Wednesday, 14 March 2018


That is how responsible people budget: first, they work out what they can afford; then they decide what their priorities are; and then they allocate between them.
(From the Chancellor's statement yesterday)

So there we have it. Not decide what the basic priorities are and then work out how to obtain the money to cope, but sense what your conservative constituency will volunteer in tax and dole out accordingly. Even within his narrow brief, the chancellor has his priorities wrong - for instance, why are we spending so much in the US on a Trident replacement, when we cannot guarantee the safety of a political refugee on the streets of one of our great cities?

The chancellor made much of GDP growth figures, both actual and forecast:
The economy grew by 1.7% in 2017, compared with the 1.5% forecast at the Budget, and the OBR has revised up its forecast for 2018 from 1.4% to 1.5%.

But, as several opposition speakers pointed out, on both counts those figures put the UK at the bottom of the G7 league table. Moreover, as I have pointed out previously in this blog, our growth has been lower, and predicted to continue to be lower, than in the rest of the EU while inflation last year was the second-highest in the Union.

Both Mr Hammond and the former chancellor made much of the fact that at long last the day-to-day government deficit has been eliminated. Much of the credit for that is owed to David Laws, the coalition's first secretary to the Treasury and perhaps his target would have been reached sooner if it had not been for needless tax concessions to the top earners and to the banks.

1 comment:

Frank Little said...

For "G7" read "G20"!!