Budget Day

At last – the waiting is over. I always think that not knowing is much worse than knowing. And now we know!

Yes – there are things in the Budget that will affect everyone to some extent – but at least it is everyone.

First in line for the pain are the bankers (with a new levy) and then there are those high earners who try to sneak extra for themselves by taking some of their earnings as shares or something that attracts Capital Gains tax at 18% rather than the 40% rate of income tax for higher earners. Capital Gains tax will rise to 28% which hopefully will stop such shenanigans.

The up side of the budget was the long awaited linking of pensions to earnings, the injection of £2billion to the child part of tax credits and the raising of the tax threshold taking 880,000 out of tax and putting about £200 back in low and middle income earners pockets. That is the first step on raising that tax threshold to £10,000. All these are very good for Haringey – as will be the freezing of Council Tax for two years!  And no extra duty on wine, beer and fuel!

But – the hard stuff was the freeze on public sector pay for two years (but the lowest paid – up to £21,000 per annum would not be frozen and would get a flat rate pay rise of £250 for each of those years) and the rise to 20% onVAT. Food and childrens’ clothes and all those items that are currently VAT exempt will remain exempt.

Welfare reform is now on the cards. The system will be reformed to help people into work rather than remain dependant on welfare.

Lots of detail still to come – but in broad terms – that’s the way we are going to fill the gaping hole in our finances and pay down the deficit.

We’ve been living beyond our means personally and the banks have been gambling and lost our money nationally. There was always going to be a day of reckoning – and I guess this is it.

Labour, in the form of their acting Leader, Harriet Harman, responded to the budget – but it was quite a worn out, nothing much to say and no new ideas sort of tired response.

For me – the protection of the most vulnerable was the most important part of this austerity budget. And at least the broadest shoulders are going to bear most of the financial burden.

0 thoughts on “Budget Day

  1. Ashley
    You sound like a ‘disgusted of Tunbridge Wells’ Daily Mail reader on speed, either that or you wrote the Monty Python 4 Yorkshire men sketch.

    “We used to live in a hole in the road and had to lick the road clean each morning before we went to work……”

    You state a case of ‘existing’ that nobody should be happy to endure. Do you think the boys in the city will be feeling the pain?

    Try reading todays (Murdoch owned) Times, pages3,4 & 5 and their analysis of the budget:
    Less Police on the beat
    Parents could face eviction from council housing
    Housing benefit “I can’t afford to live near my family”
    Child benefit “I’d love a 4th child but we won’t have the money”
    Disability benefit “Will I have to be assessed every year”

    Mark: Yes, I totally agree with what you say, it would also be interesting if the local papers conducted a straw poll, perhaps she may then show a bit of dignity and step down.

  2. Nick & Mark,
    I think that in order to recall an MP on the grounds of no longer representing their constituency and hence force a by-election it was suggested that a petition would need be signed by 10% of their electorate. But I don’t know if this proposal was ever adopted. Do either ot you know? I guess the best thing would be to ask our MP for confirmation – but unfortunately she doesn’t appear to be in a very responsive mood does she?

