Changes to website

I am considering changes to the website and content once we know the results  of the General election.

I will be providing an analysis of the run up to the election by the Conservatives soon after the election. Knowing the result will enable judgements then to be made about the different views and positions taken by Ministers and backbench MPs in the many discussions held over election timing and content this year. We will not of course be getting any inside analysis from Labour about their disagreements and rapidly changing policy pitch  before polling day. They seem riven over employment law, spending levels, speed to net zero and how to get anything from migration control through NHS waiting lists to nationalised businesses to work.  It is best to let people concentrate on the election.

During the election period I will comment on the issues and campaigns as they unfold. I want to highlight big issues like net zero, debt and deficit, growth strategy, productivity falls  in public service, living standards, bad central banking, the role of so called independent bodies and much else. An election is a good time to get change in party positions and to encourage more differentiation of offer to allow better choice.

How to have lower taxes and faster growth

I have been critical of the government for putting up with unacceptable losses by the Bank of England, the railways, the Post Office, HS 2 and other nationalised concerns. I have criticised the handling and reporting of high borrowings and interest charges. I have highlighted the unaffordable collapse in public sector productivity. I have successfully urged government to find ways to get more people off benefits into work.

The fashionable establishment gloom tells us we need to put up taxes further to alleviate spending pressures, and to cut debt relative to GDP. They refuse to see the imperative need to stop the waste and losses of the public sector or to accept that cutting the right taxes can boost growth and overall tax revenues. The huge cost burden of net zero compounds the problem, seeking to rip out fossil fuel use in the  UK only to import  energy and products at dearer cost from abroad, losing us huge tax revenues.

Labour would make all this worse. They want to end fuel duty sooner by accelerating the end of petrol and diesel cars. They do not propose a replacement tax on the use of electric vehicles. So what would they do about the revenue black hole? They want to find off balance sheet ways to borrow more.They have delayed hugely expensive net zero plans whilst not changing the aims or targets.  They have no plans to boost public sector productivity. They oppose some of the measures to get more people into work.

Their proposal to charge VAT on school fees might produce very little net revenue after allowing for  all the extra  costs of lower income parents switching children  to state schools. Toughening non dom tax just drives more rich people out or keeps  them away, to the point where we get less revenue from them . In the 1970s penal tax on foreigners and high earners led to the brain drain, an exodus of successful people.

Accepting the control of the five year out OBR figure for the deficit is absurd. No-one ¬†knows what the deficit will be in 5 years and government can borrow too much in the four years before the control. The government’s use of this control did not stop a big debt build up. Labour want to double up on OBR influence, though they want to allow more borrowing to “invest”. The way the public sector does that is often a licence to lose money, as with some Council energy and property investments and the Bank’s lamentable bond dealings.

We need a commitment to cut this years deficit by taking the actions on the loss making Bank and nationalised industries I have set out, and by moving fast to return to 2019 levels of public service productivity. We need growth promoting tax cuts.The build up of interest charges can also be curtailed. Why do the main parties ignore many of these billions spent on mismanagement?

Election kicks off with debate about energy

The Uk imports too much energy, making us reliant on the goodwill of foreigners. All parties to the election should renounce the mad carbon accounting which says if you use your own gas you are adding to world CO 2 but if you import the energy you are not. The import model increases world CO 2, costs us lost jobs, means we do not get the large tax revenues on extracting the gas and undermines our energy security.

Labour has come under fire from its own side for ruling out new oil and gas fields. I side with the Unions who say it makes sense to create the jobs and extract the energy at home.

The idea that setting up a Great British Energy nationalised company would solve our shortages and lower prices  is wrong. If you wanted to do this there would need to be a huge expansion in grid capacity to accommodate the switch to electricity. There would need to be plenty of new back up gas fired power stations for when the wind did not blow, or plant for large scale production of hydrogen to fuel home boilers and vehicles. Our current nationalised industries send huge bills to the taxpayer to cover their losses, legal claims against them and their investment programmes.

The Conservatives now say they are net zero realists. They see a need for a rapid roll out of nuclear, a more reliable source of low carbon power. They want more home oil and gas. They need to adjust policies on roll out of EVs, heat pumps and smart meters to reflect consumer choices and realities.

Greens and Lib Dems live in a slogan world where a windmill is the answer to every problem and comes with lower bills. Dream on.

Thank you to Wokingham

I have decided not to put my name forward in the forthcoming election. I have other things I wish to do.

It has been a privilege to represent Wokingham in nine Parliaments. I have drawn many of my campaigns from the views I have heard on doorsteps and read in my email box. We have achieved good things together for our local community and the wider nation.

I was pleased to help local Conservative Council candidates win seats in the recent local elections. We stopped the Lib Dems winning a majority despite their forecasts by highlighting the big damage they are doing to our roads, the money they waste, their neglect of public spaces and the way they are worsening our refuse service.

I will be continuing my website, maybe with some changes. I will continue to contribute to the debates about public policy. Any  references remaining on this site to my work as an MP will after next Thursday be about the past.

 

The government takes action to curb legal migration

 

 

 

The government is taking action to reduce legal migration. The main Opposition parties do  not want to cu back substantially on migration.

 

  • Cutting the number of visa applications across skilled worker, health and care and sponsored study by 25 per cent. Thanks to the changes to visa rules, visa applications across skilled worker, health and care and sponsored study were down by 25 per cent in January to April 2024 compared to last year (Home Office, Official Statistics, 22 May 2024, link).

 

  • Bringing down the number of student dependents applying for visas by 80 per cent, ensuring net migration comes down to sustainable levels. The latest data shows just 8,300 student dependents applied for visas in January to April 2024, a reduction of 80 per cent, down from 38,900 in the same period in 2023 (Home Office, Official Statistics, 22 May 2024, link).

