What Was Budget 2014 All About?

by George_East on March 19, 2014

225px-George_Osborne_0437UKIP.   There we are, a simple answer to a simple question.  The 2014 budget was about the Tories abject terror of UKIP and was designed to burst the Farage bubble before he gets a boost from the forthcoming Euro elections.

The average UKIP supporter is a retired white bloke of middling means.  The kind of bloke who is a little bit puzzled by the modern world and not a little angry about things.   He is the kind of bloke who worked all of his life but finds himself with modest savings and pensions that are not worth as much as he thought, because for 5 years interest rates have been zero or near zero.    The kind of bloke who thinks climate change is bollocks and that the country is going to the dogs because of foreigners and benefits.

This was a budget targeted at just such a bloke with its reduction on beer duty and freezing of the fuel escalator.  More importantly though the abolition of the requirement to take annuities from pension pots, annuities that have reduced significantly in value as a result of interest rates being at rock bottom, it is designed to make UKIP man feel a tiny a bit less anxious about paying for his retirement.  He will be able to withdraw it all in cash, and do what he will with it.  Of course what happens once that pension pot is spent is not something that Gideon was going to concern himself with – this was all about placating UKIP man now.

Similarly with the increase of the ISA limit to £15,000.  Who is really going to be able to take advantage of this. How many working people are able to save as much as £15,000 per year.    Not many.  But one group who may well be able to take advantage of this are those older UKIP voters who were able to save a little bit of money in former times when interest rates were higher and investments had a noticeable rate of return.  The increased ISA limit means that they can squirrel those savings away year by year out of the reach of the tax man.

In contrast there was not much in the budget for working people.  A small rise in the income tax threshold from £10,000 to £10,500 will hardly offset the increased in VAT that this government oversaw in its first year or the fall in real wages that the majority of the population has seen and is still seeing under this government.

There is nothing in the budget to help those reliant on public services – which is most of us.  Indeed the promise of ever more austerity will more than offset any tiny gain from the rising threshold.   If you are in the bottom quintile of the population in income terms there is nothing in the budget for you at all – other than a promise that life is going to get ever harder and money is going to be ever tighter.

The patronising ‘on the side of the wokers, cor blimey we are mate’ cut in Bingo Duty shows the contempt that this government holds working people.   It really is not about the fucking bingo George.

The Tory papers seem to be giving the budget rave reviews – it is yet another game changing budget which delivers the Tories the election (just like all of the others – even the omnishambles budget  of 2012 was being touted as such for the first 24 hours after it was given).   The reason for this is most of the Tory papers (the Times excluded) are these days are more than a  little but UKippy.  Old folk vote but equally old folk are those who still buy newspapers.  In a pre-election period the Tory press knows both its audience and the outcome it needs to start cheerleading for.

The comfort we on the left should take from the budget, is that George Osborne wakes up every day sweating in fear about what Nigel Farage will do to the Tories even if he gets a modest increase on the 3% UKIP got last time out.  This budget is a product of that fear.    I suspect despite this budget Gideon’s nightmares are only going to get worse over the coming year.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Eddie Kaye March 20, 2014 at 9:20 am

Gideon’s 2 fingers to the majority of the population are still being waved. It’s almost him saying – buy a pint or a scotch a day between now and the election, then have one on me when you vote us back in.

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Mike Killingworth March 20, 2014 at 10:12 am

There’s a longstanding adage that says that a Budget that looks good the day after looks poor a year or two later.

If I were commissioning polls for the Tories I’d want to know how a backbench motion to criminalise the Labour Party (or indeed remove the vote from public sector workers – other than the armed forces, doctors & nurses, of course) would play with Tory-UKIP swing voters. And if I were a backbench Tory MP after a bit of publicity I might introduce such a 10-Minute Rule Bill anyway. I’d probably want to buy Paul Staines lunch first, mind.

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