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Tories bash the rich

Robert Peston | 13:13 UK time, Tuesday, 6 October 2009

George Osborne's speech to the Conservative Party conference contained a striking number of eye-catching proposals.

What he appeared in the round to be proposing was a programme of national sacrifice to reduce debt and create a culture of saving.

George OsborneI will leave to Stephanie Flanders and Nick Robinson the analysis of his policies to reduce public sector borrowing and cut government expenditure.

But Osborne's remarks will reverberate through the public sector and the private sector.

In particular, he's made it difficult for anyone at the top of the income ladder in any part of the economy to be awarded a big pay rise in the next year or two.

A Tory government would cut the pay of ministers by 5% next year and then freeze it for the rest of the Parliament.

And anyone "who wishes to pay a public servant more than the prime minister will have to put it before the chancellor".

In theory that implies there'll be big pay cuts for senior directors of the Bank of England (including the governor), the chief executive and others at Royal Mail, the head of Network Rail and a fair number of BBC executives, among others (unless the salaries of the incumbents are grandfathered*).

As for the banks, the shadow chancellor gave them an unambiguous warning that unless they voluntarily reduce bonus payments, he would take steps to curb their take-home pay, including "through the tax system".

In other words, they must either resist the temptation to use any of the state support they've received to enrich their staff or he'll introduce a special, punitive tax on bonuses.

Then there was big stuff on pensions.

He announced a longer-term aim - which won't be implemented in the next Parliament - to restore the ability of pension funds to claim back the tax deducted on dividends (the famous dividend tax credits for pension funds that were abolished by Gordon Brown in 1997).

And he said that no public servant would henceforth be able to draw a pension in retirement of more than £50,000 a year (although existing pension entitlements would be protected).

Finally, he said that because he would force a pay freeze on all public servants earning over £18,000 a year, he could not "even think of abolishing" the new 50p top rate of tax being introduced by the government - though he did not want it to be a "permanent feature" of the tax system.

For the better off Osborne was saying no jam today and maybe - just maybe - there'll be a bit of marmalade for breakfast in a few years.

Update 1336: I've now checked the fine print of Mr Osborne's speech, so here's a bit more detail.

The current governor of the Bank of England and today's chief executive of Royal Mail can breathe easy. George Osborne, if he becomes chancellor, won't be cutting their pay.

Those in public sector jobs already being paid more than the prime minister will have their remuneration grandfathered; they won't be forced to take a pay cut.

But if the Tories are elected, no new appointee to a public sector job would be paid more than the prime minister without the explicit approval of the chancellor - which Osborne implied he would withhold.

Two other things.

The £50,000 ceiling on public sector pensions would apply to all existing members of public sector schemes, not just to future entrants (although those lucky enough to have already earned an entitlement greater than £50,000 will keep what they've accrued).

And Osborne doesn't yet know how or when he'll give pension funds back the cash flow they lost when the dividend tax credit was abolished - but he's signalling that he'll find a way.

Update 15:15: Two further points.

First, it is significant that the most draconian of Mr Osborne's plutocrat-bashing ideas - viz a possible tax on bonuses and a slash-and-burn approach to top public servants' pay - are not firm pledges.

Both, really, are threats to banks and public-sector organisations to show some sensitivity to the public mood on pay, or face a potentially savage lop from Mr Osborne when he's at No 11.

And who can be sure whether he would really be in scything mood, if he became chancellor.

That said, he certainly seems keener to scythe than members of the current government.

Second, he has created something of a recruitment nightmare for local authorities, the BBC, the Royal Mail, the Bank of England, UKFI, the Financial Services Authority, assorted competition authorities and utility regulators, Channel 4, Network Rail, and so on.

They all pay their top people more than the prime minister earns.

So what do they do if they want to recruit someone at a senior level in the coming few months, before the general election?

Do they ignore the revealed wishes of the party that polls suggest will form the next government and pay the successful candidate more than the PM's earnings - and risk alienating future ministers?

Or do they pay what George Osborne has signalled as the new maximum - viz £197,689 (actually presumably it's a bit less than that, since the Tories would impose a pay cut on all ministers)?

But if a newly recruited boss of Royal Mail, or the BBC or the Bank of England were paid less than £200,000 a year, surely all his or her more junior colleagues would also have to see their pay slashed?

It has the potential to create something of a farce - which will be hilariously funny for millions of citizens and very painful for the relevant institutions.

PS. And what about Lord Turner of the Financial Services Authority, who is expected to move to the Bank of England to become a deputy governor as and when the Tories break up the FSA and move the banking supervision bit to the Bank of England?

Would he be expected to take a pay cut of more than 50 %?

* Some people have been in touch to ask what "grandfathered" means. In the words of the OED it is "To exempt from new legislation or regulations, usually because of some prior condition of previously existing privilege." I am using it to mean that individuals currently in post will have their salaries protected, though their successors wouldn't have that protection.

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    Tories save it, Labour spend it...and in the long run the majority are kept reasonably happy. Seems a pretty acceptable way of governing a country of 65 million people, most of whom refuse to see past their own lifetimes as far as consequences go.

    It's been a pretty flush few years with a lot of people making easy money off the back of property price rises - it's about time we had a few years of pinching. I'm sure somebody famous once said, "Life finds balance."

  • Comment number 2.

    at last a politician telling it like it is...we have been conned by this government for so long we can hardly believe it when someone tells the truth....!

  • Comment number 3.

    Still tinkering around the edges. The Tories really are a left wing party.

    End income tax
    End minimum wage
    Slash public spending
    Empower local authorities to raise their own money and provide services
    End illegal wars and bring troops home
    End public sector final salary pensions
    Ens all quangos

    We will never have proper emplyment until we have a dynamic ecomony

  • Comment number 4.

    Laugh... i nearly voted Tory.

  • Comment number 5.

    It makes no difference what Georgie say's we all know what he means. The rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer. Half of the stuff he says he wants to implement will be thrown out of court by any decent judge. It's all poppycock.

    Only yesterday the Tories were banging on about getting folk who are sick back to work, just where all these jobs are coming form nobody knows. Never mind though, George, David and chums will all be OK they all have friends that have friends that will make sure they and their families have a nice high paid job.

    I am one of milions who has worked hard Six days a week 10 hours a day) for 20 years, have a degree and yet I still can't dream of earning half of the salary of the average Tory banker. It's all a load of hot air, Gerogie will not implement this, he will cut spending on Health and Education and then in few year sthe voters will see the long waiting lists and the schools failing down and vote Labour who will then spend to put it right.

  • Comment number 6.

    Why am I being asked to sacrifice anything? I've done NOTHING WRONG!!! I wasn't at THEIR PARTY !!!

  • Comment number 7.

    More about a politician telling it how he wished it was, how can somebody be so boring and expect to be voted for. Nevermind I look forward to watching the wealth being pushed further up the tree under the tories with of course the failled theory of trickle down making us all rich again. Osbourne had the cheek to call them "Modern Conservatives" no wonder he looked a bit unsteady, spinning at that speed.

