It’s the 2011 Budget - SIMPLIFIED! (Because together we can become smarter. One lol at a time.) [25/03/2011]
Is that time of year again; THE BUDGET! YAAAAAY….erm….right? Yes it’s the speech where the Chancellor sets out the economic principles for the forthcoming 12 months, which as always descents swiftly into a mire of sound-bytes, arbitrary numbers and hyperbole, which by the end leaves you wondering why you’d even bothered listening in the first place. Osbourne had his ‘turn the bull loose!’ moment when he declared that ‘Britain is open for business!’, which naturally meant fuck all as even the premise that Britain was closed for business at any point is just absurd.
The big story from this year’s budget was that Osbourne had SLASHED petrol by 1p. Yeah, he CHOPPED petrol by 1p. He SLIT THE THROAT of petrol by 1p (that last one was probably a bit strong). The papers naturally bent the specifics of the story to fit their prerogative, with those on the right claiming that Osbourne had saved the country from imminent death and destruction, and those on the left claiming that Osbourne’s budget was so out of line that he may as well of crept into your bedroom at night and given you a papercut with it. And The Mail just moaned regardless of the outcome because, you know, that’s what The Mail does.
The Guardian led with the petrol story, where they used the word ‘lopped’ to describe the reduction in price by a penny. Did anyone guess lopped?
Doing the round of broadcast interviews following Wednesday’s announcement, he told ITV’s Daybreak: “We will be watching like a hawk to make sure that motorists get the benefit of the budget changes and make sure that there’s no funny business.”
“I’m not pretending that this is going to transform the situation over night for families who are feeling the squeeze, but it helps.”
Now what annoys me about this statement is that Osbourne knows that a penny is literally a token gesture, yet he is running with it like he’s some sort of caped crusader, fighting off evil corporations with his petrol pump of justice. ‘Yeah it’s only a penny but it’s YOUR penny. And I will protect it!’.
The Sun essentially claimed responsibility for the 1p reduction, stating that it was the Sun’s demand to give motorists a break – and George agrees!
He said last night: “I couldn’t let Sun readers down - I hope it helps.”
Let them down, George. Let them down. People who read the Sun are idiots and deserved to be punished.
The Sun clarified reason why motorists should be delighted with the change in legislation;
The Chancellor CHOPPED an immediate penny off fuel duty from 6pm last night. He SCRAPPED an inflation-linked 5p price hike due on April 1.
He TORE UP Labour’s hated fuel tax escalator - which would have led to annual rises at the rate of inflation plus 1p.
Instead duty will go up in January, but only by the rate of inflation.
His package means that from next month prices at the pumps will be 6p a litre lower than they would have been.
So he has CHOPPED prices by 1p, but SCRAPPED and TORE UP (I quite enjoy this ‘writing in caps lock’ stuff) the fuel tax escalator, meaning that though it has only gone down by a penny, due to a price freeze it will be 6p lower than it would have been. So motorists have, in a convoluted way, saved 6p a litre on petrol. Fuck me, I’ve never put this much effort into something amounting to 6p. I’ve nicked penny chews as a kid which required less brain-power than this.
So that’s petrol sorted, but what about the rest of the budget?
The Telegraph produced a very lovely winners and losers piece (complete with gratuitous pictures of happy and sad Mr.Men – just in case any of you dribbling plebs couldn’t work out what a winner and a loser was). In the winners section was first time home buyers (£250m of aid made available to people looking to get on the housing ladder, by the government subsidising deposits on new-build housing), low earners (amount that people can earn free of tax will rise by £630 to £8,105 – though still short of the £10,000 figure promised by the Lib Dems pre-election. Cue jokes about Lib Dems and keeping manifesto promises) and Travellers (freeze on air passenger duty). Good news for all you low-earning travellers, looking to get on the property ladder. But wait, if I’m travelling, how can I buy a house? Also, if I’m a low earner, how can I do either of those things? But if I buy a house…
As far as the losers go, according to The Telegraph, they include Pensioners (changing levels of taxation on low earners doesn’t affect them, and higher levels of inflation than expected will significantly reduce their pensions in real money terms), high earners (50p tax rate on salaries over £150,000, removal of personal allowance on incomes over £115,000 and the tightening of tax loopholes), public sector workers (1% increase in national insurance contributions, 3% increase in pension payments and a later retirement age) and smokers and drinkers (but then they always get spanked by the exchequer. You knew this. Our country is built on the expenditure of weezy buggers and drunks).
