My pay went down by £10 per week so I wrote this to Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak

Christian Jacques Bennett Blog

I just wanted to share with you a tweet I sent both Boris Johnson, the current (7 Apr 2022) England Prime Minister and his cabinet colleague Rish Sunak, the current (7 Apr 2022) Chancellor of the Exchequer (basically the man who makes the financial decisions for the England parliament).

Dear @BorisJohnson and @RishiSunak,

I have worked hard (mostly in the NHS) since the age of 16, paying taxes and avoiding drawing benefits.

I am approaching 50 years of age and believe myself a perfect candidate to offer you some valuable, practical, realistic views on where things are going wrong and how they could be improved.

Note, I have lived in England under all of the governments: Tory, Liberal and Labour. I have no particular allegiance to any party and can offer you a genuine balanced view on things.

I hope my feedback will help you adjust your perspective and make some real life changes that will positively impact on the people of the nation you are working for.

Today I opened my payslip and saw that my weekly wage has gone down by £10.

At the same time I have recently been emailed by my energy supplier and most of the companies I use (such as Netflix) in my every day life, each of them notifying me that their prices are going up, some being twice as high and some more.

Like most people, I have been trying to build my finances as best I can over the years.

The challenge is, every year the government continues mismanaging things so that the prices related to living are increasing at a rate that is impossible to keep up with. A factual example of "mismanaging things" is the COVID Track and Trace programme that cost £37 billion and made no measurable difference. Just a suggestion, but wouldn't that money have been better ploughed into boosting nurse numbers and their training and pay? Oh and then there was the quantitative easing strategy; the printing of money with no plan at all how to curtail the inflation it - alongside the ridiculously low interest rates - was always going to create. I could go on... hopefully you don't disagree, especially with hindsight.

The good news is there is still time to make some decent decisions and turn things around. To help you, these are some basic thoughts on some key sectors where you could make changes and improve the lives of millions.

[1] Housing: I have been looking to buy a house for 10 years. Every year I have been advised by property experts that there will be a market crash hence I have held off buying. Then came Brexit, COVID and now the Ukraine War causing one issue after another (i.e. supply chains). The shortage of property has made the average house price £274k in England. My first property was £28k and I earnt around £10k. Please can you explain how I am supposed to, at the age of 50, afford a house? I live in the South East hence the property market prices are actually higher than the £274k stated. There are solutions. Let me set some out for you to consider and act on. You could cap the price of houses by taking the average wage and depending on the house location and size, you could set the price at a ratio of 3.5 times the average salary (or a different ratio that is fair and practical). This move would enable people to at least have a chance of owning a home. Once the prices have been reset, the house prices would then increase in line with inflation and would never again be used as an investment asset. It is important for you to realise that everyone should have the right to buy a home. If they cannot afford to buy, or choose not to, then they should be able to rent. With regards to rental prices, the government should set a maximum rental charge, one that is based on how much people earn. If the government cannot make these decisions and actions then who can?

[2] Health: As you may have read above, I work in the NHS and have done so since the 1990s, therefore I believe I can offer you some solid advice on how to save money in this area. Sadly, it is true that you can plough billions or trillions into the NHS and it will most likely want more. However, you can manage this by drafting a charter of tiered core and non core services. Core services should represent the services that save someone's life and to what degree. There should be tiers defining the top services like the Emergency Departments, Cancer Treatment, operations that save someone from dying and then work through to non essential services such as Botox injections. I appreciate there are also services that help people's quality of life, these would also fit into the tiers accordingly. The rationale of using tiers is when the country is doing well financially then all tiers can benefit from strong funding, however, if like with COVID there is an unprecedented impact on budgets, then only the essential life saving services should be receiving the core money. Being able to stem and control the bleeding of NHS money during tough financial times is essential. This approach would also help you redeploy staff from the non core services in unprecedented times when they are needed on the front line (e.g. a pandemic). Another huge money saving exercise is to mandate that all NHS organisations are using only one NHS branded IT system. Every Trust should be using the same Electronic Patient Record system so that patient data can integrate and flow seamlessly.

