THEY spend YOUR money. Lots of it. Are THEY giving YOU value for money?

One of the changes from the Thatcher years is that Labour has managed to persuade people to part with much more of their hard earned cash to pay for the huge increases in spending on core political projects such as health and education. Rightly or wrongly voters have bought into the simple throwing of money into these areas without asking too many questions as to whether or not it has been well spent.

Whilst people feel that life is OK and that they have enough left over to take themselves from just making ends meet to where they can afford better holidays, evenings out, a new car, moving up the housing market and so on, they tend not to take too critical a view of things. They may also feel that in general that they do not begrudge the improvements to, say, the salaries/income of nurses and doctors. They may have a positive experience of the NHS (and whilst personally I think there must be a better way of doing health than the NHS, I cannot fault it for the excellent care given to my wife who has in the last year been through the whole breast cancer thing) and be one of the lucky ones to have a reasonable Comprehensive that has got their kids into a good university.

But when the burden of tax becomes noticeable to them, even allowing for the concealment effect of stealth taxes and if, as at present, the belt has significantly to be tightened because of substantial interest rate rises eating into their income via higher mortgage repayments and higher charges on their overdrafts, then people will start to look more critically at how that money is being spent and whether their taxes could be better applied and whether genuine savings can be made from waste and things which are simply not necessary for us to have, or just whether we are getting good value for money.

At the moment people still want a high level of spending, whether we like it or not, but we are in a period where many families, especially the lower middle-class (and some working-class families outside the pay-nothing/get-everything free sector) are finding it very hard going indeed. If so, then people will be prepared to ask, as this article in the Mail suggests, do we really need £160-180 billion p.a. spending on a vast unaccountable quangocracy? Do some of these institutions represent good value for money?

Pro Referendum Rally

Do we really need an agency such as the Milk Development Agency? What value is the Union Learning Fund? Why do we have a Meat Hygiene Agency when we also have a Food Standards Agency? What does a Beef Assurance Scheme Membership Panel add to either of those? Why on earth do we need separate agencies for Veterinary Medicines and Veterinary Products? When we are all worrying about obesity, why do we have a British Potato Council (which funds itself through some public money but mostly via a levy on potato growers and seed merchants, so you end up paying for it when you have your fish and chips) to promote the potato? Others will have similar nonsenses.

Highlighting the significant way in which so many these quangos are headed up by Labour Placemen who are all picking up fat salary cheques as a result could open up another nice little sleaze avenue. Cutting 1000 nursing posts is bad politics but cutting 50 Labour Fat Cats and 950 quangocrats is fine.

On any view £160 billion is a lot of money. Just cutting 10% would be a major victory for the Taxpayer. Money is tight. Now is the time to ask the question: are we getting good value for money? Asked in the right way, most taxpayers would say: “No”.

There is waste aplenty in them there hills which few will notice if it is swept away.