The Independent derided the budget as nothing more than spin. They cited it as just broken promises and delay tactics. Despite Cameron’s promise “I’ll cut the deficit – not the NHS”, The Independent stated that;
“In terms of the Government’s pledge to grow NHS spending in real terms year-on-year, this will now be only barely true between 2010-11 and 2011-12.
If 2010-11 spending had not turned out less than planned, there would have been a small real cut in 2011-12.
The Government is sailing perilously close to the wind with respect to honouring this particular pledge.”
And it’s not just the NHS where the Government is on shaky ground, even the chop on petrol prices is being questioned. But wait, what about my 6p?! WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE 6p!?
Labour pointed out that next month’s rise had merely been postponed. Duty will rise in January and August next year, by about 3p on each occasion.
So they haven’t actually cancelled the price increase, they’ve just postponed it? Oh you horrible bastards. So your 6p saving will become a 3p saving next year, but it’s not actually a saving, as it’s only a speculative saving compared against how much you would have paid had the ‘tax escalator’ not been removed by the Conservative party, only to be re-instated later at reduced rate? So in a sense, the Conservatives have ACTUALLY PUT THE PRICE OF PETROL UP? You know what? I’ll catch the tube.
The other major concern espoused by The Independent, was that speculative economic growth was cut for the third time from initial expectation, down now from 2.1% to 1.7%.
The Office for Budget Responsibility said it lacked the evidence to say whether the Plan for Growth, which accompanied the Budget, would lift the UK’s longer-term rate of growth.
It said there was very little the plan could do to improve growth in the short term but that relaxation of planning rules might help in future.
The issue is that a slower rate of economic growth effects job creation, tax revenue and all figures associated with the budget, making the whole process pretty futile if the targets continue to be reassessed so WHAT’S THE POINT ANYWAY?! I would drink to ease the pain, but it’s too fucking expensive these days.
You wouldn’t have found these fears in The Express though, because in their opinion Osbourne is apparently the second coming of Jesus, and his rather dour and uninspiring budget was actually the only thing that has saved the population from a downward spiral into addiction, poverty and death.
GEORGE Osborne last night gave Britain hope that better times lie ahead for all with a “Budget for growth” that slashed fuel duty and cut income tax for millions.
Well, he postponed fuel duty for a year, and lifted the tax rate for a small percentage of the country. But I suppose you could describe that as slashed and cut…
To pay for the package of help for families, businesses and motorists, the Chancellor slapped a £2billion tax rise on the profits of North Sea oil companies.
But then he also,
Cut corporation tax by two per cent from April, along with a host of incentives for firms, which were welcomed by business leaders last night.
So we like it when he taxes corporations, but we also like it when he gives them tax cuts? Jesus, The Express’ rhetoric is about as predictable as a jelly on a Bouncy Castle.
Far more generous than expected, the fuel duty cut was a victory for the Daily Express’s Fair Fuel crusade.
But I thought he did it for The Sun readers? Oh George, you really are a filthy harlot sometimes.
Still confused about the budget? With most of the Daily Mail’s readership being knuckle-dragging lunatics, they described the budget – in picture form!
Say what you want about the Mail, but they know their demographic.
So what have we learnt about this year’s budget? Well; drivers, first time buyers, travellers and low earners should be better off, and the lower fuel prices should have a knock on effect to other areas. Though this may be all bollocks as petrol prices have only fractionally gone down and will reportedly go up next year as planned. High earners, pensions and civil servants will now feel the squeeze, whilst the NHS may also face cuts. Tax increases on oil profits should cover the loss from other sectors, but then tax cuts to corporation leaves us wondering who will make up for this drop in revenue, whilst smoking will now kill you financially, as well as medically. Oh and this stuff may all be irrelevant as if economic growth keeps going the way it is we may have an emergency budget at some point which overrides this one, and we’ll be fucked anyhow.
HERE’S TO ANOTHER GREAT YEAR!