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What to cut?

Nick Robinson | 10:12 UK time, Wednesday, 23 June 2010

If you don't like the sound of cutting spending in the Home Office or the Department for Transport by a quarter how about bigger cuts to welfare spending? That's the choice posed by the chancellor this morning.

George OsborneIt's a choice which his critics will reject. They will point out that the decision to add £49 billion to Labour's deficit reduction plan was not "unavoidable" - George Osborne could have done less.

They'll point out that the mix - £32bn spending cuts and £8bn tax rises was not "unavoidable". It would have been possible to tax more and cut less. And they'll point out that the choice of a rise in VAT was not "unavoidable".

The coalition racked up bills by cutting Labour's planned National Insurance rise, increasing personal tax allowances, protecting the budgets for health and international development and limiting the rise in capital gains tax and the banks levy.

However, it is the coalition's aim to get people engaged with making choices rather than debating their strategy. That is why, I assume, they have agreed that the prime minister and his deputy will face questioning by an audience together this afternoon.

Feel free to suggest anything you think I should ask them.

You can watch edited highlights of "Britain's economy - Cameron & Clegg Face the Audience" on tonight's Six and Ten O'Clock news or the whole half hour at 7pm on the BBC News Channel or 11.25pm on BBC2.


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  • Comment number 1.

    You might ask them whether the overseas aid budget will be targeted at the countries that really need it or will still be paid to relatively advanced countries like China and India?

    You might also ask them what procedures will be in place to avoid the usual definition of aid 'money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries' i.e. corruption.

  • Comment number 2.

    Please ask Cameron, Osbourne & Clegg (sounds like something from last of the summer wine by the way) whether delaying the VAT increase until January will just pre-empt a more serious double dip recession in early 2011 post the Christmas jolly that no doubt everyone will need to cheer themselves up by the end of the year, rather than getting the worst out of the way sooner (ie second half of this year)?

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

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

  • Comment number 5.

    Here's a question I suggest you ask -

    'Given what a woeful disaster Labour were during their 13 years in office and given the dreadful state they left the economy in do they agree that George Osbourne delivered a great budget yesterday that should help get the country back on its feet.'

  • Comment number 6.

    1. Why not simply cut Child Benefit altogether?
    2. Why not make the NHS 'free' only to those (and their children) who have paid NI contributions for 5 years?
    3. Why not charge for GP visits - and not the £10 mentioned elsewhere, but £50 (with £250 for a home visit - all deferred for the unwaged). Insurance to be available to cover these costs.
    4. Make private health insurance tax-deducible and then charge these people the full cost of a(generally emergency) treatment they have on the NHS.
    5. Drunks to be charged for NHS treatments, just as road accident victims are atm.
    6. All 'marginal' NHS treatments to be scrapped (cosmetic surgery unless grossly disfiguring, IVF, tattoo removal etc)
    7. Announce Child Benefit will end altogether in 2012, apart from the first child for 5 years.
    8. Charge for bin collection by the bin-full (ie a ticketed system). I've not put anything in a normal bin in 5 years)
    9. Raise pension contributions for State sector workers to fully cover their (actuarially-assessed) pension costs
    10. Raise the pension age to 70 by 2020 and to 75 by 2030 (thereafter to be "Expected life-expectancy at birth less 5 years")

  • Comment number 7.

    Why have the coalition gone ahead with a rise in VAT without reforming it to further protect the lowest paid, for example, exempting all utility bills, compulsory insurance, all clothing and household appliances from VAT, and instead taxing books, newspapers and magazines in line with other entertainment products?

  • Comment number 8.

    Why freeze the International Development budget, when one of the chief beneficiaries has been India and we have more or less funded their space programme?

  • Comment number 9.

    Ask them why they didn't propose to cut the 194bn benefits bill altogether.. at a stroke they could eliminate the deficit.

    It's a great time to be a tory...

  • Comment number 10.

    £11 billion in welfare cuts, £14 billion from the increase in VAT, just £2 billion from the banks and why not just give it back to the corporations. I'm not really interested in asking Cameron any questions because it'll only result in a sleazy sneer and some fatuous comment about how it's all the fault of Labour and benefit scroungers and most likely illegal immigrants. If Cameron really wants to see the country angry with a government, he's going about it the right way.

  • Comment number 11.

    There is a limit to how much tax people can take before they decide that they are either better off not working at all, nor growing their businesses or quitting the UK as a whole. We need people working and providing employment opportunties for others.

    Cutting spending seems sensible provided it does not hit the most vulnerable. I am so frustrated that so much money was spent on stuff my family didn't need when there are families both in work and on for whom it would have made an incredible difference. We have had £500 in childrens' bonds we didn't need - now worth £420 - imagine the difference £500 would have made to a family on low income. I so wish the clock could be turned back but as it can't, I really hope that the lessons are learned.