  3. I never read the Daily Mail and have been a Lib Dem supporter all my life! Just because i don’t agree with you, don’t assume i must be a Tory. Far, far from it actually. I grew up in a mining village in the 80s and to a single parent family. We had to make paper mache bricks to put to the fire for heating because there was no coal. I know what it’s like to struggle and to have to rob peter to pay paul. I’m not sure a lot of the people who are moaning really do. Listen, do you really think that Labour would not have cut?? We are in a mess and therefore people have to take a hit. Labour spent, spent, spent and now we are suffering the consequences. May be Nick and Dave should resign for 6 months and let you go in and try and sort the mess. I bet you’d be saying within days…’bloody hell they’re right..it is a mess…’ Judge them over the 5 years. If the measures work things will get better. And as for ‘existing’. Of course i think people should be able to enjoy their lives. But people have come to expect regular jet setting holidays and other luxuries etc as a god given right. It isn’t im afraid. We need to reassess our values. Property is a case in point. We are obsessed and judged by getting on the property ladder. It is NOT the be all and end all. It’s the home that matters, whether it’s owned or rented NOT the status of it. I live in a leafy central Manchester estate which has just been given 40k for flowers. We don’t need it. I’d rather that now go to people who really do need it and i’ll be telling the council so. As for child benefit. I am sorry, i do not approve of universal child benefit. And this is something the coalition failed to do. Why are we paying people on 50, 60 and 70 k a year child benefit. That is money that could be targetted at people who really do need it. As for the boys in the city, yes they should feel the pain and the Coalition is making moves to do that but they have to be careful what messages they send out to ‘the city’ overall because if that buggers up then we’re all in the shi* anyway. I just think there needs to be a reality check here.

  4. Paper mache bricks? We used to dream of having paper mache bricks.
    You were lucky.
    We used to have to go collecting old newspapers from the bins…..

    The reality is the lower and low paid will be hit the hardest and/or thrown into poverty- just check the analysis in the media, even the Tory press are saying it.

  5. Back to the you do it if you are so clever line of argument again.

    The fact is that there are numerous ways of trying to deal with the deficit and they have been so well and widely rehearsed that it’s not worth re-rehearsing them here. It is worth saying though that it is simply not true to say that what is being done is the only way.

    This blog is largely composed of very disillusioned voters in Ms Featherstone’s constituency. Quite a lot of them appear to have voted for her because of what she said she stood for. They seem to feel a bit let down. I simply cannot see why that mght be.

    Lynne is a constituency MP in a place- Wood Green – that is composed of a lot of very poor, largely dispossessed and displaced people. Many of them are single mums struggling to work and balance how to make ends meet. They actually need- and deserve- the leg up that they have been given. They are going to be hit by this budget in a really terrible way.

    I can only repeat what I have said so many times now- single mums and people on welfare benefits did not cause this state of affairs. Money grubbing bankers did it. They have also done a fantastic job at getting the media to forget about that and some of the general public- not many from what I can see- have bought the line being peddled here about living beyond our means etc.

    I very much support the idea of recalling our MP if we can get her out of the pachouli infused bubble bath she inhabits.

    Finally Lynne says at the start of her weighty analysis of the budget: “I always feel that not knowing is much worse than knowing”. Well several things apply. First, this platitude is not true on this occasion. And second what we definitely don’t know is what our recalcitrant MP thinks about all that has been said here. Mind you it’s usually such twaddle that this may be another occasion when our blissful ignorance is better

  6. I think the people on here are in the minority. I’m going to bow out of the discussions now. I hope Lynne comes back to you and explains how difficult her decisions have been. I am sure she will and I am sure they will all work on trying to make things fairer going forward. At least give them some credit for some of the really good measures that have been implemented not just in the budget but also on civil liberties etc. Something Labour was scandalously appalling on.

    And I hope you’ll eventually respect her for having to make tough choices.

  7. What the MP should really have done would be to vote to double all public spending *and* to halve all taxes.

    I’m sure that would keep everyone happy, especially those who like to eat their cake and still keep the cake in the cupboard.

    The only problem is: where’s the cash coming from?

    Gordon really believed he’d abolished boom and bust. After the father of all booms, we now have the mother of all busts …

  8. Clive – at last some common sense. But be warned, you’ll now be labelled a rabid right winger who ready the Daily Mail and comes from a Bullingdon Club background. Oh and you might also be accused of being a millionaire even if you’re not. Good luck!