  • Comment number 8.

    I've never been a huge fan of George Osborne and he's certainly been in for a bit of a media monstering of late (all those slightly dark photos taken from below, eyes staring etc) but I thought that he did a tolerable job today. He seems to have sidestepped the cynical 50p tax trap left by Alastair Darling and rightly avoided anything that smacked of penalising the lowest paid.

    It's a relief to hear a politician tell it reasonably straight about the economy and the need to address the deficit. It was a welcome change from Gordon Brown's speech last week in which he hinted at a new austerity that will be delivered in the form of yet more spending initiatives! It increasingly looks as if the election campaign this time around will be between the fantasists and the realists and no amount of posturing from from reheated class warriors is going to change that

    It looked and sounded good. "Modern Conservatism" as he chimed regularly, sounds like it might go some way way towards squaring the endless circle between encouraging the personal enterprise that we need whilst at the same time protecting the vulnerable and the least able in society. The trouble was that there didn't seem to be very many "modern Conservative" faces smiling up at him from the audience.

  • Comment number 9.

    The idea that this bloke is "telling it like it is" makes me laugh. A lot.

    Anyone earning over 18k will have their pay frozen. Not exactly a step towards closing the gap towards a fairer UK.

    Anyone living on a household income of less than the cost of living will still be measured for tax credits just like those earning up to £50k. Again, this is disgraceful in a so-called civilised society.

    All children will earn their parents Family Allowance per head. Whether you are desperate for this cash to feed and cloth your off-spring, whether you are on the look out for a new handbag, or whether you just hope to spot a bargain at the local antique shop it makes no difference.


    The country is patently obviously at the early stages of a bounce back. Everything is cyclic. It makes not a jot of difference which party was in power during the crash. The reality is that the fairest party should hold sway over parliament. Labour's social policy is not good enough, but compared to the Tories they are modern-day saints.

  • Comment number 10.

    This is a fair attempt at tweaking by Osborne's advisers (how many of these points do you think were the ideas of George "Maths GCSE" Osborne?).
    But the fact remains Osborne got the big call of the century wrong. When the crisis hit, Osborne said we shouldn't intervene, whereas Gordon Brown led the world on a Keynesian crusade which has saved us from the abyss. I know who I would prefer in charge of Britain's finances.

  • Comment number 11.

    Whenever now I read and listen to Labour and Tory talks and speeches, I have this image of four people deep in discussion in Corfu. I cannot take it seriously now. It is all acting, probably directed from Corfu, Switzerland, Monaco, Liechtenstein, ... This must have going on in the dark background for decades and generations.

    All good entertaining soap.

  • Comment number 12.

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

  • Comment number 13.

    As an employee of private-sector companies who has had great performance reviews but only only seen a 4% pay rise over the past 5 years, its about time the public sector fell in to line.

  • Comment number 14.

    Its all just tinkering about around the edges. He appears to just be jumping on any old bandwagon.
    If they get in the word will be, as Boris Johnston says, 'aspirational promises'.
    Boris leading from the front!

  • Comment number 15.

  • Comment number 16.

    The Stock market took more off my pension in one day than G.Brown's so called pension raid took in 10 years. Then I had a decent pension, now I have to keep working!
    As for the salary and pension controls, when you are heir to a substantial fortune (Osborne) and report to a boss (Cameron) worth an estimated £30m, who needs to worry about a salary or pension!
    The old saying about peanuts and monkeys springs to mind-do we really want the less able, or only the well heeled, in charge of our public services? Isn't it the case that the P.M's salary is pathetically low, whomsoever occupies the post, or again is it just for the well heeled?

  • Comment number 17.

    I don't think I shall bother to vote. I have no doubt that the Tories will not see fit to punish those who caused the crisis. Weasel words will ensure the bankers laugh all their way to the bank to stash their rapidly depreciating bonuses.

    All the politicians seem to be gunning for those who have been responsible. They are going to cut the pay of hard working people to pay for the profligate lifestyle of the rich. Savers pay for those who have been living on the hog for a decade. Pensioners lose their pensions with no time to plan for retirement.

    As for the £8000 care home insurance (£16000 for a couple), I wondered when the politicians would want to get their dirty hands on people's lump sums. The lump sums are supposed to be there to cover the shortfall in company pensions (even index linked ones), as there is always a difference between a pensioner's inflation and that of RPI. To put this emotional blackmail on people's backs and make them feel they are letting down their children is immoral. And in any case there is no guarantee of entitlement and you can be sure they will want top ups.

    I will have nothing to do with insurance companies after a certain company which I had better not name conned me into buying a pension from them. Luckily I got out after paying out only two and a half thousand pounds. I would have made more in compound interest in the bank and the worst thing is that annuity payments are practically worthless years down the line especially as the discounts used to calculate net present value would have to be enormous when hyperinflation begins.

    The only thing I am left to ponder on now is - have I been stupid to avoid debt? Debt is good in Britain today - ask any celebrity obsessed person in a 4 x 4. People are still buying things they can't afford and I am going to have to pay for it. So should I start piling debt onto my credit card? Advice from all would be welcome!

  • Comment number 18.

    "Those in public sector jobs already being paid more than the prime minister will have their remuneration grandfathered; they won't be forced to take a pay cut."

    Power is its own reward, often more attractive than money.

    What's wrong with getting paid no more the the PM?

    Is money everything and all powerful?

  • Comment number 19.

    George Osborne oracle of truth?! that's a good one.
    Excuse me while i laugh so much my sides hurt

  • Comment number 20.

    Tories bash the rich? I doubt it.

    Cameron and chums just don't seem like the self-flagellation types to me.
    Maybe you should tug on the other one. I do believe it has bells on it.

  • Comment number 21.

    3. At 1:42pm on 06 Oct 2009, truths33k3r wrote:
    "End income tax
    End minimum wage
    Slash public spending
    Empower local authorities to raise their own money and provide services
    End illegal wars and bring troops home
    End public sector final salary pensions
    Ens all quangos"

    ....and the result of these will take us right into depression. It's too simple to cut public spending and expect the Economy to reboot itself - what do you think will happen to the construction industry when Government spending is slashed?
    What about the pharmacutical industry when the NHS spending is halved?
    What about the all the industries who are only surviving at the moment due to government projects - since private lending and projects are all on hold?


    A lot of the areas you mentioned are simply red herrings thrown out by the opposition. You could rid us of every quango in the country (and I wouldn't object to that) - but unfortunately the savings will make a tiny indent into the deficit.

    The problem is we're in so deep that we can't do what you suggest (even the sensible ones) - if we pull out of the war in Afghanistan now then the defence industry will immediately make job cuts - thereby adding to the demise of the Economy.

    Heads we loose, tails we loose.

  • Comment number 22.

