Debate Magazine

Budget Fun

Posted on the 19 March 2015 by Markwadsworth @Mark_Wadsworth

The most stomach churning part of yesterday's Budget speech was the Indian Bicycle Marketing at the beginning, suggesting that Labour was the party of high spending and deficits.
The official version reports it thusly:
We’ll also redeem the last remaining undated British Government bonds in circulation. We’ll have paid off the debts incurred in the South Sea Bubble, the First World War, the debt issued by Henry Pelham, George Goschen and William Gladstone.
Osborne actually added a reckless ad lib at this stage, from The Telegraph's live reporting:
"We will pay off debts occurred in the South Sea Bubble, the Second World War, those incurred by Pelham, Gladstone. Those raised by Gordon Brown will take a little longer to pay off."
Which, as Matthew Holehouse points out, is bold, given this government has racked up more [National Debt] than Gordon.

This paints Labour into a nice corner; they can't pillory the Tories for overspending because that's supposed to be their policy.
Those who have absolutely no policies on such lofty matters are free of the constraints of IBM and can get a bit closer to the truth:
"Ukip leader Nigel Farage branded Mr Osborne's statement the "long-grass economic plan", saying: "This Government has evidently failed in its promise to the British people to eradicate the deficit and whilst it took Labour 13 years to double the debt this Government has done it in five."
There are different ways of looking at this, handy charts and tables at Economics Help.
The only bit of good news in the Budget was that Osborne has cranked up the Bank Asset Tax a bit, even though he's doing it wrong:
“This is a three-fold increase in the bank levy in just four years and once again is anti-competitive for our own UK banks. It will hit UK headquartered banks hardest as it’s a tax on their entire global balance sheets, whereas foreign banks in the UK are only taxed on their UK liabilities,” said EY’s Anna Anthony.
“The constant tinkering with the tax regime for banks in the UK is unhelpful, and in the long-term unsustainable – the industry will definitely be looking for a commitment to a more certain tax environment in the future.”

The Bank Asset Tax is a splendid tax and does not make banks 'uncompetitive' as banks are the very essence of a cartel; but ideally it would only be applied to domestic bank assets or liabilities. Then every country can choose its own rate independently.

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