07 October 2009

Tories announce cuts

Conservative Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, presented his plan to cut spending to eliminate the budget deficit at the Conservatice Party conference. Is it bold? No. Is it acceptable? Just. Is it enough? Not by a long shot.

His ideas are:
- One year pay freeze on all state sector employees earning more than £18k a year, excluding the Armed Forces (this includes teachers, doctors and the police);
- £50k cap on pension payments for state sector employees;
- Reducing "size of the Whitehall bureaucracy" by a third;
- Abolition of "baby bonds" and welfare tax credits for those earning over £50.
- Increase state pension age to 66 from 2016 (for men);
- NOT to abolish the forthcoming 50p tax rate on earnings over £150k;
- Increase inheritance tax allowance to £1m.

To be fair he laid it into Gordon Brown saying:

“The Iron Chancellor has turned into the plastic Prime Minister. Free social care. Free hospital parking. Free child care places. We would all like those things. But where is the money coming from? He is treating the British people like fools,”

Quite right, but whilst this is a start, I still think far more can be done as I outlined before:
1. Abolish all corporate welfare, stop trying to pick winners;
2. Lead a call to cut the EU budget at Brussels;
3. Sell Channel 4, Royal Mail and the tolled bridges/tunnels of the highway network;
4. Cancel plans for a high speed railway, no new taxpayer spending on rail infrastructure;
5. Scrap the ID card scheme;
6. Scrap a wide range of government IT projects;
7. Scrap subsidising rural broadband;
8. Abolish regional development agencies;
9. Fund Scotland on a per capita basis, forcing it to make budget cuts;
10. Eliminate additional welfare payments for those on welfare who have extra children;
11. Negotiate an end to EU welfare tourism;
12. Freeze NHS spending, introduce charges for "no shows" at appointments and charge for more than 1 GP visit a year for those between 18 and 65;
13. Freeze all public sector pay until there is a budget surplus;
14. Terminate public sector pension scheme membership growth;
15. Abolish all NEW agencies established since Labour was elected.

So far we have only number 13. 1 out of 15 George, must try harder.

and I wasnt even being libertarian.


Jeremy Harris said...

Glad to see you only want to suspend taxpayer transport spending on rail not roads...

Why should England keep pace with the rest of Europe because Liberty thinks rail is bad and roads are good..?

Libertyscott said...


Both modes should pay their way.
Road users pay 4x what is spent on roads already, the underinvestment on roads in the UK is obvious. Network rail should recover rail infrastructure costs like road infrastructure costs are full recovered.

I don't think rail is bad and roads are good, I am not a mirror image of the rail religious nuts.

By the way road spending in the rest of Europe largely outstrips the UK, and the UK has the second highest fuel tax in Europe.

So what's your comparison?

Jeremy Harris said...

My comparison is high speed rail is being invested in heavily in Spain, France, Italy, and to a lesser extent the remaining Eurpoean countries... It is much more efficient at moving people than air travel, if England wants to compete it needs to do the same thing, especially with the pending emission taxes (or similar) that we are likely to see...

I agree with your mind set on many things, freedom and personal responsibility (although obviously not to the same extent as I believe the state has some role to play) but on transport you've got it all wrong, you look at who pays rather than what is the best net system... I'm not a rail nut by the way...

Libertyscott said...

Funnily enough Spain, France and Italy all have extensive tolled intercity motorway networks, many privately owned.

If it is so efficient Jeremy then why do the users of high speed rail find it difficult to pay for the costs of the infrastructure? Aviation by contrast, with the exception of dud regional airports that get propped up by local authorities, manages to cover its costs.

The problem you have is that high speed rail is less environmentally friendly than conventional rail, and that the proposed high speed line in the UK from London-Birmingham will do next to nothing for mode shift, as there are no flights from London to Birmingham. The only routes that make a big difference are London-Glasgow/Edinburgh, but at what cost? It is £34 billion paid for by non-users as a transfer to primarily business users of transport (leisure see few comparative benefits).

It would be far far more efficient to spend £2 billion introducing a national road pricing scheme which would reduce emissions dramatically, reduce congestion and greatly enhance the viability of much of the rail network.

I don't believe you, as a budding central planner, know what the best "net" system is anymore than I do, but I do know price signals tell you what people prefer and what benefits they get from investments.

HS1 has been a dud investment, it has no net economic benefits for the UK, HS2 would be worse. Remember the UK already has a relatively fast rail system with 125mph on main routes and 100mph the norm on others, which is very competitive with road. Neither France, Italy or Spain had speeds like this on their legacy networks.

If you ignore the wild estimates of Greengauge, a sober look at high speed rail would indicate it doesn't stack up in the UK.