Opinion: What Everyone Conveniently Missed In The Budget

9th March 2017 / United Kingdom
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By Graham VanbergenThis was a budget designed to distract – and it worked. The chancellor’s attempt at a low-key package was as grey and boring as the man who delivered it, hardly any wonder he’s nicknamed ‘The Undertaker’ in political circles. The mainstream press had quite obviously been briefed as the really big issues at hand were totally avoided both at the despatch box and in the press today as was their non-existent front page coverage of the huge NHS protests last weekend.

The main budget issues delivered were:

  • Self-employed to pay higher rates of National Insurance
  • Dividend tax allowance slashed
  • National Savings & Investment bond to launch at 2.2pc from April
  • Income tax threshold to rise in April as expected
  • Crackdown on overseas pension transfers
  • No changes to stamp duty, mortgage relief, pensions tax perks or inheritance tax

The Guardian unendingly moans about a Tory manifesto pledge broken with NI contributions. When ever was a Tory party manifesto a promise to deliver? 1.6 million self employed are affected, not enough to cause any groundswell of trouble and more than half wouldn’t vote Tory anyway.

The BBC wailed on about the views of big business. Who cares, big business doesn’t vote. But they do donate to the coffers of what is looking more and more like a single party in power for years, so they got relief from business rates – to be paid for by those who don’t work for big business.

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The Telegraph, Sun, Mirror and Daily Mail all went with the “Betrayal of the self employed.” – Expect this to be the distracting story for a few days to be replaced with some other nonsense by next week.

Jeremy Corbyn, a man to match Hammond in the personality war and just as electable said a few words devoid of real confrontation and opposition, rattled no-one and sat down whilst Theresa May laughed uncontrollably. It’s no wonder, May’s plan had worked.

Any mention of unsustainable national debt and Brexit was avoided and the set-up trap to the next election was set.

These issues have huge consequences for every man, woman and child of Gt Britain and they were not only completely and deftly side-stepped, Theresa May got her wish to be PM until death do us part.

 

Britains national debt (not to be confused with the annual deficit) will continue to rise.

In 2008 Britain’s government debt or national debt was 51.7% of GDP, today it is 91% of GDP, a rise of 4.2% average per year and more than double stated inflation. About 60% of the increase is down to bailing out the banks that put Britain and all of its hard working occupants on its knees.

‘The Undertaker’ did nothing at all to arrest the rise of the annual deficit. The IMF and European Commissions’ forecast along with the notoriously stupid predictions by the OBR of UK government debt was, as usual, woefully optimistic and missed the actual result by a mile or six. By 2020 official British government debt will be £2trillion, about £30,000 per person of the entire population. A single digit rise in interest rates and Britain will struggle even to pay its debts at all. Britain now spends more on servicing its debts (£48billion) than it does on defending the nation (£45 billion) and education (£38billion).

None of this takes into account the additional £5-6 trillion of unfunded debts the government never speaks about. These are things like state pensions that workers have paid billions into that successive governments have irresponsibly thieved. Then there are those ridiculously expensive PFI’s and other bank beneficiary scams to take the taxpayer for a ride.

By 2022 Britain will be fast approaching debt equivalent to 100% of GDP. Crossing that threshold is a dangerous mistake that generations will forever blame their parents for. But this younger generation are more in debt than ever. Half of kids leaving education now have student debt that amounts to exactly half of their parents total outstanding mortgage. Their parents are struggling to keep noses above an ever rising waterline as the cost of living continues to rise whilst wages lag behind. The result – more than two thirds of all households in Britain are now on some sort of state aid to stave off personal bankruptcy or destitution.

Britain’s families are now living on borrowed time. The average household in the UK is at a record £12,887, even before mortgages/rent are taken into account or £350 billion. This is quite a bit more than when the 2008 bubble vapourised any chance of future prosperity. The financial crisis or as it’s now known the ‘great recession’ has statistically taken longer to recover from than the ‘great depression.’ That’s reassuring then as there’s no sight to its end irrespective of so-called facts and figures spewed out by various government departments.

Not a word on Brexit. No preparation funding or shock proofing the economy. Why?

This was a budget that manoeuvred Theresa May into the negotiating chair. Constant attempts to block her Brexit plans will be stopped dead in their tracks with the threat of a snap election. She would win hands down right now, labour would be annihilated as the Tories now have an unassailable 15 – 18 point lead. With opponents on a leash, Tory Brexit plans will be guided through the maze and Theresa May will call out the election when at her most commanding – heads she wins, tails she wins. The Article 50 trigger will be pulled any moment.

The Tories will continue to battle unsustainable national debt with yet more austerity whilst giving big business a lower tax rate than your average dental assistant or factory worker. When Labour are handsomely defeated, Corbyn will disappear into the sunset and Britain will be governed by people like Theresa May who will legislate its way to authoritarianism – as she is doing right now with the Trade Union Bill, a whole host of spying and surveillance legislation, a raft of public order acts, the abolition of the Human Rights Act and much more to silence us just in time for when the fuse to that debt bomb runs out. Mark my words, when it does go off, it will be illegal to protest about it as it already is in many towns and cities across the land with examples such as protesting fracking, or doing so outside parliament.

(Main image – tinted – to give at least some colour) 

 

 

 

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