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Is there an alternative to spending cuts?

08:56 UK time, Monday, 13 September 2010

British union delegates have backed joint industrial action if "attacks" on jobs, pensions and public services go ahead. Is there a better way to tackle the deficit?

Representatives at the TUC conference in Manchester supported a motion which included calls to build "a broad solidarity alliance of unions and communities under threat".

General secretary Brendan Barber warned that big cuts would make Britain a "dark, brutish and more frightening place".

Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers' (RMT) leader Bob Crow has called for a campaign of "civil disobedience" but Mr Barber told the BBC he thought that was "counter-productive".

Do you agree with the unions' plans? What other measures would you suggest to tackle the economic deficit? Would more investment help the UK economy? Are you a delegate at this week's TUC conference?

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

Comments

Page 1 of 18

  • Comment number 1.

    We cannot sustain the level of public spending to which we became accustomed under Blair and Brown. There must be cuts, especially in costs associated with administration. Everything is too top heavy.

  • Comment number 2.

    Is there an alternative to spending cuts?

    Well we could stick our fingers in ears, sing la-la-la and carry on spending exactly the same money on public services as we do now.

    OK we'd run up a higher national debt than the average banana republic, but at least the unions would be happy.

    With any joy the Germans might give us Greek style bail out before the international debt collectors turn up to kneecap the country...

  • Comment number 3.

    How about forcing the wealthiest to pay their way? How about devoting time and energy trying to reclaim the billions lost to the Treasury every year through tax avoidance/evasion?

    No. This government would rather kick the poor.

  • Comment number 4.

    I have not been convinced, so far,there is. The Trade Union have not given in detail how much and where they would save money. If we are living above our means we need to re-adjust the situation however painful. At the moment the Unions just appear to be causing as much civil disruption as possible - is there any thought at all of pulling together as a society??

  • Comment number 5.

    Ah the Unions have spoken, the same unions who promote laziness, incompetence and strife. The Unions, whose answer to everything is to strike.

    If the Tories had done their homework, they'd know in order to achieve the massive reduction in the deficit required to save the nation, all they need is to cut the waste, and there is plenty off it. By doing so, no front line services would need to be cut.

  • Comment number 6.

    What the unions fail to recognise is that there are few public services that are fit for purpose. The public don't want them defending, they want them improving.

    Strike action will hit the poor hardest by delaying payments and stopping public transport so strike action is hypocritical.

    If the unions think bankers are soleley to blame for the crisis they are living in cloud cuckoo land. They funded a government that brought the crisis through reckless spending and lax financial regulation.

    Unions say that cuts can be avoided by taxing bankers more. To fill that black hole means bankers paying £3bn a WEEK in tax. Good luck to the unions in getting that money.

    Trades Unions are dinosaurs that are dying out. They should learn from the miners, car workers and ship yards. Militancy wins short term gains at the expense of long term extinction.

  • Comment number 7.

    I thought Brendan Barber's performance on Breakfast was poor. His failure was not what he was trying to say but the way he said it. Sian was almost being kind for fear of walking all over him! Yes there are serious alternatives particularly investing in infrastructure. For example if the government cancelled Crossrail or walked away from High Speed rail they would save money but they would handicap future generations irrevocably. Yes new Schools and Motorways are needed too but above all we need someone articulate enough to present the case properly!

  • Comment number 8.

    Stop state pension.
    Stop all benefits for the elderly.
    Saves money for the NHS, frees up housing.
    Thereby reducing the deficit.
    I'm not interested that they may have paid NI - sacrifices have to be made.

  • Comment number 9.

    The 20% to 40% cost savings can be achieved if public sector workers stop working for 1 or 2 days each week.

  • Comment number 10.

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

  • Comment number 11.

    A message to the TUC politburo: your ruse has been exposed. Fewer public sector employees simply means fewer union subscriptions resulting in reduced influence for TUC to affect policy making and ultimately
    less money in the pot to fund the six figure salaries and packages for parasitic union barons that many a city banker would even baulk at. The same organisations now awash with their legendary humbug that are now also in denial like the political organisation they bankrolled, The Labour Party largely responsible for creating the economic disaster with which we’re now faced.

    All we await now is the sight of the usual unfortunate tetraplegic being wheeled out as the ‘typical’ example of those on disability benefits when the reality is everyone knows many of those simply feign disability because the rewards are better than when claiming other comparable benefits. But if the benefits system and everything else about this shambolic country including hypocritical Trades Unions is farcical, just who’d blame them?

  • Comment number 12.

    No - and as a trades union member, I shall be fighting hard for the Coalition, not the unions.

    If you are spending 25% more than you are earning, you have to cut back. Any other course of action is suicide. The union leaders may want to bury their heads in the sand like ostriches and pretend the problem will go away, but some of their members have more sense. It will be painful, but blame Labour for taking the easy option for too long when times were good.

  • Comment number 13.

    Yes there is an alternative to straight spending cuts. Investment combined with efficiency savings and prioritisation is the alternative. The coalition seems to think that the Canadian model of swinging cuts is the answer, but of course this is not Canada of the late 1990s. Canada was surrounded by buoyant economies so the private sector could fill the employment gap. The UK is surrounded by a shrinking market and flat economies.

    The government strategy will seriously increase unemployment in both the public and private sector as cuts bite and demand for goods plummets. This will mean less tax revenue but increased expenditure to pay for unemployment. A second recession is very likely.

    The investment strategy would mean continued high levels of borrowing, but to offset this a growing economy with increased tax revenue and lower spending on unemployment. Also, a fact often ignored, is that the Labour government invested heavily in banks by purchasing shares as part of the rescue package. As banks move back into profit our investment will be paid back. The original cause of the deficit will diminish.

    The current government seems to think that the markets will punish us if we do not have a credible means of reducing the deficit. I agree. However the markets will soon come to see as our economy shrinks further that the coalition strategy will actually increase our deficit. If that happens, with a weakening economy then we do begin to look like another Greece.

  • Comment number 14.

    Question. What do you call 50,000 civil and public servants joining the ranks of the unemployed. An essential step in the right direction.

  • Comment number 15.

    Regardless of your position on the cuts, Bob Crow calling for a campaign of "civil disobedience" is absolutely disgusting.

    Don't agree with something? As an adult you have to do something called not throwing your dummy out of the pram. The currently level of spending is unsustainable. Making cuts is an attempt to bring that deficit back into check. Even if I didn't agree with this action (which to an extent I do), I certainly wouldn't protest against it by attacking the customers of the services I claim to represent.

    Bob - the political points you score are worth jack-all in terms of the cost of the average guy just trying to get to work.

  • Comment number 16.

    3. At 09:15am on 13 Sep 2010, RadialSymmetry wrote:
    How about forcing the wealthiest to pay their way? How about devoting time and energy trying to reclaim the billions lost to the Treasury every year through tax avoidance/evasion?

    No. This government would rather kick the poor.
    ###############################################################

    The deficit is due to one woman TINA, (There Is No Alternative).

    Thirty years of too low taxation and contiued expectation of good public services by those who benefited have resulted in government overspending.

    If your family borrowed and then spent too much on holidays, meals out, entertainment, fashionable clothes etc, yes you could cut your spending. But the easiest method is to put aside money and only spend when you have enough.

    Its not just the rich who have to be taxed, they didn't get rich by accident. Most are very clever at earning money and avoiding paying their way. If you raise the tax they pay they will just take more to leave them with the same.

