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Spend less or tax more?

Nick Robinson | 09:35 UK time, Wednesday, 2 July 2008

"Don't penalise the drivers of older cars"... "Compensate the 10p tax losers"... "Help hard-pressed families dependant on public sector wages"... "Don't force businesses to move abroad to escape higher taxes."

The demands on the public finances grow and grow just as they themselves are shrinking. Corporation tax revenue from the financial services is going down. Stamp duty from the slumping housing market is, some believe, likely to halve.

If unemployment does go up, as some predict, that will be yet another cost on the Exchequer. There is, therefore, a gap between what politicians of all parties are demanding and the cash to pay for it. And very little of our political debate just now is about where to find the money.

It can only come from one of two places: Spending much less or taxing more. That latter option seems to be politically almost impossible.

The Treasury has come up with wheeze after wheeze to raise more tax and every one is met with huge public resistance. The problem the Chancellor faces, having backed down repeatedly on tax in the past year, is that people have learned that if they shout loud enough, they get their way.

What voters would be well advised to do is ask any politician, or indeed, anyone else demanding extra spending, where on earth will the money come from?

PS: Can't help noticing the intriguing leader in the Times this morning, penned by the newspaper's new chief leader writer Danny Finkelstein. The leader demands a clearer vision from David Cameron and is written by an arch Tory moderniser. Intriguing.


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  • Comment number 1.

    How about taxing the correct segment of society, instead of making the poorer people pay more, take a little from those that can afford it.

    I earn a reasonable wage, but am paying (very slightly) less tax this financial year than last, whereas those at the lower end of the wage scale seem to have been penalised for not getting well paid jobs.

    I think that would quieten down a lot of the shouting and it may even seem like (heaven forbid) we have a Labour government!

  • Comment number 2.

    I can understand what you say about raising more money via taxation versus spending less by government.

    The Conservatives have been advocating the latter for years.

    I am unable to see the correlation to that dilemma and your PS, though. That article talks about the NHS Constitution - unless of course, you are trying to challenge David Cameron to make a statement on his policy on the NHS so that Brown the Bottler can steal them too and parade them as his own, like he has done quite a few times of late on other policies.

  • Comment number 3.

    If only our prudent Chancellor had put a few quid aside during the best decade of economic growth most of us can remember.

  • Comment number 4.

    Since Labour seem doomed anyway in 2010 they might as well substantially increase taxes.

    They have lost many of the low earners with the 20p fiasco - they have lost middle england with their stealth taxes and denial of the real rate of inflation, coupled with falling house prices and standard of living - so they might as well lose the votes of the high earners.

  • Comment number 5.

    I think the link is wrong. It doesnt mention David Cameron at all, its about the NHS...

  • Comment number 6.

    Nick, you still don't get it! You must stop using the term 'spending' - it's INVESTMENT.

    How can any taxpayer possibly object to their cash being used for hugely beneficial endeavours - that is i n v e s t m e n t s - such as massive increases in (some) health employees' salaries, with no quantifiable productivity improvements, and world-class Government IT projects that are years late, many times over budget... or quietly abandoned because they don't work?

    I'm sure that, at this very moment, Bean and acolytes are beavering away in their bunker trying to find ever more ingenious ways of separating taxpayers from their money.

    Re your PS. I don't get the connection between Finkelstein's article and Cameron>

  • Comment number 7.


    I agree with #4. I can't see any reference to your PS in the article. Can I ask you to be a bit clearer?

    In any event, Brown (or is it Darling) is facing an economic downturn. In these circumstances Revenues tend to fall, and Expenditure on benefits can be expected to rise. Normally, governments decide to set money aside to meet such a challenge. Has Brown done this? If not, he has acted in a less than prudent manner.

    Will he come to the poor old taxpayer asking to be bailed out (and complaining of world problems)? You bet he will.

    All the while, in the background, we have had to find huge sums of money to pay for wars overseas. Wars supported by Brown. Is it the case that reducing our involvement earlier might have placed in a better position economically speaking? Probably.

    Equally likely is the fact that we might have more in reserve if Brown had not misspent vast sums on failed IT and other projects (The New Deal anyone).

    So there we have it. We are all faced with fairly unattractive choices now, at least in part, through bad decisions taken much earlier. Will Brown or Darling see fit to go because of such a poor record? No.

    They are instead getting on with the job. Perhaps they will bear this in mind as others are not allowed to get on with theirs through redundancy .

  • Comment number 8.

    This is so annoying - the moderation site software is not working!

  • Comment number 9.

    Yes Nick and I am glad the Press are starting to question Cameron and put him under more scrutiny.

    Not before time.
    He has had an open playing field and no challenge or scrutiny what-so-ever.

    We will see how "call me Dave" reacts when he is really challenged.

    No good standing in front of a mirror rehearsing lines as he did in his miraculous off the cuff speech as he claimed in Blackpool at their last Conference.

    The newshounds will scent blood at the first hurdle he falls at and that day is long time over-due.

  • Comment number 10.

    Having seen the program last night about smoking and in the 60th Anniversary year of the NHS, the government could find substantial sums by imposing a "Public Health" tax specifically on Tobacco companies profits.

    Especially if the amount of the tax was linked to initiatives to abolish the practices of British companies deliberately targeting African children with their deadly products.

  • Comment number 11.


    Like other posters I don't see the relevance in your last para, unless it's to take a shot at Cameron without doing the dirty work yourself. If you agree with Finkelsteins line of argument you should do a separate blog on this. Then we can all see the direction of your line of political argument...

    BYW, the link goes to Finkelsteins article on the NHS Constitution, not to the leader you refer to.

  • Comment number 12.

    The is always the Third way of course (not likely to even occur to Brown)

    He could seek to reduce waste and increase value for money on existing expenditure.

    Oh alright .. More taxation it is then

  • Comment number 13.

    This government doesn't spend our money wisely. It chucks cash at expensive pet projects but doesn't get good value for money.

    Paradoxically, part of the problem is Brown's obsession with micro-managing everything and setting targets. This generally leads to more waste as Civil Servants are not good at running businesses or industries.

    The government should fund essential services, not indulge its authoritarian fantasies with money wasting schemes such as ID cards.

    At a local level, councils should spend money repairing the pot-holes in the road before constructing yet more speed humps.

    Most people would like to see more bin men and fewer traffic wardens.

    In a way, this sums up the problem. Politicians (national and local) seem to be more motivated by the desire to 'control' than to provide us with a good service.

  • Comment number 14.

    Even if the Times link were about Cameron, it would be politically irrelevant.

    Cameron has exactly one objective at present - to get elected. His vision to achieve that is blindingly obvious, and based on the old story of two men in the jungle being chased by a lion. To stay alive, you don't have to run faster than the lion. Just run faster than the other guy.

