Budget numbers

So the Chancellor shot a few of Labour’s foxes.

First to go was the idea that the Conservatives will take the UK back to 1930s levels of spending. This is Labour’s favourite lie, based on confusing spending as a percentage of the economy with real levels of spending, which are currently nine times the 1930s! As explaining all that is difficult, the Chancellor has raised planned spending for 2019-20 so the percentage of the economy will be 36%, the same level as Mr Brown and Mr Blair chose in 2000. No return to the 1930s guaranteed.

Second to go was the idea that a further raid on the pension funds of the better off, and an increase in taxes on banks would pay for Labour’s programme. The Chancellor has done both those things, and the money is absorbed into the budget figures to help pay for the tax cuts the government offered.

Third to go was the idea that living standards had fallen this Parliament. The Chancellor gave us numbers to show they have gone up modestly, and are now rising at a better rate. GDP per capita is 5% higher, and real household income per capita is also up over the Parliament.

Fourth to go was the idea that the new jobs are all part time, zero hours or low skilled. The Chancellor assured us 80% are full time, and most are skilled.

So what is the underlying strategy? Mr Osborne has set out five years spending and taxing plans, so all know what they will get from a Conservative government. Other parties in the election will have to work from those figures and explain how they will pay for extra spending or how much extra they will borrow.

His plans are to get the budget into balance by 2018-19. Debt as a percentage of GDP will be falling from next year, 2015-16. Public spending is forecast to go up by £60 bn in cash terms in 2019-20 compared to 2014-15, with the largest increase in the final year. In 2016-17 there is a planned small cut in cash public spending.

Savers will benefit from £1000 tax free savings income on standard rate tax, and from more flexible ISAs.


  1. Peter A
    March 19, 2015

    Listening to Ed Milliband, Evan Davis, Robert Peston , the BBC et al you would think that unemployment wasn’t down, growth steady and internationally comparably high.

    I heard unchallenged comments saying that growth was better in most other parts of the world! No wonder people apparently feel worse off with the BBC and Labour constantly telling them this.

    On Newsnight, the Tory treasury minister allowed Davis to ride roughshod over the facts; why didnt Tory HQ field someone drilled and combative? ‘Cuts alone have failed in last 5 yrs’ said Chris Leslie unchallenged:. Fasting growing developed economy anyone? Failure? Spending has also increased. . Cup of tea in that armchair Chris?

    Interestingly the phrase long term economic plan seems to have disappeared!

    You state the facts brilliantly in the above John. But if the Tories want to overcome their disadvantage in seats the facts need to be shouted and EVEL shouted about or the SNP will be the power broker over the English people.

  2. Lifelogic
    March 19, 2015

    An absolutely pathetic budget in electoral and economic terms. No mention of inheritance tax (after his 6 years of ratting on voters) was there or did I miss it? No serious sense of direction or vision toward a business friendly, lower tax, cheap energy, job creating and far more efficient government.

    The country is just crying out for a sensible Tory government and even Miliband & Balls are trying there very best for the Tories. Yet the two EUphile, greencrap, socialists light serial ratters Cameron and Osborne just seem determined to head straight over the cliff.
    Thus leaving voters to the tender mercies of a Labour & SNP rainbow alliance.

    Even a further & unforgivable attack on private pensions. Have we not had enough pension muggings from Brown and Osborne already. HSBC would surely be sensible to leave the UK – I am surprised they have not already. The bill will be passed on to customers due to the total lack of real competition in banking.

    Silly little gimmicks, like no tax on £500 (or £1000 for some) of interest worth just £200 but you will probably still be making a real loss after inflation. Tinkering with house finance when clearly what is needed is more houses from relaxed planning and green crap building controls (or fewer people).

    I had very low expectations of IHT ratter Osborne & Cameron – they have exceeded them.

    1. Hope
      March 20, 2015

      I am somewhat baffled by he skewed remarks JR. Another election propaganda exercise? The deficit is meant to be balanced now not in 2018/19. The debt has doubled to £1.4 trillion, irrespective of a sham decrease in percentage of GDP, some years hence. How many of those jobs are with in-work tax credits and how many have gone to foreigners? What cost to our public services, welfare, culture and society? False housing bubble to help mass immigration. I am not better off now compared to 5 years ago. Where are those spending cuts he promised in 2010? Look at the 500 tax rises he made! If he made the cuts when he promised would the public spending be increasing g by £60 billion. How about the overseas aid enshrined in law or the actual cost of the EU club fees at £30 billion plus? Osborne has resoundingly failed why give him another chance to penalize the hard working and carry on with low paid jobs to help immigration that helps profits for big corporations?

  3. Hefner
    March 19, 2015

    So, what is the detailed spending plan for the coming two-three years? I wait for the details from reliable sources, PwC, OBR, and other cool-headed commentators, not from one of the children shrieking from the HoC.
    Anyway, even if some of the figures banded around yesterday are real, we are only back to the pre-crisis levels.
    And yeah right, the UK economy will pass the German one by 2030, and chicken will have teeth.

    1. libertarian
      March 20, 2015


      Yeh you’re right if we stay on the present general course and Germany continues on it s similar trajectory we will pass them long before 2030

  4. Lifelogic
    March 19, 2015

    Enterprise zones are also clearly totally misguided. Why should one small area have tax advantages over others nearby? It is just damaging the areas outside the zone and often merely shifts developments to the wrong places. We want a whole enterprise country not silly zones.

    Pensions capped at £1M are perhaps just £25K PA before tax. The pension relief is mainly just deferment anyway and not really worth the candle given the running costs and silly investment restrictions.

    MPs pensions can easily be double this and Brown & Cameron’s ex prime minister’s one is about four times this. Still we are all in it together as they consistently lie to us. Yet using your own earning to fund one they think you can only have one of £25K PA.

    1. Lifelogic
      March 19, 2015

      £3000 help for fist time buyers I see, but then £5Bn extra taxes on the banks, that they will doubtless recover partly from higher margins for mortgages for first time buyers. Net effect no help and pointless waste.

      It the banks do not (sensibly) choose to relocate or partly relocate.

      Take with one hand & give back with the other, thus wasting vast sums in inconvenience, administration, accounting and pointless jobs involved in the pointless paperwork & circulation process.