  9. Lynn Featherstone knows perfectly well that the financial burden will not fall on the ‘broadest shoulders’. Experts are quite clear it is the poorest who will be worst hit by the budget cuts. I am devastated to see LibDems bend over backwards to spin their way out of any responsibility in opposing Osbourne’s cuts. Yes, Labour would have cut but not in this way. This is Toryism at its nastiest and is more to do with policy than finance. That is to be expected, but the LibDems are hanging onto their coat tails for the sake of a taste of power. I had much higher expectations of the LibDems, including my own MP, Ms Featherstone who I would have expected to voice opposition.

  10. Clive – with this budget and government where is the growth coming from? Japan tried this 20 years ago and have had a 20 year recession – hey, but at least we don’t have to worry about any more booms – but more bust than Babara Windsor. Carry on Cutting, I think – Lynne as the hapless maid, perhaps?

    Perhaps the next time Lynne drops a nauseating leaflet through my door we could have “I’m sorry, I lied to you all for years, and all I care about is power’ where it used to say “Tories can’t win here”

  11. Ok….what do you say to:

    1. Pensions being restored to earnings
    2. Taking millions out of tax altogether – raising threshold eventually to 10k
    3. massive investment in social housing
    4. Increase in CGT for wealthy
    5. Scrapping ID cards and a whole raft of other civil liberties measures including anonymity for people accused of rape and doing away with DNA databases not to mention making sure that asylum seeker children aren’t held in dentention. And making sure people don’t get sent back to country’s where they fear being murdered for their sexuality. That was happening under Labour
    6. Limiting CCTV cameras
    7. Reducing corporation tax to 24% in 3 years
    8. Introducing an elected House of Lords
    9. Extra money for the poorest children
    10. Council Tax frozen for a year
    11. Keeping VAT for fuel at 5% (that essential aint going up)

    I could go on and on and on…

    All measures to be welcomed by Progressives. It might mean that middle England might have to do without for a bit but they’ve come to expect things as a right for far too long. Time to realise what the important things in life are. The things that matter and to focus some of the money at the people who really need it.

  12. Since you are still here Ashley can I just make a small correction. You say that:
    2. Taking millions out of tax altogether – raising threshold eventually to 10k.

    I think the actual number is 880.000, so it’s not “millions”.I also think you are being unfair. I get the impression that most people contributing to this blog would sympathise with your own plight. Also you have several times attacked those that attack civil liberties. Again, I think most people contributing to the blog would be with you on this. Overall I have been impressed how fair most of the comments have been; I don’t think there has been any overt party-politicing and I also get the impression that many of the contributors probably voted LibDem in the last election. The main point which you appear to have missed is the complaint (not moaning) that our elected representative appears to be ignoring all of the principles that she has previously said she stood for. She also offered an analysis of the budget which several of us consider to be flawed. She has not sought to defend her position.

    I can assure you Ashley that if this budget had been introduced by the Tories without LibDem support I would not be taking part in this blog. The fact that it relies on LibDem support and because our MP is a LibDem I have felt motivated enough to voice my opinion. I hope this meets your approval!

  13. Please read the Channel 4 fact check blog, based on an Institute for Fiscal Studies analysis. You have to look at the budget as a whole, not a random list of measures that appear more palatable. Taken as a whole, this budget isn’t about middle England – it’s hitting the poorest 10% hardest.

    Remember too that Nick Clegg has said Liberal Democrat values are ‘at the heart’ of this budget. This seriously calls into question what these values are. I thought once, under Charles Kennedy and Ashdown, they were progressive but it now seems they almost entirely align to a Tory view of the world.

  14. In the long run, you can’t manufacture credibility and confidence (in others) in a nation’s economy. Greece tried that for a while, “hiding” the true state of their public finances, and that has not got them far. In the Soviet era, there were ‘hard’ currencies and ‘soft’ currencies, reflecting the confidence in Communist economies.

    I have both worked on production lines in motorcar assembly factories and in the City (not banking, I hasten to add). A while ago, I used to subscribe to “Socialist Action” magazine; I’m wiser now. I detect a sense of unreality in comments by some in the public sector and those in receipt of state benefits, that taxes are somehow a tap connected to an un-drainable reservoir of cash. There is a refusal to recognize that droughts happen.

