Go for growth Telegraph article from Monday

What is it about cutting tax rates that drives the Treasury mad? Jeremy Hunt says rightly that he wants inflation down, yet his department blocks cuts in VAT, fuel duties and other direct tax charges on activity that would do just that.

They opted for subsidies to help us with energy costs instead of taking VAT off domestic energy, or reducing the extortionate carbon taxes on business energy. They chose any way they could find to keep inflation and public spending high. They are itching to put fuel duty up again to make pump prices higher.

And why do they think putting up tax rates is the way to cut state borrowing? In the latest November budget they put up tax rates and nevertheless announced a massive 75 per cent increase in public borrowing this year.

In part, the borrowing went up because the higher tax rates slow the economy. They lead to less revenue as rich people and companies divert to lower tax places, and those who are stuck here rein in spending and investment. Overall, total revenues are always damaged by these recession inducing policies.

These officials don’t understand growth, either. In 2021-22 the government forecasts of state borrowing were more than £100 billion too high because they underestimated growth. This year they were £75 billion too low because they overestimated it. Official models have for years misjudged how crucial growth is to borrowing levels. Every extra pound of income and turnover is highly taxed, so revenue rises strongly with growth and falls away just as rapidly with recession.

This is why we need a growth strategy now to get inflation and the deficit down. High tax rates, with interest rates too high from an erratic Bank of England, will mean more borrowing. Selective tax cuts which cut energy costs, promote business investment and encourage more self employment will directly lower prices and bring more supply.

Going for tax cuts rather than clumsy subsidies will also help control spending better. The energy-money-go-round with price controls, consumer subsidies, windfall taxes and higher corporation taxes is bound to fail. It means less tax revenue as we will be forced to import more foreign energy whilst stopping investment in our own home produced supplies. It is self-defeating, a stand on your head and fall over economics.

The authorities also got their inflation forecasts hopelessly wrong because they clearly do not understand what causes it. They blame Ukraine, refusing to see that China, Japan and Switzerland also import a lot of foreign energy but did not get the high inflation, because they controlled money and credit. Now government is in denial about how inflation will fall because the Bank has lurched from too easy money to tight money, thinking they need to do more with sky high taxes as well. Inflation will fall, but they want to kill off growth too.

The Treasury and Bank advice which wrecked our economy with membership of the Exchange Rate Mechanism in the 1980s, with boom bust, did it again with the banking crash of 2008 and wants to do it again after their great bond-buying inflation.

Ministers should say “No!” and go for growth. We cannot afford their high taxes and recession. We need affordable tax cuts, alongside the rolling back of subsidies to avoid the danger of higher unemployment.

However, it is clear that ministers are frightened about spooking the government debt market, after the Bank showed it could get bond prices rising when it wanted. The Bank could help the country it serves more by working out why it got inflation so wrong and getting it right this time.

It need not go on selling so many bonds at a loss and sending the bill to the taxpayer. Its current policy of doing so seems to be another way to make the Treasury do the wrong thing and intensify the recession. The European Central Bank which made the same mistake of buying too many bonds at high prices to trigger inflation is not selling bonds to make big losses.

I want to  believe the Chancellor is earnest in his ambition to reduce taxes and inflation. But to do both effectively, he must reject groupthink.


  1. Jude
    January 31, 2023

    What a total mess! Its almost like – the nutters are now in charge of the asylum!! Is a lot of this juvenile response to our finance crisis due to being in the EU for so long? Where we were told the majority of the time, what fiscal path to follow? So, the expertise has been lost in Westminster? It really is a no brainer…we need growth,growth & more growth!! Including weaning our workers off benefits!

    1. turboterrier
      January 31, 2023

      Totally agree with you. Yet further proof fom today’s article that it is the tail wagging the dog. If there was a real commitment to tackle all the waste that exists it would encapsulate so many areas of everyday life and that would impact on how everything would have to be managed.

      1. turboterrier
        January 31, 2023

        This is another train smash waiting to happen. Still, we hear nothing from over 90% of the parliament on how to deal with a problem that is not going away and will just get bigger. If it can happen over the land what about the offshore structures? The whole of the UK has them. Do not hear the Greens talking about this for Net Zero

        Scotland Littered By Tonnes of Toxic Plastics Shed By Thousands of Wind Turbine Blades
        Wind farm fears as SNP ministers admit they don’t monitor ‘toxic’ leading edge erosion
        Scottish Daily Express
        Ben Borland

        Energy minister Michael Matheson also admitted that no wind farm operators have been fined for failing to maintain their turbines and there is no scheme in place to monitor microplastic etc ed

    2. Ian wragg
      January 31, 2023

      Your not listening John. WEF rules, once a tax ischarged it can never be repealed.
      Hunt and company will jump through as many hoops as possible to subsidise or mitigate costs but they won’t cut tax.
      It’s called Consocialism.
      Do keep up, it’s all driven by net zero.

      1. hefner
        January 31, 2023

        You mean consociationalism, surely? I know 17 letters in a row, a bitty tough to remember or type, eh?

