for a period dealing with a one off collapse in demand brought on by regulations to stop activity for health reasons. It is not a policy for the future that can be sustained indefinitely, as it would then lead to higher inflation and the need for higher interest rates.

One thing the authorities can do today is to borrow longer. The UK debt management team have done a better job than many countries, so the average maturity of our debt is a lot longer than continental countries on average. Given how low rates are, why not issue some debt with no repayment date, and  more ultra long debt at these tiny rates?

The best way to bring the deficit down and start to limit the debt is to get a good recovery underway. State debt is rarely repaid. It is usually rolled over or extended. As growth returns the aim must be to reduce the debt as a proportion of a growing economy. There are some easy and obvious reductions in spending that can be made which I will discuss again in future posts. Let’s start by ending EU contributions, which went up again in June.

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  1. Mark B
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    If we have left the EU as your leader led voters to believe, then why are we still paying in and not demanding some entitlements. Is this because the UK Government technically needs to remain a part of the EU so that we can slip into EU-LITE without anyone noticing ?

    I am not in favour of borrowing money just to waste it on things we do not need. I am also against the ridiculous pursuit of ever higher GDP just to keep interest rates low so the PM can spray money round. I demand and expect good governance and have seen very little over this past 6 months and, quite frankly, I have little hope that it is ever going to improve.

    We are a nation of shopkeepers/small businesses and this government seems hell bent on putting the burdon of tax on them rather than those, mostly foreign, corporates who can off-shore their taxes but get a larger share of government largess.

    Reverse this attitude and we might all just get somewhere.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 6:54 am | Permalink

      I agree about the pursuit of GDP being a false prophet. Especially when the growth is not organic. More people requires more spending which negates the additional tax take (our money).

      Government should be encouraging fewer families to have two parents working to improve society and improve our happiness.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

        Totally agree that all women who wish to be housewives should be able to remain at home and do that full-time job properly.

        • Hope
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 11:35 am | Permalink

          ..Spend whatever to combat a virus… what utter specious rot. Stop falsely passing the blame and making a false narrative. You even advocated for early opening and, once again, was a very small voice in the wilderness that your govt. ignored.

          Your govt chose this course, it did not have to and was not going to until Bottler Johnson was told by Macron to do so!

          Let us be clear about another claim, or hope, of yours about the deficit and debt. Your party has shown it is reckless with our finances. We were promised a balanced structural deficit and start paying down debt by 2015. A central economic plank to get elected we were told at two elections! Abandoned by reckless spending announcements in the March budget before lock down!

          Voters would be stupid to believe the Fake Tories after so many broken promises, highest taxation in fifty years with the worst left wing woke public services. Still China gets £71 million in overseas aid! Complete fake Tory idiots.

        • GilesB
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 11:56 am | Permalink

          Totally agree that all couples who want to be parents should have to show that they can support one of them not at work and no claims in the state until the child is an adult

          • Hope
            Posted July 24, 2020 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

            OT: July deadline by Fake Tory govt. for EU deal now extended to October! Where have we heard this before! Several times before caving in? Also a compromise, aka cave in, offered to overall deal rather than mini deals.

            Barnier must be holding his ribs laughing….

            JR, October deadline gives how much time to prepare for outcome? I thought Johnson made a do or die promise deadline last October, one which he would die in a ditch?

            Meanwhile the vassalage continues at huge cost despite lies Brexit is done! Yet lawyers in a think tank suggest WA and PD should be repudiated.

        • Fred H
          Posted July 25, 2020 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

          Lynn – — Married, in a civil partnership, any sort of partnership, or single?

    • glen cullen
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      Even though this government and Boris said they’d never pay the £39bn to the EU….we have !!!

      • Hope
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

        Ah, it is not £39 billion nor is the figure capped. Principles were agreed with no fixed end date to hide the costs from U.K. taxpayers.

        JR, tell us how much the taxpayer will pay now that your leader and govt tell us Brexit is done? The oven ready deal he repeatedly he told us about has not been agreed and the deadline extended to October! Explain to us why?

    • jerry
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      @Mark B; “I am also against the ridiculous pursuit of ever higher GDP just to keep interest rates low so the PM can spray money round.”

      Indeed, and spraying the cash also includes Tax cuts… Especially when the country is crying out for infrastructure that can only sensibly be funded via HMT.

      “I demand and expect good governance and have seen very little over this past 6 months and, quite frankly, I have little hope that it is ever going to improve.”

      I have not seen much evidence of that in the last 40 years, nor will things improve until we consign the last 40 years to the bin marked ‘Failed economic experiment’! Funny how whenever hard times hit in the last 40 years, assuming things were not simply allowed to crash and burn (as in the 1980s), economists always revert to Keynesian theory…

      • NickC
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

        Jerry, Tax cuts prevent the government spraying cash. We should revert to the tried and tested policies of Margaret Thatcher instead of the failed dirigiste corporatist state experiment, whether UK or EU.

        • jerry
          Posted July 25, 2020 at 7:47 am | Permalink

          @NickC; That very depends on whether you consider the glass half-full or half-empty…

          Money given back as a tax cuts is not then available to be spent in other ways, say, by UK Boarder-Force, it could be the difference between the funding a off-shore petrol boat or not.

          • a-tracy
            Posted July 25, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

            Border Force UK is a joke. How many have they turned a blind eye to?

    • Everhopeful
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      Do you remember independent local vets?
      Virtually a thing of the past now. Now they have mostly been subsumed by money-oriented large corporations.
      That is what will happen to all small businesses.
      It happened in 2008 and now they are going in for the kill.
      THAT is what regulations are for!

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      Mark B


      As reported in the Telegraph today, Brexit trade deal July negotiation deadline is now dead…and now UK sets October deadline for post-Brexit trade deal as Michel Barnier warns agreement ‘unlikely’….are we in for another last minute stitch-up?

      Surely Johnson is not foolish enough to do a T. May unthinkable? How can this Government be so utterly incompetant and gutless?…..please tell me I am wrong with this assumption John?

      • Hope
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        How can he, Johnson has lied that Brexit is done, that he had an oven ready deal, that he would not extend beyond October last year deal or no deal, that he would not put a border down the Irish Sea, there would be no checks between countries of our nation, Mayhab’s deal was dead, but the reality is he signed it other than a minor change to N.Ireland protocol- exactly the same.

        Already a “compromise” offered to EU including governance arrangements we read! Be scared, be very scared.

        • Dennis Zoff
          Posted July 25, 2020 at 5:23 pm | Permalink


          Yes, we are all tacitly aware Boris has form! He is supported on the condition he meets the expected agreed deliverables, else there will be severe consequences from his wait and see faithful?

      • NickC
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

        Dennis, Worse than that, the Sun is today reporting the UK offering “a major compromise” to the EU. Apparently Frost yesterday agreed to work with the EU on its wish for a governance deal covering all aspects of our interaction with the EU. That reads as ECJ control to me. If that is so, it is a major Boris blunder.

        • Dennis Zoff
          Posted July 25, 2020 at 5:24 pm | Permalink


          Yes, I await the official verdict..the MSM do what they do best, speculate for click bait!

    • czerwonadupa
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

      Especially when we hear the government has given the Chinese communists £71 million in AID! Utter madness when the government & BBC are squabbling about the cost of giving our pensioners over 75 a free TV licence.

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted July 25, 2020 at 5:19 pm | Permalink


        Conservative’s smoke and mirrors are becoming less cloudy….with Farage waiting in the wings for a Conservative blunder.

        John, please keep the Conservatives on the straight and narrow, before its supporters lose their tolerance?

    Posted July 24, 2020 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    It is not the function of the taxpayer to be forced to finance spending decisions whose primary aim is political.

    ‘Throwing money’ at the unreformed NHS or giving truculent teachers and other unionised public sector workers another pay rise for zero productivity is pure politics designed to neutralise the possibility of negative press headlines if those pay rises aren’t forthcoming

    I have no doubt that the national debt would much lower if spending decisions were filtered through the prism of utility and not the prism of politics

    If only we could simply remove politicians, activists and union paymasters from the equation. Then we wouldn’t have to suffer the nauseating sight of politicians expressing their tedious, vacuous, fake public ethos virtue when their real focus is political fortunes.

    Political parties, unions and union scammers will happily bankrupt this nation if it meant their position was promoted and secured. It is nothing less than political parasitism

    There’s nothing virtuous about ripping off the hardworking, self-reliant, private sector taxpayer. It is tawdry, low and cowardly and displays an absolute refusal to impose politically inconvenient reform of an increasingly authoritarian State that is out of control in its thirst for control and our resources

    Conflict with vested interest (public sector unions and activist snorters) is essential to politics. To turn away from that conflict will bankrupt the nation

    • oldtimer
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 6:54 am | Permalink

      Unfortunately the UK has already travelled far down the road you describe. It is a matter of some doubt now if the current government has the will or ability or intent to reverse direction.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

        There is no doubt. They have not!

        • Hope
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 11:37 am | Permalink

          We read another EU compromise AKA sell out. Barnier knows he only has to wait for bottler Johnson to cave in, again.

      • jerry
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:00 am | Permalink

        @oldtimer; “Unfortunately the UK has already travelled far down the road [Dominic] describe.”

        Indeed, we left the economic and social values of the 19th Century 120 years ago!

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 6:56 am | Permalink

      The pay rises are being funded from existing spend, so while I do not agree with them they should not cost the taxpayer any more.

      Of course unless those increases are matched by productivity improvements then services must suffer as there will be less money left once salaries have been paid.

    • James Bertram
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      Excellent words, Dominic.

    • a-tracy
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      I agree Dominic, we have given the public sector total authority to set their own perks benefits, pay and pension package, much in excess of the majority private sector and they still grumble they’re underpaid without counting in the cost of all the full benefits package, weekend working, out of hours extras, full sick pay cover costs, defined benefit pensions, paid time off for a whole host of reasons to cut down their absentee records.

      They then expect us to clap them for doing what we pay them to do, half of them doing nothing throughout the Covid crisis at all at home, what % of consultants didn’t perform even 25 hours at a hospital. Cutting hours, ‘working’ at home whilst looking after children – right! If we’re paying our own way, paying in lots of National Insurance why should we have to virtually beg for treatment, get turned around at A&E (even when told to go there by a GP) and end up having to go to another A&E.

      Next, we hear threats the government is coming after people’s savings with a wealth tax, they know public sector workers don’t have to have anything like the savings outside of rubbish private pension schemes (already hit by Labour) to support themselves in old age because the majority of private sec. workers don’t have defined benefit pensions, most people with £100,000 in a pensions pot only get around £4000 pa if they retire at 65 and wish to pass any pension accruals on to a partner.

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Controlling national debt is now a lost cause. Instead of a slowish demise the virus has accelerated it. There is no realistic prospect of the downward spiral of currency, national debt and negative trade balance being reversed with our present political system. Iain Dale’s phone in on LBC last night on Scotland raised some concerning comments about the SNP.

    • Adam
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      Reducing the Mountain of Debt:

      Divide the mountain by the population.
      Allocate everyone a molehill.
      Incentivise them to pay it off.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

        Yes that’s the way to increase emigration – why should we pay the idiot governments debt when it does not even cease spending? That’s why the Greek youth has left Greece – they are not prepared to pay the debt. Maybe all the asylum seekers will pay it 😂😂

  3. Dystopian nightmare
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    yesterday was the last day I ever went shopping

    I am praying to God the political class will soon be no more

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 6:43 am | Permalink

      What, because you were asked to wear a little bit of cloth on your face for a small part of your day?

