The Apollo Project
Liberal Ideas for the 21st Century
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Costcutters for Liberalism
by Peter

Uncle Vince has been setting out his thoughts on tax and spending in (where else?)Public Finance. Good (if cautious) thoughts they are too.

His starting point is that "(b)roadly speaking, the Liberal Democrats have supported Chancellor Gordon Brown’s increased funding for health, education and policing." This is clearly true - but I am one of the minority who thought that the speed with which spending was increased in the Health Service was ridiculous - well beyond the capacity of the Health Service to absorb the extra spending.

The task this Parliament will be to find areas where money can be saved - and Vince has some candidates in mind: ID cards; baby bonds; the DTI; the Single Farm Payment Scheme. This is not a bad list. But the first three are familiar calls, and the fourth raises a different problem. Scrapping the SFP (which hasn´t yet hit farmers bank accounts) will require international agreement, and in reforming the CAP the first priority should be to scrap tariffs and export refunds. Dealing with direct and untied payments to farmers is a lower priority.

There are many other schemes we should be looking at critically: Sure Start is one, the vocational training bureauracy another.

Still, Cable is headed in a liberal direction:

"Whatever detailed conclusions emerge from the LibDem tax review, there will be an underlying philosophy of fair and simpler — and also greener — but not higher, taxes."

A decent start, at least.
posted by Peter Pigeon @ 11:07 am  
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"What is Liberalism?: I should say it means the acknowledgment in practical life of the truth that men are best governed who govern themselves; that the general sense of mankind, if left alone, will make for righteousness; that artificial privileges and restraints upon freedom, so far as they are not required in the interests of the community, are hurtful; and that the laws, while, of course, they cannot equalise conditions, can at least avoid aggravating inequalities, and ought to have for their object the securing to every man the best chance he can have of a good and useful life." C-B.

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