The Budget 2009: web grab
Posted on April 22, 2009
Today the Chancellor, Alastair Darling, delivered what was billed as one of the most important Budget speeches in decades. Backgrounded against rising unemployment and the prospect of deflation this was, in many ways, not an usual context for the unveiling of annual public spending. But with part and fully nationalised banks, unprecedented levels of public debt and a spiraling pension deficit the 2009 Budget was largely plucked from unknown territory. Here’s what the media made of it:
Alastair Darling says the UK economy will begin to grow again in 2010. Oh no it wont says the IMF and the Times’ Gary Duncan:
The IMF dealt a severe double blow to the Chancellor’s new forecasts barely an hour after they were unveiled.
The Guardian’s Larry Elliott says Darling’s optimism – even with record public debt projection – is misplaced:
He still believes that the combination of cheap money, lower inflation, a weaker pound and fiscal easing will deliver a V-shaped recovery, but has now put back the timing of the bounce until the end of 2009. This does represent a colossal stimulus and it may start to work sooner than the pessimists think.
Edmund Conway, writing in the Telegraph reckons that no investor worth his salt would touch Britain with a bargepole after today, as markets testified:
As soon as Alistair Darling sat down and the Treasury released the full details of its borrowing plans, the screens started to bleed red.
In the Mail, Quentin Letts satirises Darling’s biological inability to deliver any speech with more zazz than a bag of plain rice:
We sketchwriters used to think Gordon Brown the all-comers’ champion Budget bore but this fella makes Broon look like Ken Dodd.
The Standard’s Anthony Hilton feels a sharp, jarring pain along with 350,000 people whenever they reach for their wallet:
Making the rich pay up may be popular but there are not enough of them to raise the billions he needs.
The Times’ Danny Finkelstein, writing on Comment Central, is sure that Darling has handed a massive shiny present to the Tories:
In other words, until now the Tories could not oppose the 45p increase unless they were actually willing not to do it and fill the hole with some other measure in a campaign. Now they can distinguish between opposing it and giving an instant promise of repeal.
The FT’s Martin Wolf does not like the look of Darling’s books one little bit:
This is a horror story. But it could, of course, be worse: the economy may not recover as hoped; losses on support for the banks could, as the International Monetary Fund suggests, be far bigger than the 3.5 per cent of GDP now expected; and, above all, the creditworthiness of the British government could come into question, with devastating consequences.
Mark Deen, for Bloomberg, was bad news for drivers. And smokers. And drinkers. And rich people obviously:
Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling raised taxes on British motorists, smokers and the rich to contain an unprecedented budget deficit as he forecast the worst recession since World War II.
At the BBC, you know who focuses on something sensible like tax relief for businesses on capital spending:
Actually, it’s the increase to 40% in tax relief to businesses on capital spending, for one year only – which is forecast to cost £1.64bn.
Sky says that small businesses’ response to the Budget is the professional equivalent of sticking your ears out and blowing a huge raspberry:
As for the higher tax bracket increase, they shouldn’t have done this now, as now is the time in encourage entrepreneurs, not discredit them.
And finally, Tony Bonsignore at City Wire, makes the under-reported point that this 50 per cent tax malarkey carries a whiff of political posturing:
If there was ever a time for a shift to the left, for a political throw of the dice, then this was it.