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How would you drive down the deficit? - Day 2

00:34 UK time, Tuesday, 27 July 2010

MP's will be breaking up for the summer today, but when they return they will still face the £156 billion deficit which hangs over Britain.

This week, BBC Radio 5 live Drive is looking for big ideas to drive down the deficit. Today the focus is on foreign and defence spending.

If you were chancellor what changes would you make? Should we scrap the RAF? Can we afford to give aid packages to poorer nations? Does it pay to be in the European Union? What ideas do you have?

You can listen to BBC Radio 5 live Drive from 4 pm today.

Read the debate on day 1 about home savings, including on health, education and local services.

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    I would bring in Tony Hayward, soon to be ex BP chief exec. He has a brilliant track record in cutting out the slack. He could also probably be got on side for the price of a life peerage.

  • Comment number 2.

    Don't pay MPs when they're on holiday.

  • Comment number 3.

    I'd put the brakes on any more building work for the 2012 olympics and recoupe as much revenue from what is already built now.

    We hosted the post World War II olympics with far less than todays infrastucture, I don't see why we have to build everything as new for a few days use.

    On SeasideSteves comments, certainly employing people from outside of government e.g. industry and commerce, to run organisations such as the NHS et-al could see a lot of cost savings with reporting from the coal face to the management running the entire organisation would be clearer and the communication and action to use the resource already there would be much more efficient.

  • Comment number 4.

    This topic appears in various guises every month on this website. There are hundreds of suggestions every time and even if you omit the stupid, the crass and the unworkable there are still around a hundred practical suggestions per topic.

    Given that the majority of this government and every previous government are staffed mainly by graduates with good degrees who are obviously intelligent why is it so difficult for them to implement measures that are obvious to the general public that would save billions? The only answer that I can offer is that the majority are career politicians who have never had "proper jobs" advised by civil servants who have never had "proper jobs"; they seem more interested in what policy will win the next election and keep them in power rather than what is in the best interests of the country.

    My opinion is that until we get rid of the career politicians with no understanding of how business or society works we won't move forward. The problem is that politicians are now so despised that most people working in industry would never consider a career in politics so they tolerate the current situation. Also, I know a couple of politicians on opposite sides of the political spectrum and both have said that if you are not in politics in your 20s you will never reach high office. That is a damning indictment of our political system.

  • Comment number 5.

    Recover the deficit from the banks. They created it.

  • Comment number 6.

    How about setting up a UK Charity?
    Our camera shy politicians could do a tv ad or phone marathon.

    All donations put straight into bringing down the deficit (like overpaying on a mortgage)

    I'd donate a tener for that.

  • Comment number 7.

    Hello all,

    I don't know whether you will agree with me but here it is.

    The thing that makes me foam at the mouth is when David Cameron says 'we are all in this together', what a joke! While there is mass unemployment and economic hardship, our MP's have never had it so good, I would not say no to a six figure salary, which brings me to my point. It's time the politicans put there money where their mouth is and make a real sacrifice towards getting the country out of recession. IT IS NOT FAIR TO PUT ALL THE CUTS ON THE WORKING MAN.

    Don't get me wrong, I know there has to be cuts and that it will be painful, but when I read about a Veteran who lost one of his legs fighting for this country being refused DLA while the banks get off lightly, and they are getting off lightly it begs the question, are the cuts really fair as George Osbourne claims?

    And one subject that is close to my heart which is straying of the point slightly but still relevant is support or lack of for carers. Carers in this country save the economy over 80 billion pounds a year, and a lot of these carers are children under the age of 16 which is disguisting to say the least. But the irony is that they are old enough to care for a sick loved one BUT THEY ARE NOT OLD ENOUGH TO CLAIM ANY BENIFITS.

    The point I am trying to make is that this country is deeply unfair and during this economic hardship I want to urge people to stand up for what they are entitled to and not just accept every cut the goverment makes.

    And one more thing, what David Cameron said about this country being a junior partner during the second world war, what a dreadful thing to say, I thought Eton was one of the best educational establishments in the country LOL.

    The Patriot.

  • Comment number 8.

    While the benefits system has had a deleterious effect on getting people back to work, the innovations of the Tax Credit system has institutionalized those already in work not to seek advancement or overtime. Nothing is more indicative of the country's desire for voluntary dissolution of the state's ability to finance itself. At a time of employment scarcity, there is everything to be said for a women/man staying at home to look after their growing family at a small cost to the Treasury of a married persons allowance against the countless thousands paid in child tax and working tax credits.

  • Comment number 9.

    7. At 02:22am on 27 Jul 2010, The Patriot wrote:
    Hello all,
    I don't know whether you will agree with me but here it is.
    ......And one subject that is close to my heart which is straying of the point slightly but still relevant is support or lack of for carers. Carers in this country save the economy over 80 billion pounds a year, and a lot of these carers are children under the age of 16 which is disguisting to say the least. But the irony is that they are old enough to care for a sick loved one BUT THEY ARE NOT OLD ENOUGH TO CLAIM ANY BENIFITS.
    ................................................
    Good point well made, but you did not go far enough. Not only are they not old enough to claim any benefits but they are also not old enough to vote. Very odd that we as a society are happy for minors to care for the sick and elderly but don't feel they are responsible enough to cast a vote.


  • Comment number 10.

    Todays focus is foreign and defence spending.

    On Foreign spending I would say cut all cash aid, particularly to countries that have their own space program. If any aid is to be given make it in goods like agricultural equipment, housing materials, seed and food so it cannot be spent by fat men in suits on weapons and palaces.

    On defence I would suggest let us do away with the ban on cluster weapons. This could save our troops deployed in foreign climes being sitting ducks while all and sundry take pot shots at them from nearby mountains. If every time someone took a shot froma remote mountainside that mountainside rapidly became somewhere not capable of supporting life I think we would be surprised at how quickly those pot shots would cease and our lads could come home.

  • Comment number 11.

    10. At 04:33am on 27 Jul 2010, angry_of_garston wrote:
    Todays focus is foreign and defence spending.
    On Foreign spending I would say cut all cash aid, particularly to countries that have their own space program. If any aid is to be given make it in goods like agricultural equipment, housing materials, seed and food so it cannot be spent by fat men in suits on weapons and palaces.
    ......................................
    Unfortunately, in countries where the 'fat men in suits' buy weapons and palaces they also have a finger in every pie. Even if you were to send seed and food you would still be relying on the same fat men to ensure it is distributed evenly and fairly. Sadly, experience tells us this is rarely the case.

  • Comment number 12.

    1: Immediate and unconditional withdrawal from the EU,
    2: Immediate and unconditional withdrawal of our armed forces in those illegal wars in which Tony Blair led us and Gordon Brown said he supported and then deliberately underfunded, regardless of the loss of life his actions entailed,
    3: Savage cut backs on the non-value-add civil service jobs created by Nu-Labor in their vain attempts to buy votes and reduce the unemployment statistics,
    4: Immediate cessation of all immigration into the UK, together with immediate, no appeal, repatriation of all those already here and seeking to stay, and
    5: Immediate cancellation of 'the right to claim benefits' from the state.


  • Comment number 13.

    By cutting Overseas Aid, totally; If we are so short of money that we are cutting services to poor British Tax payers, why give that money to people abroad. Just so the Government can look good on the world stage.

  • Comment number 14.

    Oh good. Yet another chance for a bunch of ignorant extremist morons to spout their political views. Change the record, HYS. This one is getting old.

  • Comment number 15.

    We could start by quitting Afghanistan.
    Then get the soldiers who would have fought there to help build the London Olympic things.

    Referendums on the pay levels of our political elite would save a lot of money too.

  • Comment number 16.

    Foreclose on the Banks.

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.

    Its all relatively easy to a layman in the general public:
    Withdraw from the EU.
    Cease international aid immediately.
    Scrap DFID - they waste money on useless projects at an alarming rate.
    Scrap the Trident upgrade.
    Cut Public Sector Admin Posts by 40%.
    Scrap Quangos and make Politicians work for a living. Quangos only do what Politicians SHOULD do.
    Reduce FCO budget by 60% and make overseas diplomats live in less palatious splendour.
    Cap immigration at 10k per year to reduce the burden of free healthcare and benefits to the non-entitled.
    Withdraw from Afghanistan in 2011.
    Merge the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy.
    Sell off all unused MOD land to developers.
    Doesn't really take rocket science to see the sensible way forward. Sadly, none of the above will be adopted. The end is nigh!!

  • Comment number 19.

    get rid of the useless BBC moderators...

  • Comment number 20.

    I think more than anything the government needs to understand the concept of money vs value. They pour money like sand into things and surprisingly enough it falls through the seive and they get very little value from it. There is a horrendous statistic for how much more the government is paying into services like the NHS and how much increase in service that has given.

    Quite simply - the government should start running things more like a business. A business would not pour money into projects that are not giving value for money back and this has been our governments problem for years. The public sector black hole.

    I think it would also benefit the government to have regular chats with groups from the public - No, not the public who live in the SE postcode, the public who live on the breadline and who lose half their professional wage to taxation. They might succeed in getting a "reality check".

    Last factoid: In Singapore, over 50% of the government are qualified in Engineering and Science related subjects - subjects that all deal with hard facts, truth and the reality of things. OTher than perhaps 2 MPs out of our hundreds, the entirety of the Brit government is made up of graduates of subjects like Law and the Arts - subjects where you can pretty much believe whatever you want.

  • Comment number 21.

    So why is unemployment benifit so low because we don't have the money to pay it.. or so we are told by the government.. But we must pay for overseas aid. either to make the population feel good that we are giving money to poor under developed countries, that cannot run their own affairs and we in the West know so much better than they do, how to run their things.

    We could create more jobs in the UK to start to make the country better for disadvantaged people here, there are millions who need help they will never get living in Britian..

  • Comment number 22.

    they should stop spending so musch money on pointless 13 and 26 week programs that suposedly help people back to work because there actually a waste of time.

  • Comment number 23.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 24.

    Create a transfer market on politicians. Then they'd really find out what they're worth.
    See if we can muster up enough to attract Julia Gillard to come in and bolster our left wing.
    Angela Merkel on the right for us would be a good substitution.
    Sell Scotland to the Scandinavian free trade zone unless they start bolstering their share of national GDP pronto; or find some more oil (yum).
    Privatise Cornwall. Sell our bit of Ireland (I am being funny here, guys. Go on, smile even though it hurts) to nostalgic yanks.
    Send the queen to do a gig in Las Vegas for mega bucks.
    Hire out Buckingham palace for kids' birthday parties.
    Oh, yes, and only teenagers allowed to stand for parliament. (Well, they like to stay up really late and wake up and go to work around 3 in the pm, and have someone else do all the driving).
    Here's my cultural revolution : all MPs to join the army. All politicians to have had a job in "real life" before becoming mps. All bankers to spend their holidays with a family depending on the jobs the banks have in their hands. All journalists to have their favourite possession trashed and then a mike shoved in their faces and asked "what is it like?". Anyone who votes for the eurovision or big brother to be disenfranchised.

    You get the idea

  • Comment number 25.

    In short:

    I think we need to target govt spending on infrastructure that has a good payback in terms of benefit to the economy - and trim back anything else. We need to lose our can't-do attitudes and culture of envy, we need to financially nurture innovation in industry - esp manufacturing - and modify our political system to let in genuine change and progression.

    In Long:

    We should find ways to make it economic to make things here again. Through a combination of innovation, government subsidy to re-tool manufacturing companies and tax incentives we should find ways to compete with offshore manufacturing - not for everything, but for high value items in newer industries such as Green-tech and latest generation electronics.

    We should look long and hard at our culture and find out why we have such a deeply embedded culture of envy. Why do we seemingly - as a nation - have such a problem with successful people? Other nations do not have this mentality - so why do we? It holds us back, we should identify and tackle its causes.

    We should reform our electoral system - having the same old turn and turn about parties in power makes for tidal politics with little genuine change or innovation in government - and makes us slow to respond to world trends and makes business forward planning far harder. To be fair, at the time of writing, the coalition seem to be taking us down this reforming road, though maybe not far enough.

    We should spend far less on peripheral issues and target public money only into mainstream infrastructure. Money spent on road projects directly benefits the economy, as does railway building and reclaiming unused industrial sites for reuse as housing or leisure facilities. Investing public money in broadband infrastructure upgrades and in areas of infrastructure (such as water supply) that could help decentralise the population from the trashed south east of England are also of direct benefit to the country. Putting public money into things like social surveys, junkets, additional tiers of managements or yet another traffic calming scheme are not worthless, but they rarely contribute directly to the wealth of the nation.

    Save money in areas of government spending. Everybody knows that government spending is way overburdened with administration, especially defence spending. To have as a customer, the government is a nightmare: It dithers, changes the rules, is maximally risk averse and wants the world for a low purchase price, even though this is invariably attained at a sky high cost of subsequent ownership. There is an absurdly macho concentration on beating down the purchase price, even if sustaining the equipment or service purchased, later costs millions more than it should. As taxpayers, that cumulatively costs us obscene amounts of money.

    Alan T

  • Comment number 26.

    There is huge inefficiency in both Government and Local Government and billions to be saved but it can't be done by slight of hand. Every department needs to be scrutinised in detail. For example IT departments are obsessed with processes which have no useful outcome for service users.

  • Comment number 27.

    19. At 08:45am on 27 Jul 2010, Have your say Rejected wrote:

    get rid of the useless BBC moderators...

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Not good enough, getting rid of the BBC might work.

  • Comment number 28.

    10. At 04:33am on 27 Jul 2010, angry_of_garston wrote:

    On defence I would suggest let us do away with the ban on cluster weapons. This could save our troops deployed in foreign climes being sitting ducks while all and sundry take pot shots at them from nearby mountains. If every time someone took a shot froma remote mountainside that mountainside rapidly became somewhere not capable of supporting life I think we would be surprised at how quickly those pot shots would cease and our lads could come home.
    ======================================================================
    I watched a BBC appeal from Victoria Wood on Sunday for a charity that clears up these cluster bombs.

