My Intervention on employment in the Urgent Question on the UK Economy

John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con):

It is good news that unemployment has stayed low by European standards, and the economy is still generating plenty of job vacancies. Will the Government take more steps to help more people into those jobs, so that we can get faster growth, bring down the benefit bill and boost their incomes?

Bim Afolami:

The whole House knows that my right hon. Friend is somewhat of an expert on matters relating to the economy. To answer his point specifically, the national insurance tax cut was scored at the last fiscal event—the autumn statement—as significantly increasing the number of people in work. Although I will not speculate on fiscal events, that point has been very much noted by me and the whole Treasury.


  1. agricola
    February 21, 2024

    On the basis of the answer given the assumption is that the Treasury now accept that less tax equals more jobs and more people willing to work. It would be encouraging to think that this theory was now to be pushed even further, if somewhat belatedly. All we need now is an acceptance that government spending should drasticaly reduce and concentrate on core needs like defence.

    1. Lifelogic
      February 21, 2024

      The problem is that so many UK jobs simply do not pay enough, after the very high tax rates and rents, to make people better off working. A relative of mine is a first year junior doctor in London on circa £35k gross – after tax, NI, commuting costs, rent on a small room, student loan interest, council tax etc. it works out that he would have more disposable income if unemployed. Indeed he has negative disposable income when employed, making him poor at the end of the year (working 40+ hours a week in a stressful job) than at the beginning. Taxes too high and a shortage of affordable properties.

      Prince William is a damn fool for getting politically involved in Gaza/Israel. Even more stupid than his net zero/private jet hypocrisy. Follow your sensible Granny and keep out of politics – not your dim, deluded King of hypocrisy Dad. Why (I assume) is Lord Cameron of Greensill Libya and the F/O approving of this lunacy? Tom Bower surely spot on a Farage GBNews last night.

      1. Lifelogic
        February 21, 2024

        Simply too much government, too much government waste, too much taxation and over complex taxation too, too much red tape and OTT employment laws and rip off intermittent energy due to the insane Net Zero agenda, plus too many people with insufficient flats houses in the areas where the jobs are. Too much low skilled immigration costing other tax payers far more than these people every pay back in on average.

        1. Peter Wood
          February 21, 2024

          Looks like the end of the road for the old fashioned town centre department store. Opportunity for developers to turn the upper floors into flats.

        2. MFD
          February 21, 2024

          Yes Lifelogic, all you say and more, but this is among the daily murders by the low life that are arriving in this country. This also costs the tax payer more, with police , lawyers courts and then we feed them for years.
          Its time for the Government start to turf them out,

        3. Hope
          February 21, 2024

          If you have a mass immigration policy of 3.5 million welfare claimants over two years, with only 2,700 golden visas, it is difficult to understand why Alfolami is so dull. £24 billion cost to taxpayer since 2010 according to ONS! That is just financial cost before adding waiting lists to NHS,schools, crime like forced marriage, FGM, acid attacks etc.

          All the while Uni party/Tory party lied to say they were net benefit to our country!! Why did they repeatedly lie? We know Blaire wanted to give us a kicking through mass immigration to get rid of nation state etc, but why the Tory part of the Uni party?

        4. a-tracy
          February 21, 2024

          You’re going to be really angry when Labour get in Rayner is promising to give working people under Labour new rights at work from day one. You should look it up ‘A New Deal for Working People’. They actually believe Tory policy enables fire and rehire perhaps your GP relative will be happy.

      2. Jim+Whitehead
        February 21, 2024

        LL, Well said, and that last paragraph on William’s unforced error is particularly apposite. I have been essentially royalist up to now but the views of William and his father, if they continue to promote their odd political opinions, will have me swinging to the opposite pole regarding the institution.

        1. formula57
          February 21, 2024

          Re William, surely seeking a cease fire on humanitarian grounds is not controversial in itself (there was one de facto until 7th., October after all). The timing of its introduction, either before the IDF has wiped out Hamas or after, is where the contoversy arises and William has not spoken to that.

    2. Dave Andrews
      February 21, 2024

      Quite agree. Let the government just stop doing what it does badly and doesn’t need to do.
      When it comes to taxing jobs, abolish employer’s national insurance – a tax to stifle UK business in favour of foreign companies whose imports aren’t affected.

      1. Mickey Taking
        February 21, 2024

        During this last year I have come across working people in several walks of life who have asked and been allowed to reduce hours (and pay of course) – usually changing to a 4 day week. Why? Well a key comment is often ‘after tax saving I’d rather have some time to enjoy what can be a miserable working life!’
        So much for productivity gains.

