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A political emergency

Nick Robinson | 17:52 UK time, Tuesday, 13 May 2008

This was quite simply another Budget - an emergency Budget - just 10 weeks after the last one. The emergency was not financial but political.

Red Budget boxThe revolt over the scrapping of the 10p tax band was so serious that ministers feared defeat in the Commons - a defeat which would have led to calls for the prime minister to quit. In addition, Gordon Brown feared being the first Labour leader to lose a by-election to the Tories in two decades.

Thus, the chancellor has brought forward an expensive package, paid for by extra borrowing and which helps millions of people who were not losers from the scrapping of the 10p rate.

There are perfectly good economic arguments for:
- helping hard-hit families at a time of economic insecurity
- extending borrowing to pay for it when times are tough
- increasing tax allowances as the most efficient and least bureaucratic way to help the 10p tax losers

Those arguments did not persuade the chancellor 10 weeks ago. Only a political emergency has been enough to do that.


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  • Comment number 1.

    It won't help the govt avoid defeat in the by-election.The voters are ina mood to punish the govt for getting into this mess in the first place.They are not going to thank them for clearing up the mess.

  • Comment number 2.

    They still don't exactly look in charge of things do they? Frank Field has duffed them up on 10p tax; Vince Cable has shown them the way on Northern Rock; even George Osbourne has beaten them to the punch, on Inheritance Tax.

    Who knows who's going to set the agenda for them next - but you can bet it will be an event that sets things in motion, not a proactive cabinet.

    they are hopeless......

  • Comment number 3.

    This sort of naked short-term, half-baked, inept chicanery gives political expediency a bad name.

  • Comment number 4.

    Someone will pay the price for all this borrowing and from the state of affairs in the Labour party, that someone will be a Conservative Government in 2010.

  • Comment number 5.

    Perhaps he needs to do his maths. This is at best partial compensation and better than nothing but it still leaves the poor considerably worse off.

    Oh and it certainly does not wrong foot the Tories! That is pure labour spin doctor speak.

  • Comment number 6.

    Iain (#1),

    I totally agree. Brown tried to slip this deceit in as part of his last budget as chancellor in order to get a couple of days' headlines on cutting basic rate, but anyone with half a brain could see the impact this would have on low earners.

    Unfortunately for Brown, that group doesn't include any Labour ministers.

  • Comment number 7.

    I HOPE that whenever Labour politicians smear the Tories with "unfunded tax cuts" than Nick Robinson will remind them of Alistair Darling's unfunded tax cut today.

    Unfortunately, I no longer expect political neutrality from BBC reporters, and do NOT EXPECT that Labour politicians will be challenged by BBC "reporters"

  • Comment number 8.

    In Britain we criticise politicians for not listening and admitting they were wrong.

    Then when they admit they were wrong, at least by their actions if not in word, we come down on them like a ton of bricks.

    The abolition of the 10p tax rate was a political gesture that made little sense, an expensive mistake. This at least is a gesture that makes sense, even if the most sensible thing to do would have been not to do it in the first place.

    It will not change Labour's fortunes overnight, but it could be the first step in the right direction for them.

    Now will they listen on detention without trial?

  • Comment number 9.

    Whats he doing now? Im getting compensated when I actually won out in the last budget. Darling looks like hes thrashing around trying anything, with the public purse being treated in cavalier fashion.


  • Comment number 10.

    "There are perfectly good economic arguments for:
    - helping hard-hit families at a time of economic insecurity
    - extending borrowing to pay for it when times are tough
    - increasing tax allowances as the most efficient and least bureaucratic way to help the 10p tax losers"

    But this will not help hard-hit families, nor will it really help the 10p tax doubled losers by much. They all still will be 120 pounds per year worse off

    That might be the price of a single good restaurant meal for you Nick but for 5 million of the poorest workers, that is full two month's worth food budget.

    The labour party are still bailing out billionaire bankers to the tune of hundreds of billions of pounds whilst contemtuously kicking the poor when they are down.

    The fact that labour believe that they would get away with this blatant attempt at bare faced bribery and corruption the week before a critical by-election reeks of cynical political opprotunism of the worst sort mixed with blind arrogance and utter cluelessness of how they are betraying their own core supporters.

  • Comment number 11.

    The 10p tax rate abolition was done to wrong foot the tories, it created a massive political backlash against labour and destroyed their record (what little there is) on economic competance. Now they're BORROWING billions in order to cover up their ineptitude, in order to try and wrong foot the tories AGAIN to win a by election. You couldn't make up the mind numbing stupidity of this entire fiasco.

  • Comment number 12.

    Maybe you should have waited a while so that this more considered post would not have been sullied by your silly pro-Gordon Brown cheerleading earlier?

    I actually think the move is a good one, probably the best Alistair Darling could have managed in the circumstances. But emergency mini-budgets do not wrong-foot the opposition, they just stem the bleeding from the government.

  • Comment number 13.

    What had Osborne got to say on Northern Rock, he got that wrapped around his canobies just as he has with this 10p rate.
    This man child has not got a clue and cannot come up with any constructive thoughts, only a personalised character assasination on Gordon Brown.
    This will resonate with the Great British public and electorate as this sort of thing offends British sense of fair play.
    All these Tory's can do is pull people to pieces as they have nothing to offer the electorate.
    Only fools would vote for someone who cannot tell them what their poicies are.
    Some people in this Country never realise what they have until they loose it.
    We have had ten good years now we need to ride this out and not talk ourselves into reccession.
    Just remember 4 million unemployed, crumbling schools and hospitals, horrendous waiting lists, not to mention inflation and bank rate at 15% and tax rebates to the ultra rich not forgetting the likes of Dame Shirley Porter and houses for votes plus umpteen more.
    The Tories can still teach us a thing or too along those lines!!

  • Comment number 14.

    Perhaps I am a cynic... but

    Is the increase in the tax allowance only for this year or will it carry over to the following years.

    Given the timing - I do worry if this is just a goodwill gimick that will bite the lower paid workers next year....

  • Comment number 15.