    3. Nottingham Lad Himself
      January 31, 2023

      The question is on its head.

      It really should be “What is it about a fair taxation system that drives the ERG mad?”

      1. Lynn Atkinson
        January 31, 2023

        So a ‘fair tax system’ bankrupts those who pay taxes so that in short order nobody pays taxes and everybody starves, including the entire State Sector whose salaries taxpayers fund.
        Good thinking Batman!

      2. Mickey Taking
        January 31, 2023

        Show us a fair taxation system!

    4. PeteB
      January 31, 2023

      Indeed Jude. Sunak and Hunt are playing the long game: Destroy the economy and set tax rates at record levels. They then lose the 2024 election but leave scorched earth conditions for Starmer to struggle with. 5 years of Labour incompetence and they think the populus will have forgotten their incompetence…

      1. Donna
        January 31, 2023

        Correct. Except we won’t forget …. or forgive.

    5. Sharon
      January 31, 2023

      I’ve wondered a few times whether Westminster has lost its expertise through EU membership, too.

      Having a central list of MP candidates – is there the same mindset being used there as in the civil service; don’t rock the boat? In other words, people who won’t question things?

      1. Lynn Atkinson
        January 31, 2023

        Of course! The brilliant people (excluding SJR) did not want to be a rubber stamp, so only the dullards were chosen for a life of political wages.
        That’s why the electorate can’t SELECT their candidates, they might choose people who don’t tow the party machine line. Heath’s innovation.

    6. Dave Andrews
      January 31, 2023

      The nutters all seem to be PPE dopes. Don’t blame them, blame the voters.

    7. Ian B
      January 31, 2023

      @Jude +1

      And working to an agenda that doesn’t include the existence of the UK, spend, spend, spend, tax, tax, tax all to prove remain was right. There can be no other logic

    8. Guy Liardet
      January 31, 2023

      Glad to see, John, that you are getting a grasp on the energy question. Learn more. Repeal the Climate Change Act before it kills us and promotes China. Read it up. Look at ‘Sceptic’ websites. They have the science, not those with their noses in the trough of taxpayer subsidies

  2. Mark B
    January 31, 2023

    Good morning.

    These officials don’t understand growth . . . .

    They don’t need to, they are unaffected by what goes on in the economy.

    Perhaps it is time we considered running a balanced budget and, where there is a shortfall of cash there are cuts to the size of the administrative budget in Whitehall. If the State wants more cash it needs to make sure that the economy is doing well.

    When is comes to subsidies, the Private Sector is subsiding the Public way, way too much.

    1. Ian B
      January 31, 2023

      @ Mark B +1

      These officials don’t understand growth . . . . They dont need to, their boss is the Government. The Government is refusing to Manage. Thats the same reason for not having a ‘balanced budget’, the Government is on a path to destroy the UK and then blame everyone else

    2. fishknife
      January 31, 2023

      I voted Leave for two reasons, I didn’t believe Project Fear, and EU/Cameron gave no positive reasons to Remain.
      For months it has been obvious that Hunt is saying one thing – “wanting Inflation down” and doing the opposite, taxing fuel.
      We need investment – so increase Corporation Tax and hammer the self employed.
      Labour started this mess in the 1950s, more Socialism isn’t the answer, but neither is Sunak/Bailey/Hunt, or Farage/Tice/Fox or Boris/Carrie for that matter.

      1. Mark B
        January 31, 2023

        The the State wants Socialism as it means the State gets bigger and those that either run it or live off of it get richer.

  3. Gary Megson
    January 31, 2023

    Not a word about how Ms Truss tried exactly these policies and, after costing the country tens of billions we will never get back, was slung out of office

    1. Nottingham Lad Himself
      January 31, 2023

      The Tories rely upon those who in turn rely upon the right wing press to do their remembering for them, not bothering with what might pass for their own.

    2. John Hatfield
      January 31, 2023

      Truss’s policies didn’t fail. They were never allowed to be put into practice.
      Sunak used the market chaos, caused by the BOE not raising interest rates as an excuse to get her out and finally get himself in charge. Liz Truss’ mini budget was used as a scapegoat for the market chaos.

  4. DOM
    January 31, 2023

    The Socialist State power grab hasn’t even started. Socialist Tory cowards will give way to the real deal Marxists, Labour, who will abolish cash and implement digital cash and total State control of all things will finally be in their grasp. The Tories will simply all silent or appease as they have been doing on issues like race, gender or sexuality but crawl away into retirement and watch from afar the destruction of the freedoms we have left

    Labour and the Tories in inhabit the same space and Mr Redwood knows that all too well

  5. Norman
    January 31, 2023

    Thank you for going public on the country’s behalf, Sir John. It must at times seem a lonely furrow.
    When I see the daily splurge from the BBC and others, the plot to undo Brexit is scarcely any longer disguised, also the promotion of a culture that many voiceless British people hardly any longer recognize.
    Sadly, this group-think is also conspicuous in other areas of policy madness, to a degree one can hardly believe. I’m thinking energy and defence, for instance. And the mishandling and denial of the slaughter and destruction in Ukraine. Political expediency does not allow you to effectually espouse every cause, but the work you are doing is greatly appreciated.