      2. a-tracy
        February 21, 2024

        We used to think we were paying the employer’s NI towards our employees’ state pension and healthcare /SSP, but now we are told it’s just general taxation; what for? Employing people and not using contractors? I never minded paying it when I thought it was for their guaranteed pension (before it was called a benefit with talks of means testing and taxing it with NI tax).

        It’s not towards sickness pay insurance because that payment is made by the employer + sick holiday pay; it is not towards the employee’s individual pension because there is another 3% on top of the 13.8% over the lel; or 8% employers NI paid on every pound for a £30,000 pa worker.

        For a worker on £30k the employer pays £2405.34 + 3% from £6240 = £712.80.

        £30k + £3118.14 pa NI + workplace pension
        £50k + £6478.14

      3. agricola
        February 21, 2024

        Dave, if the government did stop doing what it does badly, what is left. Very little indeed.

    3. Lifelogic
      February 21, 2024

      Defence, Law and Order (with sensible deterrents for criminals), sensible border controls, a decent legal system (that does not lock up honest postmasters on zero evidence, costs ways to much, arbitrary and takes for ever), decent roads … all of these in the UK are totally abysmal and still deteriorating by the day. 25% of GDP is more than enough in taxation for all that is needed from the state.

      1. Hope
        February 21, 2024

        Trecherous May deliberately destroyed policing, we saw Cameron had perfectly good brand new Nymrods planes cut up by machines behind screens athen a few years later bought new ones from US! We were promised by Hunt no more to world health tourism then he quietly dropped it and Failed to prepare the nation for covid even after spending a fortune through salaries, exercises for such preparation. Who in their right mind would allow Hunt near the finances of country!!

        Alfolami says everyone knows JRs expertise, so why has he not been made treasury secretary or chancellor over the last 14 years! Hunt proven track record of failure, but pro EU and China over national interest, JR renowned expert sidelined?

        Let us not forget the other past failures like Javid. Failed as community secretary, as Home Secretary was proud to announce at Tory conference he closed detention centres for illegal migrants! Where did he think they would live and where did he think they would go if they failed their application bearing in mind over 200,000 lost to HO system under May’s abysmal term as HS!! His failure rewarded further by making him chancellor!! Good to see Tory quota system in action- Dowden heralded the Tory quota system.

    4. Ian wragg
      February 21, 2024

      Another year has passed and my stepson is still unemployed. Perfectly healthy but bone idle, he has no intention of working. He attends the joke shop as he calls it every 2 weeks and makes a pretenc of seeking a job.
      No sanctions, just see you in a fortnight.
      I’m paying for this with my taxes.

    5. Hope
      February 21, 2024

      This fool is an ardent remainer, look at his letter to his constituents over Brexit ie we should not be allowed to crash out of EU! Dramatic utter rubbish. Johnson should have culled MPs like him who put EU interests above our country. It should be no surprise he goes along with pro EU left wing views and the dopey BOE who acts against our national interests. A clone of Hunt- useless. Utterly useless. And a total drain on the public purse. If we only had a proper right to recall zombies like him would be toast.

      Cooper, Starmer, Miliband, Lammy and Benn in exactly the same EU mould.

    6. Peter
      February 21, 2024

      Meanwhile on ‘Conservative Home’ today :-

      John Redwood ‘Extending ownership and backing the self-employed’.

      A lot of this is criticism of various public bodies, with further privatisation suggested as the solution.

      How about ensuring the bodies are run well in the first place and removing heads who fail to deliver?
      The word ‘public’ gives a clue that ultimately government is in charge. ‘The buck stops here’. Simply looking on from the sidelines is not an option.

      ‘ The railways are largely now nationalised’ Railways again, and nationalisation is the root of the problem – not the failed privatisation that split everything into parts and gave ownership to disinterested foreign investors.

      Same with the Post Office, government has been in charge for centuries. Any failure is ultimately a failure of government.

      Same with HS2, government was in charge. The Ed Davey excuse, ‘I was lied to’ does not wash.

  2. DOM
    February 21, 2024

    People don’t need ‘help into those jobs’. They aren’t children that need help to go to the toilet but fully functioning, intelligent adults who are quite capable of finding vacancies and then applying for a suitable vacancy.

    I honestly believe that the political class is so utterly bereft of common sense. Stop the patronising, nauseating and destructive paternalism. The political class and the state they serve are not our parents

    geez, The Oxbridge mindset is corrosive

    Reply The issues include conditionality of benefits

    1. Lifelogic
      February 21, 2024

      Certainly the Oxbridge types who end up as politicians – usually PPE or Lawyer types with almost zero science beyond 16 – rarely sensible engineers, mathematicians or physicists. For people to work more have more finance incentives to work. It has to pay sufficient to justify you costs of working and you loss of free time. The benefit system, taxes especially combined with student debt interest and capital, plus v. high housing costs means that, often, it does not pay at all – even at salaries well above the median.

