Brexit wins

We voted for Brexit because we once again wanted to live in an independent country. We want our laws and taxes settled in Parliament by MPs that we can vote out of office if they do not please. Elections empower voters to get change. A sovereign Parliament can do what it takes to promote the freedoms and prosperity of the British people.

 

In 2019 we had to vote again to get Brexit through owing to the obstructions of all too many MPs. The voters showed they knew the way to get their will done by removing many of the MPs who were thwarting Brexit. Now we are legally out of the EU the government needs to do more to exercise the Brexit freedoms we have gained.

 

There have already been some good wins from exit. We  no longer have to make large contributions to the EU. As promised NHS spending has increased, by  more than the savings from Brexit so far. We no longer have to accept the accumulating debts and liabilities of the EU. Since we left the EU has started to borrow large sums in its own name to spend mainly in the financially stressed  countries of the Union. All that debt becomes a burden on the taxpayers of all  the member states, the only source of money to pay for it.

 

Out of the EU we were able to pursue our own vaccine and covid strategy, getting to a vaccine earlier than the EU and allowing us to get out of lockdown before many continental countries. We are pressing ahead with different approaches to the regulation of science and medical advance, to assist in the development of UK excellence in those fields like gene editing. Faced with a shortage of drivers over lockdowns, we were able to flex our regulations temporarily  to help solve the problems. We cancelled VAT on female hygiene products and suspended it on green investments for five years. 

 

The wild pessimism of Remain forecasts for the economy did not come true when we voted to leave. We did not see a rise in unemployment, a fall in house prices, a rise in interest rates in 2016 on the vote nor in 2020 on departing. Our trade with non EU countries is expanding, and we have completed a series of new trade deals with non EU countries. We may well soon join the  very large Trans Pacific Trade Partnership,something we could not do as members of the EU.

 

We have been able to rebuild old valued friendships and alliances. The UK damaged important ties with Australia, New Zealand and Canada on joining the EEC. Today we are building a wider relationship on the back of our 5 Eyes Intelligence grouping and with new trade and investment links  possible.

 

Many of us are far happier now we are out. We are impatient to show more Brexit wins by changing laws and repealing taxes the EU imposed. Our happiness resides in the knowledge that our Parliament can  now make the right decisions and laws for us if it wishes, and we can change the Parliament if it refuses.

 

 

 

Written Answers from the Department of Health and Social Care – Criteria for hiring NHS medical staff

This is a non answer

 

The Department of Health and Social Care has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (123842):

Question:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what main criteria are considered when hiring NHS medical staff other than their medical qualifications. (123842)

Tabled on: 16 January 2023

Answer:
Will Quince:

Local National Health Service trusts are responsible for managing their own staffing levels, making recruitment decisions and recruiting the number of health professionals with the appropriate skills and qualifications required to meet local service need.

The answer was submitted on 23 Jan 2023 at 17:55.

Written Answers from the Department of Health and Social Care – Administration records

This Answer is not very informative at a time when there are issues over how much record keeping and form filling is needed.

 

The Department of Health and Social Care has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (123840):

Question: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will review the administration and record keeping hospital doctors need to do to ease their jobs whilst recording important information. (123840)

Tabled on: 16 January 2023

Answer:
Will Quince:

Administration and record keeping are overlapping but slightly separate matters. Some hospitals employ doctors’ assistants to help with administrative work, especially for doctors working on wards. There are varying practices across different National Health Service organisations regarding who records information in records. The Records Management Code of Practice for Health and Social Care 2021 is a guide to the practice of managing records. All health and care employees are responsible for managing records appropriately. Records must be managed in accordance with the law and each organisation should have a designated member of staff who leads on records management.

The answer was submitted on 23 Jan 2023 at 17:59.

Written Answers from the Department of Health and Social Care – Managerial appointments since 2019

This answer also reveals substantial numbers of additional managers. This big build up coincides with a large rise in waiting lists and a recent deterioration in staff relations. How do they intend to improve their management?

