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Who's planning what cuts?

Nick Robinson | 12:00 UK time, Wednesday, 10 June 2009

The NHS Confederation says that the health service will face the most severe and sustained financial shortfall in its history after 2011, leaving the NHS in England facing a real-terms reduction of between £8bn and £10bn.

Yet the new Health Secretary Andy Burnham refuses to say where the cuts will fall.

Meantime the shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley promised that they too would keep health spending rising in real terms but appeared to blurt out Tory plans for cuts elsewhere on the Today programme this morning:

"We are going to increase the resources for the NHS. We are going to increase resources for international development aid. We are going to increase resources for schools. But that does mean over three years after 2011 a 10% reduction in the departmental expenditure limits for other departments. It is a very tough spending requirement indeed."

Now a Conservative party spokesman claims - somewhat implausibly you might think - that what their spokesman was saying was that : "If cuts in the health budget are to be avoided Labour are planning to cut other departments' spending by 10%."

In truth, aren't both Burnham and Lansley guilty of not spelling out the truth about what the huge deficit means?

Comments

Page 1 of 11

  • Comment number 1.

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

  • Comment number 2.

    Bottom line: It doesn't matter. Neither party can spend tax receipts that don't exist or can't be raised in the Gilt market (and that source of funds is not infinite).

    The only question is where the cuts fall and how efficiently public services can be run in future. If the record of the government is evidence of the Labour Party's competence in this regard, frankly it's a shoe-in for the Tories.

  • Comment number 3.

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

  • Comment number 4.

    Nick,

    You have to start telling the complete story. The IFS estimates that in order to protect its ring-fenced spending (e.g. NHS, Education) then the other departments' public spending will have to be cut by 7%

    So the real story is no that Labour will continue to invest (it will cut by 7%) but that the Tories will cut (by, at most, 10%).

    The choice to the public will be the EXTENT of cut (7% or 10%). Wait until The Sun gets hold of that one, and we both know which way they will jump.

    See you in the pub.

  • Comment number 5.

    Just watched PMQs. Again Brown has proven himself to be totally out his depth!! His contempt for PMQs with some of the disgracefully disrespectful things he says is just staggering.

    Cameron outfought and outgunned him!! Keep up the good work Dave!

  • Comment number 6.

    3

    Thats because the only e-mails people send are anti Brown.

    Which is in turn because there are only a very few, very blinkered class warriors who still support Brown.

    Its time you came to terms with it. If the majority of people disagree with you, it is not THEM who is in the wrong.

  • Comment number 7.

    john, you are a troll. Sorry, but it is pretty clear.

    The difference between both of these people Nick, is that one has avoided the subject ENTIRELY, the other has admitted that cuts have to be made, and if not in one polace then in another. 'Gordy' won't answer a simple question - 'where is all the money going to come from?' his contempt for PMQs and the country as a whole is staggering.

  • Comment number 8.

    "1. At 12:17pm on 10 Jun 2009, johncarrelson wrote:

    Just watched PMQs. Again Cameron has proven himself to be totally out his depth!! His contempt for PMQs with some of the disgracefully disrespectful things he says is just staggering.

    Gordy outfought and outgunned him!! Keep up the good work Gordy!"
    -------------------------------

    When???

    You watched a different PMQ's to everyone else then! Or do you think that the leader of the OPPOSITION (clue in the title) should NOT be allowed to talk down to the worst Prime Minister in history? Hmmmmmmmm?

    Enjoy this labour dictatorship whilst it lasts. The sooner it is over, the better!

  • Comment number 9.

    Aren't they only cuts if the tories suggest them?

  • Comment number 10.

    "3. At 12:34pm on 10 Jun 2009, johncarrelson wrote:

    The Conservative bias of Andrew Neil and Anita Anand is just staggering. Every e-mail they read out is anti-Brown, week after week, after week after week."
    ----------------------------------

    Well, maybe they are only getting about 5 out of a hundred that support labour? After all, only 5% of those eligible to vote decided to vote labour last week (15% of 31%) So reading out email, after email critical of Brown would be an accurate reflection of the utter contempt that the country holds for Brown. Purely as a reaction to the utter contempt that Brown has for this country, I am sure!

  • Comment number 11.

    I just wonder where Gordon Brown thinks he is going to get the money from for increasing spending on public services year- on-year.

  • Comment number 12.

    Just watched PMQs. Again Brown has proven himself to be totally out his depth!! His contempt for PMQs with some of the disgracefully disrespectful things he says is just staggering.

    Cameron outfought and outgunned him!! Keep up the good work Dave!

    (Is that OK, Peter?)

  • Comment number 13.

    @johncarrelson

    Perhaps there are no pro-Brown emails? It would hardly be surprising given he's the worst PM in living history.

    As for the cuts, god help us when Browns PFI fiddling comes back to bite us, billions of public sector debt hidden - using the very same accounting trickery that caused the bust - is going to do immeasurable harm to this nation.

    Cuts need to be made across the board, and the blame can be squarely laid - any anyone denying this either an outright liar, willfully ignorant or so politically biased they border on the insane - at Browns feet. Over a decade of mismanagement, as Chancellor and as PM, time for him to go before he causes any more damage. Anyone but Brown.

  • Comment number 14.

    "The choice to the public will be the EXTENT of cut (7% or 10%). Wait until The Sun gets hold of that one, and we both know which way they will jump."

    If those really are the proposed level of cuts, then it comes down to "who can spend the money better?"

    Labour's record is diabolical. One example, employing up to five people to change one fluorescent strip light and complete a folder full of paperwork to go with it, meaning a five pounds strip light in a school cost 750 pounds to change!

    The Tories has simply GOT to be able to get more for less with that sort of diabolical waste of public money. I am sure that the Tories could EASILY cut current public expenditure by 10% and still get much better public services than labour does now!

  • Comment number 15.

    #6:

    "Thats because the only e-mails people send are anti Brown."

    Unless you are Damian McBride, of course.

    Cin cin

  • Comment number 16.

    Everyone knows that public spending will have to be cut in order to redress the huge national debt that Labour created. At least the conservatives are admitting to this fact. All we get from Labour is lies and bluster.

  • Comment number 17.

    I am guessing that headlines tomorrow about PMQs will read Cameron's Cuts.. right?

    Given that Cameron is still failing to address any policy issues of substance, but is continually trying to stir the hornets nest of unfocussed public anger, it would almost be irresponsible if the only conservative financial admission to date was not mentioned.

    In many ways I feel this could be a litmus test of journalistic impartiality... I wonder.

  • Comment number 18.

    #1 then have an election then the other can answer questions, but PMQ
    it all in the tittle QED.

    It the PM that has to answer NOT anybody else, its that fundanemtal

  • Comment number 19.

    "Yet the new Health Secretary Andy Burnham refuses to say where the cuts will fall."

    I noticed that as well.

    In two interviews on the subject Andy Burnham talking about the English NHS managed to avoid mentioning "England" or the "English".