  6. Clough
    January 31, 2023

    I believe the whole point of the coup against Liz Truss was to stop the PM getting economic policy advice from sources such as your good self, Sir John. Mission accomplished, it appears. The Treasury is back in charge. You are doggedly publicising their limitations, but what will actually change? The way forward is surely to try to build up support with the party for a policy of scaling back the Treasury’s role in policy-making. You are well-placed to know how that should be implemented.

  7. Donna
    January 31, 2023

    We hear your frustration Sir John and believe me, we share it.

    But the cowardly Blu-Green Socialists who have taken over what used to be a Conservative Party aren’t listening and never will. Most of them are just marking time now until they hand over a wrecked economy for Labour to continue mis-managing and they will disappear off to California or smoothly transfer into one of the large corporations closely aligned to the sector they mis-managed as Minister.

    Blair/Brown created a highly politicised, institutionally left-wing Senior Civil Service and Quangocracy but instead of reversing their corruption of our so-called democracy, Cameron/Osborne admired Blair and copied him. After 13 years, the CONs have done NOTHING to promote genuine Conservatism. We are still living in a Brown/Blair-governed country, with the likes of Caroline Lukas seemingly pulling the strings.

    Nigel Farage gifted your pathetic party an 80 seat majority and you’ve done absolutely nothing with it except betray the millions of Conservative/conservative voters in favour of pandering to the socialist minority who didn’t.

    1. MWB
      January 31, 2023

      Donna, 100% correct.

  8. Cuibono
    January 31, 2023

    We had a coup.
    What was it all about?
    Paving a smooth path for WEF-supporting Labour and a smooth passage back to the EU?
    There must be a reason for the deliberate economic sabotage..

  9. BW
    January 31, 2023

    Talking of excess taxation. When you receive your first email from the council complaining that in comparison with other local authorities, Wokingham have a 30 million shortfall in central government funding. You just know you are being prepared for a council tax spanking. Local government will blame the national government who will blame the pandemic, the OBR, the Bank of England, the War in Ukraine, the strikes. It goes on. The bottom line is Wokingham Council are preparing us for them to dip their sticky overpaid fingers deeper into my dwindling income. So it’s your people Sir John, not mine, Hunt was rejected at the first opportunity, now he is chancellor, Sunak was rejected twice, now he is PM. Democracy, what a joke. It’s a fine article you wrote but your people are not listening. Are you going to get your people to give is the extra 30 million ?

    1. R.Grange
      January 31, 2023

      Very good question, BW. Let’s see if we get an answer.

  10. Cuibono
    January 31, 2023

    I suppose that if a govt. blindly follows mantras/creeds/madness rather than reality…
    Growth is bad per se, money printing will definitely not lead to inflation, interest rates must be kept lower for longer and the best way out of economic trouble is to spend, spend, spend…
    Then generally speaking said govt. will land everyone in very deep trouble.

  11. David Brown
    January 31, 2023

    There are too many remainer socialists in government. I’m not voting conservative.

    1. Dave Andrews
      January 31, 2023

      Vote for the person, not the party. You might find a good and suitable candidate in your constituency happens to be the Conservative.

  12. Nigl
    January 31, 2023

    None fit for purpose. A metaphor across government. Too many ministerial changes, inept disorganised, focus and experience lacking Ministers of State in hock and kidnapped by their Permanent Secretaries

    You also seem to think arguing amongst yourselves is a recipe for success. It isn’t. You have lost the Politics. Fractured and incompetent. Justifying your medicine for the problems you have caused.

    Worst performing country of the G7.

  13. Julian Flood
    January 31, 2023

    Lower taxes mean the next Chancellor will have to cut expenditure. A white elephant hunt will begin and a lot of very wealthy people will lose access to a lot of money. Yes, the hardworking taxpayer will be better off, the Conservative Party will begin to look less unelectable, but really!


  14. Denis Cooper
    January 31, 2023

    On the general topic, yesterday I sent this letter to the New Statesman FAO Andrew Marr:

    “Dear Mr Marr

    You, and Keir Starmer, really should not allow yourselves to be suckered by all the nonsense about the vast economic value of the EU Single Market.

    At this point in your video:


    you say that we are outside the biggest single market on our doorstop, but you do not say how much difference that actually makes to our economy.

    Does it not strike you as a bit strange that despite being outside that market UK businesses can still sell huge volumes of exports into that market?

    For example, from the table in Section 5.1 here:


    in 2021 total goods exports to the EU were worth £154.3 billion, of which only £5.1 billion were sent from Northern Ireland, the part of the UK which is still inside the EU Single Market for goods.

    So how did companies in Great Britain manage to export so much to the EU, when they are outside that biggest single market on our doorstep?