    Very interesting to see that there will be a Q&A session - hope it won't be too stage managed. Don't recall Gordon Brown doing too many of these.

  • Comment number 12.

    Winter fuel should not be for anyone. This should be avilable for those who need it. Ask the government if a person with a young baby is in as much need of winter fuel as a person who currently qualifies for winter fuel allowance. I accept the baby will get bigger and stronger and it can be taken away but this is a clear injustice and could be funded by removing those who do not need it.

  • Comment number 13.

    Can we see those on civil list paying taxes in the future?

  • Comment number 14.

    Nick I've said on here often that I like the idea of the government listening to the population more, but do you know how much they will actually listen and take peoples feelings into account or is it just to put up the front of the more caring conservatives (and dems)?

  • Comment number 15.

    This budget has little to do with economics (I explain why at 238 previous). As to precisely what to cut; if it's the national interest we're looking at, I'd suggest George Osborne's tenure at number eleven.

  • Comment number 16.

    Free bus passes/reduced fares for anybody over 60 is not fair in my view as I work with a person sho qualifies and therefore can travel to work relatively cheaply where a 22 year old on far less salary will doing the same journey to work will have to pay more just because of their age.

  • Comment number 17.

    Why are the public finances in a worse than then they envisaged? I feel the answers to date from the new government has been full of more spin than the 1997 Blair government. Can they publisise the figure they though and what they are now. I feel thise has been dumbed down, we, the public are adults and can cope with the truth

  • Comment number 18.

    Is this programme going to be edited before it is shown at 19.00 on BBC News channel?

  • Comment number 19.

    Heres a question in all seriousness Nick:

    "Are you going to address the Corporation tax loopholes left by New Labour that have allowed major multinational corporations (such as News International) to avoid paying substantial contributions to the exchequer?"

  • Comment number 20.

    Was Nick pro the forgemasters in Sheffield as a concept?

  • Comment number 21.

    Are they going to remove VAT from petrol and desiel and then make the whole taxing on these type of fuel clearer. ie remove VAT then introduce a new transparent tax as currently we get taxed on tax with fuel we buy at the pumps

  • Comment number 22.

    Too many questions could be asked.. Here are just some of mine.
    Has anyone claimed £104,000 in housing benefit as Osborne suggested yesterday? Evidence please!
    Will Clegg apologise to Lib Dem voters for campaigning against VAT rise when the economy is pretty much as Darling said it was before the election? And if they metion Greece explain to them how we are very different from Greece and that he knew Greece existed before the election.
    Can they confirm that VAT is a regressive tax that hits the poorer harder than the rich?
    Do they agree that the cuts in spending will affect the poorer in our society more than the rich and so to say the budget is "fair" is harder to argue?
    Do they see that it might be seen as patronising, and obscene, for them as millionares to say that "we are all in this together"?

  • Comment number 23.

    Nick, ask them:

    Why they haven't cut the banks into little (and more manageable) pieces?

    Big banks caused the problem so logically we need to divide them into bits so that the failure of one will not endanger the system.

  • Comment number 24.

    Can you ask David Cameron to drink a glass of water when Nick Clegg's talking?

  • Comment number 25.

    Nick ask them:

    - Why not cut the numbers of MPs and (elected) Lords by half?

    - Why not make use of the internet so that MPs and (elected) Lords can join in debates, but WITHOUT needing to be in London - let them stay in their constituencies. Ditto for Civil Servants.

    (At a stroke this eliminates a hugely contentious part of MPs expenses!)


    Enforce similar cuts to all levels of elected councils.

  • Comment number 26.


    during the election you frequently said that the politicians were not telling us the truth.

    Now we can see where the truth lies.

    As Byrne said all the money's gone.

    BUT we still have to endure the Labour hooligans shouting insults at the people trying to clean up the destruction after their acts of destruction.

    Labour are in denial about the pain they have created for the British public and you and the rest of the press are letting them get away with it.

    Lets see if you can get any of the Leadership contestants to admit to the economic damage they caused.

    This is the touch stone that the electorate will use to see if Labour have learned their lesson.

    But Labour see an opportunity to lie their way back into power with the Tory cuts line.

    Always remember Labour give the British economy Cancer and the Conservative have to administer Chemo to ensure its survives.

    Start asking Labour if they screwed up I'll bet the answer is its all the Tories fault.

  • Comment number 27.

    Nick ask them:

    To say which is more likely to increase, or decrease, inequality


    a) to sack 25% of civil servants


    b) to reduce the pay of civil servants, by 25%, but keep them employed.

    I am curious if they can actually think!!!!

  • Comment number 28.

    "I feel the answers to date from the new government has been full of more spin than the 1997 Blair government."

