Budget speeches used to come and go with the same frequency as daffodils. Now we get them twice a year. I’ve watched more of them than I care to remember. My daughter Fiona reminded me on Twitter this week that her childhood memories of Budget Day before the internet was dreamed up was of me sitting in front of the TV scribbling notes furiously!
Nowadays the budget notes are published and immediately available and we live in an age of instant knowledge and comment. It’s all on our website already – have a look!
Except in this busy age what lacks is considered opinion, careful thought and measured analysis.
George promised to make taxes fairer and simpler and I applaud that ideal. But it’s not that easy.
To sweeten the pill on the introduction of clawback on child benefit he introduced a tapering system for those with incomes between £50,000 and £60,000. So how exactly will that work with PAYE where people don’t know what their salary is until the end? And self employed people now have another level of planning to cope with – lets juggle higher rate tax thresholds, tax credit thresholds and child benefit thresholds. Oh, and why not throw in the choice of cash accounting as well.
So George – you thought it would make life simple?
And the “Granny Tax”? That had to happen. What is the rationale behind people paying less tax just because they happen to be over 65? While they are about it, what is the rationale for all older people getting lots of extra tax-free benefits. Yes, by all means support those on minimal incomes of every age group, but there’s no logic why a pensioner with £50000 paying 40% tax should get a winter fuel allowance when an individual on £18,000 a year does not.
How do we make things fair?
Will it make our economy grow – like others in business I deparately hope so – although I suspect many businesses will continue to stockpile cash and remain risk-averse until “confidence” returns.
For my money the best (and funniest blog I read on the budget was this one…