      What a timorous, namby-pamby you seem to be.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 6:58 am | Permalink

        Martin, you enjoy being legislated for, others don’t.

        Wearing a face mask should be a measure of your consideration for others, not a mandatory requirement.

        People like you can should be able to wear masks with the “I am doing this for you because I am so worthy” logos. You can’t do that if it is mandatory.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

          Just imagine if during the Blitz – which cost fewer lives than covid 19 has already – people said “this is the last time that I will ever use my living room, because I like having the curtains open at night”.

          This endless victimhood-pleading is truly pathetic.

          I wonder what rights and liberties you would be ready to surrender if 70,000 excess deaths had been caused by people of some particular group here, rather than by a virus?

          All of them, I expect.

          • NickC
            Posted July 24, 2020 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

            Except you cannot retain your liberties by giving them up.

          • Fred H
            Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

            you really need professional help.

        • David L
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:38 am | Permalink

          And similarly, when I get in my car I will drive on whichever side of the road I choose, not doing what I’m told by a nanny state.

          • NickC
            Posted July 24, 2020 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

            Not comparable! Masks were not mandatory before when covid19 was rampant, there is no reason to use them now when covid has died down hugely in comparison.

          • czerwonadupa
            Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

            Nannies do a good job bringing up young children but those who impose the Nanny state treat adults as if they are still children David You sound like a certain drunk footballer who did just that & ended up not only putting his life at risk but other innocent people as well. What you describe is what many of the new escooterists in London are doing, copying cyclists, many of whom ride on the pavement, go through red lights all with total disregard for other people. Plus you have a choice whether you drive or not.
            By going maskless you won’t be putting others lives at risk but making masks mandatory will only increase the number of discarded masks & gloves I see thrown down on pavements & in my hedge by the anti social in are midst & there’s no shortage of them today.

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

          Strawmen arguments from both Martin and David.

          Masks have been cried out for by the left because it is another way of imposing will on people, the media have picked up and run with it as they love a good scares tory and governments everywhere are desperate to be seen to be doing something. This is something.

          Walking past someone in a shop is not going to pass Covid 19 on to the so this is a pointless exercise.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

            The Tories have a majority of eighty.

            They need take no heed whatsoever of the Left, nor of anyone else.

            It is not political groups advocating masks in confined public places anyway.

            They are not, as yet, required in Labour-controlled Wales, for instance – I think that to be a mistake, however.

            It is the informed, learned consensus of the relevant scientists that they be used.

          • Narrow Shoulders
            Posted July 25, 2020 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

            I tend to agree that those who are together for prolonged periods of time should wear masks to avoid any passing on of the virus, however low risk it be at present. I have no problem being asked to wear one on public transport for instance where I spend more than minutes at a time.

            There is no science that shows a mask reduces the risk of two people who pass each other fleetingly. I therefore object to having rules about masks in shops where I do not spend considerable time as being seen to do something when doing nothing would be better.

            I repeat that it is the authoritarian left (of which our PM is one) who want more rules as a result of this virus which does not kill young people.

            Worldomeers is showing that just 4.5% of worldwide deaths are below 64 with less than 1% below 44

      • Fred H
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:07 am | Permalink

        the early bird catches the …

      • Andy
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:31 am | Permalink

        On the plus side, Martin, with all the angry right wingers staying at home our high streets will be much more pleasant places.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

          Hey, Andy 😀👍

        • NickC
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

          Unlikely to be pleasant places when they’re full of angry left wingers, though, Andy.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

            We don’t generally get aggressive, but tend rather to laugh, Nick.

          • a-tracy
            Posted July 25, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

            Martin, how can you say left wingers don’t get aggressive – we’ve seen your lot now, Blm supporters terrorising unarmed police officers out of riot kit, throwing bottles at them (or isn’t that aggressive in your world?). Pulling down statues without permission on top of each other, is that not aggressive? Having rave parties and not being careful spreading the covid risk once again to their at risk families- you dont call that aggressive? These Marxists aren’t laughing Martin. Forcing people through the new cancel culture to be quiet or lose their jobs that is passive aggressive of the highest level!

          • NickC
            Posted July 25, 2020 at 11:10 am | Permalink

            Martin, The left frequently gets aggressive. I have been verbally abused and jostled. Tory party members were subject to vile intimidation at a party conference. And hard left BLM rioters attacked police and even war memorials.

          • Anonymous
            Posted July 25, 2020 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

            “We don’t generally get aggressive, but tend rather to laugh, Nick.”

            Oh yes you do.

            You rejoiced at the BLM rioting recently.

            When the voting doesn’t go your way your side always gets violent – or incites someone else to get violent for you to make the country ungovernable.

        • czerwonadupa
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

          While your dodging the discarded masks & gloves, avoiding e-scooterists & cyclists riding at you. And keep your eyes open for the left on the pavement poo by inconsiderate owners. Enjoy your walk while dodging that lot

      • Bill B.
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

        Not ‘asked’, but ordered. That’s the important bit.

        • Peter Parsons
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

          There are plenty of things we are all ordered to in order to reduce risk to our fellow citizens. For example, we are all ordered to go no more than 20mph or 30mph whilst driving past a primary school. Do you consider that an unnecessary imposition on your freedom to do what you like?

          • NickC
            Posted July 24, 2020 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

            Peter P, It’s being ordered to do something that makes no sense, that makes no sense. Masks are nowhere near 100% effective, and covid19 has died down (in comparison to 3 months ago).

          • Narrow Shoulders
            Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

            There is irrefutable scientific proof that hitting a child at 20-30 mph reduces the affects on them of the collision.

            The science on masks is at best supposition. Legislation by noise on social media (again, school dinners in holiday).

          • Peter Parsons
            Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

            If I could post links to research showing that mask wearing has a positive effect on reducing transmission, I would.

            It’s in the public domain and easy to find.

            Primarily, the benefit is that it reduces the change of a mask wearer transmitting to those around them. It is not a mechanism to stop someone catching a virus.

          • a-tracy
            Posted July 25, 2020 at 9:50 am | Permalink

            Do you think you should have to drive on those 20mph roads around schools at weekends or in the evenings after 6pm Peter?

        • glen cullen
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

          Its also mandatory for 12 months

          • a-tracy
            Posted July 25, 2020 at 9:22 am | Permalink

            Glen this is getting suspicious now, 12 months! What the hell, so frankly Boris and this statement about masks for 12 months has just closed everything down until next July no weddings, no concerts, no theatre, get a grip John, this isn’t going to end well.

            They’re going too far now to try to overturn Brexit and get rid of Trump. They are politicising an illness, then most of our MPs are flying off to be free of the problem for a few weeks enjoyment back to the Countries who gave us Covid in the first place, oh well done Boris.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink


        I do not think the reason matters. The experience has become non-pleasurable, and so many will feel the same. Each time I venture out feels less friendly by the day. The namby-pambies are staying away and the streets only have the brazen (alongside much more aggressive begging as the footfall has decreased)

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

          Oh, it’s a “hostile environment” for you wilting right-wing lilies, is it?

          • Caterpillar
            Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

            Yes it is a hostile environment in parts.

            (I am not on the left-right spectrum)

        • Mike Wilson
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

          You need to move somewhere nice to live. It’s very friendly round here. In a town of 2500, over 700 people answered the town council’s call for volunteers.

          • Caterpillar
            Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:04 pm | Permalink



          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted July 25, 2020 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

            Yes, France, Denmark, Portugal etc. are all very pleasant.

            But you’ve taken away that freedom from seventy million.

      • glen cullen
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

        Today just ear a mask, tomorrow just an arm band….the day after that ?

        • Mike Wilson
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

          Grow up.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

          Just a yellow star?

          • glen cullen
            Posted July 25, 2020 at 9:44 am | Permalink

            Correct – we have to fight everyday to maintain democracy and scrutinise it at every turn….never take democracy for granted

      • Richard
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 11:19 am | Permalink

        Dr Fauci “Cloth masks actually risk your health rather than protect it. The moisture caught in these masks will become mildew-ridden in thirty minutes. Dry coughing, enhanced allergies, sore throat are all symptoms of a micro-mold in your mask”

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

          I will NEVER wear one.

      • Barbara
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

        A little bit of cloth which cuts your oxygen intake down, makes you breathe your own waste, and holds damp bacteria and particulate matter next to your nose and mouth. Mildew can establish on a mask in as little as 30 minutes.

        • Mike Wilson
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

          Now I’m terrified! I’ve often worn one all day in a dusty work environment. My teeth did not go mouldy.

          • a-tracy
            Posted July 25, 2020 at 10:00 am | Permalink

            These cloth masks Mike I’ve read are causing eczema flare ups, acne flare ups and other skin conditions, people are saying because there is no vent like in an ffp3 mask or side gaps as medical masks have that breathing whilst exercising is getting difficult.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 6:51 am | Permalink

      Mask-up – and get shopping!

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:18 am | Permalink

        No way! Asda or Sainsbury it is and the rest are going west – No problem though because Boris has hundreds of billions for their dole.

      • glen cullen
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:11 am | Permalink

        Next it will be a badge to say you’ve been tested

        • UK Qanon
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

          GC – Many a true word is spoken in jest. Unfortunately but all part of the plan is the amount of lies and deception being fomented by the globalist MSM.

      • oldwulf
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 10:15 am | Permalink

        @Sea Warrior. Yep. Whilst I don’t like wearing a mask… and I don’t like being told what to do …. if I pick a fight about something it will be something far more important than whether or not I wear a mask…. so, I have been wearing one and will continue to wear one for the foreseeable future… even though it’s a pain in the …….

        • glen cullen
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

          The foreseeable future is 12 months, the regualtion SI expire date is 12 months

          The covid-19 virus incubation period is 14 days so why is the new regulation in force for 365 days

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      Me too – until this dangerous mask rubbish is withdrawn.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

        You are worried, about the “dangers” of wearing a bit of cloth on your face for half an hour?

        And in the next breath everything else – of genuine material concern – is “health and safety gone mad”?

        You’re all over the place!!!

        • Mike Wilson
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

          I don’t often agree with your views. On this matter though, I have to agree. Many people on here sound as mad as a box of frogs.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

          Oh you think you can get through the shops in 30 minutes? Guess you have not been shopping this year – you spend a hour in the queue waiting to get in!

          • Fred H
            Posted July 25, 2020 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

            His friends in China don’t have a very varied diet.

        • Anonymous
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

          No problem for you, Martin but some of us still have our looks.

          Tony Blair declares that CV19 is here to stay in which case how temporary are these masks ? And how do we know they will not be enforced elsewhere. I read that we’ll be forced to wear rubber gloves next – will it be all day long ? I’ve had to do this at work recently and it’s most unpleasant.

          Pity the young having to spend their prime covered up.

          Give ’em an inch.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted July 25, 2020 at 9:48 am | Permalink

            My beautiful lady certainly still has hers.

            And she doesn’t mind wearing a mask.

            Because she isn’t full of what you evidently are.

