Monday, 3 October 2011

More headaches tomorrow?

We have George Osborne promising a council tax 'freeze' for next year with a reported 'saving of £72 for the average family, an announcement intended to assure the electorate that all is well in the fight against their ever rising bills. As Mark Wadsworth asks, will people really fall for this - a reduction in an in-your-face tax of £1bn whilst increasing stealth taxes (VAT and NI) by 20bn - and not notice? How long will people continue to accept ever increasing bills whilst the cost of foreign aid is set to continue? How long will people accept what amounts to a lowering of their lifestyles whilst continuing to be charged £300 per annum for EU membership? What is really hard to understand also is the public swallowing the myth, one that politicians are only too happy to continue, that council tax pays for all the services they receive, when in fact council tax only provides approximately 25% of a local authorities income stream. What is also hard to accept is that the media seem content to perpetuate this myth.

The Financial Times reports that the drive for deeper integration amongst eurozone member states is causing worry for those outside, with the possibility that those outside will become enmeshed with the eurozone as a result of what is decided within. That the European Commission is increasing their control of member states' national budgets is fact; likewise is fact that the avowed aim of the EU is that it's currency will be the euro. Regardless of the legalities involved - and we all know that the EU does not worry too much about legalities when it wants something - one does have to wonder how long it will be before those 'outside' will be told: Sorry, but you're now 'in'.

An article surfaces today in the Daily Telegraph, one reporting on excessive use of credit cards by the Health & Safety Executive, a move condemned by MPs who last night lambasted the watchdog for “squandering” taxpayers’ money. Odd that this is classified as squandering taxpayers' money yet they did not consider that the case when the expenses scandal became public knowledge; nor that of foreign aid, nor that of EU membership payments.

When wishing to obtain funds from a bank it is necessary to specify for what reason the funds are required and how they will be spent. It is about time that politicians were made aware that taxpayers are their bank and that they too have an obligation to inform us why they require our money and exactly how it will be spent. If only for this reason should our system of democracy be changed and an element of Richard North's "Referism", together with ideas outlined in my "Constitution" series of posts, be introduced.

A statement made today on twitter by @andyholland01 said that the sad truth about this govt is that none of them are very bright* and nobody in the media wants to admit it - how very true.

* Update: See what I mean?


PeterCharles said...

"When wishing to obtain funds from a bank it is necessary to specify for what reason the funds are required and how they will be spent.

Actually you are not quite correct there. Much of the private debt problem still affecting far too many people occurred precisely because banks and similar enterprises did NOT ask what the money was for, indeed the only question they seemed to ask was "are you sure that's enough?"

As to the main thrust of your comment, Governments and politicians, not even Conservative ones, really recognise the concept of private money, unless it is held by Banks or large businesses, money in private hands is really government largess we are allowed to keep, pocket money if you like. The vast sums they suck up are their money and they can damn well do what they like with it, it isn't anyone else's business. Hence they get particularly snooty when their own underlings spend it without proper permission.

If this wasn't the case then every time there was a government underspend the money should be returned to the taxpayer as a tax reduction not simply squandered on public feel good schemes.

Sean O'Hare said...

As far as I am concerned that should be £672 per household because that £373 in funding we get back from the EU will not be spent on anything I would want.

TomTom said...

when in fact council tax only provides approximately 25% of a local authorities income stream.

No, you mean that 100% Council Spending is NOT controlled by Voters - they cannot vote to reduce it. They have no control on where it is spent. Whitehall decides.

If Gordon Brown sets a target for GCE Passes to increase 2% annually (He did) the Ratepayers have to lump it and have no control over matters.

Council Tax is a fig-leaf to cover the fact that England is a Democratic Centralist State with Councillors as Council Employees on £250/week plus.

They won't rock the boat

WitteringsfromWitney said...

PC: Accepted although sure you know the point I was attempting to make?

SO'H: Fair point

TT: Fair point also and I stand corrected...... :(

PeterCharles said...

WfW, yes I did see your point and I agree with it. The point I was (poorly) making was that politicians simply could not ever see taxpayers as their 'bank', they simply cannot think in those terms. Just as they cannot understand how anyone could possibly expect there to be an obligation on their part to explain, never mind answer, to the public on what and how they spend taxpayer's money, it's their money after all, not the taxpayers'!

outsider said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
outsider said...

Re your update: Yes, how sad. I though Justine Greening was one of the best ministers in an indifferent lot so I was depressed to see her exposed by Brillo as not knowing what she was talking about. I could have done a better job myself and I think it is a poor American idea.

The only defence I can think of was that she was briefed to claim that no rise in borrowing was required, when she know this is nonsense, and lost it as a result of having to "give a misleading impression".

WitteringsfromWitney said...

PC: Thanks, and that is why we need the touch of Referism an the ideas I put forward in the Constitution series in order to curb politicians and return control to the people.

os: Agreed!

Dave Evans. said...

Bloody HELL!
What is it with women in politics?
Justine Greening is truly THICK!
No woman I actually know is that stupid.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

DE: "No woman I actually know is that stupid" - the voice and innocence of youth I presume? Being of mature years, unfortunatley I married three like that! :)