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    How much wood would a socialist chuck if a socialist would chuck wood?
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    (Original post by simontinsley)
    Well no, not necessarily - you'll have to wait until October to see where the cuts will fall. Besides, 25% over 5 years is only 5.5%/year, and considering the state sector spends more than the private sector per pupil on education, then it really does beg the question of where the money is going.
    I've never seen a stat which says that but.. the private sector "doing well" isn't just about how much money they throw at the pupils. You also tend to have more challenges in the state sector, pupils from difficult backgrounds etc.

    25% cut in state education, even over five years, is ridiculous. I'm going to assume that it will be 25% because this is the indication so far. Resources may need to be allocated better but there is no way that schools will be able to perform to the same level and with the same equipment which is necessary to keep pupils technologically adept with such a steep cut. Especially when it seems that such steep cuts are only happening because the Tories are reluctant to explore decent taxation alternatives.
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    (Original post by paddy__power)
    How much wood would a socialist chuck if a socialist would chuck wood?
    We don't chuck wood, waste of precious environmental resources :fyi:
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    (Original post by iwilson03)
    We don't chuck wood, waste of precious environmental resources :fyi:
    Haha, fair enough =p

    What are your views on making porn at age 16 :holmes:
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    (Original post by paddy__power)
    Haha, fair enough =p

    What are your views on making porn at age 16 :holmes:
    Do you mean making it or watching it? I think it's a bit silly that you can have sex with someone aged 16, but not actually watch porn. Oh well.

    Having said that I think porn is an extremely exploitative industry and pretty tasteless If you are thinking of making some, I'd say don't do it :p:
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    (Original post by iwilson03)
    Do you mean making it or watching it? I think it's a bit silly that you can have sex with someone aged 16, but not actually watch porn. Oh well.

    Having said that I think porn is an extremely exploitative industry and pretty tasteless If you are thinking of making some, I'd say don't do it :p:
    So the socialist party want to ban the making of pornography. I see.
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    (Original post by iwilson03)
    I've never seen a stat which says that but.. the private sector "doing well" isn't just about how much money they throw at the pupils. You also tend to have more challenges in the state sector, pupils from difficult backgrounds etc.
    Sure, there are other reasons that the private sector is more successful - it creams off people from well-off backgrounds and are generally academically selective. It gets clever rich people.

    However, the standard of education (on average, I don't disagree there are poor private schools and excellent state schools) is better in the private sector - because the money is spent better. The state sector is spending £9,000 per pupil per year (I know the figures in there suggest it is £69/year more expensive at private schools on average, but that doesn't include things like school meals which are often included in private school fees), and the education isn't as good. Why? It's a blanket approach to schooling, treating pupils as the same and not giving enough power to teachers and parents who know the kids far better than politicians in Whitehall. The lack of funding isn't the problem.

    The incentives in the public sector are hugely skewed. If you overspend, you get more funding, and if you become more efficient then you get less. As such, you get huge bureaucratic administration departments in schools (my sister is temping in such a department, and says it could easily be done with half the people, as some anecdotal evidence), which are a waste of money. It depends how the money is cut, not how much.

    25% cut in state education, even over five years, is ridiculous. I'm going to assume that it will be 25% because this is the indication so far.
    I'd say the early indications are that education will be part-protected, hence Osbourne's comments that he recognises the special challenges of Education in his budget speech. Also, there is a big difference between a 25% cut on the planned increase, and an actual 25% cut. The 25% cuts refer to the former.

    Resources may need to be allocated better but there is no way that schools will be able to perform to the same level and with the same equipment which is necessary to keep pupils technologically adept with such a steep cut. Especially when it seems that such steep cuts are only happening because the Tories are reluctant to explore decent taxation alternatives.
    It requires a new way of funding, schools need to be more innovative, getting sponsorship off a firm so that they use their equipment (for example PCs and software) at a lower cost, forming partnerships with business and so forth.

    Not to mention the sheer amount of money that is frankly wasted. Taxation - all forms of taxation - harm growth. It is growth that will create the jobs needed, get people back into work, that will boost the tax base avoiding the need for cuts further down the line and so forth. It is getting the deficit down that allows interest rates to stay low, meaning people's mortgage payments stay low, that allows businesses to invest at lower interest rates and so forth. The only option was spending cuts, especially when you look at how bloated the public sector has become particularly since 2002.