          • Anonymous
            Posted July 25, 2020 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

            Temper, temper !

          • Anonymous
            Posted July 25, 2020 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

            Why did the Bristol professor earlier this week explain how to wear a face covering thus earlier this week:

            “If it’s a scarf, wear it around your neck and pull it up over your face when you need it. If it’s a medical mask you must wear it the right way up and never touch the gauze. Always use the elastic to handle it.”

            Even my beautiful and compliant wife commented at the inconsistency.

            I smell bullshit for sure and it’s not coming from me.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 11:10 am | Permalink

        Go to ASDA or Sainsbugs they aren’t policing it AND our asda has removed all those infernal one way arrows.
        Doing the shopping this morning felt almost normal.

    • Mark B
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      Did all my shopping pre-muzzling. Will not buy from anywhere where they ban normal people. Let little frightened masses spend their pennies to keep them afloat.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

        You are SOOOOOOOO superior!

        • Mark B
          Posted July 25, 2020 at 5:38 am | Permalink

          Clearly you do not know me and we have never met. And I guess that this is not the first time you have been wrong about someone or something.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

        Went to buy a box of beer at lunchtime – forgot face mask as it is not on my list of things to pick up on the way out so pulled my t-shirt over my nose which is technically a face covering.

        The officious supermarket security guard (mother what are your ambitions for your child) would not let me in.

        Power has gone to too many people’s heads while people are scared. Reminds me of Warden Hodges in Dads’ Army

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

          Try Asda or Sainsbury. That store guard will be looking for a job, assuming they allow him to have his eyes uncovered, in no time.

  4. Freeborn John
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    Why have trade talks with the US stalled? This government appears inept. The Trump administration has been a 4-year window of opportunity to seize a big benefit of brexit and dawdling by the British government appears to have wasted all that time. This dawdling also reinforces the impression in Brussels that the U.K. will cave to their demands to stay in it’s regulatory orbit. The government needs to get a grip, sigh trade deals with the US and others NOW and show the EU that we are serious.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 6:50 am | Permalink

      If only you informed yourself properly, then you would know the answers to your questions. But you would not have voted Leave then either, I doubt.

      However, John writes of “counting the cost”.

      That is normally done when a matter is over. This has only just begun in the UK, but people in New Zealand, and in many other countries too now can start to get a handle on this, on the other hand.

      • Freeborn John
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        Martin in Cardiff;

        You will find I am exceptionally well informed. I note you didn’t tell me where I you believe I am wrong. If you do so I will be happy to demonstrate who knows what they are talking about.

      • czerwonadupa
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

        Freedom is priceless as the many military British & Commonwealth cemeteries spread across Europe testify to. They didn’t waver to count the cost of defending theirs & others liberty.

    • Andy
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      What matters is the quality of any deal. Not the speed at which it is done.

      It has always been deeply ironic that those of you who have removed us from what are, by far, the best free trade arrangements in the world claim to be interested in free trade. You’re not. You are all protectionists.

      • Fred H
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

        EU are all protectionists.

      • Long
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:56 am | Permalink

        Hardly free trade if you have to pay an EU membership fee to access it and a £90bn p.a. trade deficit is not the ‘best.’

      • Freeborn John
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

        You don’t have to be a member of the EU to have free trade with it. Take Mexico for example which has Free Trade Agreements with North American, Central America and the EU/EEA. That is more free trade than the U.K. was able to achieve while a member of the EU. The EU is a customs union with the monopoly power to negotiate trade agreements for its members and in practice that limits their trade opportunities.

        The EU is not a trade organisation; it is an undemocratic state under construction. That is why we left it. There was a tremendous cost to membership not just in membership fees, but in damage to our democracy and lost opportunities for free trade with the non-EU world that represents the majority of U.K. trade.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

        Why does the EU impose tariffs on goods from outside the EU? To protect manufacturers in the EU. The EU is entirely based on protectionism.

  5. Nigl
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    If the current rail network usage is a portent 100 billion on HS2 looks even more wasteful.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 6:48 am | Permalink

      Plus foreign aid and £39 billion for Brussels.
      You can see where the government priorities lie.
      Talk of reducing defence spending in the same breath.

      • glen cullen
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

        The govt priority doesn’t appear to be helping the average Joe

      • Peter Wood
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

        Quite so, its absolute insanity that we give away so much to others that comes from our own children! The aid gifts have to be borrowed, our children will have to repay the debt.

        So what is our current national debt to GDP? Probably north of 120% by December, I’d guess. Well done the Tories!

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

        £193 billion, in the cost of UK fraud alone, I read.

        I can see what your priorities are, and they are not abating crimes – the greatest drain on our resources, by an order of magnitude.

        No, you clearly have other obsessions, and I use that word advisedly.

        • Fred H
          Posted July 25, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

          obsessions? — – you’d know all about them!

      • Peter Parsons
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

        Foreign aid and EU contributions are, in the grand scheme of government spending, little more than noise. Check your annual tax summary. Out of the 15 listed areas of government spending, foreign aid is the second smallest, above EU contributions.

        • Ian Wragg
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

          That’s hardly the point, it’s borrowed money which we can’t afford.
          The fact it is included in the pie chart shows it is a major expense.

      • Otto
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

        And £71m to China. Has that been explained?

        • czerwonadupa
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

          Otto a Quangoist might tell you it’s for the British Council to spread English culture among the masses

        • glen cullen
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

          Its paid to stop them hacking us

  6. Al
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    Unlocking currently unmonetiseable assets would be useful to kickstart the economy.

    Orphaned works and abandonware can’t be touched because no one knows the correct owner after the original company failed etc. There’s a long list of these properties and technologies from the 80’s and 90’s tech boom. Instead of messing with PLR which has worked well for years, create a similar department in government to create a register (which IP lawyers may only add properties to after full due dilligence ), collect licences, and then pay them out to the owners if found or later determined. If after seventy years they aren’t, add the money to government funds, and run the department off the interest. It releases an entire asset class. As the government can only control UK rights, that is a simple way to boost the UK economy.

    Crypto firms are still being forced off-shore by the banks – companies that accept crypto will have their accounts closed. Change that, and you bring money back onshore. We now have certain high street chains accepting bitcoin, but they’re all having to do it through offshore accounts – again, money lost to the UK.

    And cut bureacracy. Every hour a small business has to spend on that is time they aren’table to use to earn, or worse the huge cost of hiring an accountant. e.g. An allowance for later tax returns this year would be very useful since half the firms aren’t providing necessary documents yet due to lockdown.

  7. Nigl
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    Ps what are we doing buying vaccine factories and satellite companies, talking if spending money? Has anyone learned yet that the private sector runs things far more efficiently. I see the railways coming back into public ownership. Get ready for the bad old days of British Rail.

    Are we sure we didn’t elect a socialist government?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 6:53 am | Permalink

      All governments, faced with a national emergency, become collectivist and authoritarian to some degree.

      The choice is between that and a Failed State.

      Whether the people are happy or not under that depends on trust. In New Zealand it seems that they are, in the UK rather less so.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:26 am | Permalink

        Oh yes! Mugabe ‘became a collectivist’ and the success of Zimbabwe is testimony to the accuracy of your thesis. The last posted Exchange rate was Zim 35million = USD 1.

        • jerry
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:22 am | Permalink

          Lynn, whenever someone has to resort to using the USSR or Zimbabwe (or Mugabe) in their argument it is a sure sign their argument is hollow – those nations economies fails for many reasons, not just because some or all of it was command based.

          One of the best health services in the world is that of Cuba…

          • Dennis Zoff
            Posted July 24, 2020 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

            “One of the best health services in the world is that of Cuba” arguably…that may be so, but given half a chance a good proportion of the native population would move to Florida in a heartbeat!

          • jerry
            Posted July 24, 2020 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

            @Dennis Zoff; Yes, to buy what the US govt has refused to sell (or be sold by others) to Cuba for the last 60 plus years!

            Ever wondered why Cuba has such a good heath system?…

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

            Jerry I just happen to know Zim very well. If you did you would be shocked to the core.

          • jerry
            Posted July 25, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

            Lynn, if you know Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) so well why do you ignore the years before 1980 as if the last 40 exist in a vacuum?

            I’m not trying to defend Mugabe era policies, just trying to understand why they happened. Zimbabwe was not a new country, it was simply a new name and thus history needs to be considered, not dismissed as if just chaff.

          • Dennis Zoff
            Posted July 25, 2020 at 7:17 pm | Permalink


            The Cubans would be delighted to move to the US and not for health care reasons, but a significantly better lifestyle and opportunities for their families….much the same as for Mexicans and South Americans.

            My home in St Petersburg. FL, has many Mexican/Cubans/South Americans living in and around the Tampa and St Petersburg areas. If one were to talk to individuals from these flourishing communities they would confirm my assertion that wishing to live in the USA is theirs and others from southern regions highest priority. Health care is the lowest factor for them?

          • jerry
            Posted July 26, 2020 at 6:50 am | Permalink

            @Dennis Zoff; Of course many Cubans dream of buying ‘US Dream’, products they can not access in Cuba because the US govt prevents US companies selling the products to Cuba!

            Try looking at the entire picture, not just the little postage-stamp bit painted by the self-exiled Cuban community in Florida…

          • Dennis Zoff
            Posted July 28, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink


            Have you been to Cuba, on business or pleasure? Had you had the opportunity to engage locally in Cuba, perhaps you would realise the folly of your comment?

            That which is stated publicly is very often not the case when spoken privately. You continue to surprise me with your naivety?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink

          It’s an observable fact.

          I make no other claim.

          • Fred H
            Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

            not like you Martin – – not coming down with a fever?

        • Ian Wragg
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 11:12 am | Permalink

          Martin has never been out of Cardiff he probably couldn’t pin point Zimbabwe on a map.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted July 24, 2020 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

            Wrong – I’m not an American President.

      • Fred H
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

        Funny how we meet New Zealanders and Scots wherever we go in the World. And not tourists -residents.

    • Peter
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 6:54 am | Permalink

      “I see the railways coming back into public ownership. Get ready for the bad old days of British Rail.”

      Where was this announced?

      As a frequent rail passenger, I would welcome a return to a joined up network with sensible fares, reliable track maintenance and a workforce that did not chop and change with each new franchise.

      • jerry
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:38 am | Permalink

        @Peter; You might wish to check how the ONS is cataloguing the railway industry now! Of course that might just be temporary due to accountancy rules, Covid-19, or it might be broader DfT thinking.

        Indeed we could do with a joined up PT network, not just rail, one that has a realistic fairs structure, one based on the needs of those who often need to turn-up, buy a ticket and travel on the same day!

        The best years for our railway system was actually 1955-1979, what is more we had the engineering facilities to design and build our own locomotives & rolling stock, much of the technoligy we now import was originally developed by BREL and BR’s R&D department.

        • czerwonadupa
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

          Those were the years of decline after the war when they persisted with steam while the more forwarded looking changed over to diesel & electric. Those skills are only kept alive today by enthusiasts running privately run & very popular steam engines but for how much longer in the face of the green lobby only God knows.

          • Fred H
            Posted July 25, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

            The railways were already in a neglected state, financial and physical prior to the WW2. Then maintenance was further neglected, mitigating measures like speed limiting introduced to ease the problems. The overwhelming need to rebuild and equip the country meant railways were once again of low priority. At least we had an extensive branch line structure to serve industry and people – then along came the Marples/Beeching destruction.

