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Taxing the patience of business

12 March 2008 15:45

The Chancellor’s claim that his Budget provides a stable tax regime for business is absurd. Far from providing a stable tax regime, Labour has repeatedly tinkered with the system, increasing… Continue reading


A bundle of debt

12 March 2008 15:35

If you’re sitting down, have a look at this government debt projection. One of my favourite parts of the Budget is the Maastricht Treaty debt, calculated under a definition the… Continue reading


The Tory response

12 March 2008 15:23

Some initial responses on the Tory side: 1) The troops are delighted with Cameron’s performance which was very assured: they think their man is getting better, learning on the job.… Continue reading


A line of cocaine is now cheaper than half a pint of cider

12 March 2008 15:13

The biggest story in today’s Budget – ie, what will hit the public immediately – is the booze hikes. From 6pm tonight, they take effect. An extra 4p on a… Continue reading


A Mail order Budget

12 March 2008 15:04

I suspect that the government will be quite pleased if this Budget is nothing more than a one day story. There was no headline-or-vote-grabbing initiative in it. Instead Darling chose… Continue reading

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Backing vocals for Darling

12 March 2008 14:51

Who else reckons that Mr Darling’s plodding budget could have used a lively soundtrack? Well, here’s my recommendation: Goody Two Shoes by Adam and the Ants. The lyrics pretty much… Continue reading


Unflattering comparisons

12 March 2008 14:40

The most pathetic aspect of Darling’s speech, just reiterated by Patricia Hewitt on the BBC’s coverage, was the recourse to comparisons with the last Tory government. Every administration, especially one… Continue reading


Binge borrowers

12 March 2008 13:51

The TV pundits still don’t seem to grasp the enormity of the Chancellor’s borrowing binge to come, all the more significant because of the borrowing binge we’ve already had. The… Continue reading


Targeting Brown

12 March 2008 13:50

No room for manoeuvre: that is David Cameron’s mantra in response to Darling’s “resilience and stability” formula. The theme could hardly be simpler: we failed to put aside money for… Continue reading


A tax-raising Budget

12 March 2008 13:42

The Red Book has arrived – and with it the magical Table 1.2, proof this is a tax-raising budget. We’ll all collectively pay the government £140m less in the next… Continue reading

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Cameron v Balls

12 March 2008 13:39

Cameron’s enjoying a bit of a duel with Ed Balls.  After the latter again muttered something under his breath, Cameron responded: "Thank you.  I know he’s the Minister for Children, but he… Continue reading


But what would the Tories do?

12 March 2008 13:39

Cameron is making an effective attack on Darling and his non-Budget. He is rightly concentrating on the government’s consistent and substantial underestimating of budget deficits. But if the deficits are… Continue reading


Not a Budget performance from Cameron

12 March 2008 13:36

Cameron, also sporting a purple tie, is delivering one of his stronger performances. He has some eye-catching stats—Britain is in the same debt league as Pakistan, Hungary and Egypt—and sounds… Continue reading


Cameron steps up

12 March 2008 13:32

David Cameron’s begun his reponse to Darling’s speech.  He’s started well, and is taking on the Chancellor over his dodgy figures and misrepresentations – exactly the right approach.  He’s even… Continue reading


Not much to say, Darling

12 March 2008 13:26

He’s sat down already! So much for the spin that he would speak for an hour. He barely had enough for half an hour and eked that out to 50… Continue reading


Drinkers clobbered

12 March 2008 13:26

In an effort to stamp out binge-drinking, the taxes on alcohol will be increased.  Beer prices will go up by 4p a pint; wine up 14p a bottle; cider up 3p a litre.  And… Continue reading


A do nothing Budget

12 March 2008 13:20

We’re already into padding … a penny here, a penny there on various pet spending projects (schools, apprentices) which have already underperformed despite the billions thrown at them … and… Continue reading


Borrowing to soar

12 March 2008 13:16

Darling says government will be borrowing £14bn for the four years to 2010/11 – this is £20bn more than forecast at the Pre-Budget Report in October.


Here comes the green…

12 March 2008 13:16

It’s been billed as the "Green Budget".  Here are some of Darling’s green announcements:  1) The Government are considering raising the carbon emissions target, for an 80% cut in emissions by… Continue reading


Homes are where the votes are

12 March 2008 13:16

You have to say this for New Labour they have learned from Margaret Thatcher’s success in 1980s and understand how critical is for them to be the party of home… Continue reading


The crazy Cabinet

12 March 2008 13:06

Any citizen tuning in to the BBC to watch the Budget would conclude that we are governed by a wardful of maniacs. As Darling drones on, Jack Straw and Alan… Continue reading


Borrow, borrow and borrow again

12 March 2008 13:04

The bottom line of this budget so far: lower growth and higher borrowing … indeed higher borrowing for as far as the eye can see. There is not a surplus… Continue reading

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Scant consolation

12 March 2008 13:03

The loans available to small businesses are going to be increased.  I suspect that small business owners would have preferred it if Brown hadn’t increased their taxes in Budget 2007.

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Tackling poverty

12 March 2008 12:59

At the moment, the Government’s going to miss its target to halve child poverty by 2010 by some distance.  As expected, Darling’s trying to make up some of the ground. … Continue reading

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"Investment" not waste

12 March 2008 12:53

Another Brown-style trick.  Darling’s just waxing lyrical about the "record levels of investment" in public services.  Never mind that we haven’t seen commensurate improvements in those services.  Never mind all the waste.  Like… Continue reading

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