The budget

I will post my speech in Parliament yesterday on the budget this morning.

It is good to see the Bank and the Treasury working together to provide a package to tackle the problems that will flow should the epidemic spread widely in the UK. They also need to work together on the growth strategy for post the epidemic, and on measures to improve productivity and therefore real wages.

The budget judgement produced £18bn of fiscal easing, or under 1% of GDP. The measures for a single year to tackle the virus are additional and would not be repeated.

We will need more tax cuts to promote growth and enterprise in the Autumn budget. The Chancellor had very little time to produce his budget, so it is not surprising he did not open up the issue of cutting tax rates to increase revenues and growth. Levelling up around the country is an important task. It needs more enterprise and private sector investment and company formation around the UK.

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98 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    The attack on entrepreneurs relief was a very stupid move indeed taking money off people who invest and use it well (creating wealth and jobs) and giving it to government who will largely piss it down the drain on absurdities like HS2, the misguided war on CO2, carbon capture lunacies, COP26 and a hugely bloated and inefficient state sector.

    Why invest in the UK if you are taxed at 28% on any gain (much of it not even real gains) then you might have to pay a further 40% on it on death?

    Nothing about the attacks on the self employed either, no reduction in the absurd stamp duty rates or the hugely damaging and totally unsustainable taxation of “profits” not even made on landlords (and thus tenants).

    He says the NHS will get whatever it needs, well it needs about 5,000 more critical care beds and staffing for them in about three weeks time. How is he going to provide this in time? How many people will die for want of these facilities? 50% of them maybe, perhaps as many 100,000?

    Moves to get the banks lending and get some cash flow help to businesses was very welcome more is needed.

    Continuing with HS2, the absurd war on harmless CO2 plant food and making the state even bigger still is a huge mistake. The precise opposite of what is needed. We need banks that lend competitively, far less government, real freedom and choice for people, a bonfire or red tape and far lower, simpler and more rational taxes.

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 13, 2020 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      “How is he going to provide this in time? ” I heard there are plans afoot to utilise the skills of year 3 nurses still in University and more Doctors still in Training and volunteers to free up nursing staff with the other essential lower-skilled duties like helping people to eat and drink and basic caring. You go on about “taking money off people” but your taxes are required to pay for the ventilators you want the NHS to buy and the extra staff.

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    Theresa May actually, for once, said something sensible yesterday:- I merely say, as I have said, that prudent management of the public finances is one of the USPs—unique selling points— of the Conservative party, and it is essential that any Conservative Government maintain that prudent management, because there are two things that we, as Conservatives, know that the Labour party and others never accept. The first is that the Government do not have any money of their own; they are spending other people’s money, and we owe it to them to take only as much as we need and to spend it wisely. The second point is that it is not about the amount of money we spend; it is about how we spend the money available to us.

    Except of course that the Conservatives have not been prudent at all, certainly not since John Major become Chancellor and idiotically took us into the ERM. They are just a bit less imprudent than the appalling Labour agenda. They pretend to be prudent before elections.

    Such a shame May did the exact opposite while she was PM wasting billions in EU fees and costs on delaying and preventing Brexit, putting up taxes all over the place, botching an expensive election, failing to cancel HS2 or Hinckley C, ratted on the IHT £1 million each promise, wasted billions on renewable lunacies even forcing businesses to waste time on reporting pay levels by gender.

    • Fred H
      Posted March 12, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      but apart from that how do you rate her as PM?

    • acorn
      Posted March 12, 2020 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      “The first is that the Government do not have any money of their own; they are spending other people’s money …”.

      A nonsense statement. The government has all the money it creates it and spends it into the non-government (private sector) economy that is allowed to use it before it gives it back to the government by taxation.

      The difference between what the government spends and the amount it has gotten back in taxes is mistakenly called the national debt when it is actually the non-government sector’s national savings. Give the government all its money back you are saving and you will reduce the national debt to zero. Simples!

    • kzb
      Posted March 12, 2020 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      “..they are spending other peoples money…” Really ?
      One thing about all this is, the big lie at the heart of it all is being gradually exposed. Money is not earned it is issued. It is created by the banking system from nothing and then we are expected to pay interest on it. When a bank lends money, that money is not subtracted from its assets in the same way it would be for anyone else.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted March 12, 2020 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

        Quite

    • Hope
      Posted March 12, 2020 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      Most red blooded socialist budget Tory govt has ever produced. It will require many generations to pay back even though taxation at fifty year high. Structural deficit not balanced after ten years and three election promises and now set to Rise for years to come making it very likely the debt will double under this Tory govt! In contrast to paying it off by the surplus we were promised! Tory govt has not repaired the roof when the sun shone as they said they would.