    2. Narrow Shoulders
      February 21, 2024

      It does include conditionality of benefits but that is not what the answer implied.

    3. Lifelogic
      February 21, 2024

      In the news in relation to the Post Office Scandal is one Sarah Munby (whose rather contradictory & vague read between the lines letter in in the press) – The Permanent Secretary – Department for Science, Innovation and Technology who seems to have read Philosophy and Economics at Oxford.

      I can understand why Ministers are chosen with little grasp of the subject their department deals with as they have so few MPs with any suitable skills to choose from. But surely with civil servant they could recruit people with relevant skills. What does Ms Munby know about Science, Innovation or Technology? Did she even study any science beyond 16? Is it any womder we have such appalling Science, Energy, Net Zero, Defence, Manufacturing, Industrial, Housing… and other such policies?

      1. Donna
        February 21, 2024

        Civil Servants are recruited/chosen/promoted according to a range of so-called transferable skills, not specialist knowledge. Combined with the recent cohorts of PPE/no-nothing MPs/Ministers (Sir John is an exception having entered the House decades ago) it’s why nothing works in the UK.

    4. Everhopeful
      February 21, 2024

      One needs to be super, super smart to navigate those conditions.
      And there are charitable bodies with “experts” who are willing to help.
      If one is lucky it is possible to end up with full housing benefit, a PIP and a constant flow of “windfalls” ( cold weather, travel etc etc etc ). Plenty of half price or free entry to all sorts of prestigious events ( for a “carer” too) AND since the recipient is an expert in the field of what ails them there are plenty of remunerative research or advisory or board positions to be had ( part-time you understand so as not to threaten benefit).
      A sub culture created by the state to destroy the family and set friend against friend.

      Really politicians should be aware.
      Poverty has been redefined and it is a nice little earner.

      1. Peter Wood
        February 21, 2024

        As was once, often said, ‘we get the level of un/underemployment that we’re prepared to pay for’.
        We import from countries that have a different system: ” if you don’t want to work, you don’t eat”.

      2. mancunius
        February 21, 2024

        Bang on the nail, E-h!

    5. Mitchel
      February 21, 2024

      Tucker Carlson,on camera,claiming Boris Johnson wants $1m to be interviewed to put his version of events following the Putin interview is revealing but not surprising

      What a disgusting bunch of sleazy cretins the Tory party has inflicted on this country.

      1. Mickey Taking
        February 22, 2024

        Do try to understand, Johnson is going to have to pay, unless another donor comes forward, to pay for his extensive alterations /additions to his S.Oxfordshire mansion.

    6. a-tracy
      February 21, 2024

      John, you want to pay high rates of universal credit but also pay for the school meals and allowances for school uniform grants up to £200, transport, free trips, computer equipment, or learning a musical instrument, that working couples just don’t get. I know two couples now that split up because they were better off financially and could provide more for their children apart especially when one of the Dads got into debt trying to do it.

      1. Mickey Taking
        February 22, 2024

        Well said Tracy, I know of people who struggle to pay for all these ‘schooling things’ that the so-called poor get free on the State. Even vets’ bills!

        1. a-tracy
          February 22, 2024

          When a young mum I know realised how much debt her boyfriend was in and her youngest was at school, she figured out she’d be better on her own and kicked him out, she took a degree, free child-care, extra help as a single parent no earnings, universal credit paying all her bills she’s now a teacher.

          The ex – living with parent, brassic, up to his neck in debt he used to buy her a car and stuff for his kids, a big hit to his income for csa, depressed.

          1. a-tracy
            February 22, 2024

            Forgot to mention she got grants and bursaries as an adult single parent, very smart. Her mother was a single parent, knew all the tricks to secure a scholarship too, doesn’t work full time now either, better off just part-time.

  3. Roy Grainger
    February 21, 2024

    We know by “help people into jobs” you mean “cut their benefits if they don’t actively look for jobs” but the minister daren’t say anything at all on that, and has no intention of doing it anyway, so they pretend it’s about tax cuts. How do tax cuts help people into jobs ?

    Reply Actively looking for a job is good. Tax cuts make it more worthwhile working.

    1. Hope
      February 21, 2024

      Reply to reply:
      Not if welfare is on parity to working and not if you are a foreigner who comes from a country where welfare here is much than a wage where they come from. 1.3 immigrants on welfare, why have they not been sent back home? Other countries like Australia and US would not tolerate it. Immigrants have to be self sufficient including providing their own health care! My son had to be self sufficient in US and it had to be proved why he should be employed compared to US citizen. Why is your party deliberately importing mass welfare claimants?

