I have to confess that while I wanted to write something profound about the budget that was delivered just a week ago, words fail me, but since I had already created the blog entry I felt I should say at least something that while not quite having the wow factor to which I aspire may yet prove useful to some and for yours truly it remains a means of tracing my thoughts in these heady days in which we live.
Even since I was a boy and began my lifetime fascination with politics, I have always been intrigued by the budget, as much because it remains one of the great traditions, often preceded by the Chancellor of the Exchequer waving his tatty red briefcase (although I think a new one is now being used), containing the secrets of the soon to be revealed budget, before an eagerly anticipating public.
Now that I am a bit more wised up about modern politics and have learned by hard experience the significance of budgets, as well as the need for them if we are to manage one’s affairs well (in the case that of the country) I look more at the detail, not just the highlights that newspapers would have us read and not just because of how it might affect me personally, as relevant that may be.
As for relevance, going back some years now, when New Labour got into power, how my own business (which was effectively that of a computer contractor operating under the umbrella of my limited company) was dealt a serious blow with changes in the tax regime – but I did look at the bigger picture and considered how it might help the vulnerable members of our society and benefit the economy.
Looking at this budget, it struck me that most of the changes were neutral when it came to whether they effected me personally, EXCEPT I now learn that my son who is due to go to university in a year’s time will no longer receive a maintenance grant and instead it will be a loan, and thus adding to his debt burden. One of the details, when delving deeper into the budget content is the way young people will now receive less by way of benefits, and I fear this will add to homelessness among young people.
There has been much discussion on the budget with, unsurprisingly, a wide difference in opinion on its contents, and here I have to raise my hand and say my analysis is far from complete. In one sense the government should be congratulated in delivering a budget that is consistent with its manifesto. Not only is this the first Conservative budget for twenty years, it is also the first in a new Parliament when often less palatable measures are introduced. I get that the new government’s aim is to get people working and reduce the national debt, and part of this is to continue to reduce the welfare budget, and all fairness it was less draconian than might have been expected, although some will disagree, pointing to the measures announced to reduce tax credits, where the poor tend to lose out most.
While I am all for encouraging enterprise, getting people working, reducing taxes, supporting business and eliminating debt, it still worries me that the burden continues to fall, more than it ought, on the poorer members of our society rather than on the rich. I am angry corporations that profit in this country escape paying tax.