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What spending would you cut?

Peter Rippon | 15:20 UK time, Friday, 24 April 2009


From Peter Rippon, Newsnight editor

This week's revelations about the dire state of the public finances seem to be a political game-changer. Forget the old arguments about tax and spend, the discussion and argument now is going to be about how you raise taxes and how you cut public spending.

The main political parties have already started to set out some ideas. For the government it looks like the Titan prisons are gone . David Cameron sketched out his provisional thoughts on the Today programme this morning and Vince Cable was choosing from the Liberal Democrat menu soon after the Chancellor sat down.

We recognise on Newsnight though that it can be hard for politicians to be explicit about the uncomfortable choices ahead - there are going to be many losers. They are also burdened with political strategies, messages to control, images to project.

You though, dear viewer, have no such constraints. So what spending would you cut?

We are keen to hear your views, they can be as radical or counter-intuitive as you like. What could we do without? How much could you save? What is it you really resent having your money spent on?

There have been some really interesting online experiments where the public have helped law makers actually decide the budget, like this one in Minnesota.

We on Newsnight do not have such lofty ambitions but we are keen to hear new ideas and creative thinking about what is going to be one of the defining political questions for the next generation.

So let us know your thoughts. I realise this will prompt a lot of trolls to argue the first on the list should be the BBC. That's fine, but my challenge would be do not just say it, make the case.


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  • 1. At 3:39pm on 24 Apr 2009, JunkkMale wrote:

    I realise this will prompt a lot of trolls to argue the first on the list should be the BBC.

    Just the bits that don't do their jobs cost-effectively, if indeed anywhere close to meeting the terms of the Charter. For instance, case-wise, I am unsure if I am getting value for money ushering the DG and DDG to and from the railway station is quite the best use of funds. Or flying reporters to stand on some white stuff to say the rest of us flying places is causing it to melt.

    Usually it's arranged for a supportive non-troll to get the first weak interception tackle in, so maybe the cuts have already resulted in the authors trying to do so themselves.

    But I am not sure that creating such a Bushist 'If you are not with us you're a troll' challenge from the outset, by a senior public servant does much more than prove a lot of points.

    ps: Any more to add on 'interpreting the events of the President of the United States' first major speech in the edit suite.... to 'enhance the narrative'?

    I am canceling my licence fee DD now.

    I will be interested in the BBC making a good case for my restarting it. Or will you just send Capita round?

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  • 2. At 4:29pm on 24 Apr 2009, JunkkMale wrote:

    I must have missed the bit where it also includes just having other views to those being promoted, or seeking to hold professional standards to account.

    For those who like living in group think comfort zones, I'd suggest one doesn't take part in, much less instigate controversial blogs.

    Especially ones funded by an audience that may include some that one is so unhappy having to deal with that it overcomes the temptation not to pronounce from positions of public sector entrenchment that recent days have indeed shown to be shaky pedestals.

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  • 3. At 4:58pm on 24 Apr 2009, JunkkMale wrote:

    Feeling a bit sorry for the poor poster(s) who took the trouble to post on the duplicate thread which just got deleted.

    If they need a copy I have page grabs:) But I am sure the system guys will sort it all out and restore things.

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  • 4. At 5:08pm on 24 Apr 2009, banreligion wrote:

    I'm not going to bash the beeb,too easy!
    We must start to focus on what we want Britain to be in the new world.Perhaps it's time for us to be leaders again; except this time as world diplomats and ambassadors for a world without the threat of Nuclear weapons.
    What on earth do we need Trident for?
    Why is it a deterrant and to who?
    Who is going to attack us? who has the capapbility?
    Finally who wants to wipe out most of humankind?

    Don't fall for the "fear factor" we don't need politicians to protect us. this weapon is for them only; so that they can strut their stuff on the world stage.
    The people of the UK would prefer to save the £74Bn that this weapon would cost us - oh, and by the way we won't even own it!

    By banning it politicians will have the support of the moral majority and we'll allow thme to preen themselves on the high moral stance of being pro-human.

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  • 5. At 5:19pm on 24 Apr 2009, owinters91 wrote:

    I think that there's no point in the Labour government putting any progress it has made in public services in jeopardy; by all means the government can do it's best to eliminate waste, but to take a knife to health and education spending in a big way would be a mistake, the government should avoid this as best it can. If Labour become the incompetent AND nasty party, there's little hope of recovery for them.

    I think the government should start looking at how necessary several of it's big projects are; Trident (Likely to never be used, yet it will eventually cost £70 billion), ID cards (Controversial and mostly not necessary, yet costing £5 billion), The database of all communications in the UK (A dubious project which makes fears of a police state more and more plausible, and given previous experience with government databases, it will probably be insecure and probably won't work either, and I read it might cost £6 billion!). I would also have never have implemented the scrapping scheme - with car companies being so international, little of the benefit will go to UK factories, and who has the spare money for a good new car even with the £2,000?

    There are probably areas that with more streamlined procedures we could have better results and more efficient spending, like local government and tax collection. In a budget as huge as the British governments' there are surely dozens of items we can cut before we start starving essential services of cash.

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  • 6. At 5:23pm on 24 Apr 2009, 1chrisrose wrote:

    Cut trident and the roads programme and invest some of the money in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

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  • 7. At 5:30pm on 24 Apr 2009, jlg783 wrote:

    Given that most MPs are simply voting fodder why not replace them with a card vote which can be held by their group leader. THe MPs can stay in their constituencies and we taxpayers will be saved the costs of their second homes, bathplugs and porn movies, and their inflated travel costs.

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  • 8. At 5:30pm on 24 Apr 2009, toohardtologin wrote:

    1. READ and UNDERSTAND the Taxpayer's Alliance FACTS which outline and identify 110 BILLION pounds of waste aNNUALLY.

    2. Cease all payments to the EU which is a parasite on our nation and has 14 years of unaudited accounts. The EU is anti democratic, Soviet by construction and has sucked 200 Billion from our pockets. In simple terms it costs us taxpayers 106,000 that is one hundred and six thousand pounds per MINUTE.

    3. Deport ALL illegal aliens.

    4. Deport ALL aliens including EU member state's citizens who are in jails in the UK.

    5. Make ALL foreign residents pay 100 pounds a month health tax.

    6. Cut half the civil service jobs which are Common Purpose driven or administrative ONLY no cuts
    in front line services.

    7. Toss out the fascist ID Card and NHS ID schemes and consign them to the rubbish bin.

    8. Let counties manage their own budgets and stop central government stealing money from efficient
    counties such as Dorset.

    There are so many cuts it would be easy to make if the politicians were not so remote from the people with their fat greedy faces in the trough of the producing class. Any economics graduate with a 1st class honours degree should be able to cut waste sufficiently to allow tax CUTS for those earning less than 25,000 a year.
    The government is staffed by fourth rate no hopers.

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  • 9. At 5:30pm on 24 Apr 2009, georgiatech wrote:

    What the government needs to do is to compare itself to an entity that is governed by rational decision making. A household or a small business, for example. In a household, luxuries are dispensed with, holidays are taken at home. A business cuts overtime, temporary staff, delays investment.

    This will be difficult at first but could really catch on as a radically new way of running the nation's finances.

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  • 10. At 5:31pm on 24 Apr 2009, sammyann23 wrote:

    Identity Cards - waste of money just another card that will be subject to fraud

    Overseas aid that goes to prop up unacceptable governments like Zimbabwe

    United Nations contributions reassessed, this over bloated organisation that fails in so many areas needs urgent reform particularly its costs

    The BBC has made considerable reforms over the last few years, not to say it cant do more, but it has certainly made the attempt.

    Trident is needed to keep UK at the table with the big players

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  • 11. At 5:32pm on 24 Apr 2009, ultradevotee wrote:

    I would make being a local politician/MP a volunteer job with minimal expenses. Perhaps then we'd get people who were decent at their job instead of the fiddling buffoons we've got now on all sides.

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  • 12. At 5:33pm on 24 Apr 2009, bagsus wrote:

    I have cut out either altogether or partially the following.Holidays,electricity,water,TV,laundry,heating.baths but not showers.alcohol butter,bacon,sausages,restaurants take aways,4 out of 10 regular charity donations,cinema,theatre,50% of visits requiring car,chocolate,...........

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  • 13. At 5:35pm on 24 Apr 2009, Selthomas wrote:

    I would cut spending and raise revenue by setting a single tax percentage. The US has proven that an 11% tax on every penny earned, no more, no less, will raise more revenue than the current tax system and cut operating costs. Of course it would need to be balanced against the impact on unemployment and the cost to the government in paying additional unemployment benefit. And of course there would be less for Tax Accountants to do, but the extra revenue can be used to encourage new business.

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  • 14. At 5:35pm on 24 Apr 2009, threnodio wrote:

    The obvious candidate is Trident. The idea that, in the post Cold War era, the UK is going to have the desire or need to torch millions of people is so absurd as to be laughable. Beyond that, there seems to be far too much money being spent on collecting, collating and maintaining data about the people themselves and - although I have no idea of the real figures, the money that is being spent on enforcing or imposing political correctness must be huge. Surely paying people to take rubbish away is cheaper and more efficient than paying people to investigate and prosecute eco-crime.

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  • 15. At 5:36pm on 24 Apr 2009, maddysday wrote:

    New NHS database
    SATs tests in schools
    Trident - and review defence budget
    Identity cards

    Review budgets for eg regeneration. Where does the money really go? Who really benefits?

    Speed up/cut fees for enquiries/reviews and have fixed prices for legal work.

    Cut budgets for preparing new initiatives eg in health and education - no-one's impressed with glossy stuff except the people who produce it.

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  • 16. At 5:37pm on 24 Apr 2009, occultations wrote:

    • Scrap the ID Card scheme.
    • Scrap the Trident replacement.
    • Reduce the size of the bailout for the banks. The banks that we now own don't need to be given more money to make them start loaning again, they just need to be told to do it.
    • Stop wasting money on an endless stream of initiatives for the NHS and the education system. Give any changes a chance to work before you change them again.
    • Stop the gravy train for MPs and ministers, and for Euro MPs.

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  • 17. At 5:41pm on 24 Apr 2009, owinters91 wrote:

    #11 - All that would mean is that the only people who could afford to run for office would be the rich elite who got us into this mess.

    If anything we should make being an MP a job that gives members enough money to cover the many costs of being in government without a clandestine and easily-abused claims system, so that ordinary people without tonnes of assets and huge amounts of savings can actually afford to be MPs.

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  • 18. At 5:44pm on 24 Apr 2009, peterlw41 wrote:

    Candidates for cuts are limited - start in Downing Street after that
    Defence is obvious as is a billion off the Olympics budget, scale ID cards back to Nat Ins /Social welfare and residency entitlement size, stop the current NHS computerisation programme now and rethink on the basis of core needs for clinical efficiency only. The rest can only come from restraint and re-organisation prime candidates are our over complicate social services and welfare schemes, Health expenditure must be capped NOW and the system shaken up to deliver better productivity and patient care standards; tertiary education requires reform and clear separate academic and vocational structures put in place, the Russell Group
    deregulated to fund themselves and Polytechnical (Universities) reformed to deliver vocational qualifications. Technical/vocational training requires reform the alphabet soup of awarding bodies revised. restructured and returned to the industries, professions and trades that need them. Oh and cut the car industry support package - the idea of trying to stimulate an industry that had a 30 per cent global over capacity and was producing vehicles to fill up old airfields is ludicrous.

    If we are to become a Federal nation then let's do it properly cut out the waste of RDAs and the like establish self governing regions with the ability to raise revenue and drive economic development.

    Me I am going to get my wife to help me cut back the weeds on the allotment.

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  • 19. At 5:48pm on 24 Apr 2009, hattie wrote:

    We should become a neutral country like Ireland, and cut out practically all defence spending. This would save at least 35 billion pounds a year and probably make our country safer and more respected in the long run.

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  • 20. At 5:54pm on 24 Apr 2009, tmouth427 wrote:

    In addition to all the various proposals as outlined in the recent Budget, all non privately employed persons (to include MPs ,central and local government employees, police,,teachers fire service etc etc.) be required to complete 40years service in order to qualify for a full pension on retirement. This pension to be not a final salary, indexed linked arrangement, but a money purchase scheme.
    This should apply not just to new employees but to all those employed currently.

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  • 21. At 5:57pm on 24 Apr 2009, lycomedes wrote:

    Simple. Axe Trident and everything associated with it like running costs and installations and save an estimated £70bn recurring. Who is the enemy this is intended for anyway? It certainly doesn't make me feel safer; quite the opposite.

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  • 22. At 6:01pm on 24 Apr 2009, Trojan_Horace wrote:

    Feargal Sharkey (and other non-elected free loaders), Trident (obviously) and about 25% of the thumb twiddling, job for life, civil service

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  • 23. At 6:06pm on 24 Apr 2009, notsosilentmajority wrote:

    I would make finance cuts by;
    1)Closing down all QUANGOS

    2)Getting rid of wasteful bureaucracy in the NHS.
    3)Get rid of 85% of NHS managers & let Doctors prioritise treatment
    4)Save money by getting hospitals cleaned properly so that people didn't stay longer because the bugs made them more ill than when they went in.
    5)Bar cosmetic surgery except for those born with disfigurement or accident victims.
    6)No gastric band surgery for fat people..completely unnecessary...make them eat less and move around more.
    7)No "boob" enhancement..Jordan looks ridiculous anyway.

    8)Cut social security payments to those who could work but prefer to stay at home doing nothing.

    9) Stop the cheats who are claiming "disability" when in fact they are as able as anyone else to work.

    10)Close the borders to all illegal immigrants who come here to work for peanuts in the black-market, pay no taxes and deprive others of jobs

    11) Cut the number of MPs and stop them claiming for things which ordinary people have to pay for out of their salaries.

    12)Put a limit of the number of new laws MPs can pass to make criminals of ordinary people doing ordinary things ( like taking photos of London buses)

    13)Withdraw from the EU and let our fishermen get back to work (if there are any left)

    14)Promote allotments and smallholdings growing local produce.

    15) Scrap the ID car scheme.

    16) Put the public sector in line with the private sector and scrap “gold-plated” final salary pensions with immediate effect.

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  • 24. At 6:07pm on 24 Apr 2009, bustbritania wrote:

    1) get rid of trident, let the american's pay for it instead
    2) reduce final salary terms of MPs + additional allowances
    3) public sector pensions at 65 not 60
    4) move public sector away from unfunded final salary schemes
    5) get rid of 50% of administration within public services
    6) ban (over paid)tube drivers from striking every year (won't help with the budget though)
    7) flat rate of tax at 15% accross the board after personal allowance upto 150k then 18% on the rest- reduces the size of HMRC & reduces evasion/avoidence measures
    8) corporate tax reduced to flat rate of 15% - bring in much needed international investment to provide additional jobs.
    9)more investment into housing & equipment etc for military - and procurement to be outsourced to professionals with proper contracts which penalise for delays rather than reward them.
    10) bin the 'bespoke' NHS computer system and simply buy off the shelf the one that private practice doctors use and find works perfectly well.

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  • 25. At 6:11pm on 24 Apr 2009, GlobalTemplar wrote:

    Hold immediate referendums in Scotland and Wales with regard to the future of the Parliament and Assembly, the decision is simple, either to keep these talking shops open the Scots and Welsh have to pay for the full cost of both institutions with the loss of 95% of their MPs at Westminster as they are already over represented compared to the English who pay for more and get less, or close both institutions down and save the very significant costs of the parliament and assembly to help reduce public spending. If we really wanted to be bold we would sign a free trade agreement with the EU and withdraw from full membership, getting rid of expensive MEP’s and red tape, leaving just a beefed up embassy in Brussels to deal with the affairs of state, the savings would be huge and we could then target what’s left of our public funds to reduce our deficit and promote trade with emerging markets that will recover sooner than the tired old over taxed EU states.
    We could also reduce further education positions by 50% to stop the drop outs and make these people work instead reducing the need for migrants, we could bring in a flat rate of tax up to £250k getting rid of tax credits and sacking all the civil servants who deal with this, dole is cheaper than their gold plated pensions, we could also ensure all overseas aid is tied to being spent via UK companies and thus benefit for our companies and the nation getting aid rather than the present Uk tax payer giving money for aid that is often spent elsewhere. There are lots of things we could do that are popular, effective, positive and good for the whole nation without the spite we saw the other day against those that are successful (bankers might deserve to be taxed more, hard working self made business people do not). Regrettably we will not see posiitve policies or forward thinking, because we have Brown and Darling who are only interested in the politics of envy, keeping their noses in the trough and following polices that failed in the 1970s!

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  • 26. At 6:12pm on 24 Apr 2009, notsosilentmajority wrote:

    "David Kynaston, .... along with Kirstie Allsopp, who has a new show about living on the cheap"

    You obviously haven't seen Kirstie's show! Or you are very well off!
    Kirstie's living on the cheap advocates a £200 course on how to make stained glass window hangings, how to make your own wallpaper at over £100 per roll and buying door knobs at £50 per time.

    Not cheap for most folks!

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  • 27. At 6:12pm on 24 Apr 2009, Steve_London wrote:

    "There have been some really interesting online experiments where the public have helped law makers actually decide the budget, like this one in Minnesota."

    If the Labour Government are so bereft of ideas then surely they should call a general election ?

    Only when a general election is called will we hear what the parties actually intend to do and be able to make our choice.

    The more time it take for Labour to realize this, the longer it will take for someone to start to get a grip of the situation.

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  • 28. At 6:24pm on 24 Apr 2009, ubahnorpheus wrote:

    To chime with others on this blog, I sense that some of our future white elephants will be the NHS database and nuclear defence spending.
    So yes I would argue for scrapping a national health database, but would make sure that all individual surgeries had the technology and skills to follow up patients who fail to turn up for health screening/MOTs. Often the poorest and time-poor fail to look after their health, and this ultimately is very costly for the NHS.
    As for Trident, well it seems to me having nuclear weapons as a deterrent is like Elizabeth I taking on nuclear-winter flint spears in the face of the Armada. Intelligence and smart technology are key to national defence. Give serving soldiers/military personnel all the gear they need to protect themselves in current campaigns, which they are never likely to have endorsed.
    As for devolving power to the counties to save money, one blogger believes such counties as Dorset are being robbed by the centre, fat-cats don't just stroke their whiskers with cream and watch taxpayer-paid porn in Westminster. County and municipal fat-cats are alive and well (yep also in Dorset), and like to vote themselves immodest pay rises.
    If the public sector is to see cuts in spending, then first of all get rid of expensive consultancy reviews which are set in motion to cut jobs. It would be more cost-effective to negotiate earnestly and honestly with the unions than pull in consultants (hello BBC).
    Also if library services are to be cut (but don't like this one bit), then let the expensive city centre sites go and then fund more but smaller libraries with internet access in cheaper out of centre locations. Choose those library points to be in areas where social deprivation can go hand in hand with homes with no books. In taking the libraries to the suburbs and the housing estates, the wealthier could borrow online through a central lending scheme, and the poorer can access welcoming spaces with books, community advice and computer access.

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  • 29. At 6:24pm on 24 Apr 2009, limeyinnc wrote:

    I view the problems from afar, but one thing that should be cut, in my opinion is Family Allowance. In this over populated world why are people still being paid to have children? I know of English women who marry American servicemen and they collect family allowance! It is an outrage. Let the US Government take care of them. Also, I know that many of these families used to participate in the 'free milk' program, while living in the UK.
    There are also British born wives/widows of Americans who claim their British pension, and rightly so, but some declare an address in the UK, thus gaining more pension than they would get by declaring the truth, that their address is truly in the US. This is achieved by a family member or friend, allowing that wife/widow to give their address in the UK to collect those claims. One lady I know of, although i don't know her full name, lives in Panama City, Florida and she is a widow. Her husband left her very, very comfortable with an insurance benefit and payments that she could live on comfortably, however, she claims that she lives in the UK and thereby gets more in British pension than she would otherwise. There are many who cheat a government, but it really makes me mad when people cheat their own government. How can this be resolved?

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  • 30. At 6:34pm on 24 Apr 2009, ruralpolitico wrote:

    1 Bin ID cards - madness to spend all this £ on something that redefines the contract between the State & the individual ...
    2 Reduce the number of MPs, have PR elections and an elected 2nd chamber
    3 Abolish district & county councils - just have one tier of local government on top of parish/town (and de-professionalise these)
    4 Bin trident
    5 Reduce number of civil servants by 30% - and get the remaining ones to do some real work
    6 Have a 'lighter touch' approach to regulation and no silly glossy guidance documents such as the DEFRA one telling me to respect my pesticide-free, very well looked after lambs 'sheepness' & if I can't find them and it's been snowing they could be in a drift ... (I think most adults could work that one out)
    7 Make BBC stand on its own two feet & pay for itself
    8 Charge a toll for non-UK lorries to use our roads (as some other countries do) but don't have a toll for freight - to encourage goods to be delivered by rail
    9 Don't charge income tax to people earning less than £12k, (couple this with abolishing all the form-filling waste that goes on for those earning bugger all for them to supplement their income via the welfare state) - weould instantly help tackle rural poverty
    10 Introduce a clear limit to the NHS's boundaries so we the public stopping thinking of it as a bottomless pit and actually click that someone has to pay for it
    11 Finally admit private schools are (mostly) run as businesses not charities & tax them accordingly
    12 Tell the royal family once Queenie goes that's it - the party is over - we'll be a republic & you're going to be treated like everyone else
    13 Replace CAP with something that focuses on sustainable development (and don't take 'Non' for an answer - the French have to do their bit to tackle climate change too)

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  • 31. At 6:35pm on 24 Apr 2009, Etsomedairyfarm wrote:

    1. Reduce prison terms and make prisons greener by bringing back an inspired tread mill. You earn credits which work towards an early release according to the kW you generate.