    Now that would take some doing!

  • Comment number 29.


    Whilst not at 104 grand per year, this case is the kind of thing they are talking about. And about time too.

  • Comment number 30.

    Can you ask why the LibDems have not insisted on 40% CGT as they'd implied was a precondition of the coalition agreement? If they claim 28% generates the most revenue can you ask why they don't close the loopholes which make that preferable to 40%, ensuring 40% DOES generate 40% revenue and state that the figure is important in ensuring the wealthy (like myself) pay tax on capital growth of their assets?

  • Comment number 31.

    At 10:44am on 23 Jun 2010, ajollygoodriddancetoall wrote:

    What to cut?

    I could not care less, unless it's the BBC licence fee, and I sincerely hope England loose.

    Surely you mean lose dear boy. try and at least spell correctly if you're going to insult the whole of England.

  • Comment number 32.

    Who briefs the queen when Daves away?

  • Comment number 33.

    I think there is a difference between cutting spending and checking eligibility.

    I will not names and I am sure that other people have similar stories to tell about people they know, but this is how our money is being spent.
    I know of a lady (in fact she is an in-law), who has never worked a day in her life due to a back problem. Issue being that she does not have a bad back and even helps her boyfriend with his work as a gardener sometimes doing his labouring (only when she is bored though). She has 4 kids from 4 different fathers and has been housed in a brand new 3 bedroom detached property. Her eldest, who is 16, already has a child and a council house. A little while ago, she claimed she was depressed due to the impact of pregnancy and bringing up children on her body. On the NHS, she was given a free breast enlargement............when she was unhappy with this, she had another operation on the NHS.

    The cost to the tax payer is hundreds of thousands of pounds when you consider the cost of the brand new house, disability living allowance, child benefit, NHS support etc. And, in actual fact, she needs none of the above. She can work, she has no back problem and doesn't take the medication prescribed.

    I know of another couple who pretended to split up so the wife got a council house and then rented it out to create an income!

    Surely cutting this type of spending is a good thing and although looks like a cut in budget, is actually stopping tax revenues going down the drain.

    Why don't I tell the council? I have and they are not interested. Apparently they have more important things to worry about. But this is the legacy of a slack benefits system.

    I recently lost my job and set up my own business............I had to tell DWP 3 times that I didn't require JSA anymore. Upon telling them this for the third time, they started to send me £50 per week in "self-employment benefit". I didn't even apply for it as I didn't want it.They won't even let me send it back to them and I will get this for 16 weeks!This is just wasteful spending and you can probably multiply this out to millions of people who do not deserve the benefits readily dished out.

  • Comment number 34.

    Now BLoady Sunday has been reviewed, what processes are in place so no other type of review can been done like the original? Or this something we had in place, as one of David Camerons big issues with the last government was passing bills for the sake of passing bills.

  • Comment number 35.

    I'm from Sheffield and read in my local newspaper that Nick Clegg felt 'anguish' over the £105 million of cuts that were imposed on Sheffield. His justification is that the previous administration didn't have any idea about how these schemes would be paid for and that we should 'keep it in perspective'.

    This confuses me. The Forgemasters funding was a loan of £80 million. A loan gets paid back (unless you are a bank or hedge fund). It would have enabled Forgemasters to be involved in the new green technologies industry that the Lib Dems are so keen on as a growth area (not just nuclear but also off shore wind). If he believes in a fair, green economy why has he allowed an area of the UK which will be hit hard by public sector cuts to lose access to a loan which would have stimulated investment in new areas of growth? Try and get him to give an answer which isn't patronising, if you can!

  • Comment number 36.

    There is a need for a local social services, can we obtain promises that whole of the local authority services are not TUPE to the private sector and become cash cows for those companies as there is a need to provide care not a face that is fronted by a private company.

  • Comment number 37.

    There are cases where funding is handled by three agencies before it is with those who administer the funding, how can this be streamlined? Streamlineing is good, cuts is reduced sevice in my eyes

  • Comment number 38.

    Please ask:

    None of your individual cuts in benefits and public spending has been sufficient to cause major headlines. However, have you considered the cumulative impact of "modifying" so many benefits at the same time?

    Many families, mine included, will be affected by cuts both in child benefit and tax credits, the switch to the CPI and the VAT rise. A good number of families will also have less coming in if they are in the public sector. It is looking as if my wife may no longer be able to work as the costs of childcare may well outweigh her salary. If this is a widespread problem then that will push down your income tax revenues as many parents can no longer afford to work... and so it goes.

  • Comment number 39.

    There is a lot that could be cut in welfare without compromising actual payments to those who are in need.

