Theresa May is a dead woman walking, says Osborne


Prime Minister Theresa May is “a dead woman walking” who will inevitably face a leadership challenge, former Tory Chancellor George Osborne has said. Mr Osborne, now editor of the Evening Standard, said Tory MPs were “furious” that Mrs May had … Continue reading

Emergency Budget – Far From Fair or Balanced!

I mentioned in my previous posting on the Budget, that further probing would reveal the ‘devil in the detail’. They would reveal themselves if there were any uncomfortable facts hidden deep inside the ‘Red Book’. There are such details and now they are public.

The details unearthed so far, not by Labour this time, but by, of all people, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) an economic lobby group, not noted for major criticism of Conservative Governments in the past, as it is about as right wing as they come. Robert Chote, of the IFS, has gone on record, with the evidence that tells the lie, to any claim that this budget was fair!

The IFS has now done a detailed analysis of the Budget, including the inconvenient facts, buried deep within the ‘Red Book’, it confirms the overall regressive nature of the Budget, that had been trumpeted, by some Government Ministers, as the ‘Fairest Budget in History!’ The use of such ridiculous hyperbole, now shows clearly the essential hubris running through the Government currently.

Some of the evidence for a ‘wake up and smell the coffee’ moment, was visible on Question Time on the BBC last night. Vince Cable batted for the Coalition Government, he visibly wilted in front of the audience as it appeared to have dawned on him, during proceedings, that the LibDems may just have been had on the Budget and he made a very poor job, at least for him, in defending his increasingly indefensible looking position. Audience reaction, to his attempts at justification, also appeared to strike home hard.

Looks likely that they have made a serious miscalculation on this one and there are already signs of LibDem backbench restlessness, as they are getting a wall of flak from their constituencies and in particular their own Party Members. To their horror, they have realised one important fact overlooked until now, they did not fight as hard as they did, in the General and Local Elections, for LibDem MPs just to become lobby fodder, to drive through such a draconian Budget as this one, now the full facts are appreciated.

This issue is in the process of testing the loyalty, of everyone signed up to the Coalition, to breaking point perhaps? We shall see?

Labours’ poor performance at the polls has resulted in one amusing happen stance, that may yet end up with the best Candidate for Labour Party Leader, not on the ballot paper. I speak of course, of Labour’s Deputy Leader, Harriet Harman, who may yet find her feet at the dispatch box, only to be superseded by someone else, with lesser ability.


Emergency Budget, was it worth waiting for?

Tuesdays Emergency Budget, delivered by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, on behalf of the Coalition Government, was probably the most political, in every sense of the word, that I have ever heard or, even perhaps any of us, will ever hear again.

The Chancellor set himself the goals of cuts with care and fairness at the heart of the budget. Did he succeed?

I am afraid we might have to wait a little while for the details become apparent, under Labour, the ‘devil was always in the detail’ and close inspection frequently uncovered vast expenditure or borrowing, kept below the radar in the Budget Speech itself. Not much chance of this here, but embarrassing detail may yet be revealed.

Before the election, many had considered George Osborne, too young and light weight, to boot. He has emerged from the experience of his first Budget with his reputation enhanced, as a serious heavyweight political player. At least we now know, he is no ones fool and indeed if the future is kind to him, may even be a good Chancellor as far as these things are judged.

Political considerations run through the Budget like lettering through rock. He has a fine line to walk if his claims that his Budget has fairness built in, is to survive close inspection. It will have to deliver, the squeeze on the public sector and on benefits must appear fair, once implementation is under way.

We have discovered recently, that Labour’s concealment of the true position before the election was over, was basically a con trick, even the loan to Sheffield Forgemasters would have been withdrawn if Labour had been returned to office. Labour’s breathtaking cynicism has been exposed and this area disproportionately adversely affected. Perhaps this explains the fact that Labour in Rotherham, is held in frank contempt,  especially vitriolic are those who voted Labour recently it seems.

We will all welcome the increase in basic rate tax allowances and the linking of pensions to incomes once again but the increases in value added tax, VAT, from 17.5% to 20% a rise of over 14% in this most regressive of taxes will impact most heavily on those already at the bottom of the pile.

The freeze on Council Tax next year is to be welcomed, because it sends a message to all local councils that they will not be able to fleece the Council Tax payers to cushion the ending of local council profligacy. No small wonder then, that the ‘Consultants’ are already ensconced in council offices, desperately looking for cuts as I write and Councillors are reported to be unusually glum!

The 25% reductions required of parts of the public sector and the 2 year moratorium on pay rises for the over £21,000 earners, will seriously impact on spending power amongst such a large body of workers that further decline in Rotherham’s local economy is, I am afraid, inevitable in the short and medium term as spare cash dries up in our pockets and reduces still further local spending power.

One of the functions of this Budget, though not explicitly stated, is to bear down on the problem of personal debt, which is so high, that it must be brought down, though not without much pain for those affected. The costs of servicing all of this personal debt is so large that this alone could stifle any spending driven retail business recovery.

It is already clear that the overall balance of this Budget is not neutral in it’s effects, the bottom segment of society will be required to pay a disproportionately high price because of the changes announced yesterday and therefore I believe it to have failed, in it’s fairness criteria, because overall this Budget is a regressive one.


Forgemasters £80M Loan Cancelled! Labour Cynicism Revealed!

Every announcement of funding by Labour in the early part of the year, to try to convince their voters in the ‘traditional heartlands of Yorkshire and the North’ to trust them, are now exposed for the cynical election bribes they were. Only the memories of the local euphoria the £80m for Sheffield Forgemasters now remains.

Disillusionment cannot adequately sum up my feelings on this matter, to find that we were basically conned when these promises were being announced, makes me very annoyed indeed!

It transpires that they were inadequately budgeted for and would, in all probability, have been axed by Labour if, by some miracle, they had clung on to power.

The sight of MacShane practically frothing at the mouth today in Parliament, with a synthetic rant of complaint that Labours cynical ploys had been rumbled, did him no favours in the esteem department. Few, if any, constituents will have been much impressed by this and must also have reason to question his sobriety even at this early hour, if they were to have witnessed it themselves, as I did.

While not, I am sure, disastrous in the long term, this will undoubtedly put back planned development that would have directly benefited the whole of South Yorkshire, at a time when our local economy needs improvement, that this will now postpone.

This may also undermine, perhaps fatally, Nick Cleggs local support in his Sheffield Hallam Constituency and confidence in the Liberal Democrats generally in South Yorkshire if having the Coalition Governments Deputy PM as a local Member does us no good at all.

Next weeks emergency budget is not going to be pleasant for anyone, on this evidence the fun will really start next Tuesday, when George Osborne delivers his maiden budget, we shall see.


The Conservative Party has issued Labour’s Legacy, well worth a read if you have any lingering doubts that Labour’s Term of office was the usual economic disaster, nothing ‘New’ about that then?