    I hope that confidence will return quickly for UK plc. It happened in Canada in the late 1990s when investors and employers could see that finally, a government was serious about tackling their enormous deficit. The confidence must be real and the jobs must be real.

    Britain’s government deficit is £156,000,000,000 and some folk have to worry about how to pay it down.

  15. Clive – £80bn came from the bank bailout – would you have sat by and done nothing while millions lost their jobs? I thought “we’re all in it together”

  16. I don’t need to read Channel 4 fact sheets or any other fact sheets linked to any media organisation. I can make my own judgement thanks very much. I really don’t believe it will hit the poorest 10% hardest. It might affect those people that choose to spend money on non-VAT exempt essentials. But that will be a choice. It won’t hit food, children’s clothes, central heating etc.

    And i’m sorry over the next few years, raising the tax threshold will take millions out of tax altogether. FACT! At the minute, yes it’s around 800,000 but it will also impact on all basic rate tax payers too. So we will all see an increase in our take home pay.

    Lynne is not ignoring her principles. She is having to act with what she is facing and I know she’ll be doing it with a heavy heart. I bet there’s some very heated debates going on behind the scenes – and rightly so. They are having to compromise i’m afraid. Can’t you people understand that at all????? They can’t have all they want because it’s a coalition.

    I don’t like the VAT increase at all but there’ll always be things you don’t like in a budget. That’s just life. Just because not everything ticks your box of demands is not a reason to lose faith.

    I am sure there will be some Lib Dems who will rebel and that’s their right to do so. Don’t think any of this has been easy for any of them.

  17. Yes Ashley you are right but I don’t think it’s what you really meant:”It might affect those people that choose to spend money on non-VAT exempt essentials.” Because if they are essential, there is no choice!

  18. And Clive is right. Many of the public sector jobs that have been created have been unsustainable not to mention the guaranteed pay rises every year. I cannot remember the last time (either in the private sector or as a self employed person) that I was guaranteed a pay rise. Public sector workers under 21k a year are being protected. I earn about 21k (my pay isn’t protected…so public sector people should realise how lucky they are again…the gvmt could have hit them much, much harder than they have done).

    There is a lot of wastage in the public sector. My business employs 2 or 3 people doing a job the public sector will employ 25 people for. And those people, i tell you know wouldn’t survive one minute in the private sector. They couldn’t multi-task to save their life. We simply CANNOT afford to keep this over-bloated state.

    Yes the state has its place but we need to prioritise and to kick-start real industry again…not one based on a propped up, overly subsidised economy

  19. Carl…lol…i meant luxuries…Yes they may have to do without a holiday or a new TV or kitchen or something. You know the things people seem to value above all else today – the consumer obsessed, status and ‘money is all that matters’, branson/alan sugar admiring society started by Thatcher and continued by Blair/Brown. Actually i can’t remember the last time I had a holiday….must be about 6 years ago. i simply cannot afford it as someone building a business. Sacrifices have to be made

  20. I do read all the comments. And whilst having a blog and posting when the going gets tough means I take a direct hit from the anger understandably expressed in some of the comments – I am still glad that we are in Government and managed to get through into the budget measures that will help those who otherwise might have been even worse affected. The alternative was a Tory Government and a budget without those measures.

  21. So, is that it Lynne? Your’e not going address any of the concerns raised on your award winning blog?

  22. Lib Dem Deputy Leader Simon Hughes has just said he’s willing to table amendments to the budget to make things fairer. You see this is coalition politics. People can disagree but be in Gvmt. It’s grown up politics. Some of things you lot are moaning about might not happen after all. There’ll be a debate and a decision will be made.