    2. Use voluntary labour to help in school to help reduce class size but off loading non teaching from teachers.

    3. Raise pension age. (I'm just one.)

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  • 32. At 6:37pm on 24 Apr 2009, Jamie Taylor wrote:

    I thought that the whole point of the stimulus was to follow Obama's model and invest in infrastructure - not cut it?

    But, as for projects that ought to go: ID Cards - consolidate the passport, drivers' licence and ID card into one - savings almost immediately!

    Cut the budget for Scotland - if Alex Salmond thinks he can do better then let him.

    Stop investing in rich peoples' interests like the banks and concentrate on investing in the small businesses and British Industry again.

    Do not emulate Thatcher and Major and cut the NHS - it has taken decades for it to begin to recover - this mustn't be allowed to happen again.

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  • 33. At 6:40pm on 24 Apr 2009, BrianBarder wrote:

    1. Scrap ID cards and the associated giant national database (obviously). They are intrusive, irrelevant to terrorism, won't bother serious crooks, will intensify discriminatory stop-and-search, won't be capable of storing reliable information, and will be open to every kind of abuse.

    2. Don't renew Trident. We don't need nuclear weapons, nor rockets, submarines, ships, aircraft or hot-air balloons to deliver them. For the foreseeable future Britain can't afford to pretend to be a world power. A cold douche of realism will be salutary.

    3. Don't build any more prisons -- neither three Titans nor five smaller ones. Reduce the size of the prison population, don't keep on building new homes for an even bigger one. Around half the prison population ought not to be there: it's far cheaper to address their problems outside prison than in it.

    4. Scrap the NHS giant computer.

    5. No more failed politicians, businessmen, actors, ministers' nephews or other amateurs to be appointed as ambassadors or high commissioners. Career diplomats are much cheaper (and far more effective).

    6. No more Private Finance Initiatives, Public-Private Partnerships, or other kinds of sleight-of-hand dodges to postpone public expenditure or keep it off the public accounts: in practice risk can't be transferred to the private sector and the private sector is hugely more expensive.

    7. Nationalise the failed banks -- much cheaper than paying off their bad debts for them and then pouring money into them as bribes to induce them to do their job of lending.

    8. Bring the quangos, hived-off agencies and most privatised bodies performing public services (such as privatised prisons) back under direct ministerial and departmental control. Not only will they work much more economically: you won't need to pay their chief executives and other senior managers nearly so much when they are middle-ranking civil servants again.

    9. Abolish, or severely limit, private medical practice by doctors etc. trained by the NHS at public expense. Consultants will deliver much more to the NHS, for no more money, if they don't spend half their time in Harley Street treating Saudi princes while pretending that private practice only accounts for 3 per cent of their time.

    10. Remove all British troops from Afghanistan within three months. Their presence entails unacceptable casualties, serves no discernible purpose, is irrelevant to the real problem of al-Qaeda terrorism (i.e. Pakistan), antagonises ordinary innocent Afghans, is set unattainable goals, and costs millions.

    Brian Barder

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  • 34. At 6:41pm on 24 Apr 2009, ladymaryellenwood wrote:

    Reduce the number of MPs to 450 - 500 and put them up in London at one of the disused military barracks.
    I would keep the BBC, I do not like sitting through adverts, nor paying extra for my food to pay for these adverts.

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  • 35. At 6:45pm on 24 Apr 2009, nicesmiffy58 wrote:

    Stop payments to immigrants as soon as they arrive, do as other countries do. Oh and when they are declared illegal let's not use tax payers money for their appeal it's stupid. There should be no right of appeal anyway.

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  • 36. At 6:49pm on 24 Apr 2009, 60022Mallard wrote:

    Since the present government has been in power I believe "we" have been taxed for and increased spending by something like 50% above inflation on both the NHS and education. Does anybody reading this believe that we have achieved value for money in view of the modest improvement in the NHS and seemingly no improvement in education. Surely it is a no brainer to work this trick in reverse, save untold billions and only suffer little deterioration in service.

    P.S. watch out for increasing use of the phrase "efficiency savings" in government and BBC items. It is of course a euphamism for cuts, a word the government struggles with, like it does with sorry. Unless it really does mean that the government has been presiding over inefficiency for many years without correcting it - will they admit that?

    Abolish Child Trust Fund payments immediately. Abolish all child based allowances / tax credits etc. for more than a second child born 9 months and 1 week after the announcement. Abolish all regional shadow councils. Close all regional development agencies. Reduce all public sector pension entitlements to "average salary level" rather than final salary. E.g. constable 2 years, rising through ranks to chief constable 3 years - pension level around Chief Inspector rather than Chief Constable. Abolish all race relations / equality / diversity positions and bodies that have to "create" the problems to justify their existence.

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  • 37. At 7:12pm on 24 Apr 2009, 60022Mallard wrote:

    P.S. forgot to add end all public service advertising in the Guardian group newspapers. That would help reduce the political bias of those in receipt of "our" shilling, the BBC to be included in that ban, of course.

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  • 38. At 7:18pm on 24 Apr 2009, GlobalTemplar wrote:

    In these tough times we can also do without Trevor Philips and his Ministry of Fairness, all race relations, gender/sexual orientation issues and anyone getting funding from the public purse to promote or invent problems around these issues should have their public funding stopped now! If these issues are so important for them, then they can go raise the cash like charities do from those who wish to donate to them, although most people know that these issues are overhyped and in the real world outside of London there are never enough victims to go around or justify the huge waste of public cash taken up by these issues!

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  • 39. At 7:20pm on 24 Apr 2009, Icious wrote:

    1) on My list would be I.D. Cards purely because i don't see what they add to the mountain of knowledge that the government already has on most of us, that own, the following, An Oyster card, a credit card, a drivers license, a passport, national insurance number, a loyalty card an e-mail address, I could go on, why another card? so the police can abuse the powers already at thier disposal? Cost to benefit over what the state already knows about us (as mentioned above) as individuals is surely going to be zilch.

    3) Link MP's pay rises to those of Civil servants, if they want to bump up thier own wages they'll have to bump up that of all the civil servants who work for them. (Wishful aren't I?)(Probably save in the region of £1.5Billion

    3) If as is clear we need to build new power stations, Why can't some of the cost be put on the entity that is going to use it, i.e EDF or National Power et al. which would also mean they would be expected to maintain the facilities to UK legislation/Regulations. And couold be iven a lease similar to that of the Mobile phone companies. (70 - 100 BILLION IN THE COFFERS, Estimate!)

    4) If George Osborne gloats anymore about the position we as a country are in, i'd love for one of the newsnight team to give him a swift kick in his nether regions. He and his party continue to say everything and offer nothing, why won't the journalists start nailing them, they are expecting to take over in a years time and i know nothing about them.
    Is David Cameron an environmentalist or another dreamer? Is George Osborne the love child of peter mandelson? I'm fed up hearing about what is from these two, i want to know what will be if they get to kick Gordon and the dreamers out of office. Other wise i'll stick with the devil i know.

    5) Yeah i know i went off base, but i'm not offering these poltician anymore ideas, they're getting paid for them,i'm not!

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  • 40. At 7:25pm on 24 Apr 2009, legendarygreenrosie wrote:

    I wonder how much could be saved if all councils ceased cutting the verges that are clearly not obscuring junctions. In effect tens of thousands of miles of needlessly wrecked strips of wild flower meadow. Once/twice a year would be fine. All that saved fuel and I'm sure the bees would appreciate it too.

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  • 41. At 7:25pm on 24 Apr 2009, leftieoddbod wrote:

    everyone putting the boot into NuLabour and to some degree they did deserve a bit of a kicking for getting into bed with PFI's, tuition fees, Iraq, oh, stop me someone as it goes on forever but watching slippery Dave and the oik of a shadown chancellor, Osborne, not once have they said what they would do....NOT ONCE, it is they who are the undead. 'What will you do, if elected about the economy?'.....long silence, 'Well, you must tell us that if the public were to vote for you what kind of policies will you have?' ......another long silence. Why are we standing for this? Marr, a pussycat if ever there was one started it all off last Sunday and if Jeremy could get at one of them I doubt if he would fare any better but the sooner media stalwarts get into these two used car salesmen the better for the British public as to where we will all be in twelve months. Answers please.

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  • 42. At 7:27pm on 24 Apr 2009, bkieser wrote:

    1) Cut out nuclear weapons entirely. We don't need them. We aren't about to get the Spanish Armada re-enactment upgraded to the nuclear age. The cold war is over and we are now simply a tiny island. Mr Hitler cost us the Empire in order to win a world war... for the second time. But we simply cannot pretend to be a world military power anymore.

    The British armed forced do a fantastic job in conventional warfare as a supporting act. They are world renowned and well respected. But a superpower we are no longer. Let the superpowers play the nuclear game. We're above that now, we're civilised. We had an empire and did something unique that no-one else in history has done: We voluntarily gave it up.

    2) Cut out the paid luxury holidays that the prison service is. Prison should be less appealing inside than out. So make the inmates work and work very hard. They owe US a debt. Living in a civilised country isn't a right, it's a privilege. We're a great country with a fantastic quality of life. But being a part of this society is an implicit contract: You stick to the rules, you play by the book, you contribute your fair share to the country and you don't destroy the hard work of everyone else.

    We have gone way too far to the other side. The perpetrators of crime have broken the contract. They made a choice and the choice was to violate not just the victims of their crimes, but all of us by destroying the nation that those of us hard working taxpayers and law-abiding citizens maintain. We have the fantastic legacy of our forebears who survived the horrors of medieval times, feudalism, plague and famine to build a country that is one of the most fair, civilised and agreeable places on the planet to live.

    Criminals destroy all that we have that is good about this country. They owe us a debt and they owe us, the respectable people who maintain this country, immense gratitude.

    So let's keep a running tab on all criminals who are living at our expense. Rather than a "publicly funded" criminal service, let's regard the mechanisms that we pay for presently as credit forwarded to the criminals. Let's account for the cost of each item in the chain of events that a criminal, when they commit a crime, sets off. From the cost of the police investigation to the cost of their prosecution, incarceration, evaluation and eventual release. The cost of all this should be calculated on a monthly basis and added to their account for each criminal. Interest on this money is also payable.

    The criminals have to work to pay off this debt. This will not only teach them the cost of their crimes to society and give them a sense of accountability for their actions which is completely missing from the criminal mindset, but it is also completely fair. Why should someone else be able to run up MY expenses? These people, through their actions, ran up very serious costs. Why should WE have to give THEM money for committing acts that are illegal and hence intolerable to us? We wouldn't tip a waitress who spat in our food, we wouldn't employ someone to sexually abuse our children.

    But implicitly, by criminals running up a cost to capture and contain them, a cost that WE pay for, depending on how you view it, we are effectively either paying extortion money (i.e. "protection money") or effectively paying criminals a salary by covering the costs that they have incurred through their actions.

    This is blatantly wrong. Not only is it insane to allow this to happen, it is also morally wrong to inflict the costs of crime onto the victims not the perpetrators.

    Criminals should be presented weekly with their statement of account. They should see the money that their work has earned, less taxes, offset against the money that they owe society. A minor amount of cash could be paid to them for psychological reward reasons, but they should be able to choose not to make the drawing in preference to paying their debt faster and if they do choose to make the drawing, then this too is shown against their account.

    After work every day, the criminals should then be educated moral behaviour and personal financial responsibility so that they can fully understand the impact of their behaviour as well as their cost to society.

    Parole would take the net debt consideration into account and release from prison would now include an assessment as to whether the criminal fully understands their impact on society, the cost to society and is truly remorseful for those actions. Becuase they run up an account at our expense, we cannot extend the "service" of a free life in our society to debtors likely to run up further bills. So release conditions would include the continued repayments of the debt until it's completely serviced and should the criminal re-offend, then a credit risk assessment would be added to any present considerations and sentencing for the subsequent crime.

    The bottom line is that after-tax money currently goes to funding criminals by paying THEIR costs and THEIR debt to society with OUR hard earned money in ADDITION to the loss we suffer at the hands of criminals. This is morally, logically and financially wrong. Let the criminals fund their own capture, prosecution, re-education, incarceration and release.

    3) Let's outsource the Commons to India. Let's face it, with MP expenses and salaries, the cost of maintaining the offices, transport, telecoms, electricity, procurement of red tape and everything else that goes into keeping that rowdy bunch of windbags in comfort we could save a fortune by outsourcing the entire shebang. India has huge experience in running outsourced departments, they also have the world's greatest democracy that's infinitely more complex than our own and so have skills and experience that greatly exceed our own and nearly every Blue Chip company in the Western World has done the maths and the numbers add up to a huge cost saving so why not UK Plc as well?

    We could convert the present offices and buildings occupied by the government into themed experiences, shopping facilities and coffee shops or rent them out at a profit to paying customers.

    The Queen is already head of the Commonwealth and regularly visits India, so effectively no change there and with India's project management and IT experience, maybe we have a chance of large government projects genuinely done on time, to budget and with real cost savings. Contrast that with the present malaise of outsourcing massive public works to a select few of MP-friendly large US "consultancies" who add many zeros to the bottom line and add no value but generate massive amounts of paperwork and expenditure.

    It's not a few Apples that are rotten, it's the entire branch of government and all the large school tie chummy consultancies that suck the milk of our tax money from the ample bosom of commons incumbents so chop off the entire branch I say and replace it with the Indian elephant, preferably not a white one.

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  • 43. At 7:34pm on 24 Apr 2009, jobber19 wrote:

    Please can sopmeone take a realistic, close look at actual; expenditure. I find it amazing that we don't actually require the Govt to tell us what it's spent money on. Sure the audit Commission looks at things and (more frequently recently) publishes a report damning some aspect of spending, but do we actually KNOW accurately what is spent on what?

    My favourites for the cuts would be: ID cards, any large govt IT projects (all seem to have come in way over budget and time), increasing prison population (lets put more money into community penalties instead), deport all illegal immigrants/failed asylum seekers (not going to do much to save money, but it's make people feel something was being done), useless training schemes (including more people in university) cut out much more benefit fraud, and - in direct opposition to current thinking (you did say to be counterintuitive!) lets embark on a road improvement/building programme to slash the cost of congestion.

    Let's do something about obscenely large salaries, bonuses and pensions, especially public sector ones. Do we really need to employ people to encourage street football? why should I have to cut my contributions to my pension so that I can afford to pay my council tax of which 25% goes to pay for other people's pensions.

    I am concerned that I have turned from being a soft-hearted liberal (small l) to a mean minded person who somethimes sounds somewhere to the right of Thatcher. I don't mind public spending on things that benefit society - that's what we should be doing. But all we seem to do is throw vast amounts of money at institutions and systems that don't work - mainly education, health and social services. I despair.

    Bev, Wiltshire

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  • 44. At 7:36pm on 24 Apr 2009, Andy in Newcastle wrote:

    I don't intend to list specific policies that I like or dislike - we will end up with as many views on here as comments.

    I think the first thing to recognise is that cuts are going to be necessary - if not this year or next, then certainly within the next few years. "Efficiency savings" just aren't realistic or sufficient, and neither can we be expected to amke up the shortfall simply in extra taxes.

    Whilst accepting that it's in the nature of politics that different parties will, and must, hold different views, I think we then need to try to agree what sort of spending by the state is essential and what is discretionary. Just because a service might be desirable, that doesn't mean it's essential, particularly when it's funded from general taxation.

    For myself, and without being too specific, I would class educating our children, maintaining law and order, defending the country, providing adequate tranport infrasture and health services as essential (amongst other things). However, much of our social spending I would class as discretionary and therefore liable for the chop during the current economic crisis (such as employing "breast feeding coordinators" and various facilitators, paying for child trust funds, and other things).

    I recognise that many people will think that the above things are essential functions of the state. But whether or not one believes they are desirable, they can hardly be described as "essential". If they were, one wonders how the human race managed to survive for so many millions of years without them.

    It may be, once the finances are back on track, that the state may choose to start undertaking these functions again. But for now, just like many of the rest of us, it's time for the government to look at the bank statement and decide what we can do without, however much we might prefer not to.

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  • 45. At 7:50pm on 24 Apr 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Obviously first stop ID Cards, Trident and the London Olympics. The 1916, 1940 and 1944 Olympics were cancelled due to the World crisis and so should the 2012 ones-

    Direct, London-mayor style election for English FM and UK PM with no MPs as ministers.

    Next scrap the existing Commons and Lords entirely, replacing them by a democratically elected English assembly of appx. 150 AMs to make new laws and to hold the FM to account plus a UK Senate of appx. 50 for the few UK-wide laws and to hold the PM to account.

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  • 46. At 8:21pm on 24 Apr 2009, SteveCamfield wrote:

    I would stop paying benefit to all immigrants and asylum seekers (who should not have been allowed into this country in the first instance). I would stop all child benefit for more than two children, and make all the people who are on invalidity benefit who should not be, lose their benefit.
    All people should be on PAYE so that they cannot fiddle their tax saving billions.
    So many people are living in council accommodation who are quite wealthy, so they should be made to pay an economic rent if they wish to remain council tenants

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  • 47. At 8:42pm on 24 Apr 2009, vulcan617 wrote:

    Cancel Trident and scrap ID cards. Let's try to live a freer life - free from international conflict and free from Blair's Big Brother.

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  • 48. At 9:14pm on 24 Apr 2009, nikkiblondebean wrote:

    Its all pretty easy really, there's lots of money going down several drains. Trident, senseless wars, ID cards, new nuke and coal power stations, new roads.

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  • 49. At 9:24pm on 24 Apr 2009, tawse57 wrote:

    In terms of the BBC there is, I have to say, long been real arguments why it actually stiffles creativity and new business models in terms of the Media and the Internet.
    Politicians often ask why there is no British Microsoft or no Google but any such company trying to get started here in the UK would immediately find itself face to face with a BBC backed by billions of Pounds of tax-payers' moneies - in other words, no risks for the handsomely paid BBC Executives but a huge risk for anyone outside of the BBC attempting to, for example, create a new UK based international news portal online, a new UK based global search engine or, more likely, one of the numerous 'Cloud' portals that will appear in the coming years.
    It is tragic how the existence of the BBC stiffles such potential here in the UK!
    There are real and serious arguments to be made now as to the BBC Licence fee being diverted into helping start-ups in New Media that, by Act of Parliament, the BBC itself would be barred from entering. This would allow new companies to get started and established and, with tax-payer funding being at the heart of such companies, there would be the possiblity of the UK benefitting if any of these companies became a new multi-billion Dollar Google or Cisco or Microsoft.
    In terms of cut-backs: -
    The Welsh Language has been a cash-cow for a tiny minority of people in Wales, some would argue a self-serving clique, as the overwhelming majority of Welsh do not speak Welsh nor have any interest in speaking Welsh.
    All the Welsh Language has done has, arguably, allowed a small clique of people to obtain some incredibly well paid jobs in BBC Wales, S4C, the Welsh Civil Service and so on. It is actually a form of cultural apatheid as people, arguably, get these jobs based on their ability to speak Welsh and not on merit. Some say that you can often find entire families working in the numerous Welsh Language QUANGOS: it is a waste of money and is racist against the overwhelming majority of Welsh people who speak only English. The cold harsh reality is that the English-speaking Welsh are positively discriminated against in their own country.
    In the past 30 years hundreds of millions of pounds of tax-payers' money, if not billions, have been spent on the Welsh Language and the only thing, arguably, that there is to show for it is a small group of now very wealthy Welsh-speakers. Given a choice between schools and hospitals or six figure salaries at BBC Wales, S4C et al then it is logical what the choice should be.
    At the end of the day do we really need to spend Public money on finding Welsh Language names for Jalfrezi, Korma and other curries? Yep, that is just one of the things on which our money is being spent.
    In fact, with 6 in 10 workers in Wales working in the Public Sector, it is debateable whether Wales itself should be cut in order to save billions of Public Spend!? Or maybe Wales should be paid back now by for all that coal, copper and iron ore stolen in the 19th Century and allowed, or forced, to go its own way?
    I don't say the above lightly. I am Welsh, proud of it and the Welsh Language is truly beautiful... but until the domination of top Welsh Public Sector jobs by small numbers of Welsh speakers is challenged and reformed the harsh reality is that Wales will never truly benefit from the best talent, no matter what language they speak, rising to the top and making decisions based on good business sense - and with so many billions spent each year in Wales by senior Public Sector workers that is something that needs serious debate at this time.

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  • 50. At 9:51pm on 24 Apr 2009, tawse57 wrote:

    Stop IT Consultancies working on any Public Sector IT projects - they have no value add that I can recognise and simply add huge costs to projects that usually can be completed quicker, cheaper and more reliably in-house or by using the UK IT Contractor workforce?

    This could save billions alone in Public Sector IT spend.

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  • 51. At 10:05pm on 24 Apr 2009, asktheratas wrote:

    Hello Peter,

    Well, I would hold a referendum on the EU constitution (as Labour promised in their manifesto anyway). When we British are given the chance to give it the ‘no vote’, we would then be spending less by not forking out for the other EU countries, from who we get less back in return. (We can then join ‘The European Free Trade Association’, so won’t lose any trade).

    I would gradually reduce the size of the public sector by lowering recruitment levels over time, without making people redundant.

    One of our biggest outlays already is the interest on our national debt. So I would pay off the debt as quickly as possible; I want more money to be spent on my education than on my share of the debt. It seems to me that we’re going to be paying for Labour’s borrowing for over a generation.
    Thanks Gordon!


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  • 52. At 10:11pm on 24 Apr 2009, TonyHants wrote:

    First thing that is needed is a complete attitude change in Whitehall that recognises that this country is pretty nearly bankrupt and if they were personally in that position how would they react? What sort of country do we REALLY want at the end of this? One which can pay its way in the world or will continue to live on tick? If the former, what will we do differently that would make foreigners want buy our billions of debt that Darling admitted on Wednesday and continue to hold pounds?

