The TPA has just published a comprehensive plan to reduce spending and balance the government’s books; something our Establishment parties should have done instead of making empty sound bites and spin. This guide, The Spending Plan, is based on extensive work and amounts to almost 200 pages of authoritative detail; not then easy to assimilate as part of a casual read.There is also a separate Summary of the Spending Plan, which is succinct and shows what is possible.
The Editor of The Spending Plan, Rory Meakin, writes:
‘The Spending Plan represents the most detailed – and the only fully-costed – set of practical, deliverable proposals to bring spending down to a level that taxpayers can afford.
It also explores why an economy with a lower spending to GDP ratio not only grows faster andprovides a better standard of living, but is also fairer and more ethical.
Painstakingly researched and written over the course of the past 10 months, our plan includes a programme to show how the next government could significantly reduce public spending.’
The proposals will ring a familiar bell to anyone concerned about government spending and unaffordable extravagance, and living in a more prosperous, fairer society. The following (Table 1 from the Plan) gives a flavour:
Extract Table 1 Programme One of Measures, Savings relative to projected spending, £millions
|Abolish Child Benefit||2858||3058|
|Abolish Dept Culture etc||0||2743|
|Abolish pensions triple lock||0||6800|
|Cut Scotland’s grant||4300||4385|
|Flatten housing benefit||0||2680|
|Winter fuel payments reform||1479||1443|
|Planning/housing benefit reform||0||3752|
|Local authorities grants reform||804||4885|
|Cut ‘tax free childcare’||300||900|
|Cut remaining benefits||0||1634|
|Bonfire of quangos||0||389|
|Reduce interest on borrowings||331||688|
|Free bus pass reform||530||560|
The TPA has gone further and also shows a Programme Two that has further savings. This envisages tax being 31.7% of GDP. This programme includes: abolishing DfID and development aid; amending repayment terms on student loans to make them more affordable; returning the compulsory school leaving age to 16; returning pupil premium to 2011 levels; scrapping universal free school meals; increasing NHS charges; raising NHS estates efficiency; scrapping HS2, train operator and TfL subsidies.
A telling comment from the plan, which illustrates the burden on incomes and economic growth arising from Big Government; high tax, high borrowing,high wastage and inefficiency policies:
‘We estimate that if spending had have been kept to our recommended level of 31.7 per cent of GDP since 1965,average household income would have been £59,000 instead of £32,000 in 2012–13,almost £27,000 higher.’
The authors state words that, hopefully, will come true (but obviously not with our current ruling Establishment in charge):
‘With a reduction in spending followed by serious tax reform, the UK would be in far more stable and sustainable fiscal position. A low tax, low spend economy would create better incentives to work, save and invest. And we could leave more money in the pockets of those who earned it. This should be the defining vision for our economy in an internationally competitive world.’
Photo by Alan Cleaver