  23. Ashley
    You’re like a bald man who’s happy to have been bought a comb.
    You keep ranting about ‘people don’t know how lucky they are’, well what’s wrong with aspiring to live above the poverty level?
    And as for the contributor’s to this blog being in the minority? If you lived down here and not in Manchester, you’d probably hear what I’ve been hearing on the streets today- an overwhelming sense of dissatisfaction and anger.
    They say it only takes one to get on the dancefloor at a wedding then everybody else get’s up- well it looks like you’re doing the moonwalk on your own mate.

    As everyone esle has suggested- read the facts; even as printed in the Tory press! This will thrust people into poverty.

    As to Ms.Featherstone’s response. It’s a non-response- completely disrspectful. Maybe (on a lower level) her ‘Mrs.Duffy’ moment.

  24. Carl – I doubt my ‘addressing your concerns’ will change your view of me at all. But – here goes anyway. Labour’s own pre-election plans were for £44 billion of cuts and 20% across-the-board cuts for Government spending. I think some of the concerns expressed above are fair and there are entirely valid discussion to be had about what we have cut and what tax increases we chose. But – that isn’t the substantive debate in the comments. There is criticism of what we have done – but no alternatives that would get us out of the financial hole the bankers and Labour left us in. The idea that somehow we could get away without cutting anything that hurt anyone I don’t think is credible. There were no happy answers to the deficit.

  25. Well Lynne if you look through the off-line correspondence w have had over the past couple of years you might recall that I firs wrote to you as “a should be Labour voter”. But I admired the LibDems stance on Iraq and I also expressed praise for your proactive approach which appeared in stark contrast to that of Barabar Roche. I have also expressed a lot of support for your policies on equal rights … I think I’ve also expressed support for several of the things that, according to records, you have also voted strongly in favour of, such as the non-renewal of Trident. So please don’t make out that I am intransigent, it’s an insult! And in fact priorto the General election I was encouraging friends to vote for you, as your Lib Dem collegue Bob Hare could confirm.

    All I am “challenging” nowis some of theplatitudes in your assessment of the budget;Pleaseaddress the concerns of the woman who asked what you meant by “we have all been living beyond our means”.

    Anyway Lynne, so as not to prolong this any more – my views of you have been positive! But I feel let down – I thought your assessment of the budget was just very poor or disingenuous, and I don’t think I’m the only one …

  26. Nick – i of course want people to aspire to be above the poverty level. I understand that. But did you really think that with the deficit the way it is, there wouldn’t be some pain? If it had been a pure Tory Gvmt, things would have been much worse. And if it had been a Lib/Lab gvmt, do you think there wouldn’t have been any cuts at all? Do you actually think Lynne and her colleagues wanted to take some of these measure? Do YOU really????

  27. Ms.Featherstone
    Why don’t you address more of the issues raised.
    Your response lacks any substance and is hardly credible, given the stance you professed to have taken pre-election.
    Why is Cap gains tax only at 28%, reducing to 24%- the lowest in Europe?
    Where’s the explanation for your about turn on VAT.
    Why are you forcing those at the lower end of the scale into poverty by way of pay cuts, once inflation kicks in.
    On and on it goes.
    Largely though, do you not have any sense of shame, knowing what you campaigned strongly for and have now dropped without any credible explanation other than sounding like a broken record “this is what the labour party forced us to do”.
    There were hundreds of economic alternatives, Simon Hughes, Paddy Ashdown and Kenneddy know it.
    Please explain how we’ve been living above our means.
    Can you not understand why the majority of your constituents have lost respect for you, given this clear lack of integrity?
    Will you resign the whip and try to claw a bit of respect back, or muddle along ignoring these comments, as power is more important to your ego?

  28. And if you really do need someone to point out what could have been done…
    Is it not obvious?
    What about raising taxes to those earning above £150K pa to 51, 52, 53 or even 55%. Instead of this right wing regressive strategy.
    Why not raise it more?
    Do you seriously think that the rich will feel any real pain?
    Do you think having to do without a 3rd car, or that 4th holiday a year would be a bit fairer than pushing people into poverty, single mums into low paid work, more nurses into the private sector and less bobbies on the beat?
    Be interested to see how long your celebrated police counter in Wood Green now lasts.