    Since the other guy has spent the last 12 months shooting himself in both feet instead of running, Cameron needs to do precisely nothing, except avoid laughing too much in public at NuLabour's continuing idiocy. In fact doing and saying nothing by far the most sensible thing for him to do, because any policy anouncement whatever, even the most obviously sensible, is guaranteed to flush out somebody who disagrees with it.

  • Comment number 15.

    How about just being prudent like the rest of us are having to be?

    They could practice on their expenses and use that to ensure that the taxpayers get value for money, which we clearly aren't doing at the moment

    The Newsnight report last night clearly showed that most of the money spent on the NHS in the last 6 years was wasted.
    In 2003 Haze Blears (Grin and Spin) said in a conference on Agenda for Change "By 2008 the NHS budget will have doubled in real terms since 1997. But investment alone is not the answer - it is no good putting in more money and then doing everything in the same old way. The real challenge identified in the NHS Plan - is how to use these additional resources to achieve real benefits for patients and to ensure that the NHS is modernised to meet modern public expectations." They clearly have failed.

    And yes, the Conservatives won't be able to do what they have been saying, they will have to clear up after this "Bebo house party" of a Government. Some things never change.

  • Comment number 16.

    A couple of small points Nick. 'ensure' not 'insure' (1 Jul), and 'dependent' not 'dependant' (2 Jul). You are, after all, one of our top journalists!

  • Comment number 17.

    "The Treasury has come up with wheeze after wheeze to raise more tax and every one is met with huge public resistance. "

    Maybe they should come up with some ideas that don't target the poorest members of society. It's crazy, I know, but maybe he should try taxing people that actually have something worth taxing.

    Unfortunately, Labour can't upset any rich businessmen because that's the only real support that they have left.

  • Comment number 18.

    What we need is someone to take a long hard look at how our money is spent. For a start, how about insisting that no government money is spent on talk, all those management consultants etc. Talk is cheap for politicians but expensive for the public purse. Get the consultants out of government. Also there are plenty of arms-length governmental 'bodies' that also do nothing but 'talk': dump them. But the key problem as I see it is that fact that our government suffers fro the same problem that the boys in banking do: it fails to 'see' that other peoples' money is 'real' money. Money for them is just an abstraction, something to be allocated, dispersed, invested etc. Who was that said that there's a different 'mindset' involved in spending other peoples' money? Whoever, it was, was right.

  • Comment number 19.

    Nick says, quote - What voters would be well advised to do is ask any politician, or indeed, anyone else demanding extra spending, where on earth will the money come from?
    PS: Can't help noticing the intriguing leader in the Times this morning, penned by the newspaper's new chief leader writer Danny Finkelstein. The leader demands a clearer vision from David Cameron and is written by an arch Tory moderniser. Intriguing - unquote - and quite right you are Nick.

    Numbers please! The maths please!

    Have a nice day Nick.

  • Comment number 20.

    I havent read anyone else's comment yet so forgive me if someone else has already said this.


    The whole point of being a prudent chancellor is that when you have a boom you stash some cash to help in the bust.

    As head in the sand Brown thought he was Knut and didnt need to worry about bust because he had dictated that is wouldnt happen he didnt put any aside.

    Brown's chickens have come home to roost and the legacy will be Labour banished to the wilderness for 18 years for proving they are ALWAYS a tax and spend party and at least 5 years of tough times under the Conservatives paying off the Labour Debt.

    This is all so 1979

  • Comment number 21.

    More negatives from the BBC. What about tax revenue from Oil, both VAT and share of the North Sea?

  • Comment number 22.

    If you or I run out of money, we don't go to our employer and ask for more (unless we're an MP of course!) we cut what we're spending.
    The government has plenty of fat to trim, what it lacks is the will to do it. We could save £11b my scrapping the ID cards. We could similarly save huge amounts by scrapping the huge array of snooping databases that the government insist on developing with their pals in the IT consultancy industry. And we could pull our troops out of Iraq and Afganistan - being everyones protector is not our job and a luxury we can no longer afford. We could actually resist some of the expensive legislation that europe pushes on us, and avoid gold-plating it on the way (something this government seems to have a problem with).
    But it's easier to squeeze the taxpayer more, and hope you lose at the next general election and leave the conservatives the job of taking the blame of doing all the unpleasant stuff necessary to repair the economy, rather like Callaghan did in 1979.

  • Comment number 23.

    It is now clear to all that the emperor has no clothes - and has not had any for a decade.

    What could anyone do in (the remaining) two years of opposition to suggest less competence than Brown has demonstrated over a decade.

    Brown has too long a head start - noone has any chance of appearing less competent.

    Cameron doesnt *have* to be particularly good to beat Brown.

    You political types love pretending that all the fine detail matters. It is all the talk/analysis of this that keeps you in work.

    However to the electors the choice is simply Brown or Cameron.

  • Comment number 24.

    at DistantTraveller

    Here in Sutton Coldfield we don't seem to have any problem with our bin men. We could certainly do with more traffic wardens though.

    Except it's not popular to say so. People don't shout "Give us more traffic wardens", so it doesn't happen and idiots carry on parking where ever they like, obstructing the highways / pavements and taking disabled parking spaces from those who need them.

    Maybe we should see if we can get one of the tabloids to make an uninformed fuss about it. Usually seems to work.

  • Comment number 25.


    It has become common ground that people are taxed too much But the public has yet to realise that that means government spending has to be limited If your blog starts a debate on this, it will be very welcome

    Currently, politicians are scared of talking about reducing spending as they routinely get accused of cutting services. I think we are getting close to the position where, if politicians (Tories, naturally) start talking about cutting unnecessary spending, they will get a neutral or even a good press

    Everyone can see that governments (all governments!) waste money and it will soon become acceptable/desirable for someone to actually say he will do it.

    I saw the piece in the Times - I normally find Daniel Finklesteins writings on the money but I wsn't convinced by this. It is still 2 years from an election - there is no need for Cameron to do anything more for the time being.

  • Comment number 26.

    #3 "If only our prudent Chancellor had put a few quid aside during the best decade of economic growth most of us can remember."

    Well he's in good company. Millions and millions of Brits failed to put aside money during recent years, instead remortgaging on the back of escalating house prices to finance a lifestyle they couldn't really afford. Meanwhile shares in once blue-chip companies have crashed because the directors (and their cheerleaders in the city) thought it clever to load their balance sheets with debt, in many cases using this to buy back shares.

    In short, the lack of prudence extends far beyond 11DS!

  • Comment number 27.

    Methinks Nick was referring to this article.

