Wednesday, 23 March 2011

The Budget

So, yeah, today's Osbourne's budget. Woo.

I'll be trying to listen to the thing in full and I'll be writing my initial thoughts down for you to peruse. Mind you, the devil will, as always, be in the detail. I'm hoping for a few decent things in there though.

Incidentally, I can make one guarantee. The budget will be unpopular. This is because every budget is unpopular. Polls have found that, even among people who don't disagree with any part of a budget, the majority will still dislike it. Go figure.

***

So, I've just got in from a round of leafleting. My shoulders are aching and I've finished reading through the main points from the budget.

  • Fuel duty down by 1p per litre and no future increases - a good step though if prices keep rising it might be an idea to cut it further.
  • Personal tax allowance up to £8,105 - another step towards fulfilling the key Lib Dem manifesto pledge
  • Growth forecasts cuts - not good but at least the economy is still growing
  • Borrowing £2.5bn lower than expected and to be reduced to £29bn by 2015 - good, at least that means we won't be spending more money on interest rates on our debt
  • Council tax frozen - good
  • 10% of your inheritance tax bill will be knocked off if you give 10% to charity - a good idea and essentially means you get a choice of whether to give 10% of your estate to the taxman or a charity.
  • Private jets to pay passenger duty for the first time - take that. It's about time that they started to pay the same tax as the rest of us
  • Shared equity scheme to help 10,000 first time buyers by homes - a positive step, but the only long term solution is a programme of council house building
  • More money for science research and the creation of enterprise zones - very good, high tech industry is the best way to diversify our economy
  • 12 more University Technical Colleges to be created - brilliant news as I'm all in favour of UTCs
  • More apprenticeships and work experience placements - good as youth unemployment is very high
  • The eventual creation of a £140 a week state pension - about bloody time as too many pensioners struggle to survive on a pittance
  • Green Investment Bank to get an extra £2 billion and to be allowed to borrow - yes, yes, yes! This is a brilliant step forwards which will help reduce our emissions and create thousands of new jobs at the same time.
So, overall, I like the key points in the budget. The trick will be to see what emerges in the next few days as people look through the detail. I guarantee that there will be at least a few nasty surprises.

P.S. Lib Dem Voice has a good article on Lib Dem achievements in the budget.

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