          • jerry
            Posted July 25, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

            @czerwonadupa; Did you actually bother to read my comment before your knees jerked out a factually incoherent reply?

            I talked about the period 1955-1979, those years were the years of modernisation, and great technical advances, during that period two the worlds (then) most powerful single-unit diesel locomotives were designed and built here in the UK (yes by UK private engineering companies, namely English Electric and Brush, but they did so because BR was buying), then there was the world record beating HST, and the technologically rich APT, which was later cut-loose by govt decree rather than further supported, yet its technoligy is now being used by our competitors, selling it back to the UK!

            Don’t think things would have been better, or even the same, had nationalisation not occurred, the Big Four railway companies were in severe financial trouble by the end of the war, not helped by the country being effectively bankrupted due to the war. At best we would have been lumbered with, even by 1950, out dated US style diesel locomotive technoligy or inefficient electric traction.

            Important European railway routes were rebuilt/modernised after WW2 because many had been all but destroyed during the war. Marshal Aid money being used, because the USA needed good transport links for the fledgling NATO pact. You talk of steam, West Germany eliminated stream in the mid 1970s, France doing so a few years before, the last revenue mainline steam locomotive ran by BR in mid 1968…

        • NickC
          Posted July 25, 2020 at 11:31 am | Permalink

          Jerry, Best years 1955-1979?? You’re havin’ a larf ain’tcha? Nationalised BR were initially prevented from replacing steam with diesel because of political interference – keeping coal mining going, and reducing petroleum imports. Trains were old, dirty and late. I remember having to spend all night at Crewe station because of an hours late train.

          And what’s with your obsession with 1979? Not another dig at Thatcher? It was the railways Act (1993) that began the process under Major. It was enabled by EU Directive 91/440, which we gold-plated to produce the absurdity of separate rail and train-operating companies.

          • jerry
            Posted July 26, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

            @NickC,; Oh dear, once again the hard right wing knee jerks and deifies history.

            You imply the post war Big Four private railway companies would have carried out a 1956 style modernisation plan allowed, had Labour not pledged nationalisation, well before the late 1950s, ending in mid 1968. Were was the money coming from Nick for such a massive investment, those four railway companies (and the country) were effectively bankrupt due to the war. In all likelihood steam would have carried on being built by the Big Four just as BR did – and that assumes a wiliness to move away from steam before the mid 1950sand the problem was an unwillingness to move away from coal rather than technical.

            Yes I was having another dig at the Thatcher govt (in the same way as you always have digs at the labour govts), after all it wasn’t the EEC/EU who in 1982 told BR to scrap development of the APT, it wasn’t the EEC/EU who commissioned the 1980 ‘Serpell Review’ (pub. Dec. 1982), it wasn’t the EEC/EU who whilst committing to spend money on electrifying the ECML ordered it be done on the cheap, thus creating a high maintenance and unreliable nightmare that is still with us to this today.

            No everything is the fault of either labour or the EEC/EU…

    • glen cullen
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      The only company of any merit that our government owned was ‘Remploy’ which employed the disabled…..they were sold off

  8. Anonymous
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    I share this rather more pessimistic view.

    Many of those loving their work from home will soon be jobless too. This country faces catastrophic economic implosion.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 6:54 am | Permalink

      I wish that I could post links too.

      • Fred H
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

        do they all start with

        • NickC
          Posted July 25, 2020 at 11:33 am | Permalink

          I see what you did there, Fred.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 11:42 am | Permalink

        Ah yes…mine are always deleted. And they aren’t dodgy either!

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:00 am | Permalink

      If your job can be done from home, it can be done from a home in Mumbai.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:27 am | Permalink

        Better make sure that it’s no more than four-out-of-five days a week, then.

        Good point though.

      • jerry
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

        @NS; I’was so even before Covid-19, so why wasn’t the entire office based UK economy off-shored five to ten years ago?…

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

          @jerry because management did not believe the jobs could be done from home wholesale

          We have just had the experiment and superficially it seems to work. I suspect that innovation, team work and general productivity will suffer long term but at present the feeling is that it works.

          Business evaluates; first office space is a cost saving, next wages are cheaper in Mumbai. Later, as in the call centres there will be on shoring but jobs will go offshore first.

          • jerry
            Posted July 25, 2020 at 5:11 am | Permalink

            @NS; Off-shoring home working is no different to off-shoring office or call centre work. Business does what their customer wants or expects, that is why many companies have more recently been actively on-shoring what was previously off-shored.

        • dixie
          Posted July 25, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink

          Because the people doing the offshoring 10 years ago didn’t want to live in India, China, Russia, Romania etc 10 years ago. They wanted more money to enjoy a Western lifestyle

      • ed2
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

        If your job can be done from home, it can be done from a home in Mumbai.

        Exactly, it is a race to the bottom, ordered by the Chinese infiltrated UN?

    • jerry
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      @Anonymous; Maybe, and if so it will take a massive postwar style Keynesian economic intervention to sort out… 😛

      • NickC
        Posted July 25, 2020 at 11:37 am | Permalink

        Jerry, No, it will take a bit of nationalism – the establishment putting this country first for a change. Following Keynes would be a dreadful mistake. Hayek is a far better exemplar.

  9. Tom Weston
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    “… why not issue some debt with no repayment debt”

    Repayment ‘date’ surely.

    Will our GDP contraction result in us receiving a rebate on our EU budget ‘contribution’ for this year rather than the regular increase due to our normally better performing economy?

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink

      It will be found that our economy contracted less than the other EU economies so the contribution will in fact go up

  10. Sea Warrior
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    The government needs to stop giving money away. I propose the following:
    (1) End tax-rebates for pension contributions (temporary measure).
    (2) Stop funding, completely, poor degree courses that will never reward the student with a ‘graduate premium’ and reduce the numbers on other popular courses, such as Law. This means that government will have to calculate how many law graduates the economy needs and then cut back. Also, stop lending money to students so they can enjoy a ‘university experience’ away from their parents’ home. Doing so, retards their emotional development by 3-4 years.
    (3) End the Triple-lock on state pensions. (My Armed Forces pension is only protected against inflation – and I’ve no right to suggest it should be any better than that.)
    (4) Get us out of the Erasmus Scheme, which serve only one purpose: to create more ‘Europeans’.
    (5) End all financial support for legal immigrants and refugees. Restrict Welfare to citizens and end all naturalizations of those who do not have a five-year record of being a NET CONTRIBUTOR to the public purse.

    • nhsgp
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      So you suggest double taxation on pensioners. Have you really thought it through?
      So you suggest defaulting on the pension debts.
      Why accept any economic migrants who aren’t net contributors?

      Why not default on your army pension completely? Lots of money to be saved there.

      • Sea Warrior
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        If you’re a doctor, God help us.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

          This time the Dr is right!

        • a-tracy
          Posted July 25, 2020 at 9:56 am | Permalink

          Why Sea Warrior what did their GP suggest that has so disturbed you, if they come after private sector pensions and pension savings then expect a backlash and public sector pension investigation and hyper-taxation to reduce that benefit by the same %.

  11. Lifelogic
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    There is indeed mountains of government debt and the private sector have take lots of new debt on too. The businesses that are able to repay this will also have to repay (in taxation) for those businesses that default.

    Sunak in his last budget foolishly increased taxes further from the currently absurdly high rates. Taking an axe to entrepreneurs relief the threshold down by 90% and other back door rises. He also continued his vendetor againt landlords, tenants and the self employed

    From the current position tax increase will raise less tax and diminish the wealth creating sector milk cow for the year thereafter.

    The solutions are obvious and simple. Cull red tape, go for easy hire and fire, lower and simplify taxes hugely, go for cheap energy, stop pushing greencrap and electric cars, stop market interference (almost everywhere), get real and fair competition in schools, education, healthcare, transport, housing, energy, broadcasting …. relax planning and OTT building controls, stop tying the banks up in bonkers red tape over property and other lending and above all cull about half of the state sector. It does far more harm than good. Cull soft loans for duff worthless degrees too about 75% of them.

    The mantra should be real freedom and choice. Alas Boris and Sunak clearly seem to be more tax borrow and piss down the drain, greencrap pusing, socialists. Only four years to the next election.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 6:07 am | Permalink

      Stop all the very many attack on the self employed now too. Also relax the irrational controls on people using their pension funds either in their businesses or for new businesses. Why on earth can they not buy and develop residential property with the money they saved into them. We want more houses do we not? Plus get rid of the appalling tax cap and the 55% pension pot mugging taxes.

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

        No. We don’t want more houses. It just encourages more boat people to think there’s a cosy place for them this side of the channel. France has more room than us. By all means convert existing commercial premises but we really don’t need more houses.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

          +1 there are millions of empty houses all over the U.K.

          • Fred H
            Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink

            Official number is 216,000. But anyway – far too many.

          • jerry
            Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:50 am | Permalink

            Lynn, that’s a bit like telling the unemployed of John O’ Groats there is plenty of work in Lands end!

            Also0 have you ever stopped to wonder why such houses are empty?

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted July 24, 2020 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

            The Tories have rendered Empty Dwelling Management Orders completely ineffective.

            But you voted for that, I think.

          • czerwonadupa
            Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

            MiC – But you voted for that, I think.
            They no more voted for that than those who voted Labour voted to go to war against Iraq.

    • Nigl
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 6:30 am | Permalink

      One day you will tell us how this can be achieved both politically and operationally. Until then I will take it as your usual opinionated press repeat button.

      Frankly without the how, meaningless.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 6:58 am | Permalink

        The problem, I agree, is a lack of political will. It would be perfectly possible we just need a sensible PM in the Thatcher mode (but more determined to actually deliver it) as she failed to do enough and even appointed ERM Major as Chancellor. Operationally it is perfectly possible given the will.

        Then again when all but a handful of MPs even vote for the insane Climate Change Act perhaps you are right? But this is clearly what should happen to deliver the maximum good for the maximun number of people.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:46 am | Permalink

      Well the Entrepreneur’s relief was a bit fake unless you sell for a larger multiplier. You’ve paid Corporation Tax at 20%-30% historically on those profits then you pay 10% to take the assets you bought with the retained profit (or cash) out of the company, so actually about 32% tax on company assets. The 10% only truly applies to goodwill.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 10:53 am | Permalink

        You build up a company for very many years expecting to sell it and pay just 10% CGT up to £10 million then the government moves the goal posts and takes an extra million or so off you. Damaging incentives yet again. Just like the moved the goal posts on pensions investments and property rentals.

        Why bother if you are endlessly going to be mugged by the government – for them to largely piss it down the drain on HS2, the feckless, greencrap or subsidising restaurant food for people!

    • nhsgp
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      But the Tories have gone full socialist. They don’t believe in conservatism any more.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

        They don’t even recognize it! Tory PM spout pure communism and don’t even know it (Cameron).

  12. Lifelogic
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    But they cannot even bring themselves to cancel the absurd HS2 all the green lunacy and red tape, nor the endless attacks on the self employed so what hope is there?

