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Budget help needed

No no, not money. I need ideas.

I recently agreed to do another chat spot on 18 Doughty Street TV, and like a fool I picked Tuesday March 20th, i.e. this evening, all unaware that tomorrow is Budget Day, and we would all have to talk about the damn Budget. I hate, hate, hate Budget Days and Budgets, and conversations about Budget Day and conversations about Budgets, from the depths of my soul. I find the details of tax law deeply depressing and complicated, not least deeply depressing because so damn complicated. Plus everyone on regular TV drones on about it all for hour after hour, while saying (because knowing) extremely little, like cricket commentators when it is raining only not funny or interesting.

Anyway, I got an email this morning from His IainDaleness which included the following instruction:

We will talk about tomorrow’s budget in the first half hour. Please come armed with three things you’d like the Chancellor to do and three things you think he actually will do.

Any suggestions? I particularly need help with the “he actually will do” bit. Generally, presumably, he will (a) kiss babies and (b) steal their lollypops. (A lollypop for whoever can pin down the movie reference there.) But more precisely, what specific horrors are in the pipeline? I assume a lot of anti-4×4 crap. But what else?

And, of course, suggestions about what he should do will also be trawled through with a view to me using the best of them tonight, probably without credit to the originator.

I think that the entire government down be shut down for ever and taxes lowered to zero. But I think they want something more precise than that. So far, I can only think of saying, again, that The Top Rate of Income Tax Should Be Cut to Zero, which I think is a brilliant idea, if only because it makes the current lot of leftier-than-thou Conservatives squirm.

I am now off to read what UKIP has to say, budget-wise. (So far I have not got beyond the heading. Which should surely say “fiddles” rather than “tinkers”. The Emperor Nero was a violinist, was he not?)

23 comments to Budget help needed

  • Nick M

    Well, obviously, it’s all going to be green and will be accompanied with a very large stick and a very small carrot.

    There will be tax-breaks for Windy Miller and aviation tax will go up a lot. There will be a lot of crap on “congestion charges”. If you run a car that needs more power than is provided by a AAA battery be afraid.

    Essentially Prudence Broon will see his (final?) budget as an opportunity to stake his credentials as PM in waiting (not much longer?) and it will be more Broonite than ever. Expect a huge quantity of cash to be put into the NHS money pit. Expect something subtle and nasty involving the charitable status of private schools and state funding of “faith-based” schools and “City Academies”. Essentially it will mean a big power grab on private education by creating some bewildering PPI nexus.

    The only thing Mr Broon could do that would please me is pull out his (soon to be banned) samurai sword and ritually disembowel himself on the floor of the House of Commons.

  • anyonebutblair

    Three things I’d like the chancellor to do
    – remove the 10% lower rate of tax to remove all minimum wage earners from the tax system
    – cut corporate taxation to drive business growth
    – reduce the personal rate of tax i.e cut the basic rate of tax by 2-3% and raise the higher rate of tax to say £65,000…to fund it…why not cut some bureacracy, cancel ID cards and the Connecting for Health IT programme….(i.e. hell will freeze first)

    Three things he will do:
    – tinker with allowances so the average income family is better of by £1.27 per week, whilst a high earning family is worse off by £1.18 per week…well really! What is the point….
    – clobber 4×4 drivers to prove he really is green, like it makes much difference (assuming CO2 has anything to do with climate change…the total vehicle emissions in the UK is about one months emissions growth in china…)
    – hide away the really nasty stuff (strangely not mentioned in the speech) in the small print of annex F, page 723 where he abolishes some tax allowances and exceptions that raise an additional £1.5Bn in tax and cause much wailing in the press in about a week or two’s time when the accountants have finally waded through to page 723

  • Clearly great minds think alike! Look forward to seeing you later 🙂

  • jdubious

    the reference is to “hunt for red october,” nyet?

  • Didn’t Mr Bean steal a baby’s lollypop in his “I Want To Be Elected” Comedy Relief skit?

  • Brian,

    Firstly, good luck tonight. I hope I can look in.

    What Gorgon should say:

    1- Flat tax
    2- Reverse pensions grab
    3- Come clean about the HUGE off balance sheet expenditure and liabilities created by PFI.

    What he will do:

    1- Bugger up the Private Education Sector
    2- Introduce mutton-headed “green” taxes to soften us up for the “Carbon Credit Card” Miliband is itching to thrust upon us.
    3- Repeat old spending commitments as if they are new

    The man is Sociofascist thug.

