I’m sure there will be lots of people continuing to pick over the pre-budget report in greater detail over the next couple of days. For what it’s worth my impression watching it was that overall the emphasis right; making sure that economic recovery isn’t choked off by reckless cuts while keeping public debt within the G7 norm and that for most people round here the impact will be good.
I thought young people and families were winners – giving under-24s a guarantee of work or training after six months out of work (down from a year), increase in child benefit and more eligibility for free school meals.
For those working for Reading employers (like I do) there was some good news too – we have lots of high tech industry and the lower tax on innovative products will help those big employers, and delaying the corporation tax increase will help small employers!
Older people (and those of us with older relatives) will be pleased that – even though the ‘rules’ of linking pensions to inflation in September would have lead to no increase – there will be a 2.5% rise in the state pension.
There were also lots of practical measures to help the country become greener and a better place to live at the same time. What stood out to me was more money for home insulation and a boiler scrapage scheme – from a personal point of view it’s a shame as we saved up to replace our 20-ish year old boiler this year already! But we have seen how much money it’s saving us in lower hot water and heating bills so definitely a good policy – win-win!
VAT is going back up to 17.5% but that was expected.
I thought the tax on banker’s bonuses was clever as if banks want to avoid it they will have to cut the bonuses and keep the money back for shoring up their capital – that’s got to be a good thing as it will help to make them safer in future.
For my husband, a teacher, not so good will be the cap on pay rises and (if he ever earns that much – highly unlikely!) potentially a cap on pension, but I think that’s a small price to pay to keep the country’s finances stable and it’s a lot better than the slash and burn alternative. After all lots of us in the private sector have had pay freezes or short time or found ourselves doing extra work due to short staffing. As well as having got used to our employers talking about the recession to explain most things! So I hope public sector workers will understand the need for this.
Overall then a good speech I thought.