    The question you, and Keir Starmer, should be asking is how much it would be worth to our economy to be back inside the EU Single Market.

    And on that the EU itself can provide some help, which Michel Barnier reporting in 2012 that it had added about 2% to the collective GDP of the EU member states, and the Commission now reckoning that the increase in Non-Tariff Barriers we will experience outside of it might erode our future economic growth by about the same percentage of GDP, but with other sources suggesting that for the UK it might have only half of that average value across the member states.

    A one-off boost to our economy of 1%, or even 2%, spread over a number of years, would not go very far in providing Sir Keir with the money that he will need, and he, and you, should be honest about that.

    You should avoid being like George Osborne with his brazen lies, which inflicted so much damage on our country by undermining our negotiating position during our withdrawal from the EU.

    Lies about the huge economic benefits of the EEC/EC/EU/USE project which started with the old Liberals more than six decades ago, and then spread to the Tories, and then by 1975 to Labour.

    I repeat, what is needed is honesty, not more blagging and hand waving and pulling the wool over the eyes of the people.

    Dr D R Cooper”

  15. Narrow Shoulders
    January 31, 2023

    One of the issues with going for growth is that the public sector spends so much into the private sector (having first taxed the private sector to get the funds).

    Before we can embark on a growth plan, first we need to shrink the state which will cause a recession.

    This transition is vital and will cost your government even more seats in the next election so won’t happen.

    This should have been started in 2019 when you had five years to recover. Now all we can do is limp on and subsidise until 2024 as any initiatives will just be reversed by the Labour / SNP / Lib Dem coalition.

  16. Javelin
    January 31, 2023

    In 20 years London and other British cities have attracted millions of law paid, uneducated people from all over the world who work in net tax losing jobs or go on benefits.

    It’s like leaving a car on the drive to rust.

    When you try to start the car don’t expect the car to start. The battery and tyres will be flat, the cylinders rusted solid, The only option is the scrap heap.

  17. Stred
    January 31, 2023

    SJR. Have you ever considered the possibility that the government of the installed Sunak and Hunt is following orders from the people who put them there to lower growth and spending? They have been open and put the agendas in writing and speeches. They want to reduce the use of carbon fuels, transport and travel, meat and dairy, ownership of anything including housing and cars. They have plans to reduce farming and living in the countryside and to move us all into megs cities. The Dutch government tried to do this recently, so confident are their members of the clique that they can dismiss opposition.
    They want us poor but happy, with our digital passes and permits after taking the WHO orders for vaccination and learning to enjoy eating insect protein and soya milk.
    The lockdown was welcomed as an example of early reset and they want to build back better. The Prime Ministers and King Charles, the COP crowd, Carney, the big finance houses, banks and corporations are signed up. They will make money from the reset. Why is the National Grid going to turn down a policy to triple its size or the wind and solar corporations not going to lobby and buy politicians? Why have politicians who facilitate this decided to not even bother to stand at the next election and Starmer is confident as a member of the Trilateral commission that he says he prefers Davos to Westminster?

    When politicians such as yourself disagree, they just keep quiet and laugh up their sleeve. Nothing will stop them and growth is not on the agenda.

    1. Donna
      January 31, 2023

      Well said. And Starmer dutifully trooped off to Davos this year to assure the assembled globalists that he’d do exactly the same as Sunak/Hunt.

      If you vote for the Westminster Uni-Party, nothing will change.

  18. David Cooper
    January 31, 2023

    My comment upon that DT article, amended simply to replace a slang description for the Chancellor with his name: –
    Sir John concludes: “I want to believe the Chancellor is earnest in his ambition to reduce taxes and inflation. But to do both effectively, he must reject groupthink.”
    If this is meant as a typical steer from the wise professor to his keen students, hoping that they will work out the right answer without the need for it to be spoon fed to them: –
    1. Jeremy Hunt is not earnest in relation to either branch of his alleged ambition;
    2. Whether this is because he is too rich personally to care, or because he believes that he will best serve the cause of his fellow globalist managerialist elitists by stamping on the fingers of the ordinary plebs whose lives he governs, is a matter for wider discussion;
    3. He will not therefore reject groupthink, being firmly wedded to it.
    Can I have my Alpha+, please?

  19. Richard1
    January 31, 2023

    Excellent article. An Elon musk-style approach of simply booting out a whole lot of these officials would be best but is no doubt impossible given the entrenchment of the blob.

    What a pity it is we didn’t have a smooth transition from Boris to Rishi last summer but had the absurd interlude of Liz Truss whose cack-handed incompetence has done so much to undermine the case for sensible free market, pro growth policies. And has probably lost us the election.

    1. Denis Cooper
      January 31, 2023

      What a pity that Theresa made it necessary to have Boris.

  20. Excalibur
    January 31, 2023

    Good morning, JR. I find the machinations too difficult to follow. When Liz Truss rejected ‘groupthink’, advocating instead, energetic, innovative drives towards growth, she was skewered mercilessly. Had the backstabbers and the ‘markets’ not prevailed, we would now be several months into a strategy for growth, and would doubtless be in a healthier economic state than we are now.