[3] Pay and Taxes: Taxes are a medieval and fairy tale type way of bringing those who are out of touch lots of money to abuse and misuse (the story of Robin Hood comes to mind). The biggest mistake all governments make is increasing taxes to make up for their past mistakes. The one thing that is never understood is that if you reduce or take away taxes, you will actually see something extraordinary happen to the economy and the wellbeing of its people. Businesses and the general population will start to thrive. There will be more spending on goods and services. The lesson here is to reduce the taxes people pay on income and intelligently scale the taxes on goods and services. Also note that besides taxes the government should be looking to use the country's resources as a way to bring it a sizeable revenue (Qatar is one example of this). Treat the country like a business and make it thrive in the same way; you have all of the country's power at your fingertips thus use that power so you do not have to raise taxes. With regards to pay, a government should never be reducing its people's pay when prices are doubling, it is untenable. The divide between the very rich and the middle classes alongside the poor is getting wider - too wide! Your job is to close this divide by taxing those who can afford it, such as the energy companies who for years have made billions in profit. You also have people earning over £200k per annum who could afford a £40 a week reduction which could take away any reduction for those paid less than that. The culture should be, the more ridiculous money (over £200k a year) you make, the more you should contribute financially to improving society. I urge you to change your mind on National Insurance or find another way to increase the middle and poorer class wages. Finally, there is the matter of my pension. It appears that the age at which my pension can be claimed is moving higher and higher, please do something about this. A pensionable age should not change; it should only change if someone signs up to a new pension scheme (small print contract clauses should not be used to legally move pensionable ages).

[4] Energy: Energy bills are going up and up. Telling people that it was not your fault but the fault of those who came before you is a cop-out; you have both been in government long enough. The 2014 invasion of Crimea should have been the time when new nuclear plants were started to be built. You have focused renewable energies mostly on wind power and yet I have not heard anything about setting up tidal energy farms. You talk about solar power and taking huge parts of the countryside and filling them with solar panels, why don't you utilise solar glass panels which could go in every property and not have to use any other space up? Or add solar panels to industrial building rooftops. There are so many practical ways to keep energy prices controllable and affordable. You should also be setting a maximum cap of energy prices which is aligned to how much people earn on average; if that cap is broken by crazy price hikes because of war or other disasters, then the government or the energy firms should pay the excess. The energy sector should not be a business, it should be a government service to its people. Remember a government should serve its people and its people always need energy.

[5] Education Linked With National Service: How can you justify young people coming out of a degree with an average debt of £45k? National service is the solution. Hear me out. I am not one for wanting a military state. I am more of a believer in having a structure in place that will benefit the country and its people. Hence I recommend that there should be a government-led national conscription which is combined with a degree or apprenticeship level of education (note, working in conjunction with existing education organisations). How it would work is simple. From the age of 16 all British citizens would start their four year national service. In this time they would learn discipline and be taught life skills. Each person would be able to apply for and take an exam to see which field of work they can be educated in. For example, if someone wanted to be a doctor they could take a medical entry exam and if they show the right grades they can start the relevant degree. Once trained and graduated, each person would be able to choose to stay working in the government army or work publicly / privately. So using the previous example, the doctor could be used to support the NHS either as an army based employee or as an NHS employee. Having thousands of young skilled people available to work in every industry would give the country a very strong workforce backbone. If one industry has too many people working in it then adjustments can be made to utilise skills in another industry. Note I would not expect those in national service to have to fight in a war, the full time army would do that, with the exception of a world war when all hands on deck may be needed (but at least they would be trained and ready to defend peace).

I do not expect a reply to this letter but I do hope that something I have said sinks in and leads to positive change.

Please always remember that you work for the people and if the people are telling you that something is wrong, something is wrong! You are in a privileged position to make a difference. No smoke and mirror answers please, just practical solutions. Wages should at the very least not be going down when all other costs of living are going up, surely you understand that basic calculation.

Just in case all of the above has not sunk in, let me keep this simple. Everyone should be able to buy a home at a sensible price to what they earn. Everyone should be able to afford food at a sensible price to what they earn. Everyone should be able to afford to heat their home. Everyone should have health care and a system that works (e.g. see a GP face to face in a sensible timescale). Everyone should have an education that does not bankrupt them. It is your duty to ensure this is happening.

Thank you for your time.


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Search Terms: Cost of Living Crisis, Budget, Government, Education, Govern, Rule, Dictator, Democracy.

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