Its not a suggestion that we burn down the Houses of Parliament during the recess, but rather we look for areas where funds could be saved from the national budget that avoid taking it from the weak and the vulnerable. Over the weekend 3 areas have arisen on twitter and perhaps all 3 of them deserve our consideration. Sadly with the execption of the Greens I don’t think any of them are actually on offer from any party that is campaigning nationally. However there are many Independents standing in this election who do actually stand a chance of winning seats.
One estimate of the cost to you and I of the zero VAT rate on airline fuel is some £15Bn per year. That is £3Bn more than the soft hearted (not) IDS was suggesting he will find from welfare cuts on the Marr show. Clearly if this was removed, the actual benefit would be less and the airline industry would lose some of its capacity, but it is worthy of our consideration for many other reasons too. It is inconceivable that one form of transportation is exempt from taxes paid by all other transport providers. Although this would have some impact on business, there are ways of rebalancing that particular issue.
One of the estimates of the cost to you and I of the tax unpaid by private Schools because they are charities is some £3Bn. This figure may or not include the cost of the free Schools and other Academies that are now run as charities. This is a particularly challenging element in the transition from public sector to charitable sector that plays havoc with local government. One term the School is paying business rates for its grounds, the next it isn’t and the loss of these rates in part comes out of the budget of our District or Borough Council finances. If we are going to say we don’t tax education, then it should not be dependent on what sort of institution runs the School. Lets level off the playing fields so to speak.
The costs to you and I if Trident is replaced will be around 3Bn per year based on the figures I have heard. I cannot find any logic in paying for a weapon system that most other nations cannot afford and if a rogue state did set of their nuclear weapons we still wouldn’t use them. Lets dock the subs.
So that’s it. Three areas where around £21Bn of Government expenditure could be cut without directly impacting the poorest in society. The final area in which I am confident more savings could be achieved is to do as Laura Sandys suggested in her final speech in the House of Commons. A reduction in the number of MPs, and add to that a dramatic reduction of the number of Lords. Lets scale back the London operations of Parliament itself and also a root and branch change to the way that the Government departments operate, reducing down the number of separate and at times competing Ministries (if we cut the Commons, the Cabinet would also need to be cut). A radical change would probably add a further 1-2Bn to the £21Bn already suggested.