    Neither BBC interviewer managed to remind him and allowed him to get away with misleading the public into thinking this was across the UK with his weasel words; "our country" or "the country".

    Despite his inability to say the "E" word Burnham was talking about England, and this is where the cuts will fall.

    We wouldn't want the Scots or the Welsh to have to pay the same as the English for prescriptions now would we? Or for the Scots to pay for hospital parking like the English or to give up preferential access to life saving cancer drugs. Eh?

  • Comment number 20.

    The PSBR for this year is GBP 175 billion. The government deficit is expected to be GBP 224 billion. There is a discrepancy between these figures of GBP 49 billion which implies that there are going to be spending cuts, or should I say efficiency savings, in the region of GBP 49 billion this year alone.

    Has the government talked to the public about this? Does the government want to talk about this? I very much doubt it.

    Now the planners for the NHS have put forward their expectations for the next spending round and have come up with a shortfall. Obviously they expect to be made redundant shortly and want to get their retaliation in first.

    Anyone who thinks the public sector can continue in the way it has for the last few years is either a fool or worse.

    As for Gordon Brown he is becoming even more irrelevant as each day passes..

  • Comment number 21.

    I am in complete despair at how laissez-faire our media and our political commentators are when it comes to Brown simply lying time and time again. That's the only way to put it. No manipulating, not spinning, just plain simple lies. And yet there seems to be no form of redress.

    Several times today during his ranting he claimed that the Tories would be cutting services now during the recession. That is a plain lie. We are talking about spending plans from 2011 onwards. So if we had a strong media who held the government to account surely he would be forced to retract that statement?

    Not only that but he then claimed that the Tories would be cutting spending by 10% across the board asking how many doctors, nurses, teachers etc. would be cut. He knows that the Tories have ring fenced health, schools and overseas aid spending.

    How is he allowed to get away with it?

  • Comment number 22.

    1. At 12:17pm on 10 Jun 2009, johncarrelson wrote:
    Just watched PMQs. Again Cameron has proven himself to be totally out his depth!! His contempt for PMQs with some of the disgracefully disrespectful things he says is just staggering.


    Oh dear... Would that be the same disrespect LABOUR politicians showed with regards the use of the publics tax money ...pot kettle black dear John.

    Precisely what disgraceful and disrespecful things did Mr Cameron say ?

  • Comment number 23.

    Given the massive amount of debt the country now has there are clearly going to have to be massive cuts in public spending or massive tax rises or both.Those who think you can keep present levels of public spending without tax rises do not understand economics.The problem for both parties,and the country, is that half the electorate is now made up of pensioners and public servants who have a vested interest in high levels of public spending and high taxes.The other half-the wealth creators are unlikely to stand for higher taxes and could end up being taxed out of the country.

    In the end it may not be a decision for our government but for the IMF.

  • Comment number 24.

    What I found particularly irritatiting about this particular session was once again being told by the Prime Minister that I did not want an election, but wanted HIM to clear up the political system.

    I wonder if he checks the online petition system he set up.

  • Comment number 25.

    The BBC carried a report on NHS spending from 2011, where the BMA highlighted concerns of spending cuts from the NHS budget due to repayments of the PFI loans that will kick in from this date. It is the first time that I have seen actual figures quoted, namely a loan of GBP 50 Billion for new hospitals built worth GBP 10 Billion.

    So even if the NHS budget is increased the PFI repayments will come out of the NHS budget, which leave less to spend on NHS services. Given that the unions amongst others have been dead against PFI projects as being too expensive, surely it is time to stop pursuing this disastrous policy. Everything Brown does seems to involve more and more debt. Oh and the PFI deal for the NHS looks horribly expensive - wonder which bank is profiting out of UK taxpayers misery?

  • Comment number 26.

    As I understand it, the last budget by Alastair Darling contained proposed cuts of 7% across the board. The Tories have committed to not cutting spending on Education, the NHS and Overseas Development. In order to meet this commitment, but not exceed the total spending proposed by Alastair Darling, then other departments will obviously need to be cut by more than 7%. Hence the figure of 10% cuts.

    If we want to avoid this, then we will either have to borrow more, which is unsustainable, or retract the commitment to protect spending on the above 3 areas. In either case, for Labour to pretend that the choice is no cuts under Labour, or cuts of 10% under the Tories is completely dishonest.

  • Comment number 27.

    Correction, I think it is just NHS and DFID that the Tories are proposing to ringfence, not Education

  • Comment number 28.

    So, the Tories might be plannng cuts.

    For Labour supporters, perhaps this needs explaining. If you 'spend' more than you 'earn', eventually you run out of money. When you 'borrow' money you have to 'pay it back' at some point.

    It's Labour's failure to come to terms with this that has lead us to the mess we are in at the moment.

    Labour have behaved like some 18 year old with free access to as many store cards as they can lay their hands on. I'm sure for a while, the 18 year old looks great, lots of fancy clothes and able to treat their mates to food and drink. Now the bills have come in.

    If cuts are made, it is Labour who are to blame.

  • Comment number 29.

    johncarrelson - hahahahaha - great joke - beat of the week! Oh no - make that second best - the first was the pathetic and cowardly labour party allowing Gordy to carry on limping along as PM!

    Only for another 11 months though you fools - your time will come - and for the vast majority not a moment too soon.

    Call an election!

  • Comment number 30.

    What amazes me is that currently this country is in so much debt any budget forecasts are simply poloiticians playing with numbers. We can all play with numbers, rising unemployment, rising personal debt, rising MRSA, rising bankruptcies, rising congestion on the roads, rising air polution, rising climate change, rising red tape, rising unenforcable legislation, rising fuel prices, rising anarky, rising death toll of British Troops, rising teenage pregancies, rising knife crime, rising gun crime, rising family breakdown.....I could go on.....the bottom line is the public have seen through Labour lies and deception. The incoming mantra was 'things can only get better'. The outgoing mantra should be 'Who's sorry now!'

  • Comment number 31.

    The first cut has to be of GB then we can move on to tackle the real
    job in hand to unwind most of the last 12 years, 13 by the time GB calls it.

  • Comment number 32.

    Prudence was Gordon Brown's pet kitten.
    When he was a minor tyrant, in his pre-teen years, he chose not to feed Prudence real cat food.
    Instead Prudence was fed a diet of old news papers, dandelions and toe nail clippings.
    Suffice it to say, Prudence passed on to the feline afterlife at the tender age of 3 weeks.

    Remembering the success of Prudence in his younger days, Gordon employed the same philosophy to courtship.
    Gordon was quite lonely in his teenage and young adult life, but he never gave up on his philosophy of Prudence, and always carried with him a small pouch of toenail clippings.

    The years rolled on relentlessly, he was elected to parliament, became chancellor and always remained true to Prudence.
    Rarely a day went bye in number 11 when clip clip clip was not heard.
    Year after year of underfunding and higher taxation allowed Gordon to keep his pouch full.