      Tory socialists always run out of other people’s money. What about the savers, prudent and strivers?

      The corona virus aside the Tory spending is out of control. It is also against the principles what Rushi said in 2015 to Osborne budget! Watch on Guido. Tory govt slammed Labour for £500 billion spending spree, Tories will be higher by the end of this parliament.

      Your govt knew it was artificially increasing the population without the resources to cope. Your govt has deliberately made us unsafe where people will die because of their deliberate decisions.

      So we now have the current situation where the NHS is already overwhelmed and there is no possibility of it being able to cope with victims of corona virus. This means that not only will it fail those who fall victim to it, but the NHS will not be able to cope with those emergencies and life threatening emergencies that it would ordinarily deal with.

      Hammond, Osborne and Rushi all failed to manage our finances properly that has led to this dire situation. Instead of following Blaire’s policies and moving left your govt could have reversed it all over ten years!

      JR, so do you agree, promises versus actual deed, it is the most dishonest spell of govt the public has ever witnessed?

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    Sunak (and May) both idiotically, supported Carbon Capture which is hugely wasteful in energy terms, totally pointless and results in expensive job destroying energy prices. They clearly do not understand the science, energy engineering, CO2, or indeed the drivers of climate. Oxford PPE and Geography so one would not expect them to understand very much. Please get Peter Lilley, Matt Ridley, Richard Lindzen or similar to educate them a little.

    Tax, borrow, over regulate and piss down the drain continues.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 12, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink

      The government is still not doing enough to delay the spread of the virus so as to ensure that hospitals can try to cope with demand. Why are they still dithering so? We will surely regret this in just a few weeks time. The NHS is not remotely well prepared for this war – despite what Boris, Hancock and Sunak keep saying.

      The Today programme was, as usual, going on about how wind and solar will soon be cheaper than fossil fuel power stations. Fine when/if they really are cheaper people will obviously use them. Cull all tax payer bribes and market rigging for them now please.

      Also they do not give “on demand” power and so it is worth less. This as it need expensive fossil fuel back up or very expensive and wasteful battery or pumped hydro storage. It also needs expensive cabling to connect them all the the grid. Furthermore they use a great deal of fossil fuel to build, install and maintain.

      Also on the Today Programme yet more talk about Freeports. Let’s make the whole of the UK a Freeport. If it is a good idea in one place it is a good idea everywhere. Otherwise you just force business to move (at great expense and much disruption) from A to B purely for tax reasons.

    • Nig l
      Posted March 12, 2020 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      Are you a machine with the repeat button pressed?

      • Matt
        Posted March 12, 2020 at 9:02 am | Permalink

        Less is more, isn’t it !

        I never thought that More would = Less though.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 12, 2020 at 9:11 am | Permalink

        Perhaps, but it is a machine that is telling the truth.

      • SM
        Posted March 12, 2020 at 10:07 am | Permalink

        He was the pub bore, but he’s been banned from The Pig & Whistle so he comes here.

      • Julian Flood
        Posted March 12, 2020 at 10:53 am | Permalink

        It’s a comment which deserves repeating. CCS with the bill paid by ‘a consumer levy’ is a tax on the old, the poor and the sick.

        JF

      • Hope
        Posted March 12, 2020 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        LL, Corbyn said he lost the election but won the argument. He was right was he not? He wanted govt spending to boost growth, Tories argued against him. The Tories have now done exactly what he said with their left wing budget!

        Tapayers’Alliance are right, future generations will have to pay the spending back, there is no money tree, it is paid back from our taxes, as the Tories claimed adfinitum.

    • Mark
      Posted March 12, 2020 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      Burying CO2 is indeed literally just pouring money down a hole.

  4. jerry
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    Very much a something but nothing budget in my opinion, with what could be a massive tax hike all but buried within, how many picked on on the prospect that construction costs could see a hike if the sector is not exempted from the attack on the legitimate use of Red Diesel. Some commentators and pundits are suggesting the govt has gone “Keynesian”, I’m not so sure, more like still worshipping the alter of the Green blob, throwing good money after bad.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 12, 2020 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      Certainly a huge tax hike on red diesel for the construction industry and one on people selling their businesses. Also the extra borrowing (which will largely be wasted on lunacy like HS2 and a bonkers energy/climate policy) is just more deferred taxation too.

    • jerry
      Posted March 12, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      “Levelling up around the country is an important task. It needs more enterprise and private sector investment and company formation around the UK.”