      If you want to help fist time buyers then get rid of stamp duty and sort out some real competition in the banking sector. Not these silly, pathetic, childish and pointless gimmicks.

      1. alan jutson
        March 19, 2015


        I have to say I agree with much of what you say.

        Complication abounds.

        I guess there is/will be, some sort of built in mechanism which will preclude the Bank of Mum and Dad giving their offspring £12,000 to claim the taxpayers £3,000 !

        1. Lifelogic
          March 20, 2015

          That mechanism will be tricky until they ban cash in envelopes! Mind you they are starting to do that through airport cash carrying limits and assumption that cash can be taken off you as the suspected proceeds of crime.

  5. Richard1
    March 19, 2015

    Nothing very radical, it would be good to get back to the Nigel Lawson 1980s practice of abolishing a tax per budget. I suppose that doesn’t work with the LibDem baggage. Still Mr Osborne has exposed the deceit, fatuousness and utter lack of any coherent alternative from the Labour Party. All we hear from Messrs Miliband and Balls is the occasional statist gimmick, typically not thought through and often having diametrically the opposite effect to that intended – such as the proposed fuel price freeze which has held prices up.

    Voters should recall that all we saw from Labour was a huge increase in public spending, very little increase in private sector employment and a massive financial crash. Labour means back to chaos. If they’re in power thanks to the SNP it means England being held to ransom by Scottish separatists as well. We really need to avoid a Labour govt.

    1. A.Sedgwick
      March 19, 2015

      Re: Mr.Lawson

      He was the only Chancellor in my memory who understood that taxes should be fewer, simpler and more straightforward. Mr.Osborne has continued down his expected route of fiddling about and increasing complexity into an art form e.g. if we want maximum oil/gas from the North Sea just abolish the taxes.

      1. Lifelogic
        March 19, 2015

        Indeed tax need to be fewer, simpler, smaller and more straight forwards, that way we have more people doing productive things and fewer parasites – Osborne is rather the opposite with his idiotic take with one hand give with the other, EZ gimmicks, constantly moving the pension goal posts and other complete insanities.

        Lawson was however hugely wrong (and entirely predictably) on shadowing the DM and the ERM and hugely wrong again to announce the end of double mortgage relief well in advance.

        Lawson is however now sound on climate change (the huge exaggeration of) religion, rather amazing for a PPE graduate. Perhaps all those years ago PPE was rather different. Tony Abbott seems to be the only other one who talks much sense I have noticed.

        He was also right to warn Mrs Thatcher that the poll tax was completely unworkable and politically catastrophic as was reported.

        1. Richard1
          March 20, 2015

          Nigel Lawson is an interesting mix. Pro ERM in the late 80s / early 90s, now anti EU altogether. Very principled and coherent on the new religion of ‘climate change’ these days. The main charge against him is the shadowing of the DM in the 80s. I suppose he must have done it as a convenient way of pursuing anti inflationary policy at a time in which any change in interest rates was a direct decision by the Chancellor who would be criticised whatever he decided. On balance Nigel Lawson has been a hugely positive influence in UK politics, his record as Chancellor, the DM / ERM episode aside, was excellent. He now stands out as a beacon of rational independent thought against the green nonsense. I think history will write him up very well indeed, second only to Thatcher amongst 80s era politicians.

  6. Jerry
    March 19, 2015

    Indeed but much was left unsaid I suspect, for that length of speech there was actually very little meat but an awful lot of gravy served on the plate, my guess is who ever wins on 7th May we can all look forward to another budget in late May or early June were the main course will actually be served and not just the soup!

    Good news regarding ultra high speed broadband, now if only the government had announced fibre to every home and business across the country rather than the ability for a few people to meet face-to-face via HS2. In 10 to 20 years time will there be any need to routinely meet face-2-face? Good to also see that the UK will be involved with this new China investment bank despite apparent protests from the USA.

    Has Mr Osborne done enough to help the Conservatives in May, I’m not so sure, but one thing I am sure about is that UKIP are even more out of touch, their policies for their alternate budget do indeed seem to suggest they want a return to the 1930s – Labour were right all along, it’s just that they got the wrong party, hopefully…

  7. Lifelogic
    March 19, 2015

    Why does no one interviewing Osborne ever ask him about his blatant IHT ratting? Is it a restriction in the interview agreement or an understanding that if they do they will not get any more interviews?

    Or are the BBC types just genetically incapable of asking any sensible questions or question other than ones coming from their lefty group think?

    1. Brian Tomkinson
      March 19, 2015

      More likely that the ‘lefty group think’ they represent would like to see IHT increased and Osborne has moved their way by not increasing the tax free allowance with inflation.

    2. b
      March 19, 2015

      Most see IHT a just tax as most see it on less than 3k of people so why should he loose votes and increase taxes on other areas to fund this lefty group think idea for the rich?
      Is this a sensible enough question for you? Now answer this question or stop writing and bleating about this tax.

  8. Old Albion
    March 19, 2015

    Whether any of what was announced is any good or not. The thought of Milliband and Balls in charge of the economy horrifies me.

    1. Tad Davison
      March 19, 2015

      They all worry me OA, some politicians will promise anything to get elected, but none more so than Labour. They are the consummate arch exponents of the political con. I listened to the Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Labour’s Chris Leslie, try to say that Labour’s plans to increase public spending won’t mean increased borrowing, and thereby an increase in the debt mountain!

      What these people won’t say, is that if interest rates were to rise, we could end up with a sovereign debt crisis that will effectively wipe out a lot, if not most public services anyway. And then they want us to trust them with the economy!

      It seems they routinely accept a never-ending high level of debt as being somehow ‘normal’, and if they don’t refer to it, the problem will simply go away in the minds of the public.

      It would be really interesting to know the IQ of the people who vote for particular parties if they are prepared to swallow such guff.


    2. Lifelogic
      March 19, 2015

      Indeed the only positive around is the total uselessness of Labour, Miliband and Balls – you can still you can still get odd of five betting on a Tory overall majority. The election ought to be another sitting duck for the real Tories but Cameron looks like throwing away a second election for lack of a compass.

      Over an 80% chance of Labour or some dreadful coalition.

  9. Ian wragg
    March 19, 2015

    What he didn’t mention was how much more he would decimate the military. How much he will increase VAT by if you win the election.
    I see that if the deficit is cleared by end of the next Parliament the surplus will be spent not used to reduce the £1.6 trillion debt.
    A wager deficit reduction will be postponed within 3 years and we won’t get a referendum.