    Yes the 'pot shots' would cease and the country would be uninhabitable for the innocent public until either a charity cleared the site or all the bombs are cleared by locals killing and maiming themselves in the process.




  • Comment number 29.

    The so called political elite should be working harder no "swanning off" on their holidays. If I only get 25 days holiday then thats all they should get.Until the elite of this country really understand "we are all in this together" they will deserve cynicsm.

    Talking of holidays and cutting the deficit let us see people in the public sector donating some time for free. Teachers are a good example with their gold plated pensions and extended holidays.

    All teachers need to have their terms and condition revised as follows:

    + Retirement at 67 unless they have made previous provision by overpaying pension etc.

    + Holidays limited to 40 days per year - "inset days" have to be held outside term teaching time.

    + Statutory hours of work is ended teachers work as required.

    + 10% of their pay is performance related to exam results/university grades.

    In this way one of the biggest wastes will be overcome.

  • Comment number 30.

    Why take this seriously?
    We are paying them to work this out. If they then defer to us for all the ideas, surely they should be paying us?

    Has anyone else noticed we have teenagers (of the mind) runing the country?

    They stay up late drinking too much cheap booze till all sensible people are asleep.
    They eventually get out of their pits and go to work around 3pm.
    They get driven everywhere by someone safe and sensible.
    They hang around in sullen, self-obsessed groups, having sex with each other and speaking an odd jargon deliberately unintellible to those who provide for them.
    They are ungrateful.
    They have never done a day's real work in their lives but think they know how to run our lives.
    They think they are God's gift to the world.
    They think that what happens in their world is all-important - the world ends if they get chucked out of a party.
    The world owes them a living.
    They are dominated and controlled by a few ring-leaders who always send someone else to do their fighting for them.
    You can never find them when you want something done; but they are all smiles and p&q's when they want us to buy them a ticket to the House Party.
    They simply do not comprehend the concept of using their own money to pay for something.

  • Comment number 31.

    Allow Wales, Scotland & NI to go their own ways with complete independence. Thereafter focus on England for the English thereby saving the disproportionate cost of these three continually dissatisfied and moaning nations. Of course, real independence would terrify them. Imagine having to stand on your own two feet?

  • Comment number 32.

    So how are we going to cut foriegn and defence spending.

    Well foriegn aid is a very small part of the national budget and is very close to the heart of the Lib Dems. They will give up their request for a referendum on PR infavour for one on AV but they would not stand for a cut in foriegn aid, so it will stay.

    As for defense, where do you start?

    Defense procurement is a national joke. Every major spending program is late, over budget, does not do the job, and in most cases all three.

    How many times will MoD procurement get away with this?

    As for the services, I for one believe we should abandon the three services and have just one defense force with a 'department' for each of the three current services. The RAF was created by Lloyd George in 1918 to cut the power of the Army. The Navy was needed when we had an empire which is no more. Our army still retains the regimental system when the germans showed during WWII that it is the division which is the basis of a modern armies useage.

    Above all get the politics out of the services. Stop using it to justify our diplomats sitting at 'the big boys table' (both germany and japan have flourished since WWII without any of our 'commitments').

    We do not need, cannot use, (and the services never wanted) Trident. Stop it now.

    The Euro-fighter was never needed once the USSR collapsed. Stop it now.

    We should not be led into foriegn wars on the coat tails of an american president. Stop it now.




  • Comment number 33.

    The Child Benefit should only be given to people under certain income. There you have a few millions easily saved.

  • Comment number 34.

    The cultural revolution continues:
    Anyone who criticises asylum seekers to have their belongings stripped and then herded off their land by an armed militia; then escorted to the airport of their choice at gunpoint.
    Anyone who writes "simples" in a BBC HYS to have their computer taken away and then to be led off by the nurse from Are You Being Served.
    Teachers to spend one day per month with the families whose kids they are teaching; and parents to spend one day per term watching their kids through a one-way mirror in the class room.
    Union leaders to get training in financial accounting and shown the news broadcasts of the last, say, 20 years.
    Managers of large companies to spend 1 day per month on their shop-floor, and to be paid the same as their average employee one month per year - and not allowed to spend more than that amount in the month.
    All convicted burglars to serve their term in full, and when they get home they find it's been completely trashed and the telly gone.
    Everyone found going to a Star Trek convention to be given a bath, a lesson in How to Talk to Girls, and pointed at a party.
    All tv health gurus and chefs to be exiled to the worst housing estate in Glasgow/Liverpool; their money surgically removed and then shoved in a manky council house with a shouting couple above them. They are then given a (non-AGA!) cooker, two pans and one tin of beans to live on.
    My Dad is then to be sent round to each one, giving lectures on what life was like in the 40s & 50s. That's just because I'm vindictive - not because I think it would do any good.

  • Comment number 35.

    Can we afford to give aid packages to poorer nations?" (HYS):

    ONLY under condition that:
    --------------------------

    That they allow US to specify and monitor what this 'Aid' is spent on.


    That it is given in exchange for Goods, Minerals, Fuel etc.


    They agree to accept their illegal-migrants etc back & regard their HR.

  • Comment number 36.

    Firstly we should be taking strong action against the Banks (not the pathetic levy that will hardly touch them) they have supposedly given themselves 6.8bn in bonuses so far THIS YEAR as opposed to 6bn last year. The Bankers are showing where their priorities lay - AHEAD of lending to SME's, recapitalising or repaying the debt to us. No surprise there then. They can only afford to pay themselves bonuses and can't achieve the rest. Our Govt should have been leading the way on tackling the Banks multi-laterally but we know why there is such reluctance- because the rich and powerful elite in the world(of which many are Investment Bankers)wield enormous power over governments. They have the financial resources and clout to affect decision making - supported by right wing media moguls. The people are ultimately just sheep who will take the hits the status quo must be maintained so the people in power can hang onto their power. Capitalism keeps them in power and they benefit enormously whilst clearly the ordinary working people only benefit marginally. We need checks on Capitalism so it benefits the majority and not just the minority. All the leading economic research is showing that there has been a massive increase in income inequalities in advanced western capitalist economies in recent years. It appears out of control. This is surely regression for the human race not progress.

  • Comment number 37.

    The illegal bushmeat importing business generates millions of pounds a year to the black market.
    If we sold and ate all the zoo animals in the UK, we could probably make a tasty billion or two.

  • Comment number 38.

    Disband the United Kingdom. Let Scotland and Wales pay their own way and run themselves. Return Northern Ireland to the Republic. Return the Falklands to Argentina and Gibralter to the Spanish - for a handsome price of course.

  • Comment number 39.

    Is the answer to this question that difficult to recognize? If so, just wait and at some point in the future the answer will be imposed on the generation living, who will be able to say "It's not our fault, it was our parents, or grandparents who brought this upon us." There is a difference between "wants" and "needs", and I would suggest that one route to fiscal solvency would be greater privatisation of currently government provided services, and reduction or perhaps even elimination of unions, who often negotiate contractual changes that have crippling impositions on businesses.