      Independent Border chief sacked for being too independent! Cleverly sat on 12/13 of his reports not publishing or acting on any of them- ie defeating his role and purpose. Cleverly’s answer sack him and cover up the Home Office failings!! Now where did I hear someone say he would serve with integrity and accountability? Was it the same person who yesterday said he had the farmers back after shafting them and UK consumers for home produce!!

      1. MFD
        February 21, 2024

        Sacked for doing the job he was employed for, the man surely has a claim for wrongful dismissal! I can see why he would not want to work for such a person but Cleverly needs to be sanctioned for HIS behaviour. Not fit to be a Minister. In fact, not fit to be an MP!

    2. a-tracy
      February 21, 2024

      John, it’s not worth earning more than £16190 if you have children. You lose too many housing benefits and universal credits; what’s the allowance now per annum for a child registered with ADHD for the parent, around £1300 pa minimum? Is the pupil premium still £1000 per child? You are not going to persuade people back to work covid got more people used to universal credit who didn’t realise before how much they could get.

      1. Donna
        February 22, 2024

        A friend’s neighbours (age 30s) have two school-age children with “special educational needs;” the mother claims to suffer from anxiety. Neither parent works; they live off extremely generous welfare payments and that’s how they intend to continue. Neither is even looking for a job.

      2. Mickey Taking
        February 22, 2024

        and not a lot of working people know that!

  4. Hat man
    February 21, 2024

    Another government non-answer to a JR question. The truth is that some will feel a little better off thanks to the NI tax cut already announced, but at the same time the government is planning to drag more lower-wage earners into the tax net. The net effect will be those earning below £26,000 a year being worse off or unaffected, according to the think tank Resolution Foundation. That way, the Tories will never get the Red Wall back. Higher earners don’t seem to have appreciated the tax cut much either, if you go on the February by-election results.

    1. Mickey Taking
      February 21, 2024

      For so-called mathematics enlightened staff – it seems they continue to shoot their own feet!

    2. a-tracy
      February 21, 2024

      Income Tax
      2018/19 £11850 personal allowance
      2019/20 £12500 £650 more 5.4% (inflation rate 2019 1.74% for 2020 it was 0.99%)
      2020/21 £12570 £70 more 0.56%
      2021/22 Frozen (UK inflation rate for 2021 2.52%,)
      2022/23 Frozen (U.K. inflation rate for 2022 was 7.92%, a 5.4% increase from 2021). source macrotrends)
      2023 inflation est around 4%.

      NI threshold
      £9880 to £12570 = £2690 27.2% from 6 July 2022 rate dropped from 12% to 10%.

      If people don’t start to appreciate it, Labour will think no one will notice when they raise the rates right back up again.

      1. Mickey Taking
        February 22, 2024

        so what’s your point? I don’t think the Inflation rate compares well to the Personal allowance threshold.
        So how do I pay 11.5% Water increase, 5% Council tax increase, Car insurance, Gas/electricity etc!
        Cost of living has far exceeded any income increases / tax reductions (which have gone up not down).

        1. a-tracy
          February 22, 2024

          Do you have a water meter? My water bill decreased significantly with one.
          Pay has been going up each year. The Minimum wage went up 10% last year and 10% again this year, this has pushed up pay differentials although some people have had hours cut as a consequence.

          Car insurance, I don’t understand why this year it has suddenly sky rocketed? My Dad had a horrendous quote: he is thinking about just going third-party. Why aren’t MPs asking questions about insurance company profits and the big hike.

          I wondered how “The net effect will be those earning below £26,000 a year being worse off or unaffected, according to the think tank Resolution Foundation”. When there was a big reduction in not only the tax free ni allowance, but also a reversal in the social levy that was put on 1.5% and now reduction from 12p to 10p, if people don’t acknowledge when taxes have decreased then why will any government bother?

  5. Donna
    February 21, 2024

    The small reduction in NI contributions only kicked in in January. I’d be amazed if it really has had a discernible impact on the number of previously unemployed people now in work.

    I note that Mr Afolami didn’t refer to “previously unemployed now in work” So I suspect his statement just means that the Home Office has imported tens of thousands of people in January …. towards Sunak’s target of 900,000 immigrants this year ….. who will be paying lower NI and immediate access to “free” public services for themselves and their extended families.

    1. Hope
      February 21, 2024

      This week the ONS has helpfully provided the figures to show the Tory party mass immigration welfare scam since 2010 costing the UK taxpayer £24 billion and rising!

      In other countries the welfare claimants foreigners would be asked to leave or sent home! Why not here? Rycroft could not answer Loughton MP why illegal immigrants are not being deported after legislation introduced last August meant they had no asylum status and could not claim asylum per Sunak’s speech in 07th March 2023! He failed to answer, Cleverly pretended he was busy looking at his file. But no answer. Cleverly sacked his Border chief yesterday for being independent and failing to act on the Border chief’s 12/13 reports to Home Office!! The message is clear, do not embarrass the Home Office incompetence by making it public.

