Column: 1 June 2010

Over the last eight years, I have been the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, which is responsible for ensuring that your taxes are spent as efficiently as possible. I hope you will forgive me if I briefly share with you some grudges I have had about the way your taxes have been spent during this time.

Nation wide, we are losing £6,000 per household, per year. The god news is that we can fix this situation without affecting frontline services such as Gainsborough’s education and healthcare. The last administration said that the nation would not survive a £6bn public spending cut. In fact, we can cut two or three times that amount without impacting any frontline services at all. For years, your taxes have largely been used to create unnecessary government commissions and bureaucratic posts.

More bureaucracy and commissions mean more immediate employment, but it is at your expense and you haven’t benefited from a superior service as a result. For your money, you have not received more doctors, teachers, train drivers, or other professionals – only more complex, less efficient public administration. This is where we have been going wrong, because creating jobs that are not needed does not generate wealth. Project management in general has been inefficient and until now there has been little incentive to cut costs by streamlining services.

Now is the time to let small businesses and private individuals benefit from the taxes they pay. By changing our public spending patterns, we can pick up the economy. However, our burden of debt will mean that households and private businesses will have to cut expenditure by more than 3% this year to keep their heads above the water. It would be an insult to honest workers if the public sector didn’t have to do the same.

Posted by Edward Leigh | June 1st, 2010

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