    More cynicism from an immoral government.They give back half of what they took by asking the people from whom they took it to borrow the money to pay for it.This is aimed at duping the voters in next week's by election into believing the government is somehow reforming it's thinking. All they did was give Frank Field the opportunity to back down without losing face even though he, like the rest of us can do the simple arithmetic needed to see that it's all a con.So the honourable Frank jumped at the chance before he had to face the wrath of Brown and possibly the rest of the occupants of the Labour side of the Westminster trough.

  • Comment number 16.

    Nick, nice to see you responding so quickly with more balanced reporting than your last Blog. I hope you will learn the lesson of the swift and massive reader rebuttal of your predjudiced and poorly researched reporting . Times have changed; readers will no longer accept regugitated Labour spin as fact. Be unbiased and accurate or lose all credibility.

  • Comment number 17.

    This is the economics of the mad house.

    First Darling says that the people will now receive benefit to make up for the tax loss. No one has said yet what the cost to the country of taking the money and giving it back to people is. Does strike me as rather ludicrous.

    But to compound it, Darling says he will borrow money to pay for what is in effect the weekly shopping bill. Totally insane. And given he is in reality committing to do this year on year, that is a lot of borrowing to pay for the weekly bills. I always thought you only borrowed when you were investing in something tangible. Clearly under Labours new economics, not so.

  • Comment number 18.

    surely it would be better to add the 600 pound allowance to those at the lower end of the wage scale- maybe that might start to make up for the tax hike of us paupers on next to nothing right?

  • Comment number 19.

    Will the extra borrowing mean that Gordon Brown has shown Prudence the door?

  • Comment number 20.

    a political emergency? a budget emergency?

  • Comment number 21.

    What a move, who'd of thunk it? Queens , Bishop pawn three to Blue Tories Useless One- Check mate, mate!

    Before we all vote for GB, please remember this....

    What GB givith, GB taketh twice back later when no-one is looking and calls it Green Tax!

    Anyone want to bet?????

  • Comment number 22.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 23.

    The unfortunate outcome of yet another U turn from this bumbling government is waste. Labour tax and waste. Think of all those new tax code letters which will be posted out. All because Mr Bean was more interested in spin than basic maths.

    Of course its good news for those who benefit, but of course it should never have occurred in the first place.

    Do you think my daughter (doing A level) could be the next chancellor? At least she had worked out how much it was going to cost her in her part time job.

    Oh and the next nice one? Mr Bean is concerned about the elderly and cost of care! This from the man who raided our pension funds to the tune of £5 bln a year! No wonder the elderly have no money to pay for care.

    Maybe that is Labours strategy. 10 years to screw things up and another 10 to undo the damage?

    Perhaps we should emigrate before the pound falls any further(= more inflation)?

  • Comment number 24.

    This very unsatisfactory solution is more expensive and much more difficult to maintain than simply reversing the abolition of the 10p tax rate.

    Brown as PM is staggering from one gaff to another : voters in Crewe and Nantwich are not going to be impressed.

    The only questions voters will be asking are,
    what are they going to do with tax allowances next year and what's the next inept political miscalculation going to be ?

  • Comment number 25.


    Whats he doing now? Im getting compensated when I actually won out in the last budget.

    I couldn't agree more - I was shocked and horrified to find that I was about to get £40 a month better off when my girlfriend, who works as a waitress was going to get poorer!

    This government are going from one disaster to the next. It doesn't say much for the upper echelons of education in this country...

    One this this ridiculous tax cut isn't going to do is help Gordon. His problem is that we are all sick and tired of seeing him grimace, day-in and day-out, whilst doing a job he coveted so much. I really wonder if there is any joy in that mans life. For once, I really think that presentation is hurting Labour more than substance...

    I wish Boris would defect.

  • Comment number 26.

    I don't know whether to laugh or cry. If they were going to backtrack why didn't they just restore the 10p band rather than come up with this inept fix? But, the problem is where are they going to find the extra £2.7m to pay for this?

    It does seem that all the skeletons that Gordon Brown has been hiding away for the last 10 years are coming out into the open all at once. The problem is he has nothing in the kitty to deal with the growing crises we are facing, such as higher fuel costs and higher food costs. The credit crunch has unraveled and the illusion has been revealed. The gap between actual incomes and living costs can no longer be supplemented through credit. Stagflation is now with us.

    We face many summers and winters of discontent.

    Will the last one out please turn off the lights.

  • Comment number 27.

    "... and the Tories, for the first time in a long time, look wrong footed.", said Nick Robinson.

    I don't see it like you do, Nick. That looks like a piece of biased reporting from you; you appear to have swallowed the line you've been given.

    This 'mini-budget', as you've labelled it, is more ineptitude. It uses yet further borrowing to fund a less-than-crystal-clear solution that still leaves some people worse off.

    Nick, you really do need to work harder to provide a balanced report. It's what we're paying you for.

  • Comment number 28.

    Nick, why is it that boy Cameron has stopped advocating increases in fuel tax, airport tax, aircraft taxes, etc.
    You know the ones Nick! The ones which Cameron came out with 18 months ago and called them GREEN, to look GREEN.
    Will he reduce fuel tax or increase fuel tax? Will he reduce or increase car tax on gas guzzlers?
    So to those who are constantly complaining, why did Cameron change his mind on the so called GREEN taxes? Why the U turn?
    Is the environment changing for the better or for worse? Good night Nick.

  • Comment number 29.

    Hang on - the poorest are still losing out to some extent, and the middle bit get a tax cut?? Seems slightly unfair.

    Fudge anyone? borrow the money to pay for this is definitely the wrong option. £2.7 billion on top of the £46 billion deficit (from memory may be wrong but think it was that) plus the £50 billion just pumped into the banking system, not forgetting Northern Rock - around £100 billion. Let's call it £200 billion in debt after 10 years of growth - hmm, sound fiscal policy?

  • Comment number 30.

    I feel so reassured by this 'emergency budget' - paid for by more borrowing!!! Where does all this money go? As a taxpayer, I feel despondent when my hard-earned cash keeps disappearing in the large black hole I call 'Government cock-ups'.

  • Comment number 31.