    Gordon longed for more, his gaze fixed upon the seat of his long time ally Tony. That was the seat he new he would be comfortable in.

    After many years of experience and Prudence, Gordon invited his friend Tony for a meal at number 11.
    Of course we know the rest. Gordon's idea of Prudence was put into practice and this led to Tony's loss of appetite to remain at number 10.

    Due to the economic crisis, Prudence couldn't continue.

    Regardless who is in office further cuts are required if we are to restore Prudence to it's rightful position in government policy.

  • Comment number 33.

    carrelson @3:

    That's because the vast majority of e-mails are indeed anti Brown week after week after week! Wake up and smell the coffee!

  • Comment number 34.

    Nick, you are quite right: neither lot will honestly answer (just before an election) about cuts which will occur after the election.

    If they won't be honest then I think you should - repeatedly - report that they are not being honest, and allow the viewers to draw their own conclusions.

    Keep at them: do a Paxman!

  • Comment number 35.

    #24 I do not think he does as I have one from 6 months ago and still have not got an answer, ie a response not expecting an answer of substance though

  • Comment number 36.

    carrelson @ 1:

    You say that Gordy outgunned and outfought David Cameron @ PMQs. In your dreams old son! The main thrust of his tirade was that The Oppsition would make cuts while he would invest. Remember that the background of this is that we are in debt to the tune of a trillion and a half pounds.
    At the same time as the projected shortfall of 8 billion pounds in The NHS budget for 2011 was being announced Gordon Brown was jumping all over Andrew Lansley for daring to say that there would have to be cuts in other areas if Health and Education were ring fenced. At least The Conservatives are admitting that such cuts need to be made. The Government are still in denial of the fact that their cuts will have to follow a similar pattern. Perhaps they're moving forward on the basis that they won't be in power and will therefore not need to be in a position where they are obliged to be more prudent with their spending. As Nick Robinson said at some stage both main parties will have to face the sticky question of where the cuts will have to made and come clean about them. It's now in the open. The Opposition have at least made a start.



  • Comment number 37.

    englandrise you do understand that Scotland gets a block grant and spends it on what it wishes?

    The fact Scotland spends more on the NHS (doesnt get anywhere near VFM IMO) than England also means we spend less on things like roads. We have the worst roads in the UK officially.

    This "Scotland spends more on this...." rubbish us pointless as we spend more on some things and less on others.

    The Scottish block grant will reflect the cuts and whoever is in charge in Scotland at the time will have to face the same problems. They will have to save money from somewhere.

    UK Plc has been hemmoraging money for far too long and weve wasted the good years thanks to Brown and Blair. In Scotland the Public sector which was too big anyway has grown even bigger - what a waste.

  • Comment number 38.

    Nick,

    I've worked in the NHS & as I'm sure you can guess, the amount of wastage & messy organisation is phenomenal. If you don't believe me, you should see if you can find out what a library of deceased patient casenotes looks like. Then, refer yourself to an entire records library being kept organised by perhaps three or four people (& a similar number to disorganise it, on behalf of new patients) for over 1/4 million people, whilst the rest of the records staff, perhaps another 20 or 30, are seemingly doing nothing more than punching stats into a database, all day - & on higher pay.

    Public sector health spending doesn't need to rise or remain the same, what needs to happen is for a change in mindset. Cuts should be welcomed as a kick up the pants for softheaded management. About ten years ago, my local hospital spent about £1m on a new porch. Meanwhile, on the side of the very same building, within a hundred feet of the construction job, was a fundraising 'thermometer' banner charting the progress towards raising another £1m for a CT scanner. Couldn't the porch have waited?

    Anything which is non-emergency or non-terminal should, automatically, be referred to the private sector. I mean, I got absolutely fed up with dealing with drunks in A&E, & people who came in with slightly cut fingers. A&E should be there to deal with things such as cardiac & respiratory arrests, strokes, RTAs, stabilising broken limbs & through-body wounds, only, really. At the very least, for suturing large gashes. Though, while I was there, everyone, from anywhere, with anything even slightly wrong, was expected to welcomed in. So, there was the eternal wait for those who had been triaged to the bottom of the heap, for having nothing seriously wrong - & that's what ruins the waiting time stats.

    The NHS should get used to it's shortfall, if it can't learn to correctly manage what it's been given - by taking away from others, no less.

  • Comment number 39.

    The harsh green shoots of reality begin to appear.

    Reality has yet to make an appearance in cabinet, it being situated on a limb of the Great British oak!

  • Comment number 40.

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

  • Comment number 41.

    Even Brown will cut spending if he gets into the next government via a coalition with the libdems (mark my words re the libdems, this is the new labour strategy). The OECD estimates the structural budget deficit at 100 billion pounds per annum. This is the structural deficit, i.e. the estimate is for normalised growth and unemployment and tax revenues, so it assumes some recovery. If Brown does not cut the deficit after the summer of 2010, gilt yiels will rise to 10% and higher. Indeed, Brown has already planned spending cuts. The april 2009 budget contains cuts in investment from 2010 onwards.

    Re the OECD estimate: it's from a trusted source:

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/rogerbootle/5469884/Lets-have-a-five-year-public-spending-freeze-to-kill-off-big-government.html

  • Comment number 42.

    #19 Englandrise,

    You should go and do a bit of homework before you come on moaning about devolution...There are hospital parking charges in Scotland, and the Scottish Gov decided to phase out prescription charges over a period of years not automatically, which is quite a sensible way to do it I would have thought, so as not to take a massive hit in the health budget straight away. Maybe some joined up thinking at westminster might get you the same results. You should take a wee trip north of the border sometime you might like it so much you'd actually want to stay.....

  • Comment number 43.

    "In truth, aren't both Burnham and Lansley guilty of not spelling out the truth about what the huge deficit means?"

    Of course both of them are guilty of lying to us; isn't that what politicians are for?

  • Comment number 44.

    It is really a bit of a non argument - cuts are coming, regardless of wether Brown or Cameron are at the helm at the time.

    Its not who, its how much.

    As a certain meerkat might remark... simples!

  • Comment number 45.

    OK, so the great British public - sadly unable to analyse or grasp the truly horrific looming disaster that is Brown's economic genius (for this blame our education system as much as anything else) - vote in a Labour Government in 2010.

    I think that there is a real possibility of this happening: Brown is obsessed with power and is cunning to the point of being a bare-faced liar; Cameron fails too often to land good punches, still less a knockout blow.

    From 2010 onwards, with Labour in Government, Brown's economic genius will swiftly convert into a big, boomerang-shaped clunking fist. The nightmare that is Brown's continuing obsession with spending and, moreover, wasting hugely more sums of money than he can ever possibly tax or borrow will result in the inevitable collapse of the UK's socio-economic stability. The first signs pop up now and then already.