  • Comment number 40.

    Wikipedia lists the following ministerial departments:

    Attorney General's Office (AGO): Needed for justice. But all of it?

    Cabinet Office (CO): No idea what this might do.

    Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS): Cut NI to £0. Remove all taxes on businesses. Dissolve this department.

    Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG): Clearly, the £s need to be disbursed to local government. Let the Treasury do it.

    Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS): Gone.

    Department for Education (DfE): Devolve to local government

    Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC): Build some power stations NOW, and get out of the way.

    Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA): Gone.

    Department of Health (DH): Use the Swiss system. Get rid of the rest of it.

    Department for International Development (DFID): Gone.

    Department for Transport (DfT): Sell the motorways. Leave the rest to local government.

    Department for Work and Pensions (DWP): OK.

    Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO): OK

    Government Equalities Office (GEO): One can only despair ...

    Her Majesty’s Treasury (HMT): OK

    Home Office (HO): OK

    Ministry of Defence (MoD): Ditch Trident and any other massive capital project.

    Ministry of Justice (MoJ): Merge with Home Office.

    Northern Ireland Office (NIO): Devolve it

    Office of the Advocate General for Scotland: Devolve it

    Office of the Leader of the House of Commons: Gone

    Office of the Leader of the House of Lords: Gone

    Scotland Office (SO): Devolve it

    Wales Office (WO): Devolve it

    That should bring the amount the state takes down from 50% to about 25% (including those tasks devolved to the regions and to local government.)


  • Comment number 41.

    I thought the TORY party was doing it by ensuring that every low payed and struggling person in this country pays more tax. Meanwhile the banks continue to make huge profits while the base rate is kept low.
    Heven forbid that we tax the well off a little more or stop fighting illegal wars at huge cost. Meanwhile we will build more hugely expensive toys for the army, navy and air force to play with.
    It just seems to me that fairness was not applied to tory policy and the weak in our society will suffer for it.

  • Comment number 42.

    I was watching a video by Tim Berners-Lee about open data yesterday, and in it he was making use of an example that I find relevant to this:

    http://www.wheredoesmymoneygo.org/dashboard/

    I did note that it claims it's £495bn spending, when it is actually closer to £700bn, so I am not sure how useful it really is.

  • Comment number 43.

    Feed the homeless to the poor
    Feed prisoners to children
    Feed the sick to pensioners

    Then we'd have loads of empty prisons & hospitals and you wouldn't have to put up with walking past those homeless people loitering in the streets. Not to mention the savings in benefits, NHS costs etc.

    Soylent Green, the answer to all of our problems...


    And as for Trident, rather than scrapping it why don't we just sell it ?
    I bet the Iranians would give us a few million for each missile and we'd probably get a decent price for those submarines too; in fact we could go all the way and outsource the boats, missiles and crew to the Iranian Navy and then they wouldn't need to waste all of that money developing their own nuclear weapons.

    Buckingham Palace could be sold to Dubai. Those Persians love anything expensive, especially if it's covered in Gold so we could sell them the whole Palace but only on the condition that they use British workers to deconstruct it and then re-build it back in Dubai.
    This would free up a large piece of land in central London that would be ideal for developers so we could then sell it off at the usually over-priced London rate and we'd make a mint while the Monarchy could go live in Windsor Castle.

    Downing Street could be turned into a row of Bed & Breakfasts, I'm sure the current occupants wouldn't object to having a couple of foreign tourists staying with them in the spare rooms, after all; We’re all in this together.

    We could sell all British held patents to the Americans; they've been claiming credit for inventing everything for the last century anyway so we may as well make a few quid out of them while we still can.

    If all of that doesn't sort it out then I'd recommend a national day of looking down the back of the sofa, if all 60-odd million of us did it we could find anything up to a few £billion down there...

  • Comment number 44.

    What people fail to understand is basic Keynsian economic "Philosophy".
    Every pound you "waste" (such a tiresome choice of word) on defence procurement overruns is actually a serious investment; just like my parliamentary expense claims.
    Keep the money moving - that's the point. The faster it moves, the more work we are all doing serving each other's needs. Surely this is a good thing!
    So, by building my ducks a house, I am keeping a carpenter employed; and by the same token, letting IT projects overrun keeps some very useful IT consultants gainfully holidaying at your expense.
    In turn, the IT consultants are buying beautiful, domestically-polished sports cars running on petrol lovingly imported by highly-skilled truck drivers (er, this isn't working is it?).
    Anyway, the shares in the IT company boom, and that's good for your pension isn't it? Oh, you're unemployed and can't afford a pension. Well, become an IT consultant in a government-contractor, then!

    So, how else can I help you understand the complexities of governmental expenditure, sir? (Archie, he's unemployed, get him away from here before he breathes on me).

  • Comment number 45.

    How would you cut the deficit?

    I would use tipex to blot out a couple of zeros, then sit back, have a laugh to myself then use a few bottles of Southern Comfort to blot out the reality!!!

  • Comment number 46.

    We should encourage rich people who pay UK taxes to stay in the UK through building good communities, entertainment and environment.
    Tax pollution and our natural resources such as gas, oil coal and metals to encourage low use and recycling.

  • Comment number 47.

    On Foreign Policy and Defence savings:
    Look at the Swiss model.

    Britain is trying to be a financial powerhouse, with all it's major exports being banking services. Yet it is still Swiss banks that are famous internationally. Their neutrality in international conflict, and fierce defensive policies is what makes it a good country to keep your money safe.


    DEFENCE stops at our borders. Beyond that, it's called OFFENSE.

  • Comment number 48.

    How would you drive down the deficit? - Day 2

    Stop doing business with the Central Reserve Bank and get rid of the fractional lending practices of the banks.

  • Comment number 49.

    In no particular order

    + Leave the EU
    + Cut foreign Aid - until we can afford to help
    + Halve the size of parliament (removing Scottish, Welsh and NI MPs for a start. Creating a small English parliament and an elected federal parliament instead of a house of Lords
    + Fund Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish people the same as English people (scrap the Barnett Formula)
    + Lose the English "regions" completely
    + Scrap Trident
    + Pull out of Afghanistan
    + Print official docs in English not 11 languages
    + Tax religious buildings
    + Halt the building of the new carriers
    + Lose the Olympics

  • Comment number 50.

    Withdraw from the EU, we still have to trade with them so do the same as Norway and Switzerland, they do OK with their arrangement, we can then let the EU carry on with their expensive social engineering (we have already tried it, it dosen't work).

  • Comment number 51.

    How would you drive down the deficit? - Day 2. The same as on day 1.

  • Comment number 52.

    Simple. Get the hell out of the European Union.
    Even at £45m a day (£2.5bn/year), it would still take us 4 years to recuperate, but if used alongside other revenue earning methods such as VAT, we could get out of this mess and hold our heads up high again as a truly independent, self-sufficient nation.

  • Comment number 53.

    "We should look long and hard at our culture and find out why we have such a deeply embedded culture of envy. Why do we seemingly - as a nation - have such a problem with successful people?"