  10. Mondeo Man
    March 19, 2015

    “8o% jobs are full time and most are skilled”

    By skilled what level of training involved ? One year ? Two years ? Three ???

    Have these people (the ones who are said to be in skilled work) attended college and gained indentured apprenticeships or gone through extensive in-house training with externally moderated exams ? Or been to university and obtained serious post grad professional qualifications ?

    If not then one would suggest that these jobs are not ‘skilled’.

    1. Mondeo Man
      March 19, 2015

      I fear that this is a housing-bubble led recovery, John. With much of Labour spendthrift policy adopted.

      That – after years of wage stagflation – average house prices have risen year-on-year at a rate that is greater than most average people earn means to me that we are in funny-money economics territory again.

      The Government is interfering in the housing market – the latest being first-time buyer incentives to take on massive debt in an already inflated market.

      1. acorn
        March 19, 2015

        It looks like it will have to be housing led bubble recovery, if it isn’t, Osbo will have a problem. The household sector will have to take on some more debt to make his plan work. If households and firms lose confidence and start upping their savings ratio, then it’s game over for deficit reduction.

        Unsecured household debt will have to rise, but there isn’t a lot of headroom left on personal loans and credit cards. Interest rates will have to stay low, else high debt households will get buried.

        House owner “equity release” will have to play a large part in the secured lending sector. For that it will need house prices to bubble up and mortgage rates to stay low. Hence the various Ponzi schemes announced yesterday for first time buyers; added to the previous versions of “funding for lending”; “help to buy”; “right to buy”; “part-buy-part-rent” and “NewBuy etc.

        Anybody seen the “march of the makers”?

      2. waramess
        March 19, 2015

        Yup grim isn’t it, to see Osborne strutting around boasting he has beaten the crisis when, in true Keynesian style he is simply further inflating the bubble.

        Now is the time for him to get out because as house prices become decoupled from an historic multiple of wages so do rents and when that becomes severe wholesale defaults will occur.

        I suspect however by then they will all have started to believe their own rhetoric and the crash will again come as a surprise

    2. Mondeo Man
      March 19, 2015

      Further to my first post. It should be easy to measure the amount of skilled work out there – in rates of pay well above minimum wage, tax revenue and exams passed.

      1. outsider
        March 19, 2015

        Dear Mondeo Man, “Skilled” has become one of those words that means what you want it to mean and is becoming as obsolete as the old class distinctions. Your point remains that UK economic growth rests on low productivity, relatively low pay and debt-financed state subsidies.
        I do not see that a record employment percentage with low productivity is anything to be proud of (unless, as in Mr Osborne’s case, your opponents predicted that your policies would lead to Depression).
        On previous occasions dating back to the early 1970s, record employment ratios have tended to mark the peak of a boom before the bust. Cannot see any obvious megastorm approaching this time, bar war or major international disruption, but as you say it is all rather built on sand.

    3. zorro
      March 19, 2015

      Do you have any links or empirical evidence to support the “80% of jobs are full time and most are skilled” quote?


      Reply Chancellor’s Budget speech

      1. libertarian
        March 21, 2015


        Here you go

        There were 30.94 million people in work, 143,000 more than for August to October 2014 and 617,000 more than for a year earlier.
        There were 22.64 million people working full-time, 481,000 more than for a year earlier. There were 8.30 million people working part-time, 137,000 more than for a year earlier.

        Jan 2015 ONS report


      2. libertarian
        March 21, 2015


        Here is a link to a breakdown of the varying levels of job as defined by ONS

        Skill level groups are created by grouping jobs together based on their occupation according to the Standard Occupation Classification (SOC) 2010 minor level groups, as follows:

        2.1 High – This skill level is normally acquired through a degree or an equivalent period of work experience. Occupations at this level are generally termed ‘professional’ or managerial positions, and are found in corporate enterprises or governments. Examples include senior government officials, financial managers, scientists, engineers, medical doctors, teachers and accountants.

        2.2 Upper-middle – This skill level equates to competence acquired through post-compulsory education but not to degree level. Occupations found at this level include a variety of technical and trades occupations, and proprietors of small business. For the latter, significant work experience may be typical. Examples of occupations at this level include catering managers, building inspectors, nurses, police officers (sergeant and below), electricians and plumbers.

        2.3 Lower-middle – This skill level covers occupations that require the same competence acquired through compulsory education, but involve a longer period of work-related training and experience. Examples of occupations at this level include machine operation, driving, caring occupations, retailing, and clerical and secretarial occupations.

        2.4 Low – This skill level equates to the competence acquired through compulsory education. Job-related competence involves knowledge of relevant health and safety regulations and may be acquired through a short period of training. Examples of occupations at this level include postal workers, hotel porters, cleaners and catering assistants.

        The full report showing the level of skilled workers in the UK


        1. zorro
          March 21, 2015

          Thanks libertarian, that’s very helpful. I have not had the time to look at this yet, but that has saved me some time.


  11. agricola
    March 19, 2015

    On the face of it a sober and acceptable performance. It left Milliband wallowing and only able to clutch at what he sees as his lifebelts, the NHS and the pound in the pocket of the low paid. He was not convincing on either topic.

    For me the important thing about the NHS is that it remains free at the point of need. How you manage it to produce a high grade service at the point of use is academic. I suspect that the fear of labour is not the quality of service but the potential loss of union control in certain areas. In not tampering with access you shoot labours fox.

    Having twenty per cent of the working population on less than permanent contracts is at least a start for them and makes access to something more permanent in a growing economy much more likely.

    I hope it has the desired result in May, with the addition of a useful UKIP contingent to make it’s governing look more Conservative than it has done for the past five years.

  12. Narrow Shoulders
    March 19, 2015

    For me the credibility of the whole presentation was undermined by the claim that we are £900 better off. Silly claim using figures that are irrelevant to the populace.

    Also non dom property sales now subject to capital gains tax will be 8% better off using offshore vehicles which is contrary to all measures taken since 2012

    More public flogging of higher rate tax payers with half the savings theshold. This despite using the higher rate PAYE serfs as a cash cow (reducing the threshold and specifically excluding them from many measures) during this parliament.