    Boris’s (and Sunak) will it seems be remembered for rescuing us from the appalling vision of Venezuela under Corbyn/Mc Donnall/SNP and from 9% support the dishonest Appeaser May only to prove to be another soft socialist like Heath, Major, Cameron and May delivering us into the hands of Labour SNP some time in 2024.

    Get the damn bloated and inept government out of the bl***y way you damn fools.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

      Unfortunately, we have no one to say…
      “In the name of God, go!“

      And either we are getting more canny, less naive… or successive govts are less and less able to pull off their scams with any Heath-like finesse/air of authority.

    • beresford
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      Poor old HS2 seems to be dragged with Cato-like persistence into every discussion here. Some of us remember the hysteria over HS1. While the Luddites have wrangled the Chinese have constructed several high speed rail lines of much greater length. As Boris said, inability to complete an infrastructure project like this indicates lack of national confidence. Meanwhile on the Continent a Briton can only be embarrassed as the modern ICE and Thalys trains pull into the station.

      • jerry
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 10:12 am | Permalink

        @beresford; Except HS1 was needed, HS2 is not.

        “Briton can only be embarrassed as the modern ICE and Thalys trains pull into the station.”

        Yes, embarrassed by HS2, at least in its current form, include more stations on the current planned routes then perhaps such embarrassment will be misplaced.

        I’m not against rail investment, make sensible proposals and I’ll join you on the roof tops beating the drum, I have suggested many times the need for a rebuilding of some of the routes cut by the Beeching axe, not so much because of their passenger capacity but for use as diversionary routes for rail freight [1] away from the likes of the over capacity WCML that HS2 was meant to be a solution to but instead has become nothing but high cost vanity project. The time savings are simply not enough on current journey times.

        [1] I’m also against any more railway land being given up for non railway use, be that new roads or new buildings, especially in and around centres of conurbations, such land may well be needed as freight forwarding facilities etc.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 10:59 am | Permalink

        Well it is such a moronic waste of public money and environmentally damaging too. The only possible reasons for it going ahead it vested interests or corruption – no one could be so idiotic (having looked at the numbers) to think it was a remotely sensible investment. If it were the private sector could fund it.

        If Boris cannot even cancel this what hope is there that he is not yet another daft socialist?

        • Lifelogic
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

          Hugely environmentally damaging too.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 11:16 am | Permalink

        I recently travelled from Paris to Lyon on the TGV and it was a very sad and grubby experience. The catering was abysmal.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

          Well they have a monopoly and do not give a damn. Rather like much of the NHS.

        • jerry
          Posted July 25, 2020 at 5:16 am | Permalink

          There are two TGV services, a full fat and a low fat version, I wonder if Mr Wragg bought his ticket on price alone?

      • a-tracy
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 11:25 am | Permalink

        beresford and is HS1 successful? Did it cut the London–Paris journey time by around 21 minutes, to 2 hours 35 minutes? Are there the numbers projected to use it – using it? Did this reduce flights? How much does a journey cost compared to a flight?

        If this is an EU project to connect extremities of every European community member into Europe bypassing everywhere but main Cities on routes and Europe we are told wish to make things very difficult for the UK then why continue with the project?

        • jerry
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

          @a-tracy; “is HS1 successful?”

          The London Paris journey time is but one part of the HS1 equation, whilst it was using Waterloo the E* was taking valuable timetable routing paths from south London commuter trains into and out from Waterloo. Then of course because it was impossible to further improve fast trains into London from the east and north Kent coastal towns HS1 is also used by the fast Javelin trains from Kent into St Pancras station.

          So yes, HS1 has been a success. Try looking at the entire picture!

          • a-tracy
            Posted July 25, 2020 at 10:03 am | Permalink

            Jerry dont be so condescending, i asked a question because we never hear about whether the spending on these projects has been a success or not, have passenger numbers been what was calculated they could be before lockdown, what are the savings, were they are promised.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

        Apparently we paid for the Chinese Railways, and much else!

    • glen cullen
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      But this and every government before believe that debt is good and is easily managed

  13. Ian @Barkham
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    I am usually a supporter but Boris and his crew having not finalizing our future relationship with the EU this month as stated, is kicking everything into the long grass and giving the EU the control of our future. In the EU perverse negotiation tactics, Boris blinked and they now have the upper hand.

    The EU is now winning in the need to get UK to compromise. They the EU do not recognize the UK as a sovereign independent country. The EU has to control UK fishing and territory under their rules. The EU has to control how the UK operates inside its own borders (level playing field)not the UK government. The EU has to have a legal process that they control to ensure compliance. Those concepts should have been dismissed and with no negotiations taking place – they are insulting our democracy and government. These are not redlines or negotiations it is to ensure May’s BRINO remained the outcome.

    The EU is handing the EU People and their Government one insult after another to ensure the are reminded who the victors and their rulers are. The EU negotiators show themselves to be despicable, insulting people that totally lack integrity. In talking to them the UK Government are pandering to and accepting they are subservient.

    Boris in the delay has given the EU the ammunition to succeed.

    So while we have a debt problem to manage of our own Boris has made us a pawn in the EU’s plans to solve theirs.

    UK business needs to be able to get on, not contend with the uncertainty of more fudges to come. The biggest mistake was not walking away 4 years ago. 4 years of fudges and delays adds little to the capability and creditability of UK Governments. It just demonstrates the inability to govern and a desire to be controlled outside of our realm.

    • Peter
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      “Boris in the delay has given the EU the ammunition to succeed.”

      I see spin in the media that the UK will not walk away now because it would be best to allow the EU to shoulder the blame for the breakdown by running the clock down.

      That simply fails to convince. I now expect a fudge. I imagine there is frantic work behind the scenes on how to sell this to the UK general public.

      • Andy
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

        I doubt there is any work behind the scenes. I mean Boris Johnson have away Northern Ireland last year and sold it as a victory – and you all believed him.

        Even now Tory MPs are complaining about the dreadful withdrawal agreement. We must change it, they say. It’s servitude they moan. In January they pretty much all voted for it. Opposition MPs nearly all rejected it. Alas this Tory mess is an international treaty and can’t be changed.

        In the real world there was always going to have to be a Brexit trade deal. The important thing to note it that it will be at least as rubbish as we told you all it would be. Lorry parks, tens of thousands of Brexit pen pushers, hundreds of millions of new forms – billions of pounds in pointless Tory bureaucracy. How does this help you?

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

          Treaty law is subservient to Constitutional law, we can ditch it.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:32 am | Permalink

            Yes, but it would be international Breach Of Contract.

            Would any other country then have confidence in anything that it signed with the UK?

            I mean, its record so far has been pretty poor anyway.

            At home, look at the Scottish referendum “pledge”!

          • Andy
            Posted July 24, 2020 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

            And no country in the world will ever trust the UK again. Bye bye all those deals you want to sign.

          • NickC
            Posted July 25, 2020 at 11:42 am | Permalink

            Andy and Martin, Nonsense. Treaties are abrogated less often than they are made, but it is perfectly normal to do so. All that is required is suitable diplomatic notice. Indeed that is how we could have abrogated TEU and TFEU – done and dusted in 12 months.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted July 25, 2020 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

            You confuse commonplace with normal.

            Adultery is quite common, but it is not normal, for instance.

        • Fred H
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:36 am | Permalink

          yeah – – billions of people voting anything but Tory, eh?

          But Andy, you are going to have to wait. Do you still have toys in the pram you can throw out?

        • margaret howard
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 3:24 pm | Permalink


          “And no country in the world will ever trust the UK again.”

          Perfidious Albion?

          “The use of the adjective “perfidious” to describe England has a long history; instances have been found as far back as the 13th century.”


          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

            Funny that all over the Commonwealth you find the opinion of the British is much higher than the British hold of themselves. People adopt British names because they aspire to the standards we took across the world. So the world judges the British by those of us who went to the colonies and achieved so much. Those who have never left Tiger Bay … looking at their own bellybuttons… well no wonder they are so sour.

          • margaret howard
            Posted July 25, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink


            “Funny that all over the Commonwealth you find the opinion of the British is much higher than the British hold of themselves.”

            Really? Where? In the British settler parts like New Zealand, Australia, Canada etc which mostly kicked out or impoverished the original owners of their countries?

            I doubt the people in commonwealth countries like New Guinea, Bangladesh, Botswana etc get much out of membership or are even aware that they belong to such an organisation. It’s mostly just the heads of state (often of dubious histories) and their wives who treasure their annual get together and get their children into good positions.

          • NickC
            Posted July 25, 2020 at 11:44 am | Permalink

            Lynn, Well said.

        • steve
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 5:44 pm | Permalink


          No need to get yourself all steamed up, brexit will be cancelled just wait and see.

          • Andy
            Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

            I hope not. I am looking forward to laughing at you all next year.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

            We’ve left, Steve.

            But I assume that you mean that any reasonable relationship with the European Union, e.g. a Norway-style one – as suggested by the Leave campaigns – would amount to a “cancellation” of brexit?

            That’s the trouble with fanatical puritanism. Nothing is sufficiently extreme.

            The bit that’s just a bit fanciful is claiming that there are seventeen million, and every single one just as fixated.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted July 25, 2020 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

            Czer, those countries did not grovel to be allowed entry and to be accepted by the entities of which they then formed a part, as did the UK to the then EC.

            Nor were they free to leave by a simple process of notification either, as the UK always was.

      • beresford
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:19 am | Permalink

        I must admit I suspect that the repeated delays are an effort to postpone the evil day of sellout and the ensuing backlash for as long as possible. Perhaps they hope the population will be cowed by increasingly draconian Covid restrictions. After all it makes little sense to pursue the globalist agenda of mass immigration whilst leaving the globalist EU project.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      Yes, there seems to be little from our host about these extended deadlines. It’s a very poor negotiating stance to lay down a deadline then ignore it. We need to know which provisions are being made by the government for the future without any agreement with the EU -we don’t want to be watching the sequel to May the Capitulator and Boris the Lockdown Delayer at the end of the year.
      Why do Conservative governments make us look weak and stupid these days?

  14. Sakara Gold
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    In these – interesting – times, the BoE should follow the other central banks and buy gold. Historically, printing money in the amounts just produced results in hyperinflation. Think Weimar, Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Turkey, Mexico, Hungary, Yugoslavia, the US confederate $ – the list is endless. Every country that has tried to finance massive deficits by printing money has destroyed their currency.

    Selling a rapidly depreciating dollar and buying the universal currency – gold – makes good economic sense. Gold has been a valued store of value for millenia.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 6:56 am | Permalink

      I don’t buy your analysis. Besides, gold is looking toppy; buying high would be as dumb as selling low.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 11:19 am | Permalink

        That was Browns reverse strategy. Tell the world that your going to sell, watch the value tumble and make a substantial loss.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

          … and it worked!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps best to consult Gordon Brown for his thoughts on the current price of gold and do the exact opposite. He was great at selling much of the UK’s gold at the bottom of the market and even more idiotically announcing it in advance.

        Between 1999 and 2002 the Treasury sold 401 tonnes of gold – out of its 715-tonne holding – at an average price of $275 an ounce, generating about $3.5bn during the period.

        • Fred H
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

          somebody had to pay for the benefits. . . — err. that was us.

    • nhsgp
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      Gold has been a very bad store of value for extended periods of time on a human scale.
      ie. 20 years.
      Gold is a great speculative instrument

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

        Not in the 20 years since Brown sold the UK’s it is now about £1500 he sold at £275. Though I do prefer things that pay rents or dividends myself.

  15. Mike Wilson
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    Everything you have written suggests the debt doesn’t actually matter. Who is buying government debt with negative yields? Surely that is the way to go. A nice little earner. Borrow money. Use it to build houses. Sell them at a profit. Pay no interest on the debt or, indeed, collect a bit of interest from whoever lent you the money. Repay the amount borrowed. Nice little earner.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      Don’t sell them – rent them out to the ones who arrive and will live in them on our taxes. Paid for by us – then more and more of our taxes handed round and to the rich.

    • nhsgp
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      Who is buying government debt with negative yields
      Only the government via the Asset Purchase Facility, commonly known as QE

  16. Richard1
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    The focus needs to be on competitiveness and promoting the best possible circs for Innovation, investment and entrepreneurship. That’s the only way to get sustainable growth and the only way out of the current mess. Every policy should be tested against this. I suggest radical reforms, eg to make the tax system much simpler, early in the parliament. The left with its overwhelming support in the media will howl and scream at everything, so that needs to be ignored so the benefits of reforms are apparent by the next election.

  17. Sharon Jagger
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    I suppose it could still happen as we have not yet reached the end of July, but I was expecting an announcement from the government that EU discussions had formally ended. We have wasted so much time and money on these controlling losers…I feel sorry for the other Europeans countries.

    And like many people, I am concerned at the level of government intervention on too much – still. I can only assume there is still influence by the Remainer/globalist types in Westminster and Whitehall.which must be an uphill battle to defeat. I’m just hoping Boris isn’t secretly one of the globalists, as the green crap is STILL being pushed forward.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      There could be an announcement about it, but it will mean nothing. Just like the numerous announcements over the years that immigration will be cut.

    • Fred H
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      EU – final stop – – – its always mañana.

      For God’s sake – end it!

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

        Switzerland and Norway are not in the European Union.

        A large part of their day-to-day political lives are formed of ongoing negotiations with it, however.

        It’s far simpler to be a member.

        There will be no “end” as you fantasise.

        • dixie
          Posted July 25, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink

          simpler for the civil servants and politicians maybe but not for us oiks who pay for it all.

          Perhaps if the EU had adopted a different strategy and actually proved worthwhile the majority would have voted to remain. But the EU and it’s acolytes don’t actually care about the common citizen who is considered to be under educated and simply a cash cow.

        • NickC
          Posted July 25, 2020 at 11:54 am | Permalink

          Martin, Being a slave is simple, but we want independence. Even if you don’t.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted July 25, 2020 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

            You have chosen subjugation to any world power that wants it over the UK, not independence.

            The countries of the European Union are free of that.

            There will be no extradition from the US, of anyone causing death by dangerous driving.

            It’s not looking good for Assange, on the other hand.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      Boris makes no secret of the fact that he is one of the globalist, green crap, social engineering enthusiasts.
      I did warn several (brexit) MPs at several Conservative meetings, but they thought Boris could win the election. They were right. So was I.

      • steve
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 5:41 pm | Permalink


        “Boris makes no secret of the fact that he is one of the globalist, green crap, social engineering enthusiasts”

        He also makes no secret of being a complete nincompoop and deep state pro-remain puppet.

        “they thought Boris could win the election. They were right. So was I.”

        He sure as hell aint gonna win the next one.

        • zorro
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

          There might not be one


        • Fred H
          Posted July 25, 2020 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

          might not win the Tory leadership either!

  18. Lifelogic
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    So now Boris is to ban so called “junk” food adverts at certain times (what is wrong with a decent Beef Burger and pizza anyway). Meanwhile Sunak is making me and others pay taxes to subsidise half the price of junk food meals for others (on Mondays to Wednesdays).

    This is joined up government I assume!

    It is very simple to loose weight – you just eat far less (and drink no alcohol) for a few weeks until you get to the weight you want to be. It cost nothing, saves money and makes you feel better too. Replace eating and food shopping with a different hobby or two – there are plenty to choose from.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 6:51 am | Permalink

      Very easy to test your fasting blood glucose levels with a £2o meter too if you want to too.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink

      I’ll second your closing paragraph. I’m always surprised at how many people try and exercise themselves slimmer. Undoing the damage of a chocolate bar can take a mind-numbing 45 minutes on a Stairmaster.

      But I’ll offer some support for the EOTHO scheme, which might just be innovative brilliance. Some 40% of my local restaurants are still closed. (But another reopened this week.) Repeat that across the country and that’ll be a quarter of a million jobs permanently lost.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      Joined up govt??? Just like the defence secretary saying ISIS is still a massive danger – – – and Border Force ferrying in anyone who could be one of them???

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 11:24 am | Permalink

        Neil, you do know that they are all doctors, dentists and engineers and the unaccompanied children are all child prodigys.
        I wonder how many originate from Merkels army she imported.

    • formula57
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      “…Sunak is making me and others pay taxes to subsidise half the price of junk food meal” – this reminds me I have not yet receive my voucher so my faith in government is diminishing! (I shall not use it of course but there may be a secondary market.)

      • IanT
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

        Not sure it works like that – I got a discount on my Fish & Chips last night and very good they were too. We have lots of posh (e.g. expensive) restaurants around here, so we wouldn’t miss some of them but the lcal Chippie, well – that would be a problem.

    • Original Chris
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      I was told by one publican that many pubs cannot afford to open on Monday, (Tues and even Wed) and that it is still not worth their while to bring in staff just to be there for the few voucher holders. They apparently would welcome the vouchers later in the week, when they can afford to open, but when they still cannot get the turnover they used to have. In the part of Cambridgeshire where this pub was located, apparently something like 7000 office staff are working from home and the effect on local businesses has been very serious indeed.

  19. Will Jones
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    With ruinous lockdowns now established as the appropriate response to illnesses akin to the seasonal flu, what makes you think this is a one off? We’ve just introduced face masks for the foreseeable future and social distancing it seems is here to stay until we have a vaccine. It’s not a one off, it’s the new normal. We need MPs to pressure the government to change this and take the lead in returning as fast as possible to the old normal on which our economy and liberty depend.

    • Barbara
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      Hear hear

      • Mark B
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 3:18 pm | Permalink


    • zorro
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

      Agreed – but it needs people to protest or it will not stop there


  20. BJC
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    I’ve never understood why government gives “dead money” grants for home improvements schemes, as per Mr Sunak’s recent announcement, when it can add considerable value to a privately owned property. The money could, of course, easily be recouped by government when a property is sold (or equity transferred) simply through an interest-free loan with a charge placed on the property. Personally, I need replacement double-glazed sashes for my windows, but my contribution would be minimal, so only one or two would be affordable. I obviously don’t know the criteria, or if I’d meet it, but I wouldn’t hesitate to do the lot if it meant a charge being placed on my property, i.e. I’d receive useful help when I needed it, my property would be cosy and retain value and I’d keep my dignity knowing that taxpayers would eventually have their money returned. A hand up, not a hand out.

    • formula57
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      @ BJC – All you need in order to keep your dignity is an overwhelming sense of self-entitlement – as taught in schools now I believe.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      Indeed dead money, at the taxpayers expense. Just think if you rent a property you get to pay tax that improves the properties of those that can afford to own a home.

      The weird one, some companies in the Home Improvement Industry have jumped the gun. But jumped the gun at their own expense by funded this rebate out of their own margins, just getting on with it and saving the taxpayer money. The odd bit is a Trade Association representing some of the traders is reporting these companies who are funding it themselves to the Advertising Standards Association. It is unfair to the trade if someone goes it alone….

  21. Bryan Harris
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Yes by all means we should stop paying the EU, and for other white elephants like HS2, while creating realistic measures to stimulate the economy:

    A real quango bonfire is well overdue.

    Start coming to terms with the excessive salaries handed out in the public sector. Having PS execs retiring at millionaire status is something we cannot afford.

    It keeps coming up but nothing gets done — We urgently need a rewrite of the tax system — A BRAND NEW DEAL
    -Save 50,000 non productive jobs at a swipe.
    -Save the wasted extra money that has to be paid for those on benefits so they can subsist — Stop taxing basic living FGS
    -Make VAT more of a luxury tax — It’s become a tax catch-all

    It could be done so easily…. If only the fog would lift.

    • Andy
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      The biggest chunk of government spending is on old people.

      Scrap state pensions and old age perks – and we can halve taxes.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

        Can you tell me how the elderly are supposed to manage and do you think it’s right to keep the money they have paid in for their pensions?

      • Bryan Harris
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

        As irrelevant and worthless a comment as ever

        That would be totally dishonest — a better solution would be to make younger people work for their benefits.

        Or better still, rather than pandering to the snowflakes of today we should take away some of their crutches

      • Edward2
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

        Best of luck getting elected with that policy Andy.
        Even 40 year olds won’t vote in favour of no pensions.

      • agricola
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

        The greatest contributors to the economy of old were the now elderly. If government were to renage on its committment to them it would undermine the whole basis of our democracy. Maybe as a left wing troll that is exactly what you want, but not on my watch.

      • M Davis
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

        So, you prefer to have pensioners all homeless, rather than get the youngsters off their backsides and find work. If that is your idea of social-engineering then, I hate and detest Socialism. You sound like a typical control freak!

  22. acorn
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    So JR, you want me to by a “perpetual bond” with little or no coupon which is not redeemable. What happens when interest rates go up in the future and the market value of my bond goes down, to bring its interest payments in line with market rates; just when I may be forced to sell it, and take a capital loss?

  23. Everhopeful
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Anyway..since ( as I predicted from the outset) the govt is revving up for a “Second Wave” to nicely dovetail with the …er…’FLU, how will all this be a one off expense?
    I suppose that the govt is aware of the incredible damage they are doing to our health?
    Young people will not build up any immunity and then will pass it on to the more vulnerable.
    Are they trying to wipe out everyone over the age of 50?
    And smug, indifferent arrogance just won’t cut it. Look at the mess they have made already!

    • RobB
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      “Young people will not build up any immunity and then pass it on to the vulnerable” Surely this is nonsense. The way you write you would think that our government developed coronavirus and then spread it on purpose.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

        Quite true. You have to interact with people and share ‘germs’ to keep your immune system up to date. Stop that and every little sneeze could be a killer. So our young are more prone to all sorts of immune diseases than previous generation who ‘ate a peck of dirt before they died’.

        • steve
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 5:32 pm | Permalink


          “You have to interact with people”

          Deep state puppets in government don’t like us interacting with each other. After all we might decide we’re being had for mugs, can’t possibly allow that to happen.

      • Original Chris
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 11:02 am | Permalink

        The government could not have handled things much worse. That is the problem when we have a PM who is apparently easily “seduced” by modellers and statistics, but who does not have the wisdom to demand an assessment of the economic costs, the social costs and, yes, the medical costs in terms of untreated cancer patients) of the Ferguson inspired lockdown policy, before actually embarking on the policy.

        Senior civil servants admitted to the Select committee that their pandemic control policy never even factored in/considered economic costs. Why do we employ these sort of people who seem to lack basic common sense, intelligence, and expertise for the job?

