Economy students are taught at universities around the world that somehow countries are exempt from the basic rules that our families or small businesses have to abide. This is why as a manager and director of various companies over the years I have
not nor would I ever employ an economics graduate from a state university. This administration is in a mess because it cannot reduce public spending, they think if they talk about it long enough it will magically happen. A bit like my wife and the diet plan. I suspect we have a new generation of politician who hail from many generations never called upon to save money, they are too young, too wealthy. Moreover they have no regard for the sanctity of public money, the serious responsibility that spending it should carry. Every day we see examples of criminal waste which go, apart from the occasional tabloid headline, unremarked by the chattering classes. Bear with me if you will for some pretty trivial domestic accounting but the principal follows right up the chain , or it should. This year I retired, in spite of careful and diligent attention to my pension and a lifetime in full employment I must now manage on half my former salary. Unlike government I cannot print money, nor can I borrow it. I have no alternative but to radically cut spending. With the exception of our stables we have no major expense, so the savings will have to come from many small cuts across the board. It is amazing how much one can save with this approach.
In no order of priority , because we tackled stuff as it came , we managed to reach our goal and without too much pain.
We had too many cars. One for the memsahib one for me and an expensive toy. Quite an expense, the motorist is the number one cash cow for the government, well they have chauffeur driven cars at our expense so why would they care? Got rid of the expensive toy, replaced it with another less expensive toy and sold the spare workhorse car.
Next, the insurance bill. Last valuation of antique furniture and pictures was ten years ago. Valuations have halved ,I told the insurance company. We also told them we don't need 'any driver' cover and only now do 5000 miles per year so re quote please. By the by if the house burns down we will not rebuild it in marble and gold for which it seemed insured.
Banking next, Coutts Bank for over 30 years, worth it for me in the past, they still employ real people in this country and nothing is too much trouble. But the fees are now wicked and I cannot justify them, so down to the local bank in the market square.
We have never been ones for a hot house but a thermostat and timer switch adjustment here and there and almost complete use of my bicycle in the summer have trimmed the energy budget.
Charity as they say begins at home, I did not realise how much went in that direction, difficult for me because my support was local and they will miss me unlike the fat cats at the big charities who cream it in executive salaries.
As a baby boomer no money was wasted on food, I still remember ration books, but with a good local butcher a home made burger is pretty much as welcome as a steak and we grow our own veg . Eating out is no longer done in a casual way , once a fortnight is plenty. Rail travel is second class pre booked , tubes not cabs in The Smoke. Young members of the family in work now are allowed to stand their corner in the pub .
I have been ruthless in debt collection at the behest of Mrs B, no longer Mr Nice Guy, if you owe me loot my lawyer is coming for it, no more sob stories.
Holidays are no longer posh hotels but good pubs or modest cottages who are dog friendly, Lakes and Dales favoured. I have re learned how to clean a car properly, do exercise unsupervised, weed my own flower beds etc.
Our windows were getting a bit dodgy, the replacement estimate was horrendous ( VAT was the deal breaker ) we settled yet again for painting .
Two of my London clubs had to go , kept one .We all have our own systems for balancing our budgets anyone who has retired or had to take a salary dive will have already done all this.
The government has made almost no serious effort. See if you can marry up my savings as a template for government ,here is a start. Should we be giving away nearly 50 percent of GDP growth in foreign aid ( charity) , £40 billion on HSR ( travel) ,aircraft carriers flying F35 Bs ( toys) , paying for healthy youngsters to watch daytime TV ( welfare) , £40 billion in quangoes ( car cleaners ,gardeners, personal trainers), clubs (EU membership) , not to mention energy subsidies . Imagine me going to the bank and trying to explain to the manager that ,in spite of my huge debts I still had to continue to spend more than my income, not just this year but for the foreseeable future. That my 'borrowing requirement 'was somehow sacrosanct .For you and I it would resemble a Monty Python comedy sketch, yet governments do it all the time.
You get the drift? Not easy but essential, sooner or later a British Government , indeed all the other western governments are going to have to face up to the challenge , the status quo is not an option.
Let me suggest a good start would be to cap civil servant salaries at £100,000 per year.
As Churchill used to say 'action this day'.