Should the OBR independently cost and risk assess UK political manifestos? John Gelmini

English: The City of London skyline as viewed ...

English: The City of London skyline as viewed toward the north-west from the top floor viewing platform of London City Hall on the southern side of the Thames. In the foreground: Dixie Queen and Millennium Time at Tower Millennium Pier. This is a 5 segment panoramic image taken by myself with a Canon 5D and 24-105mm f/4L IS lens. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I thank Dr Alf for reblogging Simon Wren-Lewis’s blog article entitled “Labour’s OBR Proposal – Simon Wren-Lewis – Mainly Macro”.

There is very little difference between the endgame of policy between the Coalition and those of Ed Miliband.

Only yesterday, Willie Walsh, the CEO of British Airways, writing in the Daily Mail, lambasted Cameron and Osborne for showing “Very little economic vision and having no real plan for growth jobs, airports and making it easier for Chinese tourists and business-people to get here without having to obtain 2 visas. He also made the point about the UK needing more Mandarin speakers in shops and elsewhere to make these people welcome and at home.

Tourism employs 1 person in 13 in this country, yet we get 1/7th the number that the Schengen countries get and are still dithering about increased airport capacity to the point where one might be forgiven for thinking that a group composed of NIMBIES,environmentalists, Druids and other enemies of progress wanted us to revert back to the Dark Ages.

Neither political party/grouping has anything to say about these matters but they argue about planning regulations and HS2.

Dr Alf’s point about manifestos being independently costed and risk assessed is a good one but we are not in possession of all the figures that would be needed to make such an assessment.

For example, the UK has had a balance of payments deficit since 1982 yet we only lost our triple A credit rating a year ago.

Precisely what have we been living on for all these 31 years?

In my schooldays, we were told that the “magic ingredient ” was “invisible exports” but since last year the City of London was relegated to 2nd place behind New York with Hong Kong and Singapore taking an increasing share of these “invisibles” to the point where the City of London will be 4th in the rankings by 2016.

A look at what was collected in taxes over the past 50 years and what is being collected now shows that there is a vast disconnect between what has been collected and the roads,schools,hospitals,airports and infrastructure that these amounts of money should have bought.

We know that under successive Governments of different political persuasions that we are 17th in the world when it comes to value per taxpayer pound with Singapore producing three times the value as we do.

This difference cannot in my view just be explained away by waste,incompetence on the part of Ministers and civil servants and other causes must be looked at rigorously, if necessary by the police and forensic accountants.

An OBR comparison of manifestos is a helpful step but Dr Alf’s excellent proposal needs to be supplemented by a much more searching review of the nation’s finances over many years before we can really say accurately which political party has wasted the most money.

John Gelmini

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8 responses

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