23.03.2011 – Today we’ve seen a budget revealed that reflects a real Liberal Democrat influence in government. With big steps being taken towards a progressive system of taxation, we see breaks for low earners and instead of leaving the ‘squeezed middle’ to foot the bill (or Nick Clegg’s ‘Alarm Clock Britain’ – stop trying to make it catch on), it’s the banks and the big oil companies that are taking the flak.
The personal tax allowance is set to creep even closer to the Lib Dem aim of 10K by increasing to £8,015 by April 2012 (“from our manifesto to the back pockets of thousands” as the party proudly reminds us.)
It’s not just income tax that we’ve got to be pleased about; every English council this year will see council tax frozen or reduced – that’s extra money to put towards that holiday! (Since air duty tax is also getting frozen, while private jet owners will need to pay passenger duty for the first time – talk about fairness)
Banks trying to find their way through loopholes will find themselves stumped when the bank levy gets adjusted to ensure they aren’t paying less tax, while small businesses will be pleased to note that corporation tax will be cut by 2% (double the aim) in April.
Even the glummest of glum councillors are going to have to search harder for potholes to point at in photo opportunities now that an extra £100m has been set aside for repairing potholes in English roads, and there’s £200m on top of that going to support regional railways.
Those of us still annoyed about the tuition fee rise will be very pleased to see funding in place for 12 more university technical colleges, 40,000 apprenticeships for young people out of work AND 100,000 new work experience places (see, they might make mistakes but they do care!)
AND as a surprise extra to all this good news, anybody wanting to leave money to a charity after their death will be offered a 10% inheritance tax discount on the money they leave to their heirs.
As pleasing as the new budget is, it’s not all good news. The Gallagher brothers will be sad to see a slight tax rise on both Cigarettes and Alcohol and nobody’s expecting anybody to wake up in the morning with gold-lined pockets. We’re facing tough times and there are a lot of cuts to work through in the coming months and years but a budget like this really can go a long way to ease the difficulty made necessary by the financial mess that Labour have left us in. While Labour MPs are complaining about the budget today, we remember that they planned to implement a 5% fuel tax rise, while the coalition is making the oil companies take the hit in rising fuel prices, not the public. I’m glad to see in the Daily Express today that the voters aren’t fooled by Labour’s shouting from the opposition benches and that they still remember who put us in this position in the first place.
Talking of Labour’s mess, our forcasted borrowing this year will be £2.5bn lower than anticipated and by next year it’ll fall a further £24bn until in 2015-16 we’ll only be borrowing £29bn. It’s good to see that the cuts and clever budgeting are really working and that economically, the Liberal Democrats are bringing fairness to Britain.
George Osbourne, thanks for this! We’ll make a Liberal of you yet 😉
 – 10% inheritance discount to those leaving 10% of their estate to charity