    My annual paye and ni percentage this year is 39.4% rising to 45.4% when employers ni is included. This before APD, VAT and council tax. Thanks for that party of aspiration.

    1. Narrow Shoulders
      March 19, 2015

      3 years of extended spending squeeze (not cuts just lower rises of expenditure) which, if this parliament is a good model, will lead to lower growth so lower deficit reduction. This to be followed by fiscal stimulus for the last two years of the parliament to create a feelgood factor. Does your party believe we are stupid?

  13. Roy Grainger
    March 19, 2015

    “As explaining all that is difficult, the Chancellor has raised planned spending for 2019-20 so the percentage of the economy will be 36%”

    So what you are saying is that I have to pay higher taxes to fund higher spending simply because something was difficult to explain ? Hmmm.

  14. JoeSoap
    March 19, 2015

    All very good, but this all could have been done in the five years of this government.

    Why put yourself through having to defend and explain this at this stage of the Parliament, when you could have already taken the ongoing deficit to zero (as promised), so you could have been proudly paying back the enormous debt incurred by now? Wouldn’t that have both been an easier and prouder statement to make?

  15. alan jutson
    March 19, 2015

    Yes, a political Budget, hence no word about possible changes to IHT, and Capital Gains Tax.

    Modest changes to Personal tax free allowances, and a token £1,000 income relief for savers (actual cost £200) although every little helps.

    Some help (bribes) for First time buyers.

    I welcome the fact that he intends to get us into surplus on the deficit within mid term of the next Parliament. (some wriggle room)

    Thought some of the jokes were quite amusing, but should this really be an occasion for jokes !

    Shame we still got the usual lies and scare stories from Mr Miliband in his response, but then what more can one expect from a person who offers so little himself.

    So yes, a very Political Budget !

    1. A different Simon
      March 19, 2015

      Gideon only does politics .

      I doubt he is even interested in policy let alone in understanding or making it .

      That “help” for first time buyers isn’t going to help them at all as it will just lead to a corresponding increase in price .

      If he had wanted to help them he could have penalised people with vacant buildings and undeveloped lots to increase supply . That would have made good policy but lousy politics .

      All the time he will be piling more immigrants on top and doing nothing to reform planning permission .

      (He ed) is going to create the mother of all house price crashes and it will take the banks with it .

      He should just satisfy himself with a season ticket to Chelsea and vacate his job to someone who is interested in really doing it .

      Why should renters subsidise a first time buyer anyway ?

      1. A different Simon
        March 19, 2015

        Thanks ed for saving me from myself !

    2. lifelogic
      March 19, 2015

      The bribes will not help firsT time buyers as he mugged the banks they will pass this on in mortgage margins and fees and anyway without a new supply of houses it will mainly go into higher prices.

      1. A different Simon
        March 19, 2015

        Yep ,

        Treat the symptoms with placebos , even if they make the disease worse .

  16. Denis Cooper
    March 19, 2015

    Please could I retract my pre-budget comment that none of the measures I wanted would be implemented?

    Osborne has actually introduced an almost-separate personal annual tax allowance for savings income, making a start on the simple idea I’ve been plugging for God knows how many years …

    OK, it’s only £1000 for basic rate taxpayers, and £500 for higher rate taxpayers – so it’s not completely separated from the taxation of earned income – and it seems that it only applies to interest and not to dividends, but it’s a start towards a more rational system with “earned” and “unearned” income disaggregated for tax purposes.

    1. Lifelogic
      March 19, 2015

      Yes but given this tax free interest band what is the point in keeping the absurd isa structures at all?

      The main problems is the banks want to pay less than 1% or often even less than 0.1% yet want to lent it out at 4%-50%+ due to a total lack of real competition in the banking sector. Often lent to borrowers who are a far better credit risk that the banks themselves.

      1. Denis Cooper
        March 19, 2015

        My answer is that I would phase them out.

      2. b
        March 19, 2015

        Does a lack of competition in the housing sector concern you as much causing millions to pay inflated rants and prices?

        1. Lifelogic
          March 20, 2015

          Yes it does, we need more supply of houses by relaxing planning laws (and OTT building controls) or fewer people.

      3. Hefner
        March 19, 2015

        Maybe some people have fund & share ISAs with which they get a bitty more than with a cash ISA, so it might still make sense to keep those ISAs alive?
        And I would guess that there are a lot more people with ISAs than people with SIPPs.
        So it might not be so absurd.

        1. Denis Cooper
          March 20, 2015

          I would allow people to keep the ISA’s they already had until they wished to close them or they died, but not allow any more ISA’s to be started once the new income tax regime had been properly developed. That would mean having an allowance higher than £1000 which was not cut if you happened to be paying a higher rate of tax on your earnings, and at least one threshold above which a higher rate of tax would apply to unearned income as with earned, but with the threshold(s) and the tax rate(s) not necessarily the same as those for earned income, and with all income from savings and investments included not just interest. So really this is just a start, but at least it is a start.

          Reply That would be mean. ISAs allow exemption from CGT as well as Income Tax.

          1. Denis Cooper
            March 20, 2015

            Ah, but I have a separate proposal for CGT.

      4. A different Simon
        March 19, 2015

        Lifelogic ,

        I value my stocks and share ISA’s .

        What interest rate margins to retail customers do you think would be necessary for the banks to report a profit ? 12% , 15% ?

        Maybe they should bring back the old Capt Mainwaring bank managers .

        1. Narrow Shoulders
          March 20, 2015

          I was offered £22K yesterday @ 4.3% (completely unsolicited offer) so personal loans where they can pursue the individual are still profitable. If they had seen how little of my gross salary I get to keep after HM Gov takes its cut they may have priced the risk higher.

          Limited liability and the ease of cut and shut IVAs force the banks to price risk to companies differently. If there was more competition they would be forced to shave margin for volume.

  17. formula57
    March 19, 2015

    Good politics but is it good economics when “the Chancellor has raised planned spending for 2019-20 so the percentage of the economy will be 36%, the same level as Mr Brown and Mr Blair chose in 2000”?

    Yet as the OBR says (quoted by the Spectator’s Fraser Nelson with some interesting graphs), the Chancellor proposes ‘A much sharper squeeze on real spending in 2016-17 and 2017-18 than anything seen over the past five years followed by the biggest increase in real spending for a decade in 2019-20.’