      So important that this has not been done for the last 40 years [1], other than in the Blair years, now because the South can no longer be relied upon to vote Tory in the wake of Brexit the the Right are now desperate to bribe the Midlands and North. these areas had enterprise and private sector investment until the 1980s when so much of it was allowed to go to our competitors.

      [1] except when the plebiscites rioted

  5. Nig l
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    A very impressive response to the virus problem and looked like the Treasury was in concert with the rest of the government. A welcome and I hope, permanent change.

    Really good stuff on the environment as well. No doubt the CO2 ranters are dialling up,their bile. Poor on the minimum wage, give money back in the form of business rates/duty etc and increase their biggest fixed cost without the justification of an increase in output. It is politically motivated and is in reality a tax increase because the cost will be passed on to the consumer, us.

    Good point about the Autumn statement. In truth you are kicking the can down the road. This is a budget Gordon Brown would have been happy with, as are the labour front bench and nothing will change. I fear low tax Tories like yourself are history.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 12, 2020 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      “A very impressive response to the virus problem” – Well not really we need more than words and promises we need action. I will be impressed when they have circa 5,000 more critical care beds and staff in place. They will be needed in just a few weeks to meet the expected demand as we see in Italy. Otherwise many people will die due to the shortage.

      Also they are not taking sufficient action yet to delay the spread until the NHS is geared up to cope.

      • jerry
        Posted March 12, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

        @LL; If this virus becomes so wide spread that we need “circa 5,000 more critical care beds and staff in place.” every single ward could become an isolation, critical care, ward with every member of staff and bed within. The last time I had to visit a hospital ward each bed had the full set of oxygen and monitoring equipment etc needed, this on nothing more than an observational ward. Non critical or less serious cases that are not Covid-19 will be treated outside of hospitals or care simply postponed.

      • Matt
        Posted March 12, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

        Several things here.

        Young people are still going out at weekends, getting drunk and ending up in A&E. (A relative last week)

        This wanton abuse of NHS resources cannot go on at this time. Take away night club licences for the duration.

        Nor can the automatic taking of drug abusers to A&E by ambulance, rather than to police cells by police van.

        There also needs to be publicised above ALL other advice (including washing hands) that this is a notifiable disease and if you think you have it you are legally obliged to call the NHS and tell them.

        This is not coming through. I suspect that most victims here and abroad are suffering milder symptoms and are just staying at home and not reporting it.

        This is skewing the mortality rate to a higher level than it is but also making the disease more difficult to control.

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted March 12, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

        Hopefully somebody is working on a plan to get the right people and equipment in place. We have companies here making this kit, and somebody in government should be placing POs for it right now. Also training existing NHS staff to work it. Recruitment probably isn’t an issue in the short term as elective treatments like fertility treatment staff can be trained and moved across. If the NHS doesn’t cope with this it really should be killed off.

      • Nig l
        Posted March 12, 2020 at 9:08 am | Permalink

        Please use the word I instead of trying to justify your view with the word ‘we’

        The consensus is that this was an excellent, indeed world leading, contribution, to managing this problem but obviously only the beginning.

      • Norman
        Posted March 12, 2020 at 10:01 am | Permalink

        Agree. The Italian experience shows what happens once the virus breaks out (as it almost certainly will, due to mild or asymptomatic carriers). The problem will then be resourcing emergency treatment facilities.
        Meanwhile, older or immuno-compromised people need to minimize public contact and consider home-delivery of provisions. This will also help everyone else, by slowing down virus spread, and stearing clear of trouble.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 12, 2020 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      Impressive response?

      Hardly – what is needed is men, women, materiale, real property, expertise, preparation, and all the other resources which would comprise a proper public protection authority.

      However, the Conservatives have slavishly and unquestioningly followed the small state mantra of US right-wing ideologues, and so not only does such a thing not exist in the UK, their doctrine would not permit it to exist either.

      The whole foundation of this hollow, cynical creed is crumbling before our eyes.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 13, 2020 at 2:17 am | Permalink

        Total nonsense.
        The State today is bigger and spends more than ever.

  6. Mark B
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    Firstly let me thank Chancellor Sunak for the chuckle at John McDonald MP expense. Very good. 🙂

    It was certainly a give away budget. Free cash for all. But the devil in the detail will come after. Most people think the Budget is all said and done on the day, it is not. They all get their feel good headline grabbers out the way first before clawing it all back later.

  7. Cheshire Girl
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    I watched the Budget speech in full, and I thought the Chancellor did an amazing job, at very short notice.

