16 March 2008

The Budget 2008

Trying to be all things to all people is a thankless task - there is a fine dividing line between offending one group with concessions and offending another with higher taxation. This budget has been attacked from all sides, which given that the press will never be friendly to a Labour government and that we are facing a recession when few could afford tax increases, suggests the balance is about right. The polls, seem to suggest that people do like the individual measures in the budget - some listed below, but overall Labour's support has suffered. A 16 point lead for the Tories seems hardly creditable but the way the press report these things, I doubt anything Labour do would make them popular.

So drinkers and...
drivers are to be hit the hardest. Green groups and health experts say not enough, while motorists groups and the drinking lobby say it is too much.

The biggest disappointment is that the targets for reducing child poverty are probably not going to be met. Imagine how the £3.5bn concession given to the wealthiest inheritors could have helped reduce child poverty and helped pensioners pay their bills? Instead the government were forced to cut inheritance tax.

To be fair to the government, the right wing press have persuaded the public on IHT, we on the left have lost the argument (though we had no help from a cowardly government) despite the fact that only the richest 6% are affected and IHT is probably one of the most justifiable taxes for this reason. No matter, the public do seem to think it is a bad tax - a death tax, we had to give in.

Cameron talks of a 'broken society' but rejects increasing public services and the minimum wage and talks of a 'broken politics' but rejects introducing fair votes and fair funding of parties (insisting on the obvious deal breaker that wealthy individuals should be given the same limit as Unions with over 2 million members). Cameron's idea of green policies is to build more roads and re-phase traffic lights to increase city congestion. Considering the alternative, I think we should be more grateful that we have a Labour government than we are, but I suppose people are going to find out the hard way what the Tories stand for when Cameron and his posh cronies are running the country, we shall see, and lord help us all if it does happen.


  1. Hmm I wonder what sort of evil policies Cameron might conjoure up if elected? Perhaps he might think that increasing income tax for people earning less than 15k would be good way to screw poor people at the expense of the wealthy. Oh no, hang on that's what just happened under a "Labour" government.

  2. Urko: With the minimum wage, tax credits and other spending, those on the lowest incomes have benefittd by over £100bn under Labour.

  3. People on 15K or less didn't do too well in the Budget though, did they Neil?

  4. I disagreed with the abolition of the 10% income tax band. This was a regressive u-turn on a previous Labour policy.

    This has meant a slight worsening of the tax position for those earning less than 15k, but the continued rise in the minimum wage and tax credits has more than compensated those on the lowest wages.

  5. Neil, where do you get £100bn from!?!

    7m people are still economically inactive in Britain, how many of those are stuck there because of the benefits trap!?!