Saving the UK money

Where should the government make savings?  The answer to that is simple:

  • Withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan
  • Cut defence spending
  • Scrap ID Cards
  • Scrap the National Identity Database
  • Cut MPs expenses
  • Cut ministerial salaries
  • Cut MPs basic salaries (do they really need 64,766 a year for what they do – cutting the salary by £20,000 per year would instantly save £12m a year! I say go further though and half the salary saving more than £20m )
  • Stop employing management consultants in the public sector (especially when the reason fro employing the management consultant is to tell you how to cut spending)
  • Scrap PFI – costs the country far more than it does for the Government to actually pay for it itself.
  • Scrap or cut back Trident (scrap would be preferable)
  • Reduce the number of MPs we have (reduce the number by 200 to 445 would be a start; saving £129.5m a year at current salary rates or a further £64m a year at my salary figure above – on top of the savings by cutting the salary)
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4 thoughts on “Saving the UK money

  1. Would you reduce the number of MPs, if you were Parliament? (I’m assuming it’s probably a Parliamentary decision rather than a governmental one.) If you reduce the number of MPs, arguably you’re also reducing the legitimacy of Parliament and the ability of the British people to be accurately represented – if indeed they are at the moment. I don’t know.

    MP salaries are a bit of a bone of contention for me – because if you reduce them, you risk losing all the very able politicians that we have, or might have in the future, to the private sector where for the same amount of work and much less public criticism they could be earning seven-figure salaries. It’s pure economics. If anything, I think there should be tighter controls on expenses but higher salaries – if it’s balanced right that would still save money but increase transparency. If you halve MPs’ current salaries then there is no way that you will get the same standard of dedication, quantity and quality of work, or type of person becoming an MP. There’s one hell of a lot of work involved and you might effectively price out people who don’t already have high income from standing for Parliament when they could earn far more and live much better doing something else. You might also find greater abuse of the expenses system. £35,000 is not nearly enough.

    Defence budgets as well – there’s money saving, and then there’s practicality. It’s true that this needs reforming, but with reallocation instead of budget-cutting – what troops there are deployed should be reduced in number dramatically but have better resources. As for Trident, I think the appropriate term is Boo-Hiss. The sooner it’s scrapped the better.

    What do you think? (Whoa that’s a long one. Sorry!)

    • I probably would reduce numbers if I was in Parliament. One of the serious problems is that parliamentarians do what’s in their interest rather than that of the country. We are over-represented in this country. The United States of America has fewer elected representatives at federal level and nations of comparable size have fewer that us and they function perfectly well (the US has it’s own issues, but it’s not to do with the number of representatives). The legitimacy of Parliament wouldn’t be reduced any more than it already is – the vast majority of us are represented by someone who we didn’t elect (a system where an elected Government gets just 30% of the popular vote reduces not only the legitimacy of the Government, but of Parliament).

      You are working from the assumption that those in Parliament just now are the people we want. I’d say the vast majority of them are not who we want in our Parliament and I bet the ones that we do want to keep would take the pay cut. We shouldn’t want people representing us simply because of the money the earn, it should be because they want to. Cutting the ridiculously high salaries would aid this point – it would no longer be the money earner that we have today and might actually attract the right people into Parliament! £35,000 per year would be more than adequate were my full range of reforms implemented (free housing for those a certain distance from Westminster which is owned and managed by the taxpayer, fair and reasonable travelling expenses and such like).

      As for defence, let’s cut the budget. We’re an Island, we do not need an offensive arm. We could get by with a tiny armed forces and a larger TA who can be called upon should we actually need to go to war with someone. We should withdraw from the illegal war that is Iraq and Afghanistan is a lost cause (we could be there for 100 years and still not fix it properly)…it’s needlessly wasting life and money. Trident needs to go.

      • The assumption that I’m working from is not that we want the people who are in Parliament at the moment, it is that we want the people who have the largest and best skills base. These people are necessarily in more demand – the sort of people who are very able economists, or lawyers, or orators, etc, who might otherwise end up being very well-paid in the private sector. Of course it would be wonderful if we had very able and dedicated politicians who did their job for the love of it, but given the pressure put on them by the media, and the hundreds of other, better paid jobs that potential politicians in the future could do, money is definitely an important incentive above a certain threshold. There are simply not enough specifically able potential politicians who would do the job, with all the personal stress, public criticism and responsibility that it entails, for £35,000.

        I agree very much that we need to withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan, but it’s not going to happen overnight, and I do wonder whether cutting the defence budget in the short term would do more harm than good in terms of the safety of British, and foreign, troops. Trident, on the other hand, we could definitely live without immediately.

  2. The problem is however, if you have the high wages you’re not attracting people with the right skill sets to Parliament. The MPs are getting paid far better Than many they serve, but greed and corruption has brought them into Parliament. £35,000 is a fair sum for the job they actually do. Obviously ministers and the shaddow cabinet would be paid more – it’s these positions that actually attract most of the media attention rather than the backbenchers. They’ve all had a rough time of it recently, but then the vast majority were acting immorally and thus deserved it.

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