    At that point it may, perhaps, dawn on the citizens of the UK that they have had enough of Brown's incompetent, cynical and deceitful style of government. However, I fear that by then the damage to our way of life - already disintegrating rapidly after 12 years of shysters-at-the-helm - may be so bad that the term 'holocaust' comes to mind.

    If this scenario comes to pass then, of course, the British people will get all they deserve.

  • Comment number 46.

    2010 - Reckless and irresponsible media get their puppets (the electorate) to kick a very good PM out of office and he is replaced with their new darling David Cameron. Cue several magazine exclusives and documentaries on our new leader. Wow, what a guy he is!
    2011 - Cuts begin and services suffer. Media say nothing as does the airhead electorate as they're getting their magazine exclusives on the new PM's fitness regime and dietary habits, plus an "Inside Downing Street" documentary which millions tune in for. Wow, what a guy this Cameron is! Wow, he even washes the dishes, that's gotta make him one hell of a PM!
    2012 - Cuts take ahold and services deteriorate even further. Stories in paper about wards, crime, etc but they're banished to Page 34 as our fearless leader talks exclusively to the media about his love life and what makes him tick. "Behind the scenes at 10DS" is one of the best watched shows of the year. Wow, what a guy he is!
    2013 - Economy starting to suffer and quality of services are appalling. Cuts put millions under the poverty line but our heroic leader tells us, "Blame Labour for all that!!". "On holiday with the Camerons" is voted best TV program of the year. Wow, what a guy he is!
    2014 - People start losing jobs, recession comes in and media goes back to doing journalism. Media suddenly think, "did we really get rid of that effective, pragmatic and hard-working dour Scotsman for these lot? What have we done?". Stories come out on cabinet members involvement in cash-for-honors, bribes and expenses fiddling, plus some other somewhat salacious activities. Joe public says, "This would never happen under Labour. The government before this was brilliant. We love that Gordon Brown guy and his replacement as PLP leader would make a great PM. I'm getting sick of all this Cameron guy's lies and spin"
    2015 - Most lightweight PM ever in office gets booted out and Labour leader Peter Mandelson puts the good guys back in office. Hooray!!!! The Country Is Saved!!!

  • Comment number 47.

    Nick's blog is pertinent coming on the day that Age Concern issue a report condemning the lack of care for the elderly who save the NHS millions by staying in their own homes but get no help with basic things such as getting up and dressed.

    This aspect of care falls, god knows why' on local authorities who are , and have been for a long time, unable to deliver.They farm it out to the lowest tendering agency. And the pay peanuts equation comes into operation.

    I speak to an NHS nurse on a daily basis and they are appalled at the dropping standards and she and all her colleagues want out.

  • Comment number 48.

    #19 - Englandrise- the fact that the Scottish Government & Welsh Assembly devolved powers are better at running their affairs usually with 1 hand tied behind their backs in order to deliver all the things you whinge about says just as much about how good they are as it does about how crap Westminster is.
    the sooner you do indeed rise ,the better.
    #37 trimmtrab - correct the public sector in scotland is way to big ,but , that is caused by pen pushers,managers,auditors, quango's etc and is not caused by front line staff who actually deal with the public who are becoming as rare as hen's teeth , or as rare as politicians who tell the truth!
    Sid

  • Comment number 49.

    Any fool can see there will need to be cuts. Brown may choose not to admit it, but surely he realises.
    However, he is instead busy talking about electoral and constitutional reform, and suggesting this is needed because of the expenses scandal. Huh? HUH? Hello... wakey wakey Mr Brown

    I'll spell it out really simply:
    - MP code of conduct and ethics is the solution to MPs expenses, and issues over integrity. That's already been announced.
    - Electoral and constitutional reform... not a fix for the expenses issue.

    Surely he can't be trying to push for electoral reform in the wake of a bad election showing and trying to say the pubilc want it because of the expenses scandal? Can he?

    The public just want honesty - about reform, about policy, about cuts, about everything. Why can't Gordon Brown give us the honest truth about public spending cuts.

    #2 obanggang got it spot on - we all know there'll be cuts. The tories have already said there will be, but they don't equate spending and services.

    A lot of nonsense gets spouted about cuts, so here's an explanation I think helps:
    If you go into a supermarket, and see 10% off bread, do you think that means you'll get 10% fewer slices? Of course not. The price is cut but what you get is the same.

    In the same way, you can cut public spending by 10% and not cut services by anything like that much. It's about spending your money wisely. The tories are already talking about doing this.

    Labour just say we'll keep growing spending in real terms. That's plain irresponsible - we don't want more taxpayers' money thrown at services, with no guarantee of a corresponding increase in delivery, and we can't afford it anyway. Stop talking about how much you'll spend, and start talking about how much you'll deliver. This I believe is the essence of the tory message on public spending.

  • Comment number 50.

    johncarrelson 1

    You must have been watching a different PMQs to me. All I saw was a PM who constantly tells untruths to get himself out of answering questions.

    You know rhetoric is all very well, however I have noticed you have not addressed any of the serious arguments that people have responded with to your posts, preferring instead to come out with Labour spin.

    Perhaps if you want to be taken seriously you should present proper reasons why people should still vote Labour and answer some of the outstanding questions you have been asked.

    Andrew Neil is an excellent political reporter and does not fall on one side or the other.

  • Comment number 51.

    We need come up with ideas to have a healthier population, this would reduce NHS spend. So smoking, pollution and bad diet are big drivers. We know on smoking it's increase cost and restrict to fewer locations.
    Cars & lorry pollution needs more control and more electric trains. Need a much more positive strategy than Hilary Benn's. His idea is, as long as we are no worse that others it's okay; oh and by the way the unpopulated parts of country have great air quality. Quote, he says 24 out of 27 members of the EU along with UK are in breach of the standards and that most of the landmass of Britain does meet the air quality requirements; so basically a do nothing strategy

  • Comment number 52.

    Gordon Brown looks more like 'Sunny Jim' Callaghan by the day - waiting for 'something to turn-up' as the concrete wall (the general election) looms ever closer. Frank Field is correct, if the MPs don't do anything then they deserve all they get. The final electoral car-crash should be quite something to watch.

    Everyone knows that no party can now promise increased spending because of the colossal and ever-growing public debt, which becomes increasingly difficult to finance. The next government of whatever stripe will either make deep cuts voluntarily or be forced to by the IMF.

    Forget the debate about the fag-end of this 'New Labour Project', the real political debate is about the socio-economic/political landscape emerging in the wake of the collapse of the Thatcher/Blair free-market everlasting growth model, and how to clear away the debris of the fallen economic structure without making matters worse.





  • Comment number 53.

    #46

    .....and then he woke up.

  • Comment number 54.

    Maybe the labour claim not to cut TOTAL government outlays INCLUDING INTEREST is true. But, as yields required by investors to buy gilts will go up as the credibility of the UK government wanes further (remember that rating agency comment the other day), the amount that can be used for public sector wages, benefits and investments will shrink. Perhaps this is what labour allude to when they say they will not cut government spending.