    Bring back a hefty dose of common sense into the provision of public services:
    - does it make sense that there are more bureaucrats in the NHS than nurses?
    - why isn't part of the appraisal process for top hospital managers to walk the floor at least daily to see the state of cleanliness and the attutude of staff/response of patients?
    - why do all Brussels' directives have to be gold plated and implemented to the detriment of this country? France doesn't do this - if it doesn't suit their country, they just ignore it. Even law abiding Sweden does implement as many directives as us.
    - Abandon id cards, Trident, the carriers, outsourcing government work for the dogmatic sake of it, get some professional contract writers and managers to handle the IT contracts.
    - Stop trying to level the playing field everywhere -- get rid of the diversity advisors, deport illegals/released foreign prisoners quickly, teach kids that life is tough and there are winners and losers.
    - Stop facilitating the sale of British companies to foreign organisations who then either asset strip or mess up operations (a la BAA)
    - do a bit of strategic planning -- tough I know because it means someone in government might have to take a position that doesn't involve sitting on the fence or blaming the other lot. Why have we waited until now to realise that we have an electricity crisis looming that can only be solved by building coal fired power stations (which will be built by foreign power companies and fuelled by imported coal).

    Could go on and on... Oh, one more... stop carping about the BBC. As value for money it's streets ahead of Sky.

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  • 53. At 10:19pm on 24 Apr 2009, bookhimdano wrote:

    whatever cuts are made the guardian class should have a mandate from the people to do it. which is why we need an election so there isn't 12 months of drift and dither and propping up hard luck stories in marginals.

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  • 54. At 10:26pm on 24 Apr 2009, owinters91 wrote:

    I'm always annoyed by the amount of people who complain about the money that 'immigrants' and 'asylum seekers' get...Do any of you know the entitlements that these people have as non-UK citizens and the fact that there are really not that many people who take the huge step of uprooting themselves and moving to another country to sit and claim benefits. In fact, ludicrously, asylum seekers aren't even allowed to work by law, and have to live on a measly income. Let asylum seekers seek employment and focus on saving money on benefits misallocated to British nationals, the only people who are actually fully entitled to British benefits.

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  • 55. At 10:57pm on 24 Apr 2009, trevlincs wrote:

    There are very many areas of spending that should be tackled with urgency, some are sensible cost effective and easy like saving the vast advertising and consultants budgets used by this Government.
    Secondly, the whole benefits culture needs urgent attention, the country can not afford to keep millions not working that could be, cut the child tax credits, sort out the undeserving millions on sickness benefit while retaining support for the genuinely disabled.
    We do not need 50% of people to go to University and never did!
    Make all public services including defence and health properly deploy the resources they have before they get any more money.

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  • 56. At 10:57pm on 24 Apr 2009, politicaleye wrote:

    For the last few months work has been going on widening the pavement on one of the main roads in my small town. At the best of times it is not clear why this work is necessary. This is the kind of expenditure that should not take place in the current economic climate. Local authorities need to hold back on inessential new projects.

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  • 57. At 10:59pm on 24 Apr 2009, ripley1970 wrote:

    Expensive schemes to be cut - ID Cards, Trident, politicians expenses, paying people to have children aka working families tax credits, anyone who has been unemployed for any reason for more than 2 years (if it takes that long to find a job then you haven't been looking hard enough trust me), bank bailouts should cease immediately and market forces (remember them?) should be brought to bear. If my pension (as a public sector worker - nurse just so you know) is to be cut (i got a recent pension forecast and it was at the time approx £14,000 a year no doubt much less now and in 28 years when i retire it will be worth peanuts) then i hope to see a similar cut to that of the prime minister, former prime minister and all the other politicians with their snoughts in the trough. An immediate one line bill removing all rights of pensions to those who have left with huge bailouts such as Sir Fred Goodwin. Reduction in spending in prisons so that prisoners meals etc cost less than those of schoolchildren (which at the moment cost less). I'd immediately reduce local government by about a fifth as I am completely aware of how spendthrift those organisations are. Get rid of "consultants" in every public sector organisation which would immediately reduce bills in councils, NHS etc by a dramatic amount.

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  • 58. At 11:05pm on 24 Apr 2009, Jonboyx wrote:

    Saving a large amount of money is remarkably simple, and almost painless:

    i) Stop virtually all immigration - this saves the massive cost of providing health, education, and, increasingly, maternity services, for a net 200,000 people a year, with knock-on savings in power generation, prisons, police, etc.

    ii) Quit the European Union - this saves £25 billion a year

    iii) Replacing council tax with income tax saves up to £1 billion a year by removing this parallel fund-raising bureaucracy

    iv) Cut the number of MPs from 659 to 450 and end the expenses fiddling

    That should be enough to be going on with.

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  • 59. At 11:05pm on 24 Apr 2009, zade_10 wrote:

    The public sector pension schemes are always subject to review. But if you work in the public sector for more than 20 years your penion would be 50% of your wage when a civil servant of police officer retires. this means that a government minister could retire on a penion of £50,000 every year. why not cap all public sector penions to a maxium of £20,000 which would mean that the lower wage earners would not have there pension cut but the hire wage earners and i do not think that a pension of £50,000 needs to be paid every year. It is a huge waste of tax payers money in the economy that could be better used else where.

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  • 60. At 11:06pm on 24 Apr 2009, dekkall wrote:

    Public sector pensions must be brought into line with the private sector. it is not a viable option to treat public sector workers to pensions which are not an option for the private sector.
    Public sector salary increases have been quoted as running at 3.5% when many private sector jobs are disappearing and those who have jobs are getting zero or negative pay awards.
    Quangos which hand out vast amounts of public money should be drastically thinned out.
    The whole of the local government spending should be better controlled and increases in council taxes should be stopped until we are out of recession.

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  • 61. At 11:07pm on 24 Apr 2009, cfccfmstper wrote:

    What to cut easy.. lets start with
    Replacement nuclear deterrant
    ID cards
    Government advertising such as recent Home Office police adverts to name just one, a complete waste of money for poltical purposes.
    Regional Government offices and organisations- a complete duplication of National and local government.
    Regional passport interview offices
    Quangos - such as the South West Road safety patnership, The Potato Council, Culture South east,Quality Improvement Agency for
    Life Long Learning,The Information Centre,Sector Skills Development Agency,Home Grown Cereals Authority, the list goes on. I believe over 100 regional ones exist alone, all of which are headed by expensive people and are hardly critical priorities (nice to have perhaps if you can afford it)
    Cost of moving moving EU Parliament between Brussles and Strasbourg every few months.
    Make MPs pensions contributory.

    That would make a good start I think!!

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  • 62. At 11:09pm on 24 Apr 2009, U13933360 wrote:

    Cut out 5% of university places.

    This government made a bad and expensive error in pursuing policies that drove a huge number of teenagers into university education when they would have been better served taking apprenticeships or vocational education. Too many students have been burdened with too much debt accrued studying poor courses with little career benefit at poor universities. I appreciate opportunity should be there for all, but the opportunity should be earned by peforming well enough at high school and sixth form to merit a university place.

    Cutting 5% of university places will have 2 benefits:

    1. Elimination of primary funding costs
    2. Greater body of teenagers available to be productive to the econonmy

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  • 63. At 11:10pm on 24 Apr 2009, padraigfgm wrote:

    Cut the BBC and save us all the licence fee and an end to the huge salaries paid!

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  • 64. At 11:10pm on 24 Apr 2009, strangeGraham wrote:

    1/Cut the number of 660 MP's in half. The country would save hundreds of millions of pounds. We would get better politician and the people would respect them more.
    2/Cut the number of the members of the House of Lords in half. Ditto.
    3/Scrap the Trident replacement, giving back our nuclear deterrent to the RAF.

    Graham Knowles.

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  • 65. At 11:12pm on 24 Apr 2009, Nullius123 wrote:

    As well as cuts, the government needs to find ways to *raise* cash - a lot of it. Why not kill a few birds with one stone and legalize cannabis? It would save a fortune in criminal justice spending - there's some serious savings - *and* raise a fortune in new taxes. The net benefit to the exchequer could be more than £2 billion a year (Miron 2005). It would also signal an end to the absurd and brutal war on drugs that shows no sign of being won despite more than *40* years of increasingly expensive effort.

    Besides, even after years of scare stories - that cannabis sends you mad, that it's much stronger than it used to be, and all the rest - enough of us know someone who is a cannabis smoker (there are millions of us, after all) that no one seriously doubts that alcohol is a far more problematic drug.

    Putting an end to the hypocrisy of current policy and regulating what is surely the biggest sector of the black market can only improve our view of politicians too. All it requires is a little political apostasy.

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  • 66. At 11:12pm on 24 Apr 2009, beeceen wrote:

    I'd cut the following to start with, as they are easy and fairly painless: ID Cards, Trident, and slash Quangos. BeeCee

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  • 67. At 11:15pm on 24 Apr 2009, philbeasl wrote:

    It is blindingly obvious how the government should be saving money:
    1. Stop spending billions of pounds on keeping migrants in luxury and giving them free health care. Stop spending millions of pounds on translators to ensure migrants who don't speak english can access the benefits system.
    2. Cancel the Working Tax Credit system and give low paid workers more money by increasing the tax threshold.
    3. Stop organised foreign gangs from de-frauding our benefits system
    4. Stop abusing the corrupt expenses system to get rich at our expense

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  • 68. At 11:18pm on 24 Apr 2009, U13933357 wrote:

    Let's save money in culture and, defence and transport. First, let's scrap TV Licensing as an organisation in toto. It is an unnecessary bureaucracy and the money it raises to fund the BBC could be granted by a hypothecated income tax. Large savings would be made by scrapping this agency that is long past its best before date. The cost to the licence payer - and that's most taxpayers - should be less each year. Sign the petition on the Number 10 website!
    Defence. As a maritime nation, with 95% of trade done by sea, the Navy is an essential part of the structure; its policing role is more important, too, with oil rigs and piracy matters of real concern. If anything, the Royal Marines and the Army should be a little bigger, given the stretch we've seen in recent years. It's an uncertain world and our sea and land forces need careful management. Maritime air has been shown to be more flexible in all wars and threats since 1945 and aircraft carriers and amphibious ships at the centre of the action. As the Fleet Air Arm has about 25 people to one airframe, and the RAF some 40 people to one airframe, it's clear that the RAF has a lot of 'fat' that can be cut. Only 5% to 10% of RAF personnel ever fly, the remaining 90% or more is support - some of it essential support, for sure - but many in RAF support never, ever, leave the UK. I would go one step further than just cutting out the huge waste there is in the RAF today: abolish the RAF and transfer all the air and support assets to the Fleet Air Arm and Army, with whatever number of people are needed to run them. Thus, the country loses no air capability at all and most of the same people fly and support them. What goes is one armed service and all the bureaucracy and hierarchy that goes to keep the RAF as a single service. There would be huge savings and less inter-service rivalry, too. Indeed, a number of big budget RAF projects have all been headline news this year because of serious mis-management and that might be dealt a blow too. I am not denigrating the RAF and its aircrew at all but some of their top management has been found wanting, so serious change is needed and there is no better time than a deep recession for owning up and cutting out waste of public funds.
    Transport. Far too many night buses run empty in London and, probably, elsewhere and they could be cut back, saving public money and providing a barely noticeable cut in night bus services. Some form of tax must be placed on air travel and particularly on holiday air travel abroad so as to raise money and to thwart air travel - a green measure, too, and overdue but timely in this crisis.

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  • 69. At 11:19pm on 24 Apr 2009, Skippy the Wonder Lemur wrote:

    It woudl be nice if we could be sensible about this, rather than the 'Kick out the Immigrants' rants which seem to predominate on this thread. There are a number of measures which we should take to get us out of the current problems quickly.

    1. Scrap ID Cards. These are only still being pursued because they became ingrained in Labour thinking in the last years under Tony Blair. Time for the government to try to think OUTSIDE the boxes.

    2. Scrap Trident. We don't need it. We won't use it. Again, its only been ordered because of Tony Blair's legacy.

    3. Slash Public Sector Pensions. Don't just tinker with them, do what actually needs to be done. Put them on a Money Purchase basis, so that they are actually funded by the contributions paid by the members. Political suicide, the government may think, but what do they care now, the next election's lost (and probably the one after that as well, so why not do something to actually help the country.

    4. The cut in Income Tax rates from 22% to 20% needs to be reversed when we are out of recession. I know that hurts everybody, but it will raise the sort of sum which we need to raise to get out of this mess.

    5. Public Sector pay freeze for the foreseeable future. It was always assumed that the Public Sector received lower salaries than the Private Sector, but made up for it in higher pensions. This has been a falsehood for a number of years. Public Sector pay is at least on a par with Private Sector pay and their pensions are vastly more generous.

    6. Cut the number of MPs to around 550. We don't need any more, the House of Commons is too crowded if every MP turns up on the same day and in MPs' salary and allowances, it is likely to save about £50 million a year!!!

    7. Finally, for the love of God, keep the bank shares which the country holds until they have increased in value tenfold, which is likely to happen in the next few years. Banks have always been profitable, and always will be in the future. 2008 was a blip. Bank shares will be worth a lot more again in the medium term. That should clear a large chunk of the extra debt which we have accumulated on its own. Just don't do what Gordon Brown did to the country's Gold Reserves and wait until the market is at its most depressed before selling them!

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  • 70. At 11:23pm on 24 Apr 2009, IanMIEE wrote:

    Just a quick comment based on what’s been said on the programme by the tax payers alliance spokeswoman regarding public sector pensions. To qualify my remarks; I run my own professional fee based business and rely only on my abilities and have done for many years, I pay the appropriate income and corporation tax as required by law. If you want to remove the public sector pension rights then pay public servants better, if I worked in local government I wouldn’t earn anything near what I do in the private sector. Some of these people are working for next to nothing and have expectations of a reasonable pension. If you cut the public sector pension rights don’t be surprised when there’s no one to clean the hospitals or empty your bins. Stop blaming the working classes for the failure of capitalism, the Tories sold off the family silver and, regrettably, labour had to follow a similar route to get elected. It’s not all Mrs Ts fault but Milton Friedman and her have a lot to answer for.

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  • 71. At 11:24pm on 24 Apr 2009, mpmhorn wrote:

    As a former County Councillor, it is clear to me that Local Government in the UK is extremely wasteful and is a prime candidate for cuts.

    The cost of local democracy has been rising relentlessly. Some councillors have turned Local Government into a full time job, with Council Leaders earning over £30 k. Councillor pay has also been rising, as have expense claims. Some councillors have now even awarded themselves pensions. Noting the limited power of County and District Councillors, there are too many, they cost too much, their numbers therefore should be cut as should their cost.

    We have seen a huge rise in the salaries of Local Government senior officials - these need to be cut. The Tax Payers Alliance has published a Rich List which highlights the extent of the problem. They have also highlighted the rapid increase in Local Government employees earning over £50 k. These people are not "rare talent", and they should not be paid the same as managers in the private sector.

    There has been a rapid increase in Local Government employees in recent years, many of whom are doing what are obviously "non-jobs". There are a plethora of silly initiatives by Local Government which achieve very little, cost a great deal, and which should be cut.

    The schools budgets are generally tight and well managed. Regretably, Older People Services and Learning Disabilities appear to be poorly managed, particularly so when services have been outsourced to private care homes. Democratic Services, Standards Committee's etc., are a complete waste of time and money. Economic Development, from what I can see in most authorities, is simply money for mates - these Departments achieve nothing. Most Local Authorities have extensive property portfolios that are poorly managed and very costly.

    If central Government does focus on cutting funding to Local Government, it must make sure that it caps Council Tax. If it does not, Local Government will simply seek to offset any central government cuts by clawing back the money they believe they are entitled to from council tax payers.

    The Gershwin savings are a delussion. Real cuts are needed. The cost of Local Government, based on my experience on the Lincolnshire County Council, can in my view, easily be cut by 20%.

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  • 72. At 11:26pm on 24 Apr 2009, colonelchrism wrote:

    An obvious area for cuts is projects which can be quickly cancelled:
    ID Cards
    NHS Patient Database
    eBorders Database
    Communications database
    Variety of other government databases
    Trident Replacement

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  • 73. At 11:28pm on 24 Apr 2009, 2oftheabove wrote:

    Obviously we can no longer afford to subsidise French farmers and Spanish fishermen etc. Withdrawing from the EU racket would not only save huge amounts of money, but would let us run our own economy as we see fit. The large amounts of money spent on the sinister Common Purpose "charity" could be put to much better use. Trident cannot defend us from our worst enemies, most of whom work in London and ar paid by the taxpayer.

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  • 74. At 11:29pm on 24 Apr 2009, quillan11500 wrote:

    Easy. NHS Expenditure on drugs. All the evidence shows that at least 75% of drugs are totally ineffective. No drug has ever cured any illness. This is a fact.
    The medical profession is largely a fraud. Drugs don't work.Natural inexpensive herbs and vitamins aid the body's recovery.
    All the nutrients the body requires including all the vitamins,minerals and protein, are available in abundance in chlorella and spirulina, derived from algae.
    May sound extraordinary, but most radical changes are.Until a Government has the guts to bring in a culture of Preventive Medicine, this charade of "treatment" will continue.
    Get the Pharmas off the back of the NHS, and bring in "medicine" which works. Adequate Vitamin D will prevent 77% of Cancers. Imagine the savings there, and most Vitamin D is created free by exposure to the sun in the summer months.
    Taking a 200mcg supplement of Selenium costing 3p will again prevent up to 70% of the common cancers.
    Where is this education?
    Instead we have the Government aiming to ban the use of Vitamins and Minerals in worthwhile doses at the end of this year, to kow-tow to the Pharmas, who contribute huge sums to their Election Funds.
    Don't you understand how corrupt the whole Health Business is? The Pharmaceutical Companies are bankrupting Governments and Industries.
    One of the reasons for the demise of the US Car Industry is that they have been crippled by the high costs of medical insurance payments for their workers, making their products uncompetitive.
    The Cancer Industry is the biggest racket in the world. Come back to me for chapter and verse if you don't believe me--in which case you have been brainwashed by all the Pharma lies and double-talk.
    How many women have been told that mammograms cause 10 times as many cancers as they detect? Now do you understand why they are sponsored by the Big Pharmas?
    If any Government will commit to a root and branch radical changein Health Philosophy, the cost of the NHS could be seriously slashed. It would result in a decrease in Health spending, not this forever promise of unnecessary annual increases.

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  • 75. At 11:34pm on 24 Apr 2009, Jericoa wrote:

    Public sector pensions has to be first on the list, the easiest mechanism is to increase the retirement age for public sector employees in line with the private sector followed by a progresive claw back of final salary pensions to new entrants, not available almost anywhere else.

    Front line staff (Police, nurses, soldiers, teachers..possibly others)could be exempt but why should a whitehall pen pusher enjoy pension rights not available anywhere else. Pensions were designed to last the last 5-10 years of life in line with past life expectation. Now it it not uncommon for a civil servant to retire at 55 after 30 years service then enjoy 35 to 45 years index linked pension paid for by those who follow. It would be nice if that were possible but it is not, especially with such a huge government sector now. It is the economics of the mad house.

    Politically the pensions need to go anyway because it puts a dividing line accross the country, those who have goverhnment jobs and pension security and ..everyone else.

    Quangos should go. I dont think anyone would notice except those who sit on them.

    Reduce the number of parliament and council politicians by about 30% by consolidating constituencies. We dont need all these people to run things in the age of information technology.

    Reduce benefit levels generally, being unemployed should never be a career option. Consider increased 'top up' benefits by voluntering for carefully selected community work type projects (not jobs the council should do..something else that encourages community spirit and social coherence.. provide land for them to grow fresh food to eat themsleves of sell for example in small allotments to get them re-engaged with the real world).

    Put a cap on legal aid salaries.

    Reign in GP salaries, they do a good job but 100k a year on average ...just seems too high. 75k should be enough for anyone. In fact that could be a general guide for many public sector jobs.

    Simplyfy the tax system generally.

    Stop all benefits to those couples who earn more than 50k (child benefit / tax credits).

    Reduce government dept training budgets by 30%, most of the people I deal with in government seem to be away on courses of conferences half the time, far more than the private sector allows for.

    Scrap all mamouth data base systems, they never seem to work and cost ridiculous ammounts of money (ID cards / NHS system).

    That is all I can think of for now off the top of my head without really trying and not even being a politician with loads of think tanks and civil service expert advisors at my disposal.

    All seems pretty staight forward and equitable to me. No doubt a lot of self interest parties would strike...let them strike, it is a just cause and the nation should not be bullied by the huge civil service. We could really end up with a big brother society if we allowed that...

    I am available for consultation to the major political parties ( except labour) at a salary equal to me current salary (pretty modest) only so I can give up my job and sort you lot out because by and large the public perception is you are pretty hopeless. Therefore by definition of a muct be exactly that.


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  • 76. At 11:35pm on 24 Apr 2009, Pacifix wrote:

    The best budget cuts that could be made are for the government to stop borrowing money to bail out the banks and to print the money itself. The Guernsey Isle has done it. It has been done in various countries, especially America, over the last 3 centuries to avoid the debt created by the fractional reserve system that was created by the private banks. The well-known British economist, Michael Rowbotham, has written about this in his book "The Grip of Death". Another book "The Web of Debt" does the same. The Money Reform Party is campaigning in Britain for this as well. The solution is feasible and obtainable. It is a paradigm shift in solving a problem that will repeat itself if not solved as recommended here.

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  • 77. At 11:37pm on 24 Apr 2009, Stag-on wrote:

    Three to be getting on with:

    Stop, with immediate effect, the UK's EU contributions - Audits not signed off for years, CAP, gravy train, SISO etc.

    Abolish devolution (Welsh assembly and Scottish parliament) - over paid nonentities of no significance in nothing but talking shops adding to the already oversubscibed percentage of the representatives of the people (a notable reduction in the number of MPs would help too).

    Abolish ID cards - a no-brainer.

