The Thick of It


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Budget 2011: plus ca change

Today's budget has done little more than tinker around the edges of plans already announced by the Tories' emergency budget. The Tories are not about to change tack on the economy and today's budget demonstrated that. There was some window dressing, such as painting changes to personal and fuel tax as reductions when they are far from that. Tomorrow's newspapers with personal budget calculators will show that.

Pickpocket Gideon Osborne has some nerve. When he claims that moving personal allowances for tax will mean we will be better off. We're all paying more in VAT, higher fuel costs and the inflation it causes. Everyone pays VAT. VAT goes on fuel so even though some items like food are excluded the cost of food goes up as the fuel required to get food to consumers costs more. VAT on fuel means any tinkering with fuel duty is more than wiped out.

Ed Miliband's response highlighted the holes in the Tories' strategy. Their medicine is painful. Disposable income, earnings and living standards are falling while unemployment and inflation are rising. Gideon wants people to thank him once this aggressive treatment has worked. I'm not sure it will and whatever happens most people won't thank him for hitting them in the pocket.

If ever there was an example of why you can't afford the Tories, this is it.

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