    EDIT: In saying that, I wouldn't like to see 25% cuts in education, I'd like to see a rethink in how government operates. Departments can go completely, for example DCMS. The spending review needs to start with a blank sheet and go what do we provide, not the current sheet and go what can we cut.

    EDIT2: To add to the earlier point about '25% cuts' not actually being 25% cuts, they are indeed on planned increases. The true cut from today's levels is a more modest 4.6% cut in TME (excluding increasing debt interest payments - so this is the cut to departments and welfare). That's a cut of £30.4bn, of which £11bn was set out in welfare cuts. So there's £19.4bn of actual cuts, not just scrapping increases, to come.
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    I thought the budget was a cop out tbh, I think they could have raised over taxes much higher rather than raising VAT, Capital Gains and Corporation Tax should both be much higher imo, the cuts are in the wrong places, defence should be hit hardest, and any part privatisation schemes they have can go too. green taxes could have been introduced also. that said, im not opposed to examining how money is spent by the government, plenty of things we could probably be doing better, I believe in actually fixing issues in the state sector though, not just giving up on them and privatising.
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    (Original post by iwilson03)
    We dislike it. They didn't explore the taxation options very well at all we feel, deciding to bring up VAT instead of a more progressive tax and the scale of the cuts is dangerous

    Not only that but the cuts are completely savage. 25% in education? That is madness. I don't speak for the whole party obviously, but I'd be extremely surprised if anyone supported the budget. It was horrible.
    What taxation would you have preferred? I'm guessing increase the top band but to what?
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    (Original post by paddy__power)
    So the socialist party want to ban the making of pornography. I see.
    Nope we don't.
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    (Original post by lotpp)
    What taxation would you have preferred? I'm guessing increase the top band but to what?
    More inheritance tax for example on the richest, the introduction of the 'Mansion Tax' idea, taxes on bankers bonuses, green taxation similar to that which Drogue has mentioned several times, and some kind of tax on the super rich would be good. I obviously can't give you exact figures, but basically all of these taxes seem fairer and more efficient than a VAT rise.
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    @simon, I'll answer that a little later if that's ok =)
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    (Original post by simontinsley)
    Sure, there are other reasons that the private sector is more successful - it creams off people from well-off backgrounds and are generally academically selective. It gets clever rich people.

    However, the standard of education (on average, I don't disagree there are poor private schools and excellent state schools) is better in the private sector - because the money is spent better. The state sector is spending £9,000 per pupil per year (I know the figures in there suggest it is £69/year more expensive at private schools on average, but that doesn't include things like school meals which are often included in private school fees), and the education isn't as good. Why? It's a blanket approach to schooling, treating pupils as the same and not giving enough power to teachers and parents who know the kids far better than politicians in Whitehall. The lack of funding isn't the problem.
    I agree, which is why I favour free'er schools with a less restrictive National Curriculum. I don't think that privatisation is the answer, as that creates a whole load of new problems and is inherently unfair, but I think that more autonomy to the schools is a good idea. However the Tories haven't offered anything like this, their education policies are far from visionary. Basically, what you say is all very well - perhaps we can cut education funding - but that has to be accompanied by a stronger reformed education system. It isn't been.

    The incentives in the public sector are hugely skewed. If you overspend, you get more funding, and if you become more efficient then you get less. As such, you get huge bureaucratic administration departments in schools (my sister is temping in such a department, and says it could easily be done with half the people, as some anecdotal evidence), which are a waste of money. It depends how the money is cut, not how much.
    If you overspend you get more funding? I don't quite understand this, do you have a link for that? I'd be keen to read about it.

    Efficiency drives can only cater for so much, certainly not 25% of the entire budget. I think it is a mistake to think the best of the government and imagine that they'll only cut admin costs, service will suffer.

    I'd say the early indications are that education will be part-protected, hence Osbourne's comments that he recognises the special challenges of Education in his budget speech. Also, there is a big difference between a 25% cut on the planned increase, and an actual 25% cut. The 25% cuts refer to the former.
    The planned increase is mostly to refurbish/better equip the many state schools which are literally falling apart. A 25% cut, even taking the planned increase into account, is going to have massive ramifications. Personally I doubt that the Tories even have the capacity to make such huge cuts, surely they will see what needs to be done, will see the state of the sector, and change their minds...