    The entire administrative system is extremely poorly designed and wasteful, for a start. For example, if you are receiving JSA and go abroad on holiday (say you'd already booked one before being made unexpectedly redundant), rather than just suspending payment for the period you're out of the country, the system demands that you sign off completely (resulting in a total of 3 separate letters being sent to you) and then start an entirely new claim on your return - filling out yet another poorly-designed form (and if you think the paper one is badly designed try the online one!) and wasting an 'advisors' time on an interview that repeats everything that has already been discussed (oh, and a couple more letters arriving by post).

    That's just one example of administrative inefficiency that could so easily be cut out. Spend the money saved on training advisors to take a pro-active approach to actually finding suitable positions that match the job-seekers experience, talents and interests and you might even not have to pay them JSA either!

  • Comment number 40.

    29# Ok,so budget decisions are being made on the basis of reports in the Evening Standard and the Daily Mail? Are they always correct? Do they always give the full story or do they have an agenda?
    I am not advocating paying 104000 in housing benefit - far from it! But he made a direct claim re £104,000 in order to justify making huge cuts in housing benefit - the vast majority of which is helping the vunerable in our society and comes to a lot less than £104000 per household.
    We no longer have the homeless numbers that we did in the 80's but these days I fear are returning.

  • Comment number 41.

    I would be interested to know what will happen when this is all over. For the next few years we will be paying more tax for 25% less action (if all budgets are cut by 25%). When the deficit is paid, does George plan to decrease everyone’s tax by 25% or will he build up the state again? Because if the private sector take over from the public sector, previously free advice/work, will need to be paid for – meaning people are going to be squeezed tighter than is being suggested.

    I would also like to know whether George understands that a millionaire earning £10m a year losing 20% of his earnings a year is far less damaging than someone earning £20,000 and losing £4000 or someone earning £10,000 and losing £2000. The super rich should have been much harder hit. Getting them to pay tax at all would’ve been a start.

  • Comment number 42.


    Pardon me but, are Forgemasters state owned?

    Why should we, the public, be loaning a private company money?

    Is their business model sound? Dont they have access to commercial funding like most other businesses? Do they have shareholders? Cant they carry out a rights issue? What makes them such a special case and not DAF Vans for instance, which despite being privately owned, New Labour were quite happy to let go to the wall?

    Why them and not BA for instance?

    Now had it been a loan guarantee, that might have been different. But giving a private company 80m? And no guarantee that you're going to get it back, if management back the wrong horse?

  • Comment number 43.


    Please ask them why they feel justified in repeatedly claiming that historical evidence suggests that the best way to achieve growth is spending restraint? They put forward examples like Canada 1994-1998, which completely ignore the context.

    Paul Krugman ( sums it up very nicely:

    "So every one of these stories says that you can have fiscal contraction without depressing the economy IF the depressing effects are offset by huge moves into trade surplus and/or sharp declines in interest rates. Since the world as a whole can’t move into surplus, and since major economies already have very low interest rates, none of this is relevant to our current situation.

    Yet these cases are being cited as reasons not to worry as austerity becomes the rule.

    You know what? I’m worried."


  • Comment number 44.

    Why did they stop at 20% VAT? Others such as Greece who we have been comapred to are now upto 25% can we expect this in the future or is 20% it on increases. I feel VAT in the UK have been consistantly lower than France and Germany.

  • Comment number 45.

    36. At 11:43am on 23 Jun 2010, Mindclearly wrote:

    There is a need for a local social services, can we obtain promises that whole of the local authority services are not TUPE to the private sector and become cash cows for those companies as there is a need to provide care not a face that is fronted by a private company.


    Such as......?

  • Comment number 46.


    House Rules, my @rse. You can post as blatant a piece you like and yet when any of us take you to task over it, you decide to take your ball home with you?

    Childish and pathetic for a state funded broadcaster.


  • Comment number 47.

    Maybe you could ask:

    What proportion of those receiving a 1000 pound increase in income tax allowance will lose some of it through in-work benefit clawback and how many, if any, will lose all of it this way?

  • Comment number 48.

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

  • Comment number 49.

    Mindclearly I fear there is nothing clear in your mind. Stick to on topic questions rather than just inane postings that clutter up the board. There's enough trolls on here anyway without skipping your garbage.

  • Comment number 50.

    Ask them why capital gains indexation is so complex for individuals when that is the system in place for corporates, and why people with second homes and housing portfolios should get a 12% tax break on the value they have stolen from those struggling to get on the housing ladder.

  • Comment number 51.

    Ask them why the NHS and international aid are rinfenced, 2 areas of enormous waste

  • Comment number 52.

    Ask this - which cuts are motivated primarily to reduce the deficit and which are motivated primarily to reduce the size of the state?

  • Comment number 53.