    Ordinary people, those who pay PAYE, if they had paid a couple of more pence in the pound in income tax would have soon eradicate the deficit.

    The trouble is the average toree would rather eat their own children than even talk about tax.

    Thrity years of TINA and governments still will not touch public services that are politically sensetive, (e.g. milk for under-5's).

    So there are alternatives, kill TINA, before she kills us.






  • Comment number 17.

    The TUC's position is short-termist and driven by ideology rather than pragmatism. Just like the government's.

    Yes we need some cuts, but we need to be thinking about where we're going to be in twenty years and beyond, not just the next few years. All the government seem to care about is cutting the defecit ASAP and to hell with the consequences, whilst the Unions are mirroring that with protecting all jobs, and to hell with the consequences.

    Two examples.

    Almost everyone is in agreement that our public sector is top heavy with bureaucracy. Bureaucracy has its own inherent costs but also holds back others from doing their jobs as efficiently. Some of it has to go - and sorry TUC, that means redundancies.

    And then we have the research sector. Despite claiming to agree with the opinion of the OECD and most other countries that for long-term economic competitiveness we should increase Science and Technology spending, the once wise Vince Cable has announced plans to cut it. Sure we'll save a bob or two now, but in a decade or so we'll be struggling to compete. It's madness.

    It's just all myopic and stupid. The banks' promotion of short-term profits over long-term sustainability, plus the failure of the last government to think ahead and save are what got us here. PLEASE let's learn something from this AND MAKE SOME SENSIBLE LONG-TERM PLANS.

  • Comment number 18.


    Rationalisation is a normal exercise to complete but the trouble here is that serious cuts are being enforced with a back drop of the elite banking networks walking off with all the wealth and it looks like this cycle is set to repeat again and again at the expense of normal working folk.

    Greed needs to be eliminated from the "high" end of society and with the current lot, predictably its not looking too good so far.

    We need to re-invent the concept of money so that it cannot be so blatantly abused by criminals.

  • Comment number 19.

    At 09:15am on 13 Sep 2010, RadialSymmetry wrote:
    "How about forcing the wealthiest to pay their way? How about devoting time and energy trying to reclaim the billions lost to the Treasury every year through tax avoidance/evasion?

    No. This government would rather kick the poor."

    Firstly, benefit fraud and council tax avoidance is a bigger issue than corporate tax avoidance.

    Secondly, why should the wealthiest pay even more? I'm not wealthy but I fail to see how penalising people for being successful does anything to help. This will only serve to drive them away and given that they are usually employers, that would lead to greater job losses.

    The only solution is to reduce the deficit and the overbloated public sector. The unions have yet to come up with a sensible alternative.



  • Comment number 20.

    One thing I have not seen mentioned are the millions given to organised religions in this country in the form of tax breaks and even direct payments, through public sector chaplains and the like. I have not seen a word about cuts in that field.

    We can save money in several ways without cutting services. Get rid of all interpretation services in the public sector. Restrict legal aid to one criminal case every ten years. Simplify tax and close all loopholes. Abolish free school education and child benefit. Make it a legal requirement that NHS workers must ensure that users are actually british and entitled to use the service. Thats how to cut spending.

  • Comment number 21.

    3. At 09:15am on 13 Sep 2010, RadialSymmetry wrote:

    How about forcing the wealthiest to pay their way?


    They already do. The top 1% earners pay 24.1% of all income tax according to the BBC, and the top 10% pay 53.3%.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8417205.stm

  • Comment number 22.

    There is so much waste in local and national government, and such high dependency culture, it is clear that massive cuts can be made without hurting anyone. It is also clear that the government should be clamping down on tax evasion, though. But for waste which could be cut ...

    Council waste and wasters - our council is typical. It is spending millions on stupid road projects, poorly managed services, consultancy fees, housing, infracstructure and other plans which never actually materialise.

    Welfare dependency - look at all those large families, much larger than those who work can afford, who live purely on benefits

    The BBC - it is massively wasteful, and could clearly sack, for example, half the presenters, all the weather forecasters and, no doubt, most of its management, without impinging on output quality.

    Housing benefits - remember those stories about, for example, immigrants living in benefits funded luxury housing.

    The race relations industry

    Some universal benefits.

    There is very clearly room for cuts which hurt no one who matters, and make no difference to the general public.

    There should be very generous benefits for those who genuinely need them - teenage girls and others who choose to use child production as a route to a life on benefits do not count among them.




  • Comment number 23.

    I wondered if this was going to happen.

    Actually, no. That's a lie.

    I KNEW this was going to happen, I just wondered WHEN it was going to happen.

    Class War™ is back.

    You remember Class War™, don't you? It's the idea that the lower classes can take out their frustration on the middle classes, and anyone other than the upper classes will be the beneficiary.

    Been there in the 80s. Forgive me if I'm not excited about the prospect of going through that again.

  • Comment number 24.

    Firstly - The Government hasn't announced the results of the Spending Review yet and secondly Labour and the Unions LOST the argument at the General Election! You can't keep spending to get your self out of financial trouble, you start having to make cuts!
    And as for strikes! Who are the unions going to hurst most - yes, the people they claim to be trying to protect! Unions should go back to doing what they do best, representing and protecting the individual in the workplace!

  • Comment number 25.

    Perhaps it would be better to analyse where 'deficits' come from, and what our situation would have been had the financial markets not engineered their own collapse. With a growing economy 'deficits' are maintained as a means of diversifying growth areas thus insuring against 'sudden collapses'. The fact is the money markets and the people who run them now want to recover what they lost in the collapse they engineered, and they'll make 'deficit' sound threatening at any cost. But deficits are only important if you make them important and that requires you to have an agenda. So what can the agenda be?

    The UK is not going to grow by paying back money it hasn't got to pay back, it is simply going to hit the buffers twice as hard eventually. We have to invest in output potential, jobs producing and earning in many different areas, not just as a service economy. We are declining into a one trick pony with zero innovation, zero creativity and zero potential.

    What is better a future with a controlled deficit and prospects for the vast majority, or no deficit and no future for the vast majority of people? There'll be huge gates and walls around "pockets of wealth" keeping scavengers out. And who will the scavengers be? Is that what people want, really?

  • Comment number 26.

    We (or Gordon Broon) have spent too much. We are overdrawn and still we are spending to much. This is a stupid question, what we have to do is spend less money. A lot less money; so much that we pay back what we owe. Unless the TUC has any ideas how we can spend less and not cut back they should be quiet and stop causing trouble. Like religion, the unions have also had their day. The words 'chocolate' and 'teapot' spring to mind as adequate description of the help the union gave me when I was made redundant.

  • Comment number 27.

    Of course we need spending cuts, the country cannot afford to feed the ever increasing demands from the open maw of the public services. As for the unions, they are now trying to creep out of the woodwork where they have been hiding since Thatcher thrashed them into submission. The days of uneducated growling obese old union men holding the nation to ransom are over, but they can't seem to get it into their heads , and the union members can't seem to understand that the only people who benefit from trade unions nowadays are the trade union leaders.

  • Comment number 28.

