Thursday, March 13, 2008

Thought for the Day

A reader writes...
The government will next year spend £1700 million a day. A day! £681 billion in total. Benefits will cost more than the total take from income tax. The NHS will cost more than the total take of national insurance. Education spends the total take from VAT. It’s absolutely out of control.

I could not agree more.


Anonymous said...

"Education spends the total take from VAT"

Is that before or after the VAT billions we're obliged to hand over to Brussels?.

Anonymous said...

Thank God for motorists, smokers and boozers then.

Johnny Norfolk said...

So why are the Tory party saying nothing about it. they are just so timid.

Anonymous said...

Last I heard the Tories committed to maintaining Labours level of public spending.

Anonymous said...

We're rich!

(Apologies to those among you who've spent the inheritance and are on your uppers)

Anonymous said...

Only thirty quid per person per day then? Sounds like a bargain to me. We get an armed service to protect us, our health looked after, our children educated (sorry you have none), our banks rescued when some crazed free-market buccaneer has slipped past the Tory espoused light-touch self-regulation regime and a myriad of other delights.

It costs three times as much to spend a night in a Holiday Inn...

Anonymous said...

This is a fiscal scorched earth policy. It was a putrid budget, theiving from us on a breathtaking scale with lies about the environment and binge drinking - as if that revenue is going to do anything other than pay for Northern Rock and the war in Iraq and ludicrous attempts at social engineering.

asquith said...

Sorry for the irrelevance Iain, but do you have views on the ghd adverts, and are you going to blog about them? I sure as shite won't be blogging about the topic, or anything else, but we could do with an Iain Dale editorial :)

There's an article on the matter by Nathalie Rothschild at Comment is Free. Although she is one of Brendan O'Neill's acolytes, and I revealed her as such, I can't stop looking at her picture in a longing sort of way :)

Greater Manchester Fabians said...

You are getting more and more reactionary and putting things in context less and less.

Anonymous said...

ooSorry to be thick, but where has the money gone?

My poor old mum has a pension of only £100 a week, our roads have holes, our Council Tax has doubled to cope with the year-on-year under-funding and the little post offices (heart of the rural communities) are being closed.

Not good really, and we're in a nice part of the country. The real tragedy is in the depressing and deprived urban areas where the useless Labour councils have miserably failed the poor people who live there.

Time for a change.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, if we stopped paying benefits to poor people ALTOGETHER we could make the richer people who pay the most income tax EVEN WEALTHIER !!

Trebles all round !!

Anonymous said...

"Education spends the total take from VAT"

So we, as a nation, are spending a lot of money on the future leaders, doctors, teachers, business people, hedge fund managers, social care workers, architects, brickies, engineers, designers, artists, bloggers and so on. The people who will pay for our pensions, staff our hospitals, teach the next generation, create our wealth, build our houses, create our entertainment.

Have I missed something. Is this a bad thing?

Are the Tories seriously going into an election saying cut back on education spending?

No, thought not, they want people to vote for them who aren't mad.

You know, the sort of people who
think there should be no tax, we should all look after ourselves, the United Nations fly special forces around in black helicopters spying on simple folk and that we should live in the hills of Montana armed to the teeth with rocket launchers and home made bombs?

Iain, I finally agree, you are not a mouthpiece for Central Office, because an election poster that said what you have just agreed with would have Dave himself looking closely at his majority.

Twig said...

Isn't it marvellous how Labour can maintain this level of spending while at the same time reducing the basic rate of tax by 2%.

How do they do it?

Anonymous said...

Re Twig's comment :- very easily as the 10% tax band has been eliminated so that everybody starts on the 20% band which means everybody who earns upto £18000 will pay a lot more tax. Fortunately everyone over that figure will pay less income tax!!!

Anonymous said...

"The NHS will cost more than the total take of national insurance."

How much more? If it's not that much more seems a good deal to me - isn't that what National Insurance is supposed to be for?

