Pre-Budget Report 2008 LIVE (part nine)

We’re still waiting for an alternative proposal here folks. Do you think Osborne is going for the record of talking in the House of Commons for the longest without a single hint of an alternative proposal.

What! Is that it? Where’s the alternatives?

Darling back up. Yes, there is a choice to voters, between a party with policies actually doing something as opposed to well, hmm, a bit of party political point scoring more akin to the debating society and well, erm, nothing. I know it’s hard to find a Tory policy at the best of times but all this reinforces is that while Labour are dealing with the issues on an ever changing basis the Tories are completely lost at sea.

Oh well, I think that’s it for today. Work to be done.

Pre-Budget Report 2008 LIVE (part eight)

Little Ozzy boy up for the Tories. Is it me or does he sound like a prep boy with a squeaky voice?

He seems to be under the impression that Labour aren’t planning on winning the next election.

I’m looking forward to an actual policy alternative from the boy Osborne. Come on, you know you can if you want to.

Still waiting. Is he going to pull out the defer a bit of national insurance, not mentioning their own tax bombshell of course.

I’m wondering why when pretty much every serious economist in the world recognises that the sub-prime market in the US caused this economic problem that the bloke who wants to be Chancellor doesn’t.

I think we’re ten minutes in and still no alternative proposals, not one. Is he going to carry on like this? Getting bored.

Pre-Budget Report 2008 LIVE (part seven)

Extra money for debt advice. The CAB could really do with that right now.

From a social perspective, prioritising trying to prevent short-term unemployment becoming long-term is vital. Long-term unemployment is socially cancerous, destroys families and communities. It’s very good to see that being recognised. I do remember the 80’s y’know.

Rejigging the duty on cars. That was a quickie.

Tax credits for families up, thanks, turning into a good day.

With inflation falling, pegging rises in the basic state pension to the highest inflation rate wil make a real difference.

More money for pensioners and child benefit, lovely.

Pre-Budget Report 2008 LIVE (part six)

Empty property exemption for small businesses. Curious one that.

Flexibility to spread tax payments for small businesses. I hink that’s just done the Tories in.

Helping SME’s to borrow and income guarantees for small exporters. This is looking rather good in terms of targeting policy where it’s needed.

More energy efficiency, please don’t rub it in Alastair, I know there’s a load of Kingspan boards waiting for me upstairs.

Amendments to aviation tax to tax long-haul more. Agree but want to see the details on this one as pollution wise short haul internal flights havea more negative impact on the environment.

Thank Alastair, more money for people to buy insulation, after I’ve already got it. Never mind.

Option to force energy companies to lower bills. More of wat really matters to normal people. A Mars Bar goes to the first person to coin this the ‘people’s (pre)-budget’.

Pre-Budget Report 2008 LIVE (part five)

Biggies coming in, VAT cut from 17.5% to 15% until the end of next year as o Monday.

Yes Alastair, investment to make homes more energy efficient. I know I still have to do mine.

Personal allowance up by £145, thanks, that’ll do nicely.

Interesting litle adjustment on national insurance, up but also the threshold. Moving the money downwards, that’s what we want.

This is definitely the pre-budget of personal allowances.

Hmm, so that’s fags booze and petrol up a bit to offset lower VAT. I wonder i that will stop at the end of next year Sneaky.

Pre-Budget Report 2008 LIVE (part four)

Laying the battleground now with the contrast between doing nothing and helping people through ‘difficult times’. Yes, some of us do remember how the Tories left millions to fend for themselves in the 80’a and 90’s.

So we know the economy isn’t going to grow much for 2 years.

Tax revenue dropping but a need to inject money into the economy for fiscal stimulus through presumably tax cutting.

Ooh, public finances:

Borrowing at 8% of GDP. Tories don’t seem to think investing in public services a good idea, no change there then.

National debt to rise to 57% in 2013-14. Oh well, still not as bad as Belgium.

