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The Axe

On 8 Jun 2010 at 7:22pm SHS wrote:
Great to see a government doing the obvious for a change, cutting pointless wastage to save money. After the ID cards (saving: 10 trillion pounds), the email/phonecall database (saving: 14 trillion pounds), HIPS (saving: 4 pounds and thrupence) and various others, I see the chip'n bin (or tax 'n throw?) plans have now been axed. There was really something sinister and unfair about the Blair/Brown oppression and I feel a big burden has been lifted.
On 8 Jun 2010 at 9:57pm MC wrote:
Have HIPS been abolished then? Great. They were a total waste of space.
It'll be interesting to see if you feel so positive in 18 months time.
On 8 Jun 2010 at 11:05pm Bad Gina wrote:
And the public are to be asked where they would like to see the cuts.
My vote is to abolish the benefit system.
On 9 Jun 2010 at 8:28am Brixtonbelle wrote:
my vote goes to abolishing charitable status for private schools. that should save a few squillion.
On 9 Jun 2010 at 8:39am Dave wrote:
Actually you're wrong BB. If you took away their status, many scholarships would be withdrawn, there would be a flood of pupils into the state system, costing many millions more to educate them through that route.
On 9 Jun 2010 at 9:09am jrsussex wrote:
Stop the fraud that goes on within government departments, I read that in the NHS there is £115m per annum.
The astronominal cost of agency staff (doctors, nurses etc) to the NHS
Charge drunks etc when their anti-social behaviour causes then to be taken to A & E
Stop some of the financial benefits given to parents of children
A complete overhaul of the benefit system with those convicted of defrauding it receiving much harsher punishment. I personally know of one case where a married couple were convicted of making false claims in excess of 12k, as part of their punishment the media reported that they had to repay all the money, which sounds good but I know that they are doing so at the princely sum of 3 per week. They will not live long enough to repay the taxpayer.
In short if the coalition can stop the fraud before making other cuts that will hurt those least likely to be able to afford them it will go some way to cutting the deficit.
On 9 Jun 2010 at 9:27am Clifford wrote:
Brilliant idea Bad Gina to abolish the benefits system. Can you give us some idea of what the impact of doing that would be?
On 9 Jun 2010 at 10:36am MC wrote:
I hate the way that the Conservatives are heaping all the blame for the debt on the Labour Government. Have we forgotten already that much of the debt is due to bailing out the bankers?
The very best way to raise money in my opinion is via the Robin Hood tax.... a minuscule tax on all large financial transactions, of the sort made by hedge funds, speculators and large banks. Copy this into your browser:


Two effects of abolishing the benefits system:
* Acute misery for many
* Abrupt rise in crime

That is not to say that "restructuring" of the benefits would be a good thing, perhaps aiming to restrict population growth (no benefits after first child) and benefits for those whose who have not traditionally paid UK tax (or have not been resident of this country for a certain number of years), alleviating EU "benefit shopping". A reassessment of "disability" would also be a good thing. For instance, anyone who can drive a 4x4 should not be classifiable as disabled.
On 9 Jun 2010 at 10:53am Brixtonbelle wrote:
Dave - Many parents who previously educated privately have already withdrawn their kids from those schools as they can't afford the fees anymore. Funding on state education will go up anyway as it's calculated per head at each school and due to a population blip many schools are already having to add extra classes. A few scolarships lost from the private system will really not make a significant impact on the state system and in my view the more children that are in the state system the better, society becomes more inclusive.
On 9 Jun 2010 at 11:31am In the Know wrote:
I would axe the winter fuel payment that is given to all pensioners. It should be means tested so that those in the need get it and the rich who spend winters in the sun do not!