    2. a-tracy
      February 21, 2024

      Sorry, but I just don’t agree, Donna. People got a big reduction of NI from July 2022, when the NI-free threshold was increased by 27%.

      1. hefner
        February 22, 2024

        Earnings….Change in NI after 07/2022
        Even for people who saw a decrease in NI this was more than compensated by the effect of inflation and frozen personal allowance.

        1. A-tracy
          February 23, 2024

          Hefner, I disagree, can you explain your calculation please?

          The old NI personal allowance wasn’t frozen it was increased from £9880 to £12,570 on 5.7.22
          A health & social care levy had been put onto the 12p rate to make it 13.25% from April 2022

          So in April 2022/£20k = 20000-9880 x 13.25% E’ee NI = 10120 x 13.25% = £1340.90pa E’ee NI

          In Jul 2022/£20k = 20000-12570 x 13.25% E’ee NI = 7430 x 13.25% = £984.48pa [saving £356.43 pa]

          Then in April 2023 the 13.25% was reduced to 12%
          £20,000 – 12570 = 7430 x 12% = £891.60 [saving a further £92.88pa]

          Next in Jan 2024 the 12% was reduced to 10%
          £20,000 – 12570 = 7430 x 10% = £743.00 [saving a further £148.60pa]

          The National Living/Minimum Wage has also been increased higher than inflation.
          In April 2022 the NLW over the age of 23 was £9.50 up 6.6% from the 2021/22 rate. (21 to 22 9.18)
          In April 2023 the NLW over the age of 23 was £10.42 up 9.7% (age 21-22 it went up to £10.18 up 10.9%)
          In April 2024 the NLW over the age of 21 is £11.44 up 9.8% (not the change in age)

          So from April 2023 the floor minimum wage for 37 hours per week = £20,048 who is now £597.60 pa better off than they were in April 2022

          Now for the £80,000 worker, people like our doctors, railway drivers, etc

          In April 2022 they were paying: 80000-9880=70120-50000=£20120×2%=£402.40|50000×13.25%=£6625.00
          Total NI £7027.40 (for the same social benefits the person on £20k gets) so they paid 7027.40 -v- 1340.90 = £5686.50pa more NI for the same healthcover and pension.

          This month February 2024 the £80k workers are paying
          80000-12570 =67430-50000= £17430×2%=£348.60|50000×10%=£5000.00 Total NI £5348.60 a saving of £1678.80pa

          Feb 2024 80k £5348.60 -v- 20k £743.00 = £4605.60 more national insurance pa.

  6. Lifelogic
    February 21, 2024

    Stanford study – “The brains of men and women operate differently, scientists have shown for the first time in a breakthrough that shows sex does matter in how people think and behave”.

    The first time? Hardly is this not blindingly obvious to anyone who just uses their eyes and brains? They, on average, read different books & magazines, study very different subjects at A levels and University, choose different jobs and hobhies, buy different thinks, perform differently at games and sports (even non strength sports ones) like chess, darts, snooker, scrabble, bridge, computer games… Evolution in nearly all animals inevitable means different sexes evolve in different ways both physically and mentally to survive and replicate. Hardly any serious breakthrough here surely? So saying there is a gender difference (often a huge one) in pilots, teachers, pay, engineers, physicists, nurses, carers, computer programmers…is not usually evidence of any real discrimination.

    1. Everhopeful
      February 21, 2024

      Obviously the research is correct.
      I am sick to death of being told that discrimination was ever a problem. The TV is great at weaving in accurate history into dramas etc.
      One only has to look at the state of the country to see that whatever steps have been taken to avert this supposed evil….THEY HAVEN’T HELPED.
      Our situation is dire.
      And it has been crafted and cheered on by dolts.

      1. Everhopeful
        February 21, 2024

        We do have discrimination now.
        It has been invented/created for a divide and conquer strategy.
        Pit one group against another.
        It will be turbo charged when Labour gets in.

        1. Mickey Taking
          February 22, 2024

          yes – pity the white middle-aged male (who previously was the high tax contributor).

    2. Hope
      February 21, 2024

      That is why the Tory party is engaged in social engineering for quota appointments and the like and to brain wash children through their Sex and Relationship Act that a man can be a woman or cat. Remember this legislation was brought in by the Tory party. Nothing scientific or biologically fact about it. Dowden was proud about their quota appointment system. You keep voting for the idiots even though it hurts your head.

