Spending Challenge website opened up to the public

Today the Treasury’s Spending Challenge website, which asks for ideas on how to save public money, has been opened up to the public. Last month it was launched to those who work in the public sector but now everyone is being invited to contribute.

This two-stage launch was a smart move as it helped deal with the issue of quality of submissions that often plagues such online initiatives. By first getting in views of those who work in the public service, the Spending Challenge website has managed to keep to a minimum the number of electronic equivalents of ideas written in block capital letters with purple ink. The requirement to register also adds a small hurdle which, whilst it should not put off anyone with a good idea, does help protect against the sort of drive-by commenting often seen on some political blogs.

It’s a shame though that the previous blog discussing ideas submitted so far looks to have gone, both because of its own contribution to the discussion and because it was a great example of how to interact with feedback.

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16 Comments

  • Ian Johnson 9th Jul '10 - 11:41pm

    I would suggest that overseas aid is cut completely, MPs pensions are also reduced as they are exorbitant just for a single parliament service. Following the way the police handled the problem in the north east it indicates that there is a simple way to exploit personel to the best advantage and that cuts can be made. BBC license fee should be cut and staff reduced as so many programmes are awfull if we have to suffer these the present staffing levels are excesive, the public has no real access to the BBC to complain and its time some expression of feeling is allowed. I am pleased to see there is a whip cracking over expenditure and i trust that many will be called to account for the waste, thank you for this oportunity.

  • There are 2 things which ought to be cut back or better controlled they are SELF ASSESSED disability benefits and housing benefits which entitle a person to live in a property way beyond their income level. The carers claimants should be closely examined to verify the need etc. I’m sure that a lot of savings could be made in the health service by a more rigorous approach, why not bring back the old Matron idea which used to work well and limit the time and money spent on self administered illnesses such as drunkenness and drug addiction problems. The list is endless as I look back to what happened when I was younger and the more rigorous environment which existed.
    I am 82 as a matter of interest to equate with my comments Thankyou for this opportunity to say something about this country and the way it has been spoiled over past years

  • john edwards 10th Jul '10 - 11:24am

    dear sir i suggest as a true party voter ,i would like to see trident scrapped saving mega monies.also get rid of a large amount of the euros stupid human right laws,which after all we the british as a nation abide by, when all our euro neighbours dont give a damn for,like a lot of the stupid rules that come from that foolish euro club, and in process save our country mega monies John Edwards

  • I suggest the Spending Challenge website starts to pre-moderate comments before they go public domain, because it is currently letting through nasty comments from what seems to be every NeoNazi and Eugenicist in Britain.
    There is has been a vast volume of complaint about this all day, to both the Treasury and the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
    The site is now more offline than online due I suspect deliberate attempts to jam it, until there is some pre-moderation in place.

  • Mark Kitchin 12th Jul '10 - 9:10pm

    1. Suggestion 1. Disbandand the RAF in their entirety. Move fixed wing aircraft to the RN and the Heli fleet to the AAC (Army). By doing so you abolish one complete level of burocracy thereby making the armed forces more efficient and flexible thus leading to improved operational efficiency. Additionally it would sweep away a large level of administrative backup, make available unwanted airfields for developement and result in the disbandment of RAF Cranwell in its present form that could be incorporated into an Armed Forces Centre of Training Excellence.

    2. Suggestion 2. With over 1/2 million caravans (Caravan of GB statistic) on our roads it is absurd not to tax them at the same rate as a motor car. Why should a car towing a large cumbersome caravan be taxed at the same rate as a single saloon car owner. Taxing a caravan at say £180 pa would generate approx £90 million per year which would go some way towards the additional wear and tear on our roads that a caravan causes.

  • 1) Stop ALL overseas foreign aid. It is sheer insanity to be giving billions to other countries (some of who have their own space programs) while the UK is in such debt.
    2) Cut local council staff by 25% (get rid of the pointless 5-a-day outreach coordinators)
    3) Cut NHS admin staff & middle management by 20%.
    4) Get our EU rebate back.
    5) No welfare benefits for immigrants & asylum seekers. UK welfare benefits for UK citizens only.
    6) Give free NHS treatment ONLY to those who have contributed into the system. Either born in UK or lived in UK for 5 years.
    7) A cap on public sector salaries & pensions. Yes, make them competitive with comparable private sector positions, but don’t let taxpayer-funded careers be a ‘gravy train’. £60-80k pa for a MP or head teacher is a decent salary, considering the job security.
    8) Control immigration. Use similar system to Canada & New Zealand. Only foreign workers AFTER job has been advertised in UK for 3 months. NO welfare benefits to immigrants.

    Do NOT cut the armed force or police. Entrants must be valid current UK citizen. Make pledge of allegiance compulsory. Any soldier/sailor unable to fulfill duties for ANY reason gets discharged. No ‘compensation’. No ifs or buts.