    His remarks about the Corona Virus were calm and reassuring. It cant have been easy to put it all together in such a short time, although I know, he had help.

    Labour, as usual, rubbished many things. They just cant seem to help it, but I think the Chancellor made a very good start, in a job which will be far from easy.

  8. DOMINIC
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    This is 1997. A pure bred Keynesian fanatic in No.10. A pure bred Thatcherite in No.11 now acting like a Keynesian.

    The message is simple. We’re going to abuse (more taxes) the private sector to expand the unreformed State and the public sector (Labour’s source of political power).

    Why do the Tories protect Labour from political harm? Do they fear upsetting the status quo in Parliament? What would the UK look like if Labour did not now exist?

  9. Steve Reay
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Pensioners, the very people who the conservatives rely on for their votes seem to fair worse. Some who are retired but not yet receiving state pensions seem to be losers. Those same pensioners who had savings and who relied upon any interest to boost there incomes are the losers here. The government should have scrapped tax on interest and part of the emergency measures

  10. Roy Grainger
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    “The Chancellor had very little time to produce his budget, so it is not surprising he did not open up the issue of cutting tax rates to increase revenues and growth.”

    Why does that take time ? Just announce a cut. Can’t see the problem. The real explanation is probably that he didn’t announce a tax cut because he doesn’t support one.

    Glad to see some of the EU’s nonsensical VAT taxes removed from some items (sanitary products, books etc.). There is surely further to go on rationalising VAT rates.

  11. oldtimer
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    The measures to counter the potential impacts of Covid-19 sound sensible precautions to help smaller businesses. In other respects it was lopsided – lots of spending (and no doubt of waste) and very little on taxes and tax reform. At least the Chancellor sounded confident which matters in these uncertain times. The autumn budget assumes great significance because by then there should be a clearer view of the impact of the epidemic, of the arrangements that will govern trade with the EU and the Chancellor will have had time to develop a more sensible, practical tax regime

  12. Stred
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    The cancellation of business rates applies to those with rateable values below £50k. How many in the south and London will qualify? Many will go bust in a lock down. The latest rate of increase in bat virus was five times per week, not doubling as predicted. The effect is also not as mild as the NHS chief officers predicted with many younger people suffering severe respiratory problems and needing ventilators, which are not available. The delay in isolation has resulted in a likely disastrous situation similar to that in Italy within weeks.
    Presumably the Treasury has calculated that there will be a large increase in inheritance tax and will be paying for the other wasteful projects, such as the Stonehenge tunnel, by fleecing investors in private rented property as they are forced to sell.

  13. Old Albion
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Good to see the removal of the EU imposed tampon tax. Something you have advocated for several years.
    A pity the EU imposed VAT on household energy didn’t go with it.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted March 12, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      All the usual suspects are calling for Brexit to be delayed due to the virus.
      This would be a very stupid move on Johnsons part as it would really show the nation that the Tories can’t be trusted.
      What about VAT relief on domestic fuel.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 12, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      5% off tampons from next year. But still 20% on loo rolls, shaving equipment and nearly everything else.

      • a-tracy
        Posted March 13, 2020 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

        Men don’t bleed every month if they did they’d never have put vat on them in the first place!

        Shaving is optional and women and men do it every week?

    • Andy
      Posted March 12, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Germany is in the EU.

      It scrapped the tampon tax.

      The EU itself is scrapping it from 2022.

      How much money will it save you?

      • Old Albion
        Posted March 12, 2020 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

        The EU’s VAT was supposed to be a tax on luxury goods. See if you can find a woman who considers tampons/sanitary towels a luxury.

        • a-tracy
          Posted March 13, 2020 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

          Exactly Old Albion!

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 12, 2020 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      but come December the govt can remove VAT on any items or altogether…once we are out of the EU…..Unless the level playing field kicks in

  14. Alan Jutson
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    At least it sounded positive and upbeat, which is a change, but I do wonder when and how all of this borrowing is going to be paid for.

    Seems to me one of the more simple methods to help counter Coronavirus would be to screen all people entering the Country from abroad.
    So many of our latest problems seem to have come in from Italy and other existing known virus areas.

    Most people are sensible and will self isolate if they know they have a problem, so developing self test kits would perhaps be a good investment if the timescale means it would be practical

    Paid sickness benefit is sensible to encourage people to do the right thing, but is it really high enough to make a big difference for most people.