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  • 78. At 11:38pm on 24 Apr 2009, bookhimdano wrote:

    a friend of mine who works in a desktop firm said local authorities were spending money like there was no tomorrow in march just to use up budgets. mainly because of the stupid rule that if you do not spend it that amount will be deducted off next years dumb is that. penalise efficiency and reward wasters.

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  • 79. At 11:39pm on 24 Apr 2009, CASSIKATER wrote:

    1. Scrap the Scottish Parliment and Welsh assemblies and return all laws back to a truely United Kingdom. Why should the UK taxpayers fund the Alex Salmonds of this world.
    2. Dissolve every quango introduced over the past 12 years of misrule. These places are stuffed with the "friends" of whoever is in power and rarely contain any people from the real world (i.e. we taxpayers.
    3. Many ordinairy taxpayers in the wealth creation world are suffering pay cuts, apply an immediate 10% pay cut to anyone employed in the public sector or reduce their pension's inline with the rest of the real world.Give them the choice, the rest of us have no such luxeries.
    4. Cap all senior executives in Local Goverment to £100k maximum, if they don't like it, let them find jobs in the real world.
    5. Go back to the EU and reclaim the rebate given up by Tony Blair, he won't get the EU top job now that he has stuffed up the UK.
    6.If Gordon Brown wishes to prove what a"great leader" with a caring concern for the well being of we the people, call an election now
    Great leaders trust the people, does Gordon trust himself. He should be honest with us accept the blame and stop blaming the rest of the world, I would then have more time for him.
    7. Place an immediate ban on "consultants" at national and local government levels, we are already paying for services through our civil servants and elected bodies, why pay for another unelected bunch of hangers on.

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  • 80. At 11:40pm on 24 Apr 2009, Torquhil wrote:

    Spending Cuts
    Start with the machinery of Government. Reduce the House of Lords to 250 appointed Peers/Senators. Define their functions as solely to give a second view on all legislation but with no powers to obstruct it.
    Replace al the members of devolved Assemblies and Parliaments with UK MPs who would spend three days a week in UK Parliament and Two days in the devolved bodies. The shortage of time would be an advantage by concentrating attention only on essemtial legislation and if it proved a little too tight then holidays could be reduced. This change would also enable Parliament to pay MPs a higher salary.
    Pensions. All final salary pensions should be replaced by Money Purchase Schemes and the employer conrtibution should be strictly limited. Civil Service non-contrib pensions should be replaced by contributory pensions. Pensions would be payable only at the national age of retirement. Early retirement would be permitted only after age 60 and at the cost of the employee in lower pension.
    Education. All universities should be freed from Government control and would be free to charge whatever fees they liked. All Government money for higher education would be made available via students and not given direct to universities. So when a student gained a place he/she would be given the money which at present goes to the universities direct from Government.
    Schools. Nearly all money for schools should be given to parents in the form of vouchers cashable at registered state schools. Local Authorities would have no money at all for education but would be allowed to provide any services that the schools wanted and were prepared to pay for. Parents would be free to group together to set up schools using their vouchers, subject to some conditions set nationally. Parents living in deprived post code areas would receive higher value vouchers thus making their children more attractive to schools.
    Schools should be independent trust free to establish their own rules and disipline....the head would be sovereign.
    Europe. We should make it clear that Britain will not pay anything more towards european agriculture when the present agreed arrangements expire, I think in 2013.It would be good to move to Association membership of the Community thus reducing costs of full membership.
    All Quangos and similar advisory bodies should be abolished immediately and only replaced when a case is made to the Prime minister by a Department.
    Defence. We should be prepared to give up Trident as part of a multi-lateral deal on reducing nuclear weapons.
    Tax and Benefits. There should be one benefit only for the unemployed whether they are unemployed as a result of redundancy or sickness or disability. Local Authorities should have discretion to pay sulllements to help the severely disabled.
    Tax credits should be limited to those people on salaries up to £25,000.
    Tax should start at about £12,500 and higher rate tax should be lowered to 45p in the £ ASAP. VAT should be increased if necessary and extended to all items, including food. Our supermarkets would soon adjust and their competition would lead to much of the VAT being absorbed.
    Council tax should be replaced by a local sales tax.
    Health. Parliament should decide once every five years what the NHS should do and how much it should receive to do it. Procedures such as IVF and cosmetic surgery (except for the grossly disfigured) should not be provided by the service. All the health advisory bodies should be abolished and the Department of Health should say less and publish less about health hazards....why not just leave us alone and treat us as grown ups.
    I could go on!!!!!!!

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  • 81. At 00:04am on 25 Apr 2009, newsnightideas wrote:

    What to Cut?
    - Devolve Scotland Immediately and move the debt off balance sheet to the Scottish Economy, it was Scottish Banks that seem to have caused most of the damage. The English bail-out of Scotland must be a bitter pill for SNP.
    - Stop all payments to the EU, let them sue us, were bankrupt anyway.
    - MP's Expenses & Salaries, these should be treated as a State Benefit, and therefore means tested, if the MP's households gross earning are over £65k, sorry no more benefits (if your other job brings in more than £65k then being an MP would be a voluntary / charitable use of time (we want the man / woman on the street to be represented in Parliament and the House of Lords)
    - No need for travel expenses (use view cam / video conferencing this includes our MEPS if they still exist)
    - Rebalance Economy: all those working or being looked after by the State are a support service to the productive areas of the country. The productive area of our economy has become too small (we need to invest in this area - whoops isn't this what our banks should have been doing?)
    - Cut spending on social security, the Government is only able to look after it's self, we have to face up to it austerity means that your on your own mate! (have a poor relative stay over for a while, perhaps this will help families become closer.
    - Defence Budgets: Can we outsource this to President Obama for half the cost?
    - Create a new political party to make politics more interesting. Every taxpayer is given a lottery ticket, seats in the Commons and House of Lord are picked out of a hat. (This is the way places are allocated at some Secondary Schools - using probability theory this random approach may have better results).

    Hope you like the ideas

    Have a good newsnight


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  • 82. At 00:14am on 25 Apr 2009, JWeaver wrote:

    Bring the troops back from Afghanistan. It's a black hole. The UK has
    no special responsibility for Afghanistan, and eventually it will be
    abandoned anyway.

    No Trident. We pay for it, but never own it.

    No ID cards. Too costly, and they will legitimize 1000's of holders
    of false British passports and NI numbers.

    Reduce aid budget. India should manage without us. Africa is wealthy.
    The wealth isn't fairly spread, but that's not our problem.

    Cut down on quangos, most particularly 'diversity' cults.

    Apply strict rules on MP's expenses, and regularly publish lists.

    Decline the Olympic Games. They should be sited permanently in Greece.

    In general: Stop trying to carry the planet. We're not a superpower.
    That one rule would save us billions.

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  • 83. At 00:24am on 25 Apr 2009, MGRoverCars wrote:

    Look, hang on. I work in local government so I reckon I know a bit about wasteful spending - only a bit but enough. I'll not go on about that except to say two things. Firstly, Pensions aren't the problem in local government as whilst they are final-salary, they are all fully funded (at least in Lancashire anyway) by workers contributions. Also, the employers have traditionally used the pension as an excuse for below-average pay rises over the years. But secondly, where councils can save lots of money are rediculous airy-fairy, flowery schemes and initiatives that actually do little to contribute to the well-being of their borough and in many cases, ailienate one area or ward against the other - sometimes with hostile and envious results.

    Now on to the Government. It's odd that in 1997, I voted for Labour for the first and only time. I suspect that the reasons were the same as most - fed up of the internal squabbles and sleze of the then Tory government. But a couple of years in and their first true spending pledges were announced and you just knew that they were spending more than they were receiving. Any shop keeper will tell you that to balance the books in these circumstances, you need to either borrow or sell off some assets. Labour did both, and continued to do both.

    I never voted Labour after 97 because I thought that their figures never added up. Even the so-called Iron Chancellor, this genious of government accounting was getting his sums wrong from 2000 onwards. Every single year, his growth forecasts were widly ahead of reality, usually double. But they carried on spending, and borrowing and selling off assets like the gold reserves. As you might have gathered from my user name, I began to dig deeper into the governments economic strategy - so-called - after the closure of MG Rover. Here was a company who's management buy-out from BMW was supported by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, enjoyed the biggest single brand motor enthusiasts association in the world, on the brink of a massive joint venture deal with a Chinese company that would have propelled it to a real global company with new models already in design. And yet, the company was allowed to fall into administration and eventually broken up. And you have to ask yourself, why?

    The government quickly set up and enquiry in 2005 and we are still awaiting its conclusion - very odd. Odd because there are continued and strong allegations from former members of the management team that the DTI did not respond to requests of support (not financial) in their finalising of the JV deal. It is also odd that it hasn't reported it's findings because of the effect of the economic policy of the government - of putting all it's eggs into the basket of financial services and the service industries - pusing up the value of Sterling to such a level that MG Rover could not export their products to markets that wanted them because they were too expensive. There are reports of e-mails from one government office stating that manufacturing is not a priority of this government. It calls into question the whole strategy of New Labour and of the integrity and stewardship of the economy by Gordon Brown.

    The banks were lending money that they didn't have, based on the future values of property and shares - gambling theirs and our wealth. So, all this was inevitable. It was obvious to me back then and I did warn about it.

    How do we get out of it and bring Britain back to prosperity? It will take time - a long time - but as the phrase goes, we have got to get back to basics. There is only one way out of it and that is to manufacture and engineer our way out of it, earning tax receipts from exported goods that have been built here and raising our GDP. We hav got to get back to what has served us well for over 250 years and what made this country a world force - manufacturing. Instead of gambling our way out of it through the greed-ridden, unprincipalled cess pit that is the City, we have a balanced economic strategy between the banking sector and manufacturing. On top of the requirement of the Bank of England to keep a lid on inflation through interest rates, they absolutely must have the mandate to watch the exchange rate so that Sterling does not rise to such suicidal levels again. I am not calling for a devaluation, but Sterling can not rise anywhere above e1.25 if we are to compete effectively on the continent.

    MG (Rover) will be back next year - all being well - with three new cars in the eighteen months after initial production re-starts. But it will only succeed if governments of any colour, support manufacturing and engineering in this country, because when we do it well and we get it right, we've got the best in the business and there is no-one in the world that can beat us.

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  • 84. At 00:29am on 25 Apr 2009, rogerpryer wrote:

    UK needs to deleverage (ugh!). How about selling Scotland back to the Scots? Solves several problems at once. And if they say they can't afford it, they can borrow against future oil revenues.

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  • 85. At 00:38am on 25 Apr 2009, impassive wrote:

    The defence budget of some 36 billion pounds has to be the number one target and I think we should radically rethink how essential our current level of armed forces actually is along with the nature of their use.

    Our forces should be defence oriented, not a makeweight for American adventures.

    We should invest in ...

    Naval power, aircraft carriers and submarines, both as our first line of defence as an island nation and also as our contribution to European defence as a whole.
    With the increasing accuracy of missiles we could markedly reduce the RAF to a basic strike force.
    We should reduce the Army by 80 per cent, some of whom could be redeployed as a form of national guard protecting our frontiers and training young adults. Those remaining should take the form of a supersize SAS style fighting force, suitable for instant deployment as our national defence requires.
    We should retain a reduced nuclear option, British made and under British control.

    And ... all young adults should be obliged to undergo six weeks military training as part of their obligation to their country's future. That the discipline may rub off in a way that rounds off their characters, so much the better, but no exceptions, male or female.

    As others have mentioned, we are too small as a nation to police the world and the best we can do is to work in a positive partnership with our European partners, perhaps in some specific role. Were Europe prepared to subsidise an increased obligation in such a role, say naval defence, so much the better.

    But as a last resort, we must always be in a position to give a bloody nose to any major aggressor and that should be the deterrent, any more than that is quite outside our capabilities.

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  • 86. At 00:42am on 25 Apr 2009, MGRoverCars wrote:

    Oh yes, one other thing that gets o my wick about fluffy New Labour. The army of work-shy dole scroungers who have never worked and don't intend on doing a days work. The vermin that live off those of us that do work and pay our taxes, for them to live their lives on the take. One house near me has such a person. He's 33 now and has only ever worked for one and a half days since leaving school, claiming everything he can. This breed of underclass gets new double-glazed windows, a new kitchen and 'assistance' for furnishings, all paid by us. And that is by no means everything. There's the housing benefit, free and subsidised access to such things as council sports centres.

    I on the other hand, who have always worked, contributed to society and the economy, and paid my taxes, can claim for nowt. What I have is what I have saved for, weather it's the car, the windows or the furnishings. I don't even have a credit card. I am fed up and sick to the back teeth of subsidising such dole scroungers. Either they do something for their money and have to get up at a reasonable time and do some graft, or they shouldn't get paid a penny.

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  • 87. At 00:42am on 25 Apr 2009, bob_e_dazla wrote:

    If the government's accounts were made public, it wouldn't be long before wasteful spending could be found by anyone who cared to look.
    The recent episode with MP's expenses has shown the way, and total transparency with government spending must follow.

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  • 88. At 00:43am on 25 Apr 2009, MGRoverCars wrote:

    i like your thinking rogerpryer...

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  • 89. At 00:59am on 25 Apr 2009, OzziesMum wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 90. At 01:12am on 25 Apr 2009, MGRoverCars wrote:

    No, don't cut the defence spending. Most of all don't dut Trident. The fact that you don't thnk we need it now is a good reason to keep funding it. There's all sorts of bizarre and un-trustworthy states out there that are now getting their hands on nuclear technology, such as Pakistan and Iran. No-one knows what future they hold but it doesn't look good.

    Get shut of the ID card scheme for certain.

    Stop this rediculous Building Schols For Future project. I mean, they have even put up a 'University' here in Burnley - yes, Burnley for goodness sake! And in education, stop all those stupid degrees that have cropped up like flower arranging, David Beckham and media - all to fulfill Labours target of 50% of students having a degree. A degree is worthless if it's useless and it de-values proper degrees such as science and engineerring.

    Close all the 'communications' departments in organisations like the Police, Health Service and local government, that spew out self-rightious propaganda about the state of themselve when everyone's actual experience is something completely different.

    How much advertising does the goverment do? It's the single biggest advertiser in commercial television for a start.

    Actually deport those who have been found to be here illegally and have a deportation order instead of letting them stay and paying them dole money and the other benefits.

    And there's all these ministers adn quangos. There seems to be a government minister for absolutely everything now, all with a department and civil service, poking their noses into our every-day lives and telling us how we should think and act like naughty school boys.

    Or, we could always declare war on the French. Not for any good reason except that it would galvanise the country and let's face it, we always beat that lot.

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  • 91. At 01:27am on 25 Apr 2009, rogerpryer wrote:

    The coming years present an opportunity to think radically, rather than just tinker at the margins.

    In the early nineties I was briefly unemployed. It was an education that could benefit most economists and civil servants. So...

    1. Simple cost benefit analysis for unemployed seeking funding for re-training (rather than crude means-testing on the basis of how long they have been unemployed). Effectively, 'what is the net cost to the taxpayer of different actions', rather than 'what are the crude rules that must be applied by civil servants regardless of specific case'?.

    2. Similar simple cost benefit analysis for health treatments, (ie. net cost to taxpayer rather than net cost to health budget) which can feed into clinical decisions. I propose that the cost benefit analysis should *inform*, but not *dictate*, the treatment.

    The above changes will mean that budgets for health, re-training etc. may increase throughout the year, but that these increases will be more than offset by increased revenue. And this will happen in a managed way that does not involve 'fighting the system'.
    Once such a mechanism for comparing net taxpayer cost and informing decisions is established, it can be used widely.

    After that brief period of unemployment I returned to University to do a post-grad. That, too, was an education (though not the kind that was predicted)...
    3. Sack any academics who think they have a God given right to taxpayers money for their own private interests.

    On tax and benefits...
    4. It is absurd to have mean-testing both on benefits and on incomes. If benefits are made (largely) universal, and mean-testing is carried out only by hmrc when assessing taxes, then much administrative cost can be abolished. Yes, it means millionaires getting weekly job seekers allowance, but that doesn't matter because its actually cheaper to recoup the cost from the millionaire through their taxes, rather than spend lost of time assessing who gets what in the first place.

    Oh, and for good measure...
    5. Freeze public sector pay for 3 years, and cut public sector pension for anyone retiring in the future by 3%.

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  • 92. At 02:05am on 25 Apr 2009, Lifetimetoryboy wrote:

    Having taken an axe to private sector pensions, as one of Gordon Brown's first wilful assaults on middle England, merely bringing the public sector into line would make a big dent in our current liabilities.

    Won't happen, of course, until after the election....................when I expect David Cameron to address this outrageous in justice.

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  • 93. At 07:30am on 25 Apr 2009, overtaxed wrote:

    The natural items to cut are the 7.3 billion benefit fraud and the generous benefits to illegal immigration that make the UK an "easy touch." For savings why not limit public sector pension payments and inflation rises to those of the private sector?
    Perhaps we are entering an era where you are only entitled to what you have paid for and what the Nation can afford?

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  • 94. At 08:07am on 25 Apr 2009, trevor2626 wrote:

    abolish all entitlements that make this country so attractive to African and Asian illegal immigration.This includes benefit,NHS treatment,the right to employment and so on.Concomitantly,render deportations,if not instantaneous,at least as swift as possible.Close all avenues of appeal on the ground that the law of a country one has entered illegally cannot be invoked to allow one to stay in it.

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  • 95. At 08:27am on 25 Apr 2009, jilllucretia wrote:

    All "Guardianista" jobs should immediately be abolished. These people can be redeployed in job centres at the appropriate salaries.
    We should take a leaf out of the French book and take so long to process illegals and asylum seekers that they no longer regard the UK as a soft touch and go elsewhere.
    Those who want to use our services need either to speak English or pay for their own interpreters; this is what happens in France.

    Only those entitled to do so get the benefits of the NHS. The NHS should follow the lead of the private sector where those hospitals with high numbers of overseas patients insist on payment in advance. It is unacceptable that many UK residents who have contributed to the NHS all their lives are denied the best treatment whilst health tourists cost the NHS many millions every year. Make the drunks picked up on the streets pay for their treatment.

    Cuts also need to be made in the disgracefully abused legal aid system. We need to withdraw from the disastrously expensive Human Rights legislation and stop providing legal aid for convicted criminals and illegal immigrants.

    Neither can we continue to pay out huge sums to people who have children they have absolutely no hope or intention of supporting. Girls who want to have babies often do so in order to obtain subsidised housing. If we reverted to hostels we would have far fewer teenage pregnancies and down the line far fewer feral children.

    Similarly if people like Sharon Matthews were not so heavily subsidised we would perhaps see less child abuse, a reduction in the burden on Social Services and a more responsible attitude amongst the population in general.

    Those who want to draw benefits without taking responsibility should be required to take long term contraception until they are able to support themselves and their families.

    All “Guardianista” jobs should be immediately terminated as should at least 50% of the “management” jobs within the NHS. Centralised control with its costly reporting structures are a luxury we cannot afford.

    MP’s should pay tax at the highest marginal rate on all expenses not supported by receipts and approved by a truly independent panel of their constituents. Their pensions should not be index-linked. Who else gets a full pension after 20 years? How about a pension on the same basis as the rest of us?

    Let’s build a few hostels for the MPs too and let them stay there when in London. In the meantime I’m sure there are plenty of hotels able to offer a good deal for bulk bookings.

    Index-linked pensions should be abolished for all public sector employees earning more than £50,000. We should not penalise the real workers such as nurses and fire-fighters.

    Every child should not have expectations of a university degree. There is an unacceptably high drop out rate. Everyone is different and there is absolutely nothing wrong with practical qualifications providing work skills.

    We should stop acting as the World's policeman; we can't afford to equip our soldiers properly and we gain nothing from acting as America's poodle.

    How about a dose of "Bad Boys Army" instead of all these soft options and rewards for wrong-doing?

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  • 96. At 09:13am on 25 Apr 2009, Frank wrote:

    The Government should look at management, not from the top down, but from the bottom up, interviewing PAs and administrators who actually do the work. Particularly in the NHS (so I'm told) they would then discover managerial incompetence to a staggering degree. Expensive. The Government should give them all three years to acquire formal qualifications in management or get out.

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  • 97. At 09:21am on 25 Apr 2009, Lojtari wrote:

    Scrap the largesse doled out as a result of the Civil Partnerships Act. That law as framed was manifestly unjust because it refused any tax/pension/inheritance benefits to any people living together without having sex. It would be a move towards justice to extend those disbursements to such people (no personal interest to declare), but since we're talking about cutting government spending, the logical step is to return to the status quo ante.

    But that, of course, means making mincemeat of one of New Labour's totemic sacred cows, so don't expect it this side of May 2010....

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  • 98. At 10:03am on 25 Apr 2009, Richardhartski wrote:

    I think the Trident Replacement should be scrapped. It is a waste of money in times of economic downturn. Why does Britain need another nuclear deterrent when there are more than enough nuclear warheads to kill this planet off several times over ? When are we going to accept that we are no longer a great power? The money could be far better spent on hospitals, schools and enriching the British People's quality of life.

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  • 99. At 10:13am on 25 Apr 2009, jonpojonpo2 wrote:

    Bailouts - the public finances would have been fine without bailing out failed private businesses - kleptocracy gone mad...

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  • 100. At 10:14am on 25 Apr 2009, clic31 wrote:

    The obvious cut would be to take our troops out of Afghanistan. A saving of about £4bn a year in direct costs and more in indirect costs. Other advantages; reduced loss of lives and crippled lives, increased family stability, we're losing anyway despite the polliticians cover up, we're only there for the US which is hardly a good reason and most importantly we are doing exactly what Al-Quaeda want us to do - fight on their turf. And if you don't beleive that, read the CRS report for the US congress July 2007. It is beyond my belief that their spin, both US and UK, of 'we're doing it to keep Britain safe' is believed by anyone. Our politicians are incompetent, our military are misguided, not so long ago they wanted troops out of Iraq as we could win in Afghanistan, and how many schools, hospitals, jobs would £4bn+ create. God save us from our intellectually challenged politicans!