    "gavinthegromit: When the crisis hit, Osborne said we shouldn't intervene, whereas Gordon Brown led the world on a Keynesian crusade which has saved us from the abyss."

    I don't agree, how have we been saved from the abyss? The abyss is still there, deeper than ever. In fact by any metric you choose to consider we are in a worse place now than we were in 2007. The debt is bigger, our future liabilities more onerous, our national natural resources and value-add output are lower... We have temporally dodged the built, but only by an illusionary confidence trick. Low interest rates cannot last. When the crash eventually comes it will be harder and deeper than it would have been in 2009, thanks to Brown's interventions.

  • Comment number 23.

    Hi Robert,

    An interesting article, especially as I've just read this QFinance article
    on the common sense approach of linking bonuses and performance. http://www.qfinance.com/corporate-governance-best-practice/executive-rewards-ensuring-that-financial-rewards-match-perform?full

    I'd be interested in your thoughts...

  • Comment number 24.

    #13

    Be careful what you wish for! I don't know what happened in other parts of the public sector, but certainly Civil Service pay used to be adjusted on the basis of fair comparisons with comparable jobs in the private sector.

    The system was scrapped because it produced answers the politicians did not want to hear.

  • Comment number 25.

    #3. truths33k3r wrote:

    "Still tinkering around the edges. The Tories really are a left wing party.

    End income tax
    End minimum wage"

    I am extremely thankful that your views are those of an extreme minority, and that this country will never have to suffer an administration as cruel and as brutal as the one you would like to see.

  • Comment number 26.

    Ah but will they actually Tax the Financiers who have been helping themselves to Britains wealth ?

  • Comment number 27.

    Which ever Gov't gets in they must honour the deals with the Public Sector.

    Privatising every Public Service will lead to the Tax Payer paying far more for less of a service.

    The Private provider charges a Profit on all it does, thus diverting resources away from the Public Service.

  • Comment number 28.

    Come on Robert, the marxist in you is just itching to get out along with the many comments on here about how awful and rich tories are.

    less on the reality of how to fix a structural deficit of £90 billion. To fill the hole would be to say, close the NHS. it is a big ask, at least the Tories and Lib Dems too are saying things along the right lines.

    Labour are trying to set the economic conditions up for the Tories to fail; I happen to think they may well succeed. Cameron might well be an Obama, overwhelmed by the disaster created before he took the job.

  • Comment number 29.

    All Parties intend to make it cheaper to fire or make redundant Public servants.

    Apparently they reckon they will be able to save five hundred million pounds in redundancy payments by tearing up the long standing agreements, without negotiation, over the next few years. That is a lot of ordinary workers on the dole, and not providing Services.

    This is a terribly dishonourable thing to do, and bearing in mind just how much Tax Payer cash they have used in order to enable the Banks to carry on and carry on paying huge annual bonuses (far greater than any public servants redundancy payment), it is an outrage.

    Never mind the Private sector will exploit the British taxpayer and the services will decline.

  • Comment number 30.

    He will not touch the 50% tax band

    A man more interested in good headlines than good economics - somewhat worrying for a would be chancellor.

    I suggest he does some analysis. If the net effect of 50% tax rate is to reduce the actual revenue received by govt after taking into account increased costs of collection then the 50% tax band is a political stunt not a sensible economic policy.

    Bear in mind that once you factor in NICs and the changes to pension contribution the actual tax take is about 60% not 50% for the high net worths. A little history lesson is in order for George. When income tax was last at 60% and was reduced to 40% (by a tory govt) actual revenue received from the rich went up both in absolute amounts and as a percentage of GDP. It is therefore highly likely that if you reverse the tax rise then actual tax raised will revert back - ie you will end up with even less money to spend.

    I know people will moan about tax avoidance - but tax avoidance is legal (tax evasion is fraud), it is not the taxpayers fault that HMRC and govt have made things so complex that there are loopholes. And before anyone starts on it is only for the rich, anyone who has ever taken the ferry or Chunnel to Calais to stock up on cheap booze is taking part in a tax avoidance arrangement.

    The simple truth is that high tax rates not only do not raise the level of income that HMRC expects but it is also encourages everyone below the top rate tax band, but who think they will be at the top rate band in the next few years, to look at tax minimisation techniques. So not only will the 50% tax band not raise the levels HMRC think but there will also be a reduction in the amount raised on the 40% band.

    The problem is that govt (and us the electorate) get fixated about the fairness of progressive taxation and forget that the purpose of tax is to raise revenue to allow govt to implement its policies, be they social fairness policies or anything else. Long term we are going to have to radically simplify the tax system, whether that will result in a flat rate tax or 2 bands at say 20% and 30% (20% at say half national average wage and 30% at double national average wage) couple with much higher VAT I have no idea but I do know that the current system of taxation is completely broken

    It is over-exploited by the rich and their advisors who might as well because the HMRC actions are, if anything, even worse.

  • Comment number 31.

    I see none of this as being about the real problem.Certainly it would be justice to stop clamping and reign in tyrannical councils on a dustbin fine power trip but the real problem is the future cost of energy. This will affect every plan made by any Political party. It is almost certain that as the Global Economy revives energy prices will rocket-partly because of increased demand by China and India but also because resources are dwindling.There is also the problem of much of the energy being in the hands of volatile regimes. I think Oil will again rise to $200 a barrel(A barrel is 159 litres)and Gas will follow.I suspect that this is a price that the UK cannot afford to pay without massive cuts in every public service. The old answer would have been to use coal but environment concerns obviate this.We cannot introduce Green energy in time-it is possible to quickly build Gas power and we will be forced to this but it will be at massive import cost to the Nation. Nuclear seems to be the only answer to having our own energy.I like wind power,I find the windmills elegant to look at but sadly the cost of the subsidy for windmills looks to be far larger than the subsidy for total Nuclear clean up.Long term nasty waste(1000 year storage) from 100 years of total Nuclear power might occupy about half a square kilometre.Short term waste is OK after about 40years. But no Nuclear can be on line in time to stop the lights going out so we are preprogrammed to gas for at least 25 years and this is what they mean by failing to fix the roof while the sun shone.

  • Comment number 32.

    You all need to take heed of JavaMan1984 @ 6

    Ask your MP why you should be paying for the excesses of the banks? Did you profit? Do you have 4 houses around the world? etc.

    Robert is complicit in this conspiracy (as are the BBC) - they've all moved on from the question of who should pay - and completely ignored the non-response of why should we pay?

    If you want to be a mug - fine, but don't come crying to me about 'high taxes' and 'long waiting lists' and 'not had a job for months' and 'education cuts' afterwards because I shall have no sympathy.

    Let me make it clear to you all - because the BBC is in dereliction of it's duty in reporting the truth.

    The profits that funded the bonuses, the profits and the boom were all an advance payment made from our account to the bankers in the expectation of the Economy growing.
    Now that it's not come to fruition the question is why are we letting them get away with it.
    It's no good the Government promising they will manage the account better in the future - what about now?

