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Ouch!

Nick Robinson | 16:12 UK time, Wednesday, 9 December 2009

• Taxes up
• Spending slashed
• Pay rises limited or frozen

PBRThis was a package of measures that no occupant of Number 11 would want to unveil. As I noted earlier, Alistair Darling unveiled it in the low-key, no-nonsense, business-like manner of an undertaker striving not to add to an already distressing and painful experience.

The chancellor will hope that the markets and the electorate will regard this as a serious man doing the serious work of cutting the nation's budget deficit.

He insists that he is doing what is necessary to maintain spending now on government programmes designed to limit unemployment, home repossessions and business insolvencies.

He argues that it is only this way that cuts can be avoided to front-line services and to increase pensions and benefits.

But - still the politician - Alistair Darling promised gains now and pain later - after the election, to be precise.

What's more, much more pain remains hidden deep inside his budget calculations - which imply huge cuts in many government departments.

The chancellor's message to the electorate is: "if you don't like the sound of this, imagine what it would be like if the Conservatives got into power and cut the deficit faster and deeper."

The economic test of this Budget - for that's what it really was - will be whether the world's markets think enough's been done to tackle the deficit.

The political test will be whether it takes pressure off ministers to say what they'd do and increases it on their opponents to say how they could do more.

That, though, may only count if voters can be convinced that it could be a lot worse, instead of asking: how on earth did we end up in this mess?

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

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

  • Comment number 2.

    Mr Robinson - I despair ! Talk about lackey ! Alistair's biggest fan - what will you do when the people sweep him and useless Gordon into the gutter where they belong !

  • Comment number 3.

    A serious person????? - u MUST be avin a larf. Only serious NOW after all the mess and damage done - and what does he PROPOSE doing to reduce the debt - a paltry tax on a few bankers bonuses - PATHETIC stuff from a pathetic member of a pathetic and unpatriotic Govt.

  • Comment number 4.

    As long as they were able to provide reasonable looking projections which quite honestly anyone with a computer programme could have done better the market just looks on apathetically knowing they will all be revised after the election anyway.

    We waited long enough for this statement knowing all along everything was going to be kicked into the long grass on a wing and a prayer.

    The true state of the country will not be known until this lot are kicked out and what will be found will certainly not be better than has already been disclosed.

    We should wonder if they have clung on to power as long as this because they are afraid of what may be discovered after they've gone.

    Lets hope inflation stops at 3% or everyone is going to feel a lot more pain than they supposed.

  • Comment number 5.

    Wonderfool stuff! if you can get it

  • Comment number 6.

    No mention of bringing capital projects forward in Scotland, or across the rest of the UK for that matter they won't even prop up the economy in their traditional voter heartlands. Seems they are about to lose the UK to the Tories and Scotland to the SNP. Roll on the election......

  • Comment number 7.

    HOW does this public service employee get away with such one sided biased reporting???? watch out in 2010 folks at Bias Corp - a lot of u could be looking for jobs and none of the ZanuLiebour people will help u then.

  • Comment number 8.

    I am a self employed working Joe, husband and father of three, and here is a memory from some years ago.

    One Christmas Eve in the early 1990’s my last job of the year was to check the condition of a recently repossessed terraced property.

    On entering I noted that the large items of furniture were still there, sofa, wardrobes, beds, freezer etc, but personal possessions and easily portable items had been removed.

    Last on the list was a check of the roof space area and water tanks.
    In the middle of the roof space was a pile of ‘things’ covered by a blanket.
    I lifted the blanket to reveal the kid’s Christmas presents.

    Whoever had been repossessed had presumably ignored, or not realised the gravity of the situation, and had to leave in a hurry. I knocked on other doors in the street in an attempt to find out where the previous owners had gone, …… no one knew.

    I have seen the consequence of irresponsible financial lending.

    I have seen anxious children’s eyes, unable to understand why their security is about to vanish and the meaning of the word destitution.

    I have seen the usual residue of family life scattered across a terraced house floor and pictures of sporting hero’s and school achievements, still pinned to a child’s bedroom wall.

    So consider this:

    The banks have taken Government money to survive.

    The Government increases tax and cuts public sector jobs to pay for this.

    The extra tax and/or loss of your job means you can no longer keep up with your mortgage payments.

    The bank in receipt of the government money then repossesses your house.


    Now I reckon it wouldn’t make a jot of difference which political party was, or will be in power. There will be increased taxes and public sector job losses.

    But before the average working Mr & Mrs & kids lose their homes, think on this.

    If what has gone before to get to this point is unreasonable, then it absolutely must be stopped from occurring in the future. Or all that sacrifice being made by the average working Joe & Jane will have been for nothing.


  • Comment number 9.

    Nick,
    Once again we see a Chancellor in trouble trying to convince the electorate that everything is OK.
    I watched the speech on the BBC this lunch time (by the way did you manage to read the publication you snatched from that Treasury spokesman sat next to you)?
    There is only one universal truth about any budget speech (next to "death and taxes") and it is this:
    "What the government giveth....the government taketh away (x2)".
    So now we prepare ourselves for a winter of discontent....which will make the last ice-age look like a picnic!

  • Comment number 10.

    I think this is the most praising account of the budget that I've heard so far. The measures he's taken so far won't be far enough as has been pointed out on numerous occasions on this board. Still not long now till an election

  • Comment number 11.

    When will we get a competant economist or even a fiscal finance expert as Chancellor? for neither Gordon nor Alistair come even close to either skills. Surely we must have some in the Treasury? What is happening to their advice? It cannot be this tripe surely? George also fails this aptitude test so it is a good thing ole Ken is there to guide him!

    Anyway, keep up the loyal and true work Nick, for as I suggested in a post many many moons ago under an alterego, the knighthood has to be in Gordon's farewell honours list, plus those rewards in the BBC which are reserved for the favoured few.

    And richly deserved.

  • Comment number 12.

    Blimey Nick, did you throw your underwear at him ?????

  • Comment number 13.

    And so the rather unseemly game of clinging desperately and dishonestly onto power continues. Twelve years 'hard labour' has left the ship of state with a huge gaping hole in its hull, water pouring in at an alarming rate and the ever-dour Gordon conducting his motley band astern with ever-less than inspiring tunes as we sink ever-faster beneath the waves. And there's Alistair, poor little dispensable Alistair, down below the water-line trying in vain to plug a gap the size of a repossessed house with a role of fiscal sellotape. The sooner this ship is towed into port and the crew unceremoniously made to walk the plank the better.

  • Comment number 14.