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  • 101. At 11:42am on 25 Apr 2009, tajak2012 wrote:

    It is surprisingly easy to find significant savings

    1: Scrap the proposed ID cards. In the Home secretarys own speech to last years party conference, she said the best form of policing was feet on the ground. ID cards will do nothing to stop terrorists, and will in fact leave the population and infastructure MORE vulnerable.

    2: Scrap Trident. We do not need it, we will never use it. In fact we could sell it to back to the Americans for £50 billion....... unless of course they want us to sell it to the Chinese!!!!!

    3: Decimate the Quango bill. These public bodies do very little and cost (depending on hwo you listen to) between £60 billion and £120 billion........ a year. That's your money spent on people to eat cake and drink tea.

    4: Bring ALL the armed forces home from Iraq and Afghanistan. This country has the worlds second largest expenditure on its armed forces second only to the USA.

    5: Scrap the proposed aircraft carriers. This technology is obsolete. We no longer have an empire, so we should be conentrating on peaceful endevours. The Falkland islands can be defended by stationing 5-10,000 troops there on rotation for cold weather training.

    6: Remove MPs expenses and allow those outside London to undergo parliamentary buisiness by video conferencing. Ban all lobying of MPS's and ban fact finding tours. If MP's want to go abroad to look at how "something is done" they can go on google and use email. Perhaps even use the phone.

    7: Double the FSA and investigate every stockbroker and bank starting at A in the yellow pages for accounting irregularities etc

    8: stop the target culture. Targets require whole teams of managers and statisticians, which could be better spent on patients. They do little to actually fight the thing the targets are aimed at.

    9: Ban no win no fee to help stop the drain on public finances by frivolous law suits.

    and number 10: The Monachy are the biggest land owner in the country (and technically they own ALL the land). They should therefor no longer get a single penny from the tax payer.

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  • 102. At 12:07pm on 25 Apr 2009, comeinhandy wrote:

    1) Cut out all tax credits; working tax credit and child tax credit. Cut & eventually eliminate child benefit for all but the first two children. The world has too many people, causing the CO2 problem. Why are we paying people with money and free accomodation to encourage them to have more kids?! (After a few years cut out all child benefit)

    2) Cut EMA allowance - the payment to the children of poorer households, just so they can stay in school (and often disrup others). The country doesn't need every child to go to university, we need trades people and manual workers. Then we wouldn't need so many immigrants to fill these jobs.

    3) Simplify the tax system; a single tax rate for everyone after the personal allowance. A single corporation tax rate. Merge companies house with the HMRC - saves a huge amnount of duplicate forms and information being provided to both. Simplify corporation tax eliminate all allowances and vastly complicated rules to a simple tax on profit or loss. This would be a huge benfit and saving to small and large businesses which would attract new business and startups and generate jobs, not to mention all that money saved at HMRC etc.

    4) Drastically cut EU payments - tell them we can't afford it, if they dont like it then negotiate an exit - that will probably get us a good deal just to keep us in.

    5) Forget about the car sprapage scheme which mostly gives money to foreign companies, use the money to invest in UK company R&D directly (including the auto industry)

    6) Withdraw the Human rights act from statute and stop wasting money on legal aid and benefits to nonsense cases.

    7) Get ride of all the quangos, get MPs and civil service people to do whatever the quangos are doing. Isn't that what we pay them for?

    8) Make all new recruits into public service start paying into a personal pension like the rest of us, so that eventually their pensions become self funded instead of it being a future debt to be paid by our children.

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  • 103. At 12:11pm on 25 Apr 2009, comeinhandy wrote:

    One more thing - get the people in prisons to work for their right to parol or early release. Work on the roads for one thing. (We would need to cancel the human rights act first - that bans forced labour). There is a vast untapped money earning potential in the resources of prisoners. Let them start there own busnesses or be given work to do. Then when they get out they would be useful and trained at soemthing.

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  • 104. At 12:25pm on 25 Apr 2009, Josette17 wrote:

    How about not cutting any spending and funding things realistically through taxation instead of handing out tax cuts like sweets? For years governments have been telling us we can have lower taxes (unless we were on the 10% tax rate, obviously) but first-class public services. Well, we can't. What we can do is choose to fund them properly - and that means being prepared to pay for them. Cuts in services are not inevitable - as your blog title implies - it's simply that even mentioning the fact that they have to be paid for has become an unspeakable taboo. The rise in the top rate has been a start - cracking down on tax evasion would be an obvious next step. How about a bit of real political bravery (as opposed to taking "tough", "brave" decisions to cut services, which mainly affects those who can't afford to pay for the alternative)?

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  • 105. At 12:50pm on 25 Apr 2009, IngoSteven wrote:

    Dear Newsnight,
    well I really think that our government should re-think some of their new projects.
    E.g.: The Trident-Programme. If I 'm correct it will cost more as 60 billions-
    and maybe never be used ! In my opinion this would be a good start by those
    spendings of which you could cut.Best wishes, Ingo-Steven

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  • 106. At 1:28pm on 25 Apr 2009, PrinceEugene wrote:

    The huge benefits bill needs to be brought down – including those benefits that are euphemistically labelled “tax credits”. Contrary to what most people believe, you don’t actually have to cut the total benefits budget in order to save money – you just have to pay the money in ways which do not discourage people from engaging in rational economic behaviour.
    A friend of mine is working four days a week. Her employer has offered her an extra day’s work, but she has refused because most of the extra money she would earn would be taken back off her by the tax credits people. The state is actually paying her not to work! The entire Tax Credits system should be scrapped and the money spent on raising the income tax threshold. This would be fiscally neutral in the short-term (which is good, as we don’t want to cut spending just yet), but it would change people’s behaviour so that when the economy recovers, people will not be discouraged from working and therefore tax revenues will rise.
    Housing Benefit should be abolished and people compensated by increases to other benefits such as Job Seekers Allowance or Child Benefit. This would enable unemployed people to move to cheaper accommodation or live with relatives without losing money and would encourage single mothers to live with the fathers of their children. This would in turn reduce the demand and therefore the cost of housing, further taking pressure off the benefits bill. Most importantly, housing benefit fraud would be abolished overnight – fraudulently claiming JSA or Child Benefit is much more difficult as you have to produce a body – and we would save money on the bureaucrats employed to catch the fraudsters.
    The BBC should save money by abandoning its policy of duplicating every new development that takes place in the commercial sector – the policy that has given us 24 Hour News, the Asian Network and, most recently, so called “edgy broadcasting”.
    Why oh why do we have to wait for economic meltdown to take place before we start talking about the proper stewardship of public money?!

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  • 107. At 1:30pm on 25 Apr 2009, domfromhpc wrote:

    So, let me get this straight. The official title for the current economic condition is "The Credit Crunch". As the name implies, there is a lack of credit or, rather, new money creation against assets, namely property.

    If the banks won't create the money that is spent into circulation then it's down to the government. They can't create it. So the government must borrow from institutions or ask the BoE to create the money against bits of paper know as Gilts. They then need to spend this money into circulation to slow the contraction of the money supply.

    Basically, if you don't want them to do this then expect a deeper and harder depression.

    I find it ironic that Middle England homeowners gripe about the misappropriation of their taxes when they have benefited from the greatest misappropriation of capital in recent history - the property boom - the upshot of which has almost crippled the world economy.

    Forget government spending for a moment and consider the mechanism that allowed an elderly three bedroom terraced house to rise in price from 3 times average earnings to 8 times average earnings in less than 10 years. Now consider the social/economic ramifications of the above!

    If you want to know where all the money went, it's there, tied up in the same old houses that have stood on your street since before the war.
    Who's imprudent now?

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  • 108. At 2:02pm on 25 Apr 2009, PrinceEugene wrote:

    My comments (106) looked fine in preview - why have the lines between the paragraphs disappeared and the apostrophes been replaced by question marks?

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  • 109. At 2:16pm on 25 Apr 2009, PrinceEugene wrote:

    Yeah, I didn't actually expect you to put my last comment on the website - I don't think it adds much to the debate about public spending really.

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  • 110. At 2:23pm on 25 Apr 2009, Sazzysole wrote:

    The UK is totally broke and is in appalling debt. We need to cut spending immediately, begin to retrieve our debts! (1) The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been costing the tax payer millions of pounds a month. We simply can't afford it! Bring back the troops now. (2) An independent investigation must be made into the earnings of London's Financial Sector and City Banking over the last 12 months. Bonus's must be retrieved through the tax system. (3) The Banks that have been "bailed out" must begin to pay back the tax payers money on a monthly basis. (4) No more "grace and favour apartments" for Cabinet Ministers, or MP's. They must pay for their accommodation. (4) An independent investigation must be made into MP's expenses over the last 11 years. Misuse of the system for personal gain must be penalized. Inappropriate claims towards housing expenses must be retrieved in lump sums, or through the tax system. (5) MP's are liable for the payments to their staff. False claims made for family, lovers and friends, where work has not been done, must be repaid at the MP's expense. Either in lump sums, or through the tax system. (6) No more first class, or business rates of travel for MP's. (7) No more extravagant dinners and parties for MP's, at the tax payers expense.

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  • 111. At 2:38pm on 25 Apr 2009, terrywall wrote:

    Cutting Government expenditure With out Job Losses
    1. Bring public sector wages and pensions, in line with the private sector, with due allowance for increased job security. This can be done surveys carried out by independent people from other countries.
    2. Get all significant beneficiaries to re-register for their benefits, this time providing biological identity (as used for immigration).
    3. Cut the number of members of parliament back to 120. Members of Parliament are decision makers, not workers. Accordingly there is no significant relationship between countries with populations of 4 million or 60 million. The number loosing their jobs can be offset, by employing the same number lost, to assist remaining politicians.
    4. Listen to the bottom line workers, as to their disincentives for achieving a more efficient work place. Much can be achieved without job losses, through increased efficiency. This is best identified by those who actually carry out the required tasks.
    5. Make the Bureaucrat’s use of ‘Consultants’ virtually impossible. The tax payer will no long tolerate paying top wages to people who are unable to do their job.
    The Age of Responsibility is Upon Us
    1. Publish the ‘Social Welfare’ statistics and prove to the tax payer, the value of funding children to raise children. Particularly relevant are the health and crime figures. Prove that the UK is better than the USA, where 85% of crime is carried out by men raised by solo parents.
    2. Withdraw the right to vote of all people while living on a full time benefit.
    3. Pay all benefits to those under the age of 25 years through a card that will not pay out cash and will record purchases. This will allow life skill training when deemed appropriate.
    4. Any person under the age of 25 years, who wishes the taxpayer to commit to 20 years of child support, must show life skill knowledge, otherwise the benefit is not offered, leaving the option of family support or adoption at birth.

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  • 112. At 3:08pm on 25 Apr 2009, Midahed wrote:

    Trident should be scrapped. We already have the means to make big nuclear banks all over then world - why do we need a new one when the original will never be used? We are not the world's policeman. Why do we have a political class and bureaucracy that believes the map of the world is still mostly pink? We no longer have an empire and we're no longer a world power. Our politicians should get used to the idea and start to behave accordingly.

    ID cards should be scrapped. It's a waste of money and will not do the job that the government claims.

    All the non-jobs in quangos and local councils should be axed. We need more people in productive jobs instead of all those that are just a drain on the rest of us.

    Education needs turning on its head. It's madness to try to send 50% of those in education to further studies at university. Degree courses should be for the brightest, not for those barely above average academic ability. Recognise that skilled jobs have their own merit and their own worth without the need for a worthless bit of paper from a worthless period of mediocre study.

    End the cycle of state dependence where people of little education and little ability are encouraged to sit at home and do nothing but produce children who are more than likely to later become state dependent breeding-machines themselves. There are already too many people in this country. The last thing we need is more people who make no positive contribution to society. The economic situation should be used to make it clear that the state does not exist to support the children of those who cannot be bothered to do so themselves. Having children is a privilege, not a right.

    Reduce the number of MPs. We have too many political representatives who don't add value to the democratic process. What is the point of an MP who rarely contributes anything to the debate and always just follows the party line? We need more individual thinkers in Parliament. If they can't add value, then we don't need them. This is especially true at a time when so much legislation has its roots in Brussels.

    Get rid of the Regional Development Agencies. What's the point of them?

    Get rid of as many quangos as possible - they just create more bureaucracy.

    Shrink the BBC and the licence fee unless it demonstrates that it can comply with the original aims of its charter. I like to watch advert-free TV and the BBC does produce some exceptional television. But it now carries so much of it's own branding and programme promotion that it is becoming indistinguishable from the commercial channels. The only difference is that on the BBC, it's only the BBC itself and it's programmes that are advertised. The BBC consistently presents its left of centre liberal metropolitan-centred world-view. In recent years it has appeared more and more like an official arm of the government. Unless it changes dramatically the BBC should be severely pruned or even dismantled altogether.

    Scrap any large government computer projects. They always screw up the implementation and never control the costs, so it's better if they don't start at all.

    Scrap much of the legislation produced by the EU and the current government. Our businesses are burdened by masses and masses of legislative rubbish emanating from Brussels and from our bureaucrats (who's life purpose is, after all, to generate rules). We need fewer rules and a reduced burden on business. If legislators want to introduce new laws they should forfeit their pay unless they can restore the balance by repealing two other laws.

    Scrap the Health and Safety-obsessed culture in this country. It might not save much money, but it would prevent the insidious growth of a broad risk-aversion that now seems to permeate society. H&S has it's place, especially in industry, but it's gone too far and now dominates the way people think.

    Reduce or eliminate our payments to the EU - it's just more bureaucracy that we don't need.

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  • 113. At 3:11pm on 25 Apr 2009, Herbiedulwich wrote:

    Although there are many areas that I would cut, NHS doctor's salaries would be one of them. Most doctors must indeed do a great job. I just cannot see the justification of £100 000 plus salaries in a publicy funded organisation, particularly as nurses are paid on average less than a quarter of this sum.

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  • 114. At 3:15pm on 25 Apr 2009, afwc153 wrote:

    This the first time I've looked at Newsnight comments, and I'm sorry to say I found them rather depressing -- a high proportion seem to be merely wheeling out the same old spleen they have been venting for years (the EU, civil service pensions, MPs expenses....) and giving it another outing.

    Vince Cable's idea of cutting whole programmes is appealing; Trident, ID cards and Grand National databases have all been suggested here, and I would agree with all of these, and add cutting back to a basic Olympic Games.
    But I doubt that even all together these will approach the scale of the problem. I suggest that it may be time to leap out of the box:
    Apparently, the great British public want to maintain our health, education and other public services at their present scale (quite right), but don't want to pay for them by income tax. Gordon Brown thought the way to resolve this dilemma was to borrow the money -- but that's ended in tears. Don't we now have to find a mechanism other than taxation for getting healthcare, education, etc paid for? How do the Germans or the French pay for their health services?

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  • 115. At 3:52pm on 25 Apr 2009, pensionblog wrote:

    I agree in principle that in the short term cuts should avoid causing job losses.
    The most serious issue that has to be addressed and quickly, is public sector pay and pensions. It is clear from government policy regarding the state pension that they see the changes they have made regarding the sustainability of the state pension are critical to affordability. Why are no changes being made to public sector pensions which are not sustainable at current rates. The majority of private sector pensions realised this years ago and switched to mainly 'money purchase' schemes, it is time for a radical overhaul of these too generous benefits which are not affordable. They were originally in place due to poor wage and conditions comparisons with the private sector. The public sector is certainly on parity with the private sector if not ahead now. Enough is enough.
    Other quick cuts must be all 'bizarre' quangos, radical prompt action on MP's expenses and close all tax loopholes. How the recent budget gaff re not amending capital gains allowance along with the 50p new rate was missed I do not understand!
    I used to work for a major global company and worked away from home for a good while. Expenses were easy, you claimed all 'out of pocket costs' and supplied receipts. If away from home you stayed at a hotel and provided a receipt. This isn't rocket science!

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  • 116. At 4:49pm on 25 Apr 2009, JohnRiseley wrote:

    Many of us already regard some spending programme or another as a white elephant, or even as being actually harmful to society, and would be only too pleased to nominate it for the axe. But one person's pet hate is likely to be someone else's cherished and sacred cow.

    The borderline between what attracts state funding and what doesn't often seems arbitrary and cruel. Philosophical debate over the merits of each threatened project or provision is liable to be both ferocious and unresolvable.

    Fortunately there is in many cases no necessity to reach and impose a collective decision. We could instead make lots of individual decisions.

    Traditionally, we have a simple split between state and charitable funding of good causes. For one of these our contribution is compulsory (taxation) and decisions on how to distribute the money are taken by the government. For the other we give voluntarily and we decide for ourselves who our money goes to. We could now add to this model a third sector in which contributions are compulsory but we each decide which charities receive our contribution.

    All the more debatable expense items would be moved out into this new sector, along with sufficient state funding to maintain most of them, or all of them at some reduced level. Instead of a line between what's in and what's out there would be a band in which state funding is allocated according to the preferences of each tax payer.

    Those who feel that their cause is especially worthy should surely be clamouring for it to be placed in this sector. Those whose cause was placed in this sector, but found insufficient funds coming in, should note that twenty five million individuals have each had the option of awarding money to them.

    With tax payers being required to give yet more, it seems only fair to maximise their choices and only honest to highlight the fact that they and not the government are doing the are giving.

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  • 117. At 5:01pm on 25 Apr 2009, wxwatcher wrote:

    The most obvious cut is in the number of MPS,we could cut them by half and nobody would notice the difference.

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  • 118. At 6:25pm on 25 Apr 2009, nickylothene wrote:

    Fundamentally we need to spend more on prevention so we can spend less on cures:
    Increase the budget for preventative health care, proper cleaning of hospitals, free (healthy) school meals and affordable sports facilities, in order to reduce the amount needed for healthcare.
    Spend more on crime prevention programmes and offender rehabilitation so that we can reduce the amount spent on keeping people in prison.

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  • 119. At 04:21am on 26 Apr 2009, Sazzysole wrote:

    We are so much in debt that spending cuts must be drastic and begin immediately. It costs us millions a month to be involved in two wars. Bring the troups home! Can we actually afford to keep our troups anyway?We can't afford the enormous expense of neuclear and anti-nuclear weapons. Perhaps we should have a referendun on whether to be a neutral country like Switzerland, and whether to remain in Europe. Our membership of the E.U. costs us 40 million a day. We can save the expense by opting out of membership, and instead participate in free trade with Europe, like Switzerland!

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  • 120. At 09:33am on 26 Apr 2009, PeterDT wrote:

    As many others have written, I would abolish ID cards; the NHS data base; the renewal of Trident, and SATs for a start. I would reduce the number of so called universities by about a third, using as criterion those that had the highest drop out rate in the first year. I would reduce the number of MPs by about one third on the grounds that we already have more than the US has in Congress and they have six times our population. I would get rid of so called Regional Government (who are where are they? I ask my friends but nobody knows) but first of all with immediate effect I would place all MP additional payments and expenses claims on line the month after they were claimed so we could all keep an eye on things - that would save a packet straight away. Peter DT

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  • 121. At 09:52am on 26 Apr 2009, mademoiselle_h wrote:

    I am not British, so my views dont represent the voters in this country. However, if I were, I think it would be a huge mistake to get rid of the trident. The world is becoming a more dangerous place. Iran is nuclear armed, so is North Korea and Pakistan. In addition, the fight against terrorism has immersed into every corner of the western civilization. I read somewhere that even Japan wants to acquire nuclear weapons now, and they are willing to leave the UN for that. Am I missing a point here or is it the wrong time to open the trident debate? Getting rid of the trident doesn’t lead to peace. One can’t end a plague by getting rid of the vaccine.

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  • 122. At 3:46pm on 26 Apr 2009, anxious_voter wrote:

    To reduce government spending I would

    1. Withdraw our troops from Afghanastan
    2. Cut foreign aid to India and China
    3. Abolish the national identy card scheme
    4. Curtail/scrap the use of Special Adviser, Consultants and Quango Organisations.
    5. Abolish Trident.
    6. Reduce the number of MPs to 400
    7. Introduce a flat-rate Welfare Benefit for the unemployed, this to be set at 10% below the minimum wage and limited to two years.
    8. Abolish Council Tax and introduce a local sales tax.
    9. Scrap the NSH and other usless computer programmes.
    10. Reduce management in all public services by 20%

    My starter fo ten

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  • 123. At 5:00pm on 26 Apr 2009, ukjustice wrote:

    How about the following - in no particular order...

    Make Political parties manifesto pledges legally binding and then..

    Have a referendum in England to see if the English still want to keep paying for the favouritism shown to other parts of the UK.

    Get rid of Scottish Irish and Welsh MPs - they have their own parliaments.

    Trident is a defence against what?? Every Tom Dick and Harry can simply buy a ticket for a ferry and sail leisurely into Britain.

    ID cards - This is an EU requirement (see next).

    Leave the EU (which we were signed into illegally anyway) this alone will save in excess of 60billion pounds per annum.

    The failed NHS computer system (the amount spent so far would have enabled each and every British subject - adults and children - to have been given their own PC!)

    Aid to places like Zimbabwe (a truly beautiful country - wrecked).

    Use our troops to defend us, not attack others.

    Public sector pay and pensions to be in line with private sector equals.

    Quangos - anyone who wants to sit on one should be treated as a freeloader and has no place in civilised society.

    NHS to have drunk tanks at A+E (for the foul mouthed drunks who have self inflicted damage until they sober up - why should our nurses and doctors have to put up with the sort thing? and why should we have to pay for it?)

    MPs allowances to be exactly that - for daily out of pocket expenses.

    I can think of loads more but don't want to bore you...

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  • 124. At 11:07pm on 26 Apr 2009, rogerpryer wrote:

    The point that JohnRiseley makes (116) is interesting.
    He is right, of course, and the problem of what to cut and what decision to make about any item of spending is always going to be contentious.