    Given that the country's financial crises was caused by the banking industry, is the £2bn banking levy enough?
    Why no alteration in tax to non doms'?
    VAT will hit the poorest percentage of the population the most, especially those whose benefits are likely to be substantially reduced. Is this regressive tax 'fair'?
    Public sector workers have been demonised by the coalition in the run up to the budget. With pay frozen for two years and higher contributions to pensions, will there not only be in a cut in services but lower quality of service providers, with the most able moving to the private sector?
    Is the aim of the coalition the demise of the public sector, have they, as Derek Simpson of Unite has said today, declared war on public services.
    For a budget that the coalition titled 'fair' and said 'we are all in this together' is it not strange that it is lower paid workers that will most feel the effects?

    Thanks Nick - please ask some awkward questions and not just come up with sycophantic agreement - PLEASE!!!!

  • Comment number 54.


    Well, if you dont believe it, you never will. Go and do your own research and see whether there is an agenda or not. So far as I know the only agenda they've got is selling newspapers.

    I dont know why Ozzy picked 104K. Why dont you ask him?

  • Comment number 55.

    To David Cameron:

    Before the election tyou promised an end to Punch and Judy politics. The public usually only see MPs asking and snwering questioning during the weekly PMQs. From what we have seen so far, there has been an immediate return to childish shouting and name calling. How can the public regani respect for MPs when this is allowed to continue?

  • Comment number 56.

    Nobody has picked up on Nick's point that it's the coalition's goal to get people to discuss the cuts rather than the strategy.

    I'd like to see the following issue addressed - Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman and others have highlighted that severe cuts when the recovery is still fragile are exactly the wrong thing and will actually make the economy and debt worse in the long run by killing growth. Aren't the coalition's cuts being driven by ideology and not economics?

  • Comment number 57.

    In an aid to transparency can we have one single "income" tax rather than the two we currently have - Income Tax and National Insurance.
    This would allow us to see how much we are actually paying in tax direct from our salaries. It would also stop chancellors from apparently NOT raising income tax but doing the same thing by raising the NI payment. It is devious and should not happen.
    Show us the real tax rate!

  • Comment number 58.

    I'm particularly concerned about spending on transport and infrastructure. It has been well documented that when past spending cuts have happened that these areas are thrown to the wolves. But after years of underinvestment it is an area which badly needs more, not less, investment.

    In order to reap considerable future returns, surely this area should be spared as a means to attract and grow business, which could be far more meaningful than cutting corporation tax?

  • Comment number 59.

    You could ask Nick Clegg how it feels to be the last leader of the Lib Dems, as after the next election they will be at best a rump.
    And you could ask Cameron and Osborne if they understand that a 10% reduction in living standards for everyone is not the same as everyone suffering the same hardships.

  • Comment number 60.

    Ask whether Age Allowance will rise in the usual budget, or whether it will be eroded as tis is unclear currently

  • Comment number 61.

    To have a fairer society, they must scrap the House of Lords, If we are all meant to be in this together, it's an obscenity to the working man and woman to see the unelected 'ermine boy's' with their noses in the taxpayers trough.
    Also,If you are not going to build any more social housing you have to stop overseas workers coming into the country. The lifeboat's full.

  • Comment number 62.

    Mr Cameron & Mr Osbourne

    Potentially we are faced with a 25% cut in Education spending over the next four years. This policy is shortsighted and rushed. This on top of plans for free schools and acadamies - you are setting your stall out with an education system that is flawed and divisive with children's outcomes once again the expense.

    Tell me, as a Primary School Headteacher, how firstly you wish to ensure the continued high standards and outcomes for pupils when this level of reduction will inevitably mean larger classes, less spending on high quality resources, reduced serveices from local authorities, fewer teaching and support staff and support for pupils with SEN and Gifted and Talented. How do you propose that schools will manage already tight budgets (many with existing defecit budgets) and the prospect of you facing a more schools going into defecit to maintain class sizes and workable organisations. I can cope with a pay freeze for now but what about younger teachers at the start of thier careers?

  • Comment number 63.

    Can they confirm that the much-hated and grossly unfair Barnett formula works in reverse?

    ie when public spending in England is cut will it be cut in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland using the same formula that is used when public spending is increased (to the detriment of England). After all the maths is the same, just with negative numbers.

    And if not, why not?

  • Comment number 64.

    Oh...and also... Why did he choose only to go up to 2012-13 in the charts showing how the poor will be affected by the budget, when half the welfare won't be cut until the following year? New politics or same old fudging of statistics?

  • Comment number 65.

    I would like to know why we're subsidizing so called green energy. If someone decides to have domestic wind or solar power that's up to them and power companies (in reality their customers) shouldn't be made to pay over the odds for any supply put onto the grid. Rather than huge amounts being spent on bird mincing windmills, insulation for domestic properties should be free or subsidized and installation should start before winter (which looks like it might be a harsh one again).