    It requires a new way of funding, schools need to be more innovative, getting sponsorship off a firm so that they use their equipment (for example PCs and software) at a lower cost, forming partnerships with business and so forth.

    Not to mention the sheer amount of money that is frankly wasted. Taxation - all forms of taxation - harm growth. It is growth that will create the jobs needed, get people back into work, that will boost the tax base avoiding the need for cuts further down the line and so forth. It is getting the deficit down that allows interest rates to stay low, meaning people's mortgage payments stay low, that allows businesses to invest at lower interest rates and so forth. The only option was spending cuts, especially when you look at how bloated the public sector has become particularly since 2002.

    EDIT: In saying that, I wouldn't like to see 25% cuts in education, I'd like to see a rethink in how government operates. Departments can go completely, for example DCMS. The spending review needs to start with a blank sheet and go what do we provide, not the current sheet and go what can we cut.

    EDIT2: To add to the earlier point about '25% cuts' not actually being 25% cuts, they are indeed on planned increases. The true cut from today's levels is a more modest 4.6% cut in TME (excluding increasing debt interest payments - so this is the cut to departments and welfare). That's a cut of £30.4bn, of which £11bn was set out in welfare cuts. So there's £19.4bn of actual cuts, not just scrapping increases, to come.
    Businesses sponsoring schools isn't the way forward, corporate interests in the education sector is a terrible idea. I hate that Labour seems to have driven that forward, and the Tories proudly carry on that mantle. State education should be just that, improving and bettering the pupils not allowing businesses to exploit schools.

    These cuts, or so I have read, are harsher than Thatcher's. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has attacked them for being too regressive. The IFS...
    Our public sector is not that bloated, and I think that cutting so aggressively when so many taxation alternatives haven't been explored, is wrong. You'll disagree with that but you are Libertarian so I expect you to. We are arguing using completely different value judgements.
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    I answered anyway. Pftt. Drink.
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    (Original post by iwilson03)
    Nope we don't.
    So would you or would you not be in favour of allowing 16 year olds to make it...
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    (Original post by paddy__power)
    So would you or would you not be in favour of allowing 16 year olds to make it...
    Sorry is that what you asked?

    What is the current law on it? In my opinion it is similar to prostitution, the HoC has legalised that to an extent so in actual fact I'd impose the same age restrictions that we have in TSR HoC on prostitution onto porn.
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    (Original post by iwilson03)
    Sorry is that what you asked?

    What is the current law on it? In my opinion it is similar to prostitution, the HoC has legalised that to an extent so in actual fact I'd impose the same age restrictions that we have in TSR HoC on prostitution onto porn.
    RL law is 18, no idea what HOC law is.
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    (Original post by iwilson03)
    I agree, which is why I favour free'er schools with a less restrictive National Curriculum. I don't think that privatisation is the answer, as that creates a whole load of new problems and is inherently unfair, but I think that more autonomy to the schools is a good idea. However the Tories haven't offered anything like this, their education policies are far from visionary. Basically, what you say is all very well - perhaps we can cut education funding - but that has to be accompanied by a stronger reformed education system. It isn't been.
    Sure, I'm not here to defend the Tories. I wasn't particularly calling for privatisation, that's a whole different argument - but I would support it, but I can appreciate the arguments for government provision which I can't for some of the things government does.

    I would say that with allowing many schools to become academies they are in essence giving them more autonomy, but not to the degree I'd like to see. It's a step, but not a large enough one. My general point was that spending isn't the limiting factor here, but rather the other points we seem to agree on.


    If you overspend you get more funding? I don't quite understand this, do you have a link for that? I'd be keen to read about it.
    I'm afraid not, it's through my sister working at a school, questioning the bosses why there was so much waste "it's the only way to guarantee our funding, spend all we get given". Likewise my aunt who is a nurse but sits on the hospital board, it is the same culture. It seems to be the worst kept secret in the sector, if I do find a link I'll let you know.

    It's akin to giving the worst-performing schools and hospitals more funding, because they "need it". It rewards failure and creates some horribly skewed incentives for perfectly rational people.


