Two of the big three revenue sources are income tax and national insurance, they’re the ones who hurt the well off. The third biggie -VAT is the one that hurts the poorest. Poor people pay VAT at the same rate as the well -off and there’s no getting round it.
Cuts in income tax and national insurance are good for the kind of people who read this blog but it’s cuts to VAT and duties on cigarettes and alcohol that help poorer folk.
The same can be said for spending promises. Promises to cut welfare benefits, like the taper on Universal Credit are going to matter to those just getting by while giveaways on capital gains, inheritance tax and pension saving play well to those who have and are meaningless to those who haven’t.
So when you get to see those little charts that journalists produce at the end of the Autumn Statement that show the impact of Philip Hammond’s policies… realise that everyone (except you) has a nice fat spreadsheet into which they punch the changes.
Which brings me to the interesting bit of being a Chancellor of the Exchequer -lying. George Osborne is perhaps the best liar of any recent Chancellor – his trick was to smile sweetly , give selective sweeteners out on air and then slip in the nasty stuff (that hurt the most vulnerable) in the wedge of paper that accompanied the autumn statement/budget.
Osborne seemed to think that getting away with it was a key performance indicator. This proved to be the case as when he got called (on BREXIT) he got pulled. He was back yesterday , at the Aberdeen Conference, fortunately Andrew Neil was asking him the question and reminded him (twice) that he was talking bollocks.
We all know that Philip Hammond has a tough gig. He has to manage the Brexit rollercoaster, deal with the wild card that is Trump and still manage around Theresa May’s promise to help the JAMs (Just managing).
There are loads of ways that Philip Hammond can square the circles, but I will be judging him not on Osborne’s KPI but on standards of decency that centre on “telling the truth”.
If the bollocksometre switches to red as Hammond talks, then he will have gone down in my estimation. I don’t want jokes, I don’t want smirking smiles and I don’t want creepy grins, I just want an autumn statement straight between the eyes which does what May said on the steps of Downing Street.
Where does all the money go?
Top of the integrity pops would be a big chart like the blocky thing I’ve nicked off the BBC website (at the top). It would show just how much of the money that comes in is going out the door to pay interest on our debt, how much is going to the EU, how much is going on benefits, on pensions and how much is being invested to make Britain more prosperous and a better place to live.
Then I’d like another big blocky thing that shows how this will look when all these measures in the budget kick in. To be really good, I’d like to see one side of the blocky thing relating to the things that help or hurt the poor most and the other side – those things that help or hurt the well-off most and the stuff in the middle – things that help or hurt us all.
Please Philip – tell us like it is – no bollocks – no lies – no spin. Tell us how you’re spending our money.