    1. Hat man
      January 31, 2023

      The IMF predicts Britain’s economy will shrink in 2023, unlike every other G7 country. Oh, and the IMF says Russia’s economy will even grow slightly. So well done you Tories at no. 10 and no. 11 Downing Street, and your highly paid advisors. What a shambles you’ve made of it.
      I was not a huge fan of Liz Truss as Foreign Minister, but I must say as PM she began very well, and in my opinion her programme would’ve been the only one to win you the next general election. If the benefits of tax cuts had been spread around, the mood might have improved, and maybe no one would have cared too much about Zahawi. Do you have a deathwish in the Tory party?

  21. Sir Joe Soap
    January 31, 2023

    By now, we are used to this model.

    Minister/PM says he/she wants x
    Minister/PM operates a policy which will clearly achieve -x
    Sir John Redwood calls for x to happen
    Minister/PM continues to operate to achieve -x
    -x happens
    Minister/PM resigns or sacked for completely unrelated reasons
    New Minister/PM in place
    Back to line 1

    It’s getting tiresome

  22. Keith from Leeds
    January 31, 2023

    Another statement of the obvious, but who in government is listening? To cut taxes, both business & personal, you need to cut the cost of government, then you won’t spook the markets. It is frightening how naive both the PM & Chancellor are. Neither seems to understand basic economics. If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got! Liz Truss was right but went about it in the wrong way. Again I ask why incompetent people in the BOE & Treasury are not sacked. It is no wonder the UK is suffering a crisis of confidence.
    I don’t know how you keep doing it, Sir John, but please keep plugging away. Maybe, some day, someone will listen & act on your advice.

  23. wes
    January 31, 2023

    I am sure the over plan is to convince us plebs that we would be better off re-joining the EU

  24. rose
    January 31, 2023

    It is galling to have the IMF telling us we are not growing. They helped the rest of the financial blob to topple the administration which was addressing that.

  25. Peter
    January 31, 2023

    ‘I want to believe the Chancellor is earnest in his ambition to reduce taxes and inflation.’

    Reducing tax and inflation are not Hunt’s top priority.

    1. rose
      January 31, 2023

      And yet when he was an independent agent in the summer he advocated 12% corporation tax.

  26. William Long
    January 31, 2023

    But the Chancellor is a leading member of Groupthink, which is precisely why he was appointed originally, and then kept in office by just such another.

  27. ChrisS
    January 31, 2023

    One of the most anticipated political books of this decade will be a forensic analysis of the coup that brought down the Truss government in 45 days. Maybe there will be more than one ?

    Like most posting here, I follow events in politics closely, and yet there is much detail that has never been made public because it happened behind closed doors within the Bank of England, the Treasury and other pillars of the establishment.
    We all have our suspicions, but I do not think Liz Truss made anything like the number of mistakes that she has been accused of. The role of Andrew Bailey was central to events and I believe that he was instrumental in creating the pension crisis that turned out to be far less serious than he made out at the time. So much so that the Bank made £4bn profit over bond acquisition and subsequent sales !

    One thing is certain, if she had been allowed to follow through with her growth strategy, any recession would have been far shorter and shallower than it will be under Hunt and Sunak. That would have made it much more likely that the economy could recover in time for the Conservatives to win the next election.

    1. David Cooper
      January 31, 2023

      One particular detail, as to which we may never be enlightened, is who or what leaned on Prime Minister Truss, and how, so that she found herself replacing her hapless Chancellor Kwarteng not with someone like our esteemed host or JRM, but with someone who had chosen exile on the backbenches rather than office under Boris Johnson. Indeed, an individual who was filthy rich (albeit not as much as the current PM), an unrepentant Remainer, and a globalist managerialist elitist. If she only subsequently realised that she was effectively going to be PM in name only, it would be to her credit that she threw in the towel.

    2. gregory martin
      January 31, 2023

      “One of the most anticipated political books of this decade will be a forensic analysis of the coup that brought down the Truss government in 45 days. Maybe there will be more than one ?”
      Working title:
      ‘Britannia chained and burnt at the stake’ ?

    3. hefner
      January 31, 2023

      There’s already ‘Out of the Blue’, by Cole & Heale, 2023. Chapters 13 to 17 are about the July to October 2022 period.