    Efficiency drives can only cater for so much, certainly not 25% of the entire budget. I think it is a mistake to think the best of the government and imagine that they'll only cut admin costs, service will suffer.
    Sure, but the whole system is terribly wasteful, right down to the structure of it that leads to jobs being done twice, and so forth. These won't be weeded out, no doubt - I have little faith in efficiency drives, but outsourcing these areas to the private sector would be a good start.

    The planned increase is mostly to refurbish/better equip the many state schools which are literally falling apart. A 25% cut, even taking the planned increase into account, is going to have massive ramifications. Personally I doubt that the Tories even have the capacity to make such huge cuts, surely they will see what needs to be done, will see the state of the sector, and change their minds...
    I was referring to Current DELs, rather than Capital DELs (which Osbourne said will be protected and essentially admitted to it being a failure of the previus Tory administration).

    It's about a 5% cut in Current DELs from today's level of spending. Further more, I don't think Education will see any cut (rather than a reversal of planned increases) as it'll be part protected and just see smaller increases than otherwise would have occurred.


    Businesses sponsoring schools isn't the way forward, corporate interests in the education sector is a terrible idea. I hate that Labour seems to have driven that forward, and the Tories proudly carry on that mantle. State education should be just that, improving and bettering the pupils not allowing businesses to exploit schools.
    It's not exploitation if a school agrees to it. Whether a pupil usues a Dell or HP computer will make little difference to the quality of their education, while it would allow money to be freed up (which perhaps could stop some of the other cuts in other areas, eg. welfare) by doing a deal with one of them that guarantees you'll use their PCs for the next x years. Or a deal with Google promising to use Chrome as a browser, and so forth. It isn't to the detriment of the pupil.

    These cuts, or so I have read, are harsher than Thatcher's. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has attacked them for being too regressive. The IFS...
    Our public sector is not that bloated, and I think that cutting so aggressively when so many taxation alternatives haven't been explored, is wrong. You'll disagree with that but you are Libertarian so I expect you to. We are arguing using completely different value judgements.
    Indeed, you have read, but it is mistaken on two counts. The first is that the actual level of cuts being reported by commentators is on the position left with increases, the actual cuts are much smaller. I'll dig out the figures if you're particularly interested and/or sceptical.

    I did read the IFS analysis on the taxation changes, but they (mistakenly) leave out the changes introduced in the March budget, after all, these are all measures that the Tories could easily have reversed - changes that have not kicked in but were planned - and thus I think their analysis is faulty on that count.

    As for the public sector being bloated, we have departments that we really don't require. Business, Innovation and Skills (moving HE to Education again); Food, Environment and Rural Affairs; Culture, Media and Sport, really? There are whole sectors of government which are doing things government doesn't need to do...but no matter.

    Out of interest, how would you alter the budget, assuming you had the position of chancellor? I can certainly think of things I'd do differently, but on the whole I think it's positive.

    Thanks for the reply, mind, interesting reading and I look forward to another one whenever it is forthcoming.
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    (Original post by simontinsley)
    Sure, I'm not here to defend the Tories. I wasn't particularly calling for privatisation, that's a whole different argument - but I would support it, but I can appreciate the arguments for government provision which I can't for some of the things government does.

    I would say that with allowing many schools to become academies they are in essence giving them more autonomy, but not to the degree I'd like to see. It's a step, but not a large enough one. My general point was that spending isn't the limiting factor here, but rather the other points we seem to agree on.
    Unless I've misread here, I think we're agreed to the greatest extent that we will be able to: i.e., schools should have more autonomy, education clearly needs to be improved, but we disagree on how this should go about being done?

    I'm afraid not, it's through my sister working at a school, questioning the bosses why there was so much waste "it's the only way to guarantee our funding, spend all we get given". Likewise my aunt who is a nurse but sits on the hospital board, it is the same culture. It seems to be the worst kept secret in the sector, if I do find a link I'll let you know.

    It's akin to giving the worst-performing schools and hospitals more funding, because they "need it". It rewards failure and creates some horribly skewed incentives for perfectly rational people.
    Hang on, why not give poorly performing schools more funding? To simply say that they have failed is looking from the wrong angle. Most failing schools are in areas of low literacy etc. you need to give them more funding because they need to give extra help to their pupils/employ stronger teachers.

