How to put the UK’s economy on a sustainable footing – a twenty point strawman

The National Health Service Norfolk and Norwic...

The National Health Service Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in the UK, showing the utilitarian architecture of many modern hospitals. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Like Dr Alf, I found the FT editorial article on the UK’s sustainability rather weak.

To Dr Alf’s ten point proposal to increase the UK sustainability footing, I have added ten points of my own.

In our joint judgement an independent strategic study is required:

1. Identifying the UK’s best industries for growth and development

2. Ensuring that there are skilled workers for (1)

3. Identifying the UK’s best opportunities to increase exports

4. Ensuring that there is a new breed of multi-lingual professional sales people capable of exploiting (3)

5. Massive fiscal incentives to stimulate investment in the private sector

6. Supporting public sector infrastructure investment if the financial returns are sufficiently attractive

7. Downsizing the public sector, with wide-scale consolidation and outsourcing

8. Breaking up the UK banks and ensuring that there is greater competition in the financial services sector

9. Identifying opportunities for reforming EU bureaucracy

10. Exploring opportunities to reduce the UK’s population with carefully targeted government policy, like encouraging people to retire overseas.

11. Raising UK levels of worker productivity from 20th in the world to the top 10%

12. Scrapping the NHS and remodel it on German and French lines with Rife machines in all cancer wards. Merge Adult Social Care into the NHS

13. Introducing variable taxes on foods and take a proactive stance to obesity,diabetes,cancer and Alzheimers all of which affect productivity, the ability to earn, the ability to pay taxes and job performance

14. Making our tax regime more competitive and encourage wealthy foreigners to come to the UK and employ people

15. Introducing business boot camps and a path to self employment for the non academically inclined

16. Shortening school holidays,lengthen the school day in state schools and teach children how to sell and present from an early age.

17. Firing trendy heads and transform sacked military officers into head teachers and sacked soldiers into teachers as the Americans have done with their Troops to Teachers programme

18. Putting money into Singapore style policing to make city centres and transport hubs safe and attractive for insurers and developers and for the creation of a “cafe society” rather than one of alcohol and drug fuelled debauchery which puts off tourists and stops people from going out with their families and loved ones

19. Bringing our road system into the 21st century,build Boris Island and simplify the visa system to attract more high spending Chinese tourists as the French and Italians have done

20. Reintroducing National Service with a maximum period of 2 years from leaving school or just 18 months for bright students going to University. This should apply to both boys and girls with exceptions based on medical grounds


Opinion – UK Local Authorities and Shared Services: Cost-Cutting – Myth or Reality? – John Gelmini

Metropolitan boroughs, London boroughs and non...

Metropolitan boroughs, London boroughs and non-metropolitan unitary authorities are shown (the remaining areas are shire counties) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


 Dr Alf is right to worry about the risks of Local Authority shared services centres because the real problem of lack of local authority worker productivity (32%) and the number of local authorities, constabularies and fire commands is not being addressed.

Nor is the problem of too many local authority layers of Government being addressed,  nor the burgeoning problem of Adult Social Care, which now consumes 55% of county council, unitary authority, metropolitan borough council and London Borough Council budgets.

The steps needed are clear:

1) Abolish districts and boroughs and outsource all their functions to a rotating panel of providers

2) Reduce UK county councils, unitary authorities, metropolitan borough councils, London Borough Councils and City Councils to 15 (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland)

3) Reduce layers to five, and impose headcount restrictions to stop bogus grades re-emerging as happens now

4) Apply Lean EFQM to all services, recalculate headcount required fire all those surplus to requirements staring at the top with the 4000 or so council chief executives who are essentially not needed. In practical terms, this will mean firing 55% of all local authority workers

5) Reduce constabularies and fire commands to 15 and repeat the process but in the case of the police keeping the overall budget intact and using layering and procurement savings to fund cleverer detectives and more bobbies

6) Merge Adult Social Care into the NHS and get rid of Adult Social Care directorates in councils

7) Centralise all purchasing with a rotating panel of auditable providers changed once a year

8) Bring in random spot checking of all local authority workers bank accounts and in the case of senior officials, Chief Executives etc audit the accounts of their wives, girlfriends, partners, mistresses, children and relatives, forbid them from setting up foreign trusts

Catch and bring to justice two or three of the worst examples of corruption (there could well be many) and make sure that the sentences on conviction are draconian and that all monies are recovered in the full glare of publicity and with Dominic Littlewood the bald headed presenter given full scope to pontificate on the matter in a television programme

9) Bring in variable tax on foods, identify Adult Social Care recipients early, insist that people lose weight and stop smoking before they are given Adult Social Care or NHS operations.

Aggressively re-enable all Adult Social Care recipients so that only those truly in need of such help actually get it.

Apply gastric band and stomach stapling to the morbidly obese and prescribe Tai Chi for them once they are thinner

10) Merge all call centres and dispatching centres into CRM driven,web enabled shared services centres

11) Outsource whatever is left over

John Gelmini