  • Further to above:
    It is important to rebuild British manufacturing & industry to improve the economy in the next 20 years (this is what should have been happening 15 years ago).
    Invest in the UK’s future by returning the majority of useless post-1992 ‘new’ universities back to being polytechnic colleges & academies teaching vocational skills, ie, NVQ and City & Guilds in plumbing, bricklaying, electrics, carpentry, mechanics, nursing, childcare, agriculture & farming, etc… and subsidise proper 2-year apprenticeships within those industries.
    Invest in decent science, engineering, medical, & business, university degree programmes… instead of useless trendy “media” and “psychology” degrees.

  • I do not wish to divulge the source of this information for obvious reasons. This person is working within the NHS
    When venues for meetings involving senior execs are being chosen, the most reasonable places are turned down, as not being plush enough for the execs by them themselves, so extortionately expensive venues are
    booked because of the high opinion these overpaid people have of their own importance. What a disgraceful
    waste of public money. i hope this shameless state of affairs can be addressed asap.

  • There are many opportunities to save money… however no-one outside the system can know for certain. From what I see:

    – reduce the translated services (with the exception of Braille [on a National level] and Welsh [on a regional level])
    – stop the publication of Local Authority managed newspapers (any news of local importance can be released in conjunction with local press)
    – MP’s should reside within the constituency boundary they are representing, eliminating the need for some second homes. How can they represent the people when they are not living in the area seeing and hearing what they do?
    – stop all lifestyle operations and treatments on the NHS (with the exception of IVF required for medical reasons)
    – use the same HMRC guidelines for expense payments for all Civil Service staff
    – drop the need for a Road Fund Licence and incorporate any loss in revenue into the cost of fuel. Less evasion and less administration
    – stop all unrequired foreign aid payments and instead make contributions (even down to 50%) to registered charities undertaking work in areas that require them

  • Philip W. Moss 19th Jul '10 - 1:57pm

    I am sick of the NHS wasting Money by refusing to take back equipment they have issued. Habe they never heard of Disinfectation or Seralisation. I have numerous items I wanted to return only to be told to throw them away as they will not take them back.

  • Michael Harvatt 22nd Jul '10 - 12:11pm

    I believe that every council should have a public watchdog body of voluntary members who review all council spending decisions and have the power to revoke those which are deemed not necessary. I read recently that a councillor in Bristol favours the council spending £750,000 per year to make Bristol “atone” for its slaving history. Why? This is a complete waste of public money, why should the present be made to pay for the past? It has nothing to do with us, if anything we are/were the generations who stopped it.
    Many Councils have taken up this idea of reducing the speed limit to 20 mph at a large cost. Even though a trial in Portsmouth found that it made virtually no difference and the AA proved it increased pollution.
    Overall, the point is this. Many council employees dream up stupid ideas simply to justify their jobs which wastes public money. Where I live they closed all the public toilets to save money but waste it on other trivial things. Councils should not be a law unto themselves. A public voluntary watchdog committee to oversee all the micro-economics of councils needs to be set up.

  • People given benefits should be made to do some sort of work in order to get their benefits, eg sweeping the streets, picking up litter, then they might be forced into geting a job. The really sick and disabled would be excluded from this.
    When I go on holiday I have to pay for Board and Lodgings so I think those sent to prison should do the same instead of being able to rent out their houses and let their savings increase.

  • Srart by halving the number of members of the house of lords and means testing all members of both houses of commons for all allowances, why should millionaires claim tax back to pay for their large homes on mortgages. Cut the pension allowances of all Mps when retiring and stop all subsidies on food and drink in all restaurants in the houses of parliament. Put as much effort in to finding the tax evaders as is being put into finding benefit cheats. Stop paying benefits to all immigrants and people from the EU, for 2 years, and stop paying for children who live abroad.Get more money from the bankers who caused the majority of our problems, notice that they are never mentioned as the main cause and have got off scotfree. Send all medical cases back to their own countries for treatment until they have paid into our health service for at least 2 years especially pregnant women who are swarming over here to get the excellent and free medical care, stop all people with aids and tb from entering Britain by medicals before they enter the country. All that is being suggested at the moment is harming the poorer members of our society. My father always said the Liberals were just a paler shade of blue and how right he was.

  • We hear so much about misappropriation of aid by foreign governments so we should retain the money & only pay it out to British firms which supply approved aid & goods to overseas countries

  • A Government spokesman recently stated (The Times, 7/9/2010), that without the rebate the UK’s net contribution as a percentage of national income would be twice as big as France’s & one & a half times bigger than Germany’s.
    Since two countries could have similar GDP’s, but quite a difference in populations, would it be fairer to start off with GDP per person & then take any other factors into account?

  • The number of tax dodges & tax havens should be reduced.

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