Billions 'wasted' on public services

Tony Blair is wasting the extra billions of pounds he takes from taxpayers by pumping it straight back into public services that have not been reformed for 60 years, an independent report said yesterday.

The analysis from the non-political organisation Reform undermines Labour's central claim to be improving schools and hospitals by raising taxes to the highest level for a quarter of a century.
Passengers boarding a London Underground train
The UK's public transport systems are falling behind

Instead, it says that while the Government is taking ever more in tax as a proportion of national income, the education, health and transport systems are falling behind those of other countries which modernised and cut tax at the same time.

The report is damaging to Labour in the approach to the election as it intends to highlight improved public services as its key achievement in the past eight years.

Sir Christopher Gent, the chairman of GlaxoSmithKline, who heads Reform's advisory board, said the belief that a post-war welfare state could be made to deliver modern services just by pouring in extra money was misguided.

"We cannot go on transferring resources from the efficient and productive private sector into monopolistic, unproductive public services," he said. "Taxes are now rising to a 25-year high to fund this approach but services have improved little, if at all. This is not a sustainable course."

Reform, which urges modernisation of public services and the withdrawal of politicians from running them, cites research showing that, although spending on the health service will soon be higher than in any other country apart from America, its performance is among the worst of western nations, coming 18th out of 19 in terms of productivity.

In education it says ministers' claims about improvements are overblown. It advocates a new system under which parents should receive a contribution to fees for independent schools from the state to give them complete choice and to foster competition.

The report not only delivers heavy implicit criticism of Labour but says all governments of the past 30 years are guilty of failing to dismantle state monopolies.

Sir Richard Sykes, the rector of Imperial College London, said at the publication of Reform's latest report that the effect on higher education would be devastating unless governments grasped the need to create a market in tuition fees.

There would not be a single world-ranking university left in the country within 10 years unless the cap of £3,000 on top-up fees, to be introduced next year, was lifted.

"I think you should take the limits off because then you create a market," he said. "If we produce a Rolls Royce we should be paid for producing a Rolls Royce. We are not producing a bicycle."

Government policy on university funding went nowhere near far enough. "If we want to compete in the world we have really got to create a system that allows us to compete in the world."

Reform claimed that if political parties were prepared to back the idea of "co-payment" for public services, under which individuals and the state paid jointly, better quality would be delivered with far lower levels of tax overall.

Britain was trapped in a system of high taxation, benefit dependency and bureaucracy. The total amount of people receiving benefits, including pensioners, was 30 million, while the number of people working in the National Health Service would rise from 1.3 million now to 1.6 million during the next five years.
And who is to blame? The bloody unions and the tubes at No.10+11 who dont have the guts to stand up to them, in order to bring in long needed reforms! :evil:
Sorry A_S but are you really that suprised about this. We have known for the past 8 years that this government is a tax and spend government.

Consider that, excluding all the things the tories failed to achieve inthe later years of their occupation of No10 they did at least leave £16bn surplus in the countries coffers. Now with brown/TB in charge we have a hole of some £10 Billion in the pension fund alone AND as announced last Thursday in the TDT the bill for Civil servents alone will be £700 BILLION.

I'm not suprised, my brother has proposed something (move to spain with him) and I'm seriously considering it as this country is fcuked.

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