    Whatever they do will be to no avail: Brown and his government are - politically speaking - dead men (and women) walking.

    Their credibility is so shot, and they are so loathed, that even if they could 'raise the dead' and 'feed the five thousand' they'd still be unelectable.

    The forthcoming by-election in East Glasgow looks like fun. Will the SNP topple ZaNuLabour's 13,000 majority? If they do it will demonstrate that NuLabour is truly dead.

  • Comment number 28.

    A number of people have referred to the problems facing the next government and the cost of clearing up Brown's mess.

    Far from being prudent, this government is set on a course of tax, borrow and waste.

    Knowing that they will soon be out of power, they seem to be pursuing a policy of 'scorched earth'.

  • Comment number 29.

    Daniel Finkelstein Before joining the Times in 2001, he was adviser to both Prime Minister John Major and Conservative leader William Hague

    Given wise Daniel's track record above, maybe David Cameron might turn a blind eye.

  • Comment number 30.

    We are living in times of near record taxation levels. Yet there is apparently no money for anything and the state is ever clamorous for more.

    Public service reform has proved to be nothing more than the big lie repeated often enough.

    The question in the minds of a great number of the public is not "where is the money coming" from but where is the money going?

    The resistance to further taxation indicates that, as expected, we have reached the tipping point. The state will have to learn to live on less.

  • Comment number 31.

    The problem for the Government in relation to tax raising is that partly by using stealth measures, taxes in the UK are already at their highest ever level.
    Because of this the government has been trying to sneak in additional tax raising measures in such as the proposed increase in VED.
    Now that the electorate is suffering the effects of inflation and an economic downturn it will be very difficult at this time for any Government to try to squeeze more tax from them without there being a huge protest.
    For a Labour Government to introduce tax measures which penalise their own supporters the most (e.g the abolition of the 10p tax band and increased VED on older cars) looks like political suicide.
    So if you can't tax the poor or middle income families any more that only leaves one other group.

  • Comment number 32.

    The obvious modification to any question beginning "how should the government fund..." is to remove the first word, asking instead "should the government fund..."

    Unfortunately it appears to be a political sacred cow that an entire underclass should be allowed to claim benefits forever, which in turns saps funding from the people who genuinely cannot work and renders lower-paid jobs increasing unviable because they barely pay more than social security.

    In the real world if I find myself in a financial squeeze I either work harder/longer, or cut back my spending. In the world of the public sector they simply raid the pay packets of those who are themselves squeezed.

    Come the revolution...

  • Comment number 33.

    The trouble is Labour is philosophically for increasing the role of the state.

    This philosophy will always result in higher taxes, as the demands on the public purse will always be rising.

    Just as the private sector is having to cut back and reign in spending and borrowing, so it is time for the government to do so. Now.

    And in meantime, why doesn't the government try and get value for money with what it does spend for a change?

    As Gerry Robinson says, £100Bn every year is plenty enough to buy a first class health service.

  • Comment number 34.

    It's also worth mentioning that cutting spending doesn't automatically mean closing hospitals and schools.

    If we're prepared to accept some honesty in statistics we can achieve all sorts of things. Accepting that a lot of "disability" claims are actually people who are quite capable of working means we can shift them back onto the unemployment register and give them less benefits. That means we can either cut taxes, or distribute the savings in the form of higher benefits to the genuinely disabled.

    For every NHS clipboard-wielding manager we remove we can hire two nurses. So how about sacking a manager, hiring one nurse, and putting the savings aside for a rainy day?

    Likewise if we reduced the number of school inspections and tests, which have simply resulted in schools teaching kids how to pass tests and overall lowered education standards, we could save the money currently used to pay inspectors and, who knows, maybe hire some more teachers?

    Best of all we can scrap this lunatic tax credit system and simply adjust personal tax allowances. That way we avoid the situation of people paying taxes, filling in forms to claim some of it back, and an army of public sector jobsworths poring over every single form to decide whether to give it back or not. Not only that but we would eliminate the tax credit fraud and overcome the problem of overpayments at a stroke. Overpayments were estimated by the government at several billion pounds.

  • Comment number 35.

    There's quite a lot of rather hysterical hectoring going on everywhere, and here in this blog is no exception. Maybe it's time for the Treasury to tel it like it is and tell the loudest whiners to shut up and maybe in the process the signal to noise ration will drop and we can concentrate on helping those who really do need it most.

    If money needs to be saved, there are lots of places that it can be. Taxation can help but it is not the only weapon. Someone else has mentioned the hugely expensive NIR/ID system, which would be a good start but other hugely expensive systems include the internal market in the NHS, created simply as a result of "market is best" orthodoxy. It has become a mantra in the public sector and, while accountants might (and that's only might) be happy because the figures look good, in reality the opportunity costs of doing it this way are astronomical with the by-product of huge amounts of waste and inefficiency.

    Blame Brown if you like for some of the shorter term issues (and so he should and must), but some of these things are both bigger and older than the current government's remit: neither Brown nor Darling sent Bear Stearnes under, nor did they push up global oil prices. Nor even is they *entirely* responsible for a culture in government that forgets its principle function is not the pursuit of "profitability".

    These are the results of the futile herd mentality that is the bane of the free-market system. These are the bitter fruits of Thatcherism and neo-classical economic theory. At the same time we have a generation who don't understand that markets do go down too and kvetch at their loos of the seemingly God-give right to make profit. Life is hard. Get used to it. Free markets are not inherently evil, but we should beware of the immortal Baruch's Observation, where if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail

  • Comment number 36.

    You're right about that Times leader, Nick. Very intriguing. As James Forsyth says over at Coffee House, it seems to go against what Finkelstein's been arguing recently:

    Wonder what brought about the change?

  • Comment number 37.

    That wind up merchant septicmax and others.
    Who use the Tag ZaNuLabour.

    Robert Mugabe is on your side. He wants Gordon Brown out of No.10 as well. Great minds think alike.

  • Comment number 38.


    Your point is valid about raising taxes and cutting spending

    however, as brown and his honchos say, that car tax changes are green driven and are tax neutral ( not a tax raising initiative) so applying them prospectively rather than retrospectively should have no effect on public finances

    unless people then decide to buy lower emissions cars ( taking away his tax revenues!) which would be unbritish

    The policy is not green but tax raising and hope that people will not make changes but accept higher taxes. the alternative is that people change and are taxed more anyway to make up the shortfall!

  • Comment number 39.

    Why don't we tax less to encourage business, spend the same and get better value for our tax money?

    Sack one in a hundred in the NHS, teaching system, benefits system, NI and tax administration, police and judiciary, endless quangos etc etc. Would a 1% fall in staff numbers of by far the biggest employer in the UK, which incidentally doesn't actually make only take money, really effect productivity?