The Department of Health and Social Care has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (123839):

Question:
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many managers have been appointed in the NHS since the end of 2019. (123839)

Tabled on: 16 January 2023

Answer:
Will Quince:

The following table shows number and the change in full-time equivalent managers working in the National Health Service trusts and commissioning bodies from the end of 2019 to the most recent month that the data is available.

December 2019 October 2022 Change
Senior Managers 10,981 12,698 1,717 (15.6%)
Managers 22,137 23,966 1,829 (8.3%)
Total of managers 33,118 36,664 3,546 (10.7%)

Source: NHS Digital Workforce Statistics

The answer was submitted on 23 Jan 2023 at 17:58.

Written Answers from the Department of Health and Social Care – Number of additional non-medical staff hired since 2019

This question reveals a large build up in staff over the last three years. I will ask for more detail of who they are and what they are doing:

 

The Department of Health and Social Care has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (123838):

Question:
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many additional non-medical staff have been recruited to the NHS since the end of 2019. (123838)

Tabled on: 16 January 2023

Answer:
Will Quince:

The following table shows the increase in number of full-time equivalent non-medical staff, by staff group, working in National Health Service trusts and commissioning bodies from the end of 2019 to the latest month that the data is available.

Staff group December 2019 October 2022 Change
Non-medical professionally qualified clinical staff 479,815 527,280 47,465 (9.9%)
Support to clinical staff 341,992 385,084 43,092 (12.6%)
NHS infrastructure support staff 180,540 205,321 24,781 (13.7%)
Total non-medical staff 1,002,347 1,117,685 115,338 (11.5%)

The answer was submitted on 23 Jan 2023 at 17:57.

Help the self employed

The UK needs more self employed people. It needs more self employed people who can go on to employ others and to set up small businesses. More self employment¬† brings more choice, more innovation., more local service . Out of a swelling host of self employed more larger businesses will emerge when someone’s idea and dedication to service takes off.

The covid lockdowns damaged a lot of small businesses and hit many self employed hard. An older  generation of self employed took a look at early retirement and some went for it, frustrated by the bans on their activities and the limitations placed on their customers by covid rules. Meanwhile changes to the rules of IR 35 in 2017 and 2021 made it more difficult for some to set up as self employed or to maintain that status even though they were genuinely on their own and searching for a range of customers and clients.

The government as it ponders how to encourage more people back into work at a time of more jobs than applicants should regard promotion of self employment as part of the answer. It should revisit tax rules to make sure they do not penalise those who are¬† independent and not enjoying employee benefits from a single “client” whilst in practise just working for one company. Some setting up in business may well start with just one client or customer, but are open for others and trying to win others. They do not enjoy employee rights with their first customer, but are desperate to diversity their customer base.

Tackling strikes

I would welcome an update from the government on their response to the public sector strikes.

At the beginning the line was there was no point in talks between Ministers and staff where they are covered by a Pay Review body. The government had met this year’s recommendations in full and would now concentrate on next year’s evidence to the Pay Review bodies, as should the Unions. In the case of the railways the Unions should negotiate with management, not with Ministers, whether in Network  Rail or the private companies.

Then Ministers shifted to saying they would talk about pay and conditions more generally, though not for the current year, and would attend some of the rail talks.

More recently there have been briefings suggesting backdated pay might be included in next year’s settlement, with speculation for health over a one off cost of living payment this year.

Ministers should start by recognising the different background and issues in the different activities. The railway is hopelessly short of fare paying passengers to meet its current high costs. Government needs to get the extraordinary high subsidy levels of the covid period down. The challenge should be to the industry to award higher pay based on improved working practises and on selling more tickets.

Health is different. There is a bursting order book  and many thousands of unfilled vacancies. There are problems retaining existing  staff including some higher paid doctors. There are also low paid staff who are squeezed by the sharp rises in food and energy prices.

The Health service needs its promised workforce plan to secure enough staff overall, to ensure appropriate grading and pay bands, and to meet reasonable employee expectations about living with high inflation. If the PM and Treasury are against additional money for NHS budgets then the cost of medical staff pay has to be met from other savings within the large health budget.