Anonymous said...

Yes, Iain. But what exactly would you be doing differently. If it was your budget, what would you have done?

Anonymous said...

Where's the evidence then?

Anonymous said...

I note with interest, Iain, that your house has increased hugely in value during the period of Labour's tenure in Government, and yet you seem to see a slight increase in taxation as unaffordable squandering.

What utter facile hard-of-thinking tosh this is..

Jeremy Jacobs said...

So the £25M each day going to Brussels is nothing!

Anonymous said...

It was another great budget for smugglers, thanks Mr Darling. Relax about public spending and look at it a job creation. The NHS, Education etc are bottomless pits into which you can pour as much money as you like and it makes no difference. What would we do if we sacked them all? Most of them couldn't even change a light bulb. Lock all the scientists up and tell them they will be freed when they've come up with a substitute for oil.
Freedom to prosper

Anonymous said...

Happy bloke..if I didn't have to pay tax, I could live in the Holiday Inn.

Anonymous said...

'Benefits will cost more than the total take from income tax.'

Yup! And did you see last week's television programme in which unemployed oiks turned up their noses at jobs which paid £7 an hour because they would 'sooner be on the social'?

Anonymous said...

I agree with "Greater manchester Fabians" above: this blog gets more sensational by the day!

On the topic: reading your blog today reminded me of my chat with my flat mate last night.

He had come home moaning about how much spending was up "money for this, money for that, (etc, etc)".

He happens to earn about 4-5 times more than I (and im not badly off at all) and i started to think: "hang on, you went to a state school, your parents were not wealthy at all, you benefited from free health care, money in your mums pocket to spend on you, free university tuition, subsidised loans at university, etc, etc - and the result is: you are now in a fantastic job - in an industry where the UK is a global leader!"

I put these points to him, and he came back by saying that now things are going too far, "money is going on those not working, etc, etc"

And i replied: "Hang on, when you were at school, if 15-25% of the kids had bad shoes, no money for decent food, cold houses, etc; then i am sure your school would have been a much harder place to learn, and what's more, just because someone's parents don't work, or don't have a clue, doesn't mean their kids should be hindered, that would only exacerbate all our problems".

All I am saying Iain, is that the UK is not doing THAT badly. The rich and middle earners are not doing WITHOUT that much? Private school entrance is up, households with two cars are the norm, people regularly eating out: people dont do to badly Iain; so sharing the wealth around and mitigating the side effects of raw capitalism is not a bad use of £30 a day!

Big Andy

Anonymous said...

We are the people of England and we have not spoken yet!!!

A rude awakening awaits for Brown and his scottish
cabinet colleagues and the Labour Party in general.

Goodnight Vienna!

Tapestry said...

It's actually GBP 1.7 billion a day, not GBP 1.7 million. That was GBP .7 billion a day in 1997.

SURVIVAL STRATEGY - Either move yourselves or your money overseas as soon as you can.

Anonymous said...

I take it that all these people who think public spending is such a wonderful thing all work in the public sector.

Anonymous said...

I see the NuLab anonymice are out in force. Shouldn't you all be off helping your bosses decide what £10k kitchens they should be buying?

monoi said...

When I read what the anons (and big andy) write to justify that, I despair.

There really is a lot of mileage in thinking the general public is moronic.

Anonymous said...

Labour HQ trolls out in force today .
Any info Iain on how they organise this ? They must have a system where , say , 2 -3 of them under revolving names are delegated with the task of engaging in the discussion on threads such as this and proviing a sort of auto rebuttal service .

Anyone with any detailed knowledge of Labour HQ and how it works ?

Anonymous said...

paying people money to sit around and do nothing is a disaster. they become depressed demotivated and disillusioned. have you every watched day time telly its destroys the soul as much as junk food destroys the body. Any politician who truly wants to help 'the poor' needs to boost their expectations, self belief and self worth by providing opportunites to meet their potential. They need empowerment stop patronising

Anonymous said...

anonymous - nothing would be funnier to me than the idea that Iain's threads are full of paid researchers bitching at one another.

