I have already said my bit about the VAT "reduction" and the 45p rate on previous posts. However I do have a few comments about things today.
Calling it a "Pre-Budget Report" is surely a massive misnomer. This was a full budget, in fact it was more full and wide-ranging than most full budgets. I can only assume that the reasons why it was not actually called one are:
- It is politically convenient for the government not to as it perhaps ameliorates the sense of crisis by not having to admit it is an extra emergency budget.
- It meant there was no proper debate afterwards (indeed Labour MPs started to leave as soon as opposition spokesman started speaking).
- It meant that George Osborne responded for the Tories and I suspect the government thought this would be better for them than Cameron (who would have responded had it been a full budget as is the convention). Osborne's response seems to have gone down quite well in the blogosphere although I have to say for me he was too confrontational, tubthumping and shrill. All that barracking from the Tories seemed misplaced. I thought Vince Cable had the tone just right (although I would say that wouldn't I!?).
I am also concerned about the fact that some of the measures announced today seemed to have ramifications all the way through to 2016 (8 years away) in terms of getting the books to balance. Now I know we are in a very difficult financial situation at the moment but surely there is something wrong with the system if a government can constrain future parliaments to this degree. Whatever happened to not binding the hands of your successor as I remember learning about in A-Level Politics all those years ago?