'If you were chancellor, what'd you cut?' poll discussion

Former_MSE_Lawrence Former MSE Posts: 975 Forumite
edited 25 October 2010 at 5:29PM in MoneySaving polls
Poll started 19 October 2010:

If you were chancellor, what'd you cut?

It's spending review time, where the Chancellor tells us what he wants to cut. Yet if you were chancellor which of these areas of government spending would you cut?

Select as many as you like (2009 figures in brackets to help. Source: Guardian)

Defence. (military spending - £44bn) - 3,463 votes (33 %)
Education. (schools and universities - £67bn) - 933 votes (9 %)
(waste and pollution - £5bn) - 1,457 votes (14 %)
(the NHS - £115bn) - 1,084 votes (10 %)
Law & Order . (police and courts - £9bn) - 596 votes (6 %)
Overseas aid.
(money to the developing world - £7bn) - 6,922 votes (67 %)
Benefits & Tax Credits. (inc. social security & housing - £102bn) - 6,268 votes (61 %) State pension. (including pension credit - £66bn) - 653 votes (6 %)
(roads & railways - £15bn) - 975 votes (9 %)
– I'd keep it as is - 390 votes (4 %)

Please vote here, or click 'post reply' to discuss below. Thanks :)

IMPORTANT NOTE: Quite a few comments below are arguing this poll misses taxes for various different groups and raising them. Yet this week we have a 'spending review' not a budget. That's why this poll is only about spending - not about the rate of taxes (we did that during budget time from memory)



  • robpw2
    robpw2 Forumite Posts: 14,044
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    overseas aid .. charity begins at home and when was the last time they offered to help us.. it seems like a bottomless pit
    pensions .. people should save for their own pension ..
    benefits.. put a 3 months maximum limit on the ability to claim jobseekers .. if it takes you three months to find a job you have issues

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  • Steven_Supersave
    Steven_Supersave Forumite Posts: 1 Newbie
    I hope we see a cut in Politicians spending; surely they can merge a few areas and fire some useless politician who never does anything.
    I hope they decide to build more prisons and then dish out harder sentences, which will save on legal aid for the next time somebody breaks the law, and also there benefits for which they will inevitably claim when they do get out after 1 month for armed burglary. Also maybe they should sell the pool table and TVs in prisons to maybe pay for some of it. But then again I can’t envisage a government eBay account somehow.
  • misti
    misti Forumite Posts: 29 Forumite
    To the people that voted for cuts in benefits, this is nothing but short sighted false economy & demonisation.

    If you don't provide those out of work with money for food, you try doing anything else on £50 a week in 2010, what do you think will happen?

    Crime will increase, robberies will increase, the costs of law & order will go up, your house insurance will go up, & we will end up in a more violent, lawless society.

    Chase those that aren't paying their way thru issues of greed, not those at the bottom, that are in need. Push those to suffer further and it we will all suffer x
  • sharrison01
    sharrison01 Forumite Posts: 45 Forumite
    Tough for politicians as cuts need to be done with regards to votes. To get the country moving forward, pensions and healthcare would take a hit as they mainly benefit those that have got us into this mess - the baby boomer generation that own all the properties, companies, board positions, political seats etc etc. The money could then be spent on education which would put future generations in a better position to make the country stronger.

    Never going to happen though as the baby boomer's are the ones that vote and make donations to political parties so they have enjoyed a life of good education, good healthcare, affordable property and then better pensions.

    On a side one, benefits should be reallocated if not cut. Our welfare system is one of the greatest things about Britain and those that are truly needy through either poverty or disability should be given every opportunity available to those that are not. However, immigrants are being attracted to Britain because of its welfare system and many people are abusing the system to not work. If immigrants were not offered these benefits then they would not be attracted to Britain, solving two problems. If those that choose not to work get nothing then we may be able to prevent this pyramid effect of those living on benefits having lots of children that will grow up to live on benefits and so on.

    My opinion on getting out of this mess is to stop all this austerity nonsense and quantitative easing and start building again. Putting money into building houses and our transport infrastructure would both create lots of jobs in one of our largest industries (construction) and leave us with assets that can be utilised in the future. Austerity is the current buzz word for the lazy Med countries that do not work or pay tax and whose governments steal from their own people and we have got caught up in this for political reasons. Quantitative easing is simply giving money back to the same financial sector that ignited this mess.

    Politics and finance together rarely succeed, especially when the politician with all the financial decisions has only had a career in politics. He is obviously good at influencing people but that does not give him a head for numbers!
  • Barrista2b
    Barrista2b Forumite Posts: 1 Newbie
    edited 19 October 2010 at 1:29PM
    We can all look back on our finances and see where we could save money, but how many of us actually do this? And how many of us actually choose to put this money to better use (unless circumstances force us to)?

    The Chancellor has some difficult decisions to make, but anything he does is treating the symptoms and not the causes of the problem. Something much more proactive needs to be done.

