Above is the official “Budget Diagram” just issued by H.M. Treasury. Presumably we have to provide the crayons.
The most remarkable thing about this Budget was how small the numbers were – and I remember when ONE BILLION was a lot of money!
The ubiquitous “Scheme” was in there. This one was £3 billion to boost exports. As UK exports only represent a tiny percentage of GDP and because it is only “a scheme”…no harm done there!
UK potholes cost motorists about £730 million per year and cover a surface area of about 300 square miles. Therefore £200 million “made available for Local Authorities to bid for” seems a bit parsimonious…but nowhere near as mean as only £140 million for repairs and maintenance to flood defences. We not only need to patch up the damage but we need NEW flood defences. Presumably, the government’s resolve dissipated soon after the last COBRA meeting and when the last retina was reattached…..
The first “headline grabber” was scrapping VAT on air ambulance services and inshore rescue boats as well as scrapping Inheritance Tax for members of emergency services. As the current IHT threshold is £325,000 , THAT won’t bother too many firemen and ambulance drivers’ descendants and neither will the reform of air passenger duty!
We already knew about Ebbsfleet Garden City and PLANS for 200,000 new homes. Handy for the Ebbsfleet International Railway Station so that presumably, once HS2 has been completed,those pesky immigrants can be shunted-off to the North without even having to stop-off for a Starbucks.
Company-bought homes, valued in excess of £500,000 will now enjoy Stamp Duty of 15%. No doubt that can be recouped at the “sell” end of the process, which makes this a purely cosmetic gesture by Chancellor Gideon and a transparent attempt to create some egalitarian credentials ready for May 2015.
The Libdem-inspired tax threshold increase to £10,500 is a nice touch as is the freezing of Petrol Duty.
We have become used to the “let’s patronise the poor” section in which we have the cut in Bingo Tax, the freezing of whisky and cider duty and yet another PENNY cut in the price of a pint of beer!! ..which was negated (and worse) by the increase in cigarette prices. However, as all toffs know, the working classes smoke roll-ups so they will be unaffected!
By far the most important set of measures has all the electoral subtlety of a house brick through a crystal chandelier. It was for THE PENSIONERS (Gawd love ’em!).
When they retire, they will be able to get their liver-spotted hands on all of their Pension Pot and will NOT have to purchase an annuity. That sounds fantastic!! However, if a pensioner takes his pot of pension and blows it all on a Porsche 911….who is going to pick up the tab when there is no pension at the end of the money? Annuities are there for a reason.
In addition, when a pensioner cashes-in his or her pension, where can they keep the money? Why….a BANK, of course! Ideal! So it looks as if the banking system is due yet another windfall…but this one will be from the over 65s!
THAT is why there will be a PENSIONER BOND! The banks will be able to lock-in the money and pay 2.8% for a year’s use of the cash and only 4% for three years’. Win-Win!
The Premium Bond ceiling will be raised from £30,000 to £40,000! So, if you like your investment to REALLY be in the shape of interest-free eroding capital, then cash in your pension and give it to National Savings which, incidentally, is State-owned. Another Win-Win!
We won’t bother with the announced increase in tax threshold of a few hundred pounds for “middle income” earners because it is worth PENNIES.
The superficial generosity to the pensioners WITHOUT actually giving them anything is there for a reason!
Guess which section of the population has the highest percentage of voters?
He started it!