    I'm one of the low-paid affected by all this.

    I voted Labour at every turn since 1976.

    I am still £120 a year worse off and somehow that idiot Darling thinks I'm more stupid than he is and that I'll be grateful.

    Get this straight any of you New Labour garbage reading this. Since Blair lied and led us into a blood bath you have gone from bad to worse. You now stink. You are stuffed to the gunwalls with below average, vision-lacking lick-spttles. There isn't a real socialist within 5 miles of Westminster. I hoped Frank Field was one but no, he apoligises to the PM. If anything, the PM should be grovelling to him.

    So I will make a deal with you. You give me back my money - all of it. In return, come the next general election, I will leave your canvassing teams alone. If you don't I will hound and harass them into the ground wherever and whenever I see them. I will talkto, persuade and cajole as many people as I can to vote against you.

    By the way, I live in a key-marginal.

  • Comment number 32.

    This really smacks of desperation in an attempt to get a few votes at the forthcoming by-election in Crewe.

    Are there no depths to which this third-rate government will sink?

  • Comment number 33.

    Nick (and the rest), there is a more concilliatory tone available (without cosying up to the government):

    Clearly 10 weeks ago, there was an assumption made that lots of borrowing and cutting tax was unpalatable, and that they could easily enough carry on with scrapping the 10p tax because the Tories had no worthy reply.

    Now, however, it looks like the real mood is one where people care a lot more about protecting the many and the poor than about borrowing (which is predictable, since borrowing is future problems and tax increases are present). So the Socialist pull of the Brownite crowd has more leeway to do exactly what Brown did in the treasury, and borrow.

    I still fail to see why Brown didn't punish the Tories for their inability to produce a viable Tory alternative. Scrapping the tax rate was a fairly Tory thing to do, and providing a tax cut for the poor funded through borrowing is much further away from Cameron's rhetoric. Why couldn't they nail that on them? If there's ever a time for a decent one-liner, it was there.

  • Comment number 34.

    Some numbers...

    Before 5225 was raised to 5435 = + 4%
    Now 5225 is raised to 6035 = +15.5%

    Isn't this hugely inflationary and shouldn't the BoE now urgently consider raising interest rates to compensate...

    Oh dear!

  • Comment number 35.

    Here is some simple maths.. 5.7 million people lost an average of £120 each, It costs £680 million to sort them all out, all done through PAYE credits at no cost to the government as employers administer the PAYE scheme and bear the cost of it. A saving of £2,000,000,000 over todays proposal

    But lets be really generous and give every single loser in the budget the benefit of the doubt and the full £240 they could have lost if they all earned just £6,500, then the mess could be sorted out for £1.36 billion. A saving of £1,340,000,000 over todays giveaway

    What kind of responsible adult has to spend 2.7 BILLION pounds to do the job and still leave 1.1 million low paid people out of pocket?

    44,000 people voted in Crew and Nantwich at the last election. Todays giveaway equates to £45,000 per voter. Highly valued voters, clearly.

  • Comment number 36.

    Astonishing. The Government is up to its neck in debt, on a scale rarely if ever seen before. The official Treasury figure of £618 billion excludes the cost of public sector pensions liabilities, the hidden costs of Private Finance Initiative contracts and debts incurred by Network Rail. The real debt figure is higher than our Gross Domestic Product, ie in accountant's language I assume the UK is, to all intents and purposes, bust. Then, with no national emergency (that I'm aware of) the Government creates an emergency over Gordon Brown's tenure of office - and slams another couple of billion on the national debt pile. Whilst politicians dolefully wonder why they're so despised by the man on the street, the man on the street will, eventually, pick up the tab for this unholy economic mess of Labour's making. You couldn't make this up.

  • Comment number 37.

    Spot on Nick..thanks.
    Brown was aware of this and only took action when his political hide was threatened.
    It is a cynical use of taxpayers money

  • Comment number 38.

    I see that Frank Field is delighted with Darlings proposal ... do you need anymore evidence that the whole thing is a dog's bum ?

  • Comment number 39.

    My son (age 10) has been doing his maths homework, all about ratio and proportion.

    I told him that the government is giving 20% of £600 as 'compensation' for taking 10% of £2230.

    He didn't think this sounded a very good deal, but said he would ask his teacher tomorrow.

  • Comment number 40.

    "Mr Darling said he would lower the level at which 40p tax is paid by £600 to £35,400, so the most well-off would not gain more."

    £600 at 40% tax = £240

    Offset the £120 gained at the personal tax allowance, and this means that higher rate tax payers are now paying £120 a year more tax.

    Is this not correct? Why isn't this being picked up on?

    Not only is this another tax raise, the lowering of the higher rate tax band means that thousands of people will now be liable for 40% tax on all interest on their savings.

  • Comment number 41.

    A much more measured post than earlier Nick. The Westminster Bubble effect perhaps?
    It will be interesting to see how the electorate view the emergency budget. After years of new Labour spin, I suspect many people will be as cynical as I am.
    I hope the voters of Crewe and Nantwich will see it for what it is and send a message of discontent to Gordo and Co.

  • Comment number 42.

    This is the most expensive route to Mr Brown's personal political survival - in all senses.

    Mr Brown's approach seems to be if you in a hole don't just keep on digging; hire a spanking new JCB to do it on hire purchase so the boss looks good...

    The quicker these clowns leave now the better.

  • Comment number 43.

    Disgusting, but such cynical expediency (stealing from tomorrow's tax-payers to save Brown today) is what's to be expected of this wicked government.

    These venal fools and liars on the front bench will be comfortably retired on exceptional pensions while the economic maelstrom they've created wreaks havoc on the decent people of England for years to come. (Chavs and 'seekers' will of course continue to be feather bedded on benefits).

    The dying days of the last Labour catastrophe left us in the Winter of Discontent. As things stand now, we'll look back and think of that time as the 'good old days'.

  • Comment number 44.

    I can only assume that the delay of more than 2.5 hours in "moderating" my comments at 7:13 this evening means the "moderators" have had to refer it to the BBC's lawyers.