    So we do need to think about the mechanisms we use to make the decisions, rather than assemble long wish lists.

    JohnRiseleys suggestion would mean removing the decision from ministers and from Whitehall, and that is why it is unlikely to happen. Turkeys tend not to vote for Christmas, and governments, even when they say they are removing the power of the state, usually just shift the power a bit to an organisation called Off-something rather than give it up.

    Radical change in the way decisions are made is exactly what Whitehall and government don't do.

    Something I know about is IT projects, large and small. One explanation for the enormous cockups of government IT projects is because the way in which Whitehall works almost guarantees a disaster. The great and the good sit on a committee, creating ever more complex and Byzantine requirements, always convincing themselves that they are serving the interests of the department or their party or their part of the establishment, and the result is a good idea crippled at the very start. There is no single person able to say 'yes, no, kick it out, keep it in' to any suggestion. Such individual authority would be anathema to the Whitehall way of doing things.

    So the reasons why governments large IT systems fail is cultural.

    Rarely has the UK government been able to take bold decisions and when they have it is invariably the case that one key person was driving it relentlessly. Churchill drove the war effort, Thatcher was (famously) not a consensus politician but a conviction one, and (whether you like her or loathe her) drove forward various decision against hostility inside her own cabinet, let alone Whitehall.

    Finding radical ways of 'democratising' the decisions about taxation and expenditure is not going to happen unless one key person drives it, and the British way of doing things shuns such radicalism. That's also a good thing, of course - we tend not to like silly extremists running things.

    Easy ways of bringing about such changes don't exist. But maybe, just maybe, one minister in one department can do something really radical and show that changing the very mechanism by which decisions are made is the way to go, rather than tinkering at the edges.

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  • 125. At 09:20am on 27 Apr 2009, afwc153 wrote:

    "Public Sector Pensions":
    Public sector pensions are not all the same kind of beast at all. I used to work in a University. Most people regard Universities as being in the public sector. My pension is fully funded -- it is wholly paid from the proceeds of an investment fund which has been saved from what would otherwise have been part of my current income in my years at work. It makes no more sense to propose 'cutting' my pension than it did to propose cutting Sir Fred Goodwin's pension. In fact, it makes considerably less sense, because in my case there was of course no last minute topping up of the fund at the taxpayer's expense.
    Civil Service pensions, I believe, are not funded. The reason is that it is cheaper overall for an employer to undertake to pay a pension at a given level from future income, than it would be to set aside cash now to meet the obligation in the future. Governments -- unlike private employers -- are able to take advantage of this fact because they can credibly claim that the UK state will always meet its current financial obligations by raising taxes. So it makes no more sense to suggest cutting Civil Service pensions than it does to suggest that the UK government should default on its debts.

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  • 126. At 12:16pm on 27 Apr 2009, banreligion wrote:

    just a thought!
    Let's put the power back to the voters.
    As it is our money why don't we have a vote on the matter.
    There are local elections coming up in June why not add a referendum with simple yes of no as to what we would like to cut (or not)
    My list:
    1. Trident
    2. NHS computer system
    3. ID cards
    4. Identity cards
    5. Privatise the banks
    6. Royal family
    7. Nuclear energy
    8. Join the Euro

    60% vote gets the gig.

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  • 127. At 2:15pm on 27 Apr 2009, BettyHur wrote:

    The term 'cutting spending' may be more attract more interest and a more positive debate if it were termed ' Prioritising and Balancing Spending'.

    By accentuating the need to 'cut spending' the Government or Local Authorities here have already chosen to spend a few million on rebuilding the local train station which takes commuters into the 2nd largest city in the country along the steepest incline - yet - have reduced and stopped buses in the area so that people cannot reach the destinations that they need to in order to use the facilities that millions have been spent on to date.

    Today's example from an interview with a bus driver at 07.00 hrs this morning is that all pensioners will now not be able to use their 'free' bus passes before 09.30hrs countrywide. Anyone who wishes to get to the swimming baths to ease Arthritis with the new 'free' pass there now cannot get there until the morning session closes. On Friday last, I found that I could travel to the local facilities to improve my health to start the day, only to find that the No 64 bus back again had been completely stopped and no buses ran for the 3/4 hour, leaving the walk home uphill faster than waiting at a bus stop.

    The new train station proposed closed down because trains did not stop as there were no passengers to pick up. That's because there was no public transport to the station in the first place~ and anyone who left a car there was vulnerable to theives before they got back again at night.

    To conclude then - Spending and Saving need to be balanced to the needs of the people who are helping to keep the economy going by their work hours whether they are pensioners or not and they all need to be geared to being healthy and working towards that to be of any use at all.

    My question to the present and any potential future government is 'What are your priorities in aiming to get the right balance of necessary provisions for the population with the minimal financial output?

    The average MP has an allowance of £7000 in personal expenses per annum.
    The average pensioner who has worked all his life and lost funds through no fault of his/her own is coping on a yearly income of approximately £6000 per annum.

    Surely that will make the debators think and get the priorities right.

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  • 128. At 4:21pm on 27 Apr 2009, wasdalehead wrote:

    I suggest a review to estimate the number and cost of government employees that have been given early retirement due to stress.

    Within my circle of acquaintances I am aware of civil servants, teachers, hospital staff (doctors, lab staff, nurses), a psychologist, firemen and police all of whom have succumbed to this epidemic.

    Surely all but the severely debilitated could be re-located to less stressful position, even if this means a fall in salary.

    I suggest there is an immediate disclosure of the financial support given to this sector and a re-assessment of each case.

    Certain professions historically benefitted from an early retirement age. Let's re-examine these in light of the 21st century and if a policeman or fireman can't undertake active service after their mid fifties move them to a desk job.

    As a tax payer it is particularly galling not only to fund a government employee's final salary pension scheme but to pay for his early retirement. My congratulations go to the teacher, retired at 50 due to stress, who regularly travels to New Zealand and South Africa whilst also maintaining his status as best area runner for his age group.

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  • 129. At 5:00pm on 27 Apr 2009, Brrrrassa wrote:

    Is Newsnight's editor Peter Rippon wrong to recognise that “it can be hard for politicians to be explicit about the uncomfortable choices ahead” ?

    I dont agree they find it difficult to be explicit– they just find it expedient not to be explicit.
    Rippon's comment suggests some type of sympathy with Politicians and their needs to manage political strategies, control messages and project images (ie they wont talk openly about budget cuts). I think for a BBC editor to concede this and try to fill the coverage gap with for example viewers comments is editorially wrong-headed.

    Its ok to seek our comments on spending cuts etc, provided that they are used as ammunition for the news programmes to address the politicians again and again about the same issue until it is covered, ignoring their 'message and image projection' problems.

    To garner public feedback, and then 'leave' the issue with public observations on one side – and mute politicians on the other (as the best thing that the BBC is able to do given the natural behaviour of politicians) would be quite quite wrong – it represents a similar mindset to polling viewers for telephone votes but which are then ignored.

    Its ok that the Beeb needs assistance to prise open such tricky issues but I think the Beeb could manage their engagements more assertively and creatively.

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  • 130. At 5:05pm on 27 Apr 2009, Brrrrassa wrote:

    Here's is my idea for managing evasive politicians (following a really crap Today programme Cameron interview).

    Why not set up the terms of interviews with guests ON AIR prior to first questions. It would be intriguing. You'd need rules outlawing filibustering techniques, with precise examples of what these are. Your industry really needs names for certain types of evasion because the PR industry has the upper hand currently.

    How about giving the Today and Newsnight programmes sizable egg-timers, filled with an agreed number of minutes-worth of sand which you turn only WHEN the interviewee is answering the question and turn sideways (or turn back) when they begin breaching the agreed rules of the interview... ?

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  • 131. At 9:00pm on 27 Apr 2009, Steve Neubeck wrote:

    To reduce spending I would first stop excess military spending .it is unreasonable to sell top of the line equipment to other country and develop others. I would also halt many programs that are more in the realm of science fiction and not science and engineering. I would also not help out bankers and corporate executives.They have proven that they can screw up anything and do not need government help.Instead I would give it to the engineers and production workers They will do a better job. Most upper management would be cashiered

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  • 132. At 08:50am on 28 Apr 2009, mad_diesel wrote:

    Interesting Thought... Though (and I may be mistaken so please correct me..) I dont think the government pay for the BBC (except the World Service which it uses to communicate with spies..) - BBC licence fee is much cheaper than sky or virgin... and you get better programming, new stuff, oh AND the BBC is paying for the Digital upgrade that all the commercial TV stations are taking advantacge off... up the BBC... It's not often I watch anything else :-)If your not going to pay your Fee - how are you going to watch Telly??

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  • 133. At 7:51pm on 28 Apr 2009, beeceen wrote:

    To add to my previous suggestions, I'd slash stamp duty to a level that it was before our 'dear leader' jacked it up so considerably, then turn back the clock on his smash and grab on our pensions. Those two measures would cost, but would assist in getting the housing market moving thereby generating income (for all parties) so mitigating the lost revenue and creating employment. The tax changes on pensions would create a climate that would assist in 'turning the clock' on the shocking devastation to our future savings and retirements! I don't suggest he buys the gold back that he sold in 1998 at the bottom of the market. So much for Prudence and 'the end of boom and bust', so don't vote for Brown and get further broke! Buy Gold if you haven't already, it's the only way to preserve your wealth. BeeCee PS I wont be selling my home till Cameron cuts stamp duty as he no doubt will after he wins the next election!

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  • 134. At 10:18pm on 28 Apr 2009, rwolff wrote:

    Whew. I have waded through 132 comments and concluded that there is little hope for the UK. There is strong support to scrap a bunch of plainly wasteful and inappropriate schemes (Trident/ID/NHS Database); Some recognition or the wastefulness of Quangos; Others want to cut back on PPI/public sector pensions (unaffordable anyway), Europe and the Scots/Welsh. None of this will provide a long-term fix.

    Almost everyone seems keen to restore the status quo, with mild tinkering around the edges in a vain attempt to square the circle of government debt.

    Thanks to systemic failure we are fortunate to have the opportunity and soon to have the political will to make seriously radical changes. The core issues are:

    1. Do we wish to continue a system of debt based money. One that entails banks making money out of thin air at the expense of the rest of us?
    2. Do we wish to continue to use work as the primary means of wealth distribution whilst most jobs are of little or no productive value.
    3. Do we wish to continue the mechanism of taxation and inflation that enslaves us by coercively extracting some 80% of our efforts to pay for pet projects.
    4. Do we wish to maintain a system of resource ownership that is based on an outdated, and now unfeasible, concept of expropriation?
    5. Do we wish to continue as subjects of HMG, or is it time to place government where it belongs, as servant to the people?

    Neither cutting government expenditure, which is after all only the coercive exploitation of the people, nor paying the debts of a small group of hitherto privileged bankers and their shareholders is the solution. We have no need to continue neither to fund government debt nor to submit to coercive exploitation of our legitimate productivity. The correct way to deal with this situation is to build from the ground up, selecting the type and form of government that best suits us Top slicing a bit off current government is futile and, as history demonstrates, will be rapidly retaken by a monstrous bureaucracy.

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  • 135. At 09:53am on 30 Apr 2009, RichardOH wrote:

    1. Abolish ID card scheme - saving £5bn
    2. Cap olympics cost at original bid - £7bn
    3. Abolish unelected regional govts - £bns
    4. Freeze public sector pay during debt emergency > £40k p.a. £bns
    5. Cap pay in public sector bodies @ £150k pa during debt emergency - £1bn+
    6. Convert public sector pensions to money purchase schemes and cap at pvt sector lifetime allowance of £1.8m in 2016 (i.e. stop politicians and civil servants doing a Sir F Goodwin) _ £10bns
    7. Sell new MoD HQ and move civil servants to suburbs - 3bn
    8. Return number of public sector employees to pre-Labour levels - £10bns
    9. Reduce No. MPs to 600 and make constituencies same size. Cap expenses - £10ms+ (but symbolic)
    10. Abolish govt subsidies for wind farms, electric cars etc which are no use - £bns

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  • 136. At 10:38am on 30 Apr 2009, mustfreepalestine wrote:

    My first priority for cutting would be 'defence', or more correctly 'the war budget'. Forget analogies with 'scalpals' or 'axes', I'd take one of those gi-normous bore machines used for tunnels under channels to make my impressions. We should never have got into Iraq or Afghanistan; we're spending billions on killing people, billions that could go into health, education and housing. Also, for every job cut in the hi-tech war industry you could fund two in civil work, so lets knock that argument on the head immediately. What kind of a person wants a job in the killing industy anyway? We should be investing our energies into benefiting mankind and preserving the planet but we get sucked along in the dog-eat-dog culture which unfettered capitalism breeds.

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  • 137. At 7:31pm on 30 Apr 2009, beeceen wrote:

    Now that's what I call re-al economics solutions from RichardOH.
    Do we wish to change the current 'financle' arrangements, may be but there's not a hope in hell, even though we know that the planet is being destroyed by our activities!
    The fall out is on us and the other life forms and is so close to 'a no turning back' scenario. I may not be around when that happens but my children's children will be. rwolff is right with his synopsis and conclusions but do turkeys (politicians & the electorate) vote for Christmas? I live in hope but I think it will require a catastrophe to make us all sit up and change our ways.
    Right now a lot of well meaning people are attempting to raise our awareness, but without trying to be critical (who am I to pontificate?) I feel it is to use the well known phrase 'its like re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic'!
    God (if there is one) help us all!

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  • 138. At 10:13pm on 30 Apr 2009, expertSurreyman wrote:

    Tip of the iceberg I know, and not a massive amount of savings but it does rile me greatly how inefficient and downright lazy staff are in Local Authority Council offices.
    As a consultant who works in local Council offices it never ceases to amaze me how people get away with chatting around the office, skiving when supposedly out working on site and having whole days off when they are meant to be working from home.
    At my local Council in Camberley I tried to talk to the Drainage officer and his own boss didn't know where he was for days on end even though they had no major projects on the go. When I asked if he should know where his staff were he just smiled and shrugged.
    Other outside inspectors are known by their own admin officers to go home at lunchtime and not return to work.
    Admin staff themselves taking 1 letter to the post room are gone for 30 -45 minutes.
    I shouldn't get angry but in private industry if you earn good money you put in over 45 hours a week - sometimes a lot more. In the average local Council I doubt they put in 20 - 25 hours for a full weeks money.
    If we were to therefore get rid of 30% of Coucil staff and the others did a decent weeks work (no more than they are contracted to do) we would get the same level of service - possibly better.

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  • 139. At 4:10pm on 01 May 2009, Medway Maid wrote:

    I'd abolish the final salary pensions for all public sector employees. That'll help clear a looming black hole in the country's finances. Then scrap Trident and refuse to pay the US when they demand reparation for their lost business.
    Get rid of 90% of quangos and cancel all PFI. Extend the rail franchises to 100 years each and abolish the cost of the franchises and the subsidies to the rail companies.
    Cut the national civil service numbers by half, at least, and ban political advisors from being employed by government. Cap fees paid to outside consultants at £30 an hour....

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  • 140. At 6:08pm on 01 May 2009, grumps wrote:

    Dear Peter Rippon, Newsnight editor
    Hopefully you will read/scan the comments that people have made but it would be nice to think that someone would realise that the people of this country should be involved in getting it back onto its feet.
    Most politicians undergo a self-important, know-it-all brain implant that results in the rest of us wondering just what planet is ruling ours.
    Most, not all, of the comments that I have read are based on common sense.
    Where is the common sense of the politicians? Wiped out by the brain implant I expect.

    We need a new approach to providing Spending Authorisation to our Ministers.

    ALL spending proposals (including current ongoing projects, salaries, pensions, expenses etc) would need to be presented to a forum made up of members of the public.
    This forum would replace the House of Lords and consist of people seconded for a period in a similar way to the jury system.

    Only if the public's forum agrees with the costs of the project would they give the Ministers and their departments permission to spend our money!

    The current Audit Commission would then oversee ALL items of expenditure and produce sets of simple accounts for the public to monitor.

    Anyone, and any outside company, involved in an over-budget situation would not be allowed to be associated with another project for five years minimum.

    The public's forum would start by scrutanising the lists in these comments and imposing any resultant changes.

    The people with common sense get to watch the purse strings.

    Job done.

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  • 141. At 11:07pm on 01 May 2009, bluepiper61 wrote:

    Cut Benefits spending, there are too many people now sponging off the rest of us that we can't afford it anymore. It is now considered a career choice in some sections of the country to live off Benefits and some of them seem to live a lot better than me.

    As a country we have declined because we have too many "luxuries" such as a generous benefits system. Maybe it was OK when we made many of the goods we and the rest of the world wanted, but China, India, Brazil etc don't have all these luxuries which drain the rest of the economy.

    Also cut the number of politicians, why do we need 600+ when we have the Scottish Parliament, The Welsh and Northern Irish Assemblies, European Parliament and Councils galore - get rid of some of them.

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  • 142. At 11:08pm on 01 May 2009, JadeqMyers wrote:

    Spending on Trident

    My only comment is, yes, having Trident in some way makes me feel safer but WHO in power will be brave enough to press the red button, essentially making it ineffective and so making it a waste of money.

    We have to look back in history and this tells us that only forces on the ground wins wars.

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  • 143. At 11:09pm on 01 May 2009, Rosmark wrote:

    One priority is to make all civil service pensions (and MP's pensions, with some modifications), Money Purchase schemes from a set date. The funding must be current and the 'holder' should have a say in how it is invested. We must simply not have an ever growing pot of public liability for the future.

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  • 144. At 11:19pm on 01 May 2009, starNomad wrote:

    What spending cuts would I make? DFID. The one UK Government Ministry that always seems to be below the public radar that escapes any serious efficiency savings and that's DFID. There should be a spending review of this bureaucratic body that has grown massively under the Labour Government. What have the Billions they have given away actually achieved for the UK Taxpayer? What genuine results have been achieved? Millions have been spent on Consultants working for them. In these years of austerity its time to cut our cloth accordingly -it should be given a considerably reduced role and budget. More focus should be given on increasing British Trade which increases UK revenue so that means raising the role and profile of the FCO and UKTI with savings from cuts the Overseas "Aid" budget.

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  • 145. At 11:25pm on 01 May 2009, Rosmark wrote:

    All non civil service advisers to government should be paid by the party not by the public. They MUST be considered as party animals not government employees.

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  • 146. At 11:26pm on 01 May 2009, JadtDein wrote:

    Scrap ID cards and their supporting database saving £20bn (The London School of Economics say ID cards will cost at least £20bn, not the £5bn claimed by the government).

    Scrap the NHS database saving £12bn (the government claimed it would only cost £2bn).

    Get our troops out of the middle east and avoid wars.

    Cut the Home Office down to size - slash and burn their budget.

    Axe 90% of all quangos.

    Scrap trident.

    Sack Gordon Brown.

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  • 147. At 11:39pm on 01 May 2009, romanyroggie wrote:

    The most obvious things in my view that should be cut are:
    1) Drop the ID card scheme
    2) Drastically cut overseas aid
    3) Reduce benefit spending
    4) No more money for the Olympic games
    5) Substantially reduce the number of quangos
    6) Abolish all forms of Regional Government
    7) Reduce the number of MPs
    8) Get rid of national/regional/local government 'non-jobs'

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  • 148. At 00:00am on 02 May 2009, astonishingharryo wrote:

    (A) (i)Great need to (cut) break up failed two party political system in house of commons and Lords. More Independant MPs eg. one third of House elected independants. (ii) None independant MPs only allowed to serve two terms
    in parliament. However can be elected to Parliament as independant MP or to the House of Lords as an independant Lord. (B) (i) Computer Printer ink used by all Central and local Government Departments to be supplied & manufactured by The National Mint thereby vastly Cutting cost to the Taxpayer. (ii)Nationalise Computer Printer ink sales in UK. Max Profit Margin allowed 5% above production cost. (iii) Perhaps Newsnight could
    ask our failing MPs why the nation is being over charged for ink and what was the nations bill for ink since the last general Election or are they too focused on using ink to claim their expenses to care.

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  • 149. At 00:02am on 02 May 2009, PrinceEugene wrote:

    There are no conceivable circumstances in which the British government could launch a nuclear strike without the prior approval of the United States. Trident is therefore in effect part of the American nuclear arsenal - just a part that is paid for by the British taxpayer. This, of course, is why the American military chap quoted by Lord Gilbert is so pleased that we have it.

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  • 150. At 08:56am on 02 May 2009, Enders Shadow wrote:

    This blog is notable for a depressing lack of serious understanding of the issues - something I would not expect from Newsnight viewers; simplistic suggestions to close all Quango for example: what including the Drivers and Vehicle Licencing Authority! Similarly any suggestion that prisoners should work harder or have to pay back money is totally unrealistic as (1) work COSTS as it needs staff cover (2) the potential earnings of most prisoners are so low that they are unlikely to make a real contribution.

    My suggestion is far more subtle - a one off amnesty for all prisoners serving 5 years or less who have an address to go to. The effect would be to allow the prison service to get things right before, inevitably, many of them would return. The sentences would be suspended, so that if they do reoffend they will pay the price in the future, but if they get their lives together, then we will have saved vast amounts of money.

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  • 151. At 08:59am on 02 May 2009, Enders Shadow wrote:

    One quickie - all public sector jobs only to be advertised online by the relevant department / organisation, no more support of politically biased media by the advertising.

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  • 152. At 11:31am on 02 May 2009, stepee wrote:

    Dear All.

    Regarding last nights show and the comments made regarding defence I would like to make specific comments later.

    As a general comment I believe there are massive savings available from the "Dane Geld" budgets both external and internal. We have got to stop handing out bribes to people in order to get them to vote for a party or stop causing trouble. For instance what should we preserve our armed forces or tax credits ? What should we preserve our national pride and identity or winter fuel payments ? What should we preserve our interests ans safety or our handouts ?