    3. Donna
      February 21, 2024

      It does, however, demonstrate that in order to keep the trans-woman charade going, it won’t be sufficient just to cut off their dangly-bits. They’ll need a brain transplant as well ….. so they don’t continue with male-brain tendencies. Can’t have all those “women” perfectly capable of reverse parking and incapable of multi-tasking 🙂

  7. rose
    February 21, 2024

    The Speaker is to choose between three different kinds of theoretical ceasefire in another country’s defensive war which is not yet complete. Another country with the most moral army ever, up against the most evil terrorist foe and in unprecedented conditions of danger and complexity. Experts in urban military warfare say this campaign will be studied in the military academies for years to come, for its skill, its efficiency, its speed, and its humanity. Wouldn’t our civilian back seat drivers be better employed in backing the right side and attending to our own shortcomings in defence? They complain about the war “dragging on”, yet demand repeated “pauses”, thus ensuring they pour petrol on the fire by reviving the enemy and giving him hope of a rich reward for his terrorism.They have a hundred wars to back seat drive. Why did they choose this one?

    The Prince of Wales’s statement had Lord Cameron’s clumsy footprints all over it.

    1. Hope
      February 21, 2024

      War in Gaza bad, even though Israel is defending their right to live and survive as a country against Hamas whose ideology is to exterminate them, war in Ukraine good because Tory/US proxy war is to achieve regime change of Putin and EU aim to March to the Urals as Cameron put it.

    2. hefner
      February 21, 2024

      ‘The most moral army ever’? Lex talionis is an eye for an eye, not 20 eyes for an eye.
      It is a very sad thing when people are made to be unable to see the difference between anti-semitism, anti-sionism, anti-Israel, anti-Likud, and anti-Netanyahu.

      1. rose
        February 21, 2024

        An eye for an eye would in this case be a gang rape for a gang rape, a beheading for a beheading, a baby burning for a baby burning, a mutilation for a mutilation, and on and on. You can’t be serious. The IDF are the most moral army ever. Your final point is not a serious one either.

    3. R.Grange
      February 21, 2024

      They didn’t choose to back the losing side in this war, Rose, they were told to. Britain is a NATO country, and NATO is a U.S.-led organisation. Until Trump is elected (if he is allowed to be), the White House will want NATO to continue military support to the war because it’s supposed to be weakening Russia. The fact that it’s devastating Ukraine at the same time doesn’t appear to matter to the war-hawks.

      I despair of London or Brussels coming to their senses, so the only hope for an end of the war before 2025 is going to come from a change of regime in Kiev. There are signs of discontent there following the recent rout of their army in Avdeevka, and alternative leaders to Zelensky, who the Russians can negotiate with, may come to the fore. That’s the only way I can see that we’re going to stop pouring £billions of British taxpayers’ money down this war policy black hole. Starmer won’t speak out against it – his Trilateral Commission chums wouldn’t be happy with him if he did!

      1. Mitchel
        February 22, 2024

        Aleksei Arestovich seems to be positioning himself as future Russian viceroy for Ukraine.

        The Herald,4/1/24:”Zelensky’s former top adviser wants Kiev to join Russia against the west.”

    4. Jim+Whitehead
      February 21, 2024

      Rose, Excellent comment, thank you, and it’s so desperately pitiful hearing the calls for a cease fire and aid to the enemy from so many who should know better. The example set by IDF in trying to avoid unnecessary casualties is of the highest order in basic humanity unmatched in warfare at any time.

  8. Narrow Shoulders
    February 21, 2024

    The National Insurance cut did not affect the amount employers pay, only that which employees pay. Employers still pay on amounts from £8K upwards at 13.8%.

    The answer would therefore suggest that paying less tax is an incentive for people to work.

    Maybe an idea to look at all the thresholds with this fresh view. Including the Child benefit charge which hasn’t moved for 12 years and the £100K threshold at which point earners start to lose their tax free allowance which again hasn’t been moved for a considerable time. Earning £100K is not what it was.

    Also why do single higher earners get penalised while couples earning the same amount benefit from duplicate thresholds and allowances. As Universal Credit is worked out on family earnings maybe the allowances could be. Nothing wrong with a transferable allowance for everyone not just basic rate tax payers. That would level it up

    1. Lifelogic
      February 21, 2024

      Indeed as per you last paragraph this is insane. Two people earning £35k each are far, far better off than one earning £70k. You even lose child benefit and pay 40% tax plus this loss of child benefit. Totally mad but the UK tax system is mad.

      1. Hope
        February 22, 2024

        It does not pay to earn between £99,999 and about £140,000 because the govt tax thresholds etc. This govt deliberately penalises strivers, workers, entrepreneurs, self employed. It has a deliberate policy to expand the welfare state and i port millions of low paid welfare claimants, 3.5 million over the last two years with a tiny proportion of 2,700 golden visas! When enacting this policy the govt knew it did not have enough housing, health, schools, transport etc. it knew it’s own people would suffer, it only tried to hide to deceive the public by false claims of housing crisis, or silence by its Equality legislation recently strengthened by implementing ECJ judgements through EU rules and laws. Sunak,
        scrapped the bill abandoning EU laws! His lack of integrity is beyond doubt.

