This is my Mum. Over the last three months she has noticed that every week, £30 appears in her bank account. Despite numerous phone calls she has been unable to find out what it is or where it has come from. Yesterday, she spent more than an hour at her bank and they finally found out.
It seems that Her Majesty's Government thinks she is a sixth form student, and is paying her £30 a week to attend school. I kid ye not. Mrs Dale may be many things, but a sixth form student ain't one of them. Naturally, she is taking steps to ensure that the money is stopped and she repays what she has been paid. So, OK, we all make mistakes and I am sure that this is a one off mistake (actually, I'm not, but that's not the point I am wanting to make with this post).
I have no idea how much it is costing the taxpayer to pay £30 a week to all sixth form students, but I suspect the figure runs into hundreds of millions of pounds. I was against the grant when it was first introduced, and I see no reason to change my mind. My point is that it is this sort of public expenditure which is going to come under very close scrutiny in the coming months when government is forced to rein in its spending horns whether it likes it or not.
The Conservatives should be looking at every scheme like this and evaluating its economic and social worth. I would axe it tomorrow, if it were down to me, but politically it may well be difficult to do. But it is this sort of hard decision which will determine whether our politicians are capable of taking the hard decisions which need to be taken.