back to article Chancellor to raid pensions, Whitehall to revamp UK broadband

The Chancellor of the Exchequer is expected to deliver a gloomy autumn statement to MPs tomorrow when he will unveil the Treasury's gambit to boost the economy by pumping £30bn into the UK's ageing infrastructure - which includes more cash for broadband. To do that, cuts of around £5bn are planned for Whitehall and George …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Um.. That's not what i've heard and read..

    "Diverting"? Or should that be "asking for investment from"...?

    As I've heard on Beeb, Sky et al this a.m., He's not "Doing A Brown", but actually asking if the pension funds could invest in to the infrastructure projects.. Which, as one would probably make a decent assumption, would potentially enable a decent return. Of course, the £5bill of money from the cuts would hurt..

  2. Rob


    ... can I hope that when using that word they will bung some money to the Grid for water, gas and electric, prehaps helping these out, reducing leaks, out of date equipment might help with efficiencies that could save THE CUSTOMER (you know the public, the ones paying this dosh twice over already in taxes etc) some money.

    oh hell, I might as well go the whole hog and say something unbeliveably ridiculous.... when is the Governement going to do something for us, the general public?

  3. Richard Wharram

    Broadband for hamlets?

    Not likely to turn the economy round is it ?

    How's about investing in Thorium reactors ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      For us? Never.

      To us? Sometime tomorrow or whenever they feel like shafting the electorate a bit more, whichever comes first.

    2. Nextweek

      We have to get the government to stop spending our money. Its nearly always badly managed and over price. If you want to invest in Thorium then look to the market not the government.

      Networks and infrastructure yes, production facilities no.

      Thorium whilst a great on paper, needs to stand on its own two feet. Universities need to start looking at other sources of funding (other than the tax payer) such as selling patents on research into new technologies. Let the entrepreneurs create the next generation of power, NOT the politicians.

      1. Magnus_Pym


        We have to get the entrepreneurs to stop spending money on stupid get-rich-quick schemes. They nearly always involves sharp practice, microscopically short term goals or a government bailout. If you want to invest in Thorium then look to the government not the market.

        Properly built and managed networks, infrastructure and production facilities are not of any interest to the markets.

        Thorium whilst a great on paper, needs long term investment reach its full potential. Universities need to start prioritising on educating our next generation of scientists and engineers not trying to turn a fast buck by selling the good names that it has taken hundreds of years to gain. Let the entrepreneurs create the next generation hair care products and anti wrinkle creams. Some things are too important to leave to chance.

    3. John Smith 19 Gold badge


      "can I hope that when using that word they will bung some money to the Grid for water, gas and electric"

      You seem to be unaware that *all* of those structures were sold off over 20 years ago. water companies in particular were sold off to *avoid* the govt of the day having to spring for the upgrade costs of the UK's standard method of human waste disposal, the long-pipe-into-the-sea.

      1. Rob

        @John Smith 19

        No, not unaware, fully aware that they were all privatised. I was merely considering the possibility of giving them a financial boost so that we could remove the arguement that they have to spent so much money on their infrastructure upgrades to comply with EU laws & directives and maybe that could translate into a financial difference to the customer as we will never win the argument about energy trading on the futures market, which at times really works hard against us.

    4. HMB

      Truth About Thorium

      LFTRs and Thorium are a very exciting technology, but the 'Internet truth' about them doesn't tally with the real world:

      1) Uranium 233 is not resistant to proliferation, it's actually a superb bomb making material. Proliferation issues with Thorium tech are severe. I know this from talking to a Professor from the UK national labs for real at a seminar. He loved Thorium too, but said this idea that hard gamma emissions would make it useless was simply not the case.

      2) The paperwork and approval for anything new for nuclear is so mind bogglingly vast that any nuclear research moves at a snails pace. Expect countries that aren't plagued by this problem to rip past us in nuclear technology (e.g. China).

      Sad, but true. Considering China is already into serious Thorium research, if Thorium pans out as the wonder energy source, then we may all need to learn Chinese. It will give "The China Syndrome" a whole new meaning!

