back to article LibCons bin £2bn of late Labour projects

The coalition government has scrapped 12 projects worth £2bn pounds that were agreed during the final months of Labour's rule. Twelve further projects, worth £8.5bn, have been suspended. Stonehenge Visitor Centre got the axe, as did a number of projects with a likely IT component including Sheffield steelmaker Forgemasters ( …


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  1. Lottie

    No front line cuts eh?

    see title

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      No one ever promised no front-line cuts

      Well the delusional brigade from the Left did, but no one believed them. Hence the election result. No frontline cuts would be lovely, but can't happen, without re-writing the rules by which our economy currently runs...

      I believe the Conservatives promised no front-line cuts in Health. I suspect they're thinking that the NHS has grown so fast that they're assuming if you keep the budget static (or growing very slowly) for a period, it might be possible to keep up with current demand by slowly making efficiency savings. However do wages count as 'frontline services'?

      Even Labour didn't promise no front-line cuts, and they were the ones that started all these programs... They did consider it, but even Gordon Brown (with a reality distortion field to make Steve Jobs jealous) couldn't manage to argue for 'Labour Investment vs Tory Cuts', because it was so self-evidently total and utter bollocks.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Depends what you call a frontline

      A hospital in an area which is already covered and is being put in there only because the area has voted for the right people so far is not frontline in my book. Labour had a LOT of these. I am speaking this as someone who lives in one of the counties which they CUT because it voted the wrong way lately. They cut both funding to existing hospitals which covered the whole country for specific cases and funding to the county in general. All of that because we voted for the wrong people in last election and got them kicked out.

      All I can say that the cuts do not go far enough. More of this vote-rigging handout should be trimmed ASAP and whatever is in excess of the 6bn target given back where it belongs.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oto- what?

    Why would a successful foreign company ("Outokumpu is a global leader in stainless steel ") be needing 13 million quid from the government?

    I presume as its under "Regional Development Agencies" it'd be some sort of bribe to get them to produce some employment.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    only thing on that list...

    that i am bothered about is SAR choppers. People need to get around the idea of how screwed we are, cancel everything until we have some money. The Labour government were living in cloud cuckoo land agreeing to all of this.

    As it is we are going to be living with the debt for years as it is, lets pay it off them have a spend up when we can afford it. Britain needs to stop living on its credit cards.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

      Agree with you there, only thing bothering me are the SAR choppers.

      Though I'm not familiar with the status of the choppers available now.

      They in good condition, are enough available? etc.

      Good to see the LibCons taking down many of these unnecessary Labour projects though

    2. Dave Bell

      How many loans?

      You say the money for Forgemasters was a loan. That is potentially very different from the other items. I remember Fred Dibnah visiting a forge in Sheffield that was using a modified steam hammer (now compressed air) to forge the wheels for tanks. Dropping a loan of this size seems a little odd.

      But 7 billion quid for SAR helicopters? There's something odd about that figure. I suppose it might be the total cost over the lifetime of the helicopters. Or it might be MoD procurement again. Compared to that item, the other things seem like small change, the sort of thing you find in the lint at the bottom of the Treasury's pocket.

    3. SJB

      Oto- not at all.

      It was funding the creation of a retail park on one of their old sites. So not a bung to a foreign company exactly but equally worth cutting.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: Only thing on that list

      The thing is, the Labour government knew it was on it's way out, this is all just a fine example of not doing the right thing in the circumstances due to frantic burrying of heads in sand. The people that the contracts were awarded to were probably deluding themselves too. Something along the lines of "Well, if the contract gets agreed now then we'll still have it after the election, right?"


      They knew the score.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ConDems are condeming us all....

      Supporting this notion of us living off credit cards and loans as a new thing is as ridiculous as the ConDem government.

      Hey guess what? We have ALWAYS had debt. This debt is larger because we had to support those who ruined our economy.

      If your car is writen off, your not going to buy a new one because your still paying finance on the old one? LIES. Your whole argument is as flawed and the ConDem 'splutter' government.

      So when the ConDems are borrowing, what excuse will you give to support its actions, hypocrite?

      Lets face it, we'll be having a new election very soon.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Respectfully... Bollocks!

        The problem wasn't the bank bailout, or the extra costs and lower taxes of recession. All the government spending would be done in a few years, and we'd be back to an even keel - with a slightly higher debt.

        The problem is that since 2002 Gordon (Prudence the Iron Chancellor) Brown managed to run a deficit EVERY SINGLE YEAR. It totals £218 billion between 2002/3-2006/7 before the recession hit, at which point borrowing was to be expected.