    Perhaps because such people are so blatantly greedy and show so remarkably little interest in their country and their fellow men. Look at some cases of successful people - they want to force their workers to work for the lowest possible wage, while they award themselves huge bonuses and a lifestyle which is unbelievably removed from that of most people. Want a couple of instances? A man who makes a famous vacuum cleaner, unable to pay less than the minimum wage, shifted production overseas. He and his shareholders increase their take, but people in this country who did the actual work of making the things are thrown on the dole for the taxpayer to support. Is that something to admire? The there was the equally well-known operator of transatlantic holidays (and records, and the internet, and digital TV, and railway "services" and anything else he can get his greedy hands on) who in recent memory told the people who staff his airlines to take a pay cut or he would sack them and get someone else.

    For all their good ideas, "successful" people depend on many other people to bring their ideas to fruition. They then treat these other people like dirt while increasing their own take from their businesses.

    Then there is the immediate rush to put their finances offshore so they make no contribution to this nation. Who can forget the man who proudly boasted that his cleaner paid more tax than he did?

    I just wonder if, maybe, this attitude is not so prevalant or so blatant in other countries, and entrepreneurs treat their workpeople more fairly, or maybe the British inherent sense of fair play makes us hate these greedy few who don't care whose face they stamp on as long as they can become extremely rich as quickly as possible.

    I am not a socialist and my views tend to the right, but the sheer naked greed of many 'sucessful' people is just not acceptable when so many of the people who make their dream reality are treated like dirt.

  • Comment number 54.

    Stop all MPs and Banker's pay and pensions. Instead put them on a % pay based upon the amount by which they return OUR money to the Treasury!

    Cut foreign aid budget by 100% and focus on getting our chairs at home sorted out.

    Sell off all the expensive wine stored at Houses of Parliament and in Whitehall.

    Sack one third of all civil servants - put the rest on a decent wage that is performance related.

    Stop councils wasting money - for example conwy council putting a four track wide road over rail bridge over a railway line that has ONLY ever been two tracks and which will ONLY ever be two tracks.

    STOP all benefits being given to the "won't work" lazy sods (that includes MP's, Members of the House of Lords, Council Managers and other civil service types who think they're on a gravy train.



  • Comment number 55.

    Hi, General_Jack_Ripper of #43.

    Luv the national day of looking down the back of a sofa (LOL). Speaking of which; have you heard the new blessing to be given in Christenings? "May you live longer than a DFS Sofa Sale".

    How about the government buying Spanish El Gordo/Euro millions lottery tickets?

    I think you may be wrong on selling the Iranians our nukes - I think we already sold them to Iraq.

  • Comment number 56.

    How would you drive down the deficit? - Day 2

    Well, Noah apparantly had a good result using 2 by 2 but relative to modern times a 4X4 is in my opinion best option, good & sturdy for road kill so driving down a deficit should be quite easy!!! however bumpy it is!!!

  • Comment number 57.

    How would you drive down the deficit? - Day 2

    LOL........ DAY 2...............LOL.

    If only the deficit was that OLD!!!/YOUNG, a simple set of toddler reigns would do the trick!!!!

  • Comment number 58.

    There is absolutely no doubt that the answer to the deficit lies more in retrieving revenues from previously greed driven profit obsessed corporations such as the banks, the sports, music and entertainments industries, the oil and other energy companies,the supermarkets. In fact any earners of huge wealth who have been coining it in for years unhampered by Governments that have relied too heavily on their tax revenues whilst simultaneously squeezing the middle income earner both to let the wealthy off the hook and to support the feckless who exploit the weaknesses in the welfare system.

  • Comment number 59.

    An article in the "Independent" on the 14th of July
    The true scale of Britain's national indebtedness was laid bare by the Office for National Statistics yesterday: almost £4 trillion, or £4,000bn, about four times higher than previously acknowledged.
    It makes the mind boggle. It also states, that if the current generation of taxpayers wanted to remove the higher bills facing their children and grandchildren, they would now be paying around 30 per cent more in tax.

    So the answer is increase taxation now and stop pussy footing around.

  • Comment number 60.

    as a second generation ex RAF Serviceman I find the suggestions that we should either scrap the RAF or merge the RAF and the Navy extremely objectionable. Where would we have been in the 1940's without an Airforce? we'd all now be speaking German oh wait a minute I do speak German hmmm

  • Comment number 61.

    John Stratford says "Allow Wales, Scotland & NI to go their own ways with complete independence. Thereafter focus on England for the English thereby saving the disproportionate cost of these three continually dissatisfied and moaning nations. Of course, real independence would terrify them. Imagine having to stand on your own two feet?"

    How would you know John? You have never experinced real independence yourself. In any case the only possible option for England is to secede from the Union leaving Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as the continuing United Kingdom. Then we would no longer be dissatisfied and would have so much less to moan about.

  • Comment number 62.

    I note that many of the offerings in response to this question are from, how shall I put it, 'people with extremist views'.

    I have two thoughts on this:

    1. I would like to read what they have to say when the poor sad souls wake up one morning to discover that the cuts have directly affected them.

    2. Are these the very same people who are being handed real power by David Cameron under his Saul Alinsky, Philip Blond 'Big Society' community distributism? If this is the case, I think we will all wake up one morning to discover that England has become a nasty little Poujadist country based on small communities virulently excluding everyone who doesn't conform to a localist isolationist mindset. If you doubt what I am saying just look these people upon the internet. Oh, and while you are doing that check out G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc. I assure you, there are some very strange strands woven into the 'Big Society' project, with the pursuit of a policy aimed at attacking both capitalism and socialism leading some of its advocates into a wish to return to a kind of Medieval Guild system, to replace Trades Unions, and a yearning for the Arts and Crafts movement.

  • Comment number 63.

    Here's a good solution:

    The national debt is ultimately held by individuals. Some of these individuals must be susceptible to snobbery.
    Give them a peerage and a ticket to Ascot, Henley and Wimbers (Royal enclosures, nach).
    Make sure their wife knows before they're allowed to answer.
    Make sure Her Maj knows their first names and let their kids go to the appropriate school.
    Then, have a quiet word about forgetting the inconvenient debt.

    Well, it's how the country's been governed for centuries, isn't it?

  • Comment number 64.

    27. At 09:42am on 27 Jul 2010, Syni_cal wrote:
    19. At 08:45am on 27 Jul 2010, Have your say Rejected wrote:

    get rid of the useless BBC moderators...

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Not good enough, getting rid of the BBC might work.

    ----------------------------------------------

    Think about it...

    Where would you air your whining then?

    You would have no purpose in life if we got rid of the BBC or sacked the mods.

    Is that really what you want?

  • Comment number 65.

    12. At 05:09am on 27 Jul 2010, James wrote:
    1: Immediate and unconditional withdrawal from the EU,
    2: Immediate and unconditional withdrawal of our armed forces in those illegal wars in which Tony Blair led us and Gordon Brown said he supported and then deliberately underfunded, regardless of the loss of life his actions entailed,
    3: Savage cut backs on the non-value-add civil service jobs created by Nu-Labor in their vain attempts to buy votes and reduce the unemployment statistics,
    4: Immediate cessation of all immigration into the UK, together with immediate, no appeal, repatriation of all those already here and seeking to stay, and
    5: Immediate cancellation of 'the right to claim benefits' from the state.