  4. Magnus_Pym
    Thumb Down

    Pumping in cash...

    is the new borrowing from investors. Still has to be paid back.

    1. Nextweek

      Didn't you hear about quantitative easing? They are just printing the money they need and devaluing anything that creditors are holding in one stroke.

  5. Sam Liddicott


    So now china owns the western economy (thanks to us spending their and them buying our bonds) they are now going to installing critical infrastructure for monitoring and control of citizens.

    Patience truly pays off! And now our pensions are being raided to pay for it?

    I used to think that you could never buy the world because whatever you gave in exchange for that last piece of the world you would then not-have.

    But credit is clearly the way to buy the world - in the end people owe more than they have.

    Welcome the new overlords.

  6. David Dawson


    They're investing, they'll get a good return on the investment (just like the canadian/ australian/ everywhere pension funds can already do!)

    It means they can invest it things other than the stock market, so meaning they aren't tied to the lottery like conditions there at the moment (as they have been)

    This is a GOOD THING.

  7. nichomach


    ...bumping up the national debt to stimulate the economy by getting private companies to front the cash is BAD when Labour do it, but GOOD when the Conservatives do it. Glad we've got that straight.

    1. JohnMurray

      It was the conservatives that started private finance "investing" in the infrastructure, for guaranteed massive profits.

      Browns "cash grab" was the removal of some tax reliefs....the private pension mob still benefit by some 36 billion a year in similar.....and pay-out only a billion over that....plenty of room for improvement.

      Private pension cash being used for inward investment is something that other parties, and some private companies, have been looking at for some time. After all, it works for other countries.

      And the elephant standing in the corner of the room, with respect to that pension investment, is the EU. Why invest inwardly, when better returns can be had elsewhere. So, they may be looking at legislation, which has to pass EU perusal.

  8. Desk Jockey

    I smell...

    ..another bit of dodgy accounting on its way! Getting pensions to invest into capital projects? Like those lovely banks and big companies do for those PFI (Private Finance Initiative) projects? Of course they insist on making a nice healthy profit so the taxpayer ends up paying much more than if the Government fronted up the cash itself.

    And they want pension companies (with a very patchy record on making good investment decisions) to get in on this game as well? We are well and truly shafted either way now. No wonder civil servants are striking, they can see this mess coming!

    As for letting China 'own' our infrastructure, WTF are they thinking? Haven't they just seen the politics over in the US where they have realised that China is now giving 'instructions' to the US Government on the basis of "We own all your debts and a chunk of your country too". They would be selling the infrastructure off cheap too as we know China would just nick all the intellectual property and copy it back at home. Double shafted here too!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No Pension Raiding Going On!

    Errr....Have to agree with the first post - George is asking pensions schemes to invest....not raiding the pots as Gordon did. Check any other media report!?

    When Labour used PFI it amounted to a "Screw us as much as you like" deal, at too good to refuse interest rates.

    1. Magnus_Pym

      "George is asking pensions schemes to invest....not raiding the pots as Gordon did"

      I think we may find that only the Lib Dem's have a clean slate on the whole raiding pensions and not being able to pay it back thang (Thatcher... cough... Royal Mail... cough, cough) but only in the same way as they have a clean slate on most things.

      The question is; why is borrowing to stimulate growth a bad thing and yet conversely borrowing to stimulate growth is a good thing?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Banks (encouraged by government) lend too much money to people/companies who want it, but can't pay it back, this causes a financial crisis.

    Banks stop lending money to people/companies who want it, but can't pay it back, in order to stop the crisis happening again or getting worse.

    People and companies who want money but can't pay it back start crying that they really want the money.

    Government decides to lend money to people/companies who want it, but can't pay it back, in order to get us out of the mess caused by lending money to people/companies who can't pay it back.

    Does anyone else see a problem with this?

    1. Jared Hunt

      It must really suck only being able to see the world in black and white.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        As you could probably do an entire pHD on the causes of the financial crisis, I thought I'd do a synopsis. I actually continually piss my partner off by saying "it's a bit more complicated than that."

        Anyway, it must also really suck jumping to conclusions about people based on such a small amount of text.