    Why do government departments give grants to Universities for research purposes. For instance DEFRA in excess of 23 million pounds in the last financial year. That should be reduced to zero for the duration of this crisis.

    Final thought hiring temps,contract staff and consultants should be banned and all existing contracts terminated as soon as possible.

  • Comment number 66.

    #49 - what wrong love, are you the clutter police?

    These are warrented questions and be interesting if any are asked, Nick Robinson, is a former student Tory, so he has a good friendship, but the programme will be better if he asked away from the confort zone

    You won't read this as you will of skipped by!!

  • Comment number 67.


    Don't forget that we get 28% of all banking profits through Corporation tax, as well as our share in RBA and Lloyds accruing in value.. so think big picture

  • Comment number 68.

    Why is overseas aid a core function of government - why is it not a matter for charities?

    I object to my money being taken without my consent and given away to rich leaders in poor countries.

    If people wish to give money to people overseas that is their own choice - I commend them - but let it be done voluntarily via charities.

  • Comment number 69.

    Ask them why they failed to tax bonuses for bankers (who got us into this mess in the first place).

    Also ask them what they think the impact of this budget will be on the day to day life of high earner (they could if they like refer to themselves) and the day to day life of low or non-earners who are dependant on state support. Does this describe a shared burden?

  • Comment number 70.

    6. At 10:50am on 23 Jun 2010, happydadtoo

    Some good ones in there, Happy. Needs some tweaking though.
    I don't agree about bin collections. A lot of people think that bin collection is the only service that they get in exchange for their Council Tax, and a lot of them are right. Also, clearing up everything that would be fly-tipped as a result would probably offset much of what was saved?

  • Comment number 71.

    40. At 11:55am on 23 Jun 2010, jambo73 wrote:
    29# Ok,so budget decisions are being made on the basis of reports in the Evening Standard and the Daily Mail? Are they always correct? Do they always give the full story or do they have an agenda?
    I am not advocating paying 104000 in housing benefit - far from it! But he made a direct claim re £104,000 in order to justify making huge cuts in housing benefit - the vast majority of which is helping the vunerable in our society and comes to a lot less than £104000 per household.
    We no longer have the homeless numbers that we did in the 80's but these days I fear are returning.

    Repossessions are 11% down on this time last year, due to low rates and more sensible lenders

    So just stop and think prior to pressing the hyperbole bitton

  • Comment number 72.

    Following Cameron's comment in PMQ's today, can we now all agree that:

    Labour are the the new 'Dupes of Hazzard'?

  • Comment number 73.

    Post #21 re the fule tax and then vat on that tax.

    Great idea to have one single tax.
    The existing system is yet another sneaky way of getting tax on tax so we not only pay a higher fuel duty but then VAT on top of it!

    Transparency please Chancellor!

  • Comment number 74.

    It seems naive to ring fence the whole NHS budget, this rejects the possibility that there are efficiency savings to be had. Would it not be better to ring fence the numbers of hospital beds, doctors, nurses etc but still give the Dept of Health a budget reduction to find through efficiency savings by reducing admin and management costs for example.

  • Comment number 75.

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

  • Comment number 76.


    Krugman is an idiot

  • Comment number 77.

    @53 val

    Why oh why cant people see through Labours lies? This has not been caused by the financial crisis, it's the years of overspending and structural deficit that was already in place prior to 2007 that is the problem, the credit crunch only brought the problem to a head.

  • Comment number 78.


    The chancellor stated that in 2013 all claiments of 'Disability living allowance'(DLA)are be re-examined.Now this benefit is payed to those whom are able to work or not(these numbers do not go on the jobless figures)

    I understand there are many more people claiming 'incapacity benefit',why wasn't this mentioned in the latest budget,could it be that if claiments where to be assessed just like DLA and their incapacity benefit payments stopped they would then be moved onto 'un-employment benefit.....Saving far more money than DLA?

    Just one thought though,if the incapacity benefit were to be stopped in 2013 then claiments would I presume be put onto un-employment benefit.....adding to some embarissing figure's which we all know are set to grow?

  • Comment number 79.

    The question to ask is very simple:

    Given that virtually all the major western economies are now proceeding to reduce their deficits and tighten their belts,consumers have maxed their credit card,and after yesterday almost everyone will have less to spend in future, where precisely do the government expect the growth to come from ?

    Since yesterday just about the only business unfriendly cuts were to capital allowances which are disproportionatly useful to manufacturing business'and of no use to financial services, can we read into this that in fact the recovery is banking on well banking?

  • Comment number 80.

    Why do the much-touted tables showing the redistributional impact of the budget only go up to 2012-13? Will the budget remain "progressive" after this that?

