Right, so a government in severe trouble, announcing record deficits and negative growth figures, would normally try and announce measures to help the poor and vulnerable, and to ease the pressure on those under average wages (don’t forget that the average wage in this country is apparently £20,000, who earns that much?). But then again, we’re talking about New Labour, their first instinct is to survive,everyone else can go hang.
This is the only conclusion I can come to for today’s budget. There is nothing for workers on the 10-15000 bracket, there’s nothing for single people, there’s token help for unemployed people ( an extra £1.7bn is to go to the “Job Centre network”, oh and woo-hoo statutory redundancy pay is to go up to £380), Oh and the child tax credit is to go up. That’ll please the pram face constituency.
Compared to what Darling could have done, re-instate the 10p band for starters, this is a typical New labour budget. All talk and no trousers. Even the supposed installation of the 50p top rate of tax is not guaranteed to go ahead, stated to come in at the start of the 2010/11 tax year presumably after the next Westminster election.
It is this measure which the Westminster comentariat have cited as being part of a left wing budget. Nonsense, utter nonsense. For starters, New Labour should have brought this measure in, in 1997. They were faced with a small black hole when they won power, but decided to raid the country’s pension pot instead. They are right to tax the better off more, but they shoud have done it years ago, rather than sit and let the inequal society that we have, grow.
Equally unimpressive were the do nothing party. Cameron went through his speech, not really making any points which pretty much most people would have thought of anyway. We may hear what the Tories would do differently in the next couple of days other than vague promises “..to focus on the taxes for the many." However, I doubt it.
Overall, as I think New labour have lost the next election anyway, this does their position no favours. Without any additional measures to help people through the depression, most people will see through the hike in the top rate of income tax. This though will be remembered as the bust budget.