Underlying the investment in schools and health. Important not to put services at risk, certainly don’t want them as bad as they were 15 years ago.

Tied up with savings through efficiency and capital sales. I wonder if the Tories realise that people in the public sector buy stuff too? A steady and stable public sector is vital to propping up the private sector in these times.

Pre-Budget Report 2008 LIVE (part three)

Making it easier to raise credit with a £100Billion guarantee. Good stuff.

Why when Darling mentions this being a global problem do the Tories get excited? Do they watch the news? Much as I’m sure they’d like to believe it’s all the fault of the Government, only an idiot would fall for that line.

Darling’s lining them up nicely with the bad news. Low growth, share prices fallen but at least lower interest rates are helping home owners (morgagees) with monthly payments.

Pre-Budget Report 2008 LIVE (part two)

Right, we’re off. Has he had a haircut just for today?  Sky has a FTSE tracker running. Am I the only person that thinks that’s part of the problem? This is a time for the bread and butter of economics, no what a few sharp suited kids think they can swap shares for.

On to the real economics now.

Good to see we’re tackling not only economic problems but the causes of economic problems. More power to the FSA.

Fabricant told to shut up by the speaker, good show.

Pre-Budget Report 2008 LIVE (part one)

Warming up folks. Layout for the afternoon – separate posts for each update (not an amended single post) keep that refresh button busy.

Sky’s on the telly. Kevin Maguire just been up and some geezer from the Daily Mail. Why do I get the feeling Sky are going to have lots of people in stripey suits complaining that they’ll leave the country if they have to pay more tax. I’ve often wonder how many of them would really disappear and if it would really matter that much.

Extraordinary times

I have the distinct feeling that today may mark a real seismic change in British and possibly even international politics.

It’s been indeed a very long time since any government (we’re working on the rumurs from Sky here so if it doesn’t turn out then it’s their fault) looked like rasing taxes on the top earners in society.

For over a quarter of a century we’ve been fed the line from a dominant neo-liberal agenda that if we lower taxes on the higher earners it encourages them an stimulates entrepreneurship. I’m not exactly sure what a few percentage difference on £150,000 a year or more is in terms of stimulus but like the 98% of workers in Britain, I’m not in that group and probably never will be so I can’t say.

We were told that allowing people to amass greater wealth would stimulate a trickle down effect making everyone better off. It was a sham and history will record that it failed miserably. I’m reminded of an old Ben Elton sketch from the 1980’s which summed it up rather nicely. These people with lots of money did go out spending, buying Japanese televisions and German cars. Sartorial and simplistic but not a million miles away from the truth.

I once came across an old Labour Party leaflet from the early 70’s while hunting through some old archives. Th curious thing about it was that the balance of trade featured as one of the main criticisms of the Heath Government. It struck me that I couldn’t remember the last time I’d seen such an economic terms in a leaflet from any party. Perhaps it’s indicative of the levels to which our deficit grew in the 1980’s that it’s just not mentioned anymore because it’s a bit taboo and with a devastated industrial base is never going to look good.

Neo-liberal economics failed. Trickle down principles turned out to be nothing but a sham of an idea to allow the already rich to get richer and perversely be subsidised by the poor.

A lot has been done over the last 11 years to address the deep social and economic problems brought about by such an economic regime but as good as they have been, there’s not been a time when the core principles have been challenged to such an extent.

This could be that time where we see a real shift away from the morally and intellectually bankrupt neo-liberal unfettered capitalism of the right. Away from a position where the system dictates society instead of the other way around.

Hopefully this will be the start of ‘trickle up’ economics. Putting the money in the hands of those who really do spend it in the economy, bringing about economic activity and growth where it is truly needed, not with investment companies and hedge funds but putting ordinary people in jobs providing goods and services that ordinary people need and use.

Here’s hoping then.

Perhaps I should do a spot of live blogging of the pre-budget report? That’s a thought.