Just So We Know Where Labour’s £59 Billion Productivity Rise From Broadband Comes From

An interesting question elsewhere:

…nationwide full-fibre is estimated to provide a potential boost to productivity worth an estimated £59bn.

I’d like to know where they get this figure from. Having an internet connection is a vast benefit. But how many businesses benefit from a data rate better than can be obtained on a 4G connection? You’d have to be handling an enormous amount of data in real time. How many businesses do that?

So, where does it come from?…

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HS2 Is That Perfect Argument Against Labour’s £trillion Pound Spending Plan

Aswe know Grandpa Death and John McDonnell are planning to spend £1 trillion of our money on all sorts of lovely baubles. This is actually before they really start to get rolling with the Green New Deal.

So, what’s the argument against this sort of government spending upon investment and infrastructure?

HS2, that’s what:

Once upon a time, the HS2 high-speed railway was meant to cost £34bn in its entirety. In 2012, that became £42bn.

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Beer Then Wine, We’ll Be Fine

“I have taken more out of alcohol that alcohol has taken out of me“, declared Winston Churchill.

The national saviour and veteran tosspot was right not just for himself, but for his nation.

Because it turns out that here in the UK, drinkers pay for quite a bit of what we need doing.

But how much?

When we on the Right lazily claim that welfare recipients spend their dole money on “beer and fags”, the Left insists that this is a myth – that dole money is barely enough to live on, and there is precious little left over for recreationals.…

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We Really Must Subsidise Grievance Studies Courses

A useful background to the idea of student fees and loans is that the people doing the studying should have skin in the game as to whether their study is actually economically valuable for the rest of society. I know this because I’m on the periphery of the group of people who made the argument.

Further queer interpretations of Jane Austen’s oeuvre may well be fascinating for both student and teacher but they’re not the sort of thing which adds value to the bus system in Macclesfield.…

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Labour’s Spending Plans Are “Physically Impossible”

So says Paul Johnson of the IFS at least, telling us that it’s simply not possible to ramp up public spending by £50 billion a year rapidly.

He’s right of course:

However, Mr McDonnell was committed to far higher spending, Mr Johnson said. “The capacity of the public sector to spend that effectively and in short order must be in doubt. There is next to no chance that investment spending could sensibly be increased by more than £50 billion a year within a year or two,” he said.

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Aditya Chakrabortty Really Doesn’t Understand Food Banks

I think we can all agree that we’d like a society in which none go hungry. By which I mean that we’d like some system whereby those who are hungry – and by this I mean not just desiring a third Wagon Wheel in front of the telly – gain food to eat.

We’re all agreed so far, are we? Excellent. So, what’s wrong with this picture then?

I have just read a beautiful book about something truly obscene.

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In Praise Of Beeching’s Axe

From our correspondent on the M4:

Trains are an extremely safe way to travel. Safe, environmentally friendly and, in many ways, more civilised, yet our system is still geared towards the car and rewards its use, and has been at least since the 1960s when the then Conservative government commissioned huge cuts to the rail network — the infamous Beeching Axe.

The “Axe” was seen as inevitable and forward-thinking, yet half a century later the tide of expert opinion may be shifting, and with it the serious possibility of undoing some of the cuts.

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So What Really Caused Grenfell Then?

The report on the Grenfell Tower fire is about to come out. At which point, who is to blame?

Grenfell Tower: ‘The fire was no accident. Now we must go after those responsible’

Assume that it wasn’t an accident, yes, obviously, go after those who killed in that non-accident.

Phase one of the public inquiry, chaired by the retired judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick, examined the events of the night, including how the fire started in a fourth-floor flat and spread to the top of the building in less than 30 minutes, and the response of the fire brigade and other emergency services.

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Memo To Phillip Inman – 1.25% Of The Economy Isn’t A Solution

Phillip Inman in The Observer tells us that it’s rent that’s the problem. We can’t have all those nice things – infrastructure, modern broadband, a vibrant steel industry – because all the money to pay for such is being eaten up by rent.

Well Phil laddie, why not try doing some sums? 1.25% of the economy really isn’t going to make that much difference to all this. That is, rent isn’t the problem you’re making it out to be.…

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Universal Credit – Giving Money To People Should Be Easy, Right?

A torrid tale about Universal Credit.

Girls, working

The lady in question, Portuguese by nationality, is here in the UK. She worked on the streets – yes, that’s a euphemism – and was sending money back to her son and family at home.

She manages to get out of the game and on to benefits. And then? Well, given Brexit she needs to apply for settled status. Which involves forms, bureaucracy, lost documents and so on.…

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