Thursday 19 March 2015

The Empty Budget and No Future Election 2015

As predicted, the Budget yesterday was an all round non event.

Some 'reward' for savers, a bit of pork barrelling for Lib Dem and Tory marginal seats, another little smack for the Banks, a few other bits.

Overall, nothing was said and little was done.

The reaction in the media in the next few days will be interesting to see. Already Ed Balls has said there was nothing he would change in the Budget - surely this plays into SNP and UKIP hands, showing how little imagination the tow main parties have.

As ever with UK budgets, the hardest times are always ahead of us. In this case, the need for significant cuts in expenditure are set for next year and the year after; no coincidence that these will be the first of the electoral cycle. Sad though, that even 8 years after the Financial Crash, only 1/3rd of the real damage has been healed. There is much pain to come.

The ludicrous decisions to spend ever more on Health and Overseas Aid are going to come back to hit the Tories in the next few weeks, if it dawns on the media that many Government departments are going to whither away on the back of this decision, most importantly being defence.

With Labour also keen not to talk about the future, it will make for a bizarre election campaign.


Nick Drew said...

so - he either couldn't, or didn't want to, square away Clegg for an election budget

what a game

BE said...

I hate this hatred of the overseas aid budget that pours forth from shortsighted Kippers.

1) the aid budget isn't just giving money to build wells, it is a carrot/stick to buy political influence abroad;

2) lots of the world is genuinely poor, and no I don't mean poor in the way that Liverpool is poor, I mean actually poor; have some sense of decency you tight bastards.

Jer said...


1) I don't want us to buy political influence, at least not whilst our foreign policy is so stupid.

2) To what effect? Easy to say, but what are you actually going to do that will help? What good has all the bleeding hearted doe-eyed imbecility done so far? Africa can grow and modernise, but probably better without a dependency culture.

I don't actually feel that strongly about it, because it's only consuming 0.7% of GDP, but I still think it's one amongst many examples of waste.

BE said...

Well let's say that a TPLAC (hello Sir Humphrey) is beginning to realise that it ought to reform so its population can start to catch up with that of its booming neighbours. Who does it turn to, the country with which it has built up a friendly post-independence relationship, or China? As a UK taxpayer, would you rather the population/captains of industry/politicians turn to British suppliers or some other?

Or should we just give up, save ourselves £20 each a year, and withdraw from the world?

0.7% of our GDP is a rounding error. The difference turning off the tap would make to the state of the public finances is approximately zero.

Oh, and this will really piss off the We Hate The World brigade: people in the world actually have some time for the Brits.

dearieme said...

"Ed Balls has said there was nothing he would change in the Budget": but there was quite a bit he'd have changed in the budget speech. He'd have liked more about kitchens and DoVs, I'm sure.

Jan said...

I thinkl the cryptic reference to "cuts in welfare spending" mean some cuts for pensioners who have done quite nicely so far. Get their votes first then hit them in year 1 and hope they've forgotten or popped their clogs by the time of the next election.

andrew said...

The two main parties positions may well be quite similar for the same reasons that nowadays I can barely tell the difference between Audi/BMW/Ford big saloons.

Pushing the analogy, there were plenty of people who said they liked the idea of a C5, but not many actually bought one.

CityUnslicker said...

BE - there are better ways than the Aid budget. Aid has, in the main been utterly wasted and we have been exceptionally poor at aiming it.

Huge amounts line the pockets of dictators et al.

Would you say the same of EU aid budget - that we should be OK with the support to French farmers et al, because AID IS GOOD.

I would be happier if the BIll and Melinda Gates foundation got a massive donation from the UK to be frank.

Or if Foreign aid was actually aimed at our allies and potential allies.

Sadly, it is nothing of the sort and makes a great case for small government.

BE said...

No of course not, because a) French farmers are already rich and b) there is no goodwill generated by handing over money to an entire nation that hates us.

The UK aid budget is not an example of big government; pensioner bonds and all those other subs are much much worse.

As for small government, not even your beloved Ukip wants such a thing. Ukip would cut off the 0.7% and spend it on building peace walls or to boost NHS spending by 0.001%. Ukip is not a party of small government, and the sooner free-market people stop fantasising that Nigel would slash the state the better.

Suff said...

“most importantly being defence.” Don’t need them, now MilliBand has weaponised the State. Top decision in my book. Now we can send all those social workers, psychotherapist…out to finish the wars Labour started (there’s more of them than the serving military anyway). “ so you think by chopping my head off, this would somehow empower you? Let’s talk about your parents”

hovis said...