        The problem is that this is an average £40 billion a year of long-term government spending that we don't raise taxes to cover. And unlike bank-bailouts or recession spending it doesn't go away until you stop doing the things it pays for. i.e. £40 billion worth of government cuts! That's painful enough. Then our banker friends add to the mix, because they buggered up their industry, they won't be paying the huge taxes there were in these boom years, plus other battered sectors like construction, so that 'structural deficit' (i.e. deficit not caused by the immediate needs of a recession) probably rises to something like £60 billion. Some economists argue £90bn but it's not called the dismal science for nothing...

        So here's the rub. Because Labour were fuckwits, we've got lots more government spending, where we never raised the taxes to cover it, and relied on nice foreigners (and effectively our pension funds) lending us the cash to keep doing it. Well the bill's come due! This would be politically unpleasant to sort out in a boom. But we haven't got one of those any more, and we've got a huge debt we need to borrow to keep welfare going, but we have to persuade the foreigners and pension plans that we can count (Gordon obviously couldn't) and will be paying this off, or they stop lending to us. See Greece for details.

        As an aside, that £218bn at, from memory, an average of 5% interest on 15 year gilts means that we're saddled with £10billion a year interest payments! For the next decade or two - which is something like going to 20% VAT. That's just for the interest! If we don't raise £40bn extra tax at the end, then we'll have to roll this over into more debt, and keep paying £4bn a year interest. Add in the £600bn deficits or 2007-2011 and you're talking another £20 billion a year interest! Our total bill for servicing the national debt should hit £60 billion by 2012! Yippee! Of which this Labour government are responsible for half.

        Can you see now why the Conservatives want to cut spending? By 2012 debt interest will be about one third of what we raise in income tax!!!!

        Oh and calling them the ConDems is as pathetic and childish as saying New Liebor or Tony Bliar, and doesn't add any credibility to your argument.

      2. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge


        Last year, the UK's DEFICIT (not debt, but the rate at which we are getting into MORE debt) was a smidge short of £160 billion. If your car dies, and you still owe all the money for that car, plus the previous five, you don't go and buy a Bugatti Veyron on the never-never, you cut down on the unnecessary trinkets until you are at least heading back towards the black.

  4. Luther Blissett

    > Search and Rescue Helicopters: £7bn

    Would that be due to the exclusive shade of black? Henry Ford had an opinion on this.

  5. mwk
    Black Helicopters

    SAR choppers

    Was it another plan to save the British helicopter industry by spending three times as much as they would buying from abroad and just paying the key skilled workers wages for 5 years? If so, scrapping it might not be a bad idea.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Stonehenge generates a shed load of revenue both directly and indirectly through tourism, but the visitor centre is hopelessly inadequate and leaves a bad impression of the country. Surely there are projects that we could cut out that aren't going to generate cash for the country before axing things that will?

  7. Elmer Phud Silver badge

    Small cuts might be the deepest

    Some of those small cuts of a few million will hit those tiny organisations and projects that keep people sane and fit. Once the people who would have gained a benefit are without that support it then gets costly to manage.

    Cancelling everything tends to be very expensive later on.

  8. Squirrel


    cancel all BAE and other defence purchases or defence R&D funds. We'll be out of debt quicker than we know it. Besides it's cheaper and better to buy US.

    Once money is available put it into universities and SMEs, not BAE, for new defence research.

  9. Anon the mouse

    North tees and hartlepool hospital

    You mean the combined super hospital in the middle of nowhere that nobody wanted? 'The current service was/is excellent.

    Also this project was in the early stages in Jan 2009, so not really the last months.

  10. Anonymous Coward


    You'd think investment in things like the press would be kept, we need industry bringing in the cash...

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Yes, but...

      If there was a good business case for the forge, i doubt the company behind it would have had any trouble getting a loan from a bank.

      Hence, in my opinion if your applying for a loan from the government that means you dont have much of a business case, and its less of a "loan" and more of a "handout"...

  11. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge


    Yeah yeah I know it's a "national treasure", and that it's really old. But none the less I can't imagine how any sane person could have signed off a 25 million pound business case for a "visitor centre".

    And yes, I have been there recently.