    Not sure about many of the other policies outlined, but certainly road repairs and new road development is a positive.
    Waste of money putting the A303 in a tunnel, when simply a lower road with built up banking from the spoil extracted would be a far more sensible and practical, with huge cost savings. Other areas of the A303 also need to be improved at the same time to make a significant improvement in traffic flow.

  15. Lifelogic
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Rory Stewart (on LBC just now) has it right on the Corona Virus, the government is hugely under reacting. I am no fan of the EUphile man but he would clearly be a better Mayor than any of the others. Especially Khan with his absurd “the tube is very safe” claims and his endless “to the Mayor of London every journey matters” adverts (a complete abuse of public money). Also much more action is called for by the editor of the Lancet I see. Let us hope we finally get some from the government today. I hope it is not too late.

    • William Potter
      Posted March 12, 2020 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      “to the Mayor of London every journey matters” adverts, I suppose that line is correct as for every journey he has money cascading into his pocket.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted March 12, 2020 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      @LL

      I do find your increasingly plaintive cries for intervention over Covid 19 more amusing each day.

      You are either a free marketeer or you are not.

  16. Lifelogic
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Rory Stewart (on LBC just now) has it right on the Corona Virus, the government is surely under reacting. I am no fan of the EUphile man but he would clearly be a better Mayor than any of the other candidates. Especially Khan with his absurd “the tube is very safe and we are using hospital grade cleaning products” claims and his endless “to the Mayor of London every journey matters” adverts (a complete abuse of public money). Also much more action is called for by the editor of the Lancet I see. Let us hope we finally get some action from the government today. I hope it is not now too late.

    • Matt
      Posted March 12, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      All sacrificed to the God of freedom of movement I’m afraid.

    • rose
      Posted March 12, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      Do you see a risk in confining people at home for too long? The Italians are already showing signs of cabin fever. HMG has to keep the public on side as we are not China. No-one wants the mass quarantine breaking down at the most dangerous moment.

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 12, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      Lifelogic, just what do you expect the government to do with public transport – close it all down? Public sector office-based organisations are asking people to work from home and rota time at the office.

      People could have been asked to wear masks and gloves but WHO told us it was unnecessary and didn’t work. Washy-washy stations on cruise boats don’t work! Plus I can’t see Nadine Dorries not washing her hands well and regularly so I don’t see that this is an efficient barrier to this disease.

      The extra information I would like is how many people in Italy in Intensive Care are under 40 with no pre-existing conditions?
      Why didn’t we check people returning from Italy when the scale of their outbreak was becoming clear – we did with China?

    • villaking
      Posted March 12, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      @Lifelogic – if you bothered to listen to the experts and the ministers who have been briefed by the experts, you would know why apparently counter intuitive actions are not in fact an under reaction but part of a very carefully considered strategy for managing the epidemic as effectively as possible. Sadly, the only voice that interests you is your own with your endless repetitive posts. Sorry, I was overlooking someone, you probably have listened to that other medical expert Farage.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted March 12, 2020 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      It seems you were correct @Nig1

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted March 12, 2020 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      Well one obvious effect of Trump banning movements from Continental Europe for 30 days will be that those at risk move through or stay in the UK for 14 days to escape the ban, prejudicing our exposure. We need to respond to this by doing a parallel ban from Europe to avoid this occurrence, excepting US citizens passing through our airports having been tested within 4 days.

  17. Fred H
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Hardly anything for the low paid- rejoice over £85 pa saved on NI!

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 13, 2020 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      FredH just to reassure you the low paid have got a 6.2% nlw increase from next month, nearly £1000 extra pay from April this will push up differentials at the lower end of the pay scale, in fact I know a few small businesses really worried about this.

      • Fred H
        Posted March 13, 2020 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

        I will sleep easier knowing that from 1st April (how appropriate) those over 25s will be paid £8.72 per hour, let us hope they can work enough hours to really experience ‘Living’ instead of surviving.

  18. DOMINIC
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    ‘Leveling up’. I feel like I have entered into a Socialist fantasy land with this infantile narrative that belongs in the textbooks of an idiotic Sociology lecturer from a crappy University (ex-Polytechnic). No one, absolutely NO ONE, is taken-in or indeed takes any notice of this nonsensical, lefty tosh.

    Why do politicians indulge in narrative? Real people LIVE REAL LIVES. they don’t live in a story book. Speak in human language. We’re sick to the back teeth of political language, meaningless phrases and empty rhetoric

    The beauty of Thatcher was that she told it as it is. No bull, no crap and definitely no capitulation.