    2. a-tracy
      February 21, 2024

      Sorry, but I think that is incorrect; employers pay NI from the secondary threshold of £12,570; they don’t get a reduction at the higher rate and continue to pay 13.8%, including for those people over retirement age who stop paying their employees NI.

      Child benefit, I absolutely agree, is a terrible reduction; child care is very expensive. We have George Osborne to thank for that one in 2010.

        1. a-tracy
          February 22, 2024

          This paragraph explains it .1 Employer rates – they are paid from the secondary threshold which is £12,570 pa.

          “This table shows how much employers pay towards their employees’ National Insurance.

          — 2023 to 2024 From 6 November 2022 to 5 April 2023 From 6 April 2022 to 5 November 2022 2021 to 2022 2020 to 2021
          Rate above the Secondary Threshold 13.8% 13.8% 15.05% 13.8% 13.8%
          Rate below Upper Secondary Threshold 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%”

  9. Everhopeful
    February 21, 2024

    How can there be even one single unfilled job when we have so many newcomers, welcomed here for the express purpose ( so they say) of keeping wages down and filling all manner of vacancy.
    Don’t say that a lot of jobs have migrated into the black economy.
    Or indeed that many have no intention of ever working on a normal basis.

  10. Donna
    February 21, 2024

    The economy is being deliberately wrecked by the Uni-Party … and this is what is causing it:

    “Net zero will be far more expensive than the public has so far been led to believe, top economists have warned the Lords Economic Affairs Committee. Transitioning to a low-carbon economy is “necessary” but will be “much more expensive than people imagine”, Olivier Blanchard said.

    The former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund said there was a “substantial fiscal cost to achieve anything close to net-zero…… The public does not believe, or has not been made to understand, that is going to be costly for them. It is going to be costly and that message has to be sent out …..governments would have to borrow more money to fund the shift to net zero, as paying for it purely through higher taxation was not politically feasible.”

    Sunak has already maxed-out the National Credit Card, paying for the Covid Lunacy. We simply can’t afford the Net Zero Lunacy as well.

    If the Lords were acting in the National interest, they would advise the Government to inform Olivier Blanchard of the IMF that the Net Zero Lunacy is being scrapped. It’s unaffordable; unnecessary and will do nothing whatsoever to change the global climate.

    1. Peter Wood
      February 21, 2024

      Excellent contribution. This crazy Net Zero policy is, most probably, more expensive than a war. It’s got to be looked at properly by impartial people, (not the PM’s spouse, whoever that might be).
      Come on Sir J, this IS an issue to risk your reputation on; take up the challenge!

    2. Hope
      February 21, 2024

      China and India laughing their heads off at Uni party economic suicide while they control goods of nation security to our country and deliberately becomes more dependent on EU energy inter dependence, and lock UK fishing waters in as well as double assurance so UK cannot leave EU! Dishonesty in action.

    3. Jim+Whitehead
      February 21, 2024

      Donna, ++++++++

  11. Berkshire Alan
    February 21, 2024

    Interesting that they think you are an expert John.
    If they truly believe that, then why have they not offered you the job of Chancellor, instead of giving it to someone with less knowledge. ?

    1. Mickey Taking
      February 21, 2024

      It is easily recognised ‘Damning with faint praise’ since the commentator does not want to be compared to our host, a battle likely to be lost.

    2. Peter
      February 21, 2024

      ‘ Interesting that they think you are an expert John.’
      That comes under the heading of ‘flannel’. Politicians have this in abundance.

      ‘ that point has been very much noted by me and the whole Treasury’.
      So another non-answer. Politicians have these in abundance too.

  12. Old Albion
    February 21, 2024

    Unemployment would be radically lower if you stopped importing half a million immigrants every year.

  13. Mike Wilson
    February 21, 2024

    The whole House knows that my right hon. Friend is somewhat of an expert on matters relating to the economy.

    As most of the ‘whole House’ know the square root of nothing about the economy, it’s strange that the government makes no use of Mr. Redwood’s expertise, knowledge and experience.

    1. Mickey Taking
      February 22, 2024

      Ah but that would mean adding an independent brain, principles, morals, commonsense and of course experience…..
      that would never do among the herds of sheep.

  14. Ian B
    February 21, 2024

    Sir John
    “Will the Government take more steps to help more people into those jobs” why make the effort to work when you can enjoy the same financial reward funded by the taxpayer(Governments do Not have their own money) ?

  15. Bloke
    February 21, 2024

    A lukewarm reply referring only to a previous event with nothing to qualify as an answer is worthless.