    And recall it was overly sharp squeezing that choked off what recovery there was in 2010/11 and courted (but admittedly avoided) a double dip recession.

  18. Lifelogic
    March 19, 2015

    Given Cameron’s dreadful record and his miss all the targets “six key themes” I assume the Manifesto will be as pathetic and vacuous as was Osborne’s private pension mugging and bank customer robbing budget.

    The public’s themes for the election are quite different:

    Sensible but selective immigration
    Smaller and a far less inefficient government
    An NHS that actually works and kills far fewer people
    Decent schools and other services rather than the often appalling ones.
    Far less or preferably no EU
    Lower taxes – especially the promised and ratted on IHT
    Cheaper non greencrap energy
    Fewer better targeted regulations
    More jobs and more growth
    A fair deal for the English

    When is it finally to be published? All you have to do is promise to do the complete opposite of the Libdem/Cameron policies followed so far and that voters will return the Tories.

    1. Lifelogic
      March 19, 2015

      Mr Cameron recently said:

      “We put in our manifesto that we wanted to take it to £1million but we did not win an outright majority [and] the pledge did not make it into the Coalition agreement.
      “Would I like to go further in future? Yes I would. I believe in people being able to pass things down through the generations and onto our children, it builds a stronger society.
      “Inheritance Tax should only really be paid by the rich, it shouldn’t be paid by those people who have worked hard and saved and brought a family house.
      “The ambition is still there, I would like to go further. It’s something we’ll have to address in our election manifesto.”

      So where is the promise for May 8th in the unlikely event of a Tory Majority?

      He says “I would like to go further” but he has been going backwards as inflation eats even the £325K threshold away.

      Another little lie from the polished but bent car salesman type. Judge him only by his actions his words are worthless.

      1. Lifelogic
        March 19, 2015

        What is there to lose anyway – given the Tories very low chances?

      2. Denis Cooper
        March 19, 2015

        According to Osborne there were Scottish troops fighting on the French side at Agincourt. There is no evidence for that at all, no contemporary sources refer to any Scots in the French order of battle, either as a contingent sent from Scotland or as freelances or mercenaries. At other times, yes, but not at Agincourt.

        This is something which really gets my goat about most of our politicians but in particular Osborne: you cannot trust a single word they say about anything because if they think they can get away with some convenient distortion, or outright lie, then they have absolutely no scruples about doing so.

        No integrity, no honesty, just habitual deceit; I would be very wary of doing any kind of business with him, I would know that he could not be trusted.

        Or are we to suppose that Oxford graduate Osborne is as ignorant of history as Oxford graduate Cameron is of geography, where exactly are the Urals?

      3. zorro
        March 19, 2015

        Remember that if a spouse has died a couple of years before and not taken advantage of the allowance, it can be applied for on the death of the second spouse to effectively double the limit. Hopefully, this can help some people…..




      4. Bazman
        March 19, 2015

        Only 3000 a year have to pay it making it a tax the majority do not care about and as you do not care about the minimum wage, employment rights and the day to day financial problems of the population why should they care about you so called injustice of having to pay tax on money they in most cases did nothing to deserve?
        More mindless ranting.

        1. Edward2
          March 19, 2015

          Amazing it raises billions from just those 3000.
          Tax the rich eh Baz?

        2. libertarian
          March 19, 2015


          I couldn’t find your apology for the fact you have repeatedly claimed that all the new jobs are part time zero hour contracts when in fact they are not that at all.

          Yet you still rant at LL and others about dealing in facts…. laughing out loud at you.

          1. Bazman
            March 20, 2015

            Here’s a start for all pub bores like you libtard and especially lierlogic with no connection to reality from the ONS.
            Last year I had a job for nearly a month installing playgrounds. I then found a better job more near to home.
            For this months work I was paid a couple of grand in cash which gave a receipt for and declared this to the HMRC and paid a my NI contribution.
            So much for employment laws strangling business and preventing employment. How could this have been more easy for both parties you ask? Or in your case do not as I inconvenienced the employer by needing to be paid.
            I also put him in schtuck by leaving at the end of the week with a contract that need to be finished and him in this case being fired not me. I still drink with him in the pub despite my treachery and he is philosophical about it. Hiring another guy from the same pub. Discriminating against many others from other pubs, all legally.
            Maybe the employee should not be allowed to leave so easily as easy hire and fire laws allow and should pay some sort of bond or have wages held back to prevent this?
            This would not solve vacancies that can not be filled so maybe some sort of laws are needed to force those with the skill in the areas they live to do this work for the pay offered and not choose to do more easy work for less or the same money causing employers to have to recruit foreigners.

          2. Edward2
            March 22, 2015

            No matter how much there are strong contracts between employer and employee I have yet to hear a instance when the employer has been able to take the employee to a tribunal for breaching his or her contact when they decide to walk out suddenly.
            Take periods of notice. Ive has people who worked years, tell me on a Friday morning that they are leaving that day whereas their contract says one weeks notice for each year plus 4 weeks minimum.

            Its only one side that is protected.

  19. formula57
    March 19, 2015

    So well over £1 billion in tax give aways to support North Sea oil that, per the Chancellor, ““It goes without saying that an independent Scotland would never have been able to afford such a package of support”

    This huge and unwlecome expense (and much more) could all have been wholly for Nicola’s account not our’s. Will the Conservative Party now apologize (first from the co-maker of the infamous Vow) for doing its all to keep Scotland in the Union?

    1. Denis Cooper
      March 19, 2015

      As Sturgeon will soon be on a higher salary than Cameron she could afford to make a personal contribution … oh, but she says that she won’t take it all.

      As I remarked on a number of occasions during the referendum campaign, not only the SNP but unfortunately many other Scots seem to suffer from delusions of grandeur about the position of Scotland in the world.

  20. petermartin2001
    March 19, 2015


    The worrying aspect of the Budget statement has been the implication that economic austerity has somehow worked. It hasn’t. If we want to see what austerity does, we only need to look across the Channel to Italy, France, and, of course Greece and Spain. The UK has not demonstrated that austerity is a stimulus to growth.

    The growth has come about because of the relative lack of austerity. Growth has been slow because austerity has been applied mildly. If it had not been applied at all growth would have been more robust.

