3 thoughts on “The poverty lobby: single-issuers whose single issue is no longer relevant”

  1. Posted 09/01/2013 at 20:40 | Permalink


    You provide some very good arguments. I have long noticed that this is an expensive country for the basic necessities.

    However, I would question a couple of your points. Are food prices really the highest in Western Europe? I agree that European food prices are high, but ours don’t seem any more so than most European countries (unless you count alcohol). Our domestic energy prices are consistently some of the lowest in Europe, despite government-imposed green taxes.

    A much ignored factor that you haven’t mentioned is just how little we get for our taxes. The public sector seems much more adept at absorbing large amounts of our money for little output than in most European countries. The power of the producer interest in the NHS is a factor, as is the most expensive police force in Europe, and the number of hugely well paid officials in much of the public sector and their generous pensions and early retirement and huge payoffs. Similarly, the protection offered to the legal profession and the consequent costs to the public purse – Tony Blair’s wife made millions from the public purse from often trivial seeming ‘human rights’ cases (you’ll remember the one about what a girl was allowed to wear in school). Yet these things are barely mentioned.

  2. Posted 09/01/2013 at 21:58 | Permalink

    That just about sums it up.

  3. Posted 11/01/2013 at 09:02 | Permalink

    HJ: You’re right, of course, that the big difference in food prices is between the world market and the CAP-countries. Nevertheless, there is variation between the latter (see Table 13 in the book), which I think is worth pointing out because it indicates an easy win.
    The British retail sector is, as far as I can judge, in good shape. That, in itself, should lead to things like food prices being lower than elsewhere. But then there’s the high cost of space, which merges with food prices, and at the moment, the latter factor seems to outweigh the former. If I’m right, it means that if we could sort out the planning issue, knock-on effects on prices across the board could occur very rapidly and be quite substantial.

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