Well done to George Osborne for carrying the case for a debate to Parliament and getting us one. Now today we need to show the government how wrong they are to propose a further large increase in borrowing to cut VAT.
I am expecting lots more Labour lies, as this budget is not a serious economic policy statement but a trap for the Tories that has misfired. It is a silly political manoeuvre that has gone wrong. Labour thought they could damage the Tories by getting us to oppose borrowing to pay for a tax cut, and then lying about our motives for doing so. Instead, they are left defending an ill judged tax proposal which most of the public is cynical about, which will not suddenly lift us out of recession. People do not welcome a tax cut which they have to pay for with huge tax rises after the election. Meanwhile they have spurned more modest but more helpful Conservative proposals to assist small business, Council taxpayers and home buyers as they lose out in the downturn. Labour’s temporary VAT cut, far from being a comfort blanket in a crisis, will prove to be a borrowing noose round all our necks.
Labour are still using the lie that I wrote a deregulatory report about the mortgage banks. They refuse to look at the part of the Report which forecast banking problems ahead and urged better and tougher regulation of banks capital and cash. Instead, the government implemented that part of my Report a year too late, in an over the top way which is making the problem worse. They lurched from being too lax to being too tough after the banks were badly damaged.
Labour think they are clever, and can use budget proposals and legislation as part of their spin campaign to portray opponents in a bad light and themselves in a favourable one. They will learn to their cost that people mainly judge governments by what they do rather than by what they say. This latest budget unpicks three of the more foolish and unpopular measures of previous budgets (car tax, 10 p tax abolition, small business profits tax). This latest budget itself will need unpicking, as it is borrowing too much and delivering too little help to a country torn by recession.