    I acknowledged Kiwilegs's criticism of the last Conservative government but tried to pint out NuLabour were no better - the details obviously didn't go down well with the "moderators", though I'm sure I said nothing which hasn't already been said in the national newspapers about this corrupt government.

    bring_on_2010, you make the most valid point of the day - more people will pay 40% tax and we STILL need to boorow more money. Darling has already been criticised by the EU for breaking borrowing rules but as we're not in the Eurozone, they can't punish him, so he'll punish the taxpayers instead.

  • Comment number 45.

    And no statement about projected growth for this year, nothing about the PSBR and nothing about inflation. On the basis of the RPI, it has been consistently higher under this government in the last 2 years than any government since 1992.

    The British economy is now out of control thanks to Scottish Chancellors. So much for no boom and bust. It will just be bigger than any before.
    Naked and irresponsible opportunism I call it.

  • Comment number 46.

    Where is Charles E Hartwidge when we need him? Is he on holiday somewhere without the Internet?

  • Comment number 47.

    Votes and voters can turn an intentional act into a mistake.

    The Chancellor kept talking tonight about rectifying a "mistake".

    But the original and intentional tax deception and its foreseeable
    consequences was not a mistake.

    But when votes against Labour then make you £120 better off, the lesson
    to be learned is that if you vote against Labour then they will take more
    notice of you and do better by you, than if you vote for them.

    Labour can then do the previously claimed unwise and impossible.

    Voting against works wonders!

    But rectifying an intentional misdemeanour is not correcting a mistake.

  • Comment number 48.

    This site is proving to be a total waste of time. I have been waiting well over 3 hours to see an earlier comment "moderated" and my latest comments have been "awaiting moderation" for more than 30 minutes - where is the spontaneity?

  • Comment number 49.

    Hi Nick,

    Seems you realised the rubbish you were talking about in your last blog about 'wrong-footing'the tories.

    Maybe the 90 comments finally made you realsie what was actually happening.

    Nice to see you NOT leaning totally Labour's way for a change.

  • Comment number 50.

    Even by the standards to which we have become accustomed, this is astonishing stuff.

    As I understand it, only 26% of the £2.7b will go to 'losers' and 1.1m of them will still be losing out.

    Improbable though it seems - the bulk - £2b - will go to 17 million taxpayers who didn't lose out at all.

    If that is right, it is beyond crazy.

    Brown and Darling seem to have leapt from "means tested benefits" to "beyond our means" tax cuts in one fell (fool?) swoop.

    This can only be explained by incompetence on an heroic scale or by a cynical decision to use the 10p fiasco as an opportunity to curry favour with a much wider group of people at a time when the Government is in a deep hole and with a by-election pending.

    This from the people who refused to honour a pay deal for the police, awarded as a result of binding abritration, on the grounds that the cost would stoke inflation. The cost - £30m ie about 1% of the cost of this latest lot.


  • Comment number 51.

    with the news that 1.1 million of the original 5.1 are still worse off after this little jiggle I cant understand why it has been done. A number have been helped, but for 20% of the poorer people to still be poorer (though maybe not quite as bad as they would have been) is still not cutting the mustard, but is being brushed over by the media and politicians.... is this a particular group of individuals, how much worse off?

  • Comment number 52.

    The sight of Frank Field grovelling at the PM's feet was excruciating to watch. Labour protests that The Opposition should be congratulating them for their u turn is also beyond the pale. The electorate of Nantwich won't be fooled by this. If they are then they will deserve everything they get!!!

  • Comment number 53.

    The conservatives when they are elected will have no money to play with at all. They will have to spend the whole of their first term repaying debts racked up by this incompetent Government!!

  • Comment number 54.

    And through all of this Gordon Brown and Harriet Harman sit on their backsides smirking at The Opposition firmly believing that they have put one over them!!!

  • Comment number 55.

    This budget seems to have given £120 to middle earners. Pensioners have got at most nothing. Low earners have got at most nothing and 1.1 million low earners lose out.

    The government has no money left to further help the poor with higher heating and food prices.

    I am glad that Frank fields thinks this is fair. I don't

  • Comment number 56.

    I don't get the whole ring out the bells reporting on all of this. I and most people I know spotted the fatal flaw in GB's budget speech with minutes of his last budget statement as chancellor, this being despite any journalism covering the impact it would have being made at the time. The fact that it has taken a near collapse of Labour to rectify this numbers gaff paints a very sorry picture of the minds at work in our government. The 10% rate abolition was created by GB, then abolished by him without a fair replacement - all this in just a few years. This really only serves to demonstrate the arrogance of these characters in their willingness to play with the weekly finances of millions of people in this country. I would encourage people to judge this government not on the basis of handouts, not on the basis of what is or isn't reported by todays media, but on the basis of trying to understand what on earth would possess someone to do what GB has done to his own creations he developed as chancellor. I would also encourage people to reflect on how those same bells rang out across the country as GB signified a reduction in income tax, the original purpose behind all of this spectacle. He has surely sowed the wind, now nothing will stop the whirlwind, not £120 anyway.

  • Comment number 57.

    Hahahahahaha! So Darling is going to borrow a few billion to give a small tax break he can't afford to people Brown shouldn't have stitched up in the first place.

    And who pays for this few billion? Oh yes the taxpayer gets to pick up the tab with interest.

    Thanks Darling. You can go now.

  • Comment number 58.

    Even Mugabe doesn't spend this much to buy votes.

  • Comment number 59.

    Why is he bothering? Could it be that if the backbenchers rebel against the PM, they will force a Generlal Election?

    Of course, it has nothing to do with the small matter of a by-election.

    Labour are now operating reactionary politics, instead of being pro-active. That is the sign of a Government in deep trouble, and they would be better just having an election and be done with it.

    But the trappings of power are hard to let go.

  • Comment number 60.

    Hahahahahaha! So comrade Balls et al decry the Conservatives for making unfunded promises, when they suddenly spirit £2,700,000,000 out of apparently nowhere to dig themselves out of a big hole? Then they admit that they have to borrow that huge stack of cash.

