Which Premier League manager will get fired first

Friday, 22 October 2010

The Big Freeze

Lots of things are frozen at this time of year generally pipes, boilers, schoolchildren and office workers as boilers spring into life for the first time in 6 months and promptly break down again. We always seem surprised when this happens and are never prepared. Take last year's winter for example the country ground to a standstill as it actually had the audacity to snow on more than 2 consecutive days while other countries like Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Norway, Russia, Canada and the USA managed just fine with far higher levels of snow. This unpreparedness is once again evident as George Osborne unveiled his Big Freeze of public spending.

For months we have been told that there will be cuts in the public sector as a result of the recession and spending review as the state hadn't really cut any staff during the last couple of years the way the private sector has so clearly something has to be slimmed down.

The problem is figuring out if the cuts will lead to a Weightwatchers type reduction or a Slim-Fast lose as much as you can very quickly diet. Many of the changes are good in principle but not really targeted in the right way with the Child Benefit cut being one of the main ones. In principle cutting Child Benefit for higher earners is a good one but linking it to the rate of tax paid rather than household income was not giving a scenario where a single income family on £47000 per annum would lose the benefit whilst a dual income family on £80000 per annum would keep it. William Hague claimed the former were a minority whereas most would say it represents about 25% of the Conservative Party's core voters with some of the cuts potentially proving to be political suicide.

So where are the cuts good or bad? Reducing prison costs is a positive step as long as it doesn't lead to people who should be in custody (those with previous convictions for violent or sexual crimes or on trial for murder or flight risks being excluded), reducing the amount of quangos again not a bad idea as long as it actually saves money but counter that with reductions in government building programmes and decommissioning Ark Royal while talking of increasing overseas aid and it is not easily apparent where the true savings will be made as those made redundant will likely claim some kind of benefits (paid for by the state) and tax receipts will decline as a result. A 20% levy on the EuroMillions and Lotto winners every week would go a long way to increasing tax receipts as would stopping some of the tax avoidance used by LTD company contractors who are in effect disguised employees and umbrella companies.

The truth is there are no easy answers as to what cuts are good and which are bad as someone suffers regardless of how it is done. Some companies that work to get jobseekers into work sound like they are providing a positive service yet the cost to the taxpayer that they are charged by them is quite high and that work would be better done by the JobCentre anyway. It seems overall that the plan is to force government departments to spend their budgets wisely and ensure that projects are funded on merit rather than influence.

Hopefully in 5 years we won't be saying that The more that it hurts the less that it works


  1. Now then,good blog Adam.

    Prison places should be massively reduced anyway.More should be spent on rehabilitation than imprisonment.Obviously you have to lock up the nutters,but there are too many people inside that shouldn't be there.

    No need for trident,no need to be in Afghanistan.Deficit solved.

  2. Yeah good blog Adam. I agree about the Ltd company tax avoidance. I have heard of a guy who was on a £60,000 contract but paid hardly any tax. That isnt right.

  3. good blog, adam, thoughtful.

    well the tories believe in a small US style state leaving the engine of capitalism to grind on by itself so we were going to get cuts whether we needed them or not werent we?

    hilarious reading the howls of anguish in the daily mail as the 25% (as you say)realised how much it was going to cost them personally, which is all theyre bothered about of course

    i commend you adam for avoiding this tendency (how it affects ME) and also for not trotting out the habital lie that gordon brown caused the global meltdown aka "this mess that Labour has left us"

    like you i think that some cuts are good - eg the rich woman who spent the child benefit on a boob job and i know someone who has just used the £190 grant to expectant mothers intended to promote healthy eating on a NEW TELLY! short of buying £190 worth of chicken mcnuggets i cant think of a more egregious abuse of the inention

    however, i think you mention but skirt round the key issue namely : "The problem is figuring out if the cuts will lead to a Weightwatchers type reduction or a Slim-Fast lose as much as you can very quickly diet."

    it's a massive risk what the tories are doing. its the same massive risk that thatcher took. simple (i nearly said simple-minded, but theyre not, of course) principles put into effect extremely rapidly can have a devestating impact on both the economy and on communities. but who cares as long as it doesnt affect ME or people like ME?

    the speed of the cuts - no one in their right minds would think, despite the pipsqueak chancellors assertions, that labour would be this brutal - risks (a) a double dip recession according to many experts including nobel prize-winners (b) a housing crash and (c|)serious social dislocation - even that old leftie boris johson is saying hang on a mo, we're going to have no poor people left in central london and we need poor people because who else is going to clean the mayoral toilets?

    personally i think the economy will survive more from luck than judgment but as with that cunt thatcher, the next Labour government which cant come soon enough for me (as you know) will be left clearing up the mess left behind by this brutally amateurish bunch of toff on temporary secondment from their true personal business interests.

    these are the nutters jacks wants locked up and as for trident, i think we should test it on Surrey