    Lets make it nice and simple. Each year we expect to earn an amount of cash as UK PLC. Next year we will be working for 75% of the time for nothing

    If this were your personal situation you would be very worried. People who lent you money would be very worried, and yet we're being told all the time that everything is in hand.

    Ever seen someone go bust? Well then you'll know that they won't conceed defeat until the last breath is extinguished - and that's exactly what our Government is doing.

    ....and as for the Tories - well it makes no difference, other than they will bring the depression on faster with their public spending cuts and are more likely to tip the country into civil unrest.

  • Comment number 33.

    Public sector pay freeze - long overdue, should have happened to them 18 months ago like everyone else, instead it will not kick in until 2011. Upshot, the public sector will effectively have been insulated from the entire duration of the recession.

    Meanwhile the rapidly diminshing number for entreprenuers and wealth-creators who pay for it all will have quietly got smaller....until they are ultimately squeezed out of existance by punative taxes and Gordon's red tape mountain...a lamentable state of affairs all round.

  • Comment number 34.

    10. At 2:03pm on 06 Oct 2009, gavinthegromit

    Whilst I agree with your sentiments on George - I don't with your analysis on Brown.

    The only difference between Osborne and Brown is depression now, or depression later.

    Get used to seeing headlines like this over the next year or so - maybe then you'll realise that you cannot pop a 10 year bubble and the effect is over in 10 months!

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8292958.stm

  • Comment number 35.

    13. At 2:20pm on 06 Oct 2009, supersh wrote:

    "As an employee of private-sector companies who has had great performance reviews but only only seen a 4% pay rise over the past 5 years, its about time the public sector fell in to line."

    You just need to get used to working in the private sector mate - I have never had a bad performance review and very rarely earned a pay rise (except when presenting a counter offer from elsewhere on the table)

    Why should the public sector pay for your bad decision making? You could have joined the public sector - so why not?

    Ah ha - attracted by the 'better salaries' on offer in the private sector were you? Well, well, you can't have it both ways unless you are supremely selfish.

    (and no, I don't work in the public sector and never have)

  • Comment number 36.

    Don't give us that Mr Peston...!
    The tories will NEVER 'bash the rich' bacause it 's not in there
    interest to bash themselves, is it...

    Be rational now...!

  • Comment number 37.

    People have forgotten the real cause of the Gov't debt.

    The Gov't has bailed out the Banks who bought securitised debt which was mis rated, (and misrepresented), loans sold by Salesmen on commission.

    The Bond traders made their bonuses by selling this dangerous stuff to unsuspecting, perhaps naive organisations.

    The Public Sector is not responsible for this Debt.

    The Bankers are. Not some of them. All of them.

    Each and every bank was or indeed still is involved in securitised mortgage and carloan debt.

    And indeed they are still pushing spreadbetting and shortselling. Just look at most finance sites and the pushy adverts are there.

    There has in effect been no change.

    Until spreadbetting ,securitisation of loans and shortselling etc are dealt with (ie stopped) the Market and the economy will continue to bear the seeds of its own destruction.

    Of course the Poor are now being asked to keep the Party going for the Bankers.

    And through the Tax system, and printing money, in effect that has happened.

    Now all talk is of taking away such Public services as the Taxpayers have left.

    If they get Privatised then we will see the Profits made from provision of basic human services going abroad to offshore Tax Havens etc.

    Ask your MP where he or she stands and if he or she is a Director in any of the Firms that may become the Owners of our Public Services....

    Wow, I got through that post without mentioning Serco once, ooops !

  • Comment number 38.

    My, my... Charlie Whelan is certainly keeping his army of Shakespeare typing monkeys busy today isnt he? Not just Nicks blog, but Robert's as well!

  • Comment number 39.

    21, writings.....

    I agree, but what can we do?

  • Comment number 40.

    26. At 3:10pm on 06 Oct 2009, supercalmdown wrote:

    "Ah but will they actually Tax the Financiers who have been helping themselves to Britains wealth ?"

    They can't - you know it, I know it and they know it.

    Unfortunately the rich can simply set up elsewhere - or pay someone to hide their money for them. Any politician who claims they can is a LIAR.

    There's been no story on it but the BBC 'employs' staff who use tax vehicles in a manner to avoid tax - as does the city. This is because they are complicit in the task of keeping it all under wraps.

    Politicans are the same, when they quit politics they want to exploit those loopholes themselves - they don't want to close them before retirement.

    This is what happens when your whole society is based on selfishness and greed. Everyone working for their own interests will ensure the mutual destruction of us all.

  • Comment number 41.

    Once again the same old Tory clap trap - we'll say anything to get in and then change our minds as we will then be able to look after ourselves. Such a shame that the likes of Robert Preston is allowed to continuall give a party political broadcast on behalf of them and by paid by tax payers to do so. Where is the non bias of the BBC?

  • Comment number 42.

    29,

    It’s rather refreshing watching some public sector ‘employees’ squirm! Your day’s of jobs for life, pensions on the back of real wealth generators and finally actually having to work like a dog (and get treated like a t.urd) for a living bring a wry smile to my face!!!

    Welcome to the REAL world!

  • Comment number 43.

    I tend to agree with writings on these points.

    1. Massive job cuts in the public sector will not help anyone.
    2. The Tories will probably make things much worse.


    I don’t trust the tories and never will, I cannot forgive their last stint in power when they robbed my parents blind through THEIR STEALTH TAX.


    INTEREST RATES, when they put them up (and they will), be afraid, very afraid!!!


  • Comment number 44.

    Post 12. Option 3 is a hung parliament with Saint Vincent of Cable as Chancellor with Osborne offered another top role.

    Imagine the scene the Tories 10 seats short of the majority with the Libs with say 50 seats. Give Vince the Treasury and another Liberal the Environment could or would Nick Clegg turn that down?


  • Comment number 45.

    37, SuperCalmDown

    People have forgotten the real cause of the Gov't debt.

    The Gov't has bailed out the Banks who bought securitised debt which was mis rated, (and misrepresented), loans sold by Salesmen on commission.

    This is only part of the reason, It was Gordon’s de regulation of the banks which allowed them to borrow cheap cash from oversea’s and the subsequent withdrawal of that oversea’s investment that caused the gaping hole in our banks ‘balance’ sheets.

    ‘The Public Sector is not responsible for this Debt.’

    Factually incorrect! See the point above, your master was soley responsible for the mess and now you may pay for it with your job.

  • Comment number 46.

    We have to come to terms with how desperately ill the UK's economy is. We depend on foreign sources of finance to fund our debt. The Conservatives recognise this and are working to improve our credibility so that lines of credit remain open and relatively affordable. Let no one be in any doubt: where Argentina went, so might the UK. It could happen and our national decline which began in the late 19th century will go into free-fall.