    One thing that surprises me about all this (job losses and tax rises) is that politicians and even journalists, seem to take it as read that it's just hard lines for the average working person.

    It seems that only those who post blogs have any thought for the average working Joe or Jane who are about to get hit.

  • Comment number 15.

    "Alistair Darling unveiled it in the low-key, no-nonsense, business-like manner of an undertaker striving not to add to an already distressing and painful experience."

    I fear for you Nick. When this country finally rids itself of Labour in 5 Months time how will you console yourself? You'll have waisted journalistic months maybe years championing the current incumbents to find them removed accordingly. With egg on your face and an inability to perform non-biased reporting, what are you going to do?

    Throughout all the issues and incidents McBroon has endured you've consistently declined to really question his governance hard. Your tipple seems instead to indulge yourself on the oppositions troubles, picking at the details whenever possible.

    Will you continue this style upon a change in power? My guess is my posterior will you. You'll be after the Tories like a ferret down a rabbit hole.

  • Comment number 16.

    Nick asks how on earth did we end up in this mess?

    A handful of commentators, notably financial journalist Dan Akinson via his book Fantasy Island, saw it for what it truly was - an illusion of prosperity in a dangerously undiversified economy, that was too heavily weighted towards the so-called financial services.

    With the benefit of handsight, it is already becoming apparent that Gordon Browns tenure at No. 11 did significant and lasting damage to our economy and Darling has, rather like Humpty Dumpty, been left to pick up the pieces.

    It looks as though the Tories will be putting Humpty back together again but Darling is right that they have made some bad calls during this banking crisis, so that does not augur particularly well for our poor old England.

    Especially if the ratings agencies decide to downgrade us from AAA.

    Oh well, as we're all apparently tucking lots of cash under the bed, sleep well.

  • Comment number 17.

  • Comment number 18.

    People in this country have such shor memories and forget what the deficit has been spent on. Picture 1997 and long waiting lists, large class sizes and a government full of sleaze merchants. We avoided a recession in 2000/2001, when much of the world suffered. George Osbourne spouts on about the recession in the UK being longer than the rest of the world but doesnt mention the negative growth anounced by the ONS in October will be adjusted to show there was no contraction at all because the manufacturing contraction was in fact growth by about 2%. The fcat is that without the investment into our banking sytem, then many banks would have fallen, as would many busuinesses and therefore alot of money held in deposit accounts lost. Darling has announced some sensible rises in NI and the cut in Tax Relief will also help claw back a small ammount. Getting people back to work has to be a priority of which the government has commited to. The measures untertaken has saved many businesses and jobs and housing reposessions are nothing like those of the last tory managed recession. There will be tax rises and there will be spending cuts, there will also have to be asset sales to help reduce national debt but I would rather Labour manage these cuts because I trust in them to support much needed public services rather than leave them ravaged by Osbourne and Cameron.

  • Comment number 19.

    Re "So now we prepare ourselves for a winter of discontent....which will make the last ice-age look like a picnic!"
    ***************
    The winter of discontent will be the one after the election. The unions will not make the mistake of doing this before the election.

  • Comment number 20.

    How on earth did we land up in this mess? Because Brown had a Faustian pact with the City. He turned a blind eye to the worst excesses of capitalism in the City in return for the taxes that were then generated to pay for his worst excesses of socialism.

  • Comment number 21.

    epochery @ 18

    You trust them {Labour} to support much needed public services.

    Today it is reported that the Labour Government has just pulled the plug on a failed NHS IT system, wasting some £30,000,000,000 (that is £30 billion pounds).

    I would suggest that this is public service support that we can easily do without (not that I expect any incoming Tory administration to be any better).

  • Comment number 22.

    epochery@18

    "There will be tax rises and there will be spending cuts, there will also have to be asset sales to help reduce national debt but I would rather Labour manage these cuts because I trust in them"

    Like we trusted Brown with the gold reserves! That went very well for us all didn't it, oh no wait a minute, my mistake, he ballsed that one up as well.

    And his pensions raid,to name but two.

    You need to rethink who you give your trust to.

  • Comment number 23.

    Just how green are electric cars ? They have to be plugged into a power point and charged up using a massive amount of electricity - this has to be produced somewhere. Even when charged, they have to carry around a collosal weight of batteries. These also take a lot of energy and resource to manufacture. As an engineers, and I know many other engineers who agree - this is simply not the way forward, for so mnay basic reasons.

    Why, oh why, is this Government spending tax payers money on such a 'green' scam.

    As for the boiler scrappage scheme - just how green is any kind of scrappage. Did we learn nothing from the recent car scrappage scheme. Canvelling Heathrows new runnway would be more logical if we are truly concerned about CO2.

    Are both of these schemes simply diversion tactics for the poorly educated masses, so that we don't start to think about the collosal debt this Government has managed to accumulate and all those future liabilities that they have heaped on the shoulders of the working minority.

    Increasing benefits for the disabled and pensioners - I have family who are both pensioners and disabled and are very well off already. My disabled neighbour gets a new disability car every three years (currently a nice convertible) and yet does BMX biking. How much more can the average tax payer take before they lose the motivation to provide ? I think this is the biggest risk to the UK at the moment.

    I think that using tax payers money to fund projects that win votes is pretty much what got us into this mess and it seems that maybe this is the big flaw in democracy.

  • Comment number 24.

    18 "there will also have to be asset sales to help reduce national debt but I would rather Labour manage these cuts because I trust in them"

    Like Brown's brilliant timing of selling of 400 tons of gold reserves at a 30 year low in price (against advice) and after announcing the sale beforehand (against advice). Gold has only gone up from around $290oz to over $1,000oz since then so it has only cost around £2.5 billion.

    Brilliant guy that Brown, not many others could have done that.

    If you trust Brown, could I interest you in some beans? They're magic, honest.

  • Comment number 25.

    "Alistair Darling unveiled it in the low-key, no-nonsense, business-like manner of an undertaker..."

    Considering the state of the UK's economy, courtesy of Brown and Darling, how very apt!

    I wonder who's going to be at the funeral?

  • Comment number 26.

    Better than I thought it would be.

    I was right though, they still believe in the fantasy golden growth over the next few years, that can in no way be as good as they think it is, but it helped them to dress up the pigs breakfast they have made of the economy.

    Very surprised about NI though, I thought they would want people to employ others.

    For me personally, no help whatsoever and puts back my plans to recruit for the foreseeable future. It will be the same for others, where's the incentive to recruit?

  • Comment number 27.

    This sort of political budgetting is not going to solve the problem and neither is the Conservatives' version of the same.