    Since there are about 60m people in the country that £2.7bn would equate to about £45 each. Wouldn't it be cheaper just to post everybody a cheque for £45 and ask them to vote Labour?

    Not only that but since this whole fiasco seems to be all about a by-election they could simply post everybody in the affected area a couple of grand in a brown envelope and ask them to vote Labour. Cheaper, and probably just as effective.

  • Comment number 61.

    Further to post no 50:

    The whole story is even more of a shambles if one takes into account that quite a few times during the initial defence of the removal of the 10% rate band it was mentioned that "most of the benefits of that went to higher earners". If at that point it still seemed appropriate to take away that benefit - as one would expect to be the goal with an explanation like that - why is it so appropriate now to pass more than two thirds of this measure to higher earners?

    Mind you, I'm not advocating that money not be "returned" to any tax payer, whatever the rate at which it is being paid. It's just another example of a government trying everything available to it to save face, its future, its neck.

    Along similar lines, it began at some point to be mentioned in defence of scrapping the 10% rate band that introduction of the 10% band had always been intended as a temporary measure (to my knowledge most lately by babyface James Purnell during last week's Question Time on BBC1), and that it had been the plan all along to replace it with something along the lines of tax credits "which are after all a much better way of tackling child poverty", or words to that effect. It really makes you want to puke when the Labour manifesto before 1997 said something along the lines of "it is our long term goal to introduce a 10% starting tax rate band."

    How so temporary? Of course Purnell did not want to ("wasn't able to" is probably putting it better) go into that any further.

    All of it is truly bad politics, performed excruciatingly badly on top of that: blatant vote-buying tactics, spending someone else's (the country's) money once again, you can call it anything but something good.

    Come to think of it we Dutch have the perfect saying for this sort of thing: "sigaar uit eigen doos gepresenteerd krijgen". Roughly: being offered a sigar out of one's own box.

  • Comment number 62.

    Every day I am reading blog after blog about the mistakes on mistakes that the current government is making, and cannot recollect more than 2-3% of the comments being in any way supportive of GB or his bunch of inadequate sycophantic no hopers.

    I cannot recall such ferver from so many in calling for this messed up and morally and economically bankrupt government to go with all due haste. It seems quite without precedence that so many people from all over the country are fed up, disillusioned and so disenchanted with a government that appears to be totally inept and devoid of any clue whatsoever as what they need to do to get out of the almighty mess they themselves have created.

    And to top it all they pretend that every knee jerk reaction or quick fix is 'planned', will benefit all of us and is proof they are 'listening'.

    Well the Great British public isn't that stupid and finally has got NuLabour and its unelected leader totally sussed out. Every new pronouncement just makes them look even more pathetic and firmly on the slippery slope to oblivion.

    Mr Darling's efforts today are simply the stupidest thing I have ever experienced. The 'poor' and middle income earners are still short of £112 per annum, whilst those who pay 40% are now worse off by £240 per annum. AND it's only for this year. So how can Mr Darling claim he has solved the problem - see, blatent lies again! And as for Frank Field ... I thought he was made of sterner stuff - now he has apologised and gone quiet. I guess he was at the receiving end of a GB 'rage' today and has caved in too.

    Either way until the current government finally accepts and faces up to what everyone is saying and thinking, then we are all lost and all losers too. Why in heavens name would any of us want them around for another 2 years? No thank you - please go now and let someone else try and get things right for a change. 11 years is enough - we only needed 6 years for World War 2 and 6 weeks for The Falklands. So if after all this time you have failed so dreadully - why continue and make matters only worse?

    And if I hear another Labour politician blame the current situation on the Tories way back in 1997 - 11 years ago - I shall scream!

  • Comment number 63.

    Is there anyone out there who loathes the GB cowtowing Hazel Blears with her puppy like defence of the steadfast and nice man who is her boss any more than I do?? I very much doubt it! The woman makes me squirm with her constant blame deflecting attacks on David Cameron, almost as bad as the tactics employed by Piers Morgan.

  • Comment number 64.


    Glad to note Darling and Brown have taken note of your bloggers past comments had suggested this action to increase the alowance. They could have not come up with such a simple solution without your bloggers help.

    However the british public are not taken in until money is in the walet was only when it was taken out in the April pay packet all this happened , September is a long time away .Crewe and Nantwich 7days

    The big issue that is looming is inflation on Basics, Petrol 30% Basic Food 13% Energy 15% wages 3% etc etc can't see Brown, Darling and Balls escaping this one, or any of us.

  • Comment number 65.

    Last weekend Mr Brown said his Government was full of good ideas, and this week he would be announcing what they are.

    If he has good ideas, why has he been keeping them and using tired ones?

    We are still waiting...

  • Comment number 66.

    I think we all know that the labour government has more to answer for than the 10p tax. If their problem was just that then they probably could have got away with by doing nothing and restoring the previous tax bands. Now they are borrowing money on our behalf to shore up their own shoody reputation. That will go down just as well as as the initial error.

  • Comment number 67.

    So now G. Brown and cohorts are indulging in a little sub-prime mortgaging of the family silver, are they ?? £2.7 billion to be paid for on the never-never !! And they had the cheek to lecture banks about their reckless borrowings !!

    Talk about gross hypocrisy !!

    The only way they can get the money to pay for this borrowing is to raise taxes on the essentials like food, fuel, etc. and therefore further hurting the very people that they said they were helping !!

    Hooray for the Ministry of Truth - we will TELL you what to THINK !!

  • Comment number 68.

    #11... The 10p tax rate abolition was done to wrong foot the tories, it created a massive political backlash against labour and destroyed their record (what little there is) on economic competance.

    Now they're BORROWING billions in order to cover up their ineptitude, in order to try and wrong foot the tories AGAIN to win a by election.

    You couldn't make up the mind numbing stupidity of this entire fiasco.

    No need to make it up, just remember who is "privately advising" our gloriuos leader!!

  • Comment number 69.