    And then stop paying for children of people on benefits after their third child. Why should working people reward indigence? If they can't afford more kids they should stop having them!

  • Comment number 40.

    You should have watched Newsnight last night, because as per other posters have mentioned here, that explained in detail why half the NHS budget has gone down the toilet and why/how it's only going to get worse with labour's management.

    Half the existing budget is being wasted, and any new money pumped in won't even effect the services because of the inefficiency in the system, in fact they need to pump billions extra into the system in real terms just to stand still because of how it works.

    There is only one solution, which is what Newsnight mentioned, and that's to make the system efficient before pumping any more money into it. But I can't see labour doing that as they've been ignoring that 2002 report about efficiency warnings since day 1.

  • Comment number 41.

    The problem here is your initial question:

    'Spend less or tax more?'

    Surely after eleven years of NewLabour waste even the most simple minded observer can see it's no longer a toss up between spending less or taxing more?

    The question now being asked is why are we getting such abysmal value for money? When Fujitsu resigned from the NHS IT contract it was because they have no intention of being associated with such a dismal failure of administrative excess.

    When all our documents were lost by HMRC it was because standards had slipped to such a poor level that nobody cared anymore.

    This is what happens when you embark on what Polly Toynbee and her Guardianista friends refer to a 'the big spend'.

    Imagine walking into a shop and announcing "I'm loaded" - do you imagine you would get a bargain for all your money spent?

    This is what NewLabour did over and over again for eleven years and businesses took them for a ride. NewLabour simply have no idea how to manage an economy except to shower it with cash.

    The 'Big Spend' is well and truly over but unfortunately for the government the legacy they have given themselves for their final two years is that their ministers and MPs just can't come down form the high and so will make any demand to satisfy their need.

    David Cameron needs to do nothing except stay sober at this end of term thrash until the hangovers arrive and everyone ralises the party is well and truly over.

    Only then can a sensible debate begin about the public sector delivering the value it promised when all their salaries were raised over the last eleven years.

  • Comment number 42.

    Oh dear oh dear, that old nonsense that "public spending always needs to go up and up".

    The reality is that there is enormous waste in the UK public sector - without exaggeration up to 90% of some departments expenditure is money utterly wasted*: whether it be because the work/project is outdated, obsolete, inappropriate or just inefficient.

    Instead of addressing this, politicians let us down time and again by turning a blind eye to it and not upsetting the vested interests who live very comfortably from this un-necessary expenditure. Of course politicians prefer the far quieter life of constantly increase the tax burden on the whole population than to take on the few that would lose their gravy train.

    That's life and we can't change it: but it does add insult to injury to have tame commentators supporting the myth rather than questioning it.


    * prime example: armed forces. Almost all the £30+ billion money directed in the wrong directions. Put our money into infantry instead of outdated obsolete toys that have no use in today's wars (destroyers, frigates, submarines, tanks, bombers, artillery, you name it). Better still, focus purely on defence of the realm instead of war-making around the globe.

    * next example: home office. Endless duplication means lots of gold-plated civil servants but not much else.

    * and so on and so on

  • Comment number 43.

    One other thing worth considering is the insidious effect of retroactive taxation. Changing tax bands for cars going forward is fine, as it allows people to buy (or not buy) particular models knowing what is coming.

    But to suddenly change the tax bands of cars people have bought over the last few years hits the people who can least afford it, while at the same time dropping the value of their cars so that they can't afford to sell and buy something else either.

    And let's be sensible here - if you have more than two children you simply can't put them in the back of a Toyota Prius. Let's not pretend that a large family using a Vauxhall Meriva is being extravagant.

  • Comment number 44.

    "Spending much less or taxing more"

    no, nick, please don't spout the logically invalid labour line.

    The whole point is that you can actually spend less and tax less and still end up with better end services; it's all about effective management, which labour do not have anywhere in the public systems.

  • Comment number 45.

    Well an easy way to raise a few bob without hurting anyone is to scrap the BBC.

    By ending the licence fee you will put £140 quid into every homeowner's pocket (at least those honest enough to pay a licence fee), flogging off the publicly owned assets currently held by the BBC will raise a few £Billion to fill brown holes in the economy (or waste on windmills, consultants, whatever), and as a big eco-headline the government could announce the abolition of one of the country's largest electricity uses.

    How often does a government get such an easy opportunity to raise extra revenue without hurtung the general public?

    Goodness knows that since there are more licence -payers than BBC employees, there might even be a few votes in it.

  • Comment number 46.

    "If unemployment does go up, as some predict..."

    Thought it had gone up already?
    "Unemployment in the UK rose by 38,000 to 1.64 million in the three months to April, the Office for National Statistics has said."
    (BBC News, 11 Jun 08).

    Or do you mean if it goes up more?

  • Comment number 47.

    #45 - good point, it might also remove the left-liberal bias of the Beeb at a stroke?

  • Comment number 48.


    I'm confused. In one sentence you rightly point out that neither Brown nor Darling sent Bear Stearnes under, nor did they push up global oil prices. However, you then proceed to blame all of the world's current woes on Thatcherism. If that's the case then she must also enjoy the many accolades for the previous decades worth of global economic growth - after all, Brown did.

  • Comment number 49.

    There is not one politician that could survive in modern business world, where performance is measured and continual improvement manditory. As one onther poster said reduce waste, audit success continually re-assess funds and funding. Not overspend (only discovered way too late) then fill in the deficit by over taxing. Cash is frittered away daily, or claimed in expenses by over paid self rightious people, who when found out, want the expenses converted to a wage increase, on top of their annual (unearned) wage rise. Not one has any idea. "Into the frying pan" springs to mind. Come David, prove to us that you CAN do better. I thought not, so what are the options? Thought, what are the qualifications for being a chancellor? Or a PM for that matter? Solution :- Annual performance reviews (public) for each and every one and a set of revolving doors for Westminster!

  • Comment number 50.


    Lets bring the troops home, stop spending huge amounts on defence that we don't need, scrap tridents replacement and make Trident last longer...

    The military adventure in the Middle East is one of the single biggest drains on our economy.

    And maybe the people should realise that we have had years of very low income tax, something that has been paid for by stealth sales of taxpayers assets, there is nothing left to sell now and so it stands that maybe the better off should be the first to start paying into the coffers.