    This country needs radical change that moves the economic emphasis to manufacturing and away from the risky financial sector where people are bonussed for betting the farm.

    Also government must become not just smaller but tiny. Public services are not the remit for central government but the responsibility for local communities. All that we have at the moment is big government using the public services as a fig-leaf behind which it keeps on taxing and wasting big-time.

    Unless we begin to accept the need for the radical change which is necessary in order to gradually improve matters we can expect the prevailing nonsense to continue for years. Muddling through with the usual vested interests still in charge is just not an option.

  • Comment number 28.

    Nick

    "business-like manner of an undertaker".

    Exactly right. And the body was the British economy. Which is what Labour always end up doing. Roll on May, and let us give the last rights to Brown and his motley crew. Except that like you I have a sneaking regard for Alastair, who who could be cast in the role of the victim except that doubtful accolade has already gone - to us.

    Major Major.

  • Comment number 29.

    How on earth did we end up in this mess? Quite! The people who got us into this mess are not the ones to dig us out. Good luck Cameron!

  • Comment number 30.

    The truly awful fact to emerge from this PBR is the statement that no spending review will take place until after a general election. They want to be re-elected without even saying how they would go about fixing the mess they created?

    That’s ridiculous in itself but the flip side is that they are actually saying that they will sit and do nothing through abojut 18 months of crisis while the overspending continues – sacrificing their country’s economy to try to safeguard their political careers. Fiddling while Britain burns. For shame.

    How is it that this goes unnoticed in the political/economic blogs?

  • Comment number 31.

    Dear Nick

    Balanced reporting is always appreciated.

    You say:

    The political test will be whether it takes pressure off ministers to say what they'd do and increases it on their opponents to say how they could do more.

    That, though, may only count if voters can be convinced that it could be a lot worse, instead of asking: how on earth did we end up in this mess?


    Why 'instead'? Surely, the reason we are in this mess was a lack of prudence on the part of bankers. Our Labour leaders appear to have learned the lessons of being too trusting of bankers pdq. Their search for a new global framework for regulation, and possibly taxation (Tobin) together with leading the way out of recession by spending rather than cutting appears to be working.

    By the time the election comes the question is whether there will be an audible sense of relief that Labour took this course. That will depend on whether we can have an informed public debate about who was responsible, and how much worse the recession would have been if the Tories had been in power.

    Peter Kenyon

    http://petergkenyon.typepad.com/peterkenyon/2009/12/can-labour-maintain-the-poll-squeeze-thru-pmqs-and-the-pbr.html

  • Comment number 32.

    Treachery by the Government and their propaganda arm the BBBC.

    Shame on you!

  • Comment number 33.

    18. At 5:11pm on 09 Dec 2009, epochery

    If you really believe what you wrote there, then you I just KNOW you are a very good candidate for wanting to invest in my winter downhill skiing centre. Guaranteed to get your money back by next May 6th.

    Oh, did I not mention it was in central Florida?

  • Comment number 34.

    Gordon's slight of hand was all over that statement.

    Like when is a pay freeze not a pay freeze?

    Only when public sector workers are given a 1% pay increase over two years and told they will have to pay an extra 1% into their pension scheme. A bit like the 0% growth fiasco from Brown.

    They were better off under the tories scheme at least those earning less than £20000 weren't to have their pay frozen.

  • Comment number 35.

    Ouch?

    I was unable to watch the speach but did Alistair give himself a paper cut when reading it?

    And Nick have a chat with Peston and at least agree a line will you, Peston seems to think it's a nothing speach but you think it's an ouch?

    I think on this one I am with Peston. Pathetic fiddling at the edges and ducking the issues, what is he waiting for, the IMF?

  • Comment number 36.

    John Constable,5:24. A £bn is a million million 10,000,000,000,000. !

  • Comment number 37.

    Nick, did you really throw your knickers at Darling????

  • Comment number 38.

    36. At 6:06pm on 09 Dec 2009, vintage1931 wrote:
    John Constable,5:24. A £bn is a million million 10,000,000,000,000. !

    Used to be. That's the UK version. The common acceptance now is the US version which is 'only' 1,000 million. If that term is used by our politicians, it's teh US version they mean.

  • Comment number 39.

    Come on Nick, did you hear a speech that nobody else in the Country heard?
    I wouldn't be suprised to see the text of your blog on No. 10 headed notepaper.

  • Comment number 40.

    From Nick @*0* 'The chancellor will hope that the markets and the electorate will regard this as a serious man doing the serious work of cutting the nation's budget deficit.'

    *********************************

    Party politicing is not a 'serious' way of dealing with this Country's problems.

    No-one will believe Darling - or Osborne for that matter - until the facts are faced and voiced.

    The Public sector is grossly overstaffed by non-jobbers. Their numbers will have to be cut. e.g There are on average five administrators for every hospital bed in the NHS.
    Jobs such as 'Street football co-ordinator' have to be justified as being essential personnel, without whom the system cannot run.
    Stop target setting. Get rid of the 'box tickers' and let staff do the job they're paid to based on their experience and knowledge, not on providing some meaningless figure for a Minister to quote.
    Quangos must be slashed, not just trimmed back.
    Ambitous IT systems that don't work must be scrapped.
    Trident is completely un-necessary. It is purely for posing as a 'World leader'
    The true costs of PFI projects must be made known together with details on how they are going to be paid for. The cloak of 'commercial confidentialty' must be ripped away.

    The list could go on and on.

    Until Party leaders and their Ministers get real and accept that we, the public are grown-ups who don't mind being told the truth, I will not accept any politician as 'serious'.

  • Comment number 41.

    21. At 5:24pm on 09 Dec 2009, JohnConstable wrote:
    epochery @ 18

    You trust them {Labour} to support much needed public services.

    Today it is reported that the Labour Government has just pulled the plug on a failed NHS IT system, wasting some £30,000,000,000 (that is £30 billion pounds).

    ===========================================================

    Sorry JohnConstable - I do not want anyone to think that I would support this tired labour government. However, in the interest of fairness, they are taking £600m out of a £12.1Bn budget of which they have spent about £4.5Bn.

    However they could get rid of all the management IT consultants and would save a significant amount.

  • Comment number 42.

    The political test will be whether it takes pressure off ministers to say what they'd do and increases it on their opponents to say how they could do more.

    Well, the Beeb sure as hell won't try to pin the Government down on their proposed cuts - so I guess you can answer your own question Nick?

  • Comment number 43.

    This whole PBR was nothing but smoke and mirrors (are we surprised by now) - most of the changes will take effect long after the Election. - if then. I suspect that the IMF will have been called in by autumn 2010 and Britain's financial reputation will be equated with that of Zimbabwe

  • Comment number 44.