    According to the projections in the June 2010 Statement, the deficit, by now, should have been no more than £40 billion. The current deficit is still around 5 per cent of GDP which is around £90 billion – that is £50 billion higher than it was projected to be. Of that £90 billion some £80 billion is to cover the trade gap.

    That still leaves £1o billion of issued money into everyone’s pockets, that has been supporting growth. And a good thing too! It would be even better if it had been £20 billion.

    So the story of the 2010-2015 coalition was austerity for the first two years. Then someone , somewhere in government had the sense to realise it wasn’t working, that there was an election to win in 2015, and a change of direction was needed.

    Hopefully, that person, whoever he is, will still be around after the 2015 election and will prevent a return to economic austerity and the economic depression it could well bring about.

    1. Denis Cooper
      March 20, 2015

      Taken overall there has been no “austerity” worthy of the name, not what people in some other countries would recognise as “austerity”. By the same token, little that this government has done as part of its so-called “long term economic plan” has actually enhanced economic growth beyond that which would normally be expected as a natural rebound from a recession. And even if their scheme for increasing GDP simply by increasing the population through mass immigration had had some effect, it is a scheme which is deeply unwelcome to the majority of the established population and which will have all kinds of damaging effects for decades and even generations to come.

  21. Brian Tomkinson
    March 19, 2015

    As Allister Heath put it in the Telegraph: “a case study in triangulation and putting electioneering ahead of any other consideration.” A view clearly endorsed by your opening sentence: “So the Chancellor shot a few of Labour’s foxes.”
    Within 3 months your Chancellor has shifted his ground to Labour. One wonders what he would do if still in post with another budget later this year – perhaps we should read the labour manifesto to find out.
    It is disappointing but not unexpected (and not just because we are 7 weeks away from an election) that you too are less than objective.
    The debt clock shown also in the Allister Heath article is whirring away frantically.
    Who cares? All that talk in 2010 about the immorality of clocking up debt for our children and grandchidren was just that – talk to get elected. Conservative? Never again.

    1. Tad Davison
      March 19, 2015


      I posted a reply to OA (above) before I read your own comments, and you sure do have a point, especially where debt is concerned. I just get the feeling the politicians ignore it out of convenience, but they’re mad! They’re playing with sparklers in a warehouse full of powder kegs!

      An interest rate hike could precipitate a sovereign debt crisis that would be as devastating to the UK as it is to Greece or Spain, especially where our public services are concerned, so it’s best not to even go there.

      Some may argue that forecasts for the US economy have been downgraded slightly making an immediate hike in interest rates a little less likely, and these things have a knock-on effect, but it still doesn’t alter the fact that our nation’s debt is massive and needs to be sorted.

      One day, interest rates WILL rise, as sure as night follows day, just as soon as the money men think it is safe to increase them without collapsing everything. And perhaps it’s that the politicians are counting on, so the first ones out of the economic mess will survive, and we should ensure the UK is at the head of the pack. But it is highly irresponsible to place our economic viability in the hands of others by not reducing our debt. It’s a risk no sensible person should ever take.

      But that doesn’t resonate with the voting public, and we have this perpetual problem where they elect the politicians who promise the most, regardless of the deliverability or the long-term consequences. And if we continued down that road, we’d eventually become another Greece, so it is vital we keep these nutters as far away from power, and for as long as we possibly can.

      I despair, I really do.


  22. Denis Cooper
    March 19, 2015

    Looking at the Hansard record from yesterday, Osborne at Column 769:

    “we will use the resources from the bank sales and the lower interest payments and the lower welfare bills to pay down the national debt”

    “Today we bring that shameful record of irresponsibility to an end and make sure we pay down our national debt.”

    So will the national debt continue to increase over the coming years, or will it reduce as a result of Osborne’s policy to “pay down our national debt”?

    As I recall a couple of years ago the UK Statistics Authority publicly rebuked Cameron for similar misleading claims that the government was cutting the debt.

  23. Bert Young
    March 19, 2015

    Overall I thought the budget was a “bit of a damp squib” – I didn’t expect it to be otherwise . As far as innovation was concerned , the “savers” incentive was welcome ; our society has become very credit card oriented and I regard any move to shift in the other direction as a good one . I suppose it was inevitable that Osborne ( or was it Alexander ? ) would have a go at the banks , they have long been seen as the evil bit ; their extra levy will easily be absorbed but not without resentment .

    Moving on , the increasing squeeze on the public sector has to be right . I am a strong believer in “paying our way” so tightening controls to bring this about meets with my approval – the fact that there are more women than men employed in this sector does mean they take a hit but ,on the other hand , it may push the chaps to compensate more in the households affected .

    Is everything “rosey” around the corner ? well , there are some pretty major features outside of our control that can knock things sideways , China and the USA matter most together with instability in Europe and the Middle East . In this respect it is “fingers crossed “.

  24. Andyvan
    March 19, 2015

    Does anyone believe anything Osbourne said? If so why? And why is a 1930s level of spending so bad? I seem to recall that was when Britain was one of the richest, most powerful nations on earth, not a suburb of Brussels.

  25. oldtimer
    March 19, 2015

    “So what is the underlying strategy? ” you ask. I would describe it in six words:
    smoke, mirrors and political points scoring.

  26. Ex-expat Colin
    March 19, 2015

    Once upon a time it was:

    assistant (trade)

    You’ll always hear that the engineer will visit at some pre-arranged time. Seems everybody is an engineer, although most of them (auto/plumbing/elect/IT) perform low level repetitious tasks. A skill is at various levels and supported by training and experience and its not usually creative. Most anything formerly complex has been de-skilled for complexity and cost reasons…largely the length of deep training (assume well educated). All being replaced by silly degrees at enormous cost. The OU originally was enough until it got left- ied.

    Anyway, if they said a full time job rather than skill I could understand that.

    And IHT is …. the same, so I guess our children continue to pay for the cr*p of Labour/Liberal and Tory. Not even a drop in the levy?

    1. b
      March 19, 2015

      De-skilling or the dilution of trades across industry has been carried out in order to lower the wage bill and these savings passed onto a higher management financial aristocracy to fund their lifestyles.

    2. A different Simon
      March 20, 2015

      I remember when I was leaving secondary school and the local companies such as British Aerospace would take on as many as 10 people for apprenticeships .

      These were three or more years with day release to the local technical college plus 1-2 evenings a week at the technical college .