  28. agricola
    January 31, 2023

    You ask many valid questions SJR. I will put my conspiracy theory hat on to give you possible answers.
    Not cutting tax rates, VAT, fuel duty, and all the other penal taxes from birth till after death is a brilliant way to exercise control of the population and it is the Treasury, BoE, and other establishment forces who effect such control. Their forecasts, witness the IMF yesterday, are contrived to further their agenda.
    Subsidy rather than tax cuts is a way of creating a dependency culture or put another way, control.
    The scribes, who have no concept of it, see business as a cash cow. The lower orders of scribes with their ULEZ schemes, no traffic zones, and other pseudo road safety schemes see the motorist as another cash cow. Reality is that Smart Motorways kill people. They challenge our freedom of mobility.
    Ministers who boldly say No, a la Liz Truss, get politically murdered by the combined weight of the establishment and their not too clever acolites in the Commons.
    I surmise that until we have a revolution along the lines of your way of thinking, we are doomed Mr Mainwaring. The establishment is on a roll, what it wants it will get, an impoverished, controlled, globalist UK, ripe for return to the EU.
    What is at stake SJR is not just individuals money, but our freedom and the survival of democracy.

    1. agricola
      January 31, 2023

      This is why SJR, as a life long Conservative, I find my only option in future elections is to vote Reform, they and a few of your colleagues in the Commons being the only Conservatives left.

  29. Bloke
    January 31, 2023

    The benefit bill had to be higher partly because the crazy tax increases reduced what people receiving benefit payments could buy with them! The present Chancellor behaves in daft ways. The PM is deficient on growth too, otherwise he wouldn’t look and act like Norman Wisdom thinking he’s Mr Grimsdale in charge.

  30. Mike Wilson
    January 31, 2023

    with interest rates too high

    They are NOT too high. Your weird obsession with growth (more consumer spending, more consumption, more environmental damage) means you favour very low interest rates and everyone endlessly borrowing to give you your precious growth. We need a period of stability in interest rates with base rate at about 4%. This makes saving worthwhile. Oh no, wait a minute, you don’t want people to save, you want them to spend all the time and be dependent on the state for everything.

    Well, you don’t want to be dependent on the state if you get ill. Or want a decent education for your children. Or want a road network not full of potholes – the recent bit of frost has caused massive damage in West Dorset. Or want someone to catch a burglar. Or prevent illegal migration. What are you good at? Making sure MOs have great pensions? Yep, you’re very good at that.

  31. Ian B
    January 31, 2023

    From todays Telegraph
    “The UK is on course to be the only major economy to shrink this year owing to Jeremy Hunt’s tax raid and higher borrowing costs, according to the International Monetary Fund.”

    Or a remainer seeking revenge, he is certainly NOT working for the UK. There is no other reason to be so deliberatly destructive of the UK economy.

  32. RDM
    January 31, 2023

    Spot on!

    Lets hope they listen.

    In my mind; the markets are looking for a Balance; balance between Cuts in spending, and Cuts in targeted Taxes!

    The Treasury Orthodoxy is based in ‘Hoping they can squeeze out any push for higher prices; by companies, employees, and customers’, when they should be using incentives like lower Taxes and growth, especially in the longer term.

    It’s as if they want authoritarian control over the British People, what are they worried about?



  33. Michael Saxton
    January 31, 2023

    Well Sir John, the groupthink doomsayers at the Treasury appear determined to destroy our economy and the government along with it! Is this their retribution for Brexit? It does appear to be the case. But groupthink is dominant in Parliament, just look at the Net Zero obsession!

  34. Fedupsoutherner
    January 31, 2023

    Perhaps Truss was the better option after all.

  35. Keith Jones
    January 31, 2023

    The WEF doesn’t like Nationalism, it has said so. It wants the UK back in the European Union, the Blob agrees and is at best working to rule and/or otherwise totally against the best interests of the UK.
    Sir John you provide common sense proposals to overcome the UK’s woes and usually say “someone needs to do something” but those that must do the doing are working against you.
    The 200 years of the Civil Service in Whitehall has managed the decline of the UK as was once said about the EU “slice by slice, like pastrami”. Now the question is can the Blob be turned around or if necessary defeated?
    Many questions arise, is the Blob all about personal greed and personal advancement or is it the loss of patriotism? Why is the Blob so anti British? Is it simply “I’am alright Jack”?
    The Reform Party has a policy of sorting out the Civil Service like Dominic Cummings but look what happened to him. Is the Blob now so rooted that it can’t be shifted or turned and so powerful?
    The electorate knows what’s going on and will vote for a party that promises in it’s manifesto to start chipping at things “slice by slice”, they could start with procurement rules that favour imports rather than home made.
    The electorate has been forced to believe it doesn’t matter who you vote for because nothing will change and things will go on as before and so ask the question “do we really have a democracy” when the UK is run by those not elected without any complaint by our elected officials.

    1. agricola
      January 31, 2023

      The Blob or as I describe them as the scribes resent their loss of power occasioned by our departure from the EU. They, along with fellow scribes in the EU, wrote our law, law that was never scrutinised by Parliament. This was the path to globalism and the death of democracy. It is patently obvious that the scribes must be controlled and firmly returned to their boxes. The power of dismissal must be held by the democratically elected minister. If not democracy is in danger, remember what they engineered for Liz Truss. If they are bold enough to do that to a PM then god help the electorate.