    Of course his 1/2% NI rise in 2010 is actually 1% as he had previously announced a 1/2% rise in the Budget.

    And of course the government doesn't contribute to governemnt employees pensions as they come out of taxation.

    Why did he conceal the truth? Come on Nick get up to speed, it's just as well there isn't Spitting Image around, it could be so cruel.

  • Comment number 45.

    Re No 30:

    There won't be a Spending review but there will be a 'review' of MOD’s civil service, announced in the pre-budget report.
    The terms of reference for the review say it will look for ‘further reductions'. This pre-judges the outcome of the review.
    all.It has all the hallmarks of a pre-election ploy to match the Tories’ arbitrary call for a 25 per cent cut.
    MOD civil servants are being used as a political football at a time when they are struggling to provide support to the front line. The 33 per cent cut since 1997 has left them stretched to breaking point.

    A proper review would have been welcome. There is a strong case for the good value for money provided by the MOD civil service. The review must look at the balance of military to civilian staff and needs to assess what work can best be done by civilians.

    Civilians come at half the price of uniformed staff. The question for the public is: Do you want to pay twice as much for work to be done and which could be done by a civilian?

  • Comment number 46.

    The most pathetic attempt to con the British public since the days of Harold Wilson's "this will not affect the pound in your pocket ". Considering the number of Brown's soundbites it contained, it is probable that either Brown or Brown's speechwriter wrote it. Judging by the content which was mainly nonsense , it was probably Brown. Darling looked like a penguin posing outside the treasury, all he needed was an egg between his feet to complete the picture. It's like " Blackadder goes forth " , with Darling being ordered over the barricades without any ammunition, and Brigadier Brown hiding in the dugout till it's all over. Meanwhile the benefits army can rest easy, handout will continue , no civil servants will be paid off, though their rise will be capped (unless they threaten to strike before the election) and the working few can look forward to footing the bill. It would be comical if it wasn't so deadly serious.

  • Comment number 47.

    1. At 5:48pm on 09 Dec 2009, PGKenyon wrote:


    "...Why 'instead'? Surely, the reason we are in this mess was a lack of prudence on the part of bankers. Our Labour leaders appear to have learned the lessons of being too trusting of bankers pdq. Their search for a new global framework for regulation, and possibly taxation (Tobin) together with leading the way out of recession by spending rather than cutting appears to be working."

    ===

    Peter, is it possible to lead the way out of recession from the back?

    I thought we were the only G20 nation still in recession!

  • Comment number 48.

    Good news. We have a new income tax structure (validated by Andy, no less) which raises of the order £30 billion per annum, plus meets our key objectives of the Poor pay LESS and everyone else pays MORE - especially the Rich.

    Here it is:

    0-15k 0%
    15-25k 20%
    25-40k 40%
    40-75k 50%
    75-150 60%
    150+ 75%

    Armed with this, we'll be able to avoid savage cuts to public spending. What it means in human terms is that not a single public sector worker need lose their job. Pay freeze, yes - Job loss, no. Nice guys CAN finish first after all, can't they?

    I commend it to the Senate.

  • Comment number 49.

    VSL @ 34

    In other words the Public Sector will have a pay rise that covers the cost of their extra NI contribution.

    So much for cutting back on spending in the Public Service!!

  • Comment number 50.

    More smoke and mirrors, Peter Hain saying tories cut and slash, labour difficult choices, extra £500 million for Wales by labour, hang on a mo was this the same £500 mil voted on in the assembly recently as the uplift for Wales next year from the Barnett formula, real look at figures shows £13 million more real additional money, now then I wonder how far that will go in this time of austerity.

    South Wales police no longer patrolling M4 due to budget cuts, maybe pay for few coppers there.

  • Comment number 51.

    None of the 'clowns' (sorry politicians!) really get how bad the situation is! I don't thing they are numerate and they certainly know that the UK population is even more innumerate!

    We don't need pay freezes we need pay cuts - anything less is deception!

    The Irish are going for pay cuts, and arguably we are in far worse shape than they are.

    An elderly nonagenarian relation recalls starting a new job as a teacher with a 12 percent pay cut in 1931 and the 30's recession was less bad than this one (probably!) so I guess that all the pay of everyone in the public and private sectors should be cut by 15 percent to get the books balances in an acceptable length of time (by the way I am repeating myself from a year ago!)

    This tinkering is just a last throw of the dice in a vain hope of winning an election! (The Tories however will be worse!)

    In summary:-

    1. Slim down our international banking organisations to a size that we can bailout, if needs be.
    2. Move towards balancing the books is a FAIR way. (Pay cuts for all, a Maximum National Wage (for at least 5 years))
    3. Put interest rates up to 5 to 6 percent otherwise the economic decisions made of the basis of the cost of money will remain perverted and we will, without question, create another and far worse bubble and crash - it is already quite visible in equities and property.
    4. Invest in infrastructure and productive capacity.
    ..
    .
    x. Adopt the Yuan as our currency or at least peg to it!!!! (If we are unable to join the Euro through our own idiocy or the refusal of the others to let us join!)

    Also fire the regualtors NOW (M.K. etc) and economic managers (Civil Servants - I have named them before) that got us into this hopeless condition - it should have already been done!

  • Comment number 52.

    I just popped onto the direct.gov web site to try and read the Pre-Budget Report which was promised to be available "later this afternoon".

    Still no sign at 1940. I wonder why it takes so long to upload a document.

    Maybe somebody is still tinkering with the details?

    I have a feeling that Darling was at least trying to be fairly open. Not a very Brown-like approach. Things will be tough.

    But I'd still like to understand how the cost of bank bail-outs has been revised down by the odd £10BILLION or so. Did somebody find cash hidden in the RBS Board Room?

    If the cost of the banking crisis - the injection of capital - is only £40-50 BILLION, then why are we borrowing £170BILLION for a couple of years?

  • Comment number 53.

    47 Yellow

    wrote
    "Peter, is it possible to lead the way out of recession from the back?

    I thought we were the only G20 nation still in recession!"

    ============

    Debatably true Yellow, we'll see what revised ONS figures say.

    However, which Country's economy has shrunk the most?

    Germany? Japan? UK?

    Just as if not more important surely?

  • Comment number 54.

    Chris911t

    You say the awful truth is that no spending review will be carried out.
    I suspect that it is not the case - they will have one for sure - having done one of the first ones in 1997 they are not as difficult as is made out. Most of the information needed is already held in the various departments. Although there are rules about disclosure I am sure the Government will keep as much as they can from the Tories right up to the last minute and then try to spring something on them.

