In around 45 minutes time UK Chancellor George Osborne will get to his feet in the House of Commons and reveal his Autumn Statement. This Budget will set out how he and his government allies intend to address British economic woes. There have been many predictions yesterday and today about what he intends to do. He obviously cannot please everyone.
Pundits are expecting that he will announce a freeze on fuel duty. Motorists will be happy perhaps. This would of course also help some businesses and keep prices that bit lower in the shops. That is the theory anyway. The problem will be that, if he does so, he will have to fund the freeze with other cuts. It will be more of the robbing Peter to Pay Paul Syndrome.
At 12.30 we will try to pick the bones out of his waffle with a live blog. In the last budget, in March, Osborne managed to sneakily camouflage a change which would hit pensioners incomes.
Call back later for live updates.
Prior to the budget statement it was typical Wednesday morning business in the Commons with PM questions. As usual Cameron spun figures. He talked once more of tax avoidance schemes and clamping down mainly with Starbucks in mind. Not so long ago Cameron berated Labour supporter Jimmy Carr for utilising a tax aviodance scheme. As always, today included, Cameron played the hypocrite, which is why we have opted for the image above.
OK so the budget
George Osborne gets to his feet and instantly faces guffaws, laughter and derision from the opposition when he claims that Britian is on the right track and turning back is not an option. The Speaker has to ask for calm. George claims that exports have doubled since 2009 and more jobs have been created in the private sector. Investments are up also. Britain he maintains is now a safe haven and interest savings on debt burden.
Savings to come from the better off and bureaucratic cuts. Investments in education and business and enterprise. Work to be rewarded.
Thanks are given to those who have helped create an independent forecast of the economy. They, the OBR, are he said an independent body. Although growth is weaker this they claim is down to over optimism. GDP will remian lower than expected. Economy predicted to make small amounts of growth in the years to come.The prediction is that our economy will grow more than France and Germany next year.
Osborne claims that unemployment figures are improving. He claims that for every one job in the public sector two will be created in the private sector, presumably for the cost of one wage? The Royal Mail pension fund has been transferred to the private sector, raising funds.
The OBR, offie for budget responsibility, is predicting that unemployment will peak at 8.3%.The OBR is also forecasting 1.2% growth next year, 2% in 2014, 2.3% in 2015, 2.7% in 2016 and 2.8% in 2017. The OBR will be another overstaffed department but is it facing any cuts?
There are a lot of figures which will be available in the video we will attach when available. What most people in the UK want to know is what is going to directly affect them. As always this will come at the end, after the spiel.
After an extended ramble aimed it would seem at boring the pants of listeners he manages to get to the nitty gritty. He has said a great deal about what may or may not happen in the future but we need to know what is going to happen now.
Nick Clegg looks very uncomfortable which would indicate bad news is on the way.
Gvernment spending is to continue falling. He is not going to increase any direct taxes. More claims that NHS budgets have increased and crime is down.
Deficit forecasts courtesy of the Guardian
And here's a table showing how the UK deficit will be higher than forecast from the 2013-2014 financial year onwards:
2012-2013: £108bn versus £120bn in March's budget.
2013-2014: £99bn versus £98bn
2014-2015: £88bn versus £75bn
2015-2016: £73bn versus £52bn
2016-2017: £49bn versus £21bn
2017-2018: £31bn (no forecast in March)
NHS and civil service pay unchanged. Education salaries to be performance related. Government departments to save money by cutting services. Implementing new technology is vital. Efficiency savings to be found in the NHS and schools. MoD to be included in savings but not as far as staffing goes.
The savings from Whitehall will be reinvested in the infrastructure of GB.
An extra billion pound earmarked for road improvements. Money to be invested in high speed trains. Still more improvements itemised such as Broadband services and the like. £270mil in further education services and more investment into schools.
Now we have the welfare attacks. He begins by comparing the ones who stay at home on a life of benefit as opposed to those who choose to work. One nation? Hardly. His wording speaks for itself. He does like we working and middle class folk to be at each others throats, doesn't he.
First up he claims that he will increase the budget to HMRC so that they can ensure that corporations and people pay their correct taxes. He claims that this government will close tax loopholes. Watch this space!
He maintains that increasing taxes to the wealthy would be self defeating. Deficit reduction though he says has to be fair. Oh aye so where are we going with this?
No mansion tax, so much for the Lib Dem part of this Coalition. LIfetime and annual tax allowances for pension pots to be reduced. Huge laughter as Osborne claims once more that we are all in this together.
Tax free ISA limit to be increased next year to £11,520 to encourage saving. Pension draw down limits to be improved.
The basic state pension is rising next year by 21/2% a week to £110.15 a week. Wowie
Benefits capped and money invested in stopping welfare fraud.
New universal credit to be implemented next year. Osborne claims that beneifts have risen much more than salaries but that this will change.
Working age benefits will increase by 1% for the next three years. Less than inflation this is in effect a cut.
Child Benefit will rise by 2% for the next two years.
Slight increases in levels such as the amount of income before the 40% tax rate kicks in.
Following ideas from former Tory MP Michael Heseltine business initiatives are being implemented. More will be revealed in the March 2013 budget, Most of it will involve more overpaid jobs running more bureaucracy. Business rates will in effect be cut.
There will be a longer period of grace before taxes are paid on empty properties. Whilst this may sound good practice it is open to abuse.
Corporation Tax which has already been cut is to be cut again. It will from April 2014 be 21%. Yet still places like Starbucks try to avoid paying it!. Banks will not benefit from this and the bank levy will slightly increase.
Osborne tries to say that his government has and does help ordinary working people. So here it comes at last!!
3p a litre fuel increase due for January 2013 is to be scrapped. Not frozen but scrapped. Real help says he for families when they fill up their cars. Many of course cannot afford a car.
Increased personal allowances before people have to pay tax. There are a lot of changes which will cost so just who is going to fund all of this?
Higher rate taxpayers are also going to benefit so not them. The unemployed whose benefits if they can get any will be meagre? Yes could be.
Deficit down, borrowing down, give me a break.
So it is now down to Ed Balls, Shadow Chancellor, to respond.
He is too greeted with guffaws but as he bumbles a little is there any wonder.
OPINION: On the face of it there were no shocks. Growth s downgraded. The economy will contract. High earners will not pay more. We will all receive a bit more by way of increased tax allowances and no fuel duty increases.
Just who is funding all of this is not clear. Many veiled words regarding benefits, NHS savings, Whitehall savings and the like must be where the money is coming from.
In the end we like Ed Balls tend to think that we, the Country, are borrowing more and that some of the figures esposed by Osborne today are suspect.
Finally: Osborne is only capable of slamming Ed Balls in his usual smirking manner. Endearing to the British public? Hardly
Video to follow when available
Based in Yorkshire, in the middle of the UK, almost, this blogger offers her own unique perspective on life in GB