I spent the time Gordon Brown was on his feet delivering the budget at the funeral in Nuneaton of Harry Cawthorne, who was the Chairman of Nuneaton Conservatives at the time I was selected and a very generous man, one of a kind. So I wasn’t able to tune in to what was happening in the Commons and after a drink with the many friends I got to know in Nuneaton I rushed to the meeting of a working party at the Council offices.
I’ve just had the opportunity to catch up with the budget proposals looking at a couple of websites & listening to the news in the car. It looks as though Brown has tried to bring out some popular ideas such as the reduction in the basic rate of income tax, despite having next to no room to manoeuvre with spending already committed to massive levels. People and particularly those on lower incomes will think that they’re going to be better off but will loose out because the 10p in the pound rate on the first layer of income is being withdrawn. To maintain their income ,low earning families will have to apply for tax credits, which many of them fail to do as they are too complicated. At the other end of the scale those on higher earning will loose out as national insurance threshold increase. Add this to the buried Lyons report published today proposing an additional Council tax band for more expensive properties, there will be fewer winners from the budget than the Chancellor would have everyone believe. I guess the person intended to benefit from this budget was Brown himself, as he sets out his credentials for Labour MPs to select him as the next Prime Minister and from the reaction I’ve heard he has succeeded in this aim. The consequences for individual people and the country as a whole will be something else.