The Times article understates the issue in my view. The UK needs to start paying its way with legitimate foreign exchange from exports. Since 1981, the UK has had a trade deficit of £3 billion GBP per month, which is a period of 37 years. This, as Dr Alf, who as a former financial director and chartered accountant bringing us this article and understands the implications of the deficit better than most, is a very serious matter and has led to the conditions which in turn led to austerity.
The austerity politics have gone on for more than 10 years, since the 2008 banking crisis, with no attempt to get directors to export, sell and deliver optimised shareholder value for their bumper pay packets, bonuses and “other emoluments”.
Within government and local authorities, this haughty disdain for the idea of delivering value for money in services has led to costs of delivering services being triple those of Singapore and Switzerland, and the UK being about 30th in the world, which also happens to reflect overall worker productivity, which is 19%, behind the average for the G7 and falling.
Boards have to start earning their keep and worker productivity needs to rise in short order and the public sector needs to reform.
As we speak Northamptonshire County Council is bankrupt, the first in the country to suffer that fate and taxpayers will have to foot the £1 billion GBP legacy created by gross financial incompetence and a failure to manage Adult Social Care, which now represents 55% of entire county council and unitary authority budgets. Ten other UK county councils are getting close to bankruptcy, including Lancashire and all other counties have police forces and fire commands which have given up all pretence of reform, or doing the jobs we are paying them to do.
Successive governments have seen fit to allow money of dubious provenance to prop up the banking system and keep the country afloat but if we are to retain our place in the Corruption Perception Index we have to find a way to earn our way out of trouble.