  12. Neur0mancer


    Unfunded bribes the lot of 'em.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Most of these outfits are probably Common Purpose fronts and other NWO political quangos.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Excuse me sir,

      but I think you dropped your tinfoil hat over there


    deficit cut

    with out a doubt this high deficit is out of control people getten into debt and then refusing to pay it back then adds up to charges and filled cards its about time it got sorted. the conservatives are the ones to do it as long as police and emergency servies stay we should be fine but all this waste is disgraceful. and thease credit cards and loan aprs need to be put into control because its this thats caused all this debt as well as labours reckless spending. but theres also a constent circle going around when labour are in power crazy spending goes on then the conservatives clear the mess then people vote labour back in its pathetic people dont learn about labour and there money given away to benefits and child trust funds. sorry but this has to stop its about time we kept our money in control and stopped given it away child trust funds especially its a disgrace parents take the micky out of this putten it into there accounts and using it on other things. one family is claiming benfits and she has 7 children and she wants 14 in total and each child is roughly claiming child trust fund and this family lives in a mansion and has a merc car its got to stop. and people might say its the same conservatives cut cut cut er newflash we have debt if you didnt know time to wipe it clean make a fresh start.

    1. neb

      @deficit cut

      and breath


      and use

      the carriage return key

      a bit


      you fucktard

  15. Chad H.
    Thumb Down

    Recruitment subsidies?

    Is cutting recruitment subsidies in a poor economy really a good idea? Seems like a great way to not reduce the unemployment rate.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Depends if they work...

      Is cutting recruitment subsidies in a poor economy really a good idea? Seems like a great way to not reduce the unemployment rate.


      It depends if they work or not. Otherwise you end up with a cycle of people on short term non-jobs, mostly paid for by the taxpayer that disappear as soon as the funding period runs out? That's happened a lot in the past with this kind of scheme.

      And creating a scheme that 'guarantees a job' to anyone under 25 and out of work for a year... WTF! Talk about the arrogance of power. How can you guarantee them a job, if the job doesn't exist? That's just a recipe for massive, permanent state subsidies, that slowly drag down the economy.

      We certainly need to do something to cut youth unemployment, and long term unemployment. Unfortunately the time to do that was during the boom - when there were more jobs, which Labour failed to do. The kind of welfare to work that I believe was successful in the Clinton era, and was the Conservative model when in opposition works during the good times, but does it work in recession. From memory it was more of a mid/late 90s thing, when the US economy was doing well.

      There's going to be tough times ahead, and that would be true whatever government we'd elected. However, I think the Conservatives guessed right that a debt crisis was going to be the big threat, so we're better placed to deal with it than if Labour had won. How we can match government spending to tax revenue without massively damaging the economy or services is going to be a debate that's set to carry on for the next decade - and get very boring indeed...

  16. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    The last Labor governement's behavor sounds like a guy

    Whose wife's left him and taken the kids, jobs gone and his life's down the pan

    What does he do?

    Max out *all* the credit cards and party like there's *no* tomorrow.

    Because that *appears* to be what labor did.

    The only one *I* would have liked to see was the Forgemasters 15k ton press. These puppies are *very* rare anywhere and companies which have them get international business as a matter of course. In days gone by this would have been government funded as a "Strategic" investment in British industry.

    It's unclear to me if this was a cheap loan or simply a guarantee to any lender that they would get their loan repaid. £80m is pretty small beer versus the SAR chopper project or the a whole hospital.

    Thumbs up in general. It does look like they just blue pencilled *everything* after Jan1st 2010.

  17. olems

    What about the IMP?

    Have there been any indication about what they're going to do with the horrid £2bn Interception Modernisation Programme and its net snooping?

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Thumb Up


      "What about IMP"

      Excellent question. *very* big savings at a stroke.

      Of course that *might* upset that bit of BAe systems they were going to get the snoop boxes off of.

      But then again there is the NSF report rubbishing the idea that "find the comms pattern, find the terrorist" works.

      BTW Isn't David Davies the current Home Sec and wasn't he the MP who got arrested or is he the one with a CS degree? If so he should smell BS when it's stuck under his nose.

  18. Nathan 13
    Thumb Up

    We need to get the deficit to zero pronto

    If that means a lot of cuts then it has to be. Otherwise the UK will suffer a sterling collapse and we will all be MUCH worse off than if we dont sort it out.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      @Nathan 13

      "We need to get the deficit to zero pronto "

      I guess you didn't know that £66bn was the deficit when Margaret Thatcher (always a favorite with the slash and burn school of government finance types) came to power in 1979 or that it was about £122Bn at the end of her first term.

      The deficit before the banking collapse was c£67bn, it was through to have gone to about £168Bn

      but actually turns out to be about £155Bn and the interest on it is still bigger than the spending on schools in the UK.

      Now you know something useful about the scale of the problem perhaps you might like to say something useful about it.