  • Comment number 81.

    #49, thinking on, was this comment to topic? As I think all of mine are budgetary based or questions to do with funding from the central exchequer

  • Comment number 82.

    Question 1:

    Which of the following spending areas will be cut by 25%?

    - Funding for schools
    - Prisons
    - The police
    - Defence
    - Pensions (which make up a seventh of all public spending)

    Assuming the answer is none of them, is there any realistic possibility that spending can be cut by 25%.

    2. From which industries or services will a million new jobs be found in the next 5 years?

  • Comment number 83.

    I would like to ask Nick Clegg, as a member of your party, about the increase in VAT. I understand the political reasons why the Tories prefer raising VAT to income tax, but what is the economic reason? To increase a tax that disproportionately hits those on low incomes seems particularly unfair. If income taxes are out of the question, what happened to your Green Tax switch that we campaigned so hard on? Your green commitments have been kicked into the long grass, when action should be taken now. The Green party understand that, what about the Lib Dems?

  • Comment number 84.

    Please ask , why after numerous campaign gestures about understanding the needs of disabled people ( and especially children Mr Cameron) the changes to DLA have been made rather than to other benefits. DLA is difficult to claim , and requires copious supporting evidence , is also a benefit to pay for the additional costs inccurred for disabled people in the work place. Why should my son , a cancer patient under 5 different hospital consultants nationally , be assessed by an general physician in the pay of ATOS origin and therefore under pressure to refuse as many as possible ( as occurs now with ESA where over 800 appeals a month are happening with half being upheld in favour of the claimant) . Why is the international expertise of such consultants considered to be irrelevant ? How can they acurately assess the needs of an individual they have not seen for a period of time. Where will they draw the line ? if you are on active chemotherapy will you have to attend your medical to prove you are disabled enough ? Who will be disabled enough ? If you cannot claim DLA you are not considered to have a disability by the system - however , you have to declare any disability on any application form for work. I am not suggesting my son will not be able to work , i am suggesting that modifications to the work place cost money , adapted veichles cost money , productivity for him will be less. Although people quote the DDA it actually is un enforceble ( see numerous articles by disability rights groups) and the work place still descriminates against disabled individuals. Would Mr Cameron have put his child through such a degrading process ? Under the FOI act can we discover if Mr Cameron claimed DLA for his own child ? Can they answer what will happen as my child is under 16 and will be in 2013 ?

  • Comment number 85.

    What are their long-term aims regarding affordable housing for all people in the UK, and what steps are they taking to ensure that our future housing needs can be met?

    Cheaper housing means lower wages, which will make us more competitive in the global economy. If all young people had a chance an renting (not owning) a council flat, then perhaps less would get pregnant just to ensure they have a place to live.

  • Comment number 86.

    If you want to cut public spending you need to cut public sector pay.
    If you dont cut pay then you have to cut the jobs which will cause unemployment and cut services.
    Public sector pay is on average 30 higher than private sector.
    (and they work 9 years less)
    I would have like to have seen public sector pay cut by 15 per cent and increased by 1,500. That woud have protected the lower paid and only hit the higher paid who are so much better off then they would be in the private sector.

  • Comment number 87.

    "The coalition racked up bills by cutting Labour's planned National Insurance rise..."

    That's disingenuous - if you're going to guess at what the opposition might say you should at least restrict your predictions to things that make sense. This is a "planned" increase and therefore scrapping it does not rack up bills.

    You might ask the PMs why they have dome so bad a job in selling the VAT rise to the electorate. It is a sensible option (even without a debt crisis) to re-balance taxation toward spending rather than income - particularly in view of what we have learned about the reasons the Chinese economy is doing better than ours. We are not saving enough so re-balancing tax to discourage spending is sensible. Also it taxes those wealthy people who do not work and people such as gypsies who would otherwise live outside the tax system and yet manage to foul our roadways etc at a cost to us all.

    None of these points were given in justification - why not?

  • Comment number 88.

    I would like to know why raising funds from tackling tax evasion and avoidance, cutting all benefits for those on incomes above a designated income threshold (say, £40,000 pa)and reviewing MP's various perks (eg 'resettlement' funds, pensions etc.)have not been considered.

  • Comment number 89.


    please ask them firstly, how they think this is all going to work if, as seems to me very likely, we are all unemployed, homeless and in the middle of a huge economic depression by 3rd Qtr 2011.

    Secondly, have they realised that 'public sector workers' who are, apparently, "swanning about having an easy life while poor private sector workers are bearing the brunt", are already in precarious positions due to savings that have been steadily applied for the last two years and are continuing - e.g. (to name but one example) 10% of some police forces staff have already gone.