 

  • Driving down the number of health and care visa applications by 76 per cent this year, as we stick to our plan to deliver sustainable staffing levels in our NHS without relying on foreign workers. In January to April 2024, 12,400 people applied for a health and care skilled worker visa, down by 76 per cent compared to the same period last year when applications were at 119,600 (Home Office, Official Statistics, 22 May 2024, link).

 

  • Ensuring 300,000 people who came to the UK last year will not be able to come under our new visa rules, securing a more sustainable level of immigration for the long term. In December 2023 the government¬† announced a plan to cut migration levels and curb abuse of the immigration system. Together, this will mean 300,000 people who came to the UK last year would now not be able to come (HO, Fact Sheet, 1 February 2024, link; Hansard, 25 May 2023, HCWS 800, link; Home Office, News Story, 2 January 2023, link).

 

  • Changing the rules for international students and dependents as of 2024, helping to reduce net migration by an estimated 140,000. Students can bring economic contribution to the UK but should not be at the expense of our commitment to the public to lower overall migration and ensure that migration to the UK is highly skilled, providing the most benefit and helping grow the economy (Hansard, 25 May 2023, HCWS 800, link; Home Office, News Story, 2 January 2023, link).

 

 

 

 

Free Market Roadshow – Legatum Institute

You can find my interview starting at 5:00:00. I gave a talk to Legatum setting out the need for change at the Bank of England. I highlighted their wrong models, poor forecasting of inflation, excessive money creation and their more recent wrongly conceived Quantitative tightening. They have taken over fiscal policy with their huge cash demands on taxpayers to pay their losses.

 

My speech on Too many wars

Some years ago I was asked to speak to the local British Legion. Whilst praising them for the sacrifices our armed services have made, I chose to speak about how we could and should fight fewer  wars. We can learn from past wars which were not all well judged.

Last Friday I was asked to speak to local Conservatives about Defence at a lunch. I returned to the theme.

I made clear I do believe as we want peace we need to prepare for war. There are nasty enemies around who only respect force and think again if we deter.

I also made clear my admiration for the sacrifices of my parents generation to see off a major threat to our island home from Germany and to go on with the USA to liberate western Europe.  So too to our armed forces who evicted Argentina from the Falklands and helped free Kuwait.

The loss and sacrifice made in Afghanistan was great but it was undermined by the USA ‘s overhasty surrender of the base and airport that was a commitment and support for the domestic police and army of the Afghan state. Take it away and the Taliban swept to power undoing many of the reforms and improvements. The USA must too look back on Viet Nam with a heavy heart.

I have published the slides I made for the talk. These set out how  the  UK should build its strength. Wars depend not  just on armed service personnel but also on the ability of a country at war to feed its population and make its armaments and necessities of daily life. There is much more to be done to grow our own food , produce our own steel and timber, and fabricate our own weapons.

The outrageous costs of public sector disasters

This week we read taxpayers will be slapped with a bill for £10 bn for the NHS using contaminated blood when treating patients. It has taken years  to enquire into what went wrong, and to offer people compensation.

We await the full bills to compensate sub postmasters which the nationalised Post Office put into prison  on made up charges of misconduct. It was  covering up its own gross management mistakes  with an expensive computer system. Despite wrongly taking large  sums from its employees it also sent taxpayers a ballooning bill to pay its trading  losses.

We are  paying billions for nationalised HS 2. Vastly overpaid bosses have presided  over a tripling of the costs of the scheme. The full railway will never now be built thanks to the  out of this world cost overruns and timetable delays by years.

The Bank of England is the worst and dearest of them all. It has already been paid £50 bn to cover unacceptably large losses on its bond dealing, with much more to come over the  next few years according to the OBR.

These disasters were organised by senior managers paid large six figure salaries  and often paid bonuses to celebrate their incompetence.

So who do so many MPs think nationalisation a good idea? How much more  money do they want to grab from taxpayers to pay to incompetent public sector managers who assume they can rely on  taxpayers to pay for their grotesque mistakes?

NATO and Ukraine

The forces of Ukraine face a larger enemy and need plenty of help from NATO with weapons, ammunition and financial support.

So far the leading money  donors, the EU and US, and the leading provider of military items, the USA have given enough to Ukraine to be able to largely halt and in some places reverse Russian advances, but not enough to give them victory. There are strict controls and rules over use, stopping Ukraine using NATO weapons outside Ukraine. A lot of the weapons given have been older ones from stocks.

I have no wish to see a NATO/Russia war. NATO has a large superiority to win a conventional war against Russia but victory could impose a high price in losses before achieved. NATO rightly claims to be a defensive alliance so it should continue to avoid provoking  war with Russia. Russia   has not invaded a NATO country which is the trigger wire. War would of course follow were Russia to attack a NATO member.

NATO led by the dominant US power needs to be clearer about its plans for Ukraine. It is not good for Ukraine to be able to largely hold the line but be unable to win. Clearly if the EU and US do will a Ukrainian  victory as they say they do they need to expand weapons supplies greatly to show Russia the West can win any battle of ammunition and weapons production. Putin has turned to a new Defence Minister said to be good at cranking up Russian war production. This is no time for the EU and USA to be reducing their commitments if they both want a Ukraine win. The Ukraine war has shown NATO weapons stocks were low and has led to more investment in weapons manufacture and more orders for the armourers.

At some point there will need to be negotiations and a ceasefire. It is strange how  current debates and US policy are dominated  by the  imperative of a ceasefire in Gaza to end civilian deaths whilst preoccupied with continuing and intensifying the war in Ukraine where civilians and reluctant conscripts are also being killed.

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