LAURA Perrins has rightly called attention to the eye-watering debt level of the current UK administration and the grossly unfair burden this imposes on future generations, asking: ‘Where is the moral outrage over our £2.5trillion of debt?’
The detail is even worse. Monthly interest on this debt increased from £6billion in July to £8.2billion in August.
On the moral incentive of her tax-cutting reforms, Liz Truss is absolutely right. The establishment, which means the left, nit-picking her mini-Budget tax cuts, claim they’d be cancelled out by fiscal drag (where inflation or income growth moves taxpayers into higher tax brackets, raising government tax revenue without explicitly raising tax rates). But they miss the bigger picture which is the relatively small borrowing cost of her proposed tax cuts in the context of the £500billion debt burden incurred by lockdown and now the far bigger global economic crisis that the country faces. This is the major impact of the global shift in the yield curve.
When Truss said the nation faces greater challenges than in 2008 she is right. She’s inherited a Britain that is failing – something that far too many of her colleagues on the ‘right’ as well as the left still don’t get – due to the economic atrophy and cost caused by the bloated and ever-encroaching State.
One man who does get it is the US thinker and commentator Victor Davis Hanson, who writes this week that civilisation hinges on ‘ensuring the stuff of life – to be able to eat, move about, have shelter, be free from state coercion, be secure abroad and safe at home’.
For decades, the state has expanded far beyond its basic concerns and ever further into the micro-management of society, demanding the taxes needed to pay for it. This growth is now taking society backwards into what Hanson terms ‘a great experiment in which regressive progressivism steadily discounts all the institutions and methodologies of the past which governments were fundamentally responsible for’. In the UK it is so large that it has strangled, if not permanently crippled, the private growth sector of the economy. Massive increases in taxes (highest in 70 years) and spending (the state now is 48 per cent of GDP) have had a crushing effect on growth and freedom. Tax cuts, whatever the optics, are essential to reverse this. But so also is cutting public spending.
The fact is that Western administrations whether nominally left or right (and not least the UK’s) suffer from a bloated and reckless spending addiction in the pursuit of their own agendas. Though it appeared that this was spending that Liz Truss knew she must address and cut, yesterday in Parliament, extraordinarily, she vowed not to.
Should we take Daily Mail and BBC lead stories of this ‘vow’ at face value though? Kate Andrews, writing in the Spectator, says there is a caveat – Truss has told her Cabinet to prepare for cuts and is promising to protect department budgets in nominal terms rather than real terms. Let’s hope so. Appeasing Labour and her Tory wets won’t ever pacify them – it never does, they just demand another pound of flesh – and nor, importantly will it go down well with either the markets or the grassroots conservative base. It will anger the the latter. They want to see her taking a hatchet to the money spent on the unwitting taxpayers’ behalf. It is not as though it is difficult to pinpoint the egregious waste they never voted for.
We are already familiar with the well-funded hate crime versus real crime dereliction of police duties, the propagandising of the BBC and the Arts Council, schools as welfare outreach centres, and gender insanity programmes. Here is a selection of some of the more recent insults to tax-payers.
The NHS and vaccinating the young: The cost of Covid policies has been estimated at some £310billion to £410billion, equivalent to £4,600 to £6,100 per person in 2020/2021 – around £167billion higher than planned.
While many other countries have discontinued vaccination for the under-50s, the NHS blunders on. Mark Ellse, writing in the Daily Sceptic, estimates that vaccinating the under-50s is an utter waste of up to £1billion of taxpayers’ money. This amounts to around one-fifth of the total budget for cancer care, all for a programme aimed at 32million individuals at very low risk. How many nurses and cancelled operations would that pay for?
Migration and asylum seekers: The asylum system costs the taxpayer £1.5billion per year. The sharp increase in illegal Channel crossings has led to around 37,000 of these incomers and others on resettlement schemes being accommodated in hotels at a cost of £4.7million every day.
The number of Albanians arriving has risen a hundredfold in a year, accounting for between 50 and 60 per cent of crossings, as a result of people-smuggling gangs offering cheap deals and organised crime bringing in recruits for drug operations. Once here, they exploit modern-day slavery laws to avoid deportation.
The new Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, is no doubt sincere in pledging to tackle this, just like all her predecessors. Meanwhile, weddings booked at the prestigious Stoke Rochford Hall Hotel near Grantham, Lincolnshire, have been cancelled after the Home Office told it to take on more refugee families ‘with immediate effect’.
All this comes at no cost to the ‘refugees’ – they receive free food, shelter, heating, advice, education and health care, while taxpaying families are having to cut back their expenditure.
Overseas development aid: In 2013, the Government committed to spending 0.7 per cent of gross domestic product on overseas aid, and that passed into law two years later. This cost the taxpayer £2.6billion in 2021 (and this was only part of the spend). Although reduced to 0.5 per cent, contributions have risen, and money continues to be sent to India and China.
The TaxPayers’ Alliance has identified some of the more ludicrous projects this money is frittered away on. They include Sri Lankan studies into twin behaviour, helping people in El Salvador to lose weight and treating Mexican coffee farm workers to ‘a complete revision of the concepts of gender’.
Another is the Barnett Formula funding the break-up of the UK: Block grant funding for the Scottish government is the highest now since devolution, at around £41billion a year for 2022-2025.
For every £100 per person spent on England on devolved matters, £126 per person is spent on Scotland. This enables First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to indulge in what looks like profligate spending to the English taxpayers who fund it. Yet in spite of money lavished on the Scottish NHS, waiting times have reached epic proportions. In Ayrshire, by April this year 10,613 people had been waiting 104 weeks or longer for treatment as outpatients or day patients. One unfortunate individual had been waiting three days to be seen at A & E.
Such examples merely scratch the surface, but it is always the last straw that breaks the camel’s back. It is clear that this generosity is not intended to ensure what Victor Davis Hanson has called ‘the great achievement of Western civilisation – consensual government, individual freedom, rationalism in partnership with religious belief, free market economics, and constant self-critique and audit’.
It is instead the ultimate fate of a democracy – the tipping point at which there are more takers than givers. Rather than governing for the common weal, politicians now seem hell-bent on the ultimate scam: bribing the electorate into voting them permanently into office, using the compulsory contributions of hard-working taxpayers to finance it.
My question to the Prime Minister is how much longer will taxpayers allow themselves to be steamrollered into funding all this, when it clashes so starkly with their own preferences? Maybe she should start thinking about who you need to appease most before she has a taxpayers’ revolt on her hands.
UK taxpayers, enslaved by the fiscal capture of the last 70 years that’s funded the personal agendas of unaccountable politicians and corporate interests, have had enough. If Truss has submitted to the Tory Left and is in retreat on cutting public expenditure, as widely reported yesterday and today, then she only has half a policy. As such it can only lead to higher prices and more inflation.
Tax cuts can work if in tandem with a better bang for the pathetic public sector buck. Public spending up 24 per cent in two years and her MPs won’t agree to savings? Really? Truss could do with remembering that leadership is not about popularity; it is about leading.