  36. Bryan Harris
    January 31, 2023

    They opted for subsidies to help us with energy costs instead of taking VAT off domestic energy…

    There is only one reason they would do this – more people come directly under the government’s benefit system. It’s another way to gain control of those that are reliant on HMG handouts.

    The aim seems to be to have as many people as possible totally dependent on money from government.

    So what happens in the future when current policies have sent our economy down the drain – no more loans are available and HMG is unable to pay out the subsidies?

    HMG have introduced disastrous economic policies to match failed energy policies, and we can easily extrapolate where they both will lead — NOW, someone tell me this is not deliberate!

  37. dixie
    January 31, 2023

    Our chancellors are at pains to point out we are the 5th, now 6th(?), largest economy on the planet, but I look around and have to wonder – where is all the money?
    Our local and national taxes rise inexorably yet we get very little in return – Wokingham has nice shiny new residential development, shopping precinct and sports centre yet our local leisure centre has had a crap floor and lighting for years and don’t get me started on the potholes and the park walkways which are a danger to life and limb.
    So, where exactly is the money?
    Is it perhaps the case that it has been siphoned off by our friends in the city to support foreign direct investors, offshore lifestyles, the bloated public sector and the like?
    So why should we work harder for growth, particularly in highly risky self employment/SMEs that only benefits the greedy, grasping moochers ..

  38. Atlas
    January 31, 2023

    Too true Sir J. I just despair now.

  39. Denis Cooper
    January 31, 2023

    All these problems are down to Brexit, you know. The BBC has proved that this morning with the help of the OBR and the British Chambers of Commerce and the London School of Economics and the UK In a Changing Europe and the IMF and the Centre for European Reform:


    “All of the above adds up to an economy that has fared less well amidst the recent upheaval than its peers. The UK is the only major rich economy that remains smaller – poorer – than prior to the pandemic and Brexit may be a factor.”

    And there is their bar chart, with the UK economy having shrunk by 0.3% between Q4 2019 and Q3 2022, while the USA has seen growth of 4.3%, and I won’t argue about that 0.3% because it is on the ONS chart as well:


    £561 billion -> £559 billion; and I can also believe that Brexit has been part of that trivial shrinkage, which is not exactly the most prominent feature on the chart of GDP when the pandemic temporarily knocked off 23%.

    Oh, and the problems with rare animal breeding programmes are also down to Brexit, not EU spite.

    It would be good to see the government rebutting some of this pro-EU propaganda, but if that ever happened it would be the first time since we voted to leave the EU, six years and seven months ago now.

  40. Delphine Gray-Fisk
    January 31, 2023

    Totally agree.

    If only those in Westminster would do so – particularly the spineless cabinet

    1. Denis Cooper
      January 31, 2023

      Hello, Delphine! Long time no see!

  41. Jamie
    January 31, 2023

    We read the Bank is wrong and the Treasury hasn’t got it right either – in fact they are all out of step except our own JR and of course the Telegraph. So here’s the message then – for real growth we need trade not just money going round and round in our own economy – first of all we need better trade relations with our nearest neighbours – full stop

    1. Denis Cooper
      January 31, 2023

      So tell me how much that would actually be worth to our economy.

  42. Judith Hoffman
    January 31, 2023

    Sir John,
    How do so many stupid people with no common sense get into Parliment? Why do they never listen to people such as you? More and more I would like to shake them and scream at them for ignoring the obvious. Please keep up your good work!
    There should be some sort of test for future MP’s.

  43. oldwulf
    January 31, 2023


    Is it time to privatise the source of economic advice to the Government …. and to dispense with OBR, HM Treasury and B of E economists ?

    1. Mickey Taking
      January 31, 2023

      Yes it is, and long overdue.

    2. hefner
      January 31, 2023

      There are already a lot of economic forecasts by banks (e.g., business.hsbc.uk 09/01/2023) and other independent actors.
      They are collated in assets.publishing.service.gov.uk No.426, January 2023, ‘Forecasts for the UK economy: A comparison of independent forecasts’, 21 pp.

      Funnily enough, Robert Kimbell’s one is not part of it …

  44. Iago
    January 31, 2023

    We seem to have a government determined to wreck the country and which has already removed its borders, thus making it no country. Save yourselves who can, says the translation at the back of my old dictionary.

  45. IanT
    January 31, 2023

    Last year the IMF (very unusually) were openly critical of Trusses’ tax plans (e.g. in the main to not actually increase them) and now we hear that they think high taxes and interest rates will doom the UK to the lowest (negative) GDP growth rates globally.
    I’ve just watched their spokesman enumerating their reasons for this outlook. One of them was the UKs “dependance on gas” (and the cost thereof). I would have thought if anyone was dependant on gas (and particulalrly cheap Russian gas) it would have been Germany? It was also interesting to see those areas where growth is predicted to be the greatest – India and China topped the charts. I wonder how that GDP growth maps to their Net Zero acheivements? It seems the higher your Net Zero goal, the worse your GDP outlook.
    Funny that….

