“Broadest shoulders bearing the greatest burden”?
A lot of second-rate sloganising, a couple of feeble jokes, no attempt whatever to engage with the difficult macro-economic debates about policy, and mindless partisanship, such as that Blair “didn’t achieve anything” in his 10 years.
The only bit in which the Chancellor became animated and sounded as if he cared was when he defended next year’s cut in the top rate of income tax from 50p in the pound to 45p. The intensity of his belief is in inverse proportion to the decisiveness of the evidence that a 45p rate would yield more (see the footnote here).
This reinforces the disastrous error that Osborne made in the last Budget, especially as he and the Prime Minister have so far only hinted that there will be further tax demands on the better off. (The only measure that Osborne mentioned in his speech was a clampdown on tax evasion and “aggressive tax avoidance”, which every Chancellor announces every year.)
And Osborne made some dodgy claims:
Each one of my Budgets has increased taxes overall on the very richest.
One of those statements designed to give an impression. Of course taxes have gone up on “the very richest”. They have increased on everyone because, for example, VAT has gone up. The question is, have they gone up on the rich more than others, as a share of their income? Next sentence:
In every single year of this Parliament the rich will pay a greater share of our nation’s tax revenues than in any one of the 13 years that Labour were in office.
Presumably this is right, but I suspect that this is only because of tax changes announced by Alistair Darling, the Labour Chancellor, and not reversed by Osborne, rather than measures brought in by the Tories themselves. That was certainly true of Osborne’s first Budget, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies. I will report back once I have been through the numbers.Tagged in: 50p tax, economics, george osborne
Latest from Independent journalists on Twitter