GEORGE’S NOT-SO-MARVELLOUS MEDICINE
The smoke has now well and truly cleared from Wednesday’s budget announcement. Well, come to think of it, the smoke had already cleared by about Thursday last week, given that we all pretty much knew most of what was on the cards anyway – a cutting of the top rate of tax, lifting the very lowest of lowest earners out of tax altogether, general misery for people who like a drink and a smoke, and a man in a suit triumphantly holding a briefcase outside Parliament.
That said, there were a few surprises, not least the ‘sausage roll tax,’ ‘Wallace & Gromit Act’ and the bringing into line of mass-boosting nutritional supplements with names like ‘BULK FREAK 2000’ and ‘TURBO SIZE’ into line with isotonic sports drinks in regards to VAT. Elsewhere, Sunday trading laws were relaxed for the duration of the 2012 Olympics, rural areas got set for a broadband boost, and overseas soldiers will be in line for 100 per cent council tax relief.
However ‘Gorgeous’ George (how he’s probably known to absolutely nobody other than Mrs Osborne) managed to irk a lot of people, not least the essential-to-elections over-65s demographic with his so-called ‘granny tax’ (“simplification’ of pensions” in his words). All might have been forgiven, had he not decided that at the same time, he was going to cut the taxes of the very top earners from April next year.
That said, if he’s to be believed (and politicians can always be believed, right?) the government will get five times more tax from the very wealthy than they would have done from the 50 per cent rate. The mind truly boggles.
Thing is, with all the cryptic language and carefully-spun lingo beloved by politicians, it can be hard to actually know whether or not you’re going to be better or worse off following all these changes, which of course, is the only thing that really matters to most of us.
Thanks heavens then, for this handy calculator on the BBC website which will help you see if you’re actually going to gain or lose out from the measures.
Anyway, some of our readers have been in touch. Here’s what they had to say…
“The decision to cut the Corporate tax rate will hopefully stimulate the economy by making the UK a more attractive place to do business however the decision to cut the 50p tax rate does smack of something for the boys given the front bench will probably all be 5p in the £1 better off whereas the middle earners continue to take the brunt of the “we’re in this together” deficit pay-down plan.” Steve Williams
“People may welcome an increase in personal allowance but this will soon be paid out in additional tax back to the government, be it the expansion in scope of VAT to include hot take-away food, the planned increase in fuel duty or any of the other tax raising measures brought in or ‘flexed’. The fuel duty increase is one that hits hard working families the hardest, be it in the fuel cost of having to travel to work or the inevitable increase in most commodity prices which will wipe out any increase in the personal allowance in the blink of an eye.” Phil Morgan
“It was a political budget, the tax allowance increase doesn’t come in to effect until April 2013 giving him chance to change it all next budget. Nice to know we have built up our reserves of gold, but I’m not sure the Labour Sell Low and Tory Buy High works so well.” Paul Poulton
“Savings have to be made, but why has the government chosen to take money from pensioners and lower earners, and given money back to the very top earners? “ Alix Martin
“I was outraged! I think they should tax the ugly.” Chris Davies
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Cameron showing true Churchillian demeanour. Like Churchill the nodding insurance dog, that is.”
Take a bow, Annie Shaw of Cash Questions fame.
A MEATY INSURANCE POLICY
What master butcher Keith Andrews doesn’t know about pork, it’s probably not even worth knowing. The meat expert, based in Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire has a finely attuned palate capable of identifying any cut or cure of swine from anywhere in the world. If he were to lose the use of his tastebuds, he’d be royally jiggered.
So, following the lead of ‘slebs’ who have had their various assets insured (J.Lo’s bum springs to mind, along with the voice of Wynne Evans, who stars in our ads), Keith has had his tastebuds insured for the princely sum of a million quid.
"My ability to taste the subtleties in different producers' bacon has stood me in very good stead over the years and has proven to be critically important when it comes to judging the best of the best," he said, possibly whilst tucking into a plate of gammon, egg and chips.
News this week
Having looked at the money-saving, rip-roaring boon for consumers that privatisation of trains and the energy industry was responsible for, David Cameron has looked at Britain’s roads and decided that private sector involvement signals the way forward.
Wallets beware. Petrol prices has burst through the 140p a litre barrier. Boo, hiss, etc.
Bank charges are set to increase, if research from accountancy firm KPMG is to be believed The Financial Services Authority are checking up on insurers offering lifetime pet insurance policies.
This dry weather is all very nice, but it could lead to a summer of subsidence for British homeowners, according to the British Insurance Brokers’ Association.
On Gocompare.com News this week
There was this about the aforementioned involvement of the private sector in Britain’s roads.
Kristian Dando furiously liveblogged the budget, stopping only to enjoy a spaghetti bolognaise and a glass of lemon drink.
Chris Pollitt, who’s bought and sold so many cars he makes Arthur Daley look like a greenhorned amateur, suggested that buying one of those brand spanking new ‘12’ plate cars was daft, considering the savings to be made on a year-old model.
Look like a Bond villain for less with a selection of luxo-barges for relative peanuts.
A London driver had a shock this week when he was rear-shunted by none other than Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp. Newsagent Onur Gemikli, 22, hit the brakes of his BMW 3 Series after another driver swerved in front of him and sped away, causing ‘Appy ‘Arry’s two-tonne Range Rover to prang into the back of him. "He was a true gentleman about it, really nice, put me at ease and told me to ring him next day. My car's a write-off, but not everyone can say their motor was wrecked in a crash with Harry Redknapp."
Join us NEXT WEEK for another THRILLING INSTALLMENT of THE MONEY SHOT.