    This one was the one that will be remembered for nothing other than the National insurance increase so you have to wonder what goodies they have in mind come March. They pulled a lost election out of the bag in 2005, even with all the baggage of Iraq and lying so I think Cameron knows this was the phony budget. Perhaps thy will be giving out free ice to pensioners for the Summer?

  • Comment number 55.

    Nick,
    rather confused by your contradictory statements. You seem to admire this cool and serious chancellor and his well balanced budget but then you admit that it has been designed as a damage limitation for the next elections. You are very much aware of how serious our debt situation is (and will be) but then you seem to approve of the cosmetics in this budget. You seem to share the self esteem of these idiots capable only to play around with figures and you ignore the call to reality made by both Conservatives and LibDems. Finally you end with: "how on earth did we end up in this mess?". Difficult to follow you. Perhaps in your next reports you may wish to cover with less superficiality this mockery of efficiency savings (nothing more than holding back of otherwise wasted money)or why when we are ALL accepting that sacrifices have to be made to save our children these gutless politicians don't have the courage to make any cuts at all.
    I, like many others I suppose, am very angry that at a time of emergency this government sends a message to THEIR voters riassuring them that their jobs are safe as long as they vote Labour. After that we will see.
    And they even have the nerve of saying that the sacrifices will come AFTER the elections. They treat us like idiots and it would have been nice if you had picked one of these points rather than telling us what a serious, non political man this chancellor is. Nick, tell us a bit more about "how on earth we ended up in this mess" and try to do it before the elections in order to remind the Labour writers on this blog.

  • Comment number 56.

    The boiler scrappage scheme now there is a major piece of budget implementation to get the country out of the mire.

    Most decent SEDBUK A boilers are foreign not UK made, I dare say money going to come from energy companies as part of their contribution, but guess where the energy companies contributions come from, YES you guessed the hard pressed user of that gas, the fuel poor customer, then given to Bosch or Viesmann. another excuse not reduce fuel costs. With VAT going back up did he reduce fuel duty rise to compensate for VAT loss on fuel, I suspect not.

  • Comment number 57.

    Another pathetic blog from Gordon Brown's favourite apologist. To judge from a lot of the comments it would seem that quite a few people share this view. Nick,I suggest you look at Fraser Nelson's (a proper journalist) analysis for the spectator/coffee house and it will become immediately apparent that this PBR is built on fantasy. Darling has 4 years of uninterrupted growth at 3.25% underpinning his estimates. Where is this going to come from? The PBR was a shabby political con from two shabby politicians. They had a choice between pain and shame and they chose shame. They will get pain later. A downgrading of Britain's debt ratings is now inevitable.

  • Comment number 58.

    Yes indeed lets replace those old boilers.... 350 of em' in Downing Street!

    What is a Prudent Chancellor and PM who has allowed this debt and after 12 years decide to do something about it now? Just con us all because there is an election round the corner... these geysers surely does need replacing.

    Wait till after the New Year and that VAT goes back up to 17.5% we will all feel the pinch.

    Just how are they going to make the short fall up when, we are hemorrhaging industries at the seams? They won't tell us because they can't and won't for obvious reasons.

    To hell with Prudence and their rhetoric, why did they let us get into this state when they inherited a healthy economy and pension scheme from the Conservatives... obviously they didn't learn from their last mistakes when in power - what novices!

    All hot air and old boilers!

  • Comment number 59.

    People can be as vitriolic as they want to satisfy their own agenda but having just read the whole report, and as an ordinary bloke I can live with these measures and not feel a great deal of personal pain beleving that a steady recovery makes sense. I suggest that a lot of the rest of the population will give a big sigh of relief and also feel the same, because when it comes down to it thats the level people equate to. You can call this as short sighted and selfish as you want but am not going to vote for anybody who wants to get rid of huge numbers of nurses, Policemen,teachers et al.

  • Comment number 60.

    The chancellor's message to the electorate is: "if you don't like the sound of this, imagine what it would be like if the Conservatives got into power and cut the deficit faster and deeper."

    No Nick, this is your interpretation of what the government is saying!

    This is blatant Labour electioneering and you should be ashamed of yourself!

    My interpretation of this PBR is: "We've screwed up our economy and created a huge national debt that is getting bigger every day. We won't admit it's our fault but we are going to make sure everyone else pays for it".

    This government has got every financial forecast wrong in the past two years. Why should we believe anything they say now?

  • Comment number 61.

    Nick, your contribution to the 6 o clock news was more a party political broadcast for the Government. You ended with the remark " the alternative would be much worse"?

    What could this mean?

    You seem determined to give the Brown government the benefit of the doubt. Being last out of recession does not influence your coverage.

  • Comment number 62.

    loather @ 57

    "A downgrading of Britain's debt ratings is now inevitable"

    Don't be too concerned about that. We're already trading as less than AAA. It makes no sense to self flagellate in order to maintain what everyone knows is a false rating. It's only politics which is preventing the Agencies downgrading us; the UK being one of the "In Crowd" and all. If we were a developing economy - i.e. not "Blue Eyed White Men" as the President of Brazil so memorably put it, remember? - we'd have been marked down by now. A downgrade by one or two notches would merely be catching up with reality. Nothing to be scared of. Same goes for the USA and a number of other erstwhile established Western Nations. It's a sign of the times - a macro thing - and no big deal.

  • Comment number 63.

    24 Andy wrote:
    "If you trust Brown, could I interest you in some beans? They're magic, honest."


    I know this is a trivial point, but in the fairytale, the beans were magic. Remember? Beanstalk, magical land, giant ...

  • Comment number 64.


    Wow, just think what might happen if the Conservatives got in. They might actually restore some sanity, much like they did back in 1979.

    How anyone can still claim this joke of a government has any economic competence whatsoever is completely beyond me. Crash Gordon spent liberally while times were good, promised us an end to "Tory boom and bust" and promptly led us into the biggest bust since the Great Depression (and some say this could yet turn out worse than that). Now the best they can do is reduce the deficit, which is a fine way of saying the national debt is going to grow, albeit more slowly.

    I wonder how large the debt will get before we see either massive currency devaluation or an explicit default. Either way Labour have, once again, reduced us to Third World status.

  • Comment number 65.

    Saga @48
    Your tax plans will mean that after paying all normal bills, mortgage, loans etc. My wife and I will actually be in a negative position. We will have nothing to live on! I leave my house at 7.30 each day and return 12 hours later,and feel this would be a poor return on my hard work. Perhaps I should buy a tent and get on benefits?