    "Why should the british public suffer ANY cuts!!! cuts!!! cuts !!! The greedy Bankers have stolen our money !!! big business, and The tax dodgers' buy to let landlords, should pay much more tax than they do ? Just close a few loop holes Please ,we would soon have more than enough money to fix our school , roads, and N.H.S. service and created many new proper jobs ? not duff courses' by private companys with no job to go too, at the end { Waste of our tax money } for our young people 18 to 25yrs old. Give them a future. Not a life on benifits

  • Comment number 29.

    I really think the TUC bosses are just little men trying to flog a dead horse for their own egos. I don't like it much, but sorry, we have to cut. Simple maths.

  • Comment number 30.

    There is an incredible amount of waste to be trimmed from the public sector...too many middle managers whose sole objective is to ringfence their own positions and corrupt/nepotistic procurement activity to name but two. Anybody with a modicum of common sense can see that.
    As far as the unions are concerned; having worked in the shipbuilding industry when there still was one..run by and for losers.

  • Comment number 31.

    While understanding the need for cuts, my concern is by cutting the two aircraft carriers there could be no way back in terms of experience lost in running such large complicated ships and operating experience. Also why are we buying the aircraft for these ships from America, having watched our aircraft industry being desimated by the U.S surely we should be looking at the EU, where at least we would have some input in terms of employment and manufacturing of the aircraft, of this, we would get very little, if any, from across the pond!!

  • Comment number 32.

    What I simply cannot understand is that the USA and Britain both have large economies with large populations toiling away much harder than in many other countries. They bring in a large GDP per capita, and yet, we are being told that both are on the verge of bankruptcy? This simply isn't making sense. Both find billions to give to the banks (so that those poor chief executives don't have to run out of champagne stashed in their mansion cellars) and they also find billions to spend on a war fought under a pack of lies and which seems to benefit only a wealthy few, and yet they say the poor must suffer more!! This is ludicrous - the People demand and deserve a proper explanation of what 'evil' the ruling elite has been and is perpetrating. One solution would be to end their deluded dreams of Global domination, EUs and united currencies and the like, and focus on the People! Who is in charge? We are told that our own elected government has 'no legal power' to control our own borders!! Immigration, incidentally, can increase poverty as well as alleviate it (a well-documented FACT). Who is in charge? We are told that the poor must suffer, and yet the banks help themselves to our taxes!! We are told that the economy is in peril, and yet they spend billions on a Global Army that is constantly slaughtering countless thousands of innocents and legitimate combatants (aka 'militants' or 'terrorists' - naughty people protecting their homeland, they clearly must be terrorists!) with its very expensive war machines! What the heck is the point of this evil lunacy!? This is the cause of the problem! Ergo, the solution is clear - put an end to the stupid games the ruling elite are playing!

  • Comment number 33.

    The TUC plans are right, we need to protect the public sector. Without a public sector the whole country would grind to a halt with the most vulnerable affected the most.

    We need to increase taxes on the rich (in particular the bankers) and go after the tax evaders. If we do this we will not need to make these cuts.

  • Comment number 34.

    Ah, so Bob Crow wants civil disobedience?

    This is thug politics and the Unions once again telling people what to believe rather than bringing forth solutions.

    Blair was right to move his party away from the unions - pity he didn't move it further and isolate them more.

  • Comment number 35.

    No, we get the usual idiots saying tax the rich and chase those avoiding tax. These are a drop in the ocean.

    The state has grown too big and is out of control. If all the non-jobs are eliminated this goes some way to resolving the issue, but yes it does mean job losses. The previous government hid the real level of unemployment by creating non productive jobes in the public sector. These have to go.

  • Comment number 36.

    The TUC would be hilarious if it was not so damaging to his country. They supported a government which bankurpted Britain. Now another government is trying to repair the damage and what do they do? Threaten srikes. The fact is we had 13 years of a government making 'investments' rather than cuts. What did it result in? Growth? No, massive waste and the biggest recession since the war. The TUC should be reminded of that old adage which always comes true. 'The problem with socialism is you run out of other people's money.'

  • Comment number 37.

    Of course there is an alternative. The magic money tree. Labour's plans depended heavily on this and I can't see why we can't keep using it. Just go into the back garden at no. 11 Downing Street and harvest money from the tree to carry on paying for everything for ever.

  • Comment number 38.

    With the latest news that big bonuses are back on the agenda I am starting to agree with the unions.

    Investment in jobs is the only way, but real jobs that add to the GDP not the national expense. The only income from imported goods is import tax, sales tax, VAT and profit margin, none of which is any use to the people who want to work unless you work in the tax office or a shop.

    The main issue when the Banks were bailed out was to fund businesses, many business have still failed perhaps not their own fault, the banks are still in debt but paying big bonuses.

    And EVERY bank has been bailed out, the low interest rate they are enjoying is costing us £Billions. Which brings me to, put the national debt into the Government owned banks charge zero interest, instant £30 billion per annum saving. It's only paper money, at least the government can provide a bond that is worth something and the Banks get a cash injection from the payment returns, which is real money they can lend.

  • Comment number 39.

    as usual the truth lies somewhere between the extremes on here. True we cannot continue to operate at such a high deficit(however we do not need to eliminate the deficit, as long as we can afford to service the debt). There probably are efficiency savings which can be made in the public sector,but equally we can generate further income by abolishing tax loopholes and targeting tax avoidance. Governemnts need to invest in the infrastructure (health, roads, education etc) to enable the economy to grow, cutting in the wrong areas will damage this country in the future

  • Comment number 40.

    Is there an alternative to spending cuts?

    Well we could stick our fingers in ears, sing la-la-la and carry on spending exactly the same money on public services as we do now.

    OK we'd run up a higher national debt than the average banana republic, but at least the unions would be happy.

    With any joy the Germans might give us Greek style bail out before the international debt collectors turn up to kneecap the country...

    ----
    Alternatively we could target tax increases via a transaction tax at the multi millionaire incompetent bankers that got us into this problem, rather than pay cuts for Nurses ,care workers and street cleaners and mass redundancies amongst key workers and cuts in disability benefits for those least able to do anything about it..

    That isn't putting your fingers in your ears it is placing the cost of the global recession where it belongs while not allowing the significant improvement in public services achieved over the last 13 years to be merrily flushed down the toilet by a bunch of Public School Multimillionaire jokes.

  • Comment number 41.

    Certainly the BBC believe there to be an alternative to cuts. I understand that 400 BBC staff are to be used to cover the Pope's visit to the UK. Somewhat like to 200+ staff sent to cover Glastonbury, it shows that at the BBC, the idea of restraint doesn't exist. It's the public's money, so let's just spend it like it could never run out.

    So what's the secret BBC?

  • Comment number 42.

    i think that the mentally ill,people on anti-psychotics like risperdone should be on benefits and should`nt work.

  • Comment number 43.

    Polly Gone wrote

    'The UK is not going to grow by paying back money it hasn't got to pay back, it is simply going to hit the buffers twice as hard eventually. We have to invest in output potential.'

    This is the sort of nonsense which does not take into account the hard realities of the international market. If we don't pay back the billions Labour wasted we will get charged billions more for those loans and eventually our economy will be destroyed. We pay more in interest on the debt Labour ran up than we do on education. You can't invest if you don't have any money. Labour ran the economy on a credit card and unfortunately you have to settle up at some point - or just keep on paying extortionate interest until you are thrown out of your home.

  • Comment number 44.

    At 09:15am on 13 Sep 2010, RadialSymmetry wrote:
    How about forcing the wealthiest to pay their way? How about devoting time and energy trying to reclaim the billions lost to the Treasury every year through tax avoidance/evasion?

