Andrew Allison: One question voters should ask at this election

The starting gun has been sounded and now we have a month of politicians dashing around the country, trying to secure our votes. This is the season when politicians will promise you the earth, but at this election there is one question everyone needs to ask: How are you going to pay for it?

Public spending is not spiralling out of control; public spending has spiralled out of control, and if action is not taken immediately, whoever resides in Downing Street after May 6 is going to preside over the effective bankruptcy of UK PLC. Over the last decade or so, almost one million more people now work in the public sector. Not only can we not afford a civil service of this size,  we can’t afford the gold-plated pensions they will eventually receive. The public sector has too many workers either doing very little or duplicating the work of others. Every week the Taxpayers’ Alliance publishes its non-job of the week, but this is only the tip of the iceberg. Public spending can be cut, and it does not require drastic cuts in essential public services.

In the East Riding of Yorkshire, residents were told the council couldn’t cut back any further and it levied a 1.5% rise in council tax. I said at the time there are savings to be made by cutting the amount of managers in County Hall. Just a few weeks later, the cabinet agreed a discretionary payment of £364,205 to the pension fund of a senior manager. This is precisely the type of payment we cannot afford, but once again the many pay for the excesses of the ruling elite who spend our money as it if was confetti.

We have published our manifesto, detailing how the deficit can be reduced by – to give one example – reducing the number of Quangos. There are many other practical, common sense measures that the new government can implement. One thing is for certain, if we sit back and do nothing, things are not going to get better, they are going to get worse.


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