      • Everhopeful
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        Gosh..there’s a theory! Where did you get that one from?

        The young apparently do not suffer badly from the virus..soooo…if they get it they build up “herd immunity”. With masks and distancing their immune systems will be compromised so when ( probably not if) they get the virus they will get it badly and pass it on to the more vulnerable. Who will probably die!
        Obviously a theory ( not mine) …but then…is the “science” ever settled?

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

          No apparently ‘the science’ has evolved and not approves of masks. So ‘the science’ is not definitive and we can safely ignore it.

          • Fred H
            Posted July 25, 2020 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

            science turned out to be guesswork … it often is then becomes wrong!

      • steve
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 5:28 pm | Permalink


        “The way you write you would think that our government developed coronavirus and then spread it on purpose.”

        Well Johnson did allow borders it remain open knowing that doing so would allow the virus in.

        Perfect storm.

    • RichardP
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      Totally agree.
      The “Second Wave” will be delivered by the Johnson Muzzles.
      The Government know full well how the public use these Muzzles. They will be used over and over again and stuffed in bags and pockets when not in use. Contaminated Muzzles will guarantee an epidemic of bronchitis, laryngitis, tonsillitis and all the other nasty respiratory “itises”, the NHS had better brace itself.

      • zorro
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

        +300… I see it all around me now


      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I saw hotel staff taking their muzzles off to speak to each other then put the, back on. Handled the muzzle dozens of times an hour. Then used the same ‘contaminated’ hands to serve food.

  24. ukretired123
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Thank goodness you SJR understand the real Elephant in the room and dangerous balloon of Debt hidden but real above us all which slowly descends by gravity but is kept up by various complicated inventions and issuing paper IOUs.
    We are so lucky to be out of the EU soon because it was built on paper thin IOUs and even more difficult to manage 27 different economies, more “like hearding cats” as demonstrated so sadly at last weekend’s marathon EU crisis meeting Number 99+

    • ukretired123
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      The Debt Balloon is kept up also by a lot of political hot air and trust in the cuurency.

    • ukretired123
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      error Herding by nerds….

  25. Mike Stallard
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    A little hint. In the nineteenth century, when we were the greatest power in the world, things got done. Why? Because people like Hudson and Gladstone (snr) could make money throughout the world.
    Now? Fracking? – Forbidden. Coal? Forbidden. Cars? On the way out. Internet? Yup, going well. Oil? On the way out. Christian schools? Doubtful and not popular. Men in charge of any sort of underage person – Safeguarding comes first all are suspect. Rich people – Greedy Tories!!! So the next generation are not motivated at all – except to safeguard and do climate change and learn a lot of fairly out of date stuff by heart.
    Our attitude has changed from Can do to Compliance. That is why paying off the debt is going to be very hard work indeed.

    • Fred H
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      the nessage is always – – – Be Risk Averse.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      “paying off the debt is going to be very hard work indeed” – it certainly is – unless they grow the wealth creating sector. This by culling much of the largely parasitic state sector that does so much harm to it.

  26. ChrisS
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    The elimination of the £11bn annual payment to the EU has come at an opportune time and, had we extended the so-called transition period, as demanded by the diehard Remainers, we would have been liable for at least 15% of their €750bn bailout fund. That would have added a staggering extra €112.5bn over the next few years to our liabilites, and that’s before adding the inevitable increase in our annual contributions to the next seven-year EU budget.

    It was good to see the Chancellor move rapidly to cut Foreign Aid to fall in line with the reduction in GDP we are expecting. He needs to go further : the Government should widen the definition of what constitutes aid to include, amongst other things, those elements of the Armed Forces that are on call to provide disaster relief. This should include funding a proportion of the build and operating costs of the new amphibious assault ships we desperately need. When our GDP starts to increase again, Foreign Aid should remain limited to the reduced cash sums paid in 2021. In line with millions of other taxpayers, I would like to see the aid budget cut in half.

    Any consideration of increasing the funding of social care specifically to reduce the need for the elderly to sell their houses should be postponed for a decade.

    Inheritance tax changes should be limited to inflationary increases to the allowances for a similar period.

    There are many other smaller measures that could be taken to assist in balancing the books over the next few years. These should include :

    Ensuring that the NHS charges every visitors from abroad, and in particular, from the EU, the full cost of all medical care they receive in the UK. ( Given the likely end of our reciprocal treatment rights ).

    Charging all vehicles arriving from abroad an element of Road Tax in line with the Vignette schemes used in Austria and Switzerland and elsewhere.

    Getting to grips with the economics of the devolved regions, in particular reducing the enormous budget deficit in Scotland, funded by English taxpayers to the tune of another £11bn a year. Boris should start by demanding an end to the additional benefits available in Scotland such as “free” university education and “free” prescriptions. These are not free, they are paid for by English taxpayers !

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

      It must be illegal for the Government to borrow money to give away. We also need to ensure that the Constitution cannot be altered without 66% majority in the House of Commons Leading to a referendum and a 66% Majority required there too.

  27. Everhopeful
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    I suppose that Boris thought no one but the Chinese would “get“ the two crab symbolism?

  28. JoolsB
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    “Let’s start by ending our contributions to the EU”

    Agreed and I do hope the Government are not still intending to handover £39 billion to them. And how about also ending our ridiculous and unpopular .7% foreign aid contributions? 71 million to China? 300 million to India? There are many many ways this wasteful Government could save money but it is still continuing to throw money around it hasn’t got. Now would be a good time to put on hold Or better still cancel HS2 and Johnson’s proposed multi billion pound bridge between Scotland and NI. Don’t enough English taxes get spent on these two already? If Scotland and NI want a bridge then let them build it and pay for it themselves, either that or scrap the devolved Parliaments and the block grants and the unfair Barnett Formula.

    What we need is a real Conservative Government promoting small Government and small state, not this bunch of socialists masquerading as Tories. Mrs. T must be turning in her grave.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      Jools I agree. After the visit to Scotland and Boris spouting off about the union being so strong when we all know it isn’t I am just waiting for the big bung of money that will be thrown at them . No wonder they vote SNP. Threats from the SNP mean more money from Westminster with the English taxpayers going without to foot the bill

  29. Original Chris
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Key in any discussion of debt is the amount added to our debt by the government’s handling of Covid, by imposing the lockdown and shutting down the economy. £70 billion is the estimated cost, according to report today (and the govt is prolonging the agony with its current measures and fearmongering).

    We need and deserve a PM with wisdom, common sense, and the willingness/ability to have demanded assessments on the economic costs before he embarked on his catastrophic policy, and the ability to listen to and assess ALL sides of the argument, instead of being “seduced” by the I C modellers.

  30. nhsgp
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    31 March 2005, at £1.347 trillion of pension debts [ONS]
    31 December 2015, £7.6 trillion of pension debts [ONS]
    That’s a 17.5% per year increase in the debts.

    1. Can you explain why those debts are hidden off the books?
    2. They are inflation linked debts so you cannot inflate your way out of them by definition
    3. How are you going to force the average tax payer to pay for the debts? They have a £550,000 share [other debts not included]
    4. Next year’s increase for Mr Min Wage, is £90,000. How is he going to pay.
    5. 220 bn, 30% of tax goes on the debts. How much more austerity can you force on people?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

      Are you not confusing liabilities with debts there?

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

      We need you in the Commons.

  31. The Prangwizard
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Money doesn’t matter any more, as far as governments are concerned. It can spend massively and pile up debt and then spins through ultra loyalists that there are no consequences worth worrying about.

    We’ve heard this complacency and naivity from our host in the past on subjects such as EVEL which came to nothing and was walked all over by the Scots as we all forecast it would. We heard it on Brexit, it was all going to be so easy. Does anyone really believe our economy and the world economy will return to previous levels of activity soon and then grow?

    But money matters to individuals, we can’t borrow with no payback. We of course be taxed to finance givernment waste.

  32. Polly
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    That sounds so like the Titanic band playing bravely on..

    Why ?

    Because you’ve got Prime Minister Johnson in charge and he’s determined to ”Build Back Better” which really means ”Destroy Everything Which Works”.

    Why is it that every UK government since 1997 loves slogans which are always Lewis Carroll style reverse reality ?


  33. villaking
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Sir John, I am glad you are not in a panic about the current levels of debt despite them being far higher than those proposed by your opponents at the last general election, upon whom you poured scorn. I am less relaxed about the colossal waste of our money and willful destruction of our economy that your government has perpetrated. The answer does not lie in rapid reductions in borrowing next year which is right wing speak for making the poor poorer and lowering taxes for the wealthy in the name of some mythical trickle down effect. Instead this government should, as its final act before resigning, admit its gross incompetence and hysterical overreaction, lift all these cruel restrictions on personal liberty including its politically motivated orders telling people what they have to wear in public, and reassure the public that the health risk of this virus is miniscule and it is time to resume normal life exactly as it was back in February and get started on the long road to recovery.

    • zorro
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 6:56 pm | Permalink



  34. glen cullen
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    It must be a philosophy thing or maybe the how I was brought up or maybe taught at school but I believe that no government should spend a single penny more than they receive in taxation

    I would make it a law that no government could borrow or manage debt

    We trust and empower our government to provide core services and allow them the ability to rise taxes to achieve those aims – its kings and despots that spend beyond their means

    But then again I don’t believe government should be involved in grandiose investments or projects or designs to shape & social engineer society

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

      I agree – except in War. Then they can borrow ‘whatever it takes’.

  35. Caterpillar
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    I’ll not repeat my views on the predictable economic disaster, Mr Sunak’s actions to date, the required change in macroeconomic thinking and suburbia vs. city.

    Two questions I would like number 10 & 1/2 to answer;

    1) Does it understand the fundamental (i.e. not mechanistic, nor policy) reason for ongoing zero interest rates?
    2) Does it have the scenarios mapped out for how economic collapse of the U.K. can happen/unfold? (including indicators and levers en route).

    I suspect number 10.5 would answer “no” to each of these – there has been no public indication that careful thought has taken place.

  36. bigneil(newercomp)
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    I notice the last line of your blog John says payment to the EU went up again in June – Can we ask what to?

  37. Arthur Wrightiss
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    As mentioned, the Government must borrow long term. It could incentivise the general public to invest in very long term bonds with a zero interest rate but if held for, say, 10 or 15 years then the capital will be free of IHT.

  38. clive lester
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Good morning Sir John and all .
    I fear the mountain of debt we now find ourselves in , is with regret only going to get bigger, far , far , bigger . The lock down , now coupled with mass hysteria and fear will unfortunately prolong any real recovery,if at all .
    . Mandatory masks will in my view have the effect of keeping shoppers away from the high st, thus causing even more carnage and confusion .Dither and delay spring to mind , if you are going to mask the population you do it from day one , not day 100 . Utter stupidity .
    .. The second wave now being whipped up by the media will be the next fiscal hurdle for the Johnson crew . This is going to go on and on . Brexit and HS2 will become fiscal irritants compared to the carnage that C 19 leaves in its trail .
    My prediction is a shocking 5 million probably out of work by Christmas , I truly hope I am wrong .So much of this could and should have been avoided , but we are where we are . . So good luck at trying to sort this lot out , I would not trade places with you or anyone in Government for all the tea in China .
    Oh , that’s not very PC at the moment . Sorry .