    No. This government would rather kick the poor.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Typical Socialist comment. How about some of the poorest in our society having the first thought about the rest of us having to pay for their actions? Thanks to people like you we don't just pay for the first child, we pay for the eight, ninth, tenth. Then we pay to move them into a bigger house. The Welfare State in its current form is an abomination that feeds the parasitic element and fails to adequately help those really in need.

    Laughably, as a 40% rate taxpayer with savings over the £16k threshold, the only state support I was eligible for after NHS negligence and incompetence was £70 per week. Most of which went straight back out to fund my Council Tax.

    So good luck to the rich who are avoiding paying tax. Given the state of the NHS, the education system, European Union funding, the Welfare State etc, it's just a complete waste of money anyway.

  • Comment number 45.

    In line with what is being said here, there is little to be done apart from reducing the structural deficit through severe cuts in public sector spending.

    Sometimes, it is perhaps forgotten that the recession may have been caused by some interesting banking practices, but they did not spend all the money. The boom years appear to have given Government (and a lot of people) the impression that there was loads of free money out there, which ought to be spent like it grows on trees. That was a ridiculous notion which the electorate did little to challenge (for understandable reason; we liked the services and extra bunce).

    Pay back is not a nice thing (putting it politely), but the matter has to be resolved. Labour apologists have no clue and no alternative. You cannot spend you way out of a debt (?). I suppose with holding public sector labour through strike action will save some money (Is that their way of helping? Nifty, if so.....), but suspect this archaic practice will simply just cause users of those services pain (i.e. the poorest people in society, if I understand recent rhetoric).

    I remain a very pragmatic voter (have never wedded myself to a party then ignored all the bad things they did, out of ideological ties). I am therefore surprised that the previous administration still are not held fully to account by the electorate for what they did to this country (who created the beast that is the HMRC? Who spent all the money? Who committed this tiny island and its excellent fighting forces to two land wars on the Asian sub-continent? Tax credits ('nuff said), PFI's (nuff 2)). Despite all that, they only just got booted out of power...I remain amazed.

    Finally (!), despite all the above, the Coalition have not impressed. It is an old, old saying that you measure twice, and cut once. 'Cut, cut, measure, cut again' is not really the way. They appear to be an occasionally unthinking bunch, and I suspect they are not fully aware of the consequences of their actions...but the spending reductions ARE necessary.

    The end (promise....).

  • Comment number 46.

    If Gordon Brown hadn't started "fudging" his "Golden Rule" in 2005 and had the sense to reign back on spending then things wouldn't be so bad now.

    As for the unions, OK lets carry on spending £155 billion more than we're earning and soon our interest payments will also force painful cuts.

    Personally I've in favour of cuts, plus some tax increasss too.

    Where to start - the £200 billion welfare budget.

    Brits not doing jobs they don't want to do MUST to something we never hear again.

  • Comment number 47.

    Spending cuts need to happen. They just don't need to happen this quickly.

    Financial organisations are happily wallowing in huge profits and bonuses are being thrown about again as if a recession never happened.

    And what to do the ConDems do? Attack the ordinary citizen with their cuts, cuts, cuts.

    On the one hand the strikes are an irresonsible response during a time of need. On the other, they may be the only way to get this irrational government to listen to the common man.

  • Comment number 48.

    What planet are these unions living on?

    Where, oh where are we supposed to find the money the keep the spending at levels that the unions are happy with. What irritates me more is that they are demanding that spending remain the same and yet offer no solutions on how this is to be done. they just hold the rest of the country to ransom.

  • Comment number 49.

    Yes - Kick into touch all the overpaid councillors and ineffective politicians, then get the councils to make sure their employees do a full day's work and efficiently. The same goes for the health service, get rid of all the overpaid unnecessary top dogs. We've gone through over a decade where there has been a glut of invented senior positions in all walks of life but particularly in the public sector. Salaries appear to be invented with no link to the persons worth. If we don't have an overhaul of these senior salaries, we'll just carry on with the parasites at the top sucking the life-blood out of the organisation they are in whilst ordinary people (particularly with council tax) will be burdened with ever more demands on their meagre funds.

  • Comment number 50.

    How about forcing the wealthiest to pay their way?

    They already do. The top 1% earners pay 24.1% of all income tax according to the BBC, and the top 10% pay 53.3%.

    -----------
    So what?

    That is because the top 1% own 25% of all the UK wealth and the top 10% 55%.

    Proportionately a multimillionaire pays no more of a share of his or her wealth (often less as it is far easier to transfer assets and avoid tax when you are wealthy) than an individual on £15,000 pa

  • Comment number 51.

    It all sounds like the 1980's again. The only winners are the rich. No doubt there will be further legislation to curb the unions.
    Certainly there is plenty of waste in the system that can be sorted but these proposed cuts of up to 25% across the board will cripple the country. Any savings that can be made should be put back into infrastructure not given to the IMF. The money that this country borrowed was mostly given to ailing banks to shore them up. It is these banks that should be paying off the IMF and the interest not the UK.
    It was announced on the news this morning that top British companies are back to paying whopper bonuses to their top staff. Once again the city swills in Champagne while the poor pick up the tab for the rich mistakes.
    Welcome back to the Medieval age.

  • Comment number 52.

    'Is there an alternative to spending cuts'?

    What a stupid question!!


    You might just as well ask 'Is there an alternative to scrambled eggs!!'

    Of course there is! :....... bacon sandwich, cornflakes, sausage sandwich, coffee & toast.........

    ha ha!



    Or, vote the labour party back in to leave us even more bankrupt than North Korea..

  • Comment number 53.

    Yes there are alternatives to spending cuts especially cancelling the aircraft carrier project and other defence spending. These are needed and provide employment for many around the UK. There are many projects in infrastructure that need to be kept going and stopping or cancelling these would be stupid. It is better to keep people employed in meaningful jobs than paying them to do nothing.

    Spending can be cut by getting rid of all the quangos and political jobs created by the last government.

    Benefits for the criminally lazy should be cut because being unemployed should result in austerity not opulence. The Loony left know that this is a huge problem but refuse to admit it.

    Spending more on erradicating the black economy and its use of illegal immigrants and tax avoidance via "casual labour" could wipe our deficit out in a couple of years.

    No matter what needs to be done we have to get back to normality and stop the stealth tax on anyone with savings and make it profitable to be frugal in life rather than people spending money that they do not have.

  • Comment number 54.

    "At 09:15am on 13 Sep 2010, RadialSymmetry wrote:
    "How about forcing the wealthiest to pay their way? How about devoting time and energy trying to reclaim the billions lost to the Treasury every year through tax avoidance/evasion?"

    First of all tax 'avoidance' is legal. It's things like paying into a pension, it's saving in an ISA. Are you suggesting we stop those things?

    Secondly, the country will soon owe 1,400 billion pounds. The ENTIRE tax take from higher rates of income tax is just 13 billion. There just aren't enough 'rich' people around. Even if you raised the higher rate of tax to 80% or 90%, the amount you'd receive would be tiny and the effect would be to drive out high earners and act as a barrier to attracting people to come to work in the UK.

    It might be a comforting myth to believe that we can somehow "tax the rich" and everything will be alright but that's all it is, a myth.

  • Comment number 55.

    There is a simple answer to those who say just increase taxes on rich

    Go back to history.