    Sure, but the whole system is terribly wasteful, right down to the structure of it that leads to jobs being done twice, and so forth. These won't be weeded out, no doubt - I have little faith in efficiency drives, but outsourcing these areas to the private sector would be a good start.
    Again, I disagree that outsourcing to the private sector is the way forward. This policy seems to have failed for the NHS with their contractors. I don't think that the answer is trying to let someone make a profit from school bureaucracy.

    I was referring to Current DELs, rather than Capital DELs (which Osbourne said will be protected and essentially admitted to it being a failure of the previus Tory administration).

    It's about a 5% cut in Current DELs from today's level of spending. Further more, I don't think Education will see any cut (rather than a reversal of planned increases) as it'll be part protected and just see smaller increases than otherwise would have occurred.
    Ach I'm afraid that I don't actually know what a DEL is? Google hasn't been forthcoming either...

    It's not exploitation if a school agrees to it. Whether a pupil usues a Dell or HP computer will make little difference to the quality of their education, while it would allow money to be freed up (which perhaps could stop some of the other cuts in other areas, eg. welfare) by doing a deal with one of them that guarantees you'll use their PCs for the next x years. Or a deal with Google promising to use Chrome as a browser, and so forth. It isn't to the detriment of the pupil.
    I'm wondering at the extent that you want this to happen though. I don't think that school policy should be subject to private interests. For example if Christian Corp (OK, I've made this company up) offered to buy the computers for a school, on the condition that pupils say a prayer before they turn their computer on, what would you think of this?

    Indeed, you have read, but it is mistaken on two counts. The first is that the actual level of cuts being reported by commentators is on the position left with increases, the actual cuts are much smaller. I'll dig out the figures if you're particularly interested and/or sceptical.

    I did read the IFS analysis on the taxation changes, but they (mistakenly) leave out the changes introduced in the March budget, after all, these are all measures that the Tories could easily have reversed - changes that have not kicked in but were planned - and thus I think their analysis is faulty on that count.

    As for the public sector being bloated, we have departments that we really don't require. Business, Innovation and Skills (moving HE to Education again); Food, Environment and Rural Affairs; Culture, Media and Sport, really? There are whole sectors of government which are doing things government doesn't need to do...but no matter.
    I can't say that I read too deeply into the comments about Thatcher/IFS so perhaps I quoted them too hastily. I'll take your word on them. However Osborne is still aiming to reduce the Public Sector to something like 40-45% which is lower than it has been for years and years. I think that this is dangerous. Sure, if it was a long term plan of say ten years and it made sure that no one was damaged financially that couldn't afford it then I'd say it was a reasonable idea. Although I'd be hugely sceptical because I fully support a strong welfare state etc. However it seems to me that the Cons are using this chance to ambitiously reduce the state when people are really suffering. I don't like it, and I think it's too much.

    I disagree that we do not need DEFRA, I think it is actually quite an important department. I don't know much about the Culture department but again I'm not sure I'd agree with scrapping the whole thing. One thing that I think could be cut, however, is the government advertising budget. Or rather, less propaganda and more useful information (for example as suggested in the Organ Donor Bill - that money is spent to let people know about the change from an opt in to an opt out system).

    Out of interest, how would you alter the budget, assuming you had the position of chancellor? I can certainly think of things I'd do differently, but on the whole I think it's positive.
    I'm rubbish with paperwork and numbers so I think I'd be a terrible Chancellor but...

    - I wouldn't increase VAT.
    - I wouldn't be looking to make such massive cuts in vital areas like education.
    - I would increase the amount of inheritance tax on everything but the first/only home for those inheriting over a certain figure.
    - I would introduce environmental taxes, including a tax on pollution.
    - I would tax bankers bonuses.
    - I would seek to close down the so called 'non dom' loopholes. How this would be done I can't say, but the Lib Dems seemed pretty confident that it could be done prior to the Coalition.
    - I would look at introducing a Mansion Tax, again similar to the Lib Dem policy.
    - Equalise further public sector pay.
    - Scrap Trident.
    - I would increase or at the very least not cut welfare for those suffering the most in these difficult times. Single mothers, the elderly, poor workers. etc.

