Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Fun Online Polls: Influencing the goverment; HS2 vs student loan write-offs.

The results from last week's Fun Online Poll were as follows:

Which is the better strategy for influencing Labour or Tory policies?

Join the party and agitate from the inside - 11%
Vote for another party whose policies you agree with - 89%

Which is what I have observed. I'm relieved that so many agree. Thanks to all who took part.
I know that it is silly to match receipts from particular taxes with particular items of government expenditure, but it's sometimes useful to do so to put things into perspective.

Last week, the Transport Secretary insisted that the white elephant vanity HS2 railway line would come in on time and on budget at £55.7 billion.

Most are agreed it is a waste of taxpayers' money, of benefit only to a very few (the construction companies and some landowners) and nobody in his right mind believes it will be on time and on budget. In fact, we know it won't, because the original budget set in 2010 was £32.7 billion.

The Tories then went on the offensive and claimed that it would "cost" £100 billion to write off student debts, forcing the innumerate Labour education spokeswoman into an embarrassing and unnecessary climb down. That's the nominal amount of the outstanding loans, but they will be collected via a graduate tax and lots will be written off, so what's relevant here is the net present value of the tax receipts, let's call it £60 billion in round figures.

So you could argue, future graduates are paying 9% extra income tax on income above the £21,000 allowance in order to fund HS2.

Which I hope most would agree is completely bonkers.

So that's this week's Fun Online Poll.

Vote here or use the widget in the sidebar.


Dinero said...

With Brexit, there is less of the political harmony imperative to make north UK closer to Brussels with HS2 , and in late 2015 the HS2 Parliamentary committee acknowledged the economic principle that transport links concentrate economic activity at the centre and reduce economic activity at the periphery, in this case , in the North of England would have economic activity reduced. So those are a couple of reasons why HS2 as a transport link by rail is dubious.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Din, ah so Bayard's theory is widely accepted? Good to hear.

Dinero said...

What is Bayards theory.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Din, B's theory, which appears obvious once you think about it is "transport links concentrate economic activity at the centre and reduce economic activity at the periphery"

To be fair, it also makes the periphery a more attractive place to live i.e. commute from.

Bayard said...

It was actually my mother's theory, to give credit where it is due.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, in which context did she mention it?

Dinero said...

Well I thought it was my theory inspired by such things as observations on this blog that Greek lory drivers were disadvantaged to German lorry drivers due to the geographic location.

In short production and also the subsequent distribution moves to the centre because the centre, rather than any other point, is geometrically closer to all other points.

Frank said...

I don't particularly want to get to Birmingham from London or vice versa half an hour faster. On the other hand, I don't pay the graduate tax. So if those are the two choices I'll have the railway please and thank you. :-)

Bayard said...

Mark, in the context of road building. New roads were always justified as bringing economic benefits to the areas at the outer end of their route, but she had noticed that the most deprived areas seemed to have the best road links with the motorway network. After that she made a study of the effects of particular new roads, like the North Devon Link, which seemed to bear this theory out.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, thanks.