  16. Everhopeful
    February 21, 2024

    By the by…
    Probate is hugely delayed.
    ( Don’t worry about the poor families trying to sort stuff out, still probably paying council tax and inheritance tax due after 6 months).
    I bet all monies are mercilessly chased despite the probate problems!
    Guess why probate is delayed.
    A NEW COMPUTER SYSTEM! ( Not to mention “working” from home)
    None of these systems are bug-free whatever they say.
    And they are ruining lives.
    = no inheritance….all goes to the state in fees and interest charges?

  17. RDM
    February 21, 2024

    What, more bullshit ?

    The dis-connect between those idiots within the Conservative Party, just seems to be growing by the day!

    Universal Credit, is an In Work Benefit, as well as, for those that are completely unemployed, often blurred by Tory MP’s that have nothing better to say (Productivity/Growth are flat lining, and have been since 2009)!

    As you know; 5.5 Million are on In Work Benefits, alone!

    It encourages State Dependency!
    It lowers wages for Big Company’s!
    Using coercion to force People into low wage roles, roles they don’t want (can’t afford) to accept!
    The only training that is offered is for Forklift driving!

    They know “Work does not Pay”, so what’s the point?

    As a so called Free Marketee, the very system undermines any Price Mechanism, as Employees are not allowed to bid up wages, the most important part of the signalling of a Price Mechanism!

    All part of the EU Customs Union!

    You can’t Reform this system because the Remainers/Rejoiners, within the One Nation side of you’re Party, will not allow any dis-alignment from the EU Customs Union!

    Because, Iain D Smith, and other idiots, think this system works! Well, they have a problem, and it’s them!

    And, now it seems like you have joined them!

    Sunak and Hunt are not electable, not from a Free Market perspective!
    Which will also make you redundant in the next GE!
    It’s time for a change!

    Carry on the crap, not listening!

    1. Hope
      February 22, 2024

      Excellent comment.

  18. Keith from Leeds
    February 21, 2024

    High tax rates are the biggest disincentive to getting a job.
    The Government should freeze benefits for at least 3 years, maybe five.
    The tax threshold should be no tax up to £20k, then from £20,001 to £75,000, tax at 20%
    From £75k plus £1.00, taxed at 40% and scrap the 45% tax rate and clawback completely.
    Then lift the N.I. Payment Threshold to £500k but lower the rate to 5% over 100k.
    Change IHT so each person has an allowance of £1 million, then reduce the tax to 10% only.
    Dump VAT, where the Government has to both collect and repay companies and bring back purchase tax on all transactions at a lower rate than VAT, which would also allow fewer Civil servants to be employed.
    Freeze the NHS budget for 3 years and make Chief Executives look at getting better value for money, and doing their jobs. If they can afford DIE staff they have too much money.

  19. mancunius
    February 21, 2024

    O/T – But how much longer is London to be turned into an economic no-go area for Londoners at the weekend due to the repeated pro-Hamas demos permitted by the police? Most MPs abandon Westminster on or even by Friday, and seemingly could not care less what happens to the place on the three days of the week they are absent. Will nobody on the government side raise this matter in the House? The Opposition seem fixated on supporting the ‘right to demonstrate’ above the rights of taxpaying residents.

  20. APL
    February 21, 2024

    News in the media that the second attempted test of the UK nuclear ‘deterrent’ has failed, with the missile landing a few hundred yards from it’s launch site. ( Thank god we’ve no land based missile silos !)

    Coupled with the inability of the two Brown aircraft carriers to take up active service, suggests that there is something terribly wrong with the technical arm of the UK military.

    Could it be related to the recruitment for the armed services being handed over to Crapita, and they recruiting on the basis of ‘wokeness’ rather than loyalty to one’s regiment?

    Secondly, recently the Royal Navy was brought into disrepute when they advertised for one of the most senior officers of the service on Linked-in. Suggesting, the Royal Navy has no sufficiently qualified or experienced officers to take up the role!

    This is after a decade of Tory (mal) administration of the armed services. What is going on ?

  21. APL
    February 21, 2024

    “It is good news that unemployment has stayed low by European standards, ”

    The German finance minister has just described the German economy as dramitically bad, it is hardly a recommendation to say we’re doing better than the continental Europeans.

    But how do you come to the conclusion that unemployment is low ?

    The taxi service across the English channel is running a regular service, so the population of the UK is increasing – is it even remotely possible that these visitors to the UK are the oft promised ‘doctors, nurses and engineers’ ?

    If so, why is everything in the UK going down the U bend ?

    1. Mickey Taking
      February 22, 2024

      and our hotels are filling up nicely with very high occupation rates. If only the guests were paying rather than us tax payers.

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