Saturday, 24 March 2007

Gordon's Budget fails C&A

Sadly Gordon Brown's last Budget didn't quite match the build up spin and hype. Once you delve into the detail it is quite clear that the headline "tax cuts" aren't quite what they seem, which is therefore why it is unsurprising that the opinion polls are showing people don't believe they'll be any better off.

Indeed Independent experts have calculated that 3.5 million families will be worse off as a result of the Budget. The 2p cut in the basic rate, which dominated the following day's front pages, is offset by the abolition of the 10p income tax rate and an increase in National Insurance contributions - a move the Chancellor failed to mention in his speech.

The many single people in the constituency without children earning £16,000, like the NHS maternity care assistants at the Medway hospital or police community support officers, will pay more in tax, and not gain from tax credits. And given the cuts at the Maidstone A&E I am not surprised that Gordon Brown mentioned the NHS just once in his speech.

Equally as worrying is that the Budget has hit the many small businesses based in the constituency. Gordon Brown is raising the tax rate and increasing complex allowances for small firms meaning that many could end up going out of business.

Finally the Budget failed to increase stamp duty thresholds in line with house price inflation, increasing stamp duty by stealth. The average first time buyer is paying over £1,500 in stamp duty, and you only have to have a quick look at the KM's Home section to see that more and more homes are now being pushed into the punishing 3 per cent band (over £250,000).

The Chancellor tried desperately to trick us into believing that he had cut taxes but it has all turned out to be a con - a bit worrying given that this man is expected to be our next Prime Minister. Fortunately the public are no fools.

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