  19. Ex-Tory
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    What an appalling socialist budget of expanding government influence and intervention. Not a word about tax cuts as a guiding principle. No tax simplification and no taxes abolished (the “digital reading tax” being part of VAT, and not a tax in its own right.) One new tax (plastic packaging tax). Spending on public services to grow twice as fast as the economy over the spending review period. A betrayal of what the Conservatives stand for.

  20. rose
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    I agree with your assessment.

  21. a-tracy
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    I look forward to reading your budget speech John. The news just moaned on about Covid19 and didn’t give the details of the budget so I’ll have to investigate today.

    My husband told me that the FT reported NI personal allowance going up to £9500 giving an extra £100 pa in tax relief for most workers, what he didn’t know was what happened to the banding for the upper limit was it held or dropped to take this back from higher earners? It seems good news is just airbrushed out.

    Toynbee writes this morning : councils get just 1% real increase after a 25% cut in the decade – however, I want to investigate local Councils, most of them in the North West have been on a massive house building project, bringing thousands and thousands more homes to pay Council tax how much of this money is retained as increased turnover of the local Council or does it all go to Central Government, does % of it peel away for extra spending locally on social care and local policing and local schools, how much more per Council? As Ms Toynbee says: There’s no reform of regressive council tax in the budget: a top band two-bed semi in Blackpool worth £130,000 pays £1,624, while a £67.5m nine-bed mansion in Mayfair pays just £1,508.

    Reply The owner of the expensive house pays all kinds of other taxes like Stamp Duty, Income Tax etc that are redistributive.

    • Fred H
      Posted March 13, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      reply to reply…..even if purchased by an offshore tax haven like the Cayman Islands? I very much doubt it.

  22. Sakara Gold
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    No matter how much money is pumped into the economy, the Wuhan coronavirus plague is going to kill many, many people in the UK. The latest data from Italy indicates that the virus has now mutated and is currently killing about 150 people a day, it seems that about 70% of those who die are male and not all are elderly with underlying health issues.

    This Chinese virus is unbelievably contagious. It is clearly now far too late to close our borders as Trump has done. We will now be “locked down” with all that means for our domestic economy – the stock market crash is reflecting a major recession.

    How I wish that the government had closed our borders, airports etc when we had the chance

    • rose
      Posted March 12, 2020 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

      It might have mutated in Italy or maybe the Italians haven’t the resistance of the Far Easterners and the British. “The Englishman and his usual bloody cold…” doesn’t exist in the Mediterranean countries.

  23. Peter
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Inheritance tax is now robbing the masses whilst the rich have measures in place to avoid paying it.

    The rich included Tony Benn.

    • rose
      Posted March 12, 2020 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      And the Milibands.

  24. Peter
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    We are all Keynesian now?

    • rose
      Posted March 12, 2020 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

      Lord Skidelsky said of his subject: “Don’t look at what Keynes did then; ask what would Keynes do now.”

  25. Remainer
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Worse, Breaking News. Italy is forbidding British goods being sold in all shops and stores. It has actually instructed its shop keepers to lock the doors of its shops selling British goods.If an Italian wishes a Yorkshire Pudding he should be sold a Yorkshire pudding. Not to mention Scottish whisky, Cornish pasties, and carrot cake. An outrage!

    Add this to the Shopping List when Benn and Cooper protest in no uncertain terms to the EU. There are laws. This is a matter for the European Court and indeed the WTO.

  26. Robert Mcdonald
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    I do have concerns over the proposal to cover sick pay for absenteeism to self isolate …. far too many will abuse that open offer.

  27. Remainer
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    And dart boards

    • Remainer
      Posted March 12, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      This is a joke for HM The Queen. I hope She is not offended. Please forgive me

      • Remainer
        Posted March 12, 2020 at 9:44 am | Permalink

        Spoil a joke for comprehension sake. HM The Queen had to mention the selling of dart boards to South America ( a specific country was named) as an export triumph for the UK. She mentioned it very formally as is Her custom with a completely straight face and not even a slight undertone of humour.
        #I do hope HM OUR Queen is kept well away from possible infection by the Virus for She will do her duty come what may

    • Peter
      Posted March 12, 2020 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

      Yet dart boards are being removed from pubs. They don’t fit in with the food-led business model many pubs are now adopting. Darts leagues are dying out too.

  28. John S
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    The Coronavirus notwithstanding, this was a fiscally irresponsible budget. Are ministers making an effort to make their departments more efficient? If so, I haven’t heard.

  29. Andy
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    For a decade the Tories have failed to fund the NHS properly.

    They have failed to sort out social care.