    Remember, in a few years the ratio of government spending over private spending will go above 100% for the first time since 1945. Brown will pretend it is all sustainable. Gilt investors will very likely not. Note that foreign investors have been net sellers of gilts in recent months with the only big buyer in the market the Bank of England, UK's off-balance sheet vehicle that reminds me of Enron's accounting tricks.

  • Comment number 55.

    46. At 1:50pm on 10 Jun 2009, johncarrelson wrote:

    John old boy you don't happen to go by the name of Mandy in labour hq by any chance ?

  • Comment number 56.

    The inevitable cuts in public expenditure will ultimately be defined and identified by the vast army of civil servants who are payed inordinate amounts of money to provide the advice. They will, of course, have made sure that their particular province has been exempted from consideration in advance.

    Britain is overmanaged, over-regulated and over-staffed. But what the hell are the chances of correcting that all the time that those who are surplus to requirements are making the judgements?

    I have recently been told that there is a waiting time of 9 weeks for a pension forecast which should be a simple function of computing. Benefits claims are taking up to 7 weeks to resolve. Bed managers in hospitals - a totally unnecessary function if ever I encountered one - are being overruled by clinical staff on a regular basis. I could go on endlessly. The bottom line is that government has become so overpopulated with people who are paid to do unnecessary and inappropriate work that there are insufficient resources available for those at the sharp end to get on with it.

    The problem is what on earth you do with thousands of pen-pushers who are qualified only to push pens.

  • Comment number 57.

    There seems to be a loony in a tinfoil hat peddling theories about some form of media conspiracy to get the Tories into power.

    I guess if that is easier for you to accept than an incompetent government, we should leave you to your fantasy.

    Enjoy.

  • Comment number 58.

    # 46 johncarrelson

    You would appear to be one of those members of the public referred to in my post # 45 who has failed to grasp the almost incomprehensible levels of public sector debt that Gordon Brown has stoked up after 12 years in power and which, one way or another, must be both serviced and paid down.

    The point you seem to be missing is that Gordon Brown is oblivious to the now-critical need to deal with the UK's unsustainable spending plans. Gordon Brown masterminded the situation we're now in, ie he has masterminded the UK's road to bankruptcy and, bizarrely, seems proud of his proposals to march us on down that road. There is no other way to look at this. If we keep on going the way we are, government departments and all the other unelected hangers-on associated with government administration will simply run out cash: insufficient tax receipts and no lenders to government will guarantee this eventuality. I suppose we could go on and on printing money; don't put that past Gordon either. A man of your calibre will know what happens when governments print money indefinitely.

    So, yes, a Conservative government must and will cut public spending (they'll get around to telling us about it eventually). Vote in Brown and the UK economy will take on a life of its own, swiftly followed by life according to the IMF. Gordon Brown created the mess we're in; he's absolutely the last man on earth to have either the intention or the capability to get us out of it.

    All Labour governments end this way; they run out of money. If you spend years deceitfully ripping cash from the wealth-creating sector of the economy, borrowing more money than you can ever service or repay and then dump the proceeds unconditionally in the consuming (ie public) sector of the economy then eventually you, er, run out of money. It's simple economics really, but sadly not quite within Gordon Brown's intellectual grasp. Socialists have never figured this one out.



  • Comment number 59.

    46. At 1:50pm on 10 Jun 2009, johncarrelson wrote:
    2010 - Reckless and irresponsible media get their puppets (the electorate) to kick a very good PM out of office and he is replaced with their new darling David Cameron. Cue several magazine exclusives and documentaries on our new leader. Wow, what a guy he is!
    2011 - Cuts begin and services suffer.
    .
    .
    .
    2015 - Most lightweight PM ever in office gets booted out and Labour leader Peter Mandelson puts the good guys back in office. Hooray!!!! The Country Is Saved!!!

    ==================================================================

    2016 - Labour start to screw it all up again, just like last time.

    The fact that you feel you can sit there and write such garbage about a possible future government considering how we got into this mess is staggering.

    If it wasn't for your pathetic labour government, then the next government might actually have a country to lead that wasn't bankrupt (that's financially and morally).

  • Comment number 60.

    #51 - lixiescot:

    "We need come up with ideas to have a healthier population, this would reduce NHS spend. So smoking, pollution and bad diet are big drivers. We know on smoking it's increase cost and restrict to fewer locations".

    This is absolutely typical of the kind of simplification which throws everything out of kilter. The people who are costing the NHS billions because of smoking related diseases are not simply going to live forever and never require the services of the NHS. The chances are that they will require the services of the pension service for a good deal longer.

    I have no brief for smokers but it really is time to stop taking statistics in isolation to make a political case. Has it not occured to you that all the money spent on this number crunching, if redirected to front line care, would have been far better spent?

  • Comment number 61.

    Shameful post, Nick. You know full well cuts and tax rises are coming no matter who is elected to government next time. Again, you spin against the Conservatives and let Labour off the hook. What the hell is going on at the BBC that they tolerate this? I'm not even a Tory supporter, but your 'somewhat implausibly you might think' twist is an embarassment to read. Don't you realise that despite Labour activists and pay-to-post'ers calling you 'Tory-boy' to muddy the waters, many here can see right through you?

  • Comment number 62.

    # 54 - good analogy - Bank of England as Brown's off-balance sheet SIV. Brown really LOVES deception in all its forms, perhaps thats behind the his apparent rapproachment with Mandelson.

    The more reality is exposed, the more Brown's whole economic 'miracle' resembles a giant Ponzi Scheme - a scheme he is desperate to prevent from unravelling. Literally ANY TRICK is now employed to keep the wheels on Brown's borrowing machine: fake money; fake growth through QE; fake promises to 'change his style'; fake recovery, fake everything.

  • Comment number 63.

    #50 croftie

    Oh! How wonderful people are who agree with you. Andrew Neil, David Cameron, Gideon Osborn. I must be blind not to be able to see the qualities these people bring to the art of politics. Do I realy not see that given the history of the Tory party, that I, and all working people will be at the forefront of their thinking.

    But then, I remember reading the Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, and am reminded what life was like for the worker in the building trade, just one hundred years ago. Then I think of the changes that have taken place as Labour governments took power and the pressure applied by Labour in opposition, during the years between then and now, and think, would they have happened if those who had power were left unchallenged?

    I come to the conclusion they would not. We would still be living in Muggsborough. There are many things that need to be done in changing a capitalist system that has gradually increased it's grip on us all over eight hundred years. It takes time, but we are changing things piece by piece. What holds us up, are those who are so afraid of change, they cling onto the symbols of the status quo, either because they are doing well enough or, have a dream that they will join those that take more than they give.

    What these people don't see is that the benefits that we have acrued over these last one hundred years are to all our benefit. The same will apply to the benefits we are yet to develop, they will be to everyone's good. I am suprised that on these blogs there have been no references to the Reith Lectures, (apart from mine of course), where an alternative veiw of our interaction with society is being descibed. Now, if anyone has anything to say about Professor Sandels' veiw, this would be a good place to voice them.