    - I probably still would make cuts. But I don't think that reducing the size of the public sector to under 40% (or was it 44%?) in four years is necessary, which is Osborne's aim. For this reason I wouldn't need to 'create' as much money as the current government aims to do. In fact I don't think I'd even label them cuts, they'd be more along the lines of reforming areas.

    Long term cuts/money raising:

    -Post-Afghanistan massively cut the Armed Forces. Create a very comprehensive and well thought out (:p:) plan to find the soldiers who consequentially lose their jobs new jobs - mostly using their skills learnt in the Forces.

    -Reform the Prison/justice system in a similar fashion to how we have proposed here. Obviously cuts costs, and also fulfils some important principles.

    - Legalise recreational drugs and create a safe distribution network for them. This will create revenue as well as keep the drug supply safe - reducing the death/abuse rate.

    Those things spring to mind.

    Thanks for the reply, mind, interesting reading and I look forward to another one whenever it is forthcoming.
    :yy:
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    (Original post by iwilson03)
    Unless I've misread here, I think we're agreed to the greatest extent that we will be able to: i.e., schools should have more autonomy, education clearly needs to be improved, but we disagree on how this should go about being done?
    I think so, but at least we've agreed on something.

    Hang on, why not give poorly performing schools more funding? To simply say that they have failed is looking from the wrong angle. Most failing schools are in areas of low literacy etc. you need to give them more funding because they need to give extra help to their pupils/employ stronger teachers.
    Well, no. A much better solution is to allow choice between schools. Then, where people have the choice between two schools let the money follow the pupils. Fund them according to how many people want to go there so that successful (read, well managed) schools can expand and the failing (real badly managed) schools shrink and go out of existence.

    Again, I disagree that outsourcing to the private sector is the way forward. This policy seems to have failed for the NHS with their contractors. I don't think that the answer is trying to let someone make a profit from school bureaucracy.
    I don't see what's so wrong with someone making a profit out of anything. A profit is merely the payment for innovation and risk (that comes off), as wages are for labour. It would keep costs down - as any contractor has the right incentives to keep costs down, and you have a discerning consumer in the school that would monitor quality.

    Ach I'm afraid that I don't actually know what a DEL is? Google hasn't been forthcoming either...
    Apologies, I've been doing too much Budget stuff recently and started using the acronyms as standard. DEL = Department Expenditure Limit, which is then split into two categories, Resource (which I mistakenly referred to as Current in my previous post) and Capital - Capital spending is that on infrastructure and building (such as renovating schools) while Resource expenditure would be the rest (eg. teacher wages).

    Total Government Spending (TME, Total Managed Expenditure) is made up of Current DELs, Capital DELs and AME (Annually Managed Expenditure, which is essentially the welfare system and a few little things).

    TME will be cut by £30.4bn over 5 years, of which £11bn comes from welfare. As capital spending is protected, we can assume £19.4bn from Current DELs.

    I'm wondering at the extent that you want this to happen though. I don't think that school policy should be subject to private interests. For example if Christian Corp (OK, I've made this company up) offered to buy the computers for a school, on the condition that pupils say a prayer before they turn their computer on, what would you think of this?
    Well if you have an element of choice between schools that eliminates the problem. I'd leave it upto the school. They know that if it costs them pupils then they won't benefit from funding - while if it doesn't then clearly parents don't care about it. So really, it's upto the school to decide as long as you have an element of choice and competition between schools (even if they are government funded) - as that acts as an efficient check on it.

    I can't say that I read too deeply into the comments about Thatcher/IFS so perhaps I quoted them too hastily. I'll take your word on them. However Osborne is still aiming to reduce the Public Sector to something like 40-45% which is lower than it has been for years and years. I think that this is dangerous.
    Well, he aims to reduce it to approx. 40% by 2015-16, which is approximately the levels of 2007-08, and certainly higher than when Labour came into power. It was down at around 36-37% in 1999-2000.