    As James Dyson said yesterday, we must begin to distinguish between making money and making wealth. We have a very long way to go and the rise to pre-eminence of China, which we have helped to fund, will not make it any easier.

  • Comment number 47.

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

  • Comment number 48.

    Justin150

    "And before anyone starts on it is only for the rich, anyone who has ever taken the ferry or Chunnel to Calais to stock up on cheap booze is taking part in a tax avoidance arrangement."

    Yeah, but it's all about degrees isn't it? What if I told you that a tax advisor can reduce your income tax burden to 22% on 150k a year - and the 22% includes the 7k fee required to pay for the service.

    I can categorically and with total certainty tell you this is true and happening now. the 7k fee prevents this measure being suitable for all tax payers - and the HMRC know this loophole exists but refuses to do anything about it.

    Footballers, entertainers, BBC newsreaders, City contractors are all exploiting this loophole to it's fullest.

    Saving duty on a trip to France is insignificant compared to the avoidance going on with income tax.

    The majority of the country is being taken for mugs - I just hope they wake up to see it this time around.

  • Comment number 49.

    In the late 90's Gordon Brown said that the last thing to do when in a recession was to spend your way out of it and those who did were idiots. Now he says that those who opposed spending to get out of the recession are the idiots.

    Keynes did advocate the spend way but NOT if you were already heavily in debt.

    Still, now you see it, now you don't

  • Comment number 50.

    Ken Clark was doing well until he mentioned privatising the Post Office. Silly boy...

  • Comment number 51.

    33. At 3:24pm on 06 Oct 2009, houseflogger wrote:

    "Meanwhile the rapidly diminshing number for entreprenuers and wealth-creators who pay for it all will have quietly got smaller....until they are ultimately squeezed out of existance by punative taxes and Gordon's red tape mountain...a lamentable state of affairs all round."

    ...don't you mean wealth redistributers because unless you know of entrepenuers who have worked out how to grow money on trees - this is all they are doing.

    They take profits from one area and redistribute it in another, sometimes this is an efficient use of capital and sometimes it's not.

    They do not create wealth - that's what they tell saps like you in order you keep admiring them as you clearly do.

    This is what is comes down to - the distribution of resources. Nothing more and nothing less.

    The Government tried to do it - and failed with it's pseudo-socialist efforts, the markets tried to do it and it works well....until it doesn't - like right now.

    ....it's time to find another way of distributing resources or we will end up wasting the little we have.

  • Comment number 52.

    Hi Javaman1984, I thought Gordie invented the stealth tax! Which was the Tory one that robbed your parents blind but not mine?

  • Comment number 53.

    21 - Writings the Government say quangos cost £36Bn, Money Week estimate is £60Bn per annum. The illegal wars cannot be justified on employment grounds.

    25 - yes, individual liberty is a minority view.

  • Comment number 54.

    37. At 3:34pm on 06 Oct 2009, supercalmdown wrote:

    "People have forgotten the real cause of the Gov't debt."

    I haven't, and every day I remind people what caused it (as you pointed out).
    The politicans are clearly kicking that discussion into touch because if the public dwell on it then they will begin to get angry.

    The next person I meet at the bus stop who says 'we should cut public services to pay for the public deficit' I shall promptly mug them of all their posessions and then ask the others at the bus stop to pay to replace them.

    ...lets see how reasonable they think that is then.

    (p.s. I am not condoning mugging - it's a hypothetical situation BBC - I hope you can understand a concept like that seeing as you report them daily!!)

  • Comment number 55.

    40: 'This is what happens when your whole society is based on selfishness and greed. Everyone working for their own interests will ensure the mutual destruction of us all.'

    I know people are fundamentally selfish,(I'm partial to a Business Lunch myself), but is Society or in fact Humanity doomed from the outset ?

    It is always difficult to get large numbers of people to co operate and to share, but on the other hand I can appreciate why people enjoy owning things.


    However, peoples greed does seem to know no bounds. Give a so called entrepreneuer a good business, and he'll squeeze every last penny out of it to try to have a bigger business.

    All so as to own a bigger House , a better car, or yet another house, yet another car, a yacht or why not , luxury mega cruiser and his own island !

    At some point you have to question the Sanity of the individual who has such a deep hole in their being that only more and more objects will provide them with temporary relief from their emptiness.

    I understand the urge for freedom, and the urge to travel in style etc. But there must be a point at which a normal person has every material comfort, any extra is just, well weird !

    And I think I know weird !

  • Comment number 56.

    39. At 3:35pm on 06 Oct 2009, JavaMan1984 wrote:

    21, writings.....

    I agree, but what can we do?

    Never let them forget

    The politicans and journalists will continue to try to move the discussion on. It's our collective reponsibility to keep bringing the subject back to "why should we"

    Once the country realises things are not going to get better then we can take our message straight to Government. Starving and jobless people are not rational subjects and this is a lesson no modern UK Government has experience in.

    At the moment we simply wait for the world to catch up and realise we've not even got started yet....

  • Comment number 57.

    tories bash the rich at the same time as cutting benefits, sounds like any new tory government will try to be neu labour and as voters we know what a mess they have made of our economy.
    sadly looking at the present crop of mp's and mp wannabe's it looks like this country is in serious trouble.

  • Comment number 58.

    Strikes anyone?

    Just wait till after the election. You will have plenty.
    No one likes nasty medicine, especially the union bosses.

  • Comment number 59.

    Gordon Brown is basically a dead duck, but I must admit, the the Tories are looking 'dafter by the day'

    You know if they get rid of Brown, Labour could still win another term.

  • Comment number 60.

    For all those thinking of voting Tory - can you remember what we had last time they were 'managing us through a recession'?

    Well in case you missed it here are the highlights.

    Interest rates @ 15%
    Mortgage payments taking up 75% of monthly earnings
    3 million unemployed (not counting all those moved to disability benefit)
    A poll tax - i.e. a tax on voting.
    A lost generation
    An NHS near collapse
    Widening gap in the distribution of wealth
    Sleazey ministers who spent more time in womens beds than doing their jobs
    David Mellor

    Anyone who wants to go back to that must be mad.

    However in perverse way I actually want the Tories to get in because it makes social revolution more likely than under a Labour government as their cuts and consequentially their reduction of liberty is likely to bring out all the marginals into the revolutionary arena.

  • Comment number 61.

    With a Conservative Win we will end up reliving in a Nightmare World of Ground-Hog Day, wishing every time we wake up that we could return to standing back at the Ballot - Box and realising that we have only been enduring and wrongly beleiving Tory Sound-Bites that are ALL Un-tested.

  • Comment number 62.

    A lot of these comments are well- argued and relevant. Obviously written by educated commentators. But what amaze me are the vast number of spelling errors - often in very simple words.

  • Comment number 63.

