Like X Factor with 10 Wagners: Choosing Britain’s worst cuts
With Christmas just around the corner there is always a few events you can guarantee – bright lights, desperate shoppers and festive top tens.
Touchstone Blog is getting in on the act with the launch of CUTS Factor, which we’ll be running between now and Christmas. But this is a top ten list with a twist – rather than picking your favourite cut, we’re asking you to pick your worst from a shortlist of ten. Think X Factor with ten Wagners.
The cuts we’ve chosen cover ten different areas (see more detail on the contenders). These aren’t necessarily our most hated cuts – we’d have trouble restricting such a list to ten. After all, our regular Cuts Watch series is well over 300 now and the recent local authorities’ settlement alone will mean tens of thousands of local cuts across the UK.
There’s no set criteria for picking your worst cut. It may be because it relates to an issue close to your heart, it could be the nastiness of the cut or it could be the sheer stupidity of it. We’ve always argued at touchstone that the cuts are a false economy because they will choke off growth, restrict people’s job prospects and jeopardise consumer and business confidence – the very things that are needed to get our economy motoring and the tax take up again.
I’m sure there will be some people out there who would genuinely like to vote for their favourite cut. Christmas really has come early for those wanting a smaller state, with mothers staying at home and private companies running those public services that haven’t been abandoned altogether. In the spirit of fairness, I have suggested a cut that I’d support – and one that I think most voters would too.
The blame for the global financial crash – and the subsequent taxpayers’ bailout that has led to a record deficit – lies squarely with the banks and financial institutions. Fuelled by reckless bonus incentives that encouraged dangerous risk taking, they created the financial bubble that burst spectacularly in 2007.
You’d assume then that action would have been taken to prevent this from ever happening again. A cut in the level of bonuses – estimated to be around £7 billion this year in the City alone – or a Robin Hood Tax on financial transactions could be used to recapitalise banks, payback the deficit or lend to businesses to get the economy moving again.
Instead, a few predictable threats to move to Switzerland appear to have scared the government away from doing anything to rein in bankers’ behaviour. This would have been a cut we could have all supported. Sadly, everyone else is being made to pay for the mistakes the banks made.