  • Comment number 51.

    taxing "older cars" more is simply to profit from disjoint between age and emissions of such cars.
    Taxing fuel directly captures both poor emissions and high useage without penalising low users and older cleaner cars unfairly.
    As for buying cleaner cars - do this government really think that putting a new car on the road and disposing of an old one is done for "free" in environmental terms ? They should be encouraging us away from three yearly replacements, which nowadays are unnecessary from en engineering point of view as the lifetime of current vehicles is so much greater. Instead the government should be rewarding older cars for the saving in environmental impact of their potential repacements.
    More short sighted / knee jerk government more interested in headlines than true management.

  • Comment number 52.

    "Spend less or tax more"?

    I go for the former. We are taxed enough as it is. I wouldn't mind so much if we had world-class services to show for it, but as many posters have already mentioned the huge increase in spending has not been matched by anything like a proportional increase in services.

    I imagine a typical day in government is like this; a department wants to do something, and they realise they will need money to do it, so they look for where they will get this money, usually involving another stealth tax or yet more borrowing.

    Just once I would like them to consider what they want is really needed, or will improve our lives in any way. Most of all I want them to think of whether they should just forget the idea, and let us keep our money to spend on what we want to spend it on.

    It is our money after all.

  • Comment number 53.

    It is still a truism that political parties in the UK don't win elections, governments lose them. It must be hugely frustrating for journalists and Labour supporters that Cameron doesn't flesh out his policies more, but we have seen time and again in recent weeks that when he does the are promptly stolen by Labour if they look at all popular or workable. That is partly a sign of the bankruptcy in original thinking now apparent in the government, which like all third-term administrations, is looking increasingly tired, and partly a sign of panic and desperation in trying to stem the flow of appalling poll results. The simple fact is that, come the election, Labour is out because the public will vote for change. I have no doubt that a policy document of substance will be published by Cameron at that time, but I suspect he would get elected even without one, such is the disdain that the public now have for a Brown-led Labour.

    As for the tax question, it is hard to see how any of Gordon's famous old tricks will work now; he has been well and truly rumbled as the architect of our present economic woes, world recession or not, by his constant stream of stealth taxes. If only he had stayed faithful to Prudence, rather than running off with Profligacy!

  • Comment number 54.

    Maybe the 75 thousand Brow spent of improving his image would have helped.These are the things that this government do not seem to be able to control.Cut ID cards could save 10 billion.Or maybe stop spending thousands on micro chipping dustbins.The list is endless but I don't think Gordon will do any of the above.

  • Comment number 55.

    4. weejonnie wrote:
    "Since Labour seem doomed anyway in 2010 they might as well substantially increase taxes ... they might as well lose the votes of the high earners."

    Mm, yes, except that THEY are now the high earners
    So I don't see that happening in a hurry...

  • Comment number 56.

    My mum used to say you cut your cloth according to your means.

    The general feeling from recent council and by elections is that taxes are too high (not just for the poorest voters) and high interest rates and the credit crunch are hurting everyone. The extravagent excesses of government spending need to be reconsidered urgently. Do we want to spend millions on a new ID card system? Do we want new schools under Building Schools for the future that close popular local schools and further restrict parental choice? Do we want to cap class sizes artifically at 30? Do we want new hospitals if it meand beds are cut or our local hospital gets closed? Do we want to spend millions on polly clinics instead of being satisfied with our local GP surgery? The list goes on. Much of the spending is actually unpopular with voters because of the consequences for our other services, let alone the impact upon taxation. Cutting public expenditure should now be firmly back on the agenda and could prove to be a vote winner. I can't see the Labour Government doing such a massive U turn, so the opportunity is there for the taking from the other parties.

  • Comment number 57.

    31. elfansafety wrote: "So if you can't tax the poor or middle income families any more that only leaves one other group"

    MPs? Special Advisers?

  • Comment number 58.

    How can we expect any party facing meltdown of their own finances (reported as -£24M in debt) to be able to manage our affairs? They need to put their own house in order.

    Their excesses and failures are well documented on this blog by others - people DO understand dear Gordon.

    Top of the list has got to be the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. No one has ever beaten the Afghans (look at Russia) so why do we think we can?

    And why oh why oh why is every slowdown or decrease in the economy seen as a bad thing? Is ever increasing mass consumption the only model we have?

  • Comment number 59.

    "What voters would be well advised to do is ask any politician, or indeed, anyone else demanding extra spending, where on earth will the money come from?"

    The logical answer is to budget more carefully and in this Government's case to give hundreds of billions of pounds in overseas projects and aid is something that we can no longer afford to do. Also in my opinion it was a grave mistake to bid for the Olympic Games in 2012. Costs for that were seriously underestimated and now we learn the true cost of security! What a nightmare and certainly not at all prudent when it comes to the management of this country's finances!

  • Comment number 60.

    Whats all this nonsense about a downturn and the need to save during the good years?

    Gordo has been telling us for years that because of his skill and prudence, he has done away with the boom and bust cycle! So if there is no bust why save?

  • Comment number 61.

    It is a bit of a cheek for Gordon Brown to say that Mugabe has blood on his hands. If anybody has blood on their hands then it has to be Blair and Brown. Blair got us into the wars, Brown has paid for them and now overseas them as PM.

    As others have said we cannot afford these excursons into Afghanistan and Iraq. They are costing millions just for paying people not to attack our soldiers, specifically in Iraq.

    The problem is that you must never reinforce defeat and that is what we are doing in Afghanistan. There is also the problem that when the new equipment to protect our soldiers is delivered it will be too late, we will just hand it over to our former opponents. Just like we will eventually have to talk to the enemy.

    The whole situation is bizarre in the extreme! When will Gordon Brown stop reading out the names of the dead every wednesday. What is he going to do when parliament is in recess.

    As for Geoff Hoon! The man is a disgarce and it should be remembered that when the start of the war in Iraq was delayed he was referred to as 'Buff' Hoon. Get it?

  • Comment number 62.


    Here is the fundamental problem with income tax.

    As the rate rises, especially for high earners it makes financial sense for Tax specialists to be employed for legal tax avoidance.

    I used to be straight PAYE, but I am no longer. I used to be in the 40% bracket for my PAYE earnings.

    Now, I no longer work PAYE, I have DOUBLED my gross income and have a tax burden of about 20%.

    How has this been possible? well the tax specialists I emply have in turn employed an Inland revenue advisor to advise on the best legal way of avoiding tax.

    So - to all you people out there still playing by the rules - this year I have had my eyes opened wide. Whilst the majority of the country slogs it's guts out for poor wages and an increasing tax burden - the high earners have been laughing at you by paying proportionately less tax - a regressive tax system.

    The only way to solve this dilemna is to scrap all income tax and implement a consumer tax across all goods and services(like VAT).

    ...but why will this never happen? because Labour, the Tories and even (probably) the Lib. Dems rely on the donations from people who are abusing teh tax system.

    Naturally they don't want to change the system - therefore neither will the government.