    Slightly off topic, but, Writingsonthewall, whilst I do enjoy reading your two pennies worth (with the hints of sarcasm and large doses of pessimism), I am curious to know what you did with your life before this financial meltdown occurred, and how have you not been sacked for not doing anything except writing on blogs?

  • Comment number 64.

    52,

    I am simply alluding to the fact that they are both essentially the same, I hate the current government with a passion. Leaving the financials aside, their inept social engineering policies should warrant the boot alone!

    That said, I remember the Tories, they were absolutely useless – They totally p****d all over the poor and were PROUD of it.

  • Comment number 65.

    47. At 4:10pm on 06 Oct 2009, CaledonianComment wrote:

    "The 200 grand a year Chief Execs, the "Diversity Officers", the "Lesbian Creche Co-Ordinators", the "Inclusivity Monitors", the "Ethnic Transexual Social Workers" - it's that crowd of no-goods that needs removed - and nobody would miss them at all. "

    name some and I shall make sure they're sacked tomorrow. However you will struggle as these people are myths introduced by Tory propoganda to highlight waste. Even where they do exist you could cut all of them and it won't make a pebble in the ocean's difference.

    Did you know the Tories invented the QUANGO? it may have been expanded by Labour, but the invention was a Blue one I can assure you.

    Maybe you should highlight the chief executive pay of local Government - and which CE is paid the most inthe country?
    Ah well I can tell you it's Mr Gerald Jones of the flagship Wandsworth Tory borough council.

    Is that the model the Tories will be following?

    BTW just to comment on your 'headline' story today - I am already one step ahead of you. As a man who knows a few 'never had a jobbers' I know where all those incapacity migrants are heading....

    Mental health - apparently if you get registered under the MH act you get more money than dole and the checks are less stringent. Expect a dramatic rise in this area as they incapacities get moved on.

    The claims of reducing the dole queue are the same as they were in the 80's - simply moving them where the public can't see them for a while so the employed don't feel like they're carrying 3 people on their backs - because then the working person might actually start questioning what it's all for....

  • Comment number 66.

    58, regarding strikes....


    A friend of mines works at BP, the beginning of November will be interesting. National 1 week at a time strikes over pay cuts and pensions......

  • Comment number 67.

    50. At 4:19pm on 06 Oct 2009, Wee-Scamp wrote:

    "Ken Clark was doing well until he mentioned privatising the Post Office. Silly boy... "


    ....or Europe...

  • Comment number 68.

    52. At 4:22pm on 06 Oct 2009, euforever wrote:

    "Hi Javaman1984, I thought Gordie invented the stealth tax! Which was the Tory one that robbed your parents blind but not mine?"

    errrrr VAT introduce in April 1973 under Ted Heaths Government perhaps? - The original stealth tax.

  • Comment number 69.

    Were not these the same people who told us that these executives were worth their inflated salaries because they were the best and would go elsewhere if they were not rewarded sufficiently? So is it Mr Osborne's intention to talent strip the Civil and public Services, and how will that sit with his public school chummies who fill the majority of these posts? Or is it just election manifesto smoke screen again?

    Taxing executives whose money payments are direct to a tax haven seems difficult without drastic re-drafting of existing tax loopholes. While "grandfathering" would appear to be a get out clause for anybody with a lawyer and accountant in tow.

    Closer analysis of figures given by recent Tory proposals reveals much of their intended benefit. For example the proposal for funding residential care for the elderly. Proposed is that ALL 65 year olds pay £8,000 for life-time insurance against cost of care. With the present 9,920,000 65+ population that would provide an income of £15.872bn. However, the cost for the projected 20% take-up of 2 years care @ £52,000 would require £103.168bn - a black hole of £87.296bn. By 2033, with projected 65+ population of 14,260,000 income would grow to £22.816bn but costs grow to £148.304bn an even bigger black hole of £125.488bn. Solution given is that insurance companies (let's say Equitable Life) would manage the finances at no cost to the taxpayer, doh, the 65+ taxpayer would need to pay £16,800 to cover the cost, plus an administration fee usually 14-20% on top, making some £20,000. There goes the lump sum for most lucky enough to get one, or a great reduction in the annuity fund managed by - you guessed it Equitable Life.

    Real Tory proposal is that to avoid the 0.045% of present 65+ population who have had to sell their property to fund residential care a liability will be placed upon ALL 65+ of about £20,000 on the 1 in 5 chance that they will need residential care.

    In all of this I have not even considered the misconception that individuals need only two years care (maybe Mr Osborne envisages grweater use of Dignitas in the future), or the Statistics Offices' projection concerning life expectancy increases.

    Well we can surely trust these people with our economic future when they promise actions that they know they cannot successfully perform, while blatantly taxing the 65+ community to save the smallest proportion of society again. I know where my vote will go.

    By the way, did you know that Lord Ashcroft owns the PoliticsHome.com polling web-site usede by many newspapers to reflect public opinion- interesting that it is the same person funding the Conservatives in marginal seats. Maybe your colleagues Stephanie Flanders and Nick Robinson could blogg on that - reminds me of the Peter Cook movie "The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer".

  • Comment number 70.

    I am self-employed and have seen my income fall by over 80% in the last 2 year due to Labour's recession.

    I would have loved a 5% pay cut from my 2007 level income!

    It's time the public sector shared the pain.......but the things is George hasn't gone far enough!

    It's economically timid but poltically wise.

    I say tell em it's a 5% cut, get their vote and then slash it 20%!

    That will get the nations budget in order........how do I know?

    Well it's happened to me. When you're income goes down the words thrift and save come well and truly into play!

  • Comment number 71.

    53. At 4:22pm on 06 Oct 2009, truths33k3r wrote:

    21 - Writings the Government say quangos cost £36Bn, Money Week estimate is £60Bn per annum. The illegal wars cannot be justified on employment grounds.

    WOW says: Illegal wars cannot be justified on any grounds - that's why they're illegal. I was merely pointing out that our exit out of the mire, is through the mire!

    25 - yes, individual liberty is a minority view.

    WOW says: Yes, but individual liberty comes at a cost to someone else's liberty as the world is not an infinite place. To achieve liberty you first need equality - which is a fundamental mis-understanding of the libertarians view. To attempt to achieve liberty first will result in Barbarism as my liberty infringes on yours and I am bigger / more powerful than you.
    That's possibly why it's a minority view because there are more people who believe they would end up on 'the wrong side' than those who will end up on the 'right side'

  • Comment number 72.

  • Comment number 73.

    According to Garner's Dictionary of Modern [American] Legal Usage the verb to grandfather comes from the phrase grandfather clause = a clause in the constitutions of some Southern American states that exempted from franchise restrictions the descendants of men who voted before the Civil War.

  • Comment number 74.

    It always amuses me how rich people, with their half a dozen houses, multiple cars, boats, Dividend income, multiple directorships, payments for newspaper articles etc,etc, enjoy knocking poor people who are on Invalidity Benefit, or Income Support.

