Monday, 28 March 2011

'Removing barriers to growth' e.g. Coastguards?

'We are removing the barriers to growth' is a direct quote from Vince Cable when he was justifying the current cuts.
How on earth is cutting back the services that my local authority provides 'removing a barrier to growth'.  I used to hold Mr Cable in high esteem, he used to talk sense but he has lost his voice and his credibility with it.

I actually agree that local government needs to re-prioritise its services but the solution is to give them more of the important services to deliver instead of sidelining them and restricting their ability to operate. I give you the Parking Police who currently zap anything that stays still for ten minutes, who hinder business and smooth traffic. Why are they needed? Because councils have to raise money through parking charges in every single car park, which encourages people to park illegally and take chances. Or, the council could adjust traffic flows and make car parks free (certainly at low pressure times) thus encouraging trade back to the high street.  The priority is wrong!

From Mr Cables comments, I would therefore conclude that the areas being cut are somehow preventing businesses from trading! 
How exactly Mr Cable, does my local Coastguard station prevent companies from growing.  How is preventing Oil tankers from crashing onto the rocks, preventing growth? How many Oil clear up businesses have gone out of business over the last few years?
How many 'sailing boat rescue services' have gone bust? How many Cliff rescue companies are struggling to make ends meet due to those pesky Coastguards stealing their business? How many 'Super Tanker guidance services' have gone to the wall as their trade has been stolen by 'over investment in the Coastguard'.

Does Mr Cable remember the Sea Empress disaster 10 years ago? Allow me to assure him that those of us who live in Pembrokeshire have not.
What exactly is my local library doing that prevents businesses from expanding and when did my local public toilets last prevent somebody from making money? How is cutting the funding for the caring service (a private business) going to boost private business? Who exactly suffers from keeping lawns and flower beds neat and tidy? How will businesses be affected when these 'sub concious signals' start to deteriorate and how exactly will businesses pay for this with no knock on effect?

As I stated previously, I used to respect Mr Cable for his independence and ability to think in a straight line to achieve an end. Unfortunately, the smell of power has (as often happens) affected this ability and ensured that positive thinking in the political arena has been stamped out.

Why are politicians so unwilling to accept that there is an alternative way?  There is another way of achieving growth and there is a price to pay for it. The reduction in government spending can be slowed and targetted in areas where the effect will be felt less. You can offer the high profit companies a tax reduction in the future in return for assisting with the current issue. You can clamp down on the high earners who avoid taxes, you can break up banks and restrict pension companies from investing in the stock market, you can offer subsidies to re-locate Head Office operations out of big cities and into areas where job losses will be felt and you can move to a greener economy to make the most of the resources we have.

The price we will pay, will be that traders in the city of London will find it more difficult to raise money to invest in finance funds. The government might need to pay a higher interest rate on it's debt (It never bothered Cameron that much when he oversaw the collapse of the ERM which cost us Millions in extra borrowing) but most of us would accept that in exchange for having a job.

The unwillingness to even consider an alternative view will be the fall of this government. The lessons from the 80's and 90's have not been learned. The rich will benefit most from these cuts and the poorer will ultimately end up rebelling against society and given the starting point of the current society, any decline will have a significant effect.

It is time to reconsider and ask for the alternative view, before it is too late.

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