    In the early 1970s top rate tax was 83% with an unearned income supplement it could be 98% (and I think there were situations when it could be more than 100% but maybe someone older than me could confirm). In the 1980s it came down to 60% then 40%

    The net result was that the proportion of income tax receipts which govt got from the richest 10% of the population increased massively which allowed govt to cut the basic rate of tax substantially.

    So I have a simple question for those who want to tax the rich more - the example of history shows that if you increase the top rate of tax substantially you will also have to increase the basic rate - so do you want the less well off to pay more tax?

  • Comment number 56.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 57.

    28 "The tax dodgers' buy to let landlords, should pay much more tax than they do ? Just close a few loop holes Please"

    Which loopholes specifically? Or is that just a phrase you heard which you like to trot out.

    Why do you say buy to let landlords are 'dodging tax'? What taxes? How are they dodging them?

    It's all very well churning out cliches but unless there's some facts or details to back them up, it means nothing.

  • Comment number 58.

    The alternative is what Labour were doing: keep on spending. Look where
    that got us. It is the easiest thing in the world to spend, spend, spend. Even when you are in debt you can keep borrowing and spending. You are only putting off the inevitable.
    The interest alone on the debt is £43Billion this year! That's before any actual debt has been paid off.
    Our economy need to be rebooted. That means getting spending under control.

  • Comment number 59.

    //10. At 09:25am on 13 Sep 2010, Dros wrote:
    There are some alternatives - fairer cuts that do not crush the poor and benefit the rich. Has everyone forgotten the ancient parable? If a poor person gives a pound and a rich person gives one million pounds but remains rich, then the poor person has given the most. Cameron and his ilk, with his royal blood, his Eton/Oxbridge education and wealthy status has no idea, when he says that everyone must bear the burden, that the poor can bear no such burden! These are people struggling to find every penny for their monthly rent. People who struggle to pay their transportation costs for jobs that barely keep them alive. //

    Hang on, it seems only yesterday you people, the BBC etc, were saying that our low income earners were lazy dross, and we 'needed' loads of immigrants to do the jobs the natives were too lazy to do.....

    The vast majority of the population which massively opposes mass immigration knew all along that it meant lower wages and longer dole queues.

    The left, the unions, the BBC etc, participated in the myth that we 'needed' immigrants because our people were too lazy to work, or had unrealistically high wage expectations.

    Now you all seem to have changed your tune, and admit what we've all known all along....

  • Comment number 60.

    I favour an all out, no hold barred national strike.

    There is no need to pay existing levels of tax, let alone pay any increases.

    Cut out the waste and unnecessary spending for a start, such as the massive amounts:

    given to the EU;
    spent on so-called "defence" when all we seem to do is unjustly attack;
    given to the banks and corporations to bail 'em out when they are corrupt organisations operating illegal practices
    and the disgusting amounts spent on the so-called "justice system" which is nothing to do with justice.

    There is more than enough cash - it is just not spent wisely. Those who manipulate and control the economy do so for their benefit at our expense.

    To increase taxes again and again is stupid for when taxes make life too uncomfortable, folks will seek and find ways to avoid paying taxes and when we do find ways to avoid paying taxes, even more money will be spent to clamp down on tax evasion.

    In addition, years on year, prices increase - not because the value of what is purchased has increased but because the value of the currency has decreased so we need more of it to pay for what we buy.

    Year on year the value of the currency becomes worth less and less and because this is not being adressed, it will inevitably, become worthless.

    Then what?

    Wake up people, we are about to experience the greatest depression of all time unless radical changes are imposed which benefit us all rather than what we now have - a sytem which benefits the few at the expense of the many.

    I'm tired of paying to keep the head monkeys in isolated luxury and anyone who recognises only half the truth of what I have written here will also demand a national strike to tell the head monkeys once and for all: "We've had enough!"

  • Comment number 61.

    Most members, of most unions, tend to earn around, OR much less, an average wage of £25K per annum before tax and NI and often work in essentials services?

    There seems little economic or social cohesion benefit in the Government causing unemployment of this majority section of society - whether union members or not.

    Unemployment means SO much more than losing your income - it's part of your identity and how you belong and contribute to society. The last thing we need is another lost generation of experience/training/knowledge, of any age, and all that income tax and NI lost and spending (VAT) to The Treasury - think it through Mr Osborne?

    In conclusion, if cuts are to be made, it should focus on keeping people in their jobs and perhaps only reduce hours or days worked? Simplistic, I know. But baby/bathwater is not the answer.

  • Comment number 62.

    "Executive bonuses are close to their level before the financial crisis, a survey by business advisory firm Deloitte says.

    It found that the average bonuses for directors of FTSE 100 firms amounted to 100% of their basic salary, and 140% in the top 30 public companies." BBC News Today

    I see the principal of "we are all in it together and sharing the pain" has been taken on board by our Captains of Commerce in the same way as it is being applied by the Baron Osbourne and the rest of the public school multimillionaire cabal!

  • Comment number 63.

    According to the Unions & Labour (especially Ed Balls), the UK needn't cut spending at all.

    We can simply continue to spend more money than we earn in tax receipts forever more.

    The fact that this position is endorsed by the BBC and others based-on a ridiculous Keynesian argument that growth magically happens is truly shameful.

    How about some honesty from Balls & Miliband on the mess their 'government' created by reckless spending?

  • Comment number 64.

    In my experience, most public sector organisations suffer from the 'too many chiefs, not enough indians' syndrome. There's plenty of room for cutting jobs, and actually IMPROVING efficiency and service, PROVIDED the cuts are made in the right place. Unfortunately, successive governments have all too often left the responsibility of whose job is to go to the very 'chiefs' who have ruined the public sector, and, naturally, they never seem to see that their own job is an unnecessary drain of resources, preferring instead to make the cuts from the bottom up.

    We could also simply end the Wars on "Terror" and "Drugs"...

    And perhaps investing some of the money saved in ensuring the country's future by creating jobs where people actually supply products to the rest of the world, instead of just services: we're being turned into a nation of cleaners and call-centre workers...

  • Comment number 65.

    The previous government spent up to its credit limit. There is not money left and nobody will give us any more credit.
    There is no alternative but to stop spending money we don't have.

  • Comment number 66.

    There may be alternatives to spending cuts, but as this government is in place to protect the rich, so they won't be considered. It is far easier to make public servants unemployed and take away benefits and services from the vulnerable than to give the well-offs a good financial thumping. It's called bullying.

  • Comment number 67.

    I would be more impressed with TUC utterances if they laid out an alternate plan for dealing with the fact that the country is skint!

    However I do agree with them that cuts which mean that the government fails to meet its obligations to its citizens are unacceptable.

    So, suggestions.

    My first is a complete overhaul of the mess thinly disguised as the conjoined system of personal taxation and benefits. Start with a realistic assessment of the minimum income necessary to house, feed, clothe and pay utility bills for an individual. Then pay that amount to everyone over the age of 18. Remove ALL benefit payments otherwise, and all tax allowances - anything earned over that minimum is taxable. The saving in administration costs alone would go a long way to removing the deficit. It would also remove the need for those who do not work through illness or disability to have to jump through ludicrous hoops to prove their inability to work.

    Next, provision of services needs to be restricted to those who are either citizens or who are in the country legally. Ditch translation services but ensure that there is wide availability of English lessons for those immigrants who have arrived unable to speak English.