    A question or two for you James...

    re your point 4, how far back would you intend to go in terms of those immigrants already here... what is your family history, where did they originally hail from? Do you believe here are actually any indigenous Britains still around?

    Re point 5, what about those people like me who have been paying tax and national insurance for a few decades now, and would expect to be able to claim should we fall on hard times...as we put the money into the kitty in the first place.

  • Comment number 66.

    5. At 01:58am on 27 Jul 2010, hubert huzzah wrote:

    Recover the deficit from the banks. They created it.

    Could not agree more. Why are the poorest members of society losing out on services to there community and cut backs, when it is the banks that created this problem in the first place?

  • Comment number 67.

    Commentor, jaywat no: 14, complains of ignorant extremist morons, he also comments...

    "I don't want to contribute anything at all to a society I don't feel part of."

    "Also, I really hope you lose your job in the near future '"

    Both not too moderate views, when he get going, he blows his top like all the rest of us...

  • Comment number 68.

    To save REAL Money.

    Make all of Westminster Government a Charity Foundation so that everyone that Works anywhere within can only Work for FREE.

    This would include, ALL: Civil Servants, MPs' and the Prime Minister, working FREE for Big Society.

  • Comment number 69.

    There's a hole in my budget
    dear Cleggy, dear Cleggy
    There's a hole in my budget
    dear Cleggy a hole

    Then fix it
    dear Cammy, dear Cammy
    then fix it dear Cammy
    dear Cammy
    Fix it

    With what shall I fix it
    dear Cleggy, dear Cleggy
    with what shall I fix it
    Dear Cleggy
    with what?

    With expenditure, dear Cammy
    dear Cammy, with expenditure
    dear cammy, with expenditure

    But expenditure is too big
    dear Cleggy, dear Cleggy
    but expenditure is too big
    dear Cleggy, too big!

    Then Cut it
    dear Cammy, dear Cammy
    then Cut it, dear Cammy
    Cut It

    But where shall I cut it
    dear Cleggy, dear Cleggy
    but where shall I cut
    dear Cleggy, but Where?

    Where it hurts
    dear Cammy, dear Cammy
    Where it Hurts
    dear CammY
    where it hurts

    But that will be unpopular
    dear Cleggy, dear cleggy
    but that will be unpopular
    dear Cleggy
    Unpopular

    But we're in for five years
    dear Cammy, dear Cammy
    but we're in for five years
    dear Cammy
    Five years!

  • Comment number 70.

    Cut the deficit.
    Simple! Make everyone pay the correct amount of tax and imprison any accountant found abetting people in tax avoidance.
    Maybe then the rest of us on simple PAYE can rest easy in our beds knowing that everyone is playing their part in supporting our public services.
    In my life experience it is often those who avoid paying tax who carp on most about the cost of public services while doing their utmost to avoid paying for them.

  • Comment number 71.

    Restrict benefits to those that need them... All child benefits to be paid for 2 births only, concurrently. i.e. if you have two lots of twins that's fate and you get Child benefits. Have 4 singletons and you only get paid for two. And only to those earning a lower wage.

    Connect the PAYEtax system to the Benefits system. How can people claiming benefit work for reputable companies correctly filing tax details?!?!?!

    MAKE criminals pay their fines. There are billions owed but not collected. Whyever not?!?!?! If it costs to collect then add the costs to the fines!

    Make criminals work to earn what they use. Increase pay for Prison service and reduce amount spent on prisoners - no, I don't work in the PS!

    Make the banks pay more in tax on profit. They may have paid back much of the money loaned but their idiocy caused the problems that brought down the economy.

  • Comment number 72.

    How about we stop paying teachers to sit at home for 6 weeks in the summer and pay them only 4-5 weeks holiday time a year like the majority of the country gets! Either they work at least half of the summer break in school or take it as unpaid leave (just like us people in the real world have to).

  • Comment number 73.

    Shrink government and encourage new businesses. As for taxing graduates, it should be the other way around, graduates generate income for UK plc so I propose we tax non graduates to pay for the enterprising.

  • Comment number 74.

    All immigrants made to have the means to pay for housing, health care and any other freebies they get at present. Also ban them from bringing over relatives. Asylum seekers sent back to the nearest safe country from which they came as per the conventions.
    Give up on the olympics where the money could be better spent.

  • Comment number 75.

    PS STOP giving money in aid etc abroad. It hasnt worked so lets give it to our poor, who relitively, are far worse off than those in developing nations.

    Also stop giving our cash to nations to bring them upto our western standards. With climate change being high on the agenda surely the last thing we want is these countries becoming industrialised and what they don't have they won't miss.

  • Comment number 76.

    We spend £2 billion on the lottery, enough to fund the olympics, and the rich spend their money on flash cars they cannot drive fast, multiple houses that they can only live in one at a time and stupid modern fashion.

    Reverse thirty years of TINA (There Is No Alternative) and raise tax on income. If we had had a couple of pence in the pound on income tax for the last thirty years we would have a surplus not a deficit.

    The answer is stairing us in the face, but we refuse to accept it.

    Just the same way as a fat person will deny over-eating is the cause of their obesity, lets stop denying that it is our fault and start to do the unthinkable.




  • Comment number 77.

    Charge banks £1m for every letter they send out.

  • Comment number 78.

    Well said HaveyoursayRejected. After nearly a lifetime of opposing the legalisation of drugs I am coming round to a different opinion. The cost of mopping up the problems drug dependency causes, the chaotic lifestyles of users and their families and the hellish wake users leave in their frenzy to raise cash for their next fix all have huge negative impacts upon society. Surely giving clean legal highs to those who want them (whilst yes a bit of a cop out)is a pragmatic response to a pernicious evil which also feeds the flash (but ultimately futile and short lived)lifestyle of thousands of low life criminals countrywide. I appreciate this may mean less sales of those big black SUV's so beloved of the drug lords - but hey you can't have everything.

    17. At 08:43am on 27 Jul 2010, Have your say Rejected wrote:

    legalise drugs, pls, you removed this comment yesterday, can beeb explain why this is breaking house rules, by suggesting legalising drugs. It's not illegal to suggest a change in the drug laws, neither is it offensive nor is it off topic, in fact this is very ON topic. do I need to explain how drug legalisation would cut the deficit??? Law and order costs, health, it could actually bring in revenue in the form of taxation, as far as I can see it this is very on topic.

  • Comment number 79.

    Impose a Robin hood tax to deal with the debt situation, after all it was gambling in the Banks and City that caused it. Then we would not need any cuts at all. Keep people in jobs - it does not matter if they are council jobs or private. Do away with political ideology. If you have a system that allows speculation to accumulate vast wealth whilst penalising those who did not cause the reccession then you might be causing the next disaster. Its hardly a democracy in any case.

    Regulate financial markets and make the wealth generated for all national needs, defence, education, fighting poverty, health, job creation etc etc etc.