    Because of Tory Brexit EU nurses have quit in their thousands.

    All of this leaves the NHS woefully unprepared for a pandemic.

    A pandemic which, ironically, appears far worse for the age group that largely votes Tory.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 12, 2020 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      The socialist, tax funded, monopoly, free at the point of rationing and delay NHS system is not a sensible way of running a health care system. The way to get more money into health care is to charge everyone who can afford to pay. Get some freedom, choice and innovation into the system.

    • Fred H
      Posted March 12, 2020 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

      one day you’ll provide evidence, in the meantime – yawn.

  30. graham1946
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    How does Mr Lifelogic get 6 posts out of 9 through by mid morning, including a duplicate, mostly repetitive ramblings, whereas the rest of us sometimes have to wait more than a day for sporadic entries that are not always long and trying to be different?. He must have a pass by for the ‘moderator’. Surely if he was moderated the duplicate at least could not happen?

  31. DOMINIC
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    This budget is a total assault on the sound financial management of our public finances. It is an abuse and it is an act of political cowardice. it bends to the contrived austerity narrative concocted by the parasitic, unionised, lefty dominated State sector and all those who feed off it.

    The negative and brutal effects of such fiscal stupidity will only be felt when this charlatan now ensconced in No.10 has disappeared into gilded retirement with the private sector (as is always the case) left to pick up the pieces

    A Conservative government in power? You must be joking. The Tory party like the virus that is Labour died years ago. Spending other peoples money for short term political gain is now the embedded mantra of the political state vested interest

  32. NickC
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    JR – off topic – Why is Parliament debating two E-petitions (250178 and 241848) “Suspending Brexit for a public inquiry” (scheduled for 23 March), when the petition to debate “Leave the EU with No Deal in October 2019” (254329) was recently refused by the petitions Committee? And why were two petitions on the same topic (suspending Brexit) accepted in the first place? And why are they being debated at all, given the government claims we have left the EU? This is bias, and it stinks.

  33. agricola
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    The Chancellor gave an impressive presentation and I think he got it about right. We are in a war scenario so it would be silly to expect perfection in what is going to be a rapidly changing battlefield. The next year at least will be measure and countermeasure as new challenges arise. I did not pick up on any long term plan for those elderly who need care in its varying forms. It is important because it could ease the burden on the NHS. I hope he can address it in the autumn. It would seem that he has the BoE and the Treasury on board so I hope a coordinated effort can see us through. Other than that I will not comment on detail through lack of qualification. However those theoretically qualified need to be very cautious as we are dealing with a new , multifaceted, series of problems with inputs worldwide.

  34. glen cullen
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Do you realise how patronising the Treasury sounds when they say they are keeping fuel duty at the same rate, and we should be thankful for that

    You’ve all been good little boys and girls so we aren’t going to tax you any higher this time, even though the current duty is extremely high, if fact you should consider it a duty cut, you’re so lucky we haven’t increased further, remember we must look after the environment…now go away and think yourself fortunate

    I want a Treasury to set a tax/duty and explain the reasons behind their decision

    Let them eat cake springs to mind….maybe we plebs should start bowing our heads when we see an MP our lords and masters

  35. acorn
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Here on Lifelogic’s Diary courtesy of John Redwood MP, the Conservative government is now being accused of spending and taxing like a Keynesian socialist. Alas, we have to wait and see if the right wing of the party can stomach it.

    Rishi talked the talk, cumulative budget deficits for the next five years look like adding £300 billion plus to net debt. Which brings it back to pre-2010 (Osborne austerity plus) historical norm rate of 2.7%. Mind you, with the virus and Brexit the forecast for the rate of GDP increase looks a bit fanciful to say the least. Reducing Debt to GDP as a fiscal target needs to be quickly forgotten about, it doesn’t bother the Japanese or The Donald.

    The BoE has resurrected the TFS as the four year TFSME (Term Funding for Small and Medium Enterprises) which will simply improve Bank’s profit margins like last time.

  36. Bob
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    A £1 billion 1 year respite on business rates, but only for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with rateable value up to £51k. No help to businesses that don’t meet that narrow criteria then? Not even a reduction of the multipliers?

    One fourteenth of the annual overseas aid handout. tsk

  37. ian terry
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Sir John.

    Slightly off topic but relevent
    As borrowing and debt now appears will be the discussion point for all the opposition parties over the next four years it might well be prudent for you and your like minded colleagues to lay to rest once and for all the myths about CO2 and Climate Change. For all your twitter users please read the entry regarding the 29 bullet points about the influence of the sun which rather destroys the knee jerk hysteria that many of your colleagues within the two houses of Westminster would appeaar to revel in. The money the country could save by not throwing money at a problem we have no control over despite all the rantings of a teenager

  38. MickN
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    I have to say – 10 posts so far with 5 by the same person!!