  • Comment number 64.

    6 - greatHayemaker "If the majority of people disagree with you, it is not THEM who is in the wrong"

    Hey, I'm with you in the government disillusionment and have been wishing for a change for many many years - when Labour came into power I was amazingly skeptical then and feel vindicated since.

    But your argument is, frankly, absolute tosh. A majority movement in favour of (or against) something has absolutely no bearing on whether it is right or wrong. Always remember that people are stupid.

    Oh, and people rarely voluntarily make contact to praise someone (try it - you'd be amazed how suprised people are). Unfortunately for the incument PM and governing party even if they were to write in and praise they would still be a minority.

  • Comment number 65.

    The planned increases in overall GVN spending that Brown read out at PMQ's actually equate to a public spending CUT in real terms. Now add in the increased debt repayments (8% in 2011 and rising) + higher welfare bills (does any body dispute that Unemployment is set to continue rising)and the fact that demand and inflation in the NHS is above the nominal national inflation target of 2% p.a & you can see where Andrew Lanley has got his 10% cut in discresionary spending from.

    If anything the Tory Health minister probably underestimates the reality and as for Brown - to imply that there will be no cuts under labour is a complete and utter joke. I hope the press crucify him for this piece of fiction.

  • Comment number 66.

    Whoever gets into Government next time will have to make cuts in our services. Government debt is such that this is the only possible outcome. We are adding to this debt everyday as less tax comes in, unemployment rises, so benefit payments go up. Our Government finances were in a mess even before this recession started.

    The question will be at the next election whether Labour voters are realistic enough to understand that cuts have to be made. Judging by johncarrelson and Grandantidote maybe they will not, they seem to think we can borrow and spend for ever. As the Government is still increasing the public sector in spite of recession to buy votes the situation will be far worse by the time of the next election. That is why I feel a General Election should happen now to try and start reform.

    Hopefully the public will see who has caused the Government debt with their spend, spend, spend policies and that the necessary reforms to the NHS etc that should have happened over the last 12 years were not undertaken by Labour. Also that very little improvement has resulted in our services for all the money spent. The question will then be who is most likely to spend the money they will have wisely, undoubtably this is the Conservatives as Labours record speaks for itself.

  • Comment number 67.

    No50 SusanCroft
    I note from one of you recent contributions that apart from being a political scientist you have an acute understanding of human psychology. Could you let me know if you have had any of your work published in order that I can add it to my library.

  • Comment number 68.

    @ 28. AndyC555.

    Very simple and totally 100% correct. Brown is going crazy on the countries credit card trying to "buy some temporary green shoots" in time for the election. After the election, the bill falls on the mat and the repayments are due. WHO picks up the tab?

    ALL OF US TAXPAYERS!

    How many men does it take to change a light-bulb? Under a labour Government it is 5. One to write out the risk assessment, two to hold the ladder, one to change the bulb and one to monitor that health and safety regulations have been observed.

    OH I WISH THAT WAS NOT TRUE!

    If Cameron scraps the ludicrous multiple layers of politically correct red tape, then he could get us MUCH more services at a small fraction of the price.

  • Comment number 69.

    Billions of our pounds will have to go to pay the interest on the money borrowed to fund Brown's debtridden government.

    If he hadn't messed things up in the first place there wouldn't have to be public service cuts and tax rises.

    No one can be so niaive as to think Brown is investing in the public services.

    Only today we find out he is cutting back all over the shop but still calls it investing.

    He's made sure our investments have gone down the tubes and that's where his investments are going. Into the banks and down the tubes.

    BUT it's not his money it's ours and our childrens and grandchildrens.

    It seems we have two alternatives. Brown continuing to lead us all down the garden path to oblivion or reality under the Tories.

    Whichever we choose it will still mean years of misery ahead.

  • Comment number 70.

    "44. At 1:46pm on 10 Jun 2009, planting_seeds wrote:

    It is really a bit of a non argument - cuts are coming, regardless of wether Brown or Cameron are at the helm at the time.

    Its not who, its how much.

    As a certain meerkat might remark... simples!"
    ----------------------------------

    It's not how much, it is HOW IS IT SPENT?

    Would you rather a fluorescent strip light in a school hall cost 750 pounds to replace or 10 pounds?

    Get some common sense and efficiency into spending and we could save a fortune from the MASSIVE amounts of waist we are subjected to.

    SIMPLES, but still way above the heads of labour!

  • Comment number 71.

    nick
    Labour get a smack in the eye from the electorate, Gordon says Ok well dont worry about it we'll just carry on as before, expenses scandal oh! forget that, people didnt turn out to vote well thats up to them we'll just carry on and pretend that nothing needs to change, Tories slag off Labour saying even with these things staring you in the face you've done nothing to clear things up.
    Thats one scenario, Labour gets a smack in the eye from the electorate,Gordon has a reshuffle and has a meeting to discuss why all these electors didn't turn up in any great numbers for any party,they decide that the house of commons has obviously got to buck its ideas up, we are going to sort out the expense problem and make everyone accountable with a independet committee so that its fair to everyone all parties invited to part take. Lets change the voting system as many MPs for years have been asking for to make it fairer on all parties, lets also get this house of lords sorted out at the same time, something the people have wanted for years. In the meanwhile we will carry on handling the economy and trying to keep as many people in jobs as possible.
    Tories slag off Labour saying even with these things staring you in the face you've done nothing to clear things up.
    Gordon has to ignore the Tories whatever he does for the country they will slag him off particularly the manic bunch on here.

  • Comment number 72.

    46 - johncarrelson

    Try changing "Brown" for "Major", "Cameron" for "Blair" and making the dates a little earlier and I'm with you.

    The differences between Cameron & Blair - no idea as yet.

    The differences between Brown & Major? Major was a man who faced and confronted his critics, appreciated he AND those around him needed to work together for the country, did not cling to power til the last possible moment, achieved a mandate from the British Public (albeit not initially) and left the economy and public finances in what would be described as "decent shape" in comparison to the incumbent

  • Comment number 73.

    A couple of posts here read like press releases, rather than personal opinions.

    Just out of interest. What's the BBC's policy on declarations of interest? I mean if someone has a job at one of the political parties and doesn't declare it when they post, does the BBC do anything, or is that ok?

  • Comment number 74.

    Let's be clear. The tax take will not be what they are predicting for any period for many years to come. Also the tories have no clue of the damage in the treasury until they get in and view what the state of the books is. Knowing Gordon he has hidden a lot of the devastation and this will need to be resolved.
    We can attract investment into the country and he proudly explained the 5000 jobs - but wouldn't those jobs come anyway under a tory government as business is allowed to flow into the country?
    He treats us like fools, doesn't answer questions and clearly plays with the numbers to suit his own political message. Tragically the Labour party didn't have the nerve to get rid of him so we have to put up with him until next year.
    Roll on May!

