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Give us your suggestion - big or small - of where public money could be saved

141 replies

dotnet · 14/11/2010 13:05

Mine would be - turn heating down by 5 degrees fahrenheit - or a little more - in all our hospitals.

Sick people don't need to be cooked, it doesn't help - and if any patients really do NEED to be kept in a blazing hot temperature, have a few designated 'hot' rooms per hospital and turn up the radiator valves in there.

OP posts:
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Jux · 15/11/2010 10:48

This'll be controversial but hey.

Legalise cannabis. This will save money on policing, courts and prison. It will generate income through tax paid, which also stop that money going into the pockets of criminals. Those criminals who only deal in cannabis (and they do exist, really they do) could then deal legally and pay tax. (Obviously not all of them will but generally those people will be very small fry and doing it in a small way on the side as it were.)

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edam · 15/11/2010 13:56

Oh please, ISAs are actively promoted by government. It's really nothing to do with the kind of avoidance practised by Green, or Ashcroft, or Vodafone or those City firms - bailed out by us - who used taxpayers' money to invite the big four accountancy firms in to tell their employees how to avoid millions of pounds in taxation.

Citing ISAs is just a silly argument. Doesn't even begin to go anywhere near justifying the kind of tax avoidance practised by the very richl.

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vixel · 15/11/2010 14:04

I don't get why people have a problem with tax avoidance, people are reducing their tax bill through perfectly legal means. As things like ISAs demonstrate its not just an activity of the rich, a lot of people do it.
Tax evasion is wrong but the majority of tax evasion isn't done by wealthy people, its done by those on lower incomes by doing things like "cash in hand" jobs.

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LadyBlaBlah · 15/11/2010 14:07

I still quite like this

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Hammy02 · 15/11/2010 15:23

Scrap working tax credits and raise the tax allowance to about £15,000/20,000.

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edam · 15/11/2010 16:19

Because someone has to pay for roads, bin collections, hospitals and schools. If a multimillionaire avoids his or her taxes, people who have less money have to make up the difference.

Vodafone, Tesco and Philip Green cost the rest of us billions. Which would come in quite handy right now when we are facing £85bn worth of cuts to public services. I'm sure people who need cataract operations would rather everyone paid their fair share so they don't have to wait 18months or more for surgery.

Cash in hand is equally wrong, of course, although for individuals it's on a much smaller scale. Two wrongs, however, don't make a right, as everyone knows.

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TheCoalitionNeedsYou · 15/11/2010 16:29

Reduce the number of people employed by the public sector. Everything else is just pissing about at the margins.

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TheCoalitionNeedsYou · 15/11/2010 16:32

I don't see how you can make tax avoidance illegal as it is legal by definition. You can legislate to make particular behaviour illegal in which case it stops being avoidance and becomes evasion.

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BalloonSlayer · 15/11/2010 16:41

I wondered whether they would scrap free nursery places for 3 year olds.

Financially - if you are not at work then you would either pay for them to go to pre-school or would keep them at home with you. If you were at work using a childminder there would be no difference to you as you currently have to pay the childminder for the time a child is at pre-school anyway. If you were at work using a nursery then you would be worse off but no worse off than you were when your child was two.

I do not recommend this action BTW, I just wondered if they would do it.

However, DH, who Knows About These Things says that the scheme is due to be extended rather than scrapped or reduced.

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expatinscotland · 15/11/2010 16:47

Raise the age at which Winter Fuel Allowance can be claimed to retirement age.

Scrap free bus passes.

What MumsinBeds said, legalise drugs and tax them as high as tobacco.

I also agree with BikeRunSki wrt all public sectors.

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lucky1979 · 15/11/2010 17:35

But you need a mechanism to define OK tax avoidance and Not OK tax avoidance. And just saying "that which is practiced by people that are richer than me" doesn't work in the real world. I'm fully in support of looking at the loopholes on a case by case basis and closin those that fall into the grey area, but just wading in saying tax avoidance is bad is far too simplistic.

Phillip Green is an interesting example. How would you legislate against him, or more correctly his wife? Phillip Green pays his taxes on the money he earns in the UK. His company pays all applicable taxes. The dividend that was paid out was paid out which everyone is so indignant about was paid to his wife, as a shareholder. His wife is not a UK citizen (South African I believe) and does not live in the UK. So, how do you tax that? Its all very well to say that it's a tax avoidance, but how to stop it?

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Stillconfounded · 15/11/2010 17:43
  • raise taxes on alcohol


  • I'd keep winter fuel allowance and bus passes but means test them


  • and (a radical one)- switch university courses to two years with four ten-week terms in each (no need to have 30 week + holiday while doing a degree unless on some sort of study-related placement)
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jollydiane · 15/11/2010 18:30

If you are over 65 and are paying income tax I would scrap
winter fuel allowance
Free bus passes
Free TV Licence
Free swimming

These all cost money to administer. So they tax Mrs OAP £200 take a bit off in admin and then give them £190 back in winter fuel allowance. Hmm Please explain how this efficent?

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jollydiane · 15/11/2010 18:32

If you means test a tax then it costs money to adminster. Better to increaes the personal allowance. Its cheaper and as a % gives those at the lower end of the scale a greater % of their wealth that they can keep before being taxed.

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MiasmARGGG · 15/11/2010 18:34

Turn off the bloody streetlights/flood lights on buildings.

