So, having been busy for the afternoon with things in my personal life I have now heard the details of the Pawnbroker Budget. I'm not all surprised by the news that we're going to pop off down the pawnbrokers again and see what we can get for UK Plc. Frankly, does anyone think that a man who has spent the last decade borrowing to spend - I refuse to use the word "invest" - is going to suddenly become frugal? Anyhow, here's my own summary.
50p Tax Rate: I've always believed that if the Government ends up taking more than half of what you earn it is, in principle, wrong, however much that might be. When you factor in NI on this it's a piss take really.
It's pretty clear that move was one of those political ones designed to make the Tory Party either back it or scrap and create a dividing line, with the added bonus of putting Cameron into a possible "row with the grassroots" scenario.
My view is that it should not be a "first Budget" repeal priority, after all Thatcher didn't go hell for leather straight away, but there should be a strategy for wholesale income tax reform that moves the low end out completely and flattens it for the rest.
Car Scrappage Scheme: Absolute total bollock. This move will not help either the sale of new cars or the big car manufacturers for the simple reason that only complete idiots buy brand new cars these days. Anyone sane waits six months so the "new" car they buy is effectively "old" because of the plates and is thus a shedload cheaper.
The minute you buy a "new" car and drive it off the forecourt it loses at least £2000 in value. Six months down the line it loses even more once the plates change even if it's only got a 100 miles on the clock. I'm yet to see anywhere how a "new" car is actually defined. After all, what if you had a car that had 10 miles on the clock but was ten years old and had never been owned into the system by anyone other than a dealer?
My guess is that this will apply to only absolutely brand new cars on the current and latest plates, and as I say, very few people buy those, and if they do you can pretty much guarantee the one their trading in, assuming they even trade anything in, won't be some ten year old clapped out motor. Now, given that most dealers will give you a "guaranteed £1000" anyway, this policy seems like little more than headline grabber that will have bugger all impact.
Fuel Tax: This one is going to kill them, big time. I predict that in the pre-Budget Report the changes are frozen for political expedience. I just passed a forecourt where unleaded was 99.9p a litre and it has been rising steadily for the past month. There will be backlash from consumer and haulage yet again.
Stamp Duty Holiday: No one is selling and no one is buying at the moment because they're watching prices fall and they're waiting. At the same time they're worrying about their jobs. Utterly meaningless.
Closing Tax Loopholes: How bloody long have they been saying they're going to do this? Oh yes, that's right, ten years. Do you believe them now?