    Above all get this 'coalition' to resign....they ARE faceless capitalism.

  • Comment number 80.

    Michael Lloyd laughably claims: "I am not a socialist and my views tend to the right ..."

    Sure,Michael. I have a bridge I'm not using, in which you might be interested.

    Perhaps because such people are so blatantly greedy and show so remarkably little interest in their country and their fellow men. Look at some cases of successful people - they want to force their workers to work for the lowest possible wage, while they award themselves huge bonuses and a lifestyle which is unbelievably removed from that of most people. Want a couple of instances? A man who makes a famous vacuum cleaner, unable to pay less than the minimum wage, shifted production overseas. He and his shareholders increase their take, but people in this country who did the actual work of making the things are thrown on the dole for the taxpayer to support. Is that something to admire?"

    In short, Yes! We all want, for a given quality, the cheapest vacuum cleaner possible. That is more likely to be if the assembly is done in China, than in the UK. If you want to compete in the vacuum cleaner business using expensive UK labour, go right ahead. You'll soon join your ex-workers in the dole queue.

    "The there was the equally well-known operator of transatlantic holidays (and records, and the internet, and digital TV, and railway "services" and anything else he can get his greedy hands on) who in recent memory told the people who staff his airlines to take a pay cut or he would sack them and get someone else.

    Good for him. Willie Walsh should take a leaf.

    "For all their good ideas, "successful" people depend on many other people to bring their ideas to fruition. They then treat these other people like dirt while increasing their own take from their businesses."

    Rubbish. We all depend on each other for services we cannot (or, after Ricardo) should not do. Generally, we want the cheapest price for a given quality level.

    "Then there is the immediate rush to put their finances offshore so they make no contribution to this nation. Who can forget the man who proudly boasted that his cleaner paid more tax than he did?"

    Go ahead. Change the rules. Watch the bankers leave for Switzerland. Lose 10% of GDP, and 15% of the tax take from UK-generated income.

    " ... but the sheer naked greed of many 'sucessful' people is just not acceptable when so many of the people who make their dream reality are treated like dirt."

    Puhleeze! I do believe I detect envy,

  • Comment number 81.

    John McCormick writes: "My Dad is then to be sent round to each one, giving lectures on what life was like in the 40s & 50s. That's just because I'm vindictive - not because I think it would do any good."

    ROTFL!

    You never know though...

  • Comment number 82.

    In addition to a global tobin tax

    (1) Impose VAT on newspapers and magazines (A newspaper should be a medium that conveys news facts to the readers, many of today's papers would be better defined as "big business propaganda papers"
    (2) No Fertility treatment or viagra on NHS
    (3) Empty prisons by imposing large fines on all but dangerously violent criminals
    (4) Send violent criminals to prison camps overseas (eg China) to live at no cost to the UK taxpayer
    (5) Retirement age to rise in line with life expectancy
    (6) Use speed cameras to raise revenue but make sure speed limits are set at a reasonable level for the road concerned. All qualified drivers should be able to avoid fines if they want to by driving within the speedlimit)

  • Comment number 83.

    So where is the money wasted in public services? Certainly not at the sharp end!

    The whole of central government, the back room paper pushers, whitehall et all need a total revamp. Thats where the cuts need to be made. The idiotic beaurocracy, red tape and above all else, micro-management, is wasting billions.

    The Treasury is to blame for this with it's insistence on proving value for money. A good idea but now mired in a tick box, red taped, bloated culture that has as many people employed to produce audit trails as there are actually serving the public face to face.

    As my login suggests, I work in public service. I have seen decades of cutbacks. I see less and less frontline staff and more backroom bods. I am now told that we are no longer aiming for a gold standard of service but a bronze standard. I despair!

  • Comment number 84.

    AGnomeCalledJimmy wrote: "Last factoid: In Singapore, over 50% of the government are qualified in Engineering and Science related subjects - subjects that all deal with hard facts, truth and the reality of things. OTher than perhaps 2 MPs out of our hundreds, the entirety of the Brit government is made up of graduates of subjects like Law and the Arts - subjects where you can pretty much believe whatever you want."

    And they do.

    Or else they have no idea what to believe, and--since checking reality is not in their bones--they'll want to have a deba'e (*) about it, because they believe passionately in the subject and they've been working very very hard.

    Get it through your thick heads: I DON'T CARE. I want objectively verifiable results. Anything else is, by definition, a waste of money.

    (*) Where do they keep all their t's, anyway?

  • Comment number 85.

    I see that JohnH is face-to-face with the second step ...

    "The answer is stairing us in the face, but we refuse to accept it."

  • Comment number 86.

    I would be tempted to ignore the deficit as such, and concentrate on measures that will make the money to pay it off. Rather than penalise those who make wealth we need a long term Tax structure that encourages investment, that rebuilds the country and stops the short term-ism, from ALL Parties, that so damages the UK.
    At present we have a Boy Wonder practising schoolboy economics to balance the tuck shop books whilst the customers are driven away to other schools by rising fees and an uncertain future.

  • Comment number 87.

    No state benefit to lat for more than 6 months.
    No multi million pound spending on sport/football/rugby/ stadia etc
    No more funding the BBC to send 100+ persons to every event
    No-one takes from the pot - if they have never put in. Your contributions in tax, NI etc should be the meximum you can take back, whatever the circumstances.
    No NHS treatment unless you can prove you are legal in UK, and have insurance if you are visitor
    Get out of the EU-we traded well before it - we will trade better without it.
    No more foreign aid. Until we have put our own house in order - we ant halp people to sort theirs.
    No jobs should pay a bonus (or whatever it will change it's name to). The salary should be enough reward for someone to do their job well.
    As Scotland has it's own parliament - then it should fund itself
    Stop paying towards childcare - I had children and stopped work to look after them- and scraped by. Why should I pay for childcare for yours.
    Reas what is on this comment, and all the others that have been put on this question, and many others worded differently





  • Comment number 88.

    Cut the House of Commons to no more than 200 MP's and no mopre than say 21 Cllrs tio run any Local Authority.

  • Comment number 89.

    Scrap Trident system and instead build a bomb that can be dropped from a plane on any state that fired at us first, make it known that we retain nuclear capability.

  • Comment number 90.

    Tax the gazillionaires and if they don't pay up put them in jail and seize all their assets. And charge them a daily rate for bed and breakfast.

    Then abolish trident and downsize the military.

    And stop wasting money on things like "Armed Forces Day"

    End of problem

  • Comment number 91.

    I would look at everything, one thing I would look at is the welfare budget, £1000 a week or more for housing plus council benefit. If a normal wealthy person could not pay this amount then why should an asylum seeker or anyone else receiving benefits pay this at our expense.
    I would make sure that those coming in to this country could find work and not immediatly sign on to welfare.
    That is one cut that Osbourne should be looking at as well as making sure that any other welfare benefit payed out is valid.

  • Comment number 92.

    At 01:58am on 27 Jul 2010, hubert huzzah wrote:
    "Recover the deficit from the banks. They created it."