    “NeueArbeit Macht Frei”

  • Paul Marks

    Three things Mr Brown should do.

    1. Spend less money – or at least stop increasing government spending.

    2. Cut taxes.

    3. Make tax less complicated – i.e. have a single rate of income tax (a flat tax) and no endless pages of regulations and “tax credits” (money from the Treasuary – rather than exceptions from taxation).

    Three things that Mr Brown will do.

    1. Spend more of other people’s money (whilst at the same time talking about all the “savings” he is making).

    2. Take more money in tax (even as a percentage of the economy) whilst, at the same time, putting on a show of keeping taxes down.

    3. Make taxes more complicated – whilst saying he making them more straight forward.

  • RAB

    Three things I’d like him to do

    Apologise for destroying UK pention funds and selling half our gold reserves at the bottom of the market.

    Apologise for being a weak kneed shit who’s inability to assert himself has lumbered us with mr PR rather than PM for the last ten years.
    If he had become leader when he thought he should we would have a government led by William Hague right now. Nobody is ever going to vote Gordon over a tub of lard even, now are they?
    Thirdly I want him to apologise profusely for all his mistaken socialist thoughts and commit public Hari Kari with an egg whisk.
    Dont worry Gordon , we’ll wait. Unlike Saddam, the MSN will enthusiastically carry the pictures.

    What he will do
    Smirk (look at my new teeth!)
    Stick his hands so far down your trouser pockets you are never ever going to get them out.

  • Tim S


    Can’t help with the exact specifics of what he will do, but three things he should do:

    1. Cut taxes

    2. As long as taxes have to exist he should make them more transparent. i.e. Instead of getting employers (PAYE & NHI) and shopkeepers (VAT) to do his pilfering, he should make everyone work out their own taxes and pay from their own pockets. Taxes would then piss everyone right off and make the nature of the theft loud and clear.

    3. Cut spending. It’s no good cutting taxes without cutting spending.

    Good luck.

  • Freeman

    Brown says:

    “Listen everyone, I want to be serious for a moment. Last night I was reading some stuff on economics by a guy called Milt Friedman, silly yank name. Anyway, he had this crazy idea that people know how to spend their own money better than government. So I thought about that, and maybe he’s got a point. Why should I go to all the bother of collecting 43% of GDP in taxes just to spend some of it for you and redistribute the rest?
    “Now, I’ve got to have some cash for the essentials like defence, police, councils and the new slimline NHS. (Oh, I haven’t mentioned that yet, but I’ll come to it.) I reckon that basic spend would be about 25% of GDP. But we can’t reduce spending overnight, so let’s round it up to, say, 30% GDP and the rest is yours to keep.
    “What about cuts in services, I hear you say? Well, the GDP ‘pot’ is still the same and, with lower taxes, you’ll have more to spend yourself, so shop around for the best deals.
    “Anyway, I wouldn’t trust anyone else as Chancellor — once he got his hands on all that money he might spend it wastfully!”

  • 1327

    How about just getting rid of National Insurance ? I have just had the usual “since I earn above £200K we want £20K next year or else” letter from them. Despite the fact I don’t earn anything near that I have to go through the yearly ritual of filling in a form telling them how much I did earn. This despite the fact HMRCC know this already. There just appears to be two totally separate bureaucracies running in parallel. To be honest I have no idea what they actually do anyway and I thought I was opted out of everything I possibly could but they still keep demanding money with menaces.

    Oh and I don’t want anyone telling me NI is a Ponzi scheme – It isn’t. At least Ponzi scheme victims think they are going to get something in the end I already know I’m not getting a penny from then.

  • Nick M

    I used to temp for Nico. It was almost as bad as the RPA (about which I posted recently). NI is rape and pillage carried out on Noth Tynside which makes the destruction of monasteries on South Tynside (the Venomous Bede and all that) look like kiddy-stuff.

  • What he should do:
    1. Strap himself up with semtex and detonate himself mid speech, this being the budget the house will be full and he could take an awful lot of parasites with him. Including the simpering fools next to him on the front bench, and a great deal of those across from him.
    2. Have devices planted in all government offices which are linked to the one he’s carrying so that they all go off simultaneously.
    3. Be proclaimed the first hero of the revolution.

    What he will do:
    1. Enlarge an already grossly overweight civil service.
    2. Spend my money on things I don’t want.
    3. Lead us ever further down the road towards a totally planned economy, which is destined to fail miserably.

    I realise that my ventings in the comments here have been getting rather extreme. I apologise for this, but you don’t get rid of a hornets nest by poking it gently and hoping it goes away of its own accord, you cover it in petrol and set it alight.