    Sure, if it was a long term plan of say ten years and it made sure that no one was damaged financially that couldn't afford it then I'd say it was a reasonable idea. Although I'd be hugely sceptical because I fully support a strong welfare state etc. However it seems to me that the Cons are using this chance to ambitiously reduce the state when people are really suffering. I don't like it, and I think it's too much.
    Perhaps, but it's also the most necessary time. You can't tax and spend your way to growth - and you can't run a deficit of that size and expect to keep on borrowing at low rates. Sure, you can argue over the scale, but there had to be fiscal tightening and it had to come mostly from spending cuts, not tax rises.

    I disagree that we do not need DEFRA, I think it is actually quite an important department. I don't know much about the Culture department but again I'm not sure I'd agree with scrapping the whole thing. One thing that I think could be cut, however, is the government advertising budget. Or rather, less propaganda and more useful information (for example as suggested in the Organ Donor Bill - that money is spent to let people know about the change from an opt in to an opt out system).
    Indeed, government advertising - the very concept baffles me when they don't sell anything. They do however want to nanny and molly-coddle us with patronising adverts that tell us how to live our lives. Grrrr.

    I'm rubbish with paperwork and numbers so I think I'd be a terrible Chancellor but...
    That's why you have a Chief Sec to the Treasury .

    - I wouldn't increase VAT.
    I'd probably agree with that.

    - I wouldn't be looking to make such massive cuts in vital areas like education.
    Well, as I said - I hope they don't salami slice, that is take 25% out of everything, but rather start with a clean slate and work out what government should provide, which would probably mean the scrapping of many departments, but keeping funding for such areas. This may happen, we shall see.

    - I would increase the amount of inheritance tax on everything but the first/only home for those inheriting over a certain figure.
    - I would introduce environmental taxes, including a tax on pollution.
    - I would tax bankers bonuses.
    - I would look at introducing a Mansion Tax, again similar to the Lib Dem policy.
    We'll agree to disagree here.

    - I would seek to close down the so called 'non dom' loopholes. How this would be done I can't say, but the Lib Dems seemed pretty confident that it could be done prior to the Coalition.
    It's more difficult that you would think, and the Lib Dems would think. The sheer size of our taxes means that people will go to great (legal) lengths to avoid them. The answer lies in cutting taxes, not in punishing people further.


    - Equalise further public sector pay.
    Possibly, but not as a matter of principle. I can't say I know enough about public sector pay to comment. What I would say is that it becomes far more difficult to quantify someone's contribution when there's nothing being sold (and thus no profit being made).

    - Scrap Trident.
    To be replaced by anything else, or as part of unilateral nuclear disarmament? I would add that savings wouldn't kick in till after this Parliament - so I'm not sure why it was an issue at the last election.

    - I would increase or at the very least not cut welfare for those suffering the most in these difficult times. Single mothers, the elderly, poor workers. etc.
    Fair enough - I think the whole welfare system needs reform in quite a drastic way. Indeed IDS did a lot of work with the Centre for Social Justice, such as this paper here (Parts II & III, Appendicies). I don't think it's a case of how much we spend on welfare, but how we spend it so as to target it to the people who most need it without disincentivising work - the current system fails on both counts.

    - I probably still would make cuts. But I don't think that reducing the size of the public sector to under 40% (or was it 44%?) in four years is necessary, which is Osborne's aim. For this reason I wouldn't need to 'create' as much money as the current government aims to do. In fact I don't think I'd even label them cuts, they'd be more along the lines of reforming areas.
    Fair enough.

    Long term cuts/money raising:

    -Post-Afghanistan massively cut the Armed Forces. Create a very comprehensive and well thought out (:p:) plan to find the soldiers who consequentially lose their jobs new jobs - mostly using their skills learnt in the Forces.
    Indeed, I'd agree with that, I'd take a position of armned neutrality, but a smaller army is needed to defend than attack. Although I don't think finding other jobs would be a huge difficulty (any more so than the general public), a life in the Forces teaches you far more than just how to fight - there are transferable skills there.

    -Reform the Prison/justice system in a similar fashion to how we have proposed here. Obviously cuts costs, and also fulfils some important principles.
    I'd support that - as I supported the bill.

    - Legalise recreational drugs and create a safe distribution network for them. This will create revenue as well as keep the drug supply safe - reducing the death/abuse rate.
    And probably more importantly crime rate. I'd only disagree on taxing them, but that's a minor point compared to the situation at hand here. Bravo.

    :yy:
    :yy:
 
 
 
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