    I can't afford Labour, but who can?

  • Comment number 66.

    Brown sat there today during the PBR with the sickest smug look I have ever witnessed from a politician.
    How is the debt crisis to be tackled, by raising taxes and spending it on public services. Now that makes sense - not.
    I didn't think this labour lot could sink any lower but they have exceeded all expectations.
    Brown has put being PM before the needs of the country. SICK!

  • Comment number 67.

    I have no faith in this Government to get anything right.

    All I know is that billions has been and continues to be frittered away by the "I know best brigade". When will people realise that the UK can no longer afford to fund foreign wars of adventure, to cripple ourselves with pious so called Global warming taxes. When will the Government realise that after 12 years of power they have become very much part of the problem rather than part of the solution, their ideas are outdated and their believes simply wrong.

    I would suggest that anybody looking for a better life to leave the UK as soon as possible.

  • Comment number 68.

    hard @ 65

    Oh. That's gone a bit wrong then. The brief I gave Andy was that the tax increases should only fall on people who can afford to pay a bit more. Sounds like he's messed up. I will have a word and see what I can do.

  • Comment number 69.

    Page 110 of the Pre Budget Report (PBR) contains a bombshell, in a section discussing efficiency savings by 2012-13.

    These savings include "£600 million from higher education and science and research budgets."

    The UK now spends less on science research than in 1986.

    Why does the media not challenge the Government about this woeful situation for British science?





  • Comment number 70.

    "if you don't like the sound of this, imagine what it would be like if the Conservatives got into power and cut the deficit faster and deeper."

    Yes please...

  • Comment number 71.

    Spot on Nick! Nice summary

  • Comment number 72.

    Possibly off topic but RE city excess, have just got back from lunch. Someone else please burn it down, I'm not strong enough....

  • Comment number 73.

    Good news. Labour have just written the shortest suicide note in history.


    Here it is:

    25-40k 40% Tax


  • Comment number 74.

    # 8 Dempster

    Your Christmas story is truly awful and reminds us how badly people can be treated when they are in a vulnerable position.

    You write:

    "So consider this:

    The banks have taken Government money to survive.

    The Government increases tax and cuts public sector jobs to pay for this.

    The extra tax and/or loss of your job means you can no longer keep up with your mortgage payments.

    The bank in receipt of the government money then repossesses your house."


    You forgot to add, the bankers then award themselves huge bonuses on top of their bloated salaries to reward themselves for all their good work - at the taxpayers expense.

    These people have no shame!

    So, they threaten to resign if they don't get their bonuses? House rules prevent me from saying what is on my lips, but an alternative way of putting it might be 'go forth and multiply'.

  • Comment number 75.

    Has anyone downloaded the report from the BBC?

    Just a question but why does the front page state it costs £45 if it can be downloaded for free?

    No wonder the economy's up the creek without a paddle and the canoe is leaking

  • Comment number 76.

    Saga
    My point is that there needs to be an end result for the hard work we undertake. I wrote the other week as I take exception to your view on taxation. Just because a person is in a certain salary bracket doesn't mean they can necessarily afford more.
    There appears to be a rose tinted view that those on more modest incomes deserve to take home a greater proportion of the money they earn. I fundamentally disagree with this position. What is the point of trying to advance your career, when as you achieve more, the money is simply taken away?

  • Comment number 77.

    The cat is now out of the bag: Labour don't have the guts to curtail their borrowing habit and haven't closed the gap between whet they earn and what they spend by anywhere near the right amount.

    This only leaves the following course ahead: The government are relying on higher taxes and high inflation. Its the only future course given that servicing this massive debt will put a huge brake on the the economy, reducing growth.

  • Comment number 78.

    So Mr Darling proposes about £4bn of NI and bankers' bonus tax rises to combat a £178bn deficit?

    Not good enough.

    Must the UK actually declare bankruptcy before a politician is brave enough to address the full scale of the problem?

  • Comment number 79.

    Nick

    Alistair might be your darling, but he certainly is not mine.

    As Stephanie Flanders so eloquently titled her blog "The Budget that barely budged" neatly sums up virtually a non event. For a Chancellor of the Exchequer he has a clear phobia of numbers of any magnitude.

  • Comment number 80.

    I think the plan is clear. Labour knows it is going to lose - so, as many have been saying, they are conducting a scorched earth policy.

    The PBR claims to spell out a plan for a controlled reduction of the deficit (not the debt, of course). This cannot happen before the election, so when the Conservatives win, they will be pilloried for letting things slip immediately. But they will be helpless, as things are very much worse than they seem.

    The pain from the increase in NI will not hit most people until a few months after its introduction in April. This is calculated to make the pain coincide with the arrival of the Tories.

    Likewise, the increase in employers' NI will hit after April and will be the final straw that triggers mass layoffs because the promised recovery has not materialised. Again, the pain will hit as the Conservatives sweep to power, and this is calculated to make it seem that they created the layoffs.

    The whole effect is calculated to ensure Conservative takeover coincides with an overwhelming feeling of collapse and despair. This will all be Brown's fault, but he hopes that the mud will stick to Osborne, not to him or Darling.

    A year later, the impact of the pay restraint on public sector workers is calculated to cause massive discontent, and the tightening of budgets to try to eliminate the deficit and start to reduce our debt costs will cause extra pain.

    The game is to guarantee that Conservatives will have to be the "nasty" party just to do the right thing.

    Gordon Brown and the Labour team have always seen politics as a competitive sport. They see it as a Red vs Blue game, with us as the ball. They disgust me.

  • Comment number 81.

    #48, sagamix wrote:
    Good news. We have a new income tax structure (validated by Andy, no less) which raises of the order £30 billion per annum, plus meets our key objectives of the Poor pay LESS and everyone else pays MORE - especially the Rich.

    Here it is:

    0-15k 0%
    15-25k 20%
    25-40k 40%
    40-75k 50%
    75-150 60%
    150+ 75%

    saga,

    Could you offer a link to any government site that suggests that people on less than 15K will pay zero tax?

    I didn't hear it during the HoC chat, nor can I find it on any site.

    It sounds like a good idea, which I'd support, but there is no evidence to back it up.

    I can't imagine why this government hasn't put an immediate stop on hiring Westminster or local government staff. With exceptions made where signed off by a Minister, who'd be accountable for the additional costs.

    448 government jobs advertised in the Guardian (where else) today.
    Just why the heck does a local authority need a "Jewellery Development Officer"? For goodness sake, most of local government cost is covered by central government funding.
    You want jewellery? Go find somebody in the private sector who makes it. Why in God's name should anybody pay for a publicly funded person to encourage what people have been doing for 3,000 years.