Look at the polls. Labour @ around 33-35%.

Could it just be that some of Iain's readers are normal people who vote Labour and see through the Eton mafia?

Anonymous said...

"At March 13, 2008 7:29 PM , Anonymous said...

I note with interest, Iain, that your house has increased hugely in value during the period of Labour's tenure in Government, and yet you seem to see a slight increase in taxation as unaffordable squandering.

What utter facile hard-of-thinking tosh this is.."

You can't spend increases in house value unless you a) downsize/relocate or b) remortgage to a larger debt value.

Funnily enough, the Government expects it's money now and not when you've cashed in on an increase in house prices.

Scipio said...

So, if my math are right, that is:

£1.7 billion per day
£71 million an hour
£1.2 million per minute
£20,000 a second

Whilst government spending is an obvious need (we all accept that there is a need for taxation to fund public services), I do wonder how we have got to the stage where the country is clearly living beyond its means, thus borrowing more than it can afford.

The thing is of course, the real economy doesn't work like a household economy - if the Government needs (or more accurately, wants) to spend more money it can simply go and get a pay rise - by hiking taxes.

Sadly, we cannot simply pay ourselves more to accomodate the ever increasing cost of living, which this Government is creating by increased levels of public spending on things which I really doubt the need for.

Where is Maggie's 'basket of shopping' when you need it.

We need to stop spending, stop borrowing and start saving.

Anonymous said...

It seems that many on here feel that if someone thinks public spending of below 40% of GDP can be justified - they must be: "moronic"; part of a ploy by the Labour party; or employed in the public sector. The latter two do not apply to me, and i would rather hope the first does not either.

Of course there is plenty we could do to make spending more efficient - and there is also a lot to be said for not paying people to stay at home (e.g. 2m+ on disability benefit is a failure and not a good use of public monies). However, the arguments are not as simple as presented here.

By international standards we are not excessively taxed; and, countries with a great disparity in living standards between the richest and poorest are generally not great places to live. I, for one, like living in the UK and don't feel especially hard done by. I value the NHS and am thankful for my education.

If anything, I would argue that there is a case for keeping public spending at this level of GDP for a good while so that the public sector can begin to drive efficiencies out of the increased funds they they have seen over the last 8 years.

What you seem to be saying Iain, is that the gross figure of £1.7bn a day is excessive. I would expect you to provide some context for this number, e.g. %GDP, relative to similar countries, alternative proposals, before condeming it outright.

I mean, if you had said: "Public spending is £1.2bn a day" you would have provoked exactly the same reaction - "gosh thats a lot of money - its all being wasted - hell in a handcart, etc". When that would be a MASSIVELY smaller amount when relative to other advanced economies. The gross figure is almost an irrelevance when debating the extent of public spending - what is important is the proportion of a countries economic activity.

Apart from the usual, i.e. hitting scroungers and wasters hard, your supporters here don't seem to have any constructive suggestions about how a lower figure could be desirably achieved.

And, as the Tories seem to be committed to keeping spending at this level of GDP (or near enough), neither do your political leaders.

Big Andy

Anonymous said...

Well what IS one to do if one has the likes of Oxfam's Antonia Bance banging on about increasing government spending on tax credits? Oxfam's deputy director of its UK Poverty Programme (UKPP) and Labour Councillor for Oxford writes on her blog: "getting more people into work isn’t the key to the 2010 target - putting more money in the pockets of families living below the poverty line whether in work or not through tax credits and benefits is....If you’ll forgive me badly paraphrasing a credit card ad - more money in tax credits for poor families: £2.8bn. Halving (then a shot at ending) child poverty: priceless." This is Oxfam and the Labour Party talking all at once, and it's a strong force to contend with!!