On 9 Jun 2010 at 12:05pm jrsussex wrote:
MC - Yes the banks must bear a large amount of responsibility for the mess the UK is in financially and in my opinion should have been punished more severely than they have been. That said you must accept that the larger part of the blame is the irresponsible manner in which this country has been governed in the last 10 years or so. Look at the incredible rise in employment in the public sector and the unbelievable salaries paid to them, which the ever dwindling amount of workers (taxpayers) have to support financially, the total failure to control immigration incurring massive benefit system costs. There is a long list of solid evidence of the poor management of the UK under the Labour administration. The Tory's/Libdems will, hopefully, sort it out and then the Tory's will be hated again for a few years whilst Labour get us back into the s... only for the Tory's to sort it out again. Get real, it's been going on for 50 years or so. Unfortunately for us, the citizens of the UK, nothing changes.
On 9 Jun 2010 at 12:28pm MC wrote:
I have some sympathy with the points you make jrs. I do feel that under labour the state has been encouraged to become bloated and inefficient, encroaching on our lives in areas it should not. But unlike you I feel that Labs and Cons are just different sides to the same coin, both promoting their vested interests and outdated ideologies. By one we have the build up of the state and by the other we have the pairing back of the state, a never ending see-saw that does our country no good at all.
PR would alleviate this situation, providing pragmatic government not rooted in outdated class-derived ideologies. I think there is a strong case to be made that PR could bring stability to the unstable (see-saw) situation that the first past the post system creates. It might even help us to plan further into the future than care leaders care to now. Currently we don't seem to go forward so much as go back and forth (or up and down).

This is an extremely simplistic was of expressing the situation, but typing in a forum an inefficient and time consuming method for conveying ideas so I've gone for brevity. :-)
On 9 Jun 2010 at 4:05pm jrs wrote:
MC - I agree with your comment up to a point. When push comes to shove political parties are very similar as I say in my previous post (last sentence) "Unfortunately for us, the citizens of the UK, nothing changes".
It's just that I happen to believe that the Labour party under Tony Blair became an off-shoot of the conservatives but failed miserably to operate in the best interests of the country, he prefering to act in a presidential role. I think the main reason for that was that many of the new Labour MP's in 1997 were ex-councillors of little merit but got in on the back of the very low reputation of the Tory's at that time, couldn't believe the landslide and consequently allowed Blair and his cronies to do whatever they wanted to do. In short no-one had the courage to apply the brakes to Blair's runaway bus.
On 9 Jun 2010 at 4:40pm Jj wrote:
They won't be any different to the last party, they are all the same! Good for one thing and one thing only......................!
On 9 Jun 2010 at 5:11pm Off-Message wrote:
JRSussex - I enjoy reading your posts and in general tend to agree with them but is it not time you learnt to write Tories (not Tory's) and MPs (not MP's)?
On 9 Jun 2010 at 5:55pm Pedant wrote:
Look here Off-Message, no one is more annoyed by poor spelling, grammar and punctuation than me, but JRSussex is not the worst offender by any means and it's not exactly tactful to lecture someone you agree with. So I'm happy to give you a thumbs down for bad manners.
On 9 Jun 2010 at 5:56pm jrsussex wrote:
Off-Message - I'll give it some thought but I am advised that both are equally correct. Perhaps a grammar expert will advise?
On 9 Jun 2010 at 6:00pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
I'm not convinced that there really are huge salaries in the public sector. People at the top are paid large salaries, true, and although they manage large, complex services I'm not necessarily sure they deserve them. However, when you disregard the professions that are graduate entry, the profile in local government and the civil service is one where the vast majority of staff are on the bottom two or three grades, which are badly paid. To get to the national average salarly in local government, you have to be on grade SO2, the last one befroe the management grades.
Local government salaries are skewed by the fact that so many employess are teachers, who are now well paid, and lots of other jobs in local government are now graduate entry - social workers, planners (!), accountants, solicitors and, I believe, EHOs. Those professions are invariably paid less than they would get in the private sector.
On 9 Jun 2010 at 6:08pm sashimi wrote:
How about bringing the troops home from the hopeless war in Afghanistan. It will save a lot of money as well as lives and won't make a jot of difference to thye outcome of the so-called War on Terror or the eventual stabilisation of that benighted country.