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Blu · 15/11/2010 18:38

"Tax evasion is wrong but the majority of tax evasion isn't done by wealthy people, its done by those on lower incomes by doing things like "cash in hand" jobs."

Are you sure about that? Based on what figures?

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Blu · 15/11/2010 18:42

Apart from tinkering about with the way things are done, to achieve maximu efficiency, I can't think of any general areas in current public spending that would want to cut.

I think labour went mad with ridiculous levels of burocracy, and savings can be made, but in terms of public servoce, welfare, halth and education, it all seems valuable to me.

We don't even pay particularly high taxes, given the health and education provision.

health ins in the U.S would cost my SIL $600 pcm if she could afford it. Which she can't.

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expatinscotland · 15/11/2010 18:43

'health ins in the U.S would cost my SIL $600 pcm if she could afford it. Which she can't.'

I was paying $365 for myself, for Kaiser, in the US about 10 years ago.

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GrimmaTheNome · 15/11/2010 19:27

Reduce the number of people employed by the public sector. Everything else is just pissing about at the margins

Or alternatively, do something like my company did in hard times in the early 90s.
We all had salary withheld: top bosses 25%, middle managers 15%, most of us 10%. I think they excluded the lowest paid. It was either this or massive layoffs or go to the wall.

The promise was we'd be repaid when the economy recovered - we were, a few years later.

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TheCoalitionNeedsYou · 15/11/2010 21:31

Grimma - yes that would work. Got to sell it to the unions though. The point is that staff costs are by far the largest cost. So that's what you need to address.

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huddspur · 15/11/2010 21:33

Grimma- the unions would never agree to that

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poorbuthappy · 15/11/2010 21:37

Silly things...

every month I get 2 newsletters from 2 councils! This is because we live right on the boundary. 1 council gets the postie to delivery it without postage/envelope. 1 council (who we pay our council tax to) send its every month in an envelope with postage paid.
I don't need it. Some people might need it, but I think everyone would understand why they weren't getting it.

Also over the last month I have had...6 copies of the same questionaire from the council. yes that's 6 copies, all printed, all sent using postage. All about the same thing...childcare in our borough.

I don't use childcare...its too expensive so I am a SAHM instead. I will not fill in the questionaire as I am unable to fill it in.

How many time is this sort of thing repeated over and over??

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CardyMow · 15/11/2010 22:24

Raising the tax threshold - all well and good, but could you feed a family and rent a house (not social housing, almost impossible to get in my town) on £12k - £16K pa? Even if you weren't paying any tax? The tax that is paid on a £16k income nowhere near makes up the full amount of benefits that someone on that wage receives to survive (what even the government decrees is necessary to survive at just above poverty level).

Whoever said about bus passes for the disabled - not everyone who gets a free bus pass on the basis of their disability is also entitled to DLA. I'm not. The reason I'm entitled to a bus pass is because by law I cannot hold a drivers license until/unless I am seizure free for a year. So it is to enable me to get around without bankrupting myself.

Charging disabled people/elderly 10p for a bus journey would be subjective - if it was down to the driver, most people with epilepsy or other 'hidden' disability wouldn't get the reduction in fare, only those with visible disabilities. If you had a card to prove your entitlement, well someone's got to administer that. If the bus comany was forced to only charge 10p, they wouldn't be able to take as many passengers, so would not cover their overheads, thus putting people out of work.

NOT everyone practices tax avoidance - I can't think of one example in my life where we tax avoid. We don't have an ISA, can't afford to pay into a pension, don't do work cash in hand, we don't donate to charities through gift aid (we do coffee and cake mornings and donate that way, in cash made). Why can Big businesses get away with not paying their taxes.

Overhaul the entire tax system, simplify it, make it impossible to avoid or evade taxes.

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TheCoalitionNeedsYou · 15/11/2010 22:41

Loudlass - Tax avoidance is a perfectly legitimate and state approved activity that is used as a tool to encourage different behaviours. There is tax relief on ISA's to encourage people to save. There is lower CGT than on income to encourage people to invest in assets and businesses.

We need to overhaul the entire tax system, simplify it, to make it impossible to evade taxes and make the ways that tax incentives influence behaviour much more transparent.

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CardyMow · 15/11/2010 22:43

Also - if you want to cut the public sector, all well and good - but that means making however many people unemployed. Often in areas where there is no other real employment for these people. And who will be cut first? Frontline workers or management? Because if it's management, they would need larger amounts of redundancy pay (thus costing money not saving it). Redundancy pay would not be half as nuch for the frontline workers (if they get any at all) but then services would be affected.

Free prescriptions for children/OAP's - for OAP's is already means-tested. For children - well the reason free prescriptions for dc was brought in was because it prevented child mortality. Would you be prepared to see an increase in child mortality rates to save what would essentially be a drop in the ocean when it comes to the defecit? Say your child needed 4/5 different medications each month. Where would you draw the line and say - well you can afford to pay £38 (or more for severe disabilities/illnesses that require more meds) to keep your child alive? An income of £12k? £16k? £20K? £25K? £44K?

It's difficult because savings need to be made somewhere, but there will be someone in dire straits wherever the cuts are made. My main suggestion - raise minimum wage to £12 an hour, do away with Tax Credits completely. Saves a bloody bomb for everyone except employers/ businesses. Which is why it won't happen.

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