    A convenient myth. The banks didn't hire millions of public sector workers to do unnecessary jobs ; nor did they allow the explosion in disability and housing benefit recipients ; they didn't double the NHS budget or negotiate the new GP contracts ; they didn't oversee wasteful computerisation and infrastructure contracts to name just a few of the reasons we are in this mess. Gordon Brown was responsible for these and many other mistakes. I would put him on trial for wilful mismanagement of taxpayers' money. The banks may have leant unwisely , but Gordon Brown was telling people that property had never been so affordable.

  • Comment number 93.

    MP's will be breaking up for the summer today, but when they return they will still face the £156 billion deficit which hangs over Britain.

    They will FACTUALLY be facing MUCH more than that.

    They will be facing further amounts over coming years, they will also be facing deficits of previous years, the total AMOUNT OWED of which stands at around £925BILLION, and NOT just £156billion.

    On top of this, there is the "unofficial" deficit/public debt of a FURTHER £800BILLION, which was raised to bail out UK banks, and of which £285 billion is due for repayment later this year but in which with evidence of banks NON-ability to raise this amount the banks CANNOT afford to pay back this amount in full, possibly resulting in a roll-over of at least £140BILLION of this amount, if not more.

    Then with our army experiencing its HIGHEST PROLONGED casualty rate in this Afganistan war, I am sure that in both these there is nothing of real genuine importance in which to curtail the NEED for a Parliamentry break and HOLIDAYS for MPs, which of course we know are used for MUCH MORE VITAL PURPOSES.

    My personal hope, is that while Parliament is closed, it actually somehow falls down. If such incidents/issues of NATIONAL importance as exist at present are NOT sufficient for a revision and curtailment of this "break up" then in my view Parliament itself is NOT fit for purpose and might as well be turned into firewood and burned at the nearest incinerator.

    Though I am sure that Government ministers etc would argue the point that their foreign visits and holidays ect are with merit and utmost importance.

    EMERGENCY- WHAT NATIONAL EMERGENCY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 94.

    Hi, MellorSJ of #81.
    You haven't heard my Dad's tales of the 40's.
    He's watched nothing made since 1981 and thinks everyone under 60 should be disenfranchised.
    He'd be outlawed by the geneva convention if they knew.

    The only thing he regards as REALLY important these days are his grandchildren.

    Maybe you're right after all.

  • Comment number 95.

    In Lincolnshire both the council and the Health Trusts often hold meetings in private venues. They both use the most expensive venues when often much cheaper venues are available just minutes away.
    In Sleaford one of the most expensive venues in the county is booked up with health and council meetings. By moving to a perfectly adequate venue just five minutes away huge amounts of money could be saved.
    I think that a limit should be put on how much they are allowed to spend public mooney on in booking venues and should be made to book the cheaper venues.

  • Comment number 96.

    I reckon government should put 50% tax on all meat food and remove the tax on flowers, namely Lupins, then we could all live more healthier lives which would in itself contribute substantially via lower health costs.

    They did all right in Monty pythons, except the cat!!!!!

  • Comment number 97.

    Grrr. Every time I try to have a laugh someone makes my blood boil.
    #87.
    If you can't receive benefits if you haven't put into the pot then that's sick and prem babies left to die for starters.
    The severely disabled left like Romanian Orphans.
    The blind & deaf advised of excellent begging opportunities in Leicester square.

    And then setting a ceiling on how much you can take back! Are you insane? "Sorry - we have to stop treating your cancer - you've reached your contribution limit". And do you apply this "Logic" to jailed criminals? "We're letting you out now because you're previous NI doesn't cover a life sentence".

    No state benefit for more than 6 months. I assume you;ve thought that one through, then? Wounded soldiers on incapacity benefit, e.g.? Pensioners who've contributed to the UK all their lives collecting their state pensions?

    I'm not saying I'm for or agin the EU; but the given reason for joining was that the empire was no longer sufficient and we needed another trading bloc. Ergo, it would be rather difficult to justify your argument that we could simply restore what we had before.

    You even admit you stopped working to look after your own - and I say well done as it happens - but did you receive benefits lasting more than 6 months in that time; without contributing? It sounds like you did. That would be free children's prescriptions, healthcare, dentistry; child benefit, specs, vaccinations, schooling, & etc.

    Look, it's easy to see abuses that make you mad; or get carried away by a newspaper headline - but don't go thinking that abuse is typical or that journalists tell the truth all the time.

  • Comment number 98.

    I'd stop giving the tax breaks to landlords on their rental income. Because it means for ever £60 I can afford to pay for a home, a LL can pay £100.
    This measure would bring down the price of homes to levels most people could afford, and put more cash in everyones pocket for higher taxes to get rid of the deficit and would create higher private spending and saving with a 3x multiplier effect on GDP. At current levels thats over £105 billion pa added to GDP of which about £40 billion would end up as tax to the govt.
    The other side of this is the Mortgage Backed Securities and their derivatives the banks create would be genuine AAA rated securities and could be held comfortably by banks as assets to back lending.

    Feckless govt spending is a small part of what created the deficit. The business and tax structures of our economy created by govt legislation or the lack of it, are the real cause. Sacking thousands of public servants and cutting back on all the services the public service provides won't solve the cause. So far this govt hasn't been willing to take the steps needed to let our economy fly.

    Take the 'Forgemasters' loan. I completely agree that this loan should be made by a bank. But it wasn't because banks in the UK are set up for mortgage lending not business lending. To change that means changing taxes and laws. 'Forgemasters' is just one of thousands. In the 60s a UK owned car industry competed with germany's. Now we don't have one.

    The changes we need to make to tax and law have been needed for decades. Other countries get it right, we can too.

  • Comment number 99.

    Although it will be controversial to some I think we should not be encouraging those who cannot afford children or prefer a lifestyle of benefits not work.

    If benefit was only given to those with a maximum of three children then those who cannot afford them without state aid may think carefully whether or not they really want children so much they will bring them into the world without it.

  • Comment number 100.

    AnarchoLibertarian writes: "A convenient myth. The banks didn't hire millions of public sector workers to do unnecessary jobs ; nor did they allow the explosion in disability and housing benefit recipients ; they didn't double the NHS budget or negotiate the new GP contracts ; they didn't oversee wasteful computerisation and infrastructure contracts to name just a few of the reasons we are in this mess. Gordon Brown was responsible for these and many other mistakes. I would put him on trial for wilful mismanagement of taxpayers' money. The banks may have leant unwisely , but Gordon Brown was telling people that property had never been so affordable."

    Come off it. You'll never sell that line. The sheeple have been deluded by our politicians and our press. Plus, they are _determined_ to have a scapegoat.

    Never mind the % of GDP that banking represents. Never mind the larger percentage bankers paid in taxes. Nooooo! We're all too busy trying to throw sand in the wheels of finance through a Tobin tax. We're all too busy telling banks to lend (no matter how bad the risk in this economy.) We're all too busy telling the banks to recapitalize--even though that contradicts the previous goal.

    Nah. When you have a scapegoat, the facts simply are not relevant. Give it up anarcho! Every other posts blames the banks. Who are you to deny the sheeple their fresh meat?

 

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