    "So now G. Brown and cohorts are indulging in a little sub-prime mortgaging of the family silver, are they ?? ?2.7 billion to be paid for on the never-never !! And they had the cheek to lecture banks about their reckless borrowings !!
    Talk about gross hypocrisy"

    I have news for you. All the family silver has gone, squandered without check on supposedly delivering targets which have not been met!!! As a a country we are now massively in debt. So much for the best Chancellor this country ever had!

  • Comment number 70.

    The greatest act of gerrymandering in the history of UK politics. I don't ever want to here Labour accusing the Tories of unfunded tax cuts again!

  • Comment number 71.

    I think a good many on here need to take a reality check and listen to world news in more detail.
    This morning I listened carefully to what was happening in Spain regarding unemployment, housing, negative equity etc.
    I bet the Spaniards wished they lived here.
    Pay attention to what is happening around the globe and believe me one will be glad we have a PM and Chancellor who are handling this their way.
    Spain is an example of salesman Cameron's way.
    Look into it and ask yourselves if you want to follow Spain and a good many other Countries in the EU.
    All Cameron and Osborne can offer is a character assassination of GB nothing else.
    Grow up, stop feeling sorry for yourselves people are going to wisen up to salesman Dave in fact they have even named a TV Channel after him he makes the same ammount of repeats.
    How many U-Turs has Sunshine Dave made in the last 2 years?
    When was his ramblings EVER scrutinised by the Press or Media:
    Answer NEVER!!!

  • Comment number 72.

    Remember when Cameron got his first big surge in the polls? Wasn't it when he mentioned - cutting taxes?

    What was the lever used to get rid of Maggie? - taxes!

    What proved the main issue in the downfall of Charles I (to go back no further)? - taxes!

    What has got the present shower struggling? Not Iraq, not civil liberties - taxes!

    Might there be just a LITTLE lessonette or two to be learned here? Such as: any increase in taxation being potentially toxic and needing very, very ample justification? Such as: (genuine) tax cuts being a no-brain winner?

    Is it such a surprise that people like to have the spending of their own money?

  • Comment number 73.

    I see this 120 pounds extra a week I am getting is little more than a bribe.

    Reminds me of the other shameful bribe stunt before the last election - when brown gave pensioners a council tax payment but neglected to say it was a one off payment.

    Brown you can give my 120 pounds to the poor, instead of attempting to buy your way out of your own mess with borrowed money.

    This is borrowed money make no mistake about it - we will all have to pay back in increased taxes somehow.

    Fields your knee jerk reactions are getting tired stand up for the poor - this is second time in last couple months you backed down before thinking of the implications.

    My friend who earns below 18k and was 5 pound a week worse off, and now he is only 3 pounds a week worse off - he says thanks for nothing.

  • Comment number 74.

    #71 - Kiwilegs.

    Reality check? And you are suggesting that Goon McBroon and his puppet Chancellor have done well for our economy? I will have a pint of whatever you are drinking!

    We are now taxed more than ever.
    Inflation is about to go out of control (forget the 3% figure, real inflation is much higher).
    Energy and fuel prices are rocketing - in the main so that energy companies can continue to pass on large dividends to shareholders - something the Government's energy Regulator is supposed to control.
    The Service industry - the mainstay of this country's economy - is in decline, thanks in part to the Banks' greed and incompetence, but fuelled by the Government's lack of governance through the FSA and, in no small measure, to Goon's cock-up with non-doms, Capital Gains Tax and Corporation Tax.
    Crime is up - Labour can manipulate the statistics as much as they like, but everyone knows the truth and everyone feels less safe on the streets.
    Government borrowing is out of countrol (even the paltry 2.7 billion for Broon's latest u-turn has had to be borrowed) and the vast amount that has been borrowed has been hidden under the guise of PFIs.
    The UK is still embroiled in an illegal war in Iraq and a legal war in Afghanistan - neither of which we can afford and both of which see no end.

    This Government is bankrupt - financially and morally - and they just do not care. In the words of Ed Balls, "So What?".

    As long as they have their majority they will keep screwing things up and continue milking the gravy train to their own personal benefit, whilst the rest of us suffer.

  • Comment number 75.

    It will be interesting to see whether this announcement is enough to save the day in Crewe. My suspicion is that voters just loathe Brown - for financial mismanagement, for incompetence, for not doing anything about Iraq - and think he's a weirdo who doesn't have a clue how normal voters think and feel (what _is_ that thing he does with his jaw, like Droopy chewing on a turd?).

    If I'm right and Labour do still lose Crewe, what then? Will Brown then accept that the May 1st local council elections and the Crewe by-election represent a rejection of Brown, not a simple admonishment? If that happens, how long could Brown hang on? Not long, in my view...

  • Comment number 76.

    inane stupidity from a government devoid of ideas and forward planning!

    how can the tories give policy detail when they dont have access to the country's books?
    the tories are not in power, they are there as the opposition to pull the government up when they make mistakes, and boy are they making some whoppers!

    it is worrying when people posting to a forum or comment can actually add up a tax change correctly and point at the failed calculations of a chancellor...
    this money has to be paid back, this money is a one off, we will still see 5.4 million people worse off next year when the measures are reversed, its borrowing to put off financial hardship for a year, nothing more.

    if it wasnt going to take years to sort labour's financial mess out, it would be funny!

  • Comment number 77.

    youngerap #74

    I think you really need to check reality lets take this bit by bit.
    Inflation has been measured the same way for the past 10 years
    Energy and fule prices are up throughout the world.
    Even Cameron thinks the banks should be left to the free market so what's your gripe?
    Besides the Government cannot control them unless the Nationalise them. Is this what Cam would do?
    Crime is also up across the world.
    But your going to tell me Cameron can stop it at a stroke no doubt.
    Government borrowing is high but not out of control what do you wish to see a reccession with 4 million unemployed as under the Tories ?
    The war in Iraq was out to a vote in Parliament thus it is not illegal, wrong definately but not illegal. Yoyr friend Dave the rave also voted for it.
    Afghanistan is NATO led do you wish us to leave NATO?
    Ed Balls dod not say "So what" it is Davey who needs his lugs washing out.
    As for suffering I do not think you know the meaning of the word ask those who were made unemployed in the 90's.
    Last but not least you have a full answer now tell me what is Davey Boys answer to it all.
    I look forward to you explanation in full.
    What is Cameron's policies to change things and I have heard the guff he is not telling them until just prior to an election.
    The guy is now believing his own propogands.
    I suggest you read Heffer in the Telegraph, a real Tory this morning.
    See if he can furnish you with some answers.