      1. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

        John Smith

        Actually, the deficit in 1976 was £17.6bn, which fell during the Thatcher years (as a percentage of GDP). She may have got a lot of things wrong, but this is one of the things she did get right.

        Maybe you're confusing deficit and debt?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There are some problems with your post.

    The 80 million has done it's job, Caborn (the failed influence peddler) ensured his successor got in Sheffield Central. The new boy's MP is Nick Clegg.

    I'm sure a bank could lend Forgemasters the money, unless they thought it a bad deal? Perhaps the shareholders would like to look down the back of their sofas?

  20. Graham 25
    Thumb Up

    Which bit don't people understand ?

    There is not money for these.

    There never was.

    They were 'promised' as a bribe to constituents. - and its not a case of cancellation, but of withdrawal of something that there was never any money to pay for in the first place. Ever time the unions whine, point out 'sorry mate, no money to pay for it'. Like it or not, its true.

    This is only the beginning.

  21. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    @Oto- what

    It's British Steel's stainless steel plant in sheffield renamed.

    They merged with Avesta and then merged with Outokumpu (another finnish steel co)

    So it's about as foreign as Ford, or HSBC

  22. Stratman


    Why would Forgemasters need an £80M loan from the Government, aka the taxpayer?

    Haven't we already given the banks many billions for the very purpose of lending it to business?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Systematic things?

    The (previous) process probably ran along lines of:

    write a funding bid on an identifiable funding stream making sure that you say what you want to do, how to do it, what it will cost and supply some identifiable key performance indicators to show that you are doing what you said you would do.

    It seems to be a standard model that invokes an appeal to something called a "business plan".

    That said there were lots of factors that kept lots of people in highly paid jobs in the public or pseudo-public sectors.

    The poor minions did not realise how many unpoor minions they were keeping in employment provided the game plan of "Ooo, look accountability" were kept in place with ministerial obligation to authorise or let through under limited banding costs of proposed projects.

    Plus! Ever an effective Plus! There probably were no private sector equivalents.

  24. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    @We need to get the deficit to zero pronto

    We could get the deficit to zero very quickly.

    Fire all public service workers and close down the armed forces.

    Deficit zero + unemployment 10million -> recession

    Think of it like a company's overdraft, firing people to reduce costs rather than borrowing to buy raw materials isn't necessarily always the best plan.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      @: @We need to get the deficit to zero pronto

      An excellent plan sir with just a few 'small' problems:

      - public sector workers includes doctors, nurses, firemen, police, etc. etc.

      - all of those unemployed people will then require some benfits payments.

      - Oh, wait! There's no-one there to pay them because those popela re unemployed as well.

      - Millions of people without jobs and no way of getting benefits riot in the streets, There are no police to control them so the army gets called in (are soldiers public sector workers?).

      - Meanwhile businesses relying on all of the unemployed people spending money are going bust because nobody is spending any money. On the upside they aren't paying any tax becasue the public sector workers have all been fired. They join the rioters.

      - The army have just realised that tey aren't getting paid because no-one is collecting any tax and there isn't anyone to pay them anyway so they joint he rioters.

      - The majority of the population starve to death within three months and the survivors live a subsistence lifestyle while fighting off bandits that can't be bothered to subsist. There are also people dying from disease what with no water or sewage treatment.

      The EU send in a peace-keeping force and declares the UK a protectorate.

      Can't see any problems there.

  25. Havin_it

    Stonehenge Visitor Centre

    A plaque on the fence by the road, reading thus:

    "In this field is a big pile of fuggin' big stones that we call Stonehenge. Many academics have dined out on theories of what it's for, but honestly we haven't a fuggin' clue. Enjoy and don't litter."

    PS Trident: how about we save the money and just *tell* people we replaced it? Like that bit in The Godfather where they put their hands in their coats so it looks like they have guns.

  26. Man Mountain

    Thumbs up from me so far

    The Govn is having to make some very potentially unpopular decisions lately but for me, Cammy has got off to a cracking start. It's crazy what Labour were prepared to fund ... if I'd have known I've got a cracking idea for knitwear for wildlife that needs an injection of cash! Plus talk from Cammy of stopping the crazy 'no win no fee, where there's blame there's a claim' culture, cracking down on benefit spongers and addressing certain crazy elements around 'Human Rights' is all good news to me. Anyone who moans about the cuts, and whatever else is in store, needs to get their head out of the sand and realise the mess we've been left in.

    1. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit


      Sand? You have a better opinion of this group of persons than I.

  27. Paul Johnston
    Thumb Down


    Bang goes free swimming for kids!

