Discussion forums: The Cut the Debt Wall


What are your thoughts?  Are the government doing enough?  Too much?  Please leave your thoughts on anything to do with the deficit, the debts or the cuts. 

Anything goes.  No moderation. 

You can subscribe to follow-up comments by checking the box below when you leave your comment.

  30 Responses to “Discussion forums: The Cut the Debt Wall”

  1. It makes me mad that the government thinks it’s a good idea to lend taxpayer money to small businesses, at the same time as telling the banks that they need to hold more capital.

    The credit crunch was caused by lending to those that couldn’t repay. Have we learned nothing?

    • If the private sector is to generate new jobs to pick up the slack due to public sector job losses, then the private sector has to have access to loans.
      Of course the politicians are inconsistent in demanding stronger capital ratios from the banks and more lending by the banks, but then they are politicians.
      Just halving incomes in the City would solve a lot of problems!

  2. Our Social Security bill is the biggest part of public spending.

    So what does George Osborne do? He puts it up by 5.2% in the OBR today! While the rest of us in work get a 0% pay rise at best, those on benefits get 5.2% increase in what I pay them. Grr.

    • I know. He is supposed to be increasing the incentive – not removing it!

    • and how about restricting welfare to British nationals or those that have actually paid in some national insurance. The welfare state was suppoed to be based on contributions.

  3. Housing benefit is still way too high — loads of room to cut there. Cutting funds for local councils for a) health and safety nonsense and b) translation services and interpreters are no-brainers here too. To balance this out a little I think a financial transactions tax, as they have in Singapore and Hong Kong, could raise loads of money from a capitve industry who need to do a lot more to repay the country for the damage it’s inflicted. Overall this government has been way too timid in its actions to rebalance the books.

    • A transaction tax would be disastrous. It would raise next to nothing, and the cost would be borne almost entirely by the pension funds, and not the gold-plated public sector ones either. A tax on transactions would also reduce volume, reduce market liquidity and therefore massively increase the risk of violent swings in prices.

      • If the transaction tax raised almost nothing (tooting liberal says) then the cost “borne almost entirely by the pension funds” would be almost nothing too. You can’t have it both ways – it raises nothing but costs a lot.

    • Agree that the government has been way too timid. Yesterday’s bad news from the OBR was a chance for Osborne. He should have announced further deep cuts to hit his original target of eliminating the deficit. The public would get it. Look at how far Ireland have managed to cut spending.

  4. housing benefit is just money going into landlords pockets. Bring down the housing benefit rate and I’m sure house prices will come down a bit too. Good news for all those first time buyers and no need for the government to guarantee the mortgage loans!

  5. Boris is right to demand a referendum.

    Cameron is being given a drubbing by his own backbenchers, and yesterday at PMQs even boy Milliband got the upper hand on Europe. Cameron needs to show his mettle and demand powers back from Europe at this week’s summit.

  6. Grrr. Question Time on BBC1 now. How do they pick their panel? Does no-one have any pride in our country any more. Sorry, I’m not anti-Northern, but every time someone mentions London or the City they get booed. What’s that about?? Who do you think pays the taxes so you can sit on your arse watching Cash in the Attic.

  7. Unilever scrap Xmas parties for workers that went on strike: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/jobs/8945625/Unilever-branded-Scrooge-as-it-axes-Christmas-parties-for-strikers.html

    Good! The government should scrap free healthcare for any NHS workers that strike and free education for the families of any teachers that strike

  8. Thank God Cameron vetoed this new Eurozone area. It’s bound to show cracks soon. I can’t believe that so many countries agreed to hand over tax setting powers just like that. I think there might be some severe second thoughts once they take it back to their parliaments.

  9. Yes, Finally Britain has learnt to say NO. It should be a lot easier the second time. Why should we help the french and German in their power grab. People of Europe – is this role by a unelected, centralised bureaucracy what you want? Proud Danish, Irish and Dutch – demand a referendum. Eastern Europe, you broke free of the Soviet Union for this?