    We will never have a fair society in this country until money has been removed from politics entirely. Your vote is pointless, what counts is the donation you make and the friends you have within the party.

    Why is there no major party proposing a complete overhaul of the tax system to make it fairer?
    ...because they are all pigs at the trough - a la Orwell.

    So who are YOU going to vote for at the next election?

  • Comment number 63.

    #50, "low tax"?

    Since it's Wimbledon week, "YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!"

    Taking into account income tax, NI, council tax, fuel tax, insurance tax, road tax, then VAT on what's left of my income leaves me with 43p of spending power for every pound I earn. This is not counting any tax on savings or stamp duty etc.

    When the state makes me work for it for 3 days out of 5, before I can keep what I earn on Thursday and Friday then I find your assertion that we live in a low tax regime ridiculous.

    It cannot be right that the state ever takes more than 50% of your income, however stealthily they lie about it.

    Instead of no taxation without representation I'm starting to think it should be the other way round.

  • Comment number 64.

    Ever since the tories said they wouldn't raise income tax it has become the mantra and the population has gone along with it. As you say the 'other taxes' have increased but are producing diminishing returns.
    Meanwhile, the fairest tax, income tax is 7 or 8p lower than it was 15 years ago. That's a lot of money, so we shouldn't be surprised if services deteriorate.
    Of course the Tories say they can get the money by reducing 'costs' of government, which no-one has managed before.

  • Comment number 65.

    Its a chickens coming home to roost feeling for Brown.

    During the good times the public sector payroll increased by 600000, Billions have been wasted on failed IT projects. Dodgy PFI deals (such as now bankrupt metronet) which were in reality far more expensive than those traditionally financed but were done to keep spending off the books also proliferated

    Nu Lab spent billions on management consultants (3 billion in 2005 just in the NHS) to do god knows what but certainly little good, and of course MPs helped themselves to much of this money

    To finance all this the state acquired an insatiable apetite for money, using all kinds of means to raise it hence the proliferation of parking restirctions deliberately designed to catch people out, bin taxes congestion charges fines for this or that petty offence often created by this same regime

    Now the good times are over the state is well and truly over a barrel. The states insatiable appetite for money is,if anything intensifying but is now coming up against falling living standards, which means trouble ahead.

    The governemnt enjoys almost no good will and therefore people will not be giving the benefit of the doubt

    all shades of callaghan, the mid 70s I see great civil unrest ahead

  • Comment number 66.


    Nothing left to tax without us manning the barricades.

    Only one way to go, cut expenditure.

    Cut out all the civil service and town hall jobs, quangos and grace and favour consultants and contractors the government have burdened the tax payers withsince 1997.

    Then cut the NHS, Social Security and Education funds, face reality, despite all the recent government increases none are delivering progress.

    All social engineering projects, whether EU inspired or not, eg. ID cards, NHS records, prison reforms, etc. should be thrown out.

    Should take a year to complete the first phase, then start again. If this now 3rd World country was a real business we would have been bankrupt already.

  • Comment number 67.

    Camerons job as leader of the opposition is to oppose, to play devils advocate, and to test the metal of government plans through constant questioning.

    As always the leader of the opposition does not need to reveal policies until the election is around the corner. Blair didn’t and it was a good strategy.

    Any how Cameron doesn’t have to try to win votes Gordon is shoveling them at him.

    Cameron wont move on this until we at least 4 – 6 months away form an election so expect nothing for now.

  • Comment number 68.

    If we taxed blog comments the budget would be back in balance. I might suggest it to Dave.

  • Comment number 69.

    dhwilkinson @37: So according to you we should kept InCapability Brown in power just to spite an evil old tyrant...

    Surely one head of government who is scared of the voice of the people and will not countenance a free election is enough?

  • Comment number 70.

    I think what would help enormously in this debate is to disabuse people of the notion that "reducing public expenditure" is synonymous with "cutting services".

    I agree that the Big-State ethos is that all problems will go away as long as you keep allocating more and more money to them. And the corollary that the less money there is, the less you are able to achieve. But, in fact, neither of these beliefs is actually true.

    These beliefs arise from the fallacy that it's possible to equate "value" with "cost". One only has to look at a normal household budget to realise how nonsensical this proposition is, yet it is the foundation of every public-sector calculation of provision.

    I'd suggest that it wouldn't be very difficult to identify £100bn p.a. of public sector costs that could be saved without detriment to the value of the services provided. Actually achieving this would be a different problem, of course, but it would be immeasurably easier if the argument had previously been won.

  • Comment number 71.

    Has Britain ever been taxed as much as under this sorry government? Nope. Everyone knows green taxes are not being spent on green issues. Why? Because it's a stealth tax and nothing else. And don't get me started on fuel tax. So with all this money, why is there nthing left in the coffers? Perhaps because it's offered to MPs for votes? I'm looking at you DUP. Interestingly, on BBC News 24 there's hardly any coverage of the leaked letter mentioned by Cameron in PMQs. Not really a surprise is it. May I ask--- is anyone really going to vote Labour at the next General Election?

  • Comment number 72.

    39 techmiester, Great idea lets "sack em!" where have I heard that before, its a wise move, make thousands of people unemployed that in turn affects their children, then we can pay them employment benefit tax credit and any other benefit that they would be entitled to , that sounds logical, pay them for working, then sack em and pay them for doing nothing, and create hardship, good policy.
    I seem to remember now who was it, Oh! yes it was the Conservative party but they did'nt stop at thousands they thought it would be a good idea to sack millions. I seem to recall it was'nt too successful.
    Yes your idea of the three children is excellent for us but what about the pensioners of the future, when their isn't enough young adults working to pay the pensioners their deserved cash. perhaps we'll have to import a few if that situation arises.

  • Comment number 73.

    Its OK now, all the usual manics have had their say and also the names we only hear at the beginning of every blog, we usually get up to about 70 posts before the half hearted Tories drop out leaving the usual Tory[I'm not a Tory] brigade to vent the spite. we may get some reasonable debate going if the "bottler Brown, and the mr Bean" crowd are gone for their afternoon nap.

  • Comment number 74.

    My father worked hard all his life and always said "don't moan about paying tax because if your paying it your earning it" . He fought in the first and second war but if he was alive today would be saying something different.

    Income Tax is an honest tax based on earnings. All other form of taxation are hidden in one shape or form or the other. Usually these taxes were brought in for specific purpose but now a just income generators for governments.

    Lets not kid ourselves "Green Taxes" are not going to save the planet, maybe the speculators have done more to do that.