The unproductive part of the defecit is the benefits system. Payment of this - or at least the justified part of it - is social insurance: if you have a disability the state rightly takes care of you. The trick is not to drive up unemployment which costs the state benefits and lost taxes by cutting expenditure unintelligently.
Don't forget a significant part of the defecit is a huge investment in three banks which will yield dividends as well as repayment and possibly a profit when the shareholdings are sold off.
On 9 Jun 2010 at 6:23pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
I think there could be savings made in the way the benefits system is administered. It needs to be simplified. There are probably more than a dozen different benefits and each is administered by a different team of people. Every application requires you to trot out the same old information over and over again. Many households are on several different benefits.
They should integrate tax credits, pensions and benefits. You should get an amount you need to live on, more if you have dependants, caring repsonsibilities, illness/disabilty etc. Have it all assessed by one team of people and paid in one payment. Some families are on such complex packages of benefits that I ahve no idea how they get their heads round it, and the chances of them all beign paid correctly for any length of time is slim. Every time one changes, several of the others change too.
One couple I know will ultimately get: statutory maternity pay, disability living allowance for the children, carer's allowance, child tax credit, income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit. It's a full-time job just keeping up with all the changes in their benefits.
On 9 Jun 2010 at 6:58pm Shaymus wrote:
Tax the rich(who crippled the world economy).
On 9 Jun 2010 at 7:26pm Off-Message wrote:
JRSussex - you need to sack your advisor. The plural of Tory is Tories. It would only be Tory's if you were saying, eg., "look at that Tory's blue rosette" when there was only one Tory and the rosette was his or hers. Similarly, the plural of MP is MPs. It's only MP's when your referring to one MP and his or her posessions.

Pedant - I'm lecturing JRSussex precisely because I tend to agree with him. I'm happy for my political opponents to look even more stupid by the use of bad grammar, but as JRS is generally a right-thinking Tory, it would strenghen his position if he was able to use Tory's and Tories correctly.
On 9 Jun 2010 at 7:39pm jrsussex wrote:
Off-Message - I stand corrected and have given my advisor (good friend of mine, in fact she married me) a sound bol****ing but she is grateful for the grammar lesson.
On 9 Jun 2010 at 7:58pm jrsussex wrote:
Off-Message - The wife has asked me to point out to you in a friendly manner, this was just after she had packed her bags and was going out of the front door, that you have left the "T" out of "strengthen" in your last post which advised me to sack her!!!
On 9 Jun 2010 at 8:04pm Off-Message wrote:
Ah but that was just a typo. The deliberate mistake you failed to spot was when I said your when I meant you're!
On 9 Jun 2010 at 8:13pm Lopster wrote:
Should "Ah" should be followed with a bang, as our Colonials over the water would have it (or shreik) it being an exclamation after all - and indeed should "The" in fact be "the" as the period preceding it is not a full-stop but in fact indication of an abbreviation?
hook airs?
On 9 Jun 2010 at 8:22pm Boris wrote:
I would axe the buses and bikes from Lewes town centre. They are a pain in the @rse.
On 9 Jun 2010 at 11:48pm Brixtonbelle wrote:
OM - Your deliberate mistake was no mistake. Or are you trying to confuse the rest of us grammar pedants ?!
On 10 Jun 2010 at 7:42am Mystic Mog wrote:
Introduce local income tax. Significantly reduce duplication of collection since the inland revenue already have a system. Finally it would be much fairer.
On 10 Jun 2010 at 8:09am 'ere be monsters wrote:
Why should someone pay more for local services just because they earn more than someone else? Why not carry the argument on and say gas, electric and water should be charged the same way? Pay more for your spuds at the supermarket if you earn more? Not much of an incentive to go out and earn as much as you are capable of is it?
On 10 Jun 2010 at 8:43am Off-Message wrote:
No BB, my deliberate mistake was a 'mistake'. I wrote "It's only MP's when your referring..." when I should have written "It's only MP's when you're referring...". Work it out.