    Now, some of those people may be scroungers, but aren't those that are , merely closet Tories without Portfolio (ie no Shares to pay them unearned income)?

  • Comment number 75.

    Isn't this all fairly simple - the Tories do not want to be the next government - they are scared of two monsters - that if they are forced by economic circumstances into massive cuts they will never be elected again and also that their party will then irrecoverably split in two over Europe. This latter problem should have been tackled in opposition - at least Labour actually changed in opposition whereas the Tories do not appear to have done so.

    This public 'my shirt is hairier than yours' Tory conference looks a lot like panic. Leaving aside that the policies are still half cooked mush.

  • Comment number 76.

    "37. At 3:34pm on 06 Oct 2009, supercalmdown wrote:
    People have forgotten the real cause of the Gov't debt.

    The Gov't has bailed out the Banks who bought securitised debt which was mis rated, (and misrepresented), loans sold by Salesmen on commission.

    The Public Sector is not responsible for this Debt."

    In what way are the banks responsible for the following on and off book coverment debt

    1) Unfunded State pensions
    2) Unfunded Civil servant pensions
    3) Unfunded Nucular clean up bill
    4) Off book PFI debt
    5) Gap between day to day goverment spending and tax receipts
    6) Unsecured Loans to Student Loan Company
    7) Rail Track Garantees

    The 7 items alone add up to more than one years GDP and all is debt ie monies already spent or committed to be spent.

    You will note that the above dones NOT include any of the debt incurred due to the house price bubble and resulting bank bail out.




  • Comment number 77.

    On Tax Dodging, it was a Conservative Gov't no less, that removed Foreign Exchange controls and enable the Tax Dodgers to move their assets abroad.............

    You would be surprised how many Service Companies are based in off shore tax havens, whilst sub contracting work from our Public Sector........

  • Comment number 78.

    70:

    Now, my Dividend income vanished and my Share Portfolio is now worth eighty five percent less than in did before the City Criminals destroyed my Investments (Bank Shares, a retailer, nothing exotic,etc).

    But I do not blame the Public Servants for the criminal neglect and exploitation of our Financial system.

    Doctors, Nurses, School Teachers, Civil Servants, were not swindling my Pension Fund.

    And I do not see why ordinary people should be made to suffer in order to make up the City Idiots losses !

    And of course, to add insult to injury, they cry out that they deserve bonuses !

    The only bonus I would give them involves a Pike, the Gates of the City of London, and the breaking of the Human Rights Act in a variety of imaginative and interesting ways.

  • Comment number 79.

    It does't matter if the Torys, Labour or the the Lib Dems get in I'll still be on only £110.77 a week!.

  • Comment number 80.

    Same old Tories, will they ever learn. they are out to feed the rich on the backs of the needy. I suppose their number one priority will be to bring back fox hunting. Think again losers.

  • Comment number 81.

    As usual caught up in the left wing we all work for the state bias weren't you Rotterdam.

    The cap applies on Public servants last time I checked I wasn't.

    If you don't like the cap jump over to teh side that pays your salary

  • Comment number 82.

    Under Labour the "senior" public servants have done particularly well. The usual argument will be trotted out - how can we get the best man for the job without paying him a shed load of taxpayers money? The answer is simple. If people think they are worth more, tell then to get it in the private sector!

  • Comment number 83.

    some okay(ish) ideas there then - can't see why everyone is shying away from the obvious though - a rise in Income Tax for all but the poorest

  • Comment number 84.

    Are you Conservatives seriously trying to blow it. There is general agreement that cutting of waste in the public sector is needed but highlighted a hatfull of ideas that dont look well worked out in terms of their implementability isnt going to win many friends. A pensions change that wont bring any saving till a long time out and yet automatically turn off an age group that does vote next year is not going to endear you either.

    Was it wise to go and hassel the lame to see if they'll chase non existant jobs for £25 quid less -OK I know the processes have to be robust to discourage scrounging but is that supposed to impress voters as a flagship policy because it just looks to me like a bit of housekeeping that needs tidying up ?

    Next masterstroke -coin £18k as a measure above which you need (anyone by implication)to forgoe a payrise (ie proportionately pay more) and hey presto youv'e unerved another good proportion of the working electorate.

    We know that the legions of underperforming state employees need a cull and we'd trust 'Dave & co.' to do it so dont shout about it too openly. As they spend a bit of their short working day perusing the internet they will soon spot it -and you wont win their freindship (or their vote) by winding them up unecessarily.

    At least you 'Cons' are provoking a bit of debate and its nice at last to see a few scraps of possible policy but it does still looks like tinkering and if you must do that try and do it without making too may enemies. Brown staying as labour leader is going to gift you a real advantage but labour cant be guaranteed to keep him there for you. A lot of back benchers know that while ditching him is a slim chance of a few voter points, it is at least a chance.

    Id personally still rather vote for any BBC journalist who wants to stand. They still always sound smarter than the politicians in any interview I watch.

  • Comment number 85.

    the already inept public sector will be starved of talent at the top - and will start to choke under its own weight as it compensates by hiring cheap labour (failed bankers, politicians, beauracrats) who's 'indecision will be final'. If the tories win will the last person to leave the country switch off the lights! (now where have I read that before!!)

  • Comment number 86.

    ahoy pestonites

    my electrician is 'grandfathered'; ie he doesn't need to retake his exams for the new code because he was a Master Electrician before it came in; he's a good electrician so that's ok

    ironically, the term 'grandfathered' is highly appropriate for Britain, where inequality is increasing and we can rest assured that all wealthy people will get to keep their money on the basis that their grandfathers had money too

    as for Osbourne's statements, they are nothing more than the usual shallow and transparent political PR exercise; public servants on £18k and up on frozen pay but no mention of all the fat-cat consultants making a fortune from govt contracts

    humbug; your prospects remain poor until you chose some real alternatives - politically, socially, morally - from those that currently seem to predominate in the UK

    Mr Pirate

  • Comment number 87.

    Well done George, so far so good.
    The only problem I see is that possibly he's revealed too much,
    too early.
    A lot of the electorate morons would probably stick with Labour
    for an easier life, while the country is completely wrecked.
    I'm fed up with references about toffs and making the rich, richer!
    Margaret Thatcher gave ordinary people the right to buy their
    council houses. A lot of them have made a lot of money.
    Winston Churchill grew up in Blenhiem Palace. Never heard him called
    a toff.

  • Comment number 88.

    The person that remembers interest rates at 15% under the last tory
    government, should reflect on the reasons:
    Elected shortly after the previous labour government virtually
    bankrupted the country. Dennis Healey running to the IMF for a bailout.
    There has never been a labour administration that leaves the economy
    in a better state than when they found it.

  • Comment number 89.

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

  • Comment number 90.

    i keep looking at the red ticker close to the bottom of this page.

    http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/

    it shows the increasng level of government debt. i look at it every day for a daily dose of sheer incredulty.

    i hope the BBC mods dont mind me linking to it - some of you may not have seen it. i look at the figure and my brain just stops - how can any of the measures mentioned deal with this reality.

