Osborne’s Budget defence in four words: ‘Je ne regrette rien’

Osborne: Not sorry, just arrogant and nauseating.

Osborne: Not sorry, just arrogant and nauseating.

There’s little to be said about the last day of the Budget debate, when George Osborne finally slouched into Parliament to defend the worst UK Budget statement in living memory.

The Conservative Government has been forced to agree to end the so-called ‘tampon tax’ and to reverse a plan to add VAT to solar panels, due to Labour Party amendments.

And there is a “black hole” totalling £4.4 billion by the end of the current Parliament, after public outcry and the resignation of Iain Duncan Smith forced the Tory leadership to axe a plan to restrict eligibility for the Personal Independence Payment disability benefit.

How did Osborne respond to these developments? He said he made a mistake but refused to apologise for it.

This is strange, because we’re told his notes reminded him to “show contrition” (the fact that he needed a red-ink note to remind him of this speaks volumes in itself).

Instead he harped back to the global financial crisis that was caused by Tory-voting bankers and demanded, again, that Labour apologise for it. He wanted Labour to say sorry for the billions spent at that time on a rescue plan that Osborne himself supported.

Even the BBC’s Tory-loving political editor Laura Kuennsberg found this a bit much. “Not sure Osborne can just get out of this by saying Labour messed up the economy-he’s been saying that for 6 yrs, this is about last 6 days,” she tweeted.

Others simply found it “nauseating” and “arrogant”.

The Budget was passed by a margin of just 35 votes. Osborne was surrounded by congratulations and back-slapping from the Tory benches.

They’ll be slipping their knives into his back soon enough, then.

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8 thoughts on “Osborne’s Budget defence in four words: ‘Je ne regrette rien’

  1. Brian

    The Tory backbench interventions on points of order clearly attempted to interrupt the shadow chancellors delivery. I am bemused the speaker did not exercise the prerogative to remove the offenders from the chamber after repeated advice. The Tory benches proclivity for pre-briefed intervention & rowdyism is becoming intolerable.

    1. John

      Yes, this is one thing I DID see, and I thought that the interruptions from Chris Philps? and that Tom fella(at the end of the chamber), was nothing short of an absolute disgrace. Whatever you think of him, it always happens, as soon as McDonnell gets up to speak, there is always heckling from the Tory side, and I am certain that a lot of it is VERY DELIBERATE in order to drown him out. I actually thought that Bercow didn’t do too badly, but I would like to start seeing him threaten to have persistent offenders (or people who clearly overstep the mark), to have them removed from the Chamber.

  2. mohandeer

    So no regrets then for the irresponsible budget and no pull back on the £4.4 billion tax cut to the wealthiest. The promised £8 billion to the NHS will not be delivered, the deficit will not be reduced as promised, the economy will continue to fall behind and the disabled will still have to endure the Tory onslaught. HE might “regret nothing” but I doubt that the majority of this country will feel the same way.

  3. Roger Anthony

    Surely the “Black Hole” will be £4.4 billion in lost benefits and plus £4.4 billion of tax cuts making £8.8 billion – or have I missed something?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      No, you’re spot on – the gap will be £8.8 billion if it remains unplugged. But it’s a £4.4 billion hole in the financial statement that will create that gap.
      Actually, I was wondering why it’s expected that £4.4 billion will not be spent on PIP (I balk at writing “will be saved”) if it’s £1.3 billion per year. Shouldn’t that be a £5.2 billion cut?

  4. jbw31

    If we’re all being starved because of austerity, how come Osborne can afford to give money away to the wealthiest? Or maybe he can’t and that’s why the disabled would have had to pay. Now he’s in a hole, who else will get the chop? Mind you he should make some money from the schools/academy thingy because they’re selling the schools off into private hands. Soon you’ll be paying to send your kids to school or if can’t afford the Tories will get a load of ignorant plebs which is what they want. He should save something there, as he won’t have to factor in costs of education at all to the government purse.

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