    Why did Darling NOT say that he would dump 50% of all the "special advisors" who mill around Whitehall? They don't seem to have delivered very much over the last decade, do they?

    And where was the stipulation that any Minister who wants to introduce a new IT system should be exposed to at least three months of scrutiny, to check whether he/she understood the details of both deliverability and benefits?
    I know. That would be difficult. So many ministers nod through what they "think" may be good ideas, with absolutely NO understanding of their impact or how they could be delivered. But the wasted money is shrugged off as though it was just an expectable casuality. Who pays for it? Tax-payers.

    I think the climate is changing. I have no idea whether it is man-made or a cyclical happening. The scientific evidence is really sparce and challanged (as all science should be).

    But we'll spend a fortune to get politicians and hangers-on to Copenhagen to try and sign a deal that won't be honoured, but could result in some rediculous, high-cost, ineffectual "new energy sources". And, since Labour can't understand how the countryside works, Brown blames the people who happen to have political clout in the most environmentally sensitive parts of the UK because they don't want to have wind-mills spoiling the countryside.

    Tires you out.

    Brown tried to say that, because Spain had been invited to attend G20 meetings, they were a member of the G20. That's arrant nonsense. I could get an invite to many groups. It doesn't mean I'm a member.

    Brown is a sad bloke. If he'd been allowed to stand for the Labour leadership in a real competition, maybe he'd have won. (But possibly New Labour would have had less traction.) Maybe he'd have gone down the pan.

    Instead, he's been what I can only rate as the worst Chancellor I've ever lived under. And if, as PM, he has only just understood what the Afghanistan conflict was about, then his actions as Chancellor were despicable. Turning down costs without bothering to work out why somebody putting their lives on the life were asking for more is not simply odd, it's reprehensible.



  • Comment number 82.

    HWF @ 76

    Well no, you can't go too far in that direction, I completely agree. But these are difficult times for the country, aren't they? Both our absolute debt position and our fiscal position have to be addressed, and to do so is going to require expense side action (on public spending) and income side action ... the tax rises. When it comes to those tax rises you simply HAVE to look at income tax, there's no way around it. And on income tax, I think the "ability to pay" principle is key. This means a greater contribution the higher up the income scale you go. I take your point about being rewarded for hard work, but I'm not sure to what extent hard work is correlated to income - there are many other factors in play. Certainly there are many people who work their socks off for low pay, and there are many who work less hard but get paid more. Life's not fair and never will be. Also, we should bear in mind that we are not (by Western European standards) a particularly highly taxed country. I mean, it's not like we're running at Denis Healey 1970s levels of tax (and nor should we, btw!). So I conclude we have scope for some (income) tax rises ... significant but not massive, and hopefully for a limited period. Just until the finances look a little healthier. 3 to 5 years, say. That's what I think, anyway. It's a Hard Sell though, I do recognise that.

  • Comment number 83.

    what can people expect from such an inept excuse of a government, labour was always a tax people party and neu-labour have done the same just bigger and almost bankrupting this country in the process.
    any government that runs this country into the ground should be removed before the damage becomes perminent, ooops may be too late.

  • Comment number 84.

    Saga

    Whilst you zero tax rate on less than 15k has been questioned, I hope you are right, the rest of you arithmetic seems kosher.

    1. Stop gloating , it does not become you.(68)
    2. Accept that the extra tax/NI will be just as ruinous for a higher
    earner who is cash strapped as it would be for a poorer person.
    3. Have I got my 10p "theft" back?

  • Comment number 85.

    If Scotland was independent we would not have this huge problem. i.e Scotland could have bailed out RBS and HBOS why should the english pay for Scottish incompetence?????

  • Comment number 86.

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

  • Comment number 87.

    just two general points:

    1 - why are labour MPs telling us that this pre budget budget, is one that will lead to a cut in the budget deficit?
    * it will not, the labour party only propose to reduce the amount they borrow each year by half (by the end of the next parliament - 5 years time)
    there is precisely nothing about how they will do this, nor is there any mention of how they will reduce the overall budget deficit - they plan to keep on borrowing each year, just hopefully, not as much.


    2 - browns constant bragging of child tax credits and working tax credits, as something to be proud of, is a complete joke.
    IF (thats a big if) this labour government were doing their jobs properly, then there would be no need to subsidise millions of households with taxpayers money.
    labour's sad attempts to take credit for paying out taxpayers money to prop up people that are on low incomes, is an admission of failure.

    brown, darling and co, are of the opinion that it is a good thing to have increasing numbers of people being included in uncounted (as regards official figures) benefit figures.
    in the same breath, the government say they are "taking people out of poverty" - this is a contradiction, they are subsidising people's income because their own employment policies (plus associated costs involved in holding down a job and the higher costs of living) are failing.

    the benefit system used to be known as "a safety net" there to protect people who desperately needed it, not a way of life.
    id like to see official figures on how many people and households are forced to claim some form of financial help from the government, either in unemployment benefit, or as subsidies that are being paid out in the form of working/child tax credits, to supplement their income because their working is unsustainable for them to live!

  • Comment number 88.

    Dear Nick,
    Just watched the PBR! eek!

    Since this Govt has been in power, how many of any prediction, whether growth, expenditure, debts etc have actually come true? It seems that whenever a prediction is made they always appear to be way out by the time they review it again? Surely, you and I could just stick our finger in the air and get a figure closer?

  • Comment number 89.

    This was a political budget designed not to address the economic issues of the day but rather one to keep New Labour's election hopes alive by hinting that the recession will be less bad under a re-elected New Labour administration.

    Unfortunately all it does ie reinforce the public's negative view of the government in that:-

    a)a lot of measures do not start immediately or are after the election so taking any real action to address the deficit is delayed once again demonstrating an unwillingness by New Labour to "grasp the nettle" and deal with problems now thus creating the unnecessary need for more Draconian measures later

    b)it does not tell us in a clear way the true extent of the spending cuts which will be more severe than the Chancellor would have us believe and demonstrates that the government is still not committed to transparency in its dealings with the public

    c)the thinking behind it is inconsistent for example with the government wanting on the one hand to get more people into work but on the other raising National Insurance contributions which makes it harder demonstrating that New Labour does not have the necessary skills to create a well-managed economy.

    New Labour has always been poor on strategic planning with inconsistent and incoherent policy decions.This smoke-and-mirrors budget is typical of the "all image and no substance" nature of New Labour which likes to give voters the impression that one thing is happening when the reality is completely different.

