Wednesday, 23 March 2011

When will Nick wake up?

Seriously, how has Clegg not realised the nobody likes the term "Alarm Clock Britain"!  I am yet to hear anyone say anything positive about the term yet he is persisting.  Lib Dems ignoring it trying to make it die whilst opponents are using it at any chance to ridicule him.  He's actually talking about the sector of society that are massively effected by everything that is going on and needs the government's help, yet any serious point he makes is undermined by the use of this stupid term.  Nick is a much better politician when he is engaging with people and speaking with them directly than when he is trying to go for useless soundbites.  

As for the budget itself there isn't an awful lot to talk about.  Mr Osbourne promised a revenue neutral budget and he seems to have delivered this.  I suppose the devil is in the detail but here are some good points I noticed (if they go as intended):
  • Further movement in the personal allowance from 2012 bringing the total to £8,015.
  • Council tax frozen all up the country (already knew Bath had been).
  • Levy on "Non-Doms" who have been in the country for 12 years to rise to £50,000.
  • Private jets paying passenger duty - I really wonder how much this will raise though.
  • Extra investment in apprenticeships and technical colleges.
  • The potential merger of Income Tax and NI (long overdue).
  • The Green Investment Bank additional funds.
  • Cutting the fuel duty by 1p.  (His headline grabbing attempt - but did it go far enough?).
 Some less good things:
  • Additional corporation tax cut.  I get that we need to be competitive but is this the right thing to be reducing?  Firms don't necessarily look at this when making their decisions (unless a finance person is involved) instead they tend to look at gross margins.  If they really wanted to help smaller firms I would have cut employers NI as this reduces the cost of employing people and could therefore even encourage additional staffing.  (If a company is employing 120 people, then a 1% cut would save them enough to employ another person should they wish).
  • The current meddling with employment law which is taking the power away from the employee and hence removing job security.
  • Too easy on the banks.
  • Nothing really to help curb inflation - more the opposite.
 They were just the things I noticed and jotted down when listening to it.  Overall it had a slight Gordon Brown feeling about it - particularly when he was talking about "enterprise zones" - also as some commentators pointed out the effective raid on the oil companies is similar to what Gordon did with the utility companies.  Finishing off mentioning Gordon is probably appropriate as "alarm clock Britain" reminds me of the sort of things that would happen with Brown where it was obvious that his advisers were asking him to do things that were just idiotic.

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