  29. I can understand why people are impatient on here, but I do have sympathy for Lynne in terms of delays in replying. A Ministers job is a busy one and credit where it’s due – she has posted on this issue whereas most of her colleagues are saying nothing (Sarah Teather, Ed Davey, Paul Burstow, David Heath – even Danny Alexander – have said nowt on their websites…wonder why?)

    But I would like a more thorough response to some of the specific points made. Lynne will no doubt call me a stuck record, but I’ll keep going in the hope of a response:

    The problem is the mismatch between saying ‘For me – the protection of the most vulnerable was the most important part of this austerity budget’ and impartial analysis which shows this is not the case. While Ashley is able to carry out complex economic analysis based on intricate financial predictions and make his own judgements on this (in his spare time presumably), I’d rather go with the mega-brains at the Institute for Fiscal Studies. And what they say about the budget makes it look very unfair on the bottom 10%. Have they got it wrong? (That’s a question for Lynne, not Ashley).

  30. The red book on the budget shows the distribution impact and makes the budget progressive not recessive. The IFS says the opposite. I don’t have a way of judging that as to which of them is right or wrong. Thanks for at least recognising that I have no time and am finding it very difficult to even post at all with my schedule. I can’t address all the points – but most will have been touched upon on Liberal Democrat Voice – where you can see the arguments laid out for and against. Just google it.

  31. Google it yourself Lynne, when you have time, and read all the comments on Vince Cable’s statement on why the VAT rise had to happen. Some of the comments might sound familiar.

  32. Lynne’s defence appears to rest on the following tenets:

    1 the budget is progressive, not regressive (ie it hits the richest, not the poorest)

    2 there was no alternative to the strategy now being pursued

    3 without Lib Dems in the coalition, it would have been much worse (ie much more regressive)

    My response to these points would be:

    1 Taken all together, despite some fairly minor progressive points, the budget is clearly and substantially regressive. It will hit the poor much harder than the rich. Various authorities have taken this view including the IFS.

    2 There are any number of alternatives, as always. Broadly speaking, cutting as little as possible, taxing big companies and the better off and concentrating on investment and growth would be a truly progressive approach, in both the meanings of that word.

    3 Without the Lib Dems in the coalition, the Tories’ right-wing inclinations would have been much more constrained. The Lib Dems in the coalition is much less a tempering factor, more a means of giving credibility to otherwise unacceptable policies.

  33. Lynne’s defence appears to rest on the following tenets:

    1 the budget is progressive, not regressive (ie it hits the richest, not the poorest)

    2 there was no alternative to the strategy now being pursued

    3 without Lib Dems in the coalition, it would have been much worse (ie much more regressive)

    My response to these points would be:

    1 Taken all together, despite some fairly minor progressive points, the budget is clearly and substantially regressive. It will hit the poor much harder than the rich. Various authorities have taken this view including the IFS.

    2 There are any number of alternatives, as always. Broadly speaking, cutting as little as possible, taxing big companies and the better off and concentrating on investment and growth would be a truly progressive approach, in both the meanings of that word.

    3 Without the Lib Dems in the coalition, the Tories’ right-wing inclinations could be opposed much more effectively. Lynne and others argue that the presence of the Lib Dems in the coalition has tempered the Tories’ right wing. But the opposite is true. Having the Lib Dems in the coalition gives the Tories credibility to pursue policies that otherwise would be unacceptable. The real way to oppose the Tories right-wing agenda is to oppose it – in opposition, not in coalition with them.

  34. Carl – sorry had to rush off before finished last comment.

    I am sorry I am a dissappointment to you. But I had a choice to make when I supported going into this coalition – and I made it. On the budget – obviously it is early days – but it is a tough budget. And whilst the banks and Labour put us into this financially disastrous mess – the issue is how we get out of it and try to protect the vulnerable from the worst of the affects. I don’t see any happy scenarios at this point.

    However, I do want to hear views so I can represent them inside government – and all who have posted comments here are taken note of. I may be in a coalition – but I am still your Liberal Democrat MP.

    I see all of those comments like resign and shout from the outside. I have obviously taken the opposite view – that I can get stuff into law that matters. I haven’t changed. It isn’t comfortable – but the test will be at the end of five years whether I feel it was worth it and did make the difference.

    If not – I will pay the political price.

  35. OK Lynne, I can accept it was a difficult decision (which could backfire on the LibDems as a whole) and I still don’t doubt your sincerity. But in your blog you said we are all personally responsible for over-spending (or something to that effect) and you have not explained what you meant by this. And you could at least admit that this budget will hit the poorest hardest; even Dave and Nick admitted that the pay freeze is in effect a pay-cut – but they only admitted this when taken to task on a TV programme. Simon Hughes said that he would table ammendments to make the budget fairer – so the language gives it away – it could be fairer!
    Well, this my first blog experience, has been interesting but I’ll swith off now. However, in the future I’ll be interested to see what you have to say when issues such as renewing Trident, stricter asylum laws, greater authority for schools and an elected House of Lords come up for debate. And also what about all those homophobic and fascist friends that the Tories ally themeselves with in Europe. I would genuinely like to know what the implications of the coalition are for LibDem policies towards Europe, so when you have time …

  36. whoops, sorry, it should of course been “greater autonomy for schools”.

  37. Do you not think a happier scenario would be to increase taxation for those earning above £150K as I posted above, instead of drawing down and reducing benefits for the needy, pushing an extra 750,000 (according to the Times) below the poverty line with a knock-on effect of increasing serious health issues?
    Do you think the vulnerable might be better protected in this way?
    It’s a short question.

    Being ‘independent’ from the whip doesn’t mean ‘shouting’ from the outside either, scores of MP’s have done it and shaped things for the better.
    After all, it’s the new politics-right?

  38. THERE have been compromises. Some voters are viscerally opposed to any compromise. There can never be any end to the criticism that can be mounted by the purists who reject all compromise. But politics is the art of the possible.

    For too long government of Britain has swung between two extremes, with each new government spending time and money correcting the excesses of the previous administration. It’s like two spoilt children yanking the toy from each other so he can play with it exclusively. The problem is the toy gets damaged. The waste is huge.

    The spending spree of the last administration was based on a belief that that growth was endless and that boom and bust had been abolished. It is hard for any government to distinguish between economic boom times and a economic equilibrium. It is probably harder for a government to apply the brakes when things are going [too] well than it is for a government to press the accelerator in bad times.

    I regard the Coalition as more than just an expedient, necessary thing: it may actually be a good thing of itself and shows finally some maturity in politics. Coalitions are normal overseas and if any form of PR comes in, as it should, we may see more coalition government.

    Many heads are better than fewer and more rounded decisions will come forth.

  39. For local voters see page 3 of today’s Haringey Independent if you think we have no power.

  40. Thanks for your reply Lynne. Final post on this from me (to avoid accusation of being a stuck record!).

    The Red Book may show some progressive steps, but this is because it takes into account measures which pre-date this Government (e.g 50% tax rate introduced by Labour). What the IFS have done is base their calculation on measures in this Budget – which shows that overall it IS regressive and hits the bottom 10% hard. This is a matter of number-crunching, not opinion.

    I think this is desperately wrong and, whatever the size of the deficit, I would find this indefensible. We no doubt face tough times but all the more reason to bend over backwards to help the poorest (which tax cuts don’t touch). It’s therefore mystifying – and of great concern – that, according to Clegg, this budget has ‘Lib-Dem values at its heart’.