    So much money could be saved simply by running each Govt department like a business. Source good, cost effective, reliable suppliers; get rid of lazy, work-shy staff; invest in decent IT systems that don't crash as often as they seem to do; simplify systems, procedures etc, reduce the bureaucracy as much as it can be reduced. Let's have some forward planning too - National Projects eg new hospitals, better transport systems etc.

    It'd be good to see children at primary and secondary levels learning about money management and things like savings, investments and pensions - including things like not keeping all eggs in one basket!

    So much is being done to educate children in the area of healthy living, but if they can't afford to buy the fruit, vegetables and prepare a healthy meal in the first place (bring back Home Economics!), they're goosed before they even start.

    I could rant on for ages about each of the aspects of the poll, but I have studying to do!
  • Celia
    Celia Forumite Posts: 313
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    I think on all these options - the emphasis should be not just cuts but that the money is spent well. So that means more centralisation of buying (various reports show the government massively under uses its capabilities in terms of buying power), less red tape and bureaucracy and duplication of functions.

    Once the various sections are running efficiently in terms of how they do the actual work, then is the time to look at the specific areas of spending and activities.

    Whatever cuts are made they must be made with a look at the long term implications and not just as a book balancing exercise for now.
  • sharrison01
    sharrison01 Forumite Posts: 45 Forumite
    And stop increasing income tax and look at VAT instead. Income tax hurts those that work and will push business away from the country. If VAT is increased then those that choose to load up their credit cards on material items can pay for their choice, those that do not need to or want to work will still be paying in and those that work hard and save will not lose out, sending the right message. It would also help the problem of tax havens because the big businesses and hedge funds that are registered abroad will be paying in through their spending in the UK, making their corporate tax savings less of a loss to the UK.
  • minerva_windsong
    minerva_windsong Forumite Posts: 3,808 Forumite
    Benefit cuts for the well off - I'm not averse to the child benefit cut, but I think the way it's been done is stupid. If you can means test for university grants, where the threshold (according to the other week's Private Eye) is just over £50,000, then you can means test for child benefit. Alongside that should be a radical overhaul of benefits for people going into work - maybe something like where you get paid benefits at the value of whatever your first month's salary is, and then once wages start coming in you pay it back over the course of a year, similar to how student loans are paid back.

    I also voted for defence - by which I mean scrapping Trident.
    "A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge." - Tyrion Lannister
    Married my best friend 1st November 2014
    Loose = the opposite of tight (eg "These trousers feel a little loose")
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  • glossyhair
    glossyhair Forumite Posts: 133 Forumite
    misti wrote: »
    To the people that voted for cuts in benefits, this is nothing but short sighted false economy & demonisation.

    If you don't provide those out of work with money for food, you try doing anything else on £50 a week in 2010, what do you think will happen?

    Crime will increase, robberies will increase, the costs of law & order will go up, your house insurance will go up, & we will end up in a more violent, lawless society.

    Chase those that aren't paying their way thru issues of greed, not those at the bottom, that are in need. Push those to suffer further and it we will all suffer x

    I couldn't agree more. Yes, of course there are those who abuse the system and that does have to be stopped . . . but, despite what the Daily Mail would have us believe, there are countless others who don't take advantage and rely on that meagre weekly payout to simply survive.

    I am an intelligent, experienced, skilled professional and I was out of work, on JSA, for 14 months. It was very tough to run a home/make ends meet on £60 a week and sometimes I wonder how I did it without completely losing my mind. Thankfully, I did find a wonderful job three months ago but, I am literally still suffering the consequences of spending over a year below the breadline . . . i.e. existing on a cheap diet of toast and beans has in fact left me medically malnourished . . .

    I don't understand how it can be deemed fair to penalise those at the very bottom of the heap whilst the higher and top earners are allowed to hide their money in offshore accounts and take advantage of tax loopholes etc. to avoid paying into the national pot. Don't even start me on the bankers who appear to have got away with their irresponsible behaviour completely.

    If the cuts were TRULY fair and proportional across ALL sections of society rather than just paying lip-service to the idea, then I for one would find them far easier to swallow and I am sure that I am not alone.
    mmmm, still seeking something witty to be my auto-signature . . . so this will have to suffice for now ;)
  • bexster1975
    bexster1975 Forumite Posts: 1,576
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Photogenic Bake Off Boss!
    The main reason people are targeting benefits is because too many people in this country claim benefit for their entire lives when many are perfectly capable of working. That is not to mention those who have more and more children to increase their benefits. I find it hard to believe that the people on this forum believe in removing/reducing benefits for those in genuine difficulty due to redundancy or ill health. Unfortunately it is the behaviour and attitude of the few which colours the views of many hard working, tax paying people in this country.

    I can see how people feel demonised by the idea of cutting benefits, but the savings have to come from somewhere and it is unlikely UK taxpayers are going to support cuts in areas such as the NHS and education when their tax levels remain the same (or indeed increase).
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