    Thirdly, how they propose to support shortly-to-retire public sector workers who, after giving all of their working lives in service to the public - at what have always been lower levels of remuneration than than in the private sector(this has always been the supposed trade-off for job security etc), who, as of yesterday, find that the indexing on their in many cases very meagre pensions is to be cut to the CPI rate (persistently about 1.5% lower than the RPI) 5 - 6 years from now, when their hard earned pensions become worthless through inflation.

    Fourthly, since all of this was about bailing out dodgy mortgages loaned by avericious bankers, why we didn't we (and I'm talking about joe taxpayer not some millionaire stuck-up, nose-in-the-trough politician) just pay off everyone's mortgage, instead of handing huge wodges of cash to a bunch of semi-criminal millionaire chums who will now simply lean back on their yachts, while some lowly-paid immigrant sails them off into the sunset. It would have been way cheaper and we wouldn't be in this mess.

  • Comment number 90.

    76: "Krugman is an idiot"

    Krugman is "Professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University, Centenary Professor at the London School of Economics. In 2008, Krugman won the Nobel Prize in Economics for his contributions to New Trade Theory and New Economic Geography. He was voted sixth in a 2005 global poll of the world's top 100 intellectuals by Prospect"

    And your qualifications for calling him an idiot are?

  • Comment number 91.

    Hello there dear. You might ask the two young apprentices what they intend to do to restore UK manufacturing in the industrial heartlands of this once great country and bring back the many businesses that have been offshored to India, China and indeed Poland.

  • Comment number 92.

    What about capping all allowances (unemployment, houseing, child, disability etc) to a max of £15,000 per household?

    Start medical checks on incapacity benefits now rather than 2013.

    Stop giving unemployment & other benefits to non-nationals who send the money abroad.

  • Comment number 93.

    Why does Britain need the third highest military expenditure in the world, at 70 Billion pounds a year

    More than Russia? More than double Korea, with their decidely more unfriendly neighbours? More than 3x Spain? More than 4x Israel's (and they don't seem to have any trouble waging war at the drop of a hat)?

    If you want to cut the deficit, don't cut our teachers, and our hospital and public services. Cut military spending to the Spanish level and save £50 a year.

  • Comment number 94.

    There are 14 MPs in South Yorkshire - 13 of them are Labour supporting MP's and then there is Nick Clegg.

    Does he not realise he has betrayed South Yorkshire by joining the Tories who would not have been able to make these savage and unnecessary cuts without his support?

    From now on everyone will know that a vote for the Liberals will be a vote for the Tories and therefore his party will be condemned to oblivion. Does this not bother him?

    There used to be criticism of the Labour Government for setting targets. This grotesque coalition has only one target - deficit reduction and it doesn't care about anything else in its haste to pay down the debt. Don't they realise that having just one single target is pure dogma and a recipe for disaster?

    People in South Yorkshire have long memories - Clegg will always be remembered as a Judas.

  • Comment number 95.

    Sadly Mindclearly Nick never reads these blogs or asks any of the many warrented questions that are brought up on here. I do apologize a couple of your earlier ones did appear to be straying but after rereading I may have been mistaken.

    The thing is big cuts need to be made, and we all knew that there was going to be increases in tax. To be honest this isn't going to hit me to bad by the looks of things, although I will have to do some belt tightening.

    One huge plus from my point of view as a southwesterner though is that the cider increase is scrapped for certain!

  • Comment number 96.

    Nick, please ask them who they're trying to impress.

  • Comment number 97.

    Will the public sector pay freeze apply to part time workers? I am one of many who work in a school term time only, which means that I actually receive less than £21000 because the annual salary is pro rata'd. In other words, if I worked full time then my annual salary would be over £21k, but because my school contract is term time only then I am under the limit.

    This is something that will affect many term time school workers across the country.

  • Comment number 98.

    You could ask, if they will stop claiming that "they" have made the rich pay, when they have not they have simply made a political calculation that to repeal the 50p tax rate on hire earners would be astoundingly unpopular versus an even higher VAT rate. All they have done is increase CGT which amounts to £1bn apparently on higher earners and at nothing like the rate we were intially led to believe.

    So in summary a minimal CGT increase targeted at the wealthy, a VAT increase on all that disposable income they have, cuts in planned and actual NI in the firms they run or are shareholders in, cuts in corporation tax for firms they run or shareholders in, puny tax on banks liabilities.

    And the poor get poorer, sounds about right for a Tory govt. and big business once again winning the day with the bankers likely laughing all the way... to their places of work.

  • Comment number 99.

    I would like you to ask them what will be the impact on private sector unemployment of cuts to public sector budgets as many companies have contracts with the public sector.

  • Comment number 100.


    Ask him what his evidence is that the City would have tanked Government bonds and the Pound had he stuck with Darling's plan in broad outline.

    He asserts it continually, without support.


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