  41. To help support the one or two who may be undecided about this budget, the BBC news homepage has got a dead easy to use budget calculator.
    Just punch in the numbers and hey presto.

    I tried 5 different permitations, based on salary, the only one that gave me an outcome of being in a better position was when I increased the salary field to £149,000 pa (as I believe many high earners are avoiding pay rises to take them into the 50% tax band- offset by long-held shares and/or liquid equity).

    Funny that…

  42. I find these budget calculators are a bit hit and miss. Everyone situation is totally different. I intend to be better off because I earn a low income and pay little in the way of goods which charge any vat. I don’t have kids so don’t benefit from child benefit nor do I have tax credits but I do pay income tax of course and council tax. I am certain I will be better off

  43. Lol nope because I’m not a fan of the sun. Ok i’ve tried this calculator and I’ll actually be several hundred pounds a year better off. Thanks lynne!! And yes I’m on a low income! So there you go…

  44. Ahh, the old ‘I’m alright Jack’ approach.
    Get in the sun Ashley, sounds like the vitamin D might do you some good.

  45. 48% of those who voted LibDem at the election won’t do again according to todays poll in the Observer (The Observer, we may remember supported the LibDems at the election).

    As a parent with a partner on a low income, I will now have to find an employer who will let me work 9.30-2pm 4 days a week, in order to stay in the house we’re in now.
    The VAT increase and loss of benefit and tax credit will see our income reduce by 14% over the course of the year.
    The day care I will need (cos I can’t afford a nursery), will be cancelled out by the job I take.

    Thanks Lynne Featherstone, minsiter for equalities!!

  46. My experience of Lynne is that she is a person with principles. She knows what sort of constituency she represents and what her obligations are to her voters. For example she has been a real champion of the Fair Deal for Haringey Children campaign and we all have very high hopes for her to deliver, now she’s in government. I’m sure we won’t be disappointed. She’s very tough and very well placed to deliver:

    http://www.fairdealforharingeychildren.org/

  47. I saw Vince Cable being interviewed on Andrew Marr this morning. He looked so uncomfortable and so unhappy to be defending the Budget that I started to feel sorry for him – until I remembered that he had a choice. No LibDem has to be to be the position they currently ‘enjoy.’ Lynne – you had a strong personal vote at the last election but you have decided to disregard the feelings of these voters in favour of exercising political power for a few years. Well, that was the choice you made and here you are, minister for equalities. So tell me, what is equal about suggesting to someone who has no work – but, despite being unhappy about this does have the support of family and friends around them and perhaps children at local schools also – that they should move to a completely different part of the country to seek a job? Uproot the family without even a guarantee of getting work? You wish to treat people who live in social housing as though they were pieces on a games board, everyone separate from one another and no with no social connections worth your consideration. How thoughtless, how cruel. How unequal. What will you have to say to Iain Duncan Smith about this?

  48. Helen…i’m sorry but why is an intelligent person buying the spin? No one has said ‘Get on Yer Bike’. All IDS has said is that he’d like to give people incentives to move to other areas where there may be work – i.e help them. Lots of people get stuck/trapped in an area due to all sorts of things – cost of travel/transport etc. I think it’s a welcome move. Unfortunately it’s being completely twisted and you’ve fallen for the spin.

    Julie P – can you actually properly explain to me how and why you will be worse off. I’d really like to understand

    Julie Davies – spot on!

  49. To Ashley

    Because I did the maths on income, outgoings, what is Vat-able at 20% versus what has zero/held status.
    The frozen benefit I will continue to receive minus the difference this will be if you factor inflation; the benefit and tax credit I’ll now lose, the hourly rate I may receive in a part-time job deducted y the average pay for a child-minder (which reverses itself)…
    Hopefully you’ll work the rest of it out. If you had a family on a low income, you’d understand- as you don’t, you may show your liberal credentials and empathise.

    Not too sure why I should be explaining this to you, from what I’ve read, you seem like an irritating character.