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Budget: initial responses

On 50p tax

Richard Murphy

HMRC say net 50p tax revenue is £100 million – I repeat my claim -that’s a lie – and the evidence is he has not scrapped the rate altogether.

Dan Hodges

The glaring inconsistency in George Osborne’s once-unshakable economic logic. The rationale behind today’s cut in the 50p tax rate was it acted as a barrier to entrepreneurship; sending the signal that “Britain was closed for business.

Well, if that’s the case, then the 50p rate should have been abolished altogether. Britain is either open for business, or she isn’t. Surely the only signal sent by cutting the rate from 50p to 45p is “Britain will be back after lunch”.

Owen Jones

Springtime for the wealthy. Economic crisis and plummeting living standards for the majority.

Ed’s speech

Alistair Campbell

Ed Miliband (or Milliband as twittertrend says) seems to be winning a lot of new admirers with Budget response, if twitter anything to go by”.


Ed’s effective in his attack on Clegg and the Lib Dems.  Good quip about the party that delivered the people’s budget now supporting the millionaire’s budget. We need to make sure that people see us as the trusted alternative though, that’s our big challenge in the run-up to the next Election.”

Economist reaction

Larry Elliott

George Osborne’s strategy is to secure support for boosts to business and the rich by raising tax allowances – and forget about the unemployed and the lowest earners. Even after the serial leaking, this was still a shocking budget. Shocking in the way it skated over the weakness of the British economy. Shocking in the way it ladled out still more pain to those dependent on welfare benefits. Shocking in the way it cut the tax burden for millionaires.

That said, this was – in its way – a skilful package of measures, which had greater intellectual coherence than the hotch potch of measures served up by George Osborne in last November’s autumn statement. The politics of the budget were immediately apparent: try to secure broad support for the big concessions to business and the rich by helping those on lower incomes through an increase in the personal tax allowance. Leave it to Labour to worry about those who are unemployed or on the lowest incomes, who will not benefit from the income tax breaks. It was the way Nigel Lawson did it back in the 1980s. (read more here)

Nicholas Shaxson

George Osborne’s tax giveaway to big corporations, with aggressive cuts to corporate tax rates and new corporate tax loopholes, is quack medicine built on economic fallacies. UK corporations are sitting on oceans of idle cash: £750bn at the last count and rising. His cuts will take money away from a sector (government) that invests it directly in universities and roads, and give it to a sector (corporations) that will let it sit idle. Osborne is pushing on a string.

Union reaction

Len McCluskey

This is another wasted year in what is becoming a lost decade for jobs and growth. But worse, this is a year where the poorest will be paying for the gifts lavished on the wealthy.  Did Osborne learn nothing from the Thatcher years – trickle down economics do not work.

For the almost three million unemployed, there was not an iota of hope in this Budget.  They are not just forgotten, they are being condemned to joblessness. This was a Budget drawn up by a Cabinet of millionaires for millionaires.

And we need to ask, where is the money coming from to pay for the cuts to the top rate in income tax and in corporation tax? His plan to close loopholes will only take him so far.

Raising the personal allowances will be some small relief for millions hard-pressed families – but will only amount to a meagre £4.20p-a-week, when household bills are soaring and VAT remains at 20% because of this government. Contrast that with the loving care Osborne lavishes on the wealthy and it is clear where this government’s priorities lie.

The continued drive to press ahead with regional pay will be an economic disaster for the poorest regions of the UK, cementing the North-South divide. Spending power will be drained from these areas, and siphoned off even more rapidly, if George Osborne imposes regional pay.

Paul Kenny

In this Budget the different treatment of people at either end of the income scale is stark. Ordinary families are losing their tax credits and child allowances and suffering pay freezes while people on top salaries of £150,000 to £1m a year are getting cash hand outs from the government.

So much for the perception of shared sacrifice. The claim that it is necessary to boost the take home pay of those on top salaries to get the economy moving while cutting the pay of the lowest paid to achieve the same result is total and arrant nonsense.”

The big picture is that the gamble this Tory Liberal Government took on the economy has not come off. The US economy which stuck with fiscal and monetary policy to promote recovery is now growing again and unemployment is falling while the UK Government decision two years ago to cut spending has led us in the opposite direction. This has added £ billions unnecessarily to the deficit.

Only those with faith based economic theories would think that the loss of 381,000 public sector jobs which has already happened and which added to the dole queues in the middle of the worst recession in 80 years was the road to economic recovery. Osborne has as much economic nous as a stick or rhubarb.”

Dave Prentis

The chancellor’s Budget has given a helping handout to his rich friends in the City and delivered a slap in the face to the unemployed and low-paid families. Osborne should be delivering policies to get the 2.67m unemployed people back into work and economically active. Instead, the government’s cuts agenda is making the situation worse by adding to those numbers month by month.’’

Bob Crow

“This is a budget of the rich for the rich. The tax changes mean that a banker on half a million pounds gets a kick back from George Osborne of £17,500, money robbed from our public services and the neediest in our divided society.

“The tinkering at the lower end of the tax scale will be swallowed up by increased utility bills and travel costs while the rich will just engage another army of accountants and lawyers to dodge the so-called clampdown on tax avoidance by inventing another barrage of scams.

“This budget unleashes savage cuts to jobs, wages, welfare and services in the public sector while pandering to the private greed of those same people who dragged us into this economic crisis. It will spark an upsurge in protest and resistance across the country as the vast majority realise that they have been mugged by this Government of the wealthy elite.”

One Comment

  1. diana says:

    Again the poor and especially the disabled will be effected terribly by this millionaires spring ‘fair’. This government seem happy to see the poor, sick and disabled out on the streets. Indeed it seems to be their policy to do so! How can anyone be proud to be British anymore. Soon it will be just one big millionaires club with disaffected youth prowling the streets along with the rest of us. This isnt a receipe for a healthy future for this country, its a receipe for its destruction.

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