Wednesday 8 March 2017

2017 Budget - a comedic pause

Well, as predicted, that was not very exciting. It is amazing that in a near £2,000,000,000 economy the Chancellor finds time to talk about £16 million here and £7 million there.

Perhaps there are some nasties lurking unsaid in the Red book that will be unearthed later.

However, much more interesting was that Philip Hammond made some funny jokes, I mean, that really is entirely unexpected. Who would have thought....

"there is a reason it is called the last labour Government" and more!

Then in response to this entirely unexpected bout of bonhomie, Jeremy Corbyn stood up and did a fankly epic live re-enactment of a Citizen Smith sketch.

All very puzzling, this outbreak of comedy and humour in of all things a budget statement. George Osborne must be turning in his grave!


Bill Quango MP said...

Mr Corbyn said "This morning, over one million workers will have woken up not knowing whether they'll be working today, tomorrow or next week!"

And he's one of them.

Anonymous said...

Told you they'd go for dividends (again). And the self-employed are another easy target, who cares what previous Tory rhetoric was.

My worry is still the employed tax base, as the UK continues down the low-wage, low-productivity path Tony Blair set it on in 2005 (contrast with Norway, where supermarket and restaurant prices are eye-watering, but so are wages). Whether that can change post-Brexit remains to be seen.

Nigel Sedgwick said...

"£2,000,000,000 economy" - are you sure?

Best regards

Anonymous said...

Corbyn has a point (though as he's a believer in open borders he wouldn't do much about it). A friend's son just got a job in London, poor wage for the capital (20k) but still well above minimum. He told his folks there'd been 600 applicants. 600!

Steven_L said...

Perhaps there are some nasties lurking unsaid in the Red book

Well on page 10 they forecast GDP rising about 60% faster than GDP per capita, so I guess HMT don't see Brexit putting the brakes on net migration. Further down the page both employment and unemployment are rising too.

Public spending is forecast to rise from £772.8bn in 2016/17 to £886.4bn in 2021/22 on page 19. Is that what you were looking for?

More tax on cider below 7.5% (to target 'white cider') and a new tax on girly flavoured 'made wine' on page 35?

House prices to rise at 6.5%, 4%, 4.4%, 4.5% and 4.6% for the next 5 years (page 56)?

Exports to rise 3.4% this year and 3% next year?

Balance of payments to fall from 4.4% to 2%?

Total public debt to rise to £1918bn in 2020? (page 58)

A 20% hike in council tax receipts? (page 60)

A 60% hike in SDLT receipts? (page 60)

The fact they've stopped forecasting consumer / household debt?

It all looks like the same old hocus pocus we've been getting since the crash to me.

Nick Drew said...

I'm just thankful the f*****g Swansea Tidal Lagoon didn't get the rumoured go-ahead in the Budget.


If that thing goes ahead I really might resign from the Party

Blue Eyes said...

I swing between frustration that the tax take never falls and "meh".

I am glad that the NI thing is going to be looked at. The current setup looks like an active encouragement to scam the tax system/hammer those who can't choose to be "self-employed", so any equalisation of burdens seems reasonable. BUT the whole thing is a mess. The Left's critique of the difference between corporate tax and income tax sticks. We should move to a simpler flatter LOWER tax system. The problem is that that would need a thorough look at what the state should and should not be doing. Every time something is put forward for a cull there is an outcry.

So maybe we just accept we are now French, and enjoy it.

andrew said...

Well, we seem to be quite good at saying 'Non'
and our cheese is better

in fact just about everything apart from the weather and the sheer quantity of bloody french expats.

Dick the Prick said...

@Steven L: Balance of payments to drop to 2%?

The cheeky buggers!!

Electro-Kevin said...

Mrs May found it all very funny.

Anonymous said...

@BE - unequal burdens make up for unequal benefits. I'm incorporated these days, but even the divis are being hit. But, like the self employed, no sick pay, no holiday pay, no leave, pension contrubutions self funded. Offsetting these are higher income, pro-rata, greater flexibility and the ability to put a a few things as business expenses.

Basically, increased reward to balance out the increased risk and costs.

Between this and the IR35 changes I'm being actively headhunted by non-UK recruitment as the government is turning hostile towards the flexible and skilled. This is far more likely to lead to a brain drain than Brexit. Plus I'm aware of others who are now going to live off savings and chuck their money into a pension fund. So I expect this to be as successful as the 50p rate was.

I'm going to see how the next 12 months pan out, as I've a new business, but if that doesn't succeed and the Tories continue being fuckwits I'm going to weigh up my options.

Blue Eyes said...

As I said, it is good they are going to look into this properly.

Plenty of employees get no employer pension contributions, by the way. Ok so the auto-enrolment thing will change that slightly but no doubt at the expense of salary growth. It is not straightforward. Risk taking is good and to be encouraged, but precisely what risks are the public sector "personal service" people taking? That side of it is a scam.

As for corporate taxes and dividend taxes, why not make things really simple and get rid of the profit tax altogether and tax dividends as income in the relevant year? Simple.

I would really like to see the so-called "progressive consumption tax", which has the beauty of being simple and hopefully encourages saving and investing over pure consumption.

I am not particularly cheerleading for the tax strategy of this government, which is not that different from governments since about 1997. The trouble is that unless we actually shrink the state there is no way of winning overall.

And while dreaming of warmer weather, shorter work-weeks and better wine is nice, the overall package in the UK is less bad than many other countries.

To select a random few from this wiki page:

UK 34.4% of GDP
Australia 25.8
Belgium 47.9
Canada 32.2
Denmark 50.8
France 47.9
Germany 40.6
New Zealand 34.5
Switzerland 29.4
USA 41.28

Now I don't know what methodology they used (is it federal only for Aus, for example, which seems low?) but there aren't that many cheap places to move to. And in the US you don't even get healthcare in that figure!!

Blue Eyes said...

Oops link:

Anonymous said...

@BE - I am a PSC, and I work both private and public sectors, and for every Liner of Ones Own Pocket there are 50 or more developers, sysops, database and network bods. And, yes, we take risks. Work is not guaranteed. Sure, we're not zero hour zombies stuck at Fat Mike's Sports Direct warehouse, but there are downturns. I'm lucky, in 15 years of contracting I've only not been working when I've not wanted to, but then I've been willing to go to where the work is. I've worked with people who've had to pay their mortgage via transfers from credit cards, and come close to bankruptcy.

I'm 100% with you on simplifying tax. It won't happen though, not while the big accountancy firms supply the government with free. Apparently when they say 'pro bono' the government doesn't seem to understand they're referring to the tax affairs of Irish musicians. They make a lot of money charging clients for navigating the arcane tax rules they've had a hand in.

And with rates of tax, well I've had both the Caymans and Dubai offer a tax free year, Dubai only last week, but tax isn't the only consideration. Congested roads and public transport that includes trains which make Corbyn look youthful, and whose reliability is on a par with an alcoholics loans repayments, are just one reason why something of a busman's holiday wouldn't be a bad thing.