The Thick of It

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

An ideological Tory budget

Compassionate Conservatism has come to an end with yesterday's budget. David Cameron and George Osborne can no longer claim that they are on the side of the lest well off. We've all been given a tax cut, but this helps the richest more than anything else.

Replacing a tax on earned income with a mansion tax means many of the top 1% will be much better off, while the few who buy £2m+ homes will be worse off, but there aren't many of those. There are plenty more pensioners or low paid working families reliant on the savagely cut tax credits.

The Tories have been brash and bold. This was an ideological budget, cutting tax for the rich while squeezing the workless poor. It also did nothing to stimulate growth, so crucial in creating jobs and easing the pain for those at the bottom.

This was both brash and risky from the Tories, who are now upsetting an ever widening set of key groups:


  • Doctors - unnecessary reorganisation of the NHS
  • Nurses -  unnecessary reorganisation of the NHS
  • Teachers - cuts
  • Police - cuts
  • Army - cuts
  • Pensioners - cutting their tax allowances
  • Families - cutting access to child benefit and tax credits
  • Students and middle classes - trebling tuition fees
How big will the list become? Will Labour be able to take advantage? It can if it continues to focus on the tightening belt on the squeezed middle and not on class war. This represents a golden opportunity for Labour to capitalise on the government's growing unpopularity. The narrative for the next election has been set by the cut to the 50% tax rate. What hasn't been decided is whether it will make any difference. Except to the top 1% of earners who are quids in. 

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