Infrastructure & public interest


The UK government spent £13.1 billion on culture, religion and recreation in 2008-9. This includes public funding for organisations like the Football Licensing Authority. It is not right that a sport that pays tens of millions of pounds in transfer fees and tens of thousands of pounds per week to individual players should be subsidised by taxpayers, most of whom will not earn in a lifetime what a footballer earns in a year.


The British cultural establishment is stultifying and ossifying. It absorbs large amounts of public money (paid by poor and rich alike from around the country) to produce often incomprehensible works performed for a minority of better-off people, predominantly around London. There is no justification for taxing the majority to subsidise the pretensions of the wealthy chattering classes of London.


Our current planning system is designed to provoke conflict rather than cooperation. Local politicians and residents have little incentive to support development, however beneficial, to set against people's natural antipathy to change. Developers get little benefit from trying to adapt their plans to maximise the benefit to the community.

The Iceland volcano

Having been in the renewables business longer than nearly everyone, we know a bit about the climate-change issue. I am not strongly on either side of the argument, which most people interpret as meaning that I am strongly sceptic, and that interpretation is entirely wrong. I have spent most of my life and risked most of my family wealth in developing systems to replace the use of fossil fuels with renewable natural resources. Very few other people have gone that far, and virtually none has made a successful business out of it.

What I say is that when you see the effects of quite a small volcano on the environment and on business, you have to wonder whether the emissions from Man's rapid use of fossil fuels and of Calcium Carbonate, have anything like as much effect on us as the activity of the sun (whose reduction contributed to this cold winter in Europe and Eastern USA), or eruptions from volcanoes and other irresistible natural occurrences.

Minimum standards of subsidised housing

The minimum standard of accommodation that should be provided by councils in accordance with their obligations will need careful consideration, but we suggest something like the following:

Standardised council housing charges

The standardised charges (by councils for provision of minimum-standard housing to eligible residents) would need detailed consideration, but we suggest that they might be in the region of:

BI & housing costs

The BI should include a component for housing. This would be a standardised amount across the country, regardless of different housing costs in different areas, to try to counter the inflationary effect of the gravitational pull of metropolitan areas.

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