Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Budget Live Blog

  • Started off with the expected lines about employment, inflation and interest rates.
  • I am dying of boredom already.
  • Stuff about the growth of the economy over the last decade.
  • Climate change mentioned. Tax on their way.
  • He want everyone to be able to "exploit their full potential". Presumably that also means the Government exploits everyone full wallet potential.
  • Blaming the rest of the world for problems in British economies. Not our fault Guv honest.
  • Dig about stability of economy in 1997 being better now. Pointless Tory jibe.
  • Claims welfare refrom is encouraging people off benefits. Why are there more people on benefits now than before then?
  • I am just getting the feeling that someone sent out a memo and said "find Darling some random positive statistics I can use"
  • Admits growth is dropping by over a percent but sweetens it by saying "we're not as bad as the others"
  • Another comment about inflation in the early 1990s, then admits that inflation is rising. Inflation target is 2% on CPI. What about RPI which is much higher?
  • Lots of absurd figures about borrowing being lower than ten years ago, am starting to zone out.
  • Freezing fuel duty increase until October.
  • I didn't know that it was possible to be more boring than Gordon Brown.
  • Oh look, did he just shift the economic cycle again in order to meet the "golden rule"?
  • You know that things must be bad because Darling is constantly referring back to over ten years ago.
  • "Investment" has trebled since 1997. That's spending in case you were wondering.
  • Nonsense claims on defence when we all know equipment has not been available. He has followed it up with a serious tone to pay tribute to troops which calms the House down.
  • Claims that debt management is only 5% instead fo 9% in 1997. That is because the debt is not on the balance sheet because of PFIs.
  • Says that Incapacity Benefit claimant will be reassesed in 2010. Kicked into long grass until after the next election then with the hope of neutralising the argument.
  • In 2009 they are going to change the rules on Council tax beneift and Housing beneift. No actual details you understand. he's just going to do it, and has thrown a figure out.
  • Putting up Child Benefit for first child to £20 from April next year.
  • Claims that a family on £28K will be £123 a year better off with tax credit changes. Like last year he's assuming that people want to fill the insane form in.
  • Says he wants to remove barriers to trade around the world. Tell me, how do you do that when you're in the EU?
  • A fund to encourage female entrepreneurs?
  • Praises the Government's transport policy. Doesn't use the trains much then.
  • Lots about Congestion. Here comes the sting. Road pricing is coming. That petition was under Blair so it doesn't matter now presumably.
  • Long term fixed rate mortgages. Didn't Brown talk about that last year, and the year before?
  • Is onto Climate Change and the doom that we all face. Every Government Department must reduce its carbon output. Note that DEFRA spent 3 million on flights whilst Miliband was there, so he's basically talking bollocks.
  • Legislation to charge for plastic bags. Jesus wept.
  • Pointless statement that all new homes will carbon-free by 2019.
  • Increasing the Climate Change Levy which as was said by a Select Committtee on Monday, has not worked.
  • Here it comes. Road tax. From 2009 there will be new bands for road tax.
  • All new cars will have a first year road tax rate based on their emission. No road tax for first year for low carbon cars. Not much point if you are a "hard working family of five"
  • 11p on to a packet of fags.
  • 4p a pint on a beer, spirits by 55p and an escalator of 2% above inflation on all alcohol for the next few years. Unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable. And he didn't say if it was CPI or RPI. I bet they use RPI.
I would just like to say that Alistair Darling is a marvellously skillful Chancellor who, through the use of the "bore them to death tactic" was able to make all sort of admissions that very few noticed.

The obviously heavily-caffeined up Fraser Nelson at the Coffee House managed to spot something though. Seems Darling managed to slip in that he was going to borrow £20bn more than he said he would in October. Good spot. I think i was using an adrenaline drip by that point and it still wasn't working.


Croydonian said...

Mogadon Man, red version.

tory boys never grow up said...

oh so cynical - guess that blows your Tom Watson theory out of the water.

dizzy said...


Anonymous said...

If he hadn't kept repeating "Mr Deputy Speaker" he would have finished half an hour earlier.

Anonymous said...

4p on a pint - yeah right!

In 30 years of budgets and drinking I have never seen the amount announced in the budget appear in the pub. Normally it is at least twice. In London the rise will be about 20p.

Never mind, all the Tories have to do is promise to cut the duty on booze, petrol and fags and the election is theirs.

Unsworth said...

Well I thought Cameron managed to liven it up a bit. He had a good pop at the cretinous Balls and made him look a prat (if that wasn't already blindingly obvious). Brown spent his whole time 'looking nonchalant' - creepily so - under the constant and (my view) effective Cameron barrage, never looking at Cameron except with the fixed and terrible rictus of a man meeting his nemesis. Difficult to judge Darling's reactions - has he had a Botox disaster or something?

What Cameron has learned to do is to set a pace and keep to it - a good debating move. On balance I thought he won that encounter pretty easily. But then it was pretty much an open goal.

I'd like to have seen Cable respond for the Lib Dems although tradition meant that the amateur Clegg had to do his best - with inevitable results.