Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Boring...but not bad

I had thought of doing a blog-boycott of this year's Budget, so narcoleptic was the content, but on reflection...there are some positives to be taken from Mr Darling's package from a progressive/green point of view.

As the driver of a Vauxhall Zafira who likes the odd drop of Scotch, I am probably going to be among the people worst hit by today's announcements, but I'm entirely content that it should be so.

The 55p a bottle increase in whisky duty will in fact cost me the princely sum of around £3.20 a year, which seems a small price to pay to help curb the binge-drinking culture and do my bit towards lifting 250,000 children out of poverty.

And although I only drive a people carrier out of necessity in order for me to be able to take my growing family away for weekends along with all their assorted clobber, I think it's only right that people like me should pay more to alleviate the effects of our environmental pollution.

That said, it was undoubtedly the most politically unexciting Budget since 1997, and some papers may well not even lead on it tomorrow. Maybe that's the government's intention though.

I liked James Forsyth's take on it at Spectator Coffee House. "I suspect that the government will be quite pleased if this Budget is nothing more than a one day story.....Darling must be hoping that by hopping on the Mail’s ban the bag bandwagon, he has guaranteed himself favourable coverage in at least one paper."

I have some sympathy for Mr Darling in that Gordon Brown really "stole" this Budget last year, by pre-announcing the 2p cut in income tax.

That said, had Brown not announced this a year ago, it is a fairly moot point whether it would have happened at all, as it's hardly now the time for big tax reductions amid all the "global financial turbulence."

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Anonymous said...

After the fuss earlier this week about an aledged £10 billion of unfunded Tory spending promises,to-day we get £ 43 billion of unfunded spending announced by Darling for next year.

Oh yes,and massive public sector cuts over the next 3 years from 3.6% to 2.2%,makes Michael Howard's cuts proposed at the last election look tiny.

As with all Labour governments we get massive tax increases,record borrowing and they still end up running out of money.

Gareth said...

Not bad! I'm absolutely furious over this budget.

When pubs are in danger he goes and does this. The binge-drinking anti-social piss heads get their booze down Tescos or drink alcopops and fizzy foreign lager in vertical-drinking hell-holes.

Why punish responsible drinkers who go down the pub for a couple of pints of real ale, why punish the pub landlord (already suffering because of the smoking ban), and why punish the small brewers of quality English beer.

I hope CAMRA gives him hell over this. I want to see effigies burning from lamp posts.

Anonymous said...

Dull and boring beats boom and bust in my book.

If, as the excitable Toque alleges, pubs are in danger of closing because of a less than 2% rise in the price of a pint then they're probably going to close anyway...

Anonymous said...

You appear to have missed the fact that there is no "tax cut" with the reduction in the rate from 22% to 20% - because it is more than offset by he removal of the 10% rate at the bottom of the scale. This will mean a tax increase for those of lower taxable incomes.

You need to pay more attention to these matters.

Paul Linford said...

It is a tax cut for some (me, for a start) just not for those on lower incomes.

The point I was making was that it was unlikely Darling would have announced any tax reduction in the current climate had Brown not done it last year.

Anonymous said...

The other point about Brown's last budget is that from 2009, the cut-off point for National Insurance will be £43,000 a year - up from £34,840 for 2007/2008.

This will oblige more than a few middle earners to reconsider whether or not they'll be enjoying a tax cut.

Barnacle Bill said...

Dull and boring, but more importantly by doing nothing to sort out the mess Mr. Bean has got us into, Glove-Puppet Darling has not upset any of NuLabor's core voters.
Mind you it looks like Blinky Balls has blown any chances of future leadership hopes.
That "So what?" remark is going to follow him for the rest of his political life.
I would've loved to have been a fly on the wall at Casa Balls last night!

Gareth said...

It's not just 2% though is it?

And it happens practically every year.

They are targetting binge-drinkers and moderate drinkers with the same broom, and with it helping to speed the demise of the English pub (already struggling thanks to the smoking ban).

And beer prices are already going up because of a hops shortage.

I don't care if they tax alcopops or white lightning, or even all alcohol in shops, but leave the traditional English pub alone!

Anonymous said...

Nice one cutting the 10pence rate so now a labour administration charge more tax to the working poor than a republican american one, and all to subsidise a non working class who either can't or more likely wont work. I await with baited breath labours take on getting the benefits bill down

Anonymous said...


"It is a tax cut for some (me, for a start) just not for those on lower incomes."

So just for the record what exactly does New Labour stand for?

Earlier you criticised people for lack of loyalty to their party - what loyalty do parties show to their constituent voters?

Sadly I'm alright Jack sums up New Labour.

Paul Linford said...

Very good question Andy W. I have made it quite clear that I would rather see tax cuts directed at the less well-off rather than people such as myself - my point here was solely to refute the earlier claim that the 2007 budget contained no tax reductions when clearly, for some people, it did.

Anonymous said...

It seems a shame that the only way Labour can see to 'lift 25000 children out of poverty' is to give them state hand-outs. A cynic may suggest that a reduction in state hand-outs may be a much better way of reducing child poverty, thus forcing benefits-culture parents into paid work.

55p on a bottle of scotch will reduce binge drinking? In which case how come we have some of the most expensive alcohol in Europe and some of the highest rates of binge drinking?

And please don't fall for the CO2/environmentally friendly line. Your blog suggests that you are far more intelligent than to buy that ruse. While people are willing to sit around and passively accept such bogus tax increases, lies such as this are perpetuated.

Anonymous said...

"The 55p a bottle increase in whisky duty will in fact cost me the princely sum of around £3.20 a year, which seems a small price to pay to help curb the binge-drinking culture and do my bit towards lifting 250,000 children out of poverty."

I usually come to this blog for political analysis, not laugh out loud humour! Do you honestly believe that this is going to affect binge drinkers? Its just yet another blatant tax grab on the middle classes.

As for it lifting children out of poverty, getting their parents to get off their backsides and get into work might be a better start. But wait, then they might not be dependent on Gordon's tax credits... And we can't have that, can we?

Paul Linford said...

I usually come to this blog for political analysis, not laugh out loud humour

Ever heard of irony, Craig?

Anonymous said...

Touche, I missed the point there a bit! :-) Was obviously seeing a little too much red!

Unknown said...

Oh dear.

Confession time - I missed the irony as well!

Back to remedial class. And avoiding seeing too much of the aforementioned "red".