The Spin Budget
The Chancellor seemed to enjoy himself yesterday though he should try to avoid cracking jokes.
Aside from the reaffirmed commitment to greater NHS funding and a number of small, largely ineffective giveaways, Mr Hammond acclaimed himself as a champion for the hard pressed working class.
The personal allowance rises to £12,500 in April, a year earlier than expected. It is currently £11,850. The difference is £650 of which tax at 20% amounts to £130. This is how much we will save from April 6 2019 to April 5 2020. I'm off to the travel agents...
On a more serious note the Resolution Foundation [a think tank] has conducted its own review into the Budget's tax measures and concludes that it will "overwhelmingly benefit richer households", with almost half set to go to the top 10% of households.
Welfare cuts will continue to affect the poorest households despite claims that "austerity was coming to an end".
Since 2015 the package of tax and benefit changes overall will deliver an average gain of £390 for the richest fifth of households - in 2023-24...compared to an average loss of £400 for the poorest fifth.
Right centric media proclaimed itself smugly satisfied and of course those left leaning are not so pleased.
Is this nothing more than a game, played out by the centralised system, designed to confuse and frustrate, in equal measure? I asked one young lady this morning, for her thoughts on the Budget. She answered that it didn't affect her as she doesn't vote. Initially I was set to challenge her answer but on reflection I think she may be on the right lines!
The reality is that the majority of us are simply pawns in a gigantic game of chess, designed to go on forever, with one team leading for a while before the other team moves ahead. Each team will make moves based on short term needs [re-election] but neither will step back, examine the whole board and bring together the greatest minds from both teams to try to deal with what we - the pawns - really need, not just now but for the next 25 years or more.
Every Budget, every Election takes me further away from those who are responsible for our welfare. Mr Hammond offered no apology for HMRCs latest error in its tax calculations for thousands of people in tax year 2016-17. HMRC will begin its investigation on November 19th [Sunday Times 28th October] and those affected - 11.5 million returns were completed in that year - will have just 28 days to pay any additional tax. Even though they are innocent. A lovely Christmas present.
Those over-taxed "should be given a rebate", though there is no indication of when.
Of course the Budget measures must be debated in the about to be published Finance Bill and without a working majority it is possible many of the measures will never see the light of day.
Rather than be despondent reflect on the greatest financial revolution in history and that you can be a part of it. Regaining control of your money, your identity, creating a better society for the benefit of all.