    The only way is to cut spending on civil servants, council red tape, quangos etc etc of course all this would lead to higher unemployment but then we would have local people going after local jobs, not being dependant on our friends from eastern Europe, to build our houses, pick our crops, work in our supermarkets and factories. Is the time right for protectionism or is all that a thing of the past.

    Harsh realities I know but cutting spending is the only way and has to start now.

  • Comment number 75.

    72 before sceptic leap from his eyrie with his talons open , it should have read unemployment benefit not employment benefit. Stopped him in mid flight.

  • Comment number 76.

    The BBC always panders to public-sector client groups (including themselves) by framing questions about government policy in terms of "Who can we tax some more?". The scales have dropped from the eyes of the rest of the nation on this issue, and I think the BBC should be asking, again and again, "What should government stop doing ?". It's time to shrink the state, lower the tax burden and support good behaviour (i.e. study hard, work hard,save, look after your family, obey the law, etc.), rather than tax (tax, tax, tax...) people who follow good behaviour in favour of those who don't (government employees, scroungers and criminals).

  • Comment number 77.

    re 72 grandantidote:

    Although I wouldn't advocate sacking people at random just to save money, I would advocate sacking people who aren't needed in the public sector, in the same way that a private company would make people who they don't need redundant.

    If you don't use that logic then the organisation (whether it's private or public) will end up wasting progressively more and more money until it finally goes bankrupt.

    If a person who's working in the public sector isn't needed then they are by definition wasting tax payer's (our) money and need to lose their job.

    Then get them retrained and into a proper job with an organisation that actually needs them (ie get them to be a useful member of society and not just a pointless drain on public money who's not doing a job that's needed)

    Funding pointless public jobs with tax payer's money is a sure-fire way of driving the country to bankruptcy in the long term, and that's what labour doesn't understand.

    Better way is to make the environment for private businesses better (eg lowering taxes, as per 39 techmiester's posting), so that more real jobs are generated, that's the only way to sustain things in the long term.

    This also has the added benefit of a larger increase in the absolute tax take (despite a reduction in the pct tax take) because the businesses, having grown, generate more income and hence get more cash into the public system.

    I know that labour doesn't like the idea of people having real jobs, but that's what's needed.

    The opposite view, whereby the tax payer funds ever increasing numbers of pointless public jobs, is a recipe for disaster and is one of the reasons we're in the current financial mess.

  • Comment number 78.


    The difference is that Thatcherism is not just one (or two) person, but a doctrine - essentially (and possibly simplistically here) following Milton Friedman.

    And, if we are talking about economic growth, it's interesting that average rates of economic growth throughout the world from the 80's on have been lower since the onset of monetarism and supply side neo-classicism than they were in the 30 years following WWII where as Nixon said, "we are all Keynsians now".

    This is not to say that I think the sun shone out of JM Keynes' posterior; quite the opposite. Doctrinaire takes on the world and its economy are doomed to failure because they forget the fundamental truth that such systems are essentially human and not always amenable to rational thought or analysis. The last year or so has, once again, demonstrated that indisputably

  • Comment number 79.

    #75 Grandantidote

    Although you said employment benefit by mistake it would actually be a nice thing, i have worked since 16 and im in a job well above the national average, and yet still cant afford to move out from my dads house, well not unless i want a mortgage more than i can afford or in the town centres where there not really livable (and i dont mean the whole towns are like that, but you know the areas i mean).

    Whereas my sister has had two kids, no job (ever) dropped out of school, been arrested several times as a kid, binge drinks every week, smokes. Seems to have been given a 3 bedroom house in a village i could only afford to live in if i won the lottery.

    Unfortunatly i have too much pride to live like that. And the most annoying part of that is i actually want my niece and nephew to grow up there for the better area (but thats the reason they have kids, because its always you cant punish the kids its not their fault, and unfortuantly i agree but its still wrong)

    and breath.......

  • Comment number 80.

    #73, the only spite I'm detecting on this topic is coming from you.

  • Comment number 81.


    Don't worry mr Grand we are still here.
    Some of us just happen to be mutlitasking holding down a job to pay for your parties tax and spend policies.

    How much more does it cost to keep 2 million people employed on quangos instead of on benefits, around 24 billion roughly.

    Time you lot thought a bit about consequences of your actions instead of employing aparachiks and used the money for REAL job creation and public sector effeciency savings

  • Comment number 82.

    re: 73

    Grandantidote, I'm afraid it isn't possible to have a 'reasonable debate' with somebody who's completely deluded.

  • Comment number 83.

    I'll tell you how to raise money. Tax every Labour politician that has lied (and continues to lie) about the current state of UK PLC. An endless supply of money for the government.

  • Comment number 84.

    82 power to the ppl. how would some one like you know that, when did you last have a reasonable debate when you weren't deluded.

  • Comment number 85.

    73 grandanitdote

    Don't panic still some open minded conservative supporters still about.

    You surprise me as over the last postings you appear to become very bitter. Your party has had plenty of time to change thesituation, and I would agree in the first flush of parliamentary youth you were able to make changes that counted, but sorry 11 years has proved GB is out of touch. Iif my aging memory servers me right it was after 11 years of Mrs T that your party was saying she was out of touch. Well after 11 years of GB as number one or two he is out of touch and as I posted a few days ago if the Labour party wants to survive in its present form then GB has to go, but then on the other hand you might not like being Nu Labour.

  • Comment number 86.

    81 pot kettle was 39 talking about quangos
    He was talking about NHS, teachers police and the judiciary etc,
    Not to much to say about his ideas on three children I notice.

  • Comment number 87.

    80 chrisbowie, Not familiar with your handle but you obviously know little of sceptic max or getridofgordonnow and one or two others to whom my remark was aimed at, if your a newcomer you'll learn. if your a old hand you must be blinded by devotion.

  • Comment number 88.


    Grandantidote all of 39's ideas would be unneaded if we werent supporting the 2 million government created quango wastrels.

    Why dont you answer my point instead of adopting the PMQ standard of refering me to some other topic.

    This country wouldnt be in debt if the government hadnt bought these 2 million votes with our tax money
    Its 120 billion in five years and thats if you assume none of these people would have got real jobs.

    It doesnt take 120 billion to fund REAL job creation it only costs that if the jobs you create are quango.

    And I will reiterate that is without taking into account the other associated costs of these quango's in buildings and equipment.

    It is pure waste and your ideology creates it.

  • Comment number 89.

    79rogreg84 , I am sorry about your situation but if your sister wasn't being helped you would be writing here to say that wasn't fair, If your sister has got what you say[not the binge drinking habit] then be pleased for her. You dont say whether your married or not, I was in the same position as you many years ago but I left school at fourteen, any way good luck with your house hunting GB is building affordable housing for first time buyers perhaps you could look into that.