        1. Vic

          > you could probably do an entire pHD on the causes of the financial crisis

          If we ignore the allegations of deliberate fraud relating to CDOs, the principal cause seems frighteningly obvious.

          The banking system sees debt as an asset. In reality, it is merely the expectation of an asset.

          The above flaw leads to things like ninja loans; these would never occur if the probability of realisation is properly multiplied in...


          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward


            Also (in the UK at least) you had a piss poor regulator, who had been made toothless by government and a government who cozied up to big business while being "intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich" and "wanting to encourage risk taking in the City."

            Loads of stuff added together to make a perfect storm and this is part of the problem - if the general public don't stop abdicating their responsibility for what happened, rather than just blaming the bankers, it'll happen again and again. I'm not specifically saying that the man on the street is to blame, but many had credit cards, personal loans and lots had sub prime lending. The same people who would bitch about banks if they wouldn't lend them money because they couldn't pay it back.

  11. Mark 8

    China investing in NIP

    Oh come on, sombody has got to go there...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If you're referring to the racist term, I thought that one is for the Japanese.

      1. Citizen Kaned

        you mean nip as in short for nipon?

        technically its just an abbreviation, i guess its in the usage. i mean the abbreviation of pakistani isnt taken too well. odd really. its like us being offended at being called a brit. if only we could just get along..... :(

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just a tad worried!

    When will China turnaround and state they cause they own a large chunk of debt and all.. Will be the UK be invaded by the back door?

    Just a thought!

  13. tmTM

    Fix the roads??

    I hear that may be on the cards too?

    1. Ru
      Black Helicopters

      Y'know, if the roads were impassable to most traffic, we'd seriously lower our national fuel usage and carbon footprint.

      I'm sure those factors are in a government spreadsheet somewhere ;-)

      1. JohnMurray


        we would use less fuel, and the channy would get less cash.....hmmm

  14. Tim Parker

    Piss awful headline

    "Chancellor to raid pensions, Whitehall to revamp UK broadband"

    Excellent - not only factually incorrect but brilliantly mis-leading. Just as I feared The Register was sailing far too close to Fox News for comfort, i'm heartened to see it veer back towards it's former tabloid status.

  15. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    China offers to upgrade *all* UK broadband

    While offering free VoIP and CCTV back services.

    And will even lay it's own cable back to it's Beijing base routers

    What can possibly go wrong?


    chancellor to revamp broadband

    hey i hope theres a decent amount of money and it gets used on really decent broadband. now sure bt is doing fttc which is fibre to the cabinet but this isnt to the home there for as soon as the speed goes from the fibre to the copper it will slow down. now i know alot dont like cuts especially cuts to the poor who are getten hit hard but if the cuts are spread level. in otherwords spread to the rich and poor then i dont mind. as long as decent things get upgraded like our roads public transport and most importantly our broadband. if the uk wants the best broadband then its going to need a massive investment from the goverenment. something in the area of 10 billion or higher.

  17. This Side Up


    "when he will unveil the Treasury's gambit to boost the economy "

    Eh? It looks as though it has already been unveiled.

  18. Nick Kew Silver badge

    Unintended Consequences

    Credit Easing ... a slush fund for small biz finance. You can be sure that jobs administering it will become a corruption-magnet, just like anything involving allocation of taxpayer funds.

    But more than that, it poisons the pool for investors. Who is going to invest good money in small biz (other than ones own) when that investment is in direct competition with the bottomless taxpayer purse?

    Credit Easing will hurt small-biz finance by driving real investment elsewhere.

    The Right Way to get more money invested into productive business would be to encourage investors, using tools such as tax breaks. Gordon demonstrated the power of the tax break, when his removal of one in 1997 caused a massive wave of funds to be diverted from the productive economy into tax-privileged property speculation.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a moron.

    They could just ring me. I'd solve it for them, for a fee.

  20. Magnus_Pym

    Notice to all banks.

    Lend away! We, the Government, will underwrite it all with borrowings from the World Bank.

    (good job the banks are so trustworthy otherwise this might have been abused to pass bad debts onto the tax payer)

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