 

Davos does not rule the world

I do not get invited to Davos. Reading about what the guests say and do, I can hear all the same things in the Commons from Labour, The Lib Dems and SNP. There is nothing secret in the Davos remedies. Those who get reported at Davos tell us what most western governments and political parties are already saying. The  business people who go want to win and keep government business.

Their main preoccupation is climate change. They regard this as the biggest task facing mankind, as they think man made CO 2 is the only driver of climate change and will transport  us to too warm a world. They wish to transform what we eat, how we heat, how and if we travel, how business produces things by ending the use of fossil fuels. They still have not worked out what mixture  to go for in green hydrogen, or renewable electricity with batteries, or restricted use of heating and travel. They are regularly criticised for failing to lead by example as they fly around in private jets, ride in chauffeured cars and stay in air conditioned hotels.

They dress this up as good for green jobs, without answering questions about how much this huge transition will cost, how much capital in present energy and industry will need to be written off and how many jobs will be lost as factories, mines, oil and gas wells and traditional processes are closed.

They also favour open borders and free movement of people. They speak of diversity and tolerance, though they are often intolerant of different opinions to their own. They like every type of diversity save diversity of thought.

The disappointment about Davos is twofold. They do not invite people who will challenge the governing consensus. They fail to engage with the important difficult questions like Who and what caused the inflation? How can we boost real incomes?  Why did President Biden deliver Afghanistan to the Taliban? How do we stop Russia blowing up Ukrainian cities?

The world has too many globe trotting conferences to repeat the doctrines and policies which have failed. It needs some new thinking.

The wind does not blow enough

In the cold snap we are experiencing demand for electricity has risen as you would expect. There has been some wind, but we have needed to use coal fired power, all our gas availability and the wood burning biomass  stations. Typically the fossil fuel fired generators have been supplying well over half, with renewables back down to around a quarter.

This cold snap has reminded us it is not just on windless days we have a problem. Because renewable power often is well below theoretical capacity, and because we are generally short of power when demand is high, we  need all the fossil fuel power we can get.

Those who plan a rapid transition to net zero need to recognise that this is the starting position. Were the public to adopt electric heating and electric vehicles in the way the net zero plans require we would need a huge increase in generating capacity to meet all the extra demand. At the moment the bulk of our transport energy requirements are met from diesel, aviation spirit  and petrol and the bulk of our home heating and industrial process is provided by gas.

Before we can expect wholesale public conversion to electric vehicles and heating we need reassurance that the large increase in renewable power generation and the accompanying big increase in the grid capacity and street cable  networks has been put in to meet  all the extra demand that will create.

We cannot afford tax rises

Tax rises usually do damage. They deter investment, destroy jobs, prevent people spending money, cut business turnover, push rich people out of the country. They are favoured by those who want greater equality from greater misery. Get rid of all the rich foreigners and we will have more equal society, but we will also lose their investment money to create jobs and say good bye to  their spending power diverted to competing countries.

The¬† November Financial Statement put up taxes substantially. It also raised the amount we have to borrow massively by 75% compared to the March OBR forecast. This was the direct result not just of the energy cost increases but also the result of the slower growth they had to factor in. High taxes, low growth, excessive borrowing come from each other. Labour proved that by their more extreme¬† excesses on tax in the 1970s when we had huge deficits and a so called brain drain as talent poured out of the country.¬† The government¬† need to grasp that the best way to get the deficit down is to grow faster. To grow faster we need lower tax rates, not higher. We need enough tax incentive for rich people and companies to come here, invest here, spend here. We need to allow more home talent to be self employed, to set up small businesses, to grow larger businesses. Why is one of the UK’s greatest entrepreneurs Sir James Dyson having to decry government policy towards jobs and investment?

I will be producing some pieces on how we can can have affordable tax cuts in the March budget. They need to be affordable costed growth promoting tax cuts that help increase the number of successful entrepreneurs, attract foreign capital and stimulate investment in the extra capacities we need. If the government is serious about getting inflation down it needs to promote and facilitate more domestic energy supply, more home grown food, ,more fish landed in the UK, more trees growth for timber here , more steel and ceramics output and the rest that we need to curb imports and increase supply.