  • Comment number 90.

    77 getridofgordonnow, oddly enough I agree with much that you say, but I certainly dont agree with randomly picking out people to sack and I dont agree withTechS theory on three children,I also dont agree with your last two sentences.

  • Comment number 91.

    88 pot kettle. well whatever I say about 120 billion you will disagree, once you tories come up with erroneous statistics you stick to them like you know what to a blanket then some one comes up with another set and so it goes on, I'm not about to jump on that bandwagon so forget it. I'm not to sure what your point is.
    I'm quite sure that your contribution to the Tax collecter is invaluable, much more so than the other couple of million you refer too, I dont know what you do for a living but perhaps some of us on this blog might think that the country could do without your labour or are you to valuable to the community to even think of sacking you, or is it only you that thinks that. You didn't answer my point about three children, a bit like Cameron on PMQs or any time hes asked a question on policy. 39s ideas are abhorrent to me and I suspect many more people of all parties.

  • Comment number 92.

    #24 jpinsutcol

    Sutton Coalfield is a nice area, so glad to hear you don't have problems with bin men. But in other parts of the country, bin collections are being reduced to once a fortnight - not only an inconvenience to taxpayers but certainly a health hazard too.

    Traffic Wardens are another matter. Clearly there does need to a system to stop people parking irresponsibly - but all too often parking schemes have little to do with traffic management, and are really just another stealth tax imposed on people going about their business. Having painted yellow lines in places where they are not actually needed, councils then have to employ more traffic wardens to issue tickets. If councils used yellow lines more sparingly (ie only in places where parking would genuinely cause an obstruction), they wouldn't need so many traffic wardens.

    In relation to the topic of this blog, it's an example of how our money is being wasted instead of providing a good service.

  • Comment number 93.

    re: 90 grandantidote

    "but I certainly dont agree with randomly picking out people to sack"

    neither do I; I'm guessing you mis-read that bit of my posting.

    I basically agree with the underlying economic logic of what I think 39 Techmeister's implying, but not some of the details of how to achieve it.

    ie I agree with the idea that allowing businesses to prosper is a better and more sustainable way of getting extra cash into the public services rather than just trying to sting as many people as you can as heavily as you can for tax, and that making the public systems more efficient and accountable is a good idea.

    I think public organisations should have the same level of scrutiny/accountability as private ones do; if a plc wasted billions then their shareholders would sack the directors/board and get in someone who knew what they're doing, and the new directors/board would streamline the processes to help save money but try not to damage their end services/products.

    As for not allowing people to have more than 3 children if they can't afford it, I don't agree with eugenics, so I'd agree with the state supporting any number of children that need support.

    I'm fairly left-of-centre on that point in that although there are some people who deliberately have children purely to get more money from the government, I think that proportion of people is insignificantly small and overblown by the media/right-wing.

    Having said that, I did used to get very annoyed when my work colleagues who had children got more money than I did purely because they had children. It's not just a government/tax issue; private companies tend to pay people who have children higher salaries than those who don't, even when they do the same job. In my old job it was really blatant; all single people got massively less wages than married people with children where the job/skills equated to the same thing.

    That kind of thing still annoys me a lot, even though I've now got children of my own; I still don't think it's fair that someone who doesn't have children should be expected to fund my lifestyle purely because I've got children. I'd rather pay for my own kids, and not have someone else be forced into paying for me.

    Luckily for those who don't have children, they don't need to fund my lifestyle choice of having children, because I can't claim tax credits (being self-employed it's just too risky on the payback front)

  • Comment number 94.

    A classis example of where we don’t get value and Labour adjusting figures and dumbing down services.

    3 PCSOs cost the same as 2 normal PCs to employ.

    Recently 2 PCSOs watched on as a gang of thugs attacked a lone teenager. They were unable to break up the fight as they had not been trained to do so. They called for assistance on their mobile phones.

    An old lady with a walking stick beat off the youths and assisted the victim.

    So 2 PCSOs who cost the same as 1.33 PCs are actually worth less than an old lady with a stick.

    Simple mathematics

  • Comment number 95.

    If you want more proof:

    Watch Londons finest, watch how you go

  • Comment number 96.

    It really isn't rocket science.

    Tax the rich more. After all, there the ones who have done ever so well from 11 years of New Labour. That will keep the Left happy.

    Shrink the bloated state. That'll keep the Right happy.

    Simple. Everyone's happy.

  • Comment number 97.

    PMQs was so revealing about Browns attitude to tax revenue from Vehicle Fuel. When he was asked by a Labour backbencher to look at fuel duty again because the Exchequer would gain an additional one Billion pounds because of world fuel price increases,he would only say that revenues from other sources was reduced because of the Economic downturn. In other words its easier to get the extra money from Fuel Tax when he cant get it from Company profits falling and less employment. Its a long slow death for this PM and government and we all have to suffer in that 20 months.

  • Comment number 98.

    some pompous X said roll on tax - well u idiot think of all the low paid, the disabled, etc who need to drive door to door to journey as an essential - people will not be able to afford to go to work - what pollution we may put out in a year is put out in one day in China - the rich will still drive big cars so will their wives and children and friends and relatives, cleaners, gardeners, chefs etc - they will still claim vast expenses for travel and fly abroad when they can use technology video conference - it wont affect them will it ... I will tell you this - if this country really wants to be green ban ALL cars, ALL PLANE journeys etc - put in place - reliable, cheap, connectible, linkable, easy 24/7 access on all PUBLIC transport for all - and then u will c happy travellers - well wot r waiting for???

  • Comment number 99.

    some pompous X said roll on tax - well u idiot think of all the low paid, the disabled, etc who need to drive door to door to journey as an essential - people will not be able to afford to go to work - what pollution we may put out in a year is put out in one day in China - the rich will still drive big cars so will their wives and children and friends and relatives, cleaners, gardeners, chefs etc - they will still claim vast expenses for travel and fly abroad when they can use technology video conference - it wont affect them will it ... I will tell you this - if this country really wants to be green - ban ALL cars, ALL PLANE journeys etc - put in place - reliable, cheap, connectible, linkable, easy 24/7 access on all PUBLIC transport for all - and then u will c happy travellers - well wot r waiting for???

  • Comment number 100.

    97. sunnymarky

    Wheres your sense of proportion man.

    One billion extra from fuel and oil is small chips when you spend 100 bil a year on Quangos.

    These Quangos dont just pay for themselves you know.

    Show a little gratitude and be grateful for your lot and stop wining about the price of fuel...its soooooo boring.

    Just think were you would be without the potato council.. then youd be sorry, just who do you think would promote national chip week then HuH.

    Short of a clever answer now arnt you.


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