      The politicians and teachers who bandy around the word “vocational” (which is fuzzy to the point of being meaningless) would be horrified to discover that these apprenticeships had genuine academic content .

      I’m not saying these people were engineers but they found jobs when the aerospace industry declined and had the confidence to be entrepreneurial .

      One I know has a workshop with half a million pounds of machinery and gets contract work from the aerospace industry and another from motorsports .

      These are the people you’d want by and on your side if you were stuck in the Australian outback or stranded out at sea with a malfunctioning outboard .

      We are ruled by PPE’s who couldn’t change a lightbulb let alone a wheel with a flat tyre – and it shows , every day .

      I have worked in software development for 25 years and a lot of what is touted as education is actually training , typically proprietary tool specific .

  27. Denis Cooper
    March 19, 2015

    Good lines from Osborne about paying off debts from the South Sea Bubble etc, but what do they amount to? In fact, is it true that the government still has debts going back as far as the 18th century? Not according to this:


    “There are currently six undated gilts in issue. These are the oldest remaining gilts in issue, some dating back to the nineteenth century. The redemption of these bonds is at the discretion of the Government, but because they carry low coupons ‘in perpetuity’, it is only cost effective over the long run for Government to redeem and refinance them when long yields fall sufficiently below the coupon level for a sustained period, and it could be judged that future refinancing would be cost effective. Some undated gilts pay interest twice a year and some pay interest four times a year.

    The redemption of undated gilts is subject to certain conditions being met, which vary between the different gilts. For example, some require three months’ notice in the London Gazette (e.g. 2½% Treasury Stock), some one month’s notice (e.g. 2½% Annuities) whilst others can only be redeemed on an interest payment date (e.g. 3½% Conversion Loan). All undated gilts are “rumps”.”

    And according to Table C2 here:


    they add up to about 0.2% of all gilts in issue, which would be less than £3 billion.

    In any case, the Treasury would be issuing new gilts to borrow the money to redeem those very old gilts, so effectively those debts would just be rolled over.

    1. oldtimer
      March 19, 2015

      He probably did it so he could make the joke about Gordon Brown`s borrowings taken much longer to pay off. Of course he failed to mention the huge debts added on his watch.

    2. acorn
      March 19, 2015

      Can I recommend a look at “Economic and fiscal outlook March 2015”, that was issued with the budget. Particularly “Central government debt interest” at 4.146 and Box 4.4.

      Chart A that follows the above shows the roll-over rate. What century the debt was issued in and how it is to be redeemed is irrelevant; it is just the aggregate net servicing cost that matters. You will see that by 2020, half the Gilts outstanding will still have been issued prior to today, which is reflected in the effective interest rate. You will notice that the “total identified stock” and the “effective interest rate” both continue to rise throughout the next parliament, which means the government will be continuing to inject a little bit of spending power into the economy. One man’s spending is another man’s wages.

      1. Denis Cooper
        March 20, 2015

        The government is constantly selling new gilts to replace existing gilts as they mature. Many of the investors who buy the new gilts are the same as those receiving the redemption payments on the maturing gilts, some will choose not to reinvest and there will be some new investors.

        For this small residual volume of undated gilts, some dating back to the 19th century but none in fact dating back to the 18th, there is no set date for redemption, and as stated above:

        “… it is only cost effective over the long run for Government to redeem and refinance them when long yields fall sufficiently below the coupon level for a sustained period … ”

        Such an opportunity to tidy them away has now arisen, and it seems a good idea to do so. However if Osborne had wished to be completely honest, rather than somewhat dishonest, he would have openly admitted that in large measure this is because he and his predecessor as Chancellor, Darling, induced to the Bank of England to rig the gilts market, bringing down long term interest rates to artificially low levels.

        As I pointed out the other day, although the massive purchases of gilts by the Bank of England could only be seen as blatant rigging of the market, the FSA was excluded from intervening by this statutory instrument:


        the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Exemption) (Amendment) Order 2009, which was rushed through on January 29th 2009.

        1. acorn
          March 20, 2015

          The central bank doesn’t “rig” the bond market, it is the controller of interest rates. Interest rates across the maturity curve go where the central bank allows them to go. The overnight rate is the policy setting rate.

          If the yield on a ten-year Gilt is too high at 1.5%, the CB will tell the market that it is an unlimited buyer of those bonds above 1.5%. That will push the price up till the market yield drops to 1.49%. It can sell into the market to get the opposite effect. It does this every day with Open Market Operations. The mere threat of this action is enough to control the market

          Bond markets are only ever secondary and parasitic to a sovereign, monopoly, currency issuing central bank. If you are Greece, a currency user, life is totally different and should be avoided whenever possible.

        2. Denis Cooper
          March 21, 2015

          That may be the normal state of affairs, but when the Bank of England is buying up surplus gilts from the market as fast as the Treasury is selling new gilts into the market then clearly that has become a false market, rigged in favour of the Treasury.

          The fact that the government rushed through an order to give the Bank, or more precisely its wholly owned subsidiary the Bank of England Asset Purchase Facility Fund Limited, an exemption from normal regulation suggests that ministers realised that otherwise the FSA might consider itself under a duty to step in.

          It does occur to me that despite that secondary legislation these operations may still have been illegal, strictly speaking, insofar as they would be in contravention of numerous provisions in the EU treaties which mandate free markets.

          Not that I am particularly bothered about the government breaking the EU treaties, but it should only do so as it has been authorised by Parliament through primary legislation, given that Parliament has approved the EU treaties through primary legislation.

  28. A different Simon
    March 19, 2015

    I’m suspicious about the bit about making banks , pension funds , employers responsible for updating personal taxation accounts online so that many people no longer have to fill in a tax return .

    I can see the next step being only allowing approved professionals to supply these details .

    If this happens self employed sole traders like myself who do not use an accountant to supply details of their self employment activities would be forced to spend perhaps £1,000 a year doing so .

    1. Lifelogic
      March 19, 2015

      The general approach seems to be to make it as hard as possible to file returns on line then fine hugely for late returns even where no tax was ever due.

      Rather like the government motorist mugging systems.

  29. graham1946
    March 19, 2015

    Lies, damned lies and statistics.

    Most of this is sleight of hand and re-calculating to make facts to fit with the story, a la Gordon Brown.

