Lots of candidates will set out their plans for the future, but what it’s extremely difficult to do is explain just how they would pay for them.
- Some things I would like to see happen (like reintroducing the full National Insurance Holiday) should pay for themselves in the long run through increased employment and higher tax receipts, the same can be said for greater investment in housing and in growing our economy.
- Reforming Government shouldn’t be a costly exercise, it’s mostly a case of re-juggling what’s already there. Devolving more services to local authorities might result in an increase in rates, if this coincides with a reform of the rating system it has the potential to make the way we pay for all of our services fairer.
- Independent regulation of the Health service should pay for itself in savings, efficiencies and a better service delivered to everyone. The Government have a medical indemnity fund set up specifically to insure against medical claims against the DHSC being drawn down at £1m a year – surely robust independent regulation would cut down on medical claims, saving money in legal costs and payouts.
I’ll be the first to accept that it’s not all going to work out perfectly, but I firmly believe that better targeting of our resources across all of Government will enable us to deliver the reforms we need. I’d rather have spent £473,000 on tax relief for educational covenants, or on graduate employment incentives than on resurfacing the sloc. And at the end of the day if we have to cut back on spending in the Cabinet office or the DED to fund education initiatives that’s not a bad thing.
- Priority budgeting and more joined up thinking are essential to targeting our resources better.
Finally – the killer question. Public Sector Pensions.
- On this we are all going to have to bite the bullet, current pensioners, current workers and the taxpayer. There is absolutely no way we can plug the short term funding gap without radical changes. Some changes have already been made, and the current workers are already feeling the pinch so any further changes can only be with the support of everyone involved.