Darling signs off with conservative Labour BudgetPosted on: 25 March 2010 by Mark O'haire
Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling delivered a 'safe hands' pre election budget but could find himself shifted sideways or out of the cabinet after polling day.
That was the general feeling towards Mr Darling’s Budget speech. He gave a commendable performance in the light of the pressures he was under but he lacked lustre!
It was a speech set against the backdrop of a General Election and would not be binding on any Chancellor – Labour or Tory - after the election! Darling will wander off to the City if they lose or move to some other job in a new Labour government, if they win.
So what were the big reductions and increases? Well, if you are an entrepreneur you will be able to make an extra £1 million (up from £1m to £2m in your lifetime) in capital gains at a tax rate of 10% as opposed 18%. That’s going to help a lot of us ordinary folks!
There was some tinkering around heating allowances and tax credits. First time borrowers got relief on stamp duty and as expected he whacked extra tax on booze, tobacco and fuel!
Businesses got some good relief’s which is good for all of us as we need to get business moving if we are ever to get out of the mess we are in.
No one could accuse him of being over generous or putting the nation at further risk than it already is. This was patently a budget setting the stall out for the election and that Labour is the best party to lead us forward.
What he did do was to open the door for David Cameron to make an outstanding speech attacking the Budget, Darling and most of all Gordon Brown - who sat slumped in his seat, scowling with the pallor of a beaten man!
Whoever wrote Cameron’s speech should go to the top of the class!
Cameron was back on form and showed that he was determined to fight hard to win the election. If he keeps up this performance then the TV debates are going to be really good television. They might even be reminiscent of the Kennedy/Nixon slug out!
However as this all pans out in the next few weeks there’s one thing I’m certain of – Labour should dump Brown irrespective of whether they win or lose.
Remember, no matter how good or how bad this Budget seems to you we still have a long way to travel before we reach (if ever?) the halcyon days of 2000 to 2006!
There is still massive national debt to be repaid over the next five years; there are public sector job cuts to come; interest rates to rise and there’s a good chance house prices and the stock market will fall!
Stay cool, keep the hatches battened down and only shop for bargains – there will be plenty of them as the shops de-stock yet again.
For the next few years, cash truly is King!
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