    Like many, for me, the election cannot come soon enough when hopefully we can elect a party that is more open and honest with the people so we all have a better idea of what the truth really is.

  • Comment number 90.

    xtun @ 84

    "Have I got my 10p "theft" back?"

    Yes, you're actually better off under this new regime. You won't pay any tax whatsoever.

    And I wasn't "gloating"! ... I hardly ever gloat. Haven't gloated, in fact, since the time I saw that rich person fall off his bike. Back in April I think that was. Don't worry nobody hurt, no harm done except a bit of injured pride. Was funny though!

  • Comment number 91.

    Saga at #82:

    A mindset you seem unable to deviate from, even when stark facts prove you wrong:

    "When it comes to those tax rises you simply HAVE to look at income tax, there's no way around it. And on income tax, I think the "ability to pay" principle is key. This means a greater contribution the higher up the income scale you go."

    Wrong! Some countries have moved to a flat rate tax system - and their tax take has INCREASED, as both individuals and companies find it cheaper to simply pay a relatively low rate than go looking for loopholes through excessive high rates. You have confused once again the necessity of increasing income from taxation with your (weird) desire to penalise those who have 'more' (more than what, precisely?), or who are successful and/or work hard ( the 'and/or' is deliberate - I have no problem with people being successful if they can work smart instead of hard).

    "I take your point about being rewarded for hard work, but I'm not sure to what extent hard work is correlated to income - there are many other factors in play."

    Yes there are - see my point above about it being possible to work smart as well as work hard. It really doesn't matter - the point is, there should be an incentive to maximise your income without the government (a) stealing most if it as tax in one form or another, and (b) then adding insult to injury by p*ssing it all away on useless projects and even more useless diversity officers and the like.

    "Certainly there are many people who work their socks off for low pay, and there are many who work less hard but get paid more. Life's not fair and never will be."

    And I would argue that more damage is done by trying to make life 'fair' (whatever that means) than by accepting that life will always be 'unfair' to someone. Other than applying specific laws against obvious criminality (murder, theft, etc), I think we would be better off in accepting that some of us (and that includes me) could be classed as having 'lost out'. Unfair? Maybe. Should something be done about? No! I took risks. A couple paid off, many didn't, and often didn't because of unexpected changes in taxation, legislation, technology and so on. That's simply life - unfair, but life just the same.

    "Also, we should bear in mind that we are not (by Western European standards) a particularly highly taxed country. I mean, it's not like we're running at Denis Healey 1970s levels of tax (and nor should we, btw!)."

    I bet we will be soon - or more likely at even worse levels. As others have said, the numbers simply don't add up, and somewhere, somehow (I wish I knew where or how - I could then make a killing!), this financial house of cards is going to crash into the ground big time.

    Saga, your ideas are old style 1960s style utopia dreaming. Get real.

  • Comment number 92.

    How on earth did we land up in this mess?
    We all know why - this in spite of the bbc acting as the government propaganda machine and not conforming to its charter.
    On international credit ratings Greece is now demoted, and yesterday Spain (not officially in the G20 as Brown should have known) was also demoted.
    Next in line is the UK and possibly Italy, neither internationally regarded as having a high standard of government.
    When will the bbc leave the sinking ship? - even certain government ministers are doing this for their next job in the banking industry they were supposed to monitor, and in the UN in the case of one high profile person.

  • Comment number 93.

    How on earth can a supposedly serious journalist churn out such biased stuff?! If you cant do the job Nick, go and do something else - that is not at public expense.

  • Comment number 94.

    Nick, even to the most die-hard labour supporter it is obvious that this is a buck-passing budget, leaving the hard decisions for the incoming tory government to make whilst keeping the unions happy (and further damaging the UK economy in the process). Why can't you see that?

  • Comment number 95.

    Only an acolyte could write such utter bilge.

  • Comment number 96.

    Ouch!.....It must remind you of your circum..............................................................................................stances as a young man Nick , soon all t' axepayers will be facing the imminent spinagog shortage .

  • Comment number 97.

    It seems that there are two reasons why people (who seem to have right wing/conservative views) dislike this budget - firstly because the chancellor is hotting poor people (that increase in national insurance, its so terrible!) and that he's not cutting the budget deficit quickly enough. Well, I suppose holding two contradictory views at once is the perogorative of politicians everywhere, so I shouldnt be too surprised.

    It does amaze me at the tone some people have adopted about Nick's blog. If they're not demanding his resignation now, they're threatening it after the election! This simply smacks of the tactics the Nazi's adopted before they came to power in 1933! Watch out if you disagree with us!! If you want to keep your job toe the party line! Much as I dislike the conservatives under David Cameron, I hope these people are as disappointed by his government (if there is one) as they are by Gordon Browns. It worry's me that there are seemingly rational people who can hold such intolerant irrational views.

  • Comment number 98.

    93/94/95 When the unthinking right starts blaming the messenger, we know Darling must have made a pretty good job of it, politically at least.

  • Comment number 99.

    Nick,
    The problem is not just the excess government expenditure from 2009 into the future but the excess government expenditure since 2000.

    We are going to have to get used to a far smaller government in the future, the sooner we start the less we will have to cut.

    The PBR could be best summed up as:
    Dithering Darling Defers Decisions.

  • Comment number 100.

    Reading the papers this morning:

    1. The substantial tax rises on anyone earning over £20,000 a year are not going towards repaying the national debt or shrinking the deficit. No, they going to fund further increases in public spending, particularly rises in benefits for those not working. How can anyone who actually works think this is right or 'fair'?

    2. Employer national insurance has risen to 13.8% of every salary; so employers across the country now have a further incentive to cut hours and jobs to the bare minimum. Any marginal job has just become even more difficult for an employer to justify. Great news again for those in work and worried about their jobs.

    3. Labour have refused to say where the cuts will fall, despite hammering the Tories for not being specific and 'having any policies.' It's now clear that Labour have refused to spell out the real numbers because they are so appalling. So we will have to wait until after the election, making our debt problems even worse in the meantime, to find out.

    4. This is just the beginning: massive further tax rises will follow post the election assuming Labour are re-elected. (Suspect they will be albeit narrowly.)

    5. Growing risk that public finances continue to deteriorate, sparking a gilts' buyers strike / debt crisis and requiring an emergency IMF bailout. Labour are just hoping this happens after the election; decent odds on the bet. Still, not really the responsible way to run the country.

    Labour have totally lost control of the public finances. They always do. Sadly, we will end up paying for it. Partly my fault, I voted for Blair the first two times. Won't vote Labour again though!

 

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