It’s Wednesday morning, and in a few hours time Chancellor Darling will stand up in Parliament and give the Budget speech. Back in 2006, I tried to predict what would be in then-Chancellor Brown’s budget, and, for someone making random stuff up on the spot, I did surprisingly well. So I thought I’d try the same thing again this year. Here is: the Symbolic Forest Budget 2009.
- Higher taxes for old cars
- Tax rebates for new cars
- Increases to Recruitment Subsidy payments
- Lower taxes on gin*
- In fact, lower taxes on everything in the hope you’ll spend more money
Creation of a new Law of Prairial for merchant bankers. New legislation to enable majority shareholders to retrospectively alter company directors’ contracts.
- Promise to save money but in vague unspecified ways such as “efficiency”, like the Tories said they’re going to do
Just a few guesses for you there. Let’s see how I do.
Regular reader E. Shrdlu (of Clacton) writes: “Law of Prairial? Recruitment Subsidy payments? This is all getting a bit serious, isn’t it? I don’t even know what a recruitment subsidy is.”
No, neither does anyone else, I think, which is why they don’t seem to have had much effect.
* I put this one in last time – well, I can keep hoping
Fifteen per cent? It’s like a flashback to my childhood!
To be honest, I have to say: it makes a nice change to have progressive taxation for once. Taking taxation off a flat-rate tax and onto an income-dependent one is a pleasant change: the people who have the money should be taxed on it. The fairest tax of all would be on disposable income; it would, sadly, be entirely impractical and unenforceable.
Last year I realised the Budget Speech was coming, and tried to guess what would be in it. Because, all in all, it’s usually fairly obvious. More taxes on things the government would rather you didn’t do, like drive around (all those roads need mending, you know) and smoke (those hospital beds don’t empty themselves). Lower taxes on whatever is the political fashion of the moment, or whatever will pull in the currently-targeted voting sector (the well-off but not hugely rich middle classes, at the moment).
This year, I wouldn’t have had a clue what to guess at. It’s random, little bits picked from here and there, without much of a cohesive feel to the thing.
The BBC has a cunning device which tells you how much better or worse off you’ll allegedly be, with all the various budget changes. I’m going to be a whole £25 per year richer, apparently. Which is fine – except that the calculator behaves as if all the changes were happening immediately. They’re not. All the things which will cost me money are happening straight away; all the things which will cost me less don’t happen for another year. Bugger.
The main purpose of the budget, I think, isn’t to keep Britain running smoothly or anything like that. It’s to make sure that Gordon Brown’s successor toes the line and does What Gordon Wants. A year from now the next budget will come along, with a different chancellor, but that promised tax cut still isn’t going to have come into effect. What chancellor, under Gordon (he assumes), is going to dare revoke it?
As that nice Mr Brown of Ferryhills Road is going to deliver his budget this afternoon, I thought it would be a good idea to give him a few tips. So, in nice easily-digested bullet-point form, here’s the Symbolic Forest Budget 2006 – quick, clear the BBC1 schedule and get Evan Davies on standby!*
- Higher taxes for married people.
- and anyone else who can get a date at the drop of a hat (sorry, Big Dave)
- Lower taxes for single people
- especially ones who are doomed to stay single for all eternity (it’s only fair).
- Higher taxes for big cars. You only need a 4×4 to take the kids to school if you live in, say, the tiny Welsh hill village of Llwybr Cyhoeddus.
- Smaller taxes for little cars. Especially blue ones.
- Lower taxes on beer produced by small independent breweries.
- Higher taxes for carbonated urine beer produced by big industrial ones
- No tax at all on gin
- Or tonic.
- No taxes on any expensive cameras or other gadgets I might want to buy in the next year.
- More cake
That should get the economy nice and stimulated. There you go, Gordon; hope this helps.
* But don’t mention the rumour about his body piercings.