  • Comment number 75.

    This is another non story from Nu Labour Nick.

    The truth is it will either be 7% or 10% - savage cuts will be needed as we have no money ( thanks to Gordon ).

    The NHS has swallowed vast amounts of public money for very little improvement over the past 10 years and please god the debate will move on from these facile comments regarding depths of cuts to how to make it

    - consumer facing and driven
    - efficient
    - making doctors / managers responsible for their mistakes ( rather than being allowed to say sorry and go straight back to the golf course )
    - making GP's do something for the vast amounts of extra money they are now paid
    - less beaurocratic

    It needs to actually give a s**t about the poor patients who have no choice but to use it.

    Every other area of the country faces these pressures - it is now time the NHS did to.

  • Comment number 76.

    50 susan croft

    Perhaps if you want to be taken seriously you should present proper reasons why people should vote conservative, I've yet to see you give one good sound reason why we should trust the nasty party, dont give us a load of gobblygook in the same way as flame patricia does she hasn't got a original thought in her head, just tell us what their going to do or even better tell us what they would have done,had they have been in power and God forbid if they ever get in power again, Cameron on his best day will never be as good a politician as Gordon Brown on his worst day, so were's his inspiration going to come from.

  • Comment number 77.

    There is, at last, some growing efficiency in the both education and NHS. Some, but growing from a low base: there is more that can be achieved.
    After all the hurried NHS investments in staff, hospitals and equipment from 2000 to 2007 that was mostly to catch up on the under-investment in the previous 20 years, progress on productivity and delegating care to GPs is under way. It ought to be possible to achieve 3+% pa efficiency savings that will enable health care for the growing numbers of elderly to rise, without requiring large increases in real expenditures. The cost of many treatments is falling - not rising as is often advertised.
    As for schools & colleges, the main struggle is to raise standards through improved teaching methods. Again, because of recent investments, most of those needed improvements should be attainable from within exisitng resources.
    All of which suggests that continued focus on efficiency and measured resource allocations will enable the volume and quality of public services to rise faster than spending.

  • Comment number 78.

    I see that Gordon Brown has once again decided to hide behind the slogan "Tory cuts". Cuts in public expenditure are coming our way because Gordon Brown wasted so much money during his 10 years as chancellor that this country will soon have upwards of 1 trillion of debt to repay. The fact that he will continue borrowing on a reckless scale in the short term so spending reductions can be delayed until after the election does not mean that the party that has to follow on and clean up his mess is the party responsible for these reductions. But I am sure he and his supporters will continue to spout off this nonsense and the media will no doubt continue to give him substantial airtime to do so with very limited opporttunity for the opposition to refute his claims.

  • Comment number 79.

    Nick,

    You are probably correct - both Labour and Conservatives are both guilty regarding not spelling out the truth with respect cuts.

    Gordon Brown, however, seems happy to mislead parliament. Now that is far more serious. Shouldn't Brown be summoned to the house to correct his statements on spending growth?

  • Comment number 80.

    Gordon Brown is the most deceitful and dishonest man on the planet. Why does anyone take any notice of anything he says?

  • Comment number 81.

    3 johncarrelson

    You complain that Andrew Neil only reads out Anit-Brown e-mails each week.

    This diagram might help you understand why they mainly receive anti-Brown e-mails:

    https://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/elections/local_council/09/map/html/map.stm

    Did you see any red blobs on that map representing areas where Gordon is popular?

    P.S. You may also like to know that Gordon is misleading you with respect Labour spending plans. This link shows you the year on year cuts Labour plans:

    https://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/3687378/the-truth-behind-that-10-percent-cut.thtml

  • Comment number 82.

    Nice to see that John Carrelson thinks that Gordon Brown is an effective and pragmatic leader.

    So effective that he managed to undo sixty years work paying back the American war loan in eighteen months and land us with the biggest national debt in history.

    So pragmatic he wrestled supervision of the banking system from the Bank of England against the wishes of the Governor, overturned 300 years of history and within a decade was presiding over the biggest banking bust in the history of the UK.

    So much a leader that he can't even choose his own members of cabinet without the threat of revolt and resignation and is forced into apolgising for the worst election result in the history of the labour arty.

    An effective and pragmatic leader indeed.

    Good luck.

    You are welcome to him.

    Call an election.

  • Comment number 83.

    After Mondays PLP meeting and the promise of the latest New Gordon at PMQs today, he looked pretty much like the same old Gordon to me.

    Nothing has changed, or will change - no matter how much Mandy tries to show otherwise, the bottom line is we are who we are .......

  • Comment number 84.

    Tell the TRUTH - Liebour and Brown Bias Corp CENSOR U - tell LIES and it is OK for both. WHAT a mess this lot have reduced a once great country to in 11 years - invaders and Hitler could not do it BUT Liebour have.

  • Comment number 85.

    "Perhaps if you want to be taken seriously you should present proper reasons why people should vote conservative, I've yet to see you give one good sound reason why we should trust the nasty party, dont give us a load of gobblygook in the same way as flame patricia does she hasn't got a original thought in her head, just tell us what their going to do or even better tell us what they would have done,had they have been in power and God forbid if they ever get in power again, Cameron on his best day will never be as good a politician as Gordon Brown on his worst day, so were's his inspiration going to come from."

    One reason - The Tories will cut public spending. That one alone will do for me.

  • Comment number 86.

    76. At 3:02pm on 10 Jun 2009, grandantidote wrote:
    50 susan croft

    Perhaps if you want to be taken seriously you should present proper reasons why people should vote conservative, I've yet to see you give one good sound reason why we should trust the nasty party, dont give us a load of gobblygook in the same way as flame patricia does she hasn't got a original thought in her head, just tell us what their going to do or even better tell us what they would have done,had they have been in power and God forbid if they ever get in power again, Cameron on his best day will never be as good a politician as Gordon Brown on his worst day, so were's his inspiration going to come from.

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

    I have read many of Susan's posts on here and frankly she has given you ample reasoned argument and has eloquently put her case across many many times ..Either you don't read them properly or you choose not to.

    It is indeed funny how when Labour and their supporters know they face almost certain death at the next election, they resort to petty personal insults.

  • Comment number 87.

    Brown still thinks he can spend his way out of a recession. Yes, he wants to "invest" in services, but where will this money come from?

    More borrow, borrow, borrow.

    Out of money? Don't cut your costs, just print more!

    If you are in debt then you spend less.

    I think it's due to mis-management that we are in this situation in the first place. And he now goes on about all the things he is doing to tackle the recession that he had a part in, as if to impress? The public showed their loss of support for Brown in two recent elections, cabinet walked out, anyone not in his close circle within his influence range wants him gone, so where is the election?!

  • Comment number 88.

    Anyone grumbling on about "Cameron's cuts", as if Labour have some plan to keep on raising expenditure year by year, needs to answer the question - where is the money coming from?