    1. IanT
      January 31, 2023

      I happened upon a YouTube earlier where a Cambridge academic gives a presentation on the practicalities of Net Zero in terms of infrastructure, people/skills, materials and the costs involved. It’s nearly an hour long but very well worth the watch. It comes down to a matter of physics (energy requirments) and basic math (costs) and whilst some of the detail is (of neccessity) estimated, I think the broad facts are hard to argue with.

      You can find it by searching “Michael Kelly: An engineer shows us what Net Zero would really mean”

      My favourite quote ” Net Zero (by 2050) will cost the same as building one HS2 every year, for the next thirty years”

  46. Bert Young
    January 31, 2023

    A very competent article – one I fully support . The present Sunak/Hunt approach leaves no sense of hope to all sections of the community and a radical change is necessary .

  47. Donna
    January 31, 2023

    Did anyone see Sunak’s “speech” justifying his belated action in sacking Zahawi (clip on Mike Graham Show, Talk TV c.1015 this morning)?

    He looked like a Thunderbirds marionette, bouncing around, hands jerking from one side to another, head nodding. Apparently he took decisive action.

    How on earth did the Conservative Party go from Mrs Thatcher to this?

  48. am
    January 31, 2023

    Not commented for a while but I see John Redwood still talks sense while Britain collapses around us.

  49. Lindsay McDougall
    January 31, 2023

    “Go for Growth” but not a single word on shrinking the State and public expenditure reductions, which are central to the process. The Treasury is scared out of its wits by the level of Government borrowing, total State debt and the interest on that debt – and rightly so. But it lacks both the knowledge and the will to suggest any public expenditure reductions; these will have to be promoted by politicians such as yourself (and the Reform Party). We have to ask ourselves who will drive growth. It will in the main be SMEs, provided that they can raise capital for investment in export opportunities and import substitutions. If the State is grabbing all of the resources and capital, SMEs cannot do so.

    The UK’s poor productivity level is mainly down to the public sector [and perhaps large corporations?]. Often, this is because many State institutions are top heavy, with too much management, too many regulators, too many ‘Woke’ officers and too many schemes offering subsidies. (There is a Government sponsored ad on TV BOASTING that there are 40 Government schemes to help families). Take for example our ‘beloved’ NHS. The statistics quoted by Sir John indicate that the NHS has one Senior Manager to every two Managers. Many medium enterprises operating from a single site typically have one ‘gaffer’ for every five managers.

    Turning to overall NHS Work Statistics for September 2022, total Health and Community Health Service staff were 1,239.868 FTEs (full time equivalents). Professionally qualified clinical staff were 652,475 FTEs. i.e 52.6% of the total. This group comprise doctors, qualified nurses and health visitors, midwives, qualified scientific, therapeutic and technical staff, and qualified ambulance staff. Non-medical staff comprised non-medical professionally qualified staff, support to clinical staff and NHS infrastructure support staff. Perhaps 52.6% should read ONLY 52.6%.

    Included in the non-clinical staff are over 10,000 staff to ensure diversity (that wouldn’t by any chance be aimed at ensuring that the NHS employs at least SOME English people? No, thought not), and people to translate English documents into 28 other languages (is it really the NHS’s job to promote Communalism?).

    Conclusion: the NHS is grossly over managed and has far too many non-clinical staff on its payroll. Thin that lot down and we could easily afford to pay the nurses 10% more, which I am sure they would accept.

    Reply Yes we do need public spending reductions. I am pushing hard for tax cuts not energy subsidies to get the subsidy bill down. For a productivity deal on the railways for a cut in state subsidies.For a staff freeze on civil service admin staff. For a stop to Bank of E bond sales at losses taxpayers have to repay. Etc

  50. Nick Lacey
    January 31, 2023

    Why oh why didn’t Liz listen when I pleaded she make you Chancellor or, at least, in charge of the Treasury?
    What a different place we would be in today!

  51. Elli Ron
    January 31, 2023

    Most of us here agree with you, but the Sunak – Hunt axis cling on to their discredited dogma, which makes us, including you, just passive passengers on our merry way to the coming train wreck.

  52. Bill Brown
    January 31, 2023

    Sir JR

    Is it not interesting that according to the IMF , OBR and other forecasting units, saying we will be the only major industrial economy with negative growth in 2023.
    This will be higher taxes, lack of growth and according to the IMF Brexit to blame for the lack of growth.

  53. rose
    January 31, 2023

    What is the point of an ethics adviser who says he can’t make a judgement on the tax detail because it is too complicated for him, when that is what is supposed to be being judged? Otherwise it means taking the Revenue’s word for it. What sort of process is that?

  54. Denis Cooper
    February 1, 2023

    Today as part of its long running campaign to get us back under the economic thumb of the EU the Times has:

    “Latest figures show exports of goods and services, in volume terms, running at 2% below their last 2019 levels.”

    I haven’t checked that but the effect of that on overall GDP would be at the level of roughly 0.1%.

    Jamie above has not yet told me the value to our economy of better trade relations with our nearest neighbours.

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