The aid budget is totemic but not that large. However there is little reason to support any ringfencing. I would agree with BE there is a meanness of spirit in the discussion of it. However that it is used so BAE and others might flog their wares means really it's a corporate subsidy. It does little to actually aid. Africa has been doing far better with direct quid pro quo as the Chinese have been giving (even though advantageous to them) rather aid given due to outdated notions of colonial guilt of which the middle class Ghanaians and Nigerians I have worked with there don't directly worry about - they have tended to aspire to making money and going on holiday to Dubai...

O/T The corporatist boondoggle that is the NHS should not be ringfenced either, and while we're at it scrap Trident - a waste of money as we can't use its not a credible threat as we cant use it without approval of the Septics. Lets but so usuable weapons for once.

Suff said...

I don’t object to foreign aid and helping the poor reach a better quality of life. My problem is the filtering system by which only a small percentage, if any, actually reaches the poor. As a true capitalist I understand the wheels of commerce need oiling and everybody needs to make a crust. The problem when the state does it is, they and their buddies are the filter. When they are taking 80 and in some cases 95% of the money, why would they fix the problem their income is based on?

Sandalista said...

Has George abolished "boom and bust"?

Every spend is determined by income and George has forecast a straight 2.5% GDP growth each year.

But since GDP growth has historically been cyclical then he has either lied ... or he will achieve something Gordon never could.

My own personal view is he couldn't be arsed and asked one of the stupid kids to do his homework,

BE said...

Suff I agree that the money ought to be spent better. But CUkip seems to be arguing that there ought to be no aid budget whatsoever.

I never said that the current setup is ideal, but I think that trying harder is better than giving up and pulling up the drawbridge, which is what our Angry Brigade seem to want to do.

E-K said...

BE - You've just shown all the bigotry and prejudice that you accuse Kippers of.

When it comes to charity the British people are the most generous on earth.

Nobody here hates the world.

When it comes to matters of huge change to our lifestyles we want a referendum - that is the purpose of Ukip. Fair enough don't you think ?

As for 0.7% of GDP. As GDP can fluctuate wildly isn't it a bit silly to budget anything on a percentage rather than a set figure ?

Surely this is in the realms of distributing money in haste in the good times and not giving enough in the lean times ?

E-K said...

Far from pulling up draw bridges Ukip want to unteather us from the EU and deal independently with the wonderful world out there.

hovis said...

Sanadlista - George is a moron like the rest, he will pretend that things that would have occured from a growth cycle he has nothing todo with (although diminished one) is his doing.

The appeal of giving Osbourne a beating is just as strong as for Gordon Brown, they just have different qualties that make you want to punch them.

CityUnslicker said...

Sandalista - Governments never predict recessions.

Some people try too but then they are often accused of having predicted 9 of the last 7 recessions....

Agree is a hostage to fortune every time though.

Suff said...

“the money ought to be spent better” but how are you going to change that without changing the people who are running the scam? I don’t believe Ukip will be any better than the rest, but a vote for them would be a shot across the bows for the current bunch. It’s the only option in our current democracy to say I don’t believe the crap you’re spinning me.
When it comes to charity, it’s not polite to brag. Needless to say, I know I have been extremely lucky in health and my place of birth but I work extremely hard for my wealth and my time is my most precious commodity. I believe I’m better qualified to judge which I donate both to, not some thief in Whitehall.
As for Your reference to the angry brigade, I’ll try and refrain from a rant. After working long hours and a two hour commute for the benefit of the taxman, you’re told every day by the talking heads and special interest groups, that as a high earning, car driving, white, male, heterosexual…… are the enemy and the government should correct your viewpoint. It does make one a little miffed.

BE said...

I agree, I also resent working hard to provide a nice life for the whingers of Merseyside and Glasgow so they don't have to struggle. That money, which I say is significantly less well deserved than the pennies I send to corrupt tinpot dictators, is much more expensive to me personally, and much less well received. Let's sort out the big stuff first, shall we?

Suff said...

Sorry BE but I have to disagree with lets sort the Big Stuff first. You may have guessed from previous rants that I’m against centralisation (power corrupts and absolute….) and I’ve lost all faith in government, the law and even the money supply. I’m sad to say I don’t believe the next election (never mind my actions) will make a damn difference on our slippery decent. Don’t waste your energy on things you can’t change and spend it on things you can. So for me it’s pull up the drawbridge on winging scousers’s and funding primetime advertising slots for the starving in Africa. I’ll be starving the corrupt beast by reducing my working hours and spending my new found freedom helping people in my local community (worked like hell through the dark winter but will be taking most the summer off). From small acorns
Haven’t lost my faith in the folks on this site though. So if you have any charity suggestions please post them.
be kind to everyone you meet, for they too are fighting a hard battle