A Budget largely of obfuscation & pandering to corporations with one or two nuggets of soundbite giveaway from a low wage, no hope Chancellor

It is difficult to understand why cuts to ESA a week ago are followed by further cuts to disability payments when the higher rate of tax is reduced. It is not possible to connect the dots between raising the investment limit on ISA’s or tying money in for a lifetime ISA when people are struggling to find money to cover the day to day household bills and it is incredulous to believe that when local authorities are having the central government money removed for control of business rates then removing those rates from businesses to pay.

How can this be a budget that “Puts the next generation first” when we are giving tax breaks to climate destroyers, loading them with unsurmountable personal debt in a low wage no hope economy. Just saying it half dozen times with conviction does not make it true.

The sugar tax as a soundbite, headline grabbing and celebrity endorsed nugget of common sense is welcomed but the presentation does not reflect the detail. The aim is to reduce the amount of sugar in some drinks and if this is achieved then the half a billion will not be raised for sport in schools, the alternative is the tax is raised through increased consumer prices as the tax is passed on through retailers.

Help for small businesses is welcomed in the form of changes to business rates, but as I say the concern is where the money comes from for local public services like adult social care, looked after children and public health. If this was balanced by a more progressive approach to corporation tax where you support the decreased rate for small businesses with a proportional increase rate for corporations. The treatment of losses against future profits and offsetting interest payments for overseas investment is another area which needs a more robust approach to capture large businesses using accountancy sharp practice to avoid taxes whilst protecting small businesses from the tidal nature of tough economic times.

The Chancellor has, again, downgraded his predictions for the economy but what can you expect from a second grade modern history student with no background in economics or leadership. How can we have any confidence in the future expectations of the economy when to make the figures fit the soundbite he needs to play accountancy tricks to present the deficit reduction by the end of the parliament.

The distraction non-announcement regarding all schools being converted to academies, this was already an announced policy objective but did get the media running round in circles for the morning. Everyone involved in the education system knows this is an ideological pursuit to give corporations access to public money for profits rather than an evidence based approach to school improvement. Even though Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan said a few months ago that no school would be forced it is clear that this is only half the statement no school will be forced providing you agree with us that you will become an academy and if you don’t agree with us you will be forced to become an academy. They are applying the same approach to elected mayors too!

One final thought is that when the government and their local representatives are celebrating the low unemployment, all time high employment and success of their apprenticeships programme they still need to make further devastating cuts. It leads me to two conclusions; firstly that a low wage, no hope economy cannot be the foundation stone of a strong economy but represents long-term economic failure and secondly that these Tories have no idea at all how economics works beyond the accumulation of their own wealth based upon the exploitation of the masses. May be that is their long-term economic plan to promote an elitist oligarchy and distract the rest of us with worrying about debt, blaming our neighbours and being grateful for the morsel of good news on a bleak day

I could go on but suffice to say it’s the healthy and wealthy who are the winners here whilst the ill and most vulnerable take the brunt of a very blunt instrument.