  • Comment number 78.

    I think it's pretty clear now that 'Kiwilegs' is just a ruder, brasher version of Charles Hertwidge
    I'll reply one at a time...

    1. Inflation has NOT been measured the same way for 10 years

  • Comment number 79.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 80.

    They've lost my vote forever whilst ID Cards are on the agenda.

    There'll be NO coming back from that

  • Comment number 81.


    Tell you what... after 11 years of this government why don't we give the other lot a go and see if they can do any better?

    No matter how rose tinted your glasses may be the Tories can surely not be any worse.

    Oh and by the way I suspect the #74 was talking about Iraq not Afghanistan.

    As I recall, Tony didn't have any concrete policies either until just before the election, just a lot of hot air. So technically they are pretty similar in that respect.

    If you are going to argue with others why don't you try and match point for point, rather than cherry picking the answers that suit your argument.

  • Comment number 82.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 83.

    I would like kiwilegs and David Cameron to engage in a live debate. Any guesses as to who would come out on top? Gordon Brown's poodle or the new man on the block?
    The same arguments are being used against DC as they were against BJ and look what happened there!

  • Comment number 84.

    Surreyexiletyke wrote.

    "Maybe you should have waited a while so that this more considered post would not have been sullied by your silly pro-Gordon Brown cheerleading earlier?.."

    Jaydkay wrote.
    "Nick, nice to see you responding so quickly with more balanced reporting than your last Blog."

    MegaPolitikajunkie wrote
    "A much more measured post than earlier Nick. The Westminster Bubble effect perhaps?"

    I see the BBC emailers have Nick Robinson well trained. A quick tap on the nose for being biased towards labour then a pat on the head and a choccy drop for being a good boy for being obedient and writing a more 'balanced' blog favouring the tories.

    The license fee is a Flat tax payed by every class. I think we deserve more than a Labradoodle to the middle class.

  • Comment number 85.

    On the main HYS forum a poster said she would scream if yet another Labour Minister or supporter alluded back to what happened when The Conservatives were in power in order to justify themselves. It's just happened again so here goes 'wwwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 86.

    #77 Kiwilegs.

    Lord, I hope there are not too many people around with your staggering lack of knowledge. I am probably wrong, though.

    Let's knock the Tory policy issue on the head first. No-one could expect Cameron (who is not my favourite person by a long chalk, by the way) to declare major policies before a General Election is announced. Firstly, it would allow for policy theft by Labour (who have already shown how adept they are at that, if not at the implementation of those policies). Secondly, Policy presentation is always more effective just before an election. So, it is not necessarily true that the Tories have no policies, just that they choose the timing of their release. And why should that be now, when Labour are so patently self-destructing?

    Secondly, the Banks. They are already part of a regulated industry. It used to be the responsibility of the BoE to monitor banks and ensure that they did not take business risks that could not be covered by their capitalisation. That responsibility was taken from the BoE by Goon and passed onto his political body, the FSA. They failed to monitor banks in the way that the BoE did, and the Banks took advantage of this by indulging in high-risk profit ventures (including the trading of packaged debts which became source of the sub-prime issue) which has ultimately hit the banks hard and led to the current credit crunch. The fact that some banks were hardly touched by sub-prime (Goldman Sachs, BNP Parabas, for example - both of whom were sufficiently canny to recognise the risks of trading in packaged debts and either stay away from it or get out early) shows that the credit crunch was not an inevitable results of some global factor. It was caused by poor decisions which could have have been avoided with good governance.

    I am astonished that you would present an argument that increased crime in the UK is inevitable because crime is generally up worldwide. That is just Labour code for "we have failed to do something about it".

    I am getting bored now, so will speed up a bit.

    The Iraq war? Even Goldsmith, as Attorney General, advised Bliar that the war would be illegal, but he was 'encouraged' to change his mind. As for Parliament voting, what were they supposed to do when told that the 'enemy' had weapons of mass destruction that could be unleashed on the UK within 45 minutes? Not Bliars proudest moment, I would have thought?

    Ed Balls did say 'So what'.

    An that is all I have to say on that subject.

  • Comment number 87.

    86# yougerrap.

    You beggar belief.
    Do you also eat all you see?
    You will swallow anything.

  • Comment number 88.

    #87 Kiwilegs

    Just say it as I see it, without being prejudiced by fanatical Party loyalty.

    Backed by nearly 50 years of education and experience, of course.

    I am old enough to have lived through the worst and best times of modern politics.

    After Goon McBroon threw away the surplusses in the first three years after the last Tory government, the writing was on the wall I am afraid. His running of the economy has been lies, half-truths, smoke and mirrors ever since, culminating in the disasterous, debt-ridden, economic situation we are now in.

    Sadly, the remainder of the political process (Foreign Affairs, Education, NHS, Home Office, MOD, etc.) are in equally poor shape through mis-management. Even if the Government had the wit to see what has to be done (of which there is no evidence - just revamped 'policies' as garbled by Brown today), the funds are simply not there to put it right.

    Brown and his cronies have betrayed the trust of the British people and it is time for a change.

  • Comment number 89.

    Yougerap 88#
    I can beat that at past 70 and whatsmore if the Tories did not kick you hard enough the first time, the next time could be worse.
    I would never say that all in the garden is rosy, however I look at the alternative and shudder remembering the past.
    I do not share your gloomy outlook, read carefully what is happening in Spain and all other Countries in the EU not to mention the USA they are in worse shape.
    You do not need me to remind you that the Tories will look after their own with their tax-cuts.
    Can you honestly stand with hand on heart and say you believe Cameron-say anything do anything get elected at any price.
    He after all was the author of the last Tory election manifesto.
    How many of those policies has he turned on their head?
    I can be persuaded by a good argument to alter my mind on a few things but not those that Cameron abandoned to wil power at the rate of knots.
    I hope you have a re-think, better the devil onbe knows than one we do not.
    The man is an out and out snake oil salesman and I am surprised he fools you.