    • Peter
      Posted March 12, 2020 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

      Three posts so far about multiple posts.

      Four now.

      Maybe the culprit is a computerised bot that generates output on any specific topic and can be tweaked to replicate any viewpoint desired?

  39. hefner
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Thursday 12/03 14:33. Out of the UK population of about 67 million people, 459 of Covid-19 have been detected, 8 deaths have detected, 18 have recovered. The 459 represent a percentage of 0.00069%. Is it worth to have four BScs from Cambridge U to tell us day in day out of your fears: kind of snowflaky, isn’t it. Your statistics needs improvement, does it not.
    Hefner who has recently travelled to South of France through a 3/4 empty Gatwick airport and half empty plane, it was really nice not be encumbered by the usual Brit retirees to their places in the French wiinter sun., 25C yesterday.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 12, 2020 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      hear hear….just wished the media would also tell us those stats

  40. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    I thought it would be a good time to remind pensioner sagging Andy that it will be the older generation looking after the schoolkids when schools close
    They come in handy sometimes.

    • Fred H
      Posted March 12, 2020 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      and they should charge him £35 per hour for 1, and £50 per hour for 2.

    • ukretired123
      Posted March 12, 2020 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

      Yes grandparents too are highly valued in the many older and wiser culturally developed parts of the world for their fortitude and wisdom.
      An old boss of mine visiting West Africa was regarded as alien for 3 weeks until he asked where to post his grandson a postcard. “Grandfather?” they asked ” Yes” he replied. Instant respect – doors were opened by everyone as the word went around.

      Also young EU immigrant families we have met tell us how lucky children who have grandparents are as they notice a difference in all kinds of ways, noticeably happier and more confident and grounded.

  41. Bob
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    The Chancellor has hit on a sure fire winner by promising min wage rising to £10.50/hr by 2024, and, by freezing the personal allowance, the Treasury will pick up a share of the booty.
    This is a great way to buy votes and more tax at the expenses of employers.
    A stealth tax on steroids!

  42. RichardP
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    I see savers have, once again, been given a good kicking by your Government.
    With the prospect of mass self isolation and temporary workplace shutdowns, surely encouragement for people to have a rainy day fund would be prudent.
    Also, as many people rely upon interest from savings to supplement meagre incomes, this reduction is likely to have further impact on High Street spending.

  43. miami.mode
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    £ currently @ $1.25 doesn’t bode well.

  44. Geoffrey Berg
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Although the government has made a very reasonable effort to deal with the economic effects of coronavirus in the budget,I don’t agree with the rest of the budget strategy either economically or politically.
    I used to say Gordon Brown had a word for wasting colossal amounts of taxpayers’ money : he called it ‘investing’ (in schools, health or whatever!). The reason why the ‘investment’was mainly in reality ‘waste’ lay much deeper than the persona of Gordon Brown, love him or loathe him. It is (as Dr. Rhodes Boyson, a one time Conservative M.P., used to say) practically impossible to get value for money or anything near value for money for public spending. Public officials have not got the personal incentive (nor I believe the ability in most cases) to control budgets to get value for money : they get the same pay, the same status, the same pensions regardless of their performance – and the public just pays! That is the underlying problem. Anyhow come election time people aren’t going to be impressed just by some improved railway line or road somewhere nearby. Much better just to cut personal taxes as Sajid Javid suggests and as John Redwood in part wants.
    The political analysis is also wrong. The ‘red wall’ Labour seats that went Conservative in 2019 didn’t do so for economic but for social reasons. People there were fed up with Corbyn who never seems to stand up for Britain; they were even more fed up with being told by Labour their Brexit votes shouldn’t count; they think immigration has got out of hand; they are not willing to be told by the Muslim Council of Britain what they cannot say or think (the Trevor Phillips controversy just shows how crazy it has all got) and they think it insane to put male rapists in women’s prisons (as endorsed by 2 of the 3 Labour leadership candidates) because the rapists say they’d like that.
    While Labour continues to be run by its ‘unintelligent intelligentsia’ it is virtually unelectable – and just to make that absolute the Conservatives should be steaming ahead with wealth creating low-tax economic policies combined with social policies that accord more closely with majority British public opinion (rather than ‘unintelligent intelligentsia’ Guardianista or ivory tower University opinion!).

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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