  39. JohnE
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Begbies Traynor put out their quarterly Red Flag report today:

    “it is likely that the true impact of the coronavirus pandemic will only become apparent during the third and fourth quarters of 2020 as government support initiatives are unwound and courts fully reopen so that enforcement action can be taken.”

  40. ian
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    You mean getting the yearly deficit down not the mountains of debt.

  41. Gordon
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    As this government is the cause anything they do to alleviate the effects of this disaster is merely show boating. Boris and the entire Conservative party have revealed their total disregard for freedom, logic and morality. What I see is the country sinking further into totalitarianism and heading for the sort of socialist paradise that Erich Honecker dreamed of.
    A country of slaves dependent on government, brainwashed and vaccinated to the point they can no longer be described as living beings.
    I see myself as having to apologise to my son for bringing him into this world.

    • steve
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 5:22 pm | Permalink


      Well said Sir.

    • M Hopkins
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      Gordon I have already apologised to my sons. Devastating.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

        For voting Leave – and quite right too.

        • M Hopkins
          Posted July 25, 2020 at 6:20 am | Permalink

          We did not vote leave! Never assume anything.

        • Fred H
          Posted July 25, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

          my apology is for still having Scotland, Wales and NI part of the Union.

  42. oldwulf
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    “Over the next few days I want to explore how the government might bring its budget back into a better balance”

    We need more jobs and more spending. Employers national insurance and value added tax rates are too high.

    Major amendments to business rates. This might include a review of the growth of internet shopping and the decline of our high streets.

    Control of local authority finance. For example, my own local authority seems to have got into a bit of a mess with a major property renovation.

    Getting a grip on tax avoidance and tax “avoision”, although this may already be in hand Combatting tax evasion may need greater resources ?

    Ditch HS2

    Etc … etc

  43. miami.mode
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    …….So far interest rates have been kept low…………

    It’s a pity that the state regulator, the FCA, doesn’t share the same attitude to rapacious banks that charge interest rates bordering on usury. They could easily “turn the tables” on them.

    The first line of the FCA statement:-

    “Financial markets need to be honest, fair and effective so that consumers get a fair deal”

  44. BOF
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    We are witnessing the indiscriminate creation of money to spray at foreign despotic countries, OUR NHS, Covid (paying people not to work) and job creation schemes like Aircraft carriers & HS2 and the borrowing of previously unimaginable sums.

    Sooner or later the markets will lose faith. Our Government bonds will be worthless, inflation will rocket and the UK will once more be the sick man of Europe, headed for 3rd world status.

    Will we ever see another Mrs T to get us back on track?

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

      I can see him but am at a loss as to how to get him into Downing Street!

  45. Newmania
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    The first episode in what promises to be a popular series, ” Conflating the Corona Virus Disaster with the Brexit disaster “. John Redwood has done little else but demand more spending since the referendum result and this wildly incompetent government broadly complied.
    By the time we have added Corona Virus bill to the Brexit bill the country has not been in such a desperate place since the war , much of it self inflicted
    He would now like us to write off the brazen public theft, as a special item like some sleazy apologist for the Dead Beat Limited and their dire results .
    Nothing has changed , Brexit is still a vastly expensive stupid selfish white elephant for which we are all getting the bill .No NO NO
    I will pay for Covid 19 if you orders the thicko surprise , you can pay for it yourself

  46. Ex-Tory
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    I agree, Sir John, and can’t fault your reasoning. But we do live in a funny old world where next month we’ll be encouraged to dine out on borrowed money.

  47. Questions to JR etc
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    So what is the plan here? For the banks to make big money on the interest forevermore or for nations/politicians to force a universal default? When is inflation going up?

  48. everyone knows
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    John, if you have not subscribed the World Economic Forum Strategic Intelligence plan then you need to. My guess is all progressive globalist type communist MPs are already subsribers. You will get a running commentary via news alert on how the communist revolution on the back of this alleged virus, is going.

  49. Will in Hampshire
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    To be honest we didn’t really need the final sentence of this piece. I don’t believe that our host is seriously proposing to unilaterally cease transition period payments with just five of them to go, so it felt like an unnecessary jibe at Remainers that diminished his sensible (if rather theoretical) discussion of the deleveraging challenge.

  50. acorn
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    JR, a bit of education for the fossil fuel dinosaur faction of your commenters to try and understand, courtesy of Forbes. Trying to educate your socio-economic dinosaurs, I have given up on.

    It’s official: in the first half of 2020, and for the first time, Europe generated more electricity from renewable sources than from fossil fuels. Not only that, but electricity is proving cheaper in countries that have more renewables.

    From January to June, wind, solar, hydro and bioenergy generated 40% of the electricity across the EU’s 27 member states, while fossil fuels generated 34%. In the United States, by way of contrast, fossil fuels generated more than 62% of electricity last year, while renewables accounted for less than 18%.

    The EU figures, gathered and analyzed by U.K. climate think-tank Ember, represent a rapid acceleration in the decarbonization of the bloc’s electricity supply.

    Just five years ago, Europe generated twice as much electricity from coal as it did from wind and solar. Now, coal makes up just 12% of the EU-27’s electricity generation, while wind and solar alone provide 21%.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      What is bio-fuel but under aged coal? So why do you include it? Also electricity is only about 20% of total energy usage. Plus I do not really believe the figures anyway. There is, after all, a large financial incentive to present Electricity as low carbon. Did you include nuclear in the low carbon bit or not? Wind power is not exactly low carbon either when you consider the manufacture installation, distribution and maintenance.

      The US has got it right on this I see.

      • dixie
        Posted July 25, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

        @LL – On what basis do you question the figures considering it is clear you didn’t even bother to look at the data or the report;

        1. the term “low carbon” is not used anywhere
        2. the data includes nuclear independent of renewables, perhaps it is not included in the renewables total because it isn’t a renewable.

        Bio-fuels are grown and are renewable – coal and oil are not renewables, they come out of the ground and are not replenished in an acceptable time period.

        I looked at the data and there are some issues with it but not at the simplistic, dogmatic level you suggest.

        We need a considered, objective debate on how we meet our energy needs sustainably. It is clear we will not get it from either the pro-green all-carbon-is-bad nor the anti-green all-green-is-crap acolytes.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 6:50 am | Permalink

      I don’t know why you didn’t include China and this is important.

      China now performs much of our manufacturing role and those need to be put on our carbon footprint.

      It’s a bit of a cheat, isn’t it ? Outsourcing our carbon intensive manufacturing work and then buying back the readied goods and saying how green we are.

      62% of China’s fuel is fossil too but how much of that is involved in making the goods we buy from them ?

      The outsource of this manufacturing has resulted us all broke and wearing disposable masks (soon to be rubber gloves) of which a great proportion will end up floating in the Sargasso Sea.

      • a-tracy
        Posted July 26, 2020 at 9:42 am | Permalink

        Of course its a cheat but it makes acorn feel so much more intellectually superior than the ‘socio economic dinosaurs’ he likes to patronise.

  51. NickC
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    JR, Sun newspaper (23 July, updated 24 July) states: “Mr Frost yesterday agreed to work with the EU on its wish for a governance deal covering all aspects of our interaction with the bloc.” This looks like the beginning of the sell out we have been anticipating. What do you think?

    • Fred H
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      ‘agreed to work with’ EUphemism for ‘my boss has caved in’.

  52. David Brown
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Sir JR, I agree with your thinking actually you have surprised me, I normally growl at you over the EU.
    The Gov is committed not to return to public sector austerity however tempting this may be, but it is Politically damaging and people don’t forget.
    There is probably some efficiency savings still to be identified.
    The whole Social Care sector needs to be better managed without throwing money at it because I feel its currently fragmented and money drops through the cracks without being correctly targeted.
    Local Gov Education Services are far too big and breathtakingly inefficient, its a big slice of LA funding.
    The most controversial one I have is a Asset Wealth Tax as its a new tax and will only hit individuals – ok not popular with aging contributors here.
    Ending triple lock on pensions would hit those who can least afford it who don’t have a private pension and it would be very Politically damaging.
    Big reduction in overseas aid ie 50% reduction, this would be popular with many and only a few squealers would complain and moan.
    Im sure there are many more ideas that are not Politically damaging.

  53. steve
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 5:07 pm | Permalink


    “As one who thought the government had to spend whatever it took to combat the virus and to keep jobs and companies afloat once the government decided on a national lock down”

    Government wouldn’t be trashing the economy if Johnson had immediately closed aviation and maritime borders. and job losses would have been much less severe. Which is what anyone with half a brain would have done.

    Deliberately allowed the virus in, dithered on face masks, months wasted while flights from China were still being allowed – you couldn’t make it up.

    After all that, we are NOW told we must be humiliated by having to wear face nappies, and we are THREATENED to make us comply.

    More U – turns than a bluebottle.

    Put foreign sensitivities ahead of our freedoms.

    You think people will vote your shower back into government again ? You’re having a laugh mate.

    • zorro
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      + 100


    • Fred H
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

      Steve – – you’ve got a point. Well several actually.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 8:32 pm | Permalink


  54. turboterrier
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    There are some easy and obvious reductions in spending that can be made.

    Too true there are and many of your respondents have come up with the same things time and time again. But who is listening? Constraint payments on renewables, Nation Grid Transmission capabilities, HS2, climate change, roads and infrastructure electric vehicles and the channel boat people all the result of no cause and effect analysis.

    How much does the culling of badgers cost this country? It would appear that the county of Shropshire has now been included in the project with a soon to start rolling 4 year programme. Yet another cost to the taxpayers. Is it not time to put the onus on those most affected by bovine TB? The farmers. Vaccines are available for their herds so why not use them. But would it mean that the farmers then become responsible and accountable should there be an outbreak? This being the case they would not qualify for compensation.

    Politicians as a whole have got to start thinking outside the box and be radical, create constructive change throughout the population that things have got to done differently. very few I fear are even in the box in the first place.

  55. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    Saving money and animal welfare? What ever happened to vaccination of cattle instead of wiping out our badger populations? How much does culling cost when the exterminators are paid per carcass compared with vaccination? Culling is cruel and barbaric with badgers often taking hours to die. . They are a much loved species abd deserve more than a barbaric end. Who is really supervising the methods used? There has to be a better way when it was announced only months ago that culling was to be discontinued. Now we find culling is to be rolled out over several counties lasting 4 years. Will we have a badger population left?

    • JoolsB
      Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:05 pm | Permalink


  56. glen cullen
    Posted July 24, 2020 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    BBC reporting eighty six (86) illegal migrants on eight boats intercepted by border force yesterday and are now in UK ….not returned to France

    • Fred H
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      glen – factual news from the BBC – at least it is a start!

    • a-tracy
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      Pretty soon we’ll have taken all 3000 in the Calais camps and the government can announce they’re clamping down and stopping it! It’s a farce. We dont have to keep them but we will just as we took the female isis supporter back as I knew we would, we waste millions on lawyers and our government always caves in.

  57. Tim
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 12:59 am | Permalink

    After Gordon Brown increased debt from £500 to £800bn we cried foul.
    Now after over a decade of “austerity and cuts” debt is over 3x greater.

    But who cares. We’ll all be dead and buried before the debts get called, yet the youth only seem to care about racial identity. More fool them

  • 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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