  • Comment number 90.

    Kiwilegs @ #77 - you need your head examining. Your "oh come on, he's not that bad" arguments are at one level delusional (crime, inflation) and at another level a tragic endorsement of the notion that we should all settle for the "least bad" leadership (again, if you think that's Brown, then this one probably falls in to the delusional camp as well).

    Cameron has real potential, in much the same way as Blair did all those years ago. Needs to reshuffle his front bench though - Osbourne will not be heavyweight enough come election time.

  • Comment number 91.

    #89 Kiwilegs

    I will cross the Tory / Cameron bridge when I come to it, which will be at the next election. Then we will all have anopportunity to decide for ourselves whether there is any substance to their policies.

    In the meantime, we have the hard evidence of Brown and Labour's failure of the last ten years. These failures cannot be hidden or ridiculed as the product of 'snake oil' - they are real, we have all witnessed them and we all suffer from their being.

    It is also obvious that the country is entering stagnation at best or, more likley, recession. And, unlike many of those countries you mention - such as the US and most (West) European countries, we do not have the fiscal reserves to spend as a buffer against the downturn. We should have, given the world economy for the ten years following 1997. Instead, the Government has borrowed to the hilt to finance public spending and the only option now is to cut that spending - witness that Brown is currently refusing to authorise the start of the £14 Billion expenditure for the London CrossRail Project. This is a project that has received Parliamentary approval and is just waiting his approval to go. He knows the money is not there for it and the risk is very high. Also, his reasons for not paying the Police force their salary increase in one go this year.

    As I say, the current issue is not whether I trust Cameron, but how can I trust Brown and his cronies. I cannot do so and I want a change.

    That is my final thought on this thread.

    Thanks for the debate and goodbye.

  • Comment number 92.

    Colin do you really find it neccessary to be so rude and insulting to question a person's sanity.
    Because you do not agree with my politics does not make me insane.
    I will debate with you when you remember your manners.
    I will more than hold my own with you on a point to point basis.
    Only if done in a civilised manner,other than that foget it and stay with the Nasty party.

  • Comment number 93.

    Sorry to see you go off so soon, you were at leat polite.
    As a parting shot, yes we all know that the cash has gone and been spent.
    But I ask you do you wish to have money in the bank and walk around with your backside hanging out of your trousers.
    Or would you not rather spend the money on some desperately needed services.
    Brown spent this money trying to repair the mayhem the Tories left the Hositals and schools in just to mention 2 things.
    You know as well as I do the whole Country was in a damn awful mess, you hardly need me to remind you of that.

  • Comment number 94.


    Before you get on your high horse and accuse someone of being rude, claiming the moral high ground because of the civility of your debate, here is your post #87 in full:

    " 86# yougerrap.

    You beggar belief.
    Do you also eat all you see?
    You will swallow anything"

    Is that what you call civilised?

  • Comment number 95.

    If yongerap feels my remarks were offensive then I apologise most profusely they were not meant to be.
    That is an ancient old saying which yougerap will be most familiar with.
    However I do think questioning a persons sanity is thoroughly bad manners.
    Biut then perhaps your idea of manners and mine are at odds with each other.

  • Comment number 96.

    Kiwilegs @ #92

    "You beggar belief"

    "You need your head exmining"

    Much the same meaning intended methinks. I'm not going to tiptoe around you in the same way that you have chosen not to tiptoe around others in multiple posts in this and other threads.

    I think you are clinging on to a naive, blinkered and unsound viewpoint based on a selective interpretation of various "facts". Gordon's Brown's wholesale destruction of this country's economy borders on the criminal. You're right on one thing though. it could be worse - Ed Balls could be in charge.

    The nasty party? Try telling that to the 1.1m still betrayed by your beloved Gordon.

  • Comment number 97.

    # 91 youngerrap You think labour have left this country devoid of cash, I suspect your to young to have the answers but maybe Grawth has can you or he tell what happened to the money that the Tories had when they sold the Gas Electricity Water Steel industries they even sold the north sea oil and gas, I at that time wasn't aware of any great rise in our standard of living or of any money being spent on schools hospitals more nurses or policemen so as I say what happened to the cash, it didn't go to help the poorer people of this country although they were being thrown out of work by the closure of the mines steelworks and much of the motor industry the Tories left this country devoid of anything to sell and at the same time we had to put up with 15 to 18 percent interest rates 10 per cent inflation, thousands of businesses going under and thousands of people being thrown out of their home because of the high interest rates, millions out of work and a massive crime rate, so I guess things were not so good were they?

  • Comment number 98.


    Sorry I would certainly not agree with your definition on the same meaning, far from it. To question a persons sanity is most insulting.
    I had the backbone to apologise to a person via a person I had not insulted, do you find it so hard to do the same?
    I tiptoe around nothing, what I write is exactly what I mean.
    Please refrain from contacting me until you are either man enough to apologise or do not find it neccessary to have a third person to do the spadework for you.

  • Comment number 99.

    Kiwilegs, it is not the definition that is in question, it is the intention of the statement. Both of which are the same. Don't get on your high horse based on an semantic argument.

    I've got nothing to apologise to you for, and I don't need anyone to fight my battles for me. You are confusing that with the reality of post #94, which is simply another person challenging you over a dubious statement you have made on a previous post.

  • Comment number 100.

    #98 Kiwilegs if you hope to get a apology from a Tory you'll have a long wait, I am sure that you know that if you find a Tory out in a lie they close ranks and defend the party to the death whether right or wrong there is in their eyes no tory that makes a mistake according to them, they were tought that at Eton and it sticks with them for life. On the other hand you have the labour party who unfortunately in some cases dont defend the party as they should, the sole reason being that they have a concience and unlike the tories they live by it, it's not always a good idea and perhaps its something that some MPs could learn from the Tories, a little party loyalty would'nt go amiss but only a little, it's better to get most of the things that you want for the working class than to get nothing if you let the tories back in


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