    Regarding defence by all means look at the means of delivery of the warheads that comprise the nuclear detterent but dont get rid of it altogether. Cancel the rest of the eurofighters and also the A400M nd replace them with the J.S.F. and the C 17 respectivly.

    The air tankers we need but costing much less.


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  • 153. At 2:21pm on 02 May 2009, virtuousJohnDoe wrote:

    I would save the country Billions year on year by leaving the EU. A totally corrupt club that is busy destroying national sovereignty, democracy, and improvising this country with its blizzard of red tape on businesses, plus the £6.4 billions NET payment we will be handing over to Brussels this year alone.

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  • 154. At 2:32pm on 02 May 2009, stepee wrote:

    P.S. To the above.

    Sorry about the typos.

    Its very easy for a political party to hand out bribes in order to retain power but the job of a government should be to defend the country, her interests and her people. Bribery must cease.

    Regarding economic condotions instead of pouring money into black holes that never seem to yield any benefit why not build ships, planes and infrastructure ? This is what F.D.R. did in America in the Thirties why not do it here now?

    Also why should one political view dominate debate on the B.B.C. ? Some of the people speaking there seem to be using the crisis to promote Communism. Are we a Communist country ?

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  • 155. At 4:19pm on 02 May 2009, stepee wrote:

    Once again sorry about the typo. singular this time (I think).

    So many of the policies aproved of by the elite are at odds with the wishes of the so called silent majority that I often wonder how the said elite can occupy their position in the country. This I think is the root of all the problems happening now.

    The only answer is a return to previously accepted and succesful value syestems before the thin raft we are clinging to sinks beneath the weight of "giving".

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  • 156. At 4:29pm on 02 May 2009, Enders Shadow wrote:

    The abolition of all visa restrictions between us and other rich countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA would remove the need for a substantial number of immigration officers...

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  • 157. At 00:23am on 03 May 2009, markjwest wrote:

    I just don't understand why the government are just handing out hand over fist cash to the bank's to bail them out, can't they see that it was their useless management that got us here in the first place. I think it would be better if they stopped giving them OUR money and gave us all a council tax break for 2 years so then we will all have that extra cash to spend on the hiked gas/electricity/water bills.

    All that cash they had saved up could have been used in better ways considering the banks have used that money for shareholders and bonuses, come to think of it I didn't even get a pay increase this year all because of them, not only that but the banks of which I and millions of others now own (due to the bail out with tax payer's money) are still stitching me and millions of others up with bank charges.

    Don't forget all those millions of voters, we put them in power and we can take them out too. All we need to do is vote that useless priminister out of number 10.

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  • 158. At 05:52am on 03 May 2009, gargrax wrote:

    My priorities for cutting spending:
    Scrap the Slavery Scheme (i.e. ID Cards) and other forms of mass surveillance such as spy cameras on every corner.
    Scrap Weapons of Mass Murder (i.e. Trident).

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  • 159. At 11:26am on 03 May 2009, Peterchester wrote:

    Reply to expertSurreyman.

    I'm sorry you have witnessed such appalling performances from local government officials.

    However in my experience, twenty years private sector and ten years public sector, there are just as many lazy people in the private sector. I don't accept that the idea that "they wouldn't get away with it in the private sector", far to many do.

    I have found the private sector to be a tad dishonest. I've heard "Yes we can make the delvery date" and "we have hundreds in stock" too many times.

    The majority of my public sector colleagues are well qualified hardworking proffessionals. Please don't tar us all with the same brush.

    Too make local government more efficient the government should stop splitting councils up into ever smaller, less effecient units.

    Senior executive pay needs looking at also.

    Local goverment pensions/Civil service pensions. Cap the level of the final salary and or make the employee contributions higher.

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  • 160. At 3:45pm on 03 May 2009, cuteducation wrote:

    Be imaginative people:
    Cut education spending whilst improving its standard. Why do all universities and schools spend billions doing there own thing, surely one university's (perhaps the best) syllabus, course notes and lectures can be copied by others. I had one or two good maths teachers at school, and also some terrible ones, can't we just video the best.
    Can some of the jobs of dentists not be done by a machine or camera, e.g. scrubbing & looking for cavities.
    CCTV for Afganistan?
    Take work internet away from Civil Servants, and teach them to use shortcut keys on a computer keyboard.

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  • 161. At 11:22pm on 03 May 2009, jjennii wrote:

    Re: spending cuts in the public sector.
    As a teacher I would get rid of the General Teaching Council. Every year teachers have to pay £33 a year to this quango (which was started by David Blunkett in an attempt to undermine the teaching unions). However, teachers en masse refused to pay this sum. So, every year we get £33 back in our wage packet in order to pay the GTC with. What is this bureaucratic silliness all about? What does the GTC do? I have never heard any of my colleagues say anything positive about this organisation - even though they have to be registered with it in order to get a teaching job. We managed without it before, why not now?

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  • 162. At 1:07pm on 05 May 2009, DroppedPollock wrote:

    Defence Cuts (sorry about the no not really

    If the UK has Armed Forces and aspires to play its part in the world then it needs Carriers. Korea was a Carrier war, Falklands was a Carrier war and even though not British, the two Gulf Wars were very much Carrier wars: many more missions were flown off carriers by the USN than by the USAF from airbases when airbases were closed down by bad weather or sandstorms, the Carriers moved to other parts of the Gulf and continued flying off their aircraft. The Carriers now being built for the Navy came out of the 1998 Strategic Defence Review (SDR). SDR was underpinned by a War Game the defence of Poland. In the game, airbases were overwhelmed by ground forces but the Carriers moved to the South Baltic, remained safe and continued to fly their missions. As a nation, the UK needs Carriers for clout. As the French have discovered, a bunch of escorts has very little clout. Compared with the other big-ticket Defence items the cost of the Carriers is quite modest - £4bn for assets designed to last 50 years. But the Carriers need an Air Group. The planned F35B aircraft promise to be costly; if the Carrier programme is to founder, then it will sink on the cost of the aircraft.
    The Royal Navy has always led the world in innovation iron-clad ships, Dreadnought, angled flight deck, mirror landing, gas turbine propulsion and even now with the new Air Defence Destroyers, integrated electric al propulsion. Time for one more innovation. The RN now has the opportunity of fielding the first UCAV Carrier. Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles are gradually coming of age. In Afghanistan they are taking their place, side by side with manned aircraft in the US order of battle. One US Air Force commander was planning to send all his manned stuff home and use UCAVs instead. A next generation of UAV and UCAVs is just round the corner. British Aerospace is a leader in this field and the future Carriers have been designed to provide for UCAVs. Taranis and Mantis, two of BAes major offerings, will be ready for operational use from the middle to the end of the next decade. This timetable matches nicely the In-Service dates of the Carriers. The cost of these aircraft is miniscule compared with the currently proposed F35. Their use could well save the Carriers in the coming straitened times.

    General Sir Rupert Smith in his writings says Nuclear Weapons banish Industrial War. It has certainly been true but now it is debateable whether the prospect of Industrial War still exists to be banished. But what we can be in no doubt of is the threat of the mouse that roared a mouse with nuclear weapons. To fend off this threat we need to retain a nuclear capability; it needs to be submarine-based but reduced in scope. Moving from four boats to three no doubt betrays politicians, touching faith in the future mechanical world, but do it at your peril. Reducing the number of silos and therefore size and cost of the boats (and it is the boats we are replacing) must be worth another look I say another look, because early fag-packet designs mooted four silos per boat instead of 16.
    Clearly Typhoon numbers should be reduced to 160 from 232 by taking advantage of the opportunity for Government-to-Government transfer to the Saudis. If the money is not there for Nimrod, scrap it. The Refuelling PFI for FSTA must be reviewed in the light of the large number of suitable aircraft now on the second-hand market following the economic turndown.
    The Army has moved in the direction of light forces Reconnaissance Regiment and Air Assault Brigade for instance and now an expansion of the SAS. FRES needs to be cut back but the down side is the need for more helicopters and battlefield lift. Ideal for some of this is A400M. There are 2000 Hercules 130s to be replaced over the next decade or more and A400M could take a substantial amount of that market if it works and isnt cancelled. There is now a window for cancellation until July. It is a decision this Government must make. After that we are once more locked in if the Gov gives its go ahead.

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  • 163. At 9:41pm on 05 May 2009, Daft_as_a_Brush1946 wrote:

    I think the Sacred Cows for people earning below the national Average Wage are 1) The National Health. 2) Unemployment Benefit. 3) Retirement Pension. For those earning more than the average wage;- 4) Education beyond 3 R's (with a higher expectations with each multiplying factor they earn above the Ave. Wage). 5) Road & Rail and the list can go on and on.
    I think Education spending on over 16 year olds,should be the cow to go. Of those I know who went to sixth form college or Uni., over half of them did not get employment in their field of study - a failed investment.
    One other point made last year is a lowering of the International standing of UK qualifications, typically when overseas students were awarded our qualifications and some did not have a good knowledge of the English Language. Was the reason for this Greed - Educationists acting like Bankers?

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  • 164. At 11:48pm on 05 May 2009, meninwhitecoats wrote:

    Politicians in a word.

    Reform the Lords and have a properly structured first and second chamber with half the present number of members in each house. Limit the representation of Scottish MP's on English matters - on matters of strategic importance the Scottish Parliament can always liase with Westminster in a fair and equitable Council of Britain.

    That should save a few hospitals for starters

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  • 165. At 10:00am on 11 May 2009, scotsvernacular wrote:


    Andrew Neil's Blog 'Taz Rises and Spending Cuts' Tuesday 5 May 2009

    At 6:00pm on 05 May 2009, scotsvernacular wrote:

    ''Ministers still talk in terms of efficiency savings, though everybody knows that would be inadequate'

    Efficiency savings must not be overlooked, and are a valid first step, but only if backed up by a willingness to investigate corrupt and incompetent wastefulness, take decisive and fair action to remedy the rot, and positively encourage ethical thinking throughout the public sector. This will set the tenor for positive change.'

    TODAY I reiterate my words of last week, and add:


    The danger now is that personal scape-goating, vendettas and the like are inevitably raising their heads. It is important that all involved have the courage to face up to this massive problem, co-operate and enable action to take place, fairly, quickly and efficiently, to remedy the rot, and move forward.

    GOVERNMENTS BOTH CENTRAL AND LOCAL, ELECTED AND EMPLOYED EXIST TO SERVE THE PEOPLE AND THE BEST INTERESTS OF SOCIETY - no more, no less - and they would be best advised that they MUST be seen to be co-operating with this.

    Action by government to demonstrate these responsibilities is urgently called for to get this message over loud and clear to the country - NO EXCUSES, NO WAFFLING, NO SHILLY-SHALLYING.

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  • 166. At 5:35pm on 26 May 2009, Lord Horror wrote:

    We could start with stopping the grotesque waste of tax payer's money on the War on Drugs (in reality a war on the individual's personal freedom to self-medicate)and actually raising revenue by legalising drugs. Issuing licences to sell narcotics by regulated outlets.

    I would similarly legalise prostitution and casinos for the same reason - these things are best left to the free market and not on the whims of patronising paternalists or the nannying state.

    I would also privatise all schools as it is morally indefensible - in age of critical over population, pollution and an ever increasing drain on extremely limited resources - for responsible childless people to pay for other people's children. Unlike other public services such as the NHS that serve every member of society (old, young, rich or poor) state education only serves those parents who have children and expect others to pay for them.

    The government needs to be strong and promote the Green idea that the people who should pay for the welfare and education of children are those very people who have chosen to have those children. The Conservative idea of Education vouchers will be a very good start. Similarly, allocation of social housing should be based on the Amsterdam model and not an automatic entitlement of the basis of irresponsibly having children.

    We could also save a bit of money by scrapping unnecessary big projects like ID cards and Trident as well as trimming the bloated defence budget.

    Implementation of these measures will save some money (not the 100's of millions borrowed by the government to prop up banks) but in the long term there will inevitably be very deep cuts in public spending no matter which party is in power.

    ça la vie.

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  • 167. At 2:35pm on 19 Jun 2009, SOLZHENISTSYN wrote:

    I would stop any bail out of the BBC license fee being frittered away on propping up
    an outdated ITV Regional News service.

    It will annoy me if the BBC have to stump money for ITV to
    run a service which reports on which cats have gone missing.

    Ron Taylor.

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  • 168. At 11:44am on 23 Jun 2009, nottoonear wrote:

    Devise an exam on commonsense. I will provide this for free.

    All politicians, political appointees, public service workers (including the BBC) must pass this with minimum 90% or go elsewhere. Anyone thence placed in work found contradicting their answers in the exam to be fired summarily with no pension.

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  • 169. At 8:24pm on 08 Jul 2009, fearlessLegalEagle wrote:

    The size and scope of the present N.H.S. when compared with the original concept shows how public services can be affected by pressure groups and vaunting political ambition over time. It has grown in scope from being a provider of basic life saving medical services to providing treatment for obesity, plastic surgery, gender change and infertility treatment (etc,etc)
    Is it also still correct that treatment should be provided completely free at the point of delivery? What sort of message does that send out?
    You only have to look at the size of the drugs bill alone to realise that immense scope for savings exists. Would it not be an idea to put the price/cost of medicines on the prescription to give it a moral value?
    Every household probably has a large collection of unused drugs in their bathroom cabinets. At the moment these cannot be returned to the chemists/nhs. Why? Most are bubble wrapped or protected from contamination. If we even sent them to third world countries it would not be such a huge waste of public money. I fear that these drugs eventualy are flushed down the toilet or simply end up in land fill with the obvious consequences. Every chemist could have a returns bin surely?

    Why is it that the nhs is paying hundreds of millions every year in negligence cases? If someone was empowered in every trust to speedily investigate and respond to complaints with a simple 'sorry' then that would satisfy many agrieved people. Instead trusts sit tight lipped and immobile, waiting for the writ to arrive. It is the continuous and torturous 'no action' and 'no comment' atitude to most complaints that has created this huge industry devoted to suing nhs trusts. I don't have to quote any figures or statistics for any of these items because the figures are obviously so huge.
    It is now time for some brave politician to examine root and branch the scope and efficiency of ALL public services, before they completely overwhelm the finances of our country. I fear however that we will bumble on, printing more and more money and taxing and taxing, inflating and inflating, until we eventualy see the fall of the Roman Empire and we become another Zimbabwe.

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  • 170. At 00:16am on 22 Jul 2009, bubblegumTriffid wrote:

    "We on Newsnight do not have such lofty ambitions ........//but we are keen to hear new ideas and creative thinking//......... about what is going to be one of the defining political questions for the next generation."

    Are you?

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  • 171. At 9:11pm on 11 Aug 2009, nautonier wrote:

    Cut any spending that does not provide:

    -A sustainable outcome to put British people and British workers first
    -population cap
    -Honour to those who we all owe a debt of gratitude e.g. old age pensioners, war veterans, long uk service by nurses, doctors, teachers, -charity workers
    -Fairness for taxpayers
    -Reduce big government to essential government
    -Make all health care partly contributory except for children and OAP's and emergencies.
    -Re-introduce conscription
    -Eliminate sleaze and greed

    Statement about social, economic and religious values?

    Identify changes to the law and sovereignty e.g reform human rights act within two years of next parlaiment and hold full referenda on EU membership?

    The idea is to set out clear statements - that is all political parties should state their policies in full detail in their manifesto.

    It does not work to say cut this service and that service - the debate just goes around in circles and the discussion goes nowhere.

    The question has to be phrased qualitatively and quantitively with a statement such as where do we want the UK to be in four years, eight years and twelve years time and set realistic goals and policies e.g.

    UK banking system fully reformed and ethical - bad banks smashed to pieces and with 7 new ethical banks

    UK fully self sufficent on food supplies

    UK balance of payments - balanced

    UK overseas commitment on wars and security in line with relative population

    All major risk criminals locked away indefinitely/long term


    UK fully sufficient on fuel and energy


    These types of national goals have to be set out first otherwise its impossible to know whether a government has delivered or be held to account.

    When the qualitative model is fully detailed then the target areas for spending cuts become fairly obvious e.g.

    massive overseas aid budget
    millitary spending
    government advertising
    government advisors
    civil service reform of whitehall
    giveaways to bad banks
    freeport UK for any kind of visitor
    NHS operations that increase the population
    spending on drug addicts and criminals
    spending on interpretors on every public service

    ... the list is endless

    Until we get a new political process and go through the critical areas of spending and policy and make sure the political parties stop the endless spin and negative electioneering - the country will both continue in and get in a bigger hole than it is right now.

    Key issue is population - it is no use cutting spending if population is set to rise by 10 million in next 10- 15 years - spending can only increase in line with population growth.

    The key issues are not being addressed.

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  • 172. At 11:44am on 12 Aug 2009, nautonier wrote:


    If the population is to increase by 10 million over the next 10 years or so and we are to have massive cuts in public services then the country will fall heavily on credit rating - Why?

    The UK public and private infrastructure is creaking now and the tax base cannot cope with current demand levels for schools, hospitals, roads, railways, nuclear power, green fuel, agriculture - virtually everything needs massive government stimulus now just to SUSTAIN CURRENT demand/use levels in an uncertain world.

    If the population is to increase to 70 million as proposed by labour then SPENDING ON NEW INFRASTRUCTURE INCLUDING INDUSTRY AND JOB CREATION must increase massivley now or the country will be compeltely bankcrupt in 10 years time. The 'good news' on population surge is that the population would be likely to start falling at around 65-70 million population as the country, nation, economy, society etc falls apart and those that are able to would emigrate.

    Remember that with an ageing population the working population will become smaller and will need to increase productivity quite a bit each year to provide a suitable tax base. At the moment the UK tax base is too small for government spending and targeted job creation schemes are not available to create the tax base.

    Housing infarstructure is a good example - and ageing population means that more disabled and OAP accommodation is needed e.g. without stairs and with lifts and disabled standards. This means assessing current housing stock and giving priority with planning permissions to OAP accommodation and getting the balance right in terms of numbers. The key point is that if you don't have planning in place there will be an acute shortage of accommodation. Unless the government is planning the availability of euthenasia on a massive scale then it be useful to get some proper housing planning in place and start delivering otherwise a swollen population will mean that our elderly will not have appropriate accommodation to improve the quality of their lives. This will increasingly put the pressure on the elderly to think of 'alternatives'.

    Getting the numbers right on housing provision saves the country a lot of money in the short, medium and long term as government spending is more efficient and government is smaller and more effective. Planning permissions should only be given where sustainability tests are passed relative to the entire housing stock in a local area. Many OAP's would gladly trade their own property for a suitable local smaller alternative if the product is made available and affordable.

    Politicians with 'vision'? That is politicians talk for being bereft of effective government planning of public and private infrastructure and population modelling based on population levels.

    What does this mean in terms of cuts in government spending - It means that the government must apply social engineering and population forecasting and modelling (of an ethical kind) with everything it does or the country is going to collapse economically at some point and become a third world country. This is not scaremongering this is inescapable common sense/logic in the need for proper planning of public services and the kind of Britain that is sustainable into the future.

    This is not an attack on New Labour's mess as it applies to all political parties and the negative electioneering needs to stop and the politicians need to show full transparency, maturity and integrity when dealing with these issues.

    We don't need cuts - we need careful thinking and re-adjustment of expenditure based on competent government planning and management of all aspects of governance.

    When 'political vision' becomes 'competent planning' - we'll be in good hands. Let's hope that the next government takes this on board and reforms e.g. the HM Treasury to be 'resource planning' responsible for full government planning.

    Ethical social engineering based on resource planning is unavoidable if we are to succeed and compete as a nation and maintain or even improve on our current living and income standards.

    The inevitable question is why is the government so incompetent at basic planning and making policies relative to proper planning - planning for the future should be the basis of everything the government does and SAYS.

    Population and 'planning' is the key issue - not simply cutting services.

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  • 173. At 2:34pm on 27 Aug 2009, Rustigjongens wrote:

    Quangos and other NCO's, these parasites should be treated with extreme measures.

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  • 174. At 6:13pm on 29 Aug 2009, Samurais_Shadow wrote:

    The newsnight budget. It seems that the content of this show (that I once respected) is full of fluff pieces and partisan wrangling. There is no indepth investigative journalism, just talking points and dumbed down examples with a lack of impartial references (apart from the occasional interrogation by Jeremy Paxman when a minister is blatantly lying or omitting facts)

    In the week that the climate camp is happening (undoubtedly highlighting the greatest threat to humanity), there have been no focus on the injustices they are trying to highlight only the policing issue for a couple of minutes. At the same time whole shows have been given over to party political point-scoring on education, Lockerbie and even land grabs in Ukraine (although I'm sure there was corporate story in there somewhere).

    Our politicians work for us, not the corporations. Lobbying etc should be exposed for the sham it is, not tidied away for the corporations wrecking our country. See also Keith Olberman/Rachel Maddow show for pointers. You definitely need them.

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  • 175. At 7:07pm on 04 Sep 2009, beebrulesok wrote:

    Sometimes I get the impression that the beeb just set these topics for fun...

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  • 176. At 8:36pm on 09 Sep 2009, totalgrafter wrote:

    The benefit system in this country is driving it down the pan. The system encourages scroungers to stay on the dole, why work when you can get money, education, medical treatment, legal aid,and a house without council tax for free? The more children you have the more money you make. If you work for a living you pay income tax, NI, road tax because you need to get to work, tax on your savings, tax on your pension, coucil tax, you pay for your children to go to college, yet all this money goes to those who don't contribute.....The answer, make those on job seekers allowance work for their money, cleaning the streets, parks and beaches, assisting the council with whatever needs doing, 16 hours a week should do it. If you don't turn up and work you don't get your benefits. Stop paying people who do not work for having children. I know of one women who claims £3208 per month because she has 7 children....