  • steves

    Can I offer a strange what he will do if not too late

    I bet he will reduce corporation tax (or at least raise allowances)
    remember he his starting his election campaign and he needs to pretend to be business friendly

    possibly also CGT or innheritance tax

    he will also raise the availability for rent for all his hangers on

    It will sound as if he his helping us all while being his usual pick pocket

  • Midwesterner


    I expect that this hornet nest, like so many of the real ones in the wild, will simply get so big that it breaks whatever it is attached to. When that happens, it is best to not be anywhere near it.

    A method I have used with great success is to hook up a shop vacuum with a couple of inches of soapy water in it and then but the nozzle at the entrance to the nest. (I use several hoses and tape it to a long stick.) It really does clean them out in a day or so. I wish there was some way this model could be a metaphor for something that would control government, but nothing comes to me.

    But maybe Brian can place into people’s minds the metaphor of government or its budget as a hornets nest on a branch that is breaking under the load.

  • Hi Brian,

    I would speed-read “Economics in One Lesson” by Henry Hazlitt tonight, (or at least do the chapter intros and summaries) and then apply each lesson to each policy, as it comes out of the fat git’s maw, eg:

    Brown – “It will be better for one-parent families in London to have 50 pounds extra a week, so I will, blah, blah, blah…”

    Hazlitt/Bastiat – “But what about all the other damn families who this 50 pounds is stolen from, plus the cost of all the civil servants doing the redistribution, plus the effect on societal motivation to generate this wealth in the first place; what about these hidden costs? Why does Brown never factor those into the equation?, etc, etc”

    There are going to be lots of surprises tomorrow as this is Brown’s first plank in his bid to being an ELECTED Prime Minister, and he’ll have been scheming on this for decades, so don’t rely on making too many firm predictions.

    Good luck, and knock ’em dead.


  • Glad to see you got your 0% top tax suggestion in. The host seemed to understand where you were coming from but I don’t think the others knew what to make of it…

    I think I heard one of anyonebutblair’s predictions, too, right down to the page number. 😉

    The only shame was that the show wasn’t very conducive to serious discussion; the conversation was all over the place. But perhaps that is the point of this particular show.

    Anyway, that was my first evening viewing of 18 Doughty St and it made a very refreshing change from broadcast TV.

  • Phil A

    What he will do?

    Well for a start he will bung up tax on cigarettes. That’s almost a given. Possibly on alcohol too.
    The evil satanic 4×4 drivers will get theirs in the form of a hefty increase in car tax that the performing seals will all clap at. Maybe grab something extra on fuel too.
    He will conspicuously repeat lost of previous spending as if it was new.

    What he should do?

    The list is really lots longer than 3 items.
    Abolish inheritance tax – Possible.
    Get rid of stamp duty – Probably not.
    Undo the damage he has already done to pensions – Fat Chance!

  • Yes (Rob) I did use anyonebutblair’s posting a lot, but I also especially found the comment of “steves” on small tax CUTS most convincing, and well worth a punt.

    This budget, I think, is different. Brown is now battling to become PM and will probably soon be battling to stay PM. That’s different from being the mere Chancellor, when his priority was lavishing money on his various clients and political supporters. He now needs to reach out beyond those people.

    Which is not to say that he will, merely that if he is clever (or cleverly and forcefully advised) he will. A popular poll-influencing budget will end all doubts in the Labour Party about installing him, and give him a chance in the next election. A typical Brown tax grab would, in addition to not being what any of US want, a mistake on his part, given even his vile ambitions.

  • hardatwork

    “The Emperor Nero was a violinist, was he not?)”

    At least Nero had that redeeming feature.
    With regarding to my pension plan, GB has been more like Leatherface from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

  • Paul Marks

    I was going to put a longish budget comment here – but as J.P. has put up a posting for such comments, it seems silly to type the same thing twice. So just a short one.

    I was correct about Mr Brown putting on a show of keeping taxes down – indeed he has even cut a couple of tax rates, whilst increasing other tax rates.

    Overall his people claim that taxes have not gone up, but we will have to wait for the exports to go through all the fine print. Of course they certainly have not gone down (by any measure).

    Government spending has gone up again, I was wrong in thinking that Mr Brown would talk a lot about nonexistant savings (although he did mention the subject).

    And taxes are likely, overall, to be more complicated – for all the talk of simplification.

  • Paul Marks

    “experts” not “exports”.

    Now off to see a friend of mine who has had a misfortune.