Julian Knight: Hold fast, George, we can't afford you to lose focus on cuts now
Sunday 20 March 2011
Cuts, cuts and more cuts. Every tin-pot pressure group and think tank is trying to get its particular gripe and grievance viewed through the prism of the "c" word, and it's being slavishly and unquestioning reported, I am sad to say, by the BBC in particular.
The fact that all the coalition is trying ultimately to do is slow the increase in spending so that it equates to the position of 2006 – hardly a time when the c word was being bandied about – seems to escape most. But there you go. Expect the hysteria to reach a new crescendo this week with the Budget. Chancellor George Osborne is in a slightly better position than thought, likely to borrow £8bn less this year than predicted. Note that I say borrow less, we are still in dire straits. He is being urged to give a little to motorists and perhaps temper the cuts a little. But to do so could prove disastrous and expensive. We are walking a fiscal tightrope akin to the mid- 1970s, and a hint of softening or lack of focus now could lead to us being deemed no better than a Portugal or Greece – both of which are borrowing less than we are, by the way.
It's our size that is our saving grace combined with the fact that we have a just-about-credible plan. If the Government loses focus now, interest rates will shoot up and that will prove catastrophic to all. What's more, £8bn less borrowing means less interest, which is a good thing, but if we splurge this cash – which remember we don't have – then we will just have to pay it back plus interest in the future.
We're the dodgy dealers
From one widely reviled character to another, the Great British Estate Agent. The National Association of Estate Agents says complaints about estate agents are 28 per cent above the level seen in 2008. The industry Ombudsman described the 1,338 complaints as "unacceptably high", and, in response, everyone trots out the same old "aren't estate agents appalling" line.
Having bought and sold property, the worst I'd say about the agents I dealt with were that they were a mixed bunch – there was one dodgy dealer – we nicknamed him "gorgeous George" – with a perma-tan and a lie for every occasion; but there were also highly professional ones. I can't always say the same for their clients. A lot of recent anger at agents has been in the rental sector with "gazumping" of would-be tenants, but it's the landlord who's responsible for this, not the agent. Those dodgy agents that do exist do so with the collusion of sellers and landlords because they know that, by hook or by crook, they get a good price for property. We are all likely to know who our local dodgy agents are, and it's sensible never to use them. But people do so because they are greedy. I think the estate agent complaints figures say more about us as a society than the much maligned agents.
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
iJobs Money & Business
£32000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manage...
£Neg. (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Finance Account Manager with...
£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity h...
Day In a Page
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens