Ah, the budget. The day the Chancellor gets to dust off his (frankly dilapidated) briefcase and become the star attraction of the government for once.
Mention it in any office and your comment will, no doubt, be met with a negative response.
“Tsk! What are the robbing b*stards taking from us now?”
“What are they doing with fuel duty?”
“The rich get richer and the poor get poorer”
Thing is. Is that actually the case? I used this calculator on the BBC website to find out whether myself and Mr Love of my Life would be better or worse off. And I’m pleased to report that for the second year in row Mr Osbourne has deemed to help us out to the tune of just over £300 per year. Add this to the £400 he saved us last year and I might just invite him over for supper.
And whilst this is great for us (every little helps and all that jazz), one does have to wonder if this saving comes at a cost? OK, so the rich-er are losing out on Child Benefit and having to face an increase in income tax. I can’t say I feel overly sorry for them, although I would probably feel very differently if I were earning more. But what does my gain cost our local services? Our NHS and the people who really run our country? What about our pensioners?
Also, whilst I don’t disagree with raising taxes on alcohol, tobacco and driving. I do think the money which the government makes back from these taxes should be ploughed back into suitable projects. Providing suitable public transport to offer a viable alternative to owning a car (After selling mine 18 months ago I’m considering buying a new one, despite the hikes in fuel duty and car tax) and ploughing the money from booze and fags back into the health service to try to offset the expense of people who require treatment because of their choice to live unhealthily.
You can take a look at what measures have been introduced on the Beeb news website and also on Sky. I don’t have time to do an in-depth account of the effects of the budget right now (I’ll try to catch up with my blogging over the weekend), but what I will say is whether you’re better, or worse off as a result of this budget… rather than the government deciding how we should spend our money, perhaps we should be telling them how to spend, er, our money.
What’s your take on the budget this year?