Philip Hammond used the last Budget before Brexit pretending to spray a load of policies up the wall because he knows none of it will matter after March 30, 2019.
He spent his entire speech talking twaddle like a toddler because he knew he could say anything he wanted in the knowledge that the economy will crash after the UK leaves the European Union.
That means he can cancel anything he likes and say, “Times have changed – we must move with the times.”
It’s transparent – and sickening.
The most revolting lie of his speech was the claim that “Austerity is over”. What absolute tripe!
If austerity is over, where is the restoration of public sector pay to the level it would have been, had pay restrictions not been imposed?
Where is the restoration of benefits that were cut by the Tories – and the cancellation of the Tory benefit freeze?
When will we see the more-than-20,000 police officers who were removed from our streets restored to active duty?
When will the hated Bedroom Tax, responsible for so many deaths, be cancelled?
Never – under the Conservatives!
His hogwash claim that the Tories had repaired the public finances is easily-provable gibberish because – if they had been repaired – the UK would be able to afford all the services and investments that have been cancelled over the last eight years. Where are our Sure Start centres? Where are our libraries? Where are our nurseries?
About the only promise you can expect Phil the Bleak to keep is cutting taxes – and there’s a very simple reason for that.
He said he was raising the personal tax allowance from April next year. For those on the lower rate it will rise to £12,500 a year, and for those on the higher rate, to £50,000 – right?
To pay taxes at the increased rates, those on the lower right would have to have increased their wages from £11,500 in April 2017 to £12,500 next year, and on the higher right from £33,501 to £50,000 in the same period.
Which do you think is more likely?
These are increases of around eight per cent for those on the lower rate, and 50 per cent for those on the higher. People earning more money pay more of it in tax, but this is designed to ensure that many of them are taken from the higher rate to the lower rate.
It’s a swindle designed to shrink the tax take – and therefore the state.
Universal Credit had been a source of considerable tension before the Budget announcement. Tory rebels had claimed they had secured an extra £1 billion for the hopeless (in every sense of the word) system.
Mr Hammond confirmed that he had allocated this much money to help people move to the new system – although he did not say how this would be achieved.
And he said he was increasing the amount people can earn before losing benefits by £1,000 a year, costing the Treasury £1.7 billion.
Gosh, that’s a lot – until you remember that the Conservatives have already announced £7 billion of benefit cuts that have not yet bitten, and the change to work allowances reverses only half the cuts made in 2015.
As for the other announcements: He said Brexit would not affect spending plans because he had assumed an “average-type free trade deal” between the UK and EU after Brexit, and had £4.2 billion in reserve in the case of a no-deal scenario.
But you can bet that this will not be enough to deal with the consequences of a Tory Brexit. They want harmful effects because they will then be able to justify harsh cuts to your rights and living standards.
About the only welcome announcement in the whole sorry mess was the decision to stop using hugely-wasteful Private Finance Initiative (PFI) schemes.
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