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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