    1) Living standards are up. Really? Most people rely on wages and salaries and on this measure know this is a lie. Wage earners know they are not better off and Osbrown telling us he knows better is not convincing. He has included all forms of income, including dividends, pensions, etc. (and probably lottery wins for all we know).

    2) Telling us the Debt is going down because GDP is going up is another lie. We know he has racked up more debt in 5 years than Brown did in 13 years and the national debt is probably now unpayable. A few billion here or there will take centuries to clear. He talks as though it will all disappear by 2020 and we’ll be raking it in and lighting cigars with tenners.

    3) New jobs are 80 percent skilled and high paid. ‘The Chancellor has assured us’ says JR – so that’s all right then, after all he couldn’t possibly not tell the truth or bend figures could he?

    4) Freedom from savings tax. Well, that one will really help those on fixed incomes relying on their savings. At present interest rates you will need savings of £100,000 to get to the new threshold for tax on savings. Since most people have less than £10,000 they will save no more than £20. What will they do with it all? A round of drinks at the Conservative club perhaps?

    As usual, more ballyhoo that hoorays.

  30. ian
    March 19, 2015

    If the con party win the next election it will mean a rerun of this parliament, selling off assets into a black hole and the deficits not going below 35 billion in that parliament and for the claim of this country overtaking Germany by 2030, that will need more oversea people coming in than what we have now, your talking a about well over seventy million people living in this country. As for how well he done this year he borrowed more money than he is saying, about 6 billion and with PFI still at about 110 billion a year.

    The press have swallowed tory propaganda hook line and sinker, there is no spare money for giveaways he borrowed it as usually and as for 1 ,000 pounds tax free on saving, you would need 100,000 pounds with rate at 1% and only come to 19 pounds a week.

    1. Denis Cooper
      March 20, 2015

      Yes, I don’t like this longstanding practice of politicians trying to bribe us with money which they will borrow and we will have to repay with interest. Even less do I like the more recent practice of politicians depending on a continuation of mass immigration to provide additional economic growth and tax revenues so that they can continue to borrow and spend more on trying to bribe us.

  31. majorfrustration
    March 19, 2015

    A “keep us in power Budget but its going to be alright in a few years time” Voters pensions being further limited but not MPs. Allied to broken promises over the last five years and so many things left undone that should have been done leaves us all with little if any faith in any party.

  32. Iain Gill
    March 19, 2015

    How can you plan public spending when immigration is out of control?

    1. Lifelogic
      March 19, 2015

      Indeed especially when low paid people are on balance a very large net liability to the state finances.

  33. fedupsouthener
    March 19, 2015

    Yes, and any saving this budget may have brought will be wiped out with higher energy prices. See what the Financial Times is saying today.

    Centre for Policy Studies report claims that renewable energy is on course
    to be “the most expensive domestic policy disaster in modern British history”

    I hear the EU is ranting again because CO2 emissions are up because manufacturing has closed and we are importing more!! What a surprise. We have expensive energy costs in Europe because of the farcical renewable energy policies which makes it cheaper to manufacture outside of Europe and yet they are wanting us to proceed down the ‘green’ energy route even faster. Does anyone in Brussels have a brain cell??

    1. Lifelogic
      March 19, 2015

      Indeed and this was alway clear to any numerate engineer or scientist who had looked at it.

  34. ian
    March 19, 2015

    I watched your speech in the HOC and would say what you need to do take everything you know and put in wastepaper bin and build a new tax and pension system for people of this country fit for the 21st century and stop playing politic with peoples lives.

    1. Edward2
      March 19, 2015

      What total nonsense.
      I wonder what policies you want.
      Somewhere to the left of the Green party and close to the magic money tree I expect.

  35. behindthefrogs
    March 19, 2015

    The most disappointing part of the budget was the lack of any new action on National Insurance. As a result of the small changes to thresholds the main effect is an increase for people earning around £40k and a very small decrease for those earning less.
    Without any significant effect on the revenue raised the lower threshold could have been considerably increased thus reducing the “tax” paid by our lowest earners. This could have been recovered by increasing the rate paid in the highest band.
    The NICs paid by employers could similarly have been reduced by raising the lower threshold thus helping unemployment particularly for the lower paid.

  36. Edward2
    March 19, 2015

    Well I liked the budget.
    Steady and prudent.
    But with a trend of reducing both tax and the deficit.
    And trends give indicators for the future.

    It also reduces the ability of the opposition to argue against the current strategy.
    Even Ed balls has had to admit that he would not change anything.

    I hope it is a budget that will win the election for the Conservative party.
    The alternatives are frightening.

  37. turbo terrier
    March 19, 2015

    This report shows very clearly the incompetence of Westminster across the years to allow the situation regarding energy to get to where it is today.

    If Mr Osbourne is looking for an area to pull in money this has got to be the place to start.
    Renewable Energy: the most expensive domestic policy disaster in modern
    > British history.>
    > In a new report Central Planning with Market Features: how renewable
    > subsidies destroyed the UK electricity market, published Wednesday 18
    > March, Rupert Darwall shows that recent energy policy represents the
    > biggest expansion of state power since the nationalisations of the 1940s
    > and 1950s – and is on course to be the most expensive domestic policy
    > disaster in modern British history.
    [The 9-page report can be downloaded from
    > http://www.cps.org.uk/files/reports/original/150313101309-HowrenewablesubsidiesdestroyedtheUKelectricitymarket1.pdf
    > -G]

  38. Jon
    March 19, 2015

    Got to hand it to the Sun, that picture will define his Chancellorship.

  39. ian
    March 20, 2015

    Quit the opposite edward2, one thing you should know is that you cannot smash up welfare system without first making a good system to replace it, if you have a good workers pension which pays good money at the bottom then people will be fighting to get a job, if you only going give them old pension which they going to get anyway then there is no incentive. The idea of people paying tax is so it go to the bottom not I put money in and take my own money out. They no idea and the only way change will come now is when the system totally collapses in on it self. signing off.

    1. Edward2
      March 20, 2015

      Smash up the wefare system…you say
      Come off it.
      One of the best and most generous system of welfare in the world.
      State pensions, compared to other State pensions in the world those in the UK are one of the best.
      You want revolution and the end of capitalism ian.
      Well try your hand in Cuba or Venezuela and see how good big brother looks after you from cradle to grave there.

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