That was such a damp squib it is hard to find the energy to discuss it. The usual New Labour con, built on wildly optimistic growth forecasts. Their budget growth forecast for 2009 proved in fact an astonishig 1.9% too optimistic.
Yes, we should be tackiling the budget deficit now.
The budget in fact did very little, and was much more notable for what it did not do. Nothing at all to split high street from casino banking, nothing to stop banks paying over 70% of their profits to their fatcats in good years and then expecting the taxpayer to fund them in bad years.
Tax information agreements with tax havens are a good thing, but would not normally merit a mention in the budget statement. The fact that the big government benches cheer came from an irrelevant attack on Lord Ashcroft – in what is meant to be the national budget, for God’s sake – reflected just how tawdry this government is and how cheap our politics have become.
What elese was tawdry? Announcement of £270 million to universities to fund “20,000 more students” when the universities were told a couple of weeks ago their budgets were cut £250 million for “efficiency savings”. Net result – universities are supposed somehow to educate 20,000 more students for nothing.
More tawdry gimmicks – announcement of £60 million to fund loans for renewable energy industry infrastructure development, especially wind turbines, when the government had just let the actual Vestas wind turbine plant go bust for lack of £20 million. Most tawdry of all? The plan to raise money and boost the government’s banker mates by selling the student loan portfolio to the private sector.
I could go on, but I can’t be bothered. Sickening.