  10. Why did the sticking point come down to the harmonisation of taxation on financial transactions. Surely, from a Eurozone country’s perspective, the aim of the summit should have been to put strict enforceable limits on future government borrowing. I wouldn’t have objected to the UK signing up to that. Instead France and Germany try and leverage the situation to put in measures aimed at making the City less competitive in the hope that they will win some of the business that takes place there, something they have been trying to do for years.
    Cameron was right to veto.

    • Absolutely right Sage. This was nothing except an attempt to kill off the City by the back door, something the French and Germans have wanted to do for years.

      It’s not Cameron that should be taking the stick for this – its Sarkozy and Merkel. They would have known that he could never agree to signing a blank cheque to bail out the Eurozone via tax transfers. They could easily have left the non Euro countries out of the tax regulations, and it wouldnt have harmed the fiscal discipline and government borrowing limits at all.

      Cameron had no choice but to veto.

      • Europe is a club of socialist countries trying to freeze themselves in time, when they were rich and the rest of the world was poor. We should have open trade with the whole world, not just Europe.

        This could be the start of a golden period for the UK.

  11. good news today, The banks will have their investment and retail parts seperated. Even better news – the EU beggars have been told to gt stuffed in their pleading for the UK to give them extra billions of pounds to bail them out. Merkel and Sarko – if you want us to give you money then probably best not to spend the weekend slagging us off.

    • Regarding this article it depends what you call the Left. The Left in Denmark, Finland and Iceland for example aren’t doing too badly because they didn’t deliberately eviscerate morality from public policies in the way which characterised New Labour ‘s strategy.

      I would say that the free market Right’s ideas haven’t fared too well either since 2007! So the basic pattern seems to be ideologues everywhere falling as their dogmatic ideas are shown to not match the complex reality of our rapidly-evolving societies and economies.

      • Forcing people to hand over vast amounts of both money and power to massive nameless centralised bodies will always lead to waste, corruption and a lack of morality. It was ever thus, whether it is Lords, Landowners and the church controlling spending, or a communist “elite”. People will always make more thoughtful decisions with their own pound than with someone else’s (especially if the other person is nameless and can’t attribute the poor decision to you as an individual).

        The Right’s free market ideas have been suppressed. Capitalism wasn’t allowed to do its job. If it had then the huge bonuses for failure and the vast ongoing transfer of wealth from the masses to the banks would never have happened. Most of the bankers wouldn’t even be in a job if capitalism had been allowed to work.

        • Mike, Very interesting to chat this through with you! I realise you’re busy at work so I won’t expect a reply but here’s what I would say to your last email…

          I think the tendency for groups to try to capture institutions for their own advantage is something which has always been there, I agree, but that is an observation common to writers across the political spectrum, from Karl Marx to the school of so-called Public Choice Theory which sprang up in the 1970s in the US (centred at the University of Chicago) and which your views seem to approximate roughly, unless I’m misreading you.

          Marx said that capitalism will undermine itself due to this tendency towards monopoly concentration of power. What he didn’t count on was that governments would often manage to stay one step ahead of the would-be monopolists by regulating them. I don’t see how, in the abstract, the ‘free market’ is ever going to stop this process of institutional capture. What is the mechanism?

          You accept a tendency for monopolies of power to form, yet paradoxically you believe in self-regulating markets.

          The only thing that will protect the broad public interest is employing disinterested parties to try to ensure that monopoly concentrations of power don’t arise in the economy, and ensuring through the political system that these protectors of the public interest don’t themselves become self-interested. The best system for that is not some kind of anarchic hyper-capitalist free for all in my view, but the kind of social democratic capitalism practised in much of northern Europe.