  • Comment number 91.

    87 wrote,

    ‘Margaret Thatcher gave ordinary people the right to buy their
    council houses.’


    Sure, and it amazes me how folk like you still have not cottoned on to WHY she did that!

  • Comment number 92.

    Even if we took goverment expenditure back to say 2005 we would sort out most of the problems in a couple of years. Things did not feel so bad in 2005 did they ?.

  • Comment number 93.

    Re post number 51

    Entrepreneuers are not wealth redistributors. They are wealth creators. And that wealth is the ability to live a life that has greater scope and possibility than we have had before. Without entrepreneurs there is no invention and creation (never mind public services as who pays for them?). The life we would have lead without entrepreneurs would have been that of the subsistence farmer tilling the ground or hunting animals for food

    Through their application and effort they create goods or services that people want, and that people are willing to exchange their own efforts for. This facilitates the lives that we now lead. It is right that the entrepreneur who has such a positive impact on others should be rewarded for their effort – as it is through the choice of others who want what he can provide that he earns his wealth

    For this country to grow and develop and for us to be able to live the lives that we want to lead the key requirement for government is to create the environment that enables entrepreneurs to flourish. Punitive tax rates and an anti-business approach will not do this. Jobs will only come from entrepreneurs who are successful – attack these people and jobs will disappear.

  • Comment number 94.

    Well if Osborne wants to be seen as honest, he's in the wrong profession.

    But at least it was an attempt at getting people to wake up to reality and the fat that something for nothing is unsustainable, however, the policies mentioned, even when the increase in the retirement age filters through still doesn't close the gap labour have created.

    With over optimistic forecasts, deferring payment for investment via PFI, not recognising the cost of public sector pensions when they are incurred (i.e. earned) but when they are paid and more than anything expanding the public sector massively due to a mass of new regulations and bureaucracy, our economy is weighed down and in many cases tied in to excessive pubic expenditure for years to come.
    Spending more than we earn, with no way of paying it back is Gordon Brown's economic legacy and leaves the Tories few options but to try to repair the damage, leaving them open to accusations of being "the party of cuts". Cutting excess is certainly required and this labour government has been "the party of excess".

    Of course an over expanded public sector which is facing necessary rationalisation is likely to result in additional votes for labour borne of self interest, as is any threat to welfare system (depending on how many can be bothered to put the effort in); in many ways the creation of these situations and high number of households dependent upon public funds has been a way of buying votes with taxpayer's money [and although yes, public sector workers pay tax, they are net recipients]; it also indirectly results in taxpayers money financing the labour party, via public sector pay, the high concentration of unionisation in the public sector and many of these unions being affiliated with and financing the labour party.
    Arrangements akin to the bank bail outs are nothing new, although the reward for services rendered in the form of non-executive directorships will be in the future rather than for ongoing party funding.

    Balance was mentioned before - and that is what is needed... the country needs to balance it own finances, between revenues and expenditure and so does the country in the world economy.
    There's no such thing as something for nothing, the sooner we realise that everything costs and needs to be earned the better - but of course people still prefer to get something and have someone else pay for it, currently it seems to be a case of trying to shift the cost on and have future generations pay for our excesses; and these are often the same people who happily throw around accusations of greed at anyone who happens to earns more than them.

  • Comment number 95.

    #97 "Without entrepreneurs there is no invention and creation"

    That's odd. I always thought that most invention and creation occurred in Universities or in the R&D departments of existing large companies. And the invention is largely achieved by scientists and engineers whose motivation is more to do with peer approval and even altruism than it is to do with the expectation of high remuneration.

    OK. Every now and again a startup comes along and makes a lot of money out of something new and important, but in my experience this is very rare. Entrepreneurs (basically risk takers) certainly have a role in society, but I think it is greatly over-rated.


  • Comment number 96.

    "as for Osbourne's statements, they are nothing more than the usual shallow and transparent political PR exercise; public servants on £18k and up on frozen pay but no mention of all the fat-cat consultants making a fortune from govt contracts"

    Of course in many ways that's an indictment of the public sector managers who either;
    - engaged the consultants (generally to tell them what their staff already know and have been telling them for years, but being ignored as they're too junior)
    - created some sort of mess that meant politicians had to be seen to do something about (unfortunately the more money you spend the more you are seen to do, so expensive consultants make an issue look more important).
    - provided really poor specifications allowing consultants to charge an only ludicrously large basic fee, which then becomes truly astronomical with all the add ons which were omitted from the initial spec, but are essential to the projects success. (You could also add in the general procurement and re-engaging the same people who previously gave them the advise that now needs re-analysing).

    Its actually quite interesting when consultants are engaged, as to how much time is spent by both sides trying to gather evidence of who to blame if the project fails.

  • Comment number 97.

    Public sector will have to suffer as we have no way of supporting pay and pensions. Welcome to the real world.

    Britain will suffer longer and harder than the rest of Europe because we've destroyed our manufacturing industry.

    Think of the wealth and jobs you've exported whilst driving your German cars.

  • Comment number 98.

    I do note that you didn't take up the National Insurance holiday for new employees

    How about figuring that into your business equation?

  • Comment number 99.

    Firstly, hello to everyone that's bothered to read and comment, we won't be asked to join the new cabinet and so, our opinions are just opinions.
    It's fair to say that under New Labour we have not been treated fairly, there will be books on what happened in the years to come and, how we were walked into a nightmare of debt by Mr Prudent himself, ladies and gentlemen, I give you Gordon Brown. The main points to the economy recovering are growth and spending, we have to spend but we can't grow much because we own nothing. Most of our big companies are owned by overseas companies, what do we actually make anymore that the world buys in great volume (other than gas which we sell and buy back at a higher price when it's cold) other countries are bound to recover faster than us, we buy their cars, televisions, white goods, clothing, power etc, the list is a long one. The scrapage scheme has put money into car dealerships but, we have no motor industry and the profits go abroad in the main. Our gas and electric is owned by overseas profiteers, the clothes we wear are from China, our TV's are from China and Japan like a lot of consumer electronics are. The jobs that are offered here are going to migrants at minimum wage, great for the employers that profit but, the minimum wage won't pay his or her rent and food, the taxpayer picks up that tab, not the employer. We have to get a real grip of a lot of tricky situations before we can start to recover as an economy. I don't have the answers but, I have eyes and half a brain cell left. There are no quick fixes and it's going to be hard. Regards.

  • Comment number 100.

    #95
    Large companies have all been started by entrepreneurs
    Universities, as with the majority of government services, are supported by the taxpayer. These taxes have mainly come from those who provide jobs and profit (i.e entrepreneurs)
    To turn an idea into a reality requires the ability, effort, and drive to make it a profitable venture
    As such, in what way do you think that entrepreneurs are overrated?

 

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