  • Comment number 68.

    Public sector jobs cuts can be less if public sector workers, particularly those earning over £25k pa take substantial cuts in pay and pensions.

    Public sector pay & pensions particularly management grades do not bear reflect the reality of what the British economy can afford. Most people who work in the private sector realise this.

  • Comment number 69.

    There is a number of things that we could do....

    Reduce Parliaments budget (after all they are over payed and waste far too much money promoting and advertising)

    Legalise Canibis, (the tax that would be made from this would increase public funding, reduce crimes, reduce the black market and increase health for those whole smoke it, as the goverment would be able to regulate the strength of the canabis.)

    Tax religions, (there is no need for any religion to avoid paying tax, if they wish to preach and spread there word in any country, then they can contribute towards the up keep of it)

    Place a cap on high earners, encourage them to put the eccess money back into new projects or new developments.

    Raise the minimum wage to increase spending.

    Place a cap on the housing markets, (a house can only be worth a set amount no matter what is spent on it)

    Reduce inflation on our energy bills, this is supposed to be a service not a luxury.

    Or we could just wipe world debt and start again and let it all happpen again in say "another 25 years"

    Your rates and inflation is killing this world, we only have greed and greedy people left, it is them who are pushing the cost of things higher and higher.

    The rest of us that are in poverty are just left to clean up the mess of those who are greedy.

    (again and again we are the ones who pay)

  • Comment number 70.

    I feel sorry for the union leaders; they haven't yet grasped how impotent and unimportant they are. Times have changed but the dinosaurs in the unions have obviously not moved on at all.

    We desperately need to get this country back on track after the disaster of 13 years of Labour; we have a Government now that is brave and unafraid to take difficult decisions. And all Bob Crow can do is call for a campaign of 'civil disobedience'...well, that's really helpful and very constructive Mr Crow; any more bright ideas?

    Take the unions on, Dave....break 'em.

  • Comment number 71.

    50 - "Proportionately a multimillionaire pays no more of a share of his or her wealth (often less as it is far easier to transfer assets and avoid tax when you are wealthy) than an individual on £15,000 pa"

    Someone earning £1,000,000 a year would pay income tax of around £477,000 or 47.7% of income.

    Someone earning £15,000 a year would pay £1,705 income tax or 11.4%

    I'd say 47.7% was a lot more than 11.4% but then, I use real world maths, not NuLabour maths.

  • Comment number 72.

    In certain parts of the UK (notably in Labour constituencies up-North), more than 50% of people are employed by the public sector.

    This is wrong & simply unsustainable.

    Of course we need a good level of public services but WITHIN our means (i.e. what the country can afford via tax receipts).

    But hey let's do as the Unions say : bury our head in the sand, given public sector workers inflation-busting pay deals and maintain their gold plated pensions and early retirement deals.

  • Comment number 73.

    3. At 09:15am on 13 Sep 2010, RadialSymmetry wrote:
    How about forcing the wealthiest to pay their way? How about devoting time and energy trying to reclaim the billions lost to the Treasury every year through tax avoidance/evasion?
    ---------------------------------------------------------
    My heart's with you 101%, but the dismal fact is that if you want to raise real money for the public finances, or save it, you have to hit the middle and lower income groups - because that's where the big numbers of taxpayers and service users are.
    The problem is that we're in a recession, and yet have to cut or tax because of the mess made of the economy by relying too much on financial services run by greedy people. I'd prefer a more mixed package, with the rich being hit significantly harder taxwise than the poor,(forget the rubbish about 'we're in a global employment market for top people and if we're beastly to them they'll all go away'). But still with some fairly heavy service cuts over the whole working population.
    However, cuts or taxes shouldn't be relied on as the whole answer, and there should be employment-creating projects to kick-start recovery from the recession, particularly infrastructure projects which are going to be needed anyway when that recovery comes. There will of course be sneers that it won't work, but the Americans showed how to do it in the 1930s with the TVA and other projects like the Grand Coulee dam. It can work here in Britain if the schemes chosen have a high cost/benefit ratio and are NOT chosen on regional political grounds like building unnecessary aircraft carriers whose major job will be 'showing the Flag' around an Empire that no longer exists.

  • Comment number 74.

    When you're in hole stop digging. Stuff the unions and stuff anyone else who wishes to live off my earnings. Cut and cut deeply, have the guts to take them on like Mrs Thatcher did and drag the country back to proseperity. That's the long term way to improve the lives of the poor, not just redistributing money in exchange for nothing. We can do without 75% of public services. Until a few years ago most of them didn't exist, they were invented to create jobs and Labout voters. NHS budget doubled for a 7% increase in throughput. Well just half it and lets take the 7% reduction in throughput!

    Spent the last 2 weeks in traffic jams, watching our local council use 10+ men, 3 vans and 2.5 weeks laying 75m of new pavement. That's job creation and it's got to stop.

  • Comment number 75.

    Yes there is an alternative ....join the Zeitgeist movement and lets all get together and eliminate the monetary system. I am talking to the moderators on this forum as well. If you care at all about your own and your families futures. A resource based economy is the most important thing there is to learn about for all of us. There are no other 'good' alternatives. Wake up and take a good long look at what's going on in the world around you, it doesn't have to be this way.

  • Comment number 76.

    I'm certain the Leftists don't understand what mess we are in. The bankers made it worse but Labour are absolutely to blame. They spent more and more money until they were left having to borrow in order just to keep the public sector going. We are having to borrow circa £155,000,000,000,000 a year just to balance the books, that is to make up the difference between the tax raised and the money spent. This money is spent on all the public sector and welfare. On top of this is the £900,000,000,000,000 public debt which does not include public sector pension costs or PFI, because Gordon Brown saw fit not to include these costs. We are in it up to our nostrils. We are facing devastation. And the Unions want to carry on spending as if nothing has happened. They and their fellow travellers are a bunch of deluded fools who are either too thick too see the problems we have or instead do not care that we will soon be IMF fodder if we continue to borrow as Labour have done.

  • Comment number 77.

    One thing for certain is that we CANNOT allow Trade Unions to dictate to our politians how to run our country and spend our money. Bob Crowe running the Treasury? No thank you very much!

    The fact remains is that this country is totally skint. According to reports that i have heard, the country spends £4 for every £3 that it earns. If correct, we are every bit in trouble as our Government says we are.

    Massive spending cuts must be undertaken. But, at the same time, the government must look to invest in key areas where such investment will give this country a good medium to long term prognosis of getting us back where spending can help make this country one of the best places on Earth to live. The alternative is a drift into third world style poverty.

    I am not convinced that this government has got the right balance. Mass unemployment will create a massive surge in unemployment pay and other social benefit demands plus a massive loss of tax income.

    However, we must give this government a chance. Hopefully, if they are bright enough to spot where things are not working and can see a better way of doing things, egos will not prevent a change of direction from happening.

    This country is in deep trouble. It will need Churchillian style leadership to get us out of this mess.

  • Comment number 78.

    Now lets see: Millions of pounds sent to other countries in need of aid + millions of pounds spent on the visit of a 'religious leader' + a few million for MP's expenditure claims = Many millions of pounds that could be put to better use!
    Start putting this money into the needs of our Country and stop attacking the disabled, the old, the sick and the poor!

  • Comment number 79.

    24. At 09:42am on 13 Sep 2010, peterwsm wrote:

    Firstly - The Government hasn't announced the results of the Spending Review yet ...