          In academia, where these issues come closest to being debated in their purest form, the whole school of economics which put wholesale faith in self-regulating markets (most clearly represented at the University of Chicago) is imploding. Recent events refute its core axioms. I don’t have access to the full article unfortunately but there’s a summary of what is going on inside the Chicago Economics department here: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/01/11/100111fa_fact_cassidy

          • CM – it does depend what you call the left and I’m sure it varies in other european countries. However in the uk the left the article refers to is the one that has named itself ‘progressives’ and is the typical guardian reading media type or university lecturer whose opinions dominate the public realm. Now the actual left may be a broader constituency than that but the progressives themselves refuse to recognise others as being on the left. For example Frank field and david goodhart are often considered as no longer being ‘left-wing’ by these guys as they don’t sign up to the full package of progressive values.

          • Yes. Very interesting.

            I don’t have enough knowledge of the different theories I’m ashamed to say. However, I believe that on the whole people are both lazy (i.e. they will not do more than they need to unless they see a reward for it – whether that be monetary or other, such as propagating their influence or their genes) and self-interested. That means communism doesn’t work in the long run, because beyond a certain point there is no incentive to continue to work harder, and therefore the only way to advance is to develop political and evisceratory skills – which are detrimental to society.

            People are also generally altruistic, and get pleasure from helping others or doing the “right thing” – even when they know there can never be any recognition for it.

            I agree with what you say about monopolies. The natural inclination of individuals to maximise their own benefit would lead many to want to squash their competitors and avoid the threat of competition. Agree with you entirely that the “free market” alone can’t stop this. In the distant past when there was no competition commission a miller or wool-buyer would use his wealth and influence to put rivals out of businesses, and would then move prices to the disadvantage of the customers knowing that they had no alternative without a day or two’s walk. A central government role to prevent monopolies is in the wider interest, and I agree with it.

            My resistance to regulation is just that I feel there is too much of it, when enforcing a far simple set of existing ones would be far more effective. (I think the same could be said for many laws)

  12. Well I don’t know I think these terms are defined by their usage and with the Tories labelling themselves as “progressive” too I’m genuinely not sure what the word means any more. In American history the Progressive Era is a specific period. normally dated 1890-1920, when, to quote a history book I have to hand, “a new urban middle class sought to overcome political corruption by supporting the establishment of bureaucracies to resolve political problems by applying rational, objective and uniform procedures, in the image of science and engineering. ” But that doesn’t really say much about the UK now! It just seems some wishy washy branding exercise to associate both parties with the notion of progress. The idea of a morally liberal left is something which carries more intuitive meaning.

  13. All in all not a bad budget. I used to fear every Gordon Brown budget, not because it put my tax up but because he was throwing more money around and it was clear he didn’t have it.

  14. George Osborne should not lend a penny more to the IMF if any of it is used to bail out the Eurozone.

    Its a failed project and the best thing for everyone (including the Greeks, Portuguese and Spanish) would be to break it up now.

    No more George!

  15. Hi,

    I moved to the UK 11 years ago and my knowledge of it’s history is not what it should be (although I am working on this). I vote for the Conservative Party because on the face of it they appear to be the party of fiscal responsibility.

    I am starting to question this, not because of their current performance where I think they could do better but are in a very difficult situation, but because I have read a few times that the Conservative Party has presided over larger budget deficits than Labour every time they have been in power. If this is true it would not vote for Labour, or the Social…I mean Liberal Democrats, I probably would note vote at all.

    How did the Conservative Party manage to rack up a deficit in the 80’s? Apparently this was at a time of windfall North Sea oil profits. What about prior to Thatcher?

    I would love to be set straight on this subject, references would be good, or even if somebody could recommend some books that would be great too.

    Keep up the good work.

  16. Now even the Institute of Directors are against HS2.


    When even a group that represent’s business interests taking a stand against HS2 it is clear that this is a ridiculous folly that should be abandoned. It’s a grand socialist white elephant with no credible business case behind it.

    When will the Conservatives start acting with some fiscal responsibility and back down.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>