    Now lets complain about the kids of today getting no exercise.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    listen righties

    your wrong, and your worthless thoughts and opinions need to be kept inside your worthless mouths.

    The condems lied and never had majority support. Speaks volumes.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge


      your wrong, and your worthless thoughts and opinions need to be kept inside your worthless mouths.

      The condems lied and never had majority support. Speaks volumes.


      I've kept my worthless thoughts inside my worthless mouth by writing them down (see my answer to you above). Happy?

      If I'm wrong, please tell me why.

      The Lib Dems and Conservatives have a combined total of 60% of the vote. The definition of majority support, surely?

      It all boils down to £60bn a year. We've either got to cut it, or raise taxes to pay for it. That's all of defence, plus all of justice, policing and prisons. Or Education, universities and children's services plus VAT to 20%. Or half of Social Security. Or an extra 40% odd extra income tax.

    2. Man Mountain

      Do the maths

      Never had majority support? You mean like Labour did last time when they actually received a lower % of the vote than the CONs did this time but managed to form a majority Government? Yeah, that makes sense. I was dubious of the coalition to begin with but am prepared to give it a chance as I believe, in the circumstances, they have got off to an optimistic start.

  29. g e

    I can save em 1.1 Bn for 50k

    Just make the entire A14 no overtaking for HGVs.

    50k please.

  30. An nonymous Cowerd

    I went to primary school in the 60's

    next to Leeds Holt Park - when it was Holt Farm, a real farm with horses and fields of barley. ASDA arrived in the 70's, a big PFI school replaced the Holt Park school last year and stole the Farrar Lane (neolithic road) 10,000yr old common field as fenced-off playing fields. The 'postponed' £25M PFI Health Centre Hub would have been useful, in view of aging Britain. Anyway, I went to play IT in Europe decades ago - best wishes to you all!

    The High Farm pub is still open in the Holt Farm buildings, decent beer!

  31. Richard Fletcher

    Sheffield hit hard

    I live in Sheffield, and my first response was "We've been hit hard". But on the other hand, loans should be commercially available, and the retail quarter doesn't need building while no one has any money. It's not like we have no shops. There's plenty of choice...

    I would argue though that we should do more than reduce the deficit, we should build a surplus. I don't know if it could be agreed politically, (i.e. party A saves and party B spends so party A always look like tight wads and party B look caring and generous).

    But if we had a surplus we could be earning interest rather than paying it. And when the shit hits the fan it's much easier to cope with.

    1. Mike007


      The only way I see this working is with long term coalitions, so we don't keep getting complete changes of government who can do as they like before getting replaced by someone else who can sort the mess out.

      That plus you get a more neutral government who aren't there working in the interests of a specific party, so they can't buy seats with tax payers money quite as easily...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Zero defecit or a surplus can be a problem.

      Pension funds are required by law to hold a percentage of their assets in Gilts. Gilts are the government borrowing money at a guaranteed rate of return for the investor. They are seen as fireproof investment, safe and risk free but not the best ROI in a pension portfolio. Hence the need for laws to require their ownership, without the law pension funds might be inclined to put all their money in better return items like mortgages. We all know what happens when these turn out to be sub-prime.

      At the end of the Major years when government borrowing was at an all time low the value of Gilts was being artificially inflated because there simply was not enough available. Pensions were having to pay more than face value for them simply because they were required to hold a certain number by law. They had to be bought even if the price was poor. Major, Lamont and Clarke went slightly too far in deficit reduction.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @ mountain man (or isit man mountain)?

    Yep, me too.

    However it ain't just government or politicians that need to uphold the voice of the people.

    Once it has spoke it has spoke and yea verily , I too am unsettled with thought of new regime and twice Yea Verily warming to it's approach and thrice Yea Verily respect and uphold wish of said public 'cos that does seem our individual responsibilities under the way things operate UK style.

    Otherwise: why vote?

  33. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Sheffield Forgemasters. More of the Dark Lords work

    It seems it was a promise of Lord Mandelscums opening of the empty chequebook.

    Looked up the PR about the 15Kt press. It seems there are 5 companies *globally* who can forge this kind of stuff at this kind of size.

    While in *theory* banks should consider this as a reasonable business proposition I'd love to find out how well the UK domestic banking (Barclays, LloydsTSBNAtwest, HSBC) actually handle these sorts of requests. Badly I suspect. Nowhere near the 3% they were *offered*

    BTW Forged components have the highest mechanical properties and can be near net shape (little or no final machining) giving a complex part made in nearly 1 step.

    Flame because giving people such hope *knowing* there is not a cat in hells chance of funding it is just about the lowest kind of political opportunist.

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