    Exactly! And it's irresponsible of the BBC to bombard us with rumours from left-wing think tanks and press about how terrible it will be. How about waiting until the official announcements are made and then reporting on that?

  • Comment number 80.

    The strike threats are not about the rights and wrongs of cuts, they are about Labour losing the election and hot-headed, left-wing extremist union leaders' contempt for democracy.

  • Comment number 81.

    57. At 10:11am on 13 Sep 2010, AndyC555 wrote:
    28 "The tax dodgers' buy to let landlords, should pay much more tax than they do ? Just close a few loop holes Please"

    Which loopholes specifically? Or is that just a phrase you heard which you like to trot out.

    Why do you say buy to let landlords are 'dodging tax'? What taxes? How are they dodging them?

    It's all very well churning out cliches but unless there's some facts or details to back them up, it means nothing.

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

    There are dodges in this business and there are always tax dodges if you know the right accountant. Anyone that has looked at this will see that there are certain ethnic groups [cannot say due to moderator] that have taken to this like ducks in water. The last governments DHSS (or whatever it is called now) housing benefit scandal and the BBCs constant how to make money "under the hammer" type programs made this business acceptable.

    "for £25K we can transform this hovel into 3 flats each with a rental value of between £400 and £450 pcm. A nice little earner?"

    The irony of this scam is that the loony left don't think that £400 pcm for a DHSS flat is excessive.

  • Comment number 82.

    47. At 10:01am on 13 Sep 2010, RedandYellowandGreennotBlue wrote:

    Spending cuts need to happen. They just don't need to happen this quickly.

    Financial organisations are happily wallowing in huge profits and bonuses are being thrown about again as if a recession never happened.

    And what to do the ConDems do? Attack the ordinary citizen with their cuts, cuts, cuts.

    On the one hand the strikes are an irresonsible response during a time of need. On the other, they may be the only way to get this irrational government to listen to the common man.

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

    The attack on the citizens by cuts can only be blamed on labour and brown. Had they done their duty to look after the UK they would not have been voted out. They also would not have left us saddled with a huge bill and certainly wouldnt have ignored the coming recession.

    The scorched earch policy left by labour was guaranteed to be a problem for whoever took control of the country.

  • Comment number 83.

    We're in a dangerous period of limbo, waiting for the announcement of cuts in late October. The danger lies in the government not doing enough now to prepare for the effect the cuts announcements will have.

    Did the coalition government not foresee that the TUC conference would take the stance which they have taken? That seems highly unlikely, so I wonder what the government's plans are for action by the unions and others against their cuts.

    When the full scale of cuts is announced in October - probably shocking many of those who currently favour them in theory, because they'll be personally affected in practice - the government will need to genuinely engage with the unions and organisations representing professions and groups such as pensioners. I don't think that's happening yet, despite Francis Maude's assurances on Radio 4 this morning.

  • Comment number 84.

    At 09:51am on 13 Sep 2010, thelevellers wrote:
    The TUC plans are right, we need to protect the public sector. Without a public sector the whole country would grind to a halt with the most vulnerable affected the most.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Are you serious? The Public Sector is what's causing the country to grind to a halt. Most of us with any money do our best to avoid having to interact with it at any cost.

    Compared with the Private Sector, the Public Sector has significantly higher levels of sickness leave and lower levels of productivity. Just look at the incompetence of the various agencies: FSA - weren't they meant to be regulating the banking sector? HM Revenue - currently chasing millions of tax payers for PAYE underpayments, CSA - enough said.

    If I buy something from Amazon it's shipped into the UK from its European hub in Bad Hersfeld, Germany for next day delivery. When I requested a green waste bin from my local council it took six weeks to be delivered from the waste recycling centre 1.5 miles up the road. Public Sector red tape, laziness and incompetence as far as I'm concerned.

    Agreed that the most vunerable would suffer the most but the UK would most certainly not grind to a halt. Fact is, in a low tax economy with a small public sector the economy would be much more dynamic.

  • Comment number 85.

    59. At 10:12am on 13 Sep 2010, The Bloke wrote:

    "The left, the unions, the BBC etc, participated in the myth that we 'needed' immigrants because our people were too lazy to work, or had unrealistically high wage expectations."

    _________________________________________________________________

    Ah, the old BNP line, it's the immigrants, the lefties and the BBC's fault.

    Actually it's the bosses, the banks and the greed-mongering gazillionaires who don't pay tax that have caused the crisis. A failed system called capitlasim got us into this, and everybody is expecting the same system to get us out of it.

    the French are out marching and doing something about it while gutless Britain just continues to let the bosses walk all over us

    Tory/Labour/Libdem, all the same dross trudging out the same old dross. And people like this "bloke" swallow it all thanks to the Daily Mail and its woeful sidekicks

  • Comment number 86.

    The attitude and response of Brendan Barber, Bob Crow and other union representatives since May simply underlines exactly how we have ended up in this mess in the first place. The unions continually resist any efficiency improvements in the public sector and Labour's biggest failing in 13 years of government was to continually throw money at the public sector without demanding these improvements first. We now have 13 years of improvements to catch up on combined with the need to reduce our expenditure. This is why it is so hard.

    What strikes me most is that I have yet to hear a single constructive idea be proposed by the unions or anyone else in the public sector on how we can reduce costs. All we ever hear is how every other proposal that is tabled. They would perhaps gain more credibility if they actually approached the problems that we face in a constructive manner rather than their usual childishly belligerent approach of threatening strikes against just about everything.

    It is also highly unhelpful that every proposed spending reduction is described as an assault on frontline services. Cuts within health are described as "x thousand nurses to be sacked", cuts within policing are described as "x thousand police to be sacked". I have worked extensively in the public sector in the UK and it is not frontline services that should be cut, it is the massively wasteful, bloated and inefficient back office functions and civil service that need to be forced to improve. The required cuts could easily be achieved by addressing these areas but no one seems willing to address that problem. Making highly charged statements about drastic cuts to frontline services, it seems, makes better headlines!

  • Comment number 87.

    Executive bonuses are close to their level before the financial crisis, a survey by business advisory firm Deloitte says.

    It found that the average bonuses for directors of FTSE 100 firms amounted to 100% of their basic salary, rising to 140% in the top 30 public companies.

    Doesn't this answer the question?

    Those who bankrupted the country are still reaping rewards for failure.

  • Comment number 88.

    60 "To increase taxes again and again is stupid for when taxes make life too uncomfortable, folks will seek and find ways to avoid paying taxes and when we do find ways to avoid paying taxes, even more money will be spent to clamp down on tax evasion."

    So true. Around 20 years ago there were just a few countries with a flat rate of income tax. Now there are around 25.

    Just one rate of income tax for everyone with a higher starting point (of around £12,000) would massively simplify the tax systema nd people just wouldn't bother entering into complicated tax schemes to avoid tax. That was the lesson learnt in the 1980's when the top rate of tax fell from 83% to 60% and then 40%. The wealthier is society contributed MORE as a proportion of our taxes as they had more incentive to work and less incentive to do tax planning. Bonehead Brown introduced the 50% tax rate and now it's too politically sensitive to remove it, even though anyone with a decent accountant is now doing tax planning to avoid it, so that the tax 'take' falls from 40% to 0%!

  • Comment number 89.

