Wednesday, 21 March 2012


Contrary to what Osborne said, this organisation thinks that the 50p tax band was set to make some £6,7billion for HMRC. But I suppose statistics can be made to say whatever you want them to say. I'm inclined to think that if they actually insisted that the rich PAY their tax instead of dodging it, they probably would have made more than the £1 billion that Osborne seemed to think they would.
The tax allowances increase was welcome, and hats raised to the Liberals for pushing for this, but remember that it's about the cost of 15 cigarettes a week that is being added to the wage packet. It's welcome but it's more than swallowed by inflation and VAT increases (which although they have fallen out of the inflation rate, are still with us). Another thought: Did it not occur to the treasury to tell the revenue and Customs NOT to send out 2012-13 codings last week. I got two separate envelopes, and now I'll have to get another two. So presumably will another 40 million or so people, and their employers. That's a lot of stamps.
It's a risky business, perhaps even more so these days, taking from pensioners. The winter fuel allowance was substantially reduced last year, and now the additional tax allowances for pensioners is to be phased out for existing pensioners and not introduced for new ones. Pensioners have had a rough ride. First of all they had their state pension cut by Mrs Thatcher by linking increases to inflation instead of general wage increases, and thus falling behind by around £40 a week, then their private pensions were decimated (in the modern sense of the word) by Gordon Brown, then decimated again (same sense) by Osborne's quantitative easing. Now Osborne is having another go. Of course the pensioners in his family aren't typical, but most pensioners need more heat, because they are in the house more, and they feel the cold more, and as they get older they sit around more. Still, Osborne would do well to remember that pensioners vote. And they do it in vast numbers. it might be an idea to review this in time for the next election.
It seems strange that having agreed that the low cost of alcohol is contributing to the drink problem that the whole union has, Osborne didn't think about adding something to the price of drink. It's not the only cause of our problems by a long way, and I think that Scottish Labour's spokesman made a reasonable point about high caffeine/alcohol drinks (although if you tax them heavily people will just put a red bull substitute in their vodka), but an increase in tax might have killed two birds with one stone, without making a bigger profit for the stores or brewers. There must be vested interests somewhere in the Tory party somewhere.

I've not chosen the photographs for this post because of their close correlation with the story, but because they all made me smile. The first relates to a temporary relaxation of the strict Sunday trading laws of England (and possibly Wales). I think it's for the period up to the Olympics. After all what would that great sporting event be without a bit of Sunday shopping. The second one makes Cameron look like a patronising git, which he probably is; the third was the look of hate that was apparently directed at Bercow, when he compared the Queen to Gandhi. Maybe Cameron, who presumably believes in all that order of precedence garbage, should remember that Mr Bercow is a deal farther up the ladder than he is, and treat the little fop with the respect he deserves. The last is Cameron stuffing his fat little coupon with hot dog, preparatory to being tucked up in bed and read a story by Mr Obama on the big aeroplane, oooooooowwwww... whatever.


  1. The vested interest would be Tesco who and other supermarkets who would be affected by, say, minimum pricing for alcohol, while pubs won't.

    Funnily enough, I seem to recall that Tesco was a donor to the tories - but to draw a link between that and the budget would be very cynical...

  2. Aye George, I thought there was someone pulling Osborne's chain somewhere... You are quite correct to avoid cynicism, and to imagine any connection between a donation and this particular move would be just that.

    It's probably true though :)

  3. Recovery demands that we ditch the failed economic model circa 1979, and appreciate that the myth of the private sector rather than state investment drives innovation.

    This budget totally fails to appreciate that. Worse, it is now adding a fresh retro feel with a new series of asset stripping policies from education, police, healthcare and now even roads.

    Is there nothing sacred? And what on earth would government do once all is said and done?

  4. No nothing is sacred, Dean.

    But in fairness, you would have to agree that the Scottish government is resisting, where it can, despite what Labour says, the Tory cuts. (The number of police has increased...with the support of the Scottish Conservatives when they had a mind of their own; the health service is not to be semi privatised, as in England) and I very much doubt there are any plans to allow a private contractor to build roads, partly funded by the state, so that he can charge motorists, who already pay the highest taxes in the world for using them.

    I was amazed to hear Osborne this morning claiming that the decision by Glaxo to build a factory in England, and create more jobs in Scotland was down to the policies of the budget.

    Heavens, I thought, they must make their expansion programme decisions quickly over at Glaxo, given that the announcement came only yesterday afternoon.

    It turns out that, although, to be fair, the chairman of Glaxo said he was pleased with the reduction in the tax, it was a multitude of factors which had made them decide to build in England and Scotland. Not least the patent laws brought in under Labour and wage inflation in the far east.

    Osborne had the temerity to suggest that taking £2,500 OFF the pensioners' allowances which will make 4 million old people worse off, was only fair as they had had a large pension increase this year. He seemed to forget that this was triggered by a large inflation figure so their costs have gone up by (well over) the amount of the increase, and that in any case they have had to suffer a huge increase in VAT. He has compounded his folly. I suspect that pensioners won't forget this.

  5. No real surprises in the budget. We all seemed to know what was going to be in it before it happened. That will be because the coalition “partners” were busy out briefing the press so as to get their claims in first!

    Looks like the Lib Dems will be actually able to claim that they have finally “achieved” their fabled manifesto pledge of 10k by 2015. So ya boo sucks to those cynics among us (me included) that thought this was not going to actually happen. At least now they can actually tell the truth on those doorsteps.

    I was interested to read in the Dundee Courier that Willie Rennie and Tim Farron (he’s the President of their UK party for those that don’t know) were in my neck of the woods at the weekend (Broughty Ferry ward Dundee) and that it’s is on their “target” list for the upcoming local elections. I did not see them on my doorstep although I did get a very cheap looking photocopied A4 leaflet. I can’t remember ever having a Lib Dem in the Ferry. We have two Tories, one SNP (who is leader of the council) and one Labour councillor. That should tell you the kind of ward that it is. Does Willie think that waving his magic wand will make erstwhile Tories vote for him? Or is he after the SNP or Labour vote? The Lib Dems don’t do well in Dundee and out of the 29 councillors have only 2 one in the West End and one in Strathmartine wards (the latter is standing down due to ill health) while the former I understand relies heavily on the student vote (both Dundee’s Universities are in his ward). Although to give him his due he is a hard worker and is often in the paper actually working for his constituents. I would have thought that Willie would have been spending his time more fruitfully be concentrating on holding on to the two he has got. I’m not one for making wild predictions but if their Bob Duncan takes one of the Ferry seats I will eat my computer!

  6. No fear of getting indigestion. They have no chance of winning a seat in the Ferry. I think the LD's will be down to a solitary seat providing the angry pensioners in the West End Ward don't chuck him out.

  7. I must admit I thought it was a bit weird, Munguin. Why on Earth would they think Broughty Ferry was a fertile ground for them. Silly!

    I wish I'd been in the Ferry that day. There are some questions I'd like to ask Mr Rennie.

  8. Hi Marcia.

    Yes. I can't imagine the Liberals doing well in Dundee. As Munguin said it's not a good place for them, and let's face it, this is not the proudest moment in their history.

    We might see an end to them altogether in the city, but McPherson is a good councillor, no matter what his politics. He works hard for his constituents. That's something well worth keeping if you live in that ward.