    Cut down on the expenses for ministers. Let them claim for travel above their normal daily journey and for overnight accomodation if they are on business and thats it, no second homes, no cars, no flash dinners, no family members as assistants, nothing, like the rest of us.

    The list is endless, let's get the government to look at the mess this country is in and for once get this benefit system working in the favour of the working man or women...MAKE IT FAIR, MAKE IT RIGHT.

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  • 177. At 10:47am on 27 Sep 2009, JunkkMale wrote:

    175. At 7:07pm on 04 Sep 2009, beebrulesok wrote:
    Sometimes I get the impression that the beeb just set these topics for fun...


    Having just clicked on this by accident and seen the author has not been back to do any more since April, I suspect some cuts may already have happened.

    Or maybe struggling by on unique funding is... just.. soooo... haaaaaard.

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  • 178. At 12:05pm on 13 Oct 2009, eutjohn wrote:

    One area that is surely in need of serious cutbacks is government. How many tiers of it are inflicted on us? Brussels, Westminster, Edinburgh, Cardiff, regional government and several layers of local government. It is nonsense to suggest that all this is enhances democracy and empowers us, all most of it does it cost a fortune to pass endless petty regulations. I shall be voting for UKIP as they are the only party offering to do anything about this. They have a policy - perhaps only one - that will make a diference. The rest slash and scratch at each other over small beer. I am not anti-europe but there is just too much government.

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  • 179. At 00:22am on 22 Oct 2009, firemensaction wrote:

    What would I cut??
    All Regional Assemblies.
    All quangoes.
    ID cards and ID Databases + DNA database.
    All spending on Airport runways for at least 10 years.
    All police support officers.
    All traffic wardens.
    Scrap all CCTV inc control rooms as these not preventing crime at all.
    Approx 50% of all civil servants.
    Road building for at least 10 yrs.
    All the money spent on advertising against smoking, drinking, obesity, car tax avoidance, what we should eat etc.
    50% of NHS spending. Admin only.
    MPs salaries.
    All "Global Warming" meetings, initiatives, "carbon footprint" legislation et al.
    Close Belmarsh, and repeal all so called "terror" legislation.
    Sell off all royal residences except maybe Clarence House.
    Suspend the Royal Stipend, as millionaires should live off their own money. after all, times are tight!
    Pull out of Europe and save Billions.
    (Or if too afraid to face that, come out of Common Fisheries Policy and Common Agricultural Policy....and in the meantime get back the money Blair cravenly gave back to EU after Margaret Thatcher obtained a bit of justice for UK.
    Sell off most of Whithall, and only house London `crats in London.
    Cut money to Scotland and spend it on English Counties.
    Close the House of Commons + Lords. relocate govt. to nr Birmingham, in new modern buildings, (Copy Australian Federal Building an dcome into 21st Century political world)
    All legislation from 2010 onwards to be subjected to a line by line veto by head of state in conjunction with oposition to avoid civil servant expansion and reduce costs.

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  • 180. At 00:24am on 22 Oct 2009, firemensaction wrote:

    Once again, as a long standing member I have my post moderated. Why is this as I am already an accepted member and supposed to get immediate post as such???

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  • 181. At 12:18pm on 24 Oct 2009, JunkkMale wrote:

    I'm reckoning, as this thread is gathering cobwebs, at least as far as the authors are concerned, there must be some credit given that what is written is still at least read enough to be referred to the mods.

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  • 182. At 10:29am on 04 Nov 2009, climateguardian wrote:

    Great to here that you want ideas

    There is a program called The Best Ideas In Holland on dutch TV which is causing some concern about the role of Patents and copyright? A new way forward?

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  • 183. At 11:17am on 04 Nov 2009, climateguardian wrote:

    A new fiscal/environmental reform is required to address the present problems.
    There needs to be a total rethink on the way we raise taxes and help the needy in a whole new way of thinking the way forward.
    Firstly and foremost, the idea that society needs more and more bureaucrats, taxmen, etc is completely false, what is needed is a simple collection and distribution system of taxes that is seen to be fair to all in society, and also allow the free spirit of enterprise and benevolence to apply so as to continue and enhance the society in a fair and equitable way.
    A system of tax on all NATURAL RESOURCES and especially the most polluting (fossil fuels) should pay the highest taxes, and the subsequent removal of all other taxes. This with a reform of the benefit system to pay a minimum wage to all and rebates for good behaviour would start to change the attitudes of carbon use and the openness, transparency and fairness we all need to adopt if we are to live in harmony with each other.
    This would lead to a large savings on the collection and distribution of the taxes, not to mention the tax fraud and evasion that would be prevented. It would be very unpopular among accountants, tax collectors and the like but if looked at from a business angle, the present system is good for job creation but does nothing to enhance the way society functions and behaves.
    Unfortunately it has to be the ruling elite in this modern society that that the biggest reforming has to be done, It is the ruling elite that have self perpetuated the age old systems of the past and piled more and more laws and legislation onto society, making the system work for the intellectuals and rich at the total expense of the poorer in that society.
    Civilizations of the past have often failed as a result of them taking to big a slice of the cake and then the poorer in society have rebelled to cause the final collapse.
    If we make the tax fair and equal for all, dependent only on how much they plunder the earths resources, then a more equal society will emerge from the present chaos, which must be achieved within the next few years, not the next 50, which no one takes responsibility for.
    We need our leaders to take the responsibility now and ACT for the future of our children.

    Otherwise let our children take the decisions?

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  • 184. At 11:53pm on 04 Nov 2009, rifra wrote:

    Surely anybody in receipt of an occupational pension of more than (say) £30,000 should not receive a basic state pension as well. After all, the state pension was originally introduced as a means of lifting retired workers out of poverty. Has any clever economist done any calculation as to how much this might save the public purse. National Insurance contributions could be re-defined as a tax and not an automatic entitlement to future benefits. Also abolishing all middle-class state benefits would have a healthy effect on the nation's debt. After all we are all in this mess together.

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  • 185. At 11:55pm on 10 Nov 2009, peter winkle wrote:

    How about making all drugs legal and then selling licences to produce and sell them? The drugs could then be taxed and regulated in the same way as alcohol and cigarettes to ensure purity and help avoid sales to minors. Part of the revenue could then be used to advertise against drug use whilst the rest could go towards reducing the deficit. Some other beneficial side effects may be a reduction in organised and semi organised crime, lower prison populations and fewer social problems generally, in particular on sink estates. Its a pretence to suppose that drugs are not freely available for those who want them at the moment so I don't forsee a huge rise in the total amount of drugs taken. In fact there may be a drop as drugs lose some of their cachet purely because they were legal.

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  • 186. At 7:21pm on 26 Nov 2009, HERCULE_SAVINIEN wrote:


    [The Weekend After Thanksgiving]

    Now, it’s going to be the weekend after Thanksgiving and all thru the house [He Who Must Obey] is working his backside off and pulling his hair out. There are a lot of views of Black Friday the day after Thanksgiving, for the retailer this year they are starting at a [17%] Seventeen Percent down from last year as that’s the amount that the retailers decided not to stock up on with a [20.4%] Twenty-Point-Four actual unemployment figure. And, for [She Who Must Be Obeyed] well women were born to shop, with [He Who Must Obeys Cash], but for he who must obey it’s the day after Turkey and games, now all those Christmas Decorations that didn’t work last year or well out of date will be purchased, Made In China, from Walmart. Now, that’s not the bad part about the whole deal, SATURDAY, AND SUNDAY, no rest for the wicked, those new decorations aren’t getting up by themselves, and quest who to is either be the one crawling up in the attic or down in the basement, or out in the garage or shed, pulling out the Christmas Decorations, you got it [He Who Must Obey].

    [The Plan]

    Now, [He Who Must Obey] every year comes up with a plan, but you guessed it, the best laid plans of mice and men are [ALWAYS], led astray, and so it is with Christmas Decorations, you forgot were what was stored, and [She Who Must Be Obeyed] has a mind like a steel trap, she knows it was here last year, and guess who has to either find it or go and try and buy the exact out of manufacture item, or go on E-Bay to pay more than its worth to get. Let’s get back to the plan, well some of the first timers put things into cardboard boxes and that’s how you know he’s a novice at this, the old timer gets the plastic containers the ones that have a lid that closes down tight not the ones with the cute fold into each other things, they leak, and mice and insects get into them and guess what those things that [She Who Must Be Obeyed] had when she was a little [She Who Must Be Obeyed] become damaged or worse ruined, and you don’t want to deal with that.

    [Making the List]

    Making the List, checking it once, twice, thrice, of Christmas Decorations, what box there in and were in the word did you stick it, it’s a matter of life and death. Now, the computer is a great thing, its better than a pocket memory the pad of paper and pencil that has been replaced with the new electronic version. So, what you can do is use that new electronic pocket memory, and as you put things into those plastic containers that seal tight, text them into those electronic pocket memories, what you put in them, try to do it by were they go, [Tree Ornaments, Hallway, She who must be obeyed Christmas clothes, and ear rings, coffee cups, and those items in a very special plastic box in a special place of those that she that must be obeyed had a little she who must be obeyed], numbering the boxes would be a good idea, not with anything that can come off, using a marking pencil or whatever, NO TAPE WITH A NUMBER or Letter, you use numbers, letters, symbols, whatever trips your trigger, but use something that you understand. Then go to the computer and make a list, create a file/folder whatever on your computer hard-drive, then make a back up disk, then make a printed hard-copy and place one in each of those plastic boxes with the lids that seal in one of those glad-plastic- zippie things, and if you are lucky next Christmas it won’t take all day Saturday, after Thanksgiving just to locate the plastic boxes that seal tight with all the Christmas Decoration.

    [Christmas Music]

    Now, there is holiday music from A to Z [That’s Z for Zed for those in the Northeast and Z for Zorro in the Southwest], Celtic, Chanukah classic, Disney, [KIDS] Snoopy and The Red Baron, Motown, strange, Now, there is holiday music from A to Z [That’s Z for Zed for those in the Northeast and Z for Zorro in the Southwest], traditional, Celtic, Chanukah classic, Disney, [KIDS], Motown, strange, traditional, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and my favorite Mannheim Steamroller, weird [Weird Al Yankovich], and of course the master Bing Crosby, but [She Who Must Be Obeyed is a Kid and Weird Al Fan. But that being said, for the novice [He Who Must Obey], you got to muster up the courage to put your foot down about one thing, Christmas Music, during what hours it can be played during the day, and it starts Thanksgiving Day and ends New Year Eve, the next day put all those [CD,s/Records/Tapes/ Whatever], all in one of those plastic boxes with the lids that seal tight and make sure they are first to be put in the attic, basement, garage, shed, at the bottom in the back, first thing, in last thing out, if not [and/or] purchase a good set of ear plugs or create a sound proof room somewhere in the house, the other option is to retreat into the garage/ in the Northeast heat your garage, or for those in the Northeast [3] three layers of clothes, send to Russia for those hats with the fur, and a pair of heated socks, put the extra television on the work table pull out the summer lawn chair, it’s the only choice to not losing with little sanity your going to have left after the Christmas season and the credit card bill comes in.

    [Christmas Lights]

    Simple, don’t bother trying to replace the little lights; buy a new strand, life is too short to go thru that aggregation.



    She Who Must Be Obeyed just came in and told me if her [CD’s] weren’t back were they belong she’s going to kill me!!


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  • 187. At 09:41am on 13 Dec 2009, JunkkMale wrote:

    Quite a lot suggested as worth cutting in the 8 months since this post went up.

    Evidently editorial input at the BBC being one taken voluntarily.

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  • 188. At 03:13am on 14 Dec 2009, gnuneo wrote:

    scrap Trident renewal.
    scrap the central ID database scheme.

    decriminalise, control and tax drugs.
    decriminalise, control and tax brothels.

    create a fair "wealth" tax.
    increase inheritance tax for bequests worth over £500,000 *per receiver*, make it 100% for bequests over £1M *per receiver*. Spread the wealth around.

    massively increase the corporation tax upon banks.
    massively increase the corporation tax upon corporations.
    use the money to create a 'Grameen Bank' style investment body to create new cooperatives - especially to deal with issues such as climate change/energy efficiency, build up a permaculture agriculture base, and in general move to a localised, profit-making cooperative structure. They pay more tax, and are far more responsive to the needs of the Nation/community.

    try Sweden's system for a year, and openly publish ALL tax-records, including individuals, so people can see how much comes from mansion-owners, and how much from normal people.

    increase the bands on local property upwards, and create the 'mansion tax'.

    fine every politician who lies to the public £1,000. Fine every minister who lies £10,000. Every time.

    end the subsidies to the arms corporations.
    increase the taxes upon what is taken from the North Sea.

    cut the ministerial budget for employing lawyers to hide the ministers dirty hands through legal shenanigans.

    stop paying to have American bases upon our soil. Stop paying for America's insane wars.

    immediately cut - or end altogether - the pay of any civil servant or minister who claims that taxing the wealthy means they will all leave. Wave goodbye to them.

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  • 189. At 10:30am on 05 Jan 2010, JunkkMale wrote:

    Happy New Year!

    Let's see if we can get it to one post a year!

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  • 190. At 3:03pm on 18 Jan 2010, Rand0m1y wrote:

    (Only just realized how out of date this blog is!)

    Rather than making cuts, why try to create more economic transparency?

    This could be achieved by publishing on the internet a visual and textual tree breakdown of where every penny is going to, from when it leaves the treasury right down to the anonymous employee, or collection of receipts / invoices for a project. The information should be live, indicating each day funds depleting.

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  • 191. At 4:04pm on 20 Jan 2010, AlMiles wrote:

    With local authorities secreting hundreds of millions of pounds between them in overseas bank accounts "for a rainy day" (a fact which would have remained hushed-up if the Icelandic banking system had not collapsed) whilst increasing Council Taxes over inflation, and with plenty of government Departments holding even more in shadowy bank "suspense accounts" in the UK and overseas, why don't the Treasury mandarins of this supposedly "cash strapped" country demand that some of these funds are recalled and used?

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  • 192. At 08:08am on 06 Feb 2010, JunkkMale wrote:

    190. At 3:03pm on 18 Jan 2010, Rand0m1y wrote:
    (Only just realized how out of date this blog is!)

    Bearing in mind the author can't be far off celebrating his first year with his new employers, I think it is refreshing that the BBC - Newsnight: Editor's Blog should so proudly reveal its commitment to the cutting edge of news gathering and reportage in this manner.

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  • 193. At 7:02pm on 11 Feb 2010, David wrote:

    I would cut the welfare budget as I work within the welfare system and can see exactly how a whole generation of unemployable young people sponge off the state. No more crisis loans, no community care grants, sure start maternity grants, no ADF, close Jobcentres and switch all benefit to call centre only.

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  • 194. At 07:49am on 10 Mar 2010, David wrote:

    The truth is, and the Conservative party knows it, that the British people do not rate national debt high on their voting priorities. Unless it hits the ordinary voter right in the wallet, most of us dont care and conclude that the debt will be rapid in due course [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

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  • 195. At 08:55am on 11 Mar 2010, johngub wrote:

    Last night's programme on education was excellent. For once we got an informed debate about a major policy issue (although a few too many political speeches from the teachers). To help better understand the issue, a 2 minute slot for each party, summarising their policies, would be great!


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  • 196. At 10:07am on 11 Mar 2010, David wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 197. At 9:45pm on 30 Mar 2010, David Jackson wrote:

    The problems does not lay with cuts but of the system. Its all become to complex, based on targets, continual assessment and evidence in all parts of our society. Technology should have braught about wealth and efficency not extra paperwork. Its harder to prosper now than in the seventies for people in all walks of life. We need to go back to basics, making life simpler for people wanting to provide work and those wanting to work. Historians will look back on theses decades and wonder why a few well educated people, could make it so difficult, for so many.
    David Jackson

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  • 198. At 6:42pm on 06 Apr 2010, Rulechangecrazy wrote:

    Single mothers who cannot name the father. There should be proof that the Father cannot support the child or no benifit.

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  • 199. At 09:05am on 07 Apr 2010, John Mather wrote:

    Amazing that they got away with talking about expenses when the real problem is that they have TAX EXEMPT INCOME which means that the average MP would need £316,000pa NOT £67,000 if they were taxed like you and me. Deception by all of them?

    Gordon must answer how a tax cut would take money out of the economy. Does he mean that the voter can’t spend it only him??? Economically illiterate or if not then yet another deception

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  • 200. At 4:56pm on 12 Apr 2010, Greg Dance wrote:

    I would cut all government and local authority fuel budgets explicitly. They currently seem to spend up to their limits and so leave on heating and lights, drive inefficient cars instead of using public transport etc.
    Fuels are getting more expensive because the world is running out of the cheap easily extracted oil and so all fuel prices will be affected.
    Mad market economy, yes ... but also perhaps an effective brake on mindlessly extravagant consumption, just because the money was there to pay for the fuels.
    So, money dries up and with it hopefully so too will mindless consumption.
    And by the way this will help climate change too! :-)

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  • 201. At 7:11pm on 12 Apr 2010, Wanabeditor wrote:

    Met a tarmacadamist who runs his own fleet of heated lorries and was doing work coincidentally on the road on which he happened to be living in Colchester for the council. He said in order to save a few meager pounds and to show they were sourcing from the cheapest possible supplier he had to drive a convoy of trucks to Northampton and back to pick up the tarmac regardless of the fact that any saving the council made was offset by the incredible loss of profit he made from the fuel, man hours and heating costs and time spent driving up and down the motorway. He said he would have gladly paid the difference in cost from the local supplier which amounted to less than a thousand pounds. Real efficiency economics would have taken these things into account and local sourcing or even maintaining their own yard in the area and bulk purchasing would have surely given a solution which was greener and more efficient for everyone. I know nothing about tarmac yet i do know that if this kind of efficiency blunder occurs in every council department then in fact all that needs to happen is streamlining and more educated negotiation with the people down the chain of production for huge savings to be made which by nature also reduce carbon emissions and congestion.
    I worry that Tory economic policies and aspirations have not altered at all from the tenets which drove Thatcherism.Labour cut clause 4 and yet the Tories have offered us nothing by way of change to convince me that they are capable of taking the helm in such financially stormy weather. Frankly I am amazed at our nations fickle swing to the right in the opinion poles. What about peace in Ireland and the cost of that? What about the longest period of financial stability in our history? Are people suffering such very short memories that they are concerned about a few measly pounds on National Insurance for earners above twenty thousand and then forgetting totally that the Tory's soaring interest rates when in a similar position at the end of the Major govt cost people more than the entire years extra NI payment suggested PER MONTH in their extra mortgage payments. It was Major General Sir Lesley Hollis who pointed out that the £275,000 approxmate defence budget of 1938 was turned down as too expensive and yet by 1939 a year later when the ostriches head was pulled from the sand it was a Million a week being spent. If you don't pay a little the alternative is that you have to pay a lot. The same goes for Tory fiscal policy and their reaper like approach to public cuts. Cut the jobs and have to pay dole money and raise the interests rates and have to find people with perfectly good homes council houses where they could not afford the inflated interest payments. I think Labour did a grand job of keeping the wolves at bay and indeed keeping most people by comparison to the Tories in their homes. You cannot borrow all that money and not have to pay back some somewhere and relentless cuts is surely no kind of answer. The cuts should surely be made in the home and the average overweight British worker could surely do well from tightening his belt and retraining, instead of moaning about skilled foreign labour taking jobs that they refused point blank to get suitably qualified to do themselves never more so in the Health Service. The same men and women who are moaning blind alarmist and barely veiled racist vitriol.
    Take the example of the Parachute Regiment here in Colchester. They run ten miles every day when here at home and their counterparts in London with the cavalry club always being a Tory stronghold the Guards polish tackle 20hrs a week for dressage. Is it a surprise then that when these brave men of the Coldstream are faced with a simple counter insurgency "double agent" they are sadly incapable of being aware of the possibilty that their guide might be their enemy until the point of course that they are bleeding to death from the bullet wounds he has inflicted as they sit down to dinner? For all we know he could have been quite friendly and well intentioned but their sneering comments and overwhelming arrogance could have simply proved too much for him that day. Do not vote for the Tories or anybody else born with a silver spoon in their mouths for the simple reason that you are courting disaster at every level.This is a dire warning indeed. Even if they are well intentioned and have our nations best interest at heart, the rest of the world remebers the Tories and their colonial aspirations as enemies. We have to live with the Lord Hanningfields and the Bernard Jenkin's of this world here in Essex. I have been at functions with both of them and will not be sad to see either leave us to get things sorted without their best intentions. Amen

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  • 202. At 3:56pm on 13 Apr 2010, Apple-Eater wrote:

    Welfare budget
    - strict employment laws, so people can't be laid off easily in the first place
    - high national minimum wage, rather than top ups, credits, allowances etc
    - no payments of any kind to teenage mums. If they're living with their parents, they can look after the kids. If the child can't be supported, put it out for adoption.

    Public sector waste
    - high wages for and numbers of front line staff, but cull the quangoes, planning departments, diversity coordinator types.

    Housing expansion and planning departments
    - all over the country, there are planning departments costing us money now, and planning to spend more on providing infrastructure such as roads and bridges for new housing.
    Just sack the lot of them, now.

    - I'm always struck by the way the BBC manages to use the maximum number of people to the minimum possible effect on screen, so one can only imagine what goes on behind the scenes.
    Get rid of all the sports analysts, weather forecasters etc.

    - cull the bureaucracy
    - introduce compulsory insurance, topped up by the state if necessary because of unemployment etc
    - no free health care for foreigners

    - devolve virtually all spending and decision making to the schools, cull the education authorities

    - stop it, send them all home, no appeals, nada. Not our problem, obviously a drain on the state
    - get together with other EU countries which are victims of asylum seekers, and create and fund safe havens in Africa and Asia. Anyone wanting safety and asylum can go there. If they need asylum, they stay there, if not, they go home. But they don't come here. Those who are her get deported, regardless of consequences to themselves.

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