    Some cuts are necessary, as the state has expanded over the 13 years that Labour has been in power and a lot of non jobs or 'nice to have jobs' have been created. Logically if we could cope with a level of public services in 1997, we can cut back to that level with relatively little pain.
    I also hope the coalition applies the cuts sensibly, as in certain areas of the country cuts would cause tremenous damage, whereas in areas of the south east where unemployment is very low people would easily be able to find alternative work. It would also be sensibly to consider moving further public sector jobs from the South East to the regions to limit the impact of the cuts. If nothing else it should be cheaper given the lower salary levels in the depressed parts of the country.

  • Comment number 90.

    People forget that the UK used to be able to afford all of the things we are now being convinced we have to cut.
    Why? because the country made money by selling things abroad, and supplying our own needs by making things here. So we had a surplus of cash that paid for a high standard of living. Until we go back to this we will have to endure 24/7 working for 50% of the population and unemployment for the other 50%, a total destruction of the welfare state, roads, schools and everything else, and we will have a return to the dark ages.
    Stop business people making cash for nothing by giving them government departments, and make them go out and make some cash off other countries for a change, which is to much like hard work for most of them at the moment. Hard decisions shouldn't just apply to the poor.

  • Comment number 91.

    Make the banks pay back their loans?

    The big investment banks gambled on the US property market & lost.

    Instead of sufferring due to their incompetence, the banks begged for money from government. They have now recovered billions but will simply share that amongst themselves. They have already self-paid massive bonuses. Joe-Public has been chosen as the scapegoat/dupe/patsy & is now to repay all the losses & put the economy back on track!!! Meanwhile, the banks keep loan interest rates high & charge `customers` extortionate bank charges.

    Instead of starting a revolution, the public has accepted this as a `credit crunch`. Expect more of the same (Capitalist, Nationalism seems to be the politics, as Celebrity worship has become the new religion). Nothing matters as long as you can watch Strictly, innit.

  • Comment number 92.

    Bradford wrote:
    Public sector jobs cuts can be less if public sector workers, particularly those earning over £25k pa take substantial cuts in pay and pensions.

    You show how out of touch the Private Sector really are about public sector wages. Less than 20% of civil servants earn this much.

    Don't believe Rupert Murdoch and his associates who write for the Mail and the Express.

    There's more misinformation about Civil Servant Conditions in the press than there was about Allied losses during the 2nd World War.

  • Comment number 93.

    I am a union member but only to make sure my employer continues to honour the conditions I have been entitled to as part of my contract. I have no particular interest in contributing to a political debate and some of the stuff being spouted on TV by some of our left-wing union leaders is already making me think I should resign my membership. I do not want my subscription to be used to effectively prolong the dreadful economic legacy left by the previous government.

    The country is in a mess because the previous government pandered to these union dinosaurs and threw silly money at schemes, partly a slash and burn policy to make life difficult for their successors. We've all been used to a cushy life, collectively living way beyond our means and relying on property values to make money. This was unsustainable as is the benfits culture. The unions are creating panic for political ends, not in the interests of the economy. The government said last week that cuts will be phased over the next few years, not an instant shock. That means that many people will leave public sector jobs during that time voluntarily, and these cuts mean they won't be replaced. The way this is being portrayed by the unions it suggests there will be a million people sacked next month which is totally untrue. It is they and the opposition who hold the responsibility if businesses go bust because people are frightened to spend their money.

    I will be reserving judgement until I know the facts, and I doubt if TUC know any more than we do.

  • Comment number 94.

    "Confuciousfred wrote:

    We cannot sustain the level of public spending to which we became accustomed under Blair and Brown. There must be cuts, especially in costs associated with administration. Everything is too top heavy."

    Today's news: "Big firm bonuses back to normal"

    Top heavy? You're telling me!

  • Comment number 95.

    The problem with labour was they did not think for themselves but instead paid for advice from the likes of Sir Fred Goodwin, Alan Sugar, Digby Jones etc. We had the "light touch" on financial control so desired by the city which led where? There are many things labour did which I disagree with including trying to catch up many years of neglect of NHS hospitals much to quickly. In had a short stay in hospital in 1997 and the state of buildings filthy, broken windows repaired with tape, weeds growing out of gutters, windows not cleaned for years was going to cost a lot to put right but throwing money at it was misguided. Getting involved in two wars to help the US who appears quite ungrateful has cost the country dear. How much equipment used in these wars has been sourced in the UK which would at least helped industry? No we buy it in including from the US. US industry benefits from our involvement in their war. The way the coalition is cutting is going to lead to dreadful problems in the future. Yes you can cut highway spending by 40% and for a year or two notice little difference but the cost in future years to catch up years of neglect is gong to be horrendous. Capital projects cancelled will create more unemployment and if the projects are needed in future will cost perhaps double today's price. Slow down and reduce waste,yes, but the coalition is going to create even bigger problems for the future with the way they are going. And we will still have business men paying themselves a £billion and paying less tax than their cleaners.

  • Comment number 96.

    Apparently the unions are the only people who come in to contact with the public sector who cannot see the waste and ineffiency.

    From the Department of Justice spending millions to provide prisons with the latest 3rd generation artificial football pitches (as used by Arsenal/Man Utd etc) to your local council creating non-jobs like diversity officer the waste is blatant.

    Time for the union leaders to wake up, even their members can see the problems.

  • Comment number 97.

    If a group of private sector workers were marooned on a desert island and had 8 boxes of food to share between 10 people, they'd accept that each would get 8/10 of a box.

    If the same happened to a group of public sector workers, their union leader would demand that every worker got the whole box that they deserved and that their rights were being trodden on by the non-existence of the two extra boxes which is was their right to have. Then he'd lead them out on strike demanding that the two extra boxes should appear from thin air.

  • Comment number 98.

    70. At 10:22am on 13 Sep 2010, Mrs Vee wrote:
    "I feel sorry for the union leaders; they haven't yet grasped how impotent and unimportant they are. Times have changed but the dinosaurs in the unions have obviously not moved on at all."

    ________________________________________________________________

    Yes. they should have had us out on the streets a long time ago. The time is now for REAL and sustained action and EVERYBODY out to give a message to the corrupt bosses and government that people are sick of having to pay for the mistakes of bankers and billionaires who have crippled the country

  • Comment number 99.

    " Dr Prod wrote:

    I'm certain the Leftists don't understand what mess we are in. The bankers made it worse but Labour are absolutely to blame. They spent more and more money until they were left having to borrow in order just to keep the public sector going. We are having to borrow circa £155,000,000,000,000 a year just to balance the books…"

    Moderators: "borrow circa £155,000,000,000,000 a year" - what can we do about l**s — sorry, mistakes like this, presented as bald facts? What's your policy? Were I to say "The Pope is a member of the mafia", you'd almost certainly reject it. What's the difference between that and this person's terminological inexcatitudes?

  • Comment number 100.

    bill smith wrote:

    Or, vote the labour party back in to leave us even more bankrupt than North Korea..


    Even before the election we were nowhere near as bankrupt as the countries we were compared to- Greece, Spain and Portugal.


    The economy performed better in the last two quarters of the Labour Governement despite the rantings of the press.

    Now we face a double dip recession?

    Who are bankrupting Britain?

    Is it low paid Public Sector Workers facing mass redundancy or the Money Grabbing Financiers who took one hit on the bonus front but now have their noses firmly in the trough again.

 

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