ECONOMICS - GREAT BRITAIN LIMITED
Wouldn't it be nice to know that the things you voted for would actually be done?
Would you like to see your money spent wisely?
Would you like to see lower taxes and see exactly where your contributions are going?
So would I. But what are the chances of that? I'm afraid, not at all good. The way our economy has developed over the years, politicians simply find their hands tied. It would be a mammoth task to undo the bad practices, the corrupt practices and the maladministration.
Our system is like an old house built on a few inches of ashes. Instead of knocking it down and starting again with concrete foundations, each party that gets elected simply underpins that part of our crumbling ruin of an economy that needs the most attention.
I'm an engineer and innovator. I like change. I like things that work better and more efficiently. It's easy for me fix an old car, provided I can see what has gone wrong. However, it's much easier to learn from the old designs and build a new car that is much better. Nobody in their right mind would choose an old Austin Seven to go to work, or as a practical family runaround, because it's too small, slow, noisy and unreliable. They'd choose a refined modern car that is economical to run, with space, heating and hi-fidelity music taken for granted.
With politics its not quite so easy because it's not so easy to see what is going wrong, and worse still, the politicians keep going backward and forward at a pace that simply cannot keep up with our changing world. Why, because each successive party inherits the mistakes of the outgoing party and only has so many years in office, to try and get things back to the way they liked it before they were booted out last time.
Nelson Kruschandl says : "It's Time for Change"
Why do you think politicians need to resort to stealth taxes?
Road Tax. This tax was introduced to pay for road building,
yet only about 5% actually goes to build roads. The rest is
diverted to support other high spend areas, such as protecting
crooked planning officers.
We need honest taxes for honest purposes? We need an efficient government and an efficient local government. We do not need dishonest local officials milking the system for their own purposes, building empires doing favours for mates and wasting roughly £10 million a year per council defending rigged decision making. We need affordable housing, decent schools, hospitals with clean beds and sensibly priced services.
At the moment council tax is crippling most folk. Not to mention the fact is is a grossly unfair tax aimed only at people who are sitting targets. It is the people who work the hardest, who are bailing our inept government, needlessly.
Stealth taxes are used as a means to deceive the public into paying more, in the hope they will not realise they are paying more. To make the government look good in the short term.
The trouble is, there is nobody else to vote for at the moment. Sadly, until there is, we will have to put up with the best of the old bunch.
The decline in neighbourhood shops and services is sounding the death knell for Britain's local economies.
The result is Ghost Town Britain: communities and neighbourhoods in core urban as well as rural areas without easy access to such essential elements of both the economy and the social fabric of the country.
nef is leading the local works campaign, in support of the Local Communities Sustainability Bill, to halt the emergence of Ghost Town Britain by putting power back in the hands of local people, to make their own plans for how they want to develop and sustain their communities.
A cross-party group of MPs, including Liberal Democrats, Labour, Conservative and Plaid Cymru first introduced the Bill to the House of Commons in March 2003. Its accompanying Early Day Motion (EDM) got 200 signatures. The Bill was reintroduced in January 2004, with a new EDM (169) and will once again have a life as long as the current Parliament. local works will keep re-introducing the Bill, as it is anticipated that it will take several years of campaigning to get it passed.
By local sustainability we mean policies that work towards the long-term well-being of any given area. That means promoting local economic needs – so money that is spent locally benefits local shops and services, not remote shareholders. Or that the long-term environmental impacts of any planning or economic policies are central to the process of deciding whether they go ahead or not. The Bill’s vision of local sustainability also says that the political and social participation and importance of every member of the community should be promoted.
The Bill covers four main areas: local services and economies, environmental protection, social inclusion and political justice.
BUYING LOCAL WORTH 400 PER CENT MORE
Local authorities could increase the amount of money circulating in their area by 400 per cent by examining how they spend their money, and fostering links with local suppliers.
These are the results of a year-long collaboration between nef (the new economics foundation) and Northumberland County Council, released by nef today, Monday 7 March 2005.
Northumberland used nef's Local Multiplier 3 (LM3) methodology to track the value of its local spending, to measure its impact - and how that impact could be increased.
Northumberland's research found that:
· In addition to the initial contracts, local suppliers in Northumberland re-spent on average 76 per cent of their income from contracts with local people and businesses, while suppliers from outside Northumberland spent only 36 per cent in the area.
· This means that every £1 spent with a local supplier is worth £1.76 to the local economy, and only 36 pence if it is spent out of the area. That makes £1 spent locally worth almost 400 per cent more.
· A ten per cent increase in the proportion of the council's annual procurement spent locally would mean £34 million extra circulating in the local economy each year.
· If councils across the UK made a ten per cent increase, it could mean an additional £5.6 billion re-circulating in local economies across the UK. This is a powerful and vital tool for Local Authorities who need to target the benefits of spending on disadvantaged areas.
Stewart Wallis, nef's Director, said: "In areas where funding is an acknowledged issue, such as school meals for instance, the implications for local government of Northumberland County Council's work are huge. By focusing on the impact of their procurement spending, Northumberland have shown not only the true potential of local sourcing, but also how to do it."
Based on the results of their analysis, Northumberland used the renewal of the council's food supply contracts to increase their local impact. Food procurement has been the subject of much national debate recently, for example on the question of how little extra would be needed to substantially improve the nutritional standards of school meals. To improve local impact, Northumberland:
· organised seminars communicating contract needs to small and local suppliers, as well as those already supplying the council.
· linked local businesses with local business support services and altered the specifications for the tender to level the playing field, allowing local businesses to compete more easily.
"This is the most robust large-scale test of LM3 so far. We surveyed nearly 400 local council contractors representing 70 per cent of the total council spend to reveal how much of the county's money gets re-spent locally, where money leaks out of the county and assess the value of every pound spent. The results, which measured the common economic benefits a contractor brings to the county, make it clear that local companies keep the money local for longer. Our LM3 study has led to us undertaking a fresh dialogue with local contractors about how we can improve access to public contracts," said Barry Mitchell, who as led the project at Northumberland County Council
The result of the food contract tendering process was a fivefold increase in local suppliers expressions of interest, which resulted in four of seven product categories (meat, milk, bread, fruit and vegetables) being awarded to local suppliers - almost half the value of the county's £3 million food procurement budget.
Breaking a contract into lots, as Northumberland did, allows local suppliers to enter the tendering process, and gives the contracting organisation a more customer focused and competitive service overall.
Northumberland found that developing stronger links with local suppliers also strengthened community spirit - the 'social glue' that holds communities together and plays an essential role in regeneration. There is more administrative work involved, but council officers found that this was repaid by the quantity and quality of the tenders received, and the community links developed.