Osborne runs from critics amid more Budget disintegration, an urgent question, and statistical legerdemain

Runner: George Osborne outside Parliament. You won't see him inside that building today.

Runner: George Osborne outside Parliament. You won’t see him inside that building today.

All we need now is for the Tories to slip out a bit of bad news in the hope that nobody’s watching.

(So let’s all keep an eye on the government’s ‘announcements’ website: https://www.gov.uk/government/announcements )

The further Budget disintegration constitutes two climbdowns – the Conservative Government will not oppose a Labour amendment to block a rise in VAT on solar panels, nor will it fight a Labour amendment to end the so-called ‘tampon tax’ when MPs vote on the Budget (or perhaps that should be if they vote on it).

The decision means the UK will have to negotiate the changes with the European Union as they mean this country will be reneging on previous agreements with that organisation.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has been granted permission to ask an Urgent Question in Parliament regarding the Budget this afternoon (March 21). The move was intended to draw George Osborne out of hiding but it seems this has already been deflected by the Tories; Treasury git David Gauke will be providing the answer as Gideon is far too busy working out how he’ll wind up the Budget debate tomorrow evening (March 22).

This is the first time a Chancellor has done this since the 1990s and is a clear sign of cowardice on Osborne’s part today. He is too scared to face his critics.

Finally, here’s a point of interest thrown out by the government. In a desperate attempt to fight claims that the Budget is regressive because it helps the rich more than the poor, a spokesperson for 10 Downing Street said top earners are paying a higher proportion of Income Tax. Apparently the top one per cent of earners now pay 28 per cent of the total Income Tax take.

Where it all falls down, of course, is in what the Conservatives have been doing to make this statistic happen. They have been raising the threshold at which lower earners pay Income Tax for the last five years and this, coupled with the long-term stagnation in lower-paid earnings, means far fewer people are paying tax at all. Meanwhile, higher earners have enjoyed huge tax breaks as well.

So the bigger picture may be that, accounting for inflation, higher earners are paying much less in real terms – the actual amount has fallen – while the proportion has increased.

It’s exactly the kind of statistical legerdemain that we have come to expect from a Tory Government that will say anything to save itself from embarrassment.

Will that help on a day like today?


Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:


8 thoughts on “Osborne runs from critics amid more Budget disintegration, an urgent question, and statistical legerdemain

  1. NMac

    I’d like to think we are witnessing the disintegration of the nastiest and most dishonest government of my lifetime.

    1. Linda

      Would be good if this were the case… It does appear that the cracks are widening and becoming more visible to the general public… Lets hope the cracks are unable to be plastered over.

  2. Michael Broadhurst

    quite agree NMac the worst,dishonest,shifty,callous,murdering govt in my lifetime and i’m 72.i thought Thatchers lot were bad but this shower are appalling.

  3. Jenny Jacobs

    The poor may pay less Income Tax. But they pay a vast amount (proportional to their overall income) in VAT – a fact often omitted when the Tories talk about tax. Even the above article suggests that the poor don’t pay tax – well yes they do! They pay regressive VAT (affects them far more than it does the rich) and the worst-off 10% still pay proportionately MORE tax than the top 10% – see http://touchstoneblog.org.uk/2014/12/saving-our-safety-net-fact-of-the-week-the-poorest-pay-47-per-cent-of-their-income-in-tax-the-richest-pay-34-per-cent/ for some number-crunching!

  4. p j

    They should do the decent thing and call a general election NOW.
    Let the people decide for once who is right.
    They are not fit to govern this country and its people.

Comments are closed.