On 10 Jun 2010 at 11:50am Mystic Mog wrote:
'ere be monsters, therefore you are against all forms income tax then. The value of one's property does not dictate one's income or use of local services. Property is already taxed on purchase and capital gains / inheritance tax when sold. Most funding for local government comes from central government anyway. Council tax is merely a top-up based upon property. One would be able to do away with all local income tax departments if local income tax were brought in. The local income tax element would be distributed to one's local authority via the Inland revenue, the rate dictated by the local authority. The USA uses a similar system and it works well.
On 10 Jun 2010 at 12:47pm 'ere be monsters wrote:
Moggie, where in my post did I suggest that I am against all forms of income tax. If you read a post properly in future it will save you posting irrelevant questions.
On 10 Jun 2010 at 12:58pm Down and Out wrote:
ebm: Be honest - your first post was pretty woolly. As a society we have some forms of flat rate consumption-based taxation, such as VAT, and some forms of progressive taxation, such as income tax. But I can't see that there's any sort of logic in saying that local services 'have' to be one or the other, so none of your analogies really make any sense.
On 10 Jun 2010 at 1:14pm 'ere be monsters wrote:
I've never been accused of being sheepish before. Perhaps you could tell me where I suggested I was against all income tax, or indeed I said that local taxes "have" to be one or the other. I didn't make any statements, I only asked questions.
On 10 Jun 2010 at 1:33pm Mystic Mog wrote:
The implications given by your questions were that you were against a local income tax. Apologies if I misinterpreted your post.
On 10 Jun 2010 at 1:37pm 'ere be monsters wrote:
No probs. I am against a local income tax, but not all income tax.
On 10 Jun 2010 at 1:42pm Mystic Mog wrote:
Are you therefore in favour of a property based local tax. If so why is that better than a local income tax?
On 10 Jun 2010 at 1:51pm 'ere be monsters wrote:
Definitely disagree with paying local tax on the value of your property. Why should an older couple in a larger house that has been their family home for years and are not a great drain on local resources pay the same local tax as the large family next door who drain the coffers? The poll tax was the fairest way, it was just set at the wrong levels. Pay for what get, what's wrong with that?
On 10 Jun 2010 at 2:07pm 'ere be monsters wrote:
Final salary pensions on the council cost us all a fortune. I'm not against these pensions as long as they have been earned. Someone that has been in the same job for years is entitled to it. The heads of departments that have been on the inflated salaries that they are given right at the end of their careers so they cop a big pension are the ones we could make savings on.
On 10 Jun 2010 at 2:09pm sashimi wrote:
Moggy, I'm not so sure a local income tax is such a good idea. The good thing about a property tax is that properties don't move and those that own them have enough funds to pay the tax. The problem with the poll tax (besides the fact that it was unfair) was that young people keep moving around and those on the margins aren't good at paying their bills. The problem with an income tax is that it will be fiendishly complicated and expensive, collecting different amounts for county, district, town, police and fire. A 1p tax will raise a huge sum in Kensington and peanuts in Middlesborough, so is it really fair? It's also unpredictable: the amount you receive depends on the amount people earn which may be more or less than you expect.
On 10 Jun 2010 at 2:33pm 'ere be monsters wrote:
Sashimi, why do you suppose everyone that lives in an expensive house can afford the council tax?
On 10 Jun 2010 at 2:40pm Mystic Mog wrote:
Local income tax is very relatively easy to implement and will save money in the long run. With one body responsible for all income tax collection is better. The IR knows your address and will take a locally determined % and send that to the local department that already divides it up for county, district, town, police and fire.
It is much fairer than the current system that employs estate agents every few years to zoom round the locale determining property prices. As EBM correctly says 'Why should an older couple in a larger house that has been their family home for years and are not a great drain on local resources pay the same local tax as the large family next door who drain the coffers?' QED?

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