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The EU wastes your money


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According to the European Court of Auditors, €7 billion of the 2013 budget was misspent. However, the EU has a very loose definition of the word ‘misspent’, Here are a few examples of projects judged to be money well spent: €500,000 paid to two fishermen to scrap their boat in the interests of reducing overfishing. That cleared their debts and paid for a new, smaller boat in which they continued fishing. €2.5 million to support an Austrian nomadic contemporary dance troupe. […]

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How departmental spending has changed this Parliament


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ConservativeHome has charted the change in departmental expenditure limits since 2009-10 in a “To The Point” article, How the departments have fared in this Austerity Parliament: Health spending is up. Communities and Local Government has been cut in half. I recommend this good summary article.

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Labour’s spending chaos


Via Share The Facts: Labour’s spending plans are in chaos – with Ed Miliband and Ed Balls spending the money from their proposed homes tax over and over again. Last week Balls said the tax will fund the NHS and nothing else: ‘All the money we raised from the mansion tax will go the National health Service’ (LBC, 21 Jan 2015). But now Miliband says the tax will pay for reducing the deficit: ‘A plan to pay down the deficit […]

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A summary of the Autumn Statement


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The Conservative Party’s summary of the Autumn Statement is as follows. Backing business all the way: Local businesses will benefit from a cap on business rate rises and an extension of rate relief. The increase in business rates next year will be capped at 2 per cent – businesses were expecting a rise of 3.2 per cent. We are also extending and expanding the doubling of small business rate relief, making more businesses eligible for it and keeping it up […]

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For City AM: It’s time to end the cruel delusion of cheap money and reckless spending


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City A.M. asked me to comment in advance of the Autumn statement. I wrote: GEORGE Osborne will present his Autumn Statement to a country in the grip of a cruel economic delusion, perpetrated against the poor and the aspirational. Welfare states everywhere are spending chronically beyond their means while papering over the cracks with easy money. Budget 2013 forecast spending in excess of receipts of about £9bn a month. Defence, criminal justice, local government and the Foreign Office have been […]

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Budget 2013: The Headlines


The following was provided by the Conservative Party in summary of the Budget 2013. In a tough economic situation, the British people know there are no easy answers or short cuts. But we are succeeding, slowly but surely, in fixing those problems. We’ve now cut Labour’s record deficit by not just by a quarter – but by a third. We’ve helped create 1.25 million new private sector jobs. Interest rates remain at record lows. Income tax The amount people can […]

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The moon landings and the trajectory of public spending


Ahead of the budget, the TaxPayers’ Alliance reports, More Britons believe the moon landings were faked than think that taxes are too low. Headlines include: People underestimate the real rate of tax on their income. Fewer than one in seven people realise the Government plans to increase the debt, not reduce it. Most do not understand the impact of Employers’ National Insurance. Most people have no idea how much money the Government is spending on their behalf. And, earning the […]

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Bucks County Council extends council tax freeze


This week Buckinghamshire County Council (BCC) announced its budget plans for 2013/4. Keeping money in people’s pockets during these tough economic times is an essential part of ensuring the continued prosperity of Buckinghamshire. It is also welcome to see that the Conservative 2010 General Election pledge to freeze council tax for two years has been achieved and extended by the Council. I reproduce an extract below from the BCC press release: Despite £14.4m less funding from central government, freezing Council Tax […]

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A new debate is emerging on the scope of the state


Few people would tolerate a country in which the poor starved or went homeless and yet in Wycombe food is provided by the One Can Trust and emergency winter shelter by Wycombe Homeless Connection. Last time I divided the social security budget (£207bn) by the number of people in poverty (13m), the figure of almost £16,000 was higher than the income of over half the population. Despite spending so much money, the welfare state fails to keep people to a decent […]

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More unexpected borrowing?


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Yesterday, we learned “public sector net borrowing was £0.6 billion in July 2012; this is £3.4 billion higher net borrowing than in July 2011, when net borrowing was -£2.8 billion (a repayment)”. Compared to say May, when we borrowed £17.9 billion, £600 million seems relatively modest. It’s still the gross annual earnings at the national average wage of over 23,000 people. Apparently, it was a surprise to economists (again). They expected the usual July surplus. As far as I recall, […]

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