    We have a massive budget deficit, and it is getting bigger by the day, because tax revenues have collapsed. We already pay more out of our taxes on interest than we do on defence. Our international credit rating is already suffering - soon we will see a rise in the interest rates we have to pay. The consequences of not paying off debt will be alarming and they will affect everyone. Living here will be like being beseiged, because we won't be able to afford imports.

    So, Gordon Brown and his little helpers here, is this what you want? If you think you can increase expenditure while our net income reduces but without increasing our debt, then let's hear it - WHERE THE HELL IS THE MONEY GOING TO COME FROM?

  • Comment number 89.

    76. At 3:02pm on 10 Jun 2009, grandantidote wrote:

    Cameron on his best day will never be as good a politician as Gordon Brown on his worst day, so were's his inspiration going to come from.

    =====================================================================

    And how we laughed. I'll tell you what grand - I could have done a better job that gordon has over 12 years, simply by leaving things were in 1997.

    Did Gordon sell our gold on one of his better days?
    How about destroying my pension?
    In fact Gordon has had quite a few worst days recently hasn't he.



  • Comment number 90.

    Once again Cameron has proved himself to be a hypocrite, He wanted reform on MPs expenses then he decides to argue against it
    He wants to bring the UK out of recession, by cutting back, how can you cut back and get out of a recession.
    I agree with comment 1 keep up the good work Gordon

  • Comment number 91.

    carrelson @ 46:

    A prime example of serious delusion if I ever saw one. If you really believe that Mandelson wil take over as P.M. after one term of Conservatism then you are truly a candidate for the men in white coats! Maybe you are Mandelson The Lord of Darkness himself. Perhaps you could fill us in a little on your background so that we can attempt to understand you a little better.

  • Comment number 92.

    Somethings gotta give, self inflicted lung damage,liver failure even stab wounds, we just can't go standing in middle of the road waiting to get knocked down and then demand help, it all adds toi the cost depriving those that have genuine ailments.

    The trouble is Labour, they have created waste in the NHS with money being wasted on bureaucracy rather than treatment.

    Soon we'll be looking for 2nd hand plasters!

    Labour are not capitalist and never will be, when was the last time they had a healthy kitty... they are very good at spending and nothing else.

    Lets remember we did have a Chancellor not long ago and he called himself prudent what a joke that is.... well, where is it then?

    Gordon Brown is a ruler, a leader he will never be, forget the NHS he's too busy saving the world (and the Labour party).

  • Comment number 93.

    #86:

    Hear hear!

  • Comment number 94.

    82 - If you're going to cite a reputable and independent article then don't use that Tory pseudo-intellectual would-be-if-he-could-be windbag Fraser Nelson who Gordy rightly put in his place during Friday's press conference.

    4,61 - Don't know what you're on about there. Nick is by far and away the most independent of all of the political commentators. Have you every watched Tom Bradby, Adam Boulton or Joey Jones??? Never in my life have I seen such partisan journalism. They may as well all wear blue caps and have middle names like Gideon

    80 - Because he is the rightful Prime Minister of this country and I respect the office of PM

    67 - Funniest thing I've read in years

  • Comment number 95.

    Still think taking to the streets is our best option!

  • Comment number 96.

    A projected cut in NHS spending should concern us all. My personal experience of the NHS has been good on the whole, being one of those who has never been able to afford private health insurance for myself or my family.
    My perception is that the health service has improved, certainly in my experience, over the past 12 years. There have been some anomalies of course and quite rightly those have been highlighted in the press.
    In the early 1990s one of my sons developed a chronic condition which was treated in a way that inhibited his ability to complete his education successfully and get anything other than a voluntary or temporary part time work. Thanks to a course at Portland College and the exposure of the policy which treated my son's condition, and all those like him as cheaply as possible, we were able to wean him off debilitating medication and he was able to continue to hone his skills and get a full-time job.
    From personal experience, I therefore fear for future generations if there must be cuts in NHS spending.

  • Comment number 97.

    The real, long term, problem in our health, education and other public sector departments is the nature of the 'investments' made during the last 12 years. Too much money has gone into raising salaries and creating new jobs and the overhead costs are simply running out of control. This 'extra investment' as it is trumpeted is nothing of the sort, it's simply cost inflation.
    Worse still increased staff costs are a permanent drain on resources since the inflated salaries must be found year after year and the total pension liability for 'gold plated' public sector pensions will become a millstone for the country.

    I have recently seen, close up, an organization that failed to control staff costs, allowed them to rise unchecked, and suddenly found itself facing judgment day when the CEO left.

    ZaNu Labour 'investments' in the public sector may yet bankrupt us all when it becomes clear that these 'assets' have been valued at far too high a price. Typical ZaNu Labour take a cost and redefine it as an investment.

    Cuts are inevitable, unavoidable and essential but must fall most heavily on the administration rather than front line services.

  • Comment number 98.

    John Carrelson

    Whoah Whoah Whoah!

    Let me get this straight then.

    Opinions from Andrew Neil and Anita Anand, and the emails they read out are bias against whom exactly? Weren't the emails from the public, or are you stating that they are extremely selective against policy and over view of the Prime Minister?

    They seem to be in concert with the majority of bloggers on this site.

    They seem to be in concert of the majority of whoever could be bothered to vote in the two recent elections.

    Could it be possible that the general public mood has in fact been captured?

    Or is it that the majority are wrong and you are right.

    You sound like a Brown man to me.

    It is called the democratic view of the public, sadly it has been given short shrift over the last decade, but now it's gaining arms and legs everywhere.

    That's why if Brown is looking for an electoral change, he'd better ensure it is one agreed on by the public.


  • Comment number 99.

    grandantidote 76

    I have given you lots of reasons, in all of my posts the last one was on education. I am sorry but it is your posts which are lacking in content. You still have not given us an answer as to how you will deal with Government debt that Labour have racked up and continue to increase if we do not cut services. I would dearly like to hear your answer on that.

    It is not kind to call other posters like flamepatricia. I think the one about her son was particularly objectionable.

    I suppose you will accuse me of having you referred again, which was totally untrue. Have you thought it might be the language you use?

  • Comment number 100.

    Let's face it, UK plc is up to, or close to, it's bank limit just the same as a large number of businesses and families in the country.

    So just as you and I are having to tighten out belts and cut out extravagance so too will the country's public services.

    I do not want my personal financial suffering to be extended too far into the next decade by way of taxes to finance the overspending of Brown & Co since 1997 - he hasn't helped me out!

    Cut out the wasted money and make public services leaner and more efficient, exactly as so many businesses are having to do at the current time.

    And as for the Conservatives - stop ducking and diving and just tell it as it is because believe me, Joe Public would rather hear right now that services spending is going to be cut to help keep taxes down and keep as much money in our pockets as possible as opposed to the opposite view.

    It goes to show how out of touch with public feeling Labour really is.

 

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