Monthly Archives: April 2009

Jim Pickard

Being leader of the opposition on this Budget Day was like shooting fish in a barrel.

The forecasts didn’t predict a U-shaped recovery but a “trampoline recovery”, said David Cameron.

Predictions from the November PBR of a 1 per cent fall in GDP (it’s now 3.5 per cent) had turned out to be “utterly useless” and a “work of fiction”. Read more

Jim Pickard

Counting the same number twice is very New Labour.

So far I’ve spotted one example already in today’s Budget. Read more

Jim Pickard

You can see how much of a squeeze the government is in by looking at the figures for its tax receipts.

Projections for 2009/10 are: Read more

Jim Pickard

If you want to take away two main points from today’s Budget they are these:

1] Borrowing is about to go through the roof. The figure for public sector net borrowing (PSNB) was just 2.4 per cent in 2007/8. It will have jumped to a punitive 12.4 per cent this year, before easing back to 11.9 per cent, 9.1 per cent, 7.2 per cent and (by 2013-14) 5. 5 per cent. Read more

Jim Pickard

The FT revealed on Tuesday that Darling would have to issue more than £200bn of government bonds this financial year, far above market expectations.

With public borrowing set to soar to £170bn-£180bn, the chancellor will have to tap the market for an issuance of gilts that will be well over £50bn higher than the Debt Management Office estimated last month,” we wrote. Read more

Jim Pickard

As David Cameron points out, there is an admission on page 200 of the Budget red book: “The current downturn is forecast to be much deeper than that of the early 1990s.”

Doesn’t this make a nonsense of Gordon Brown’s constant claim that things were much worse in the early 1990s when interest rates and inflation were in the double-digits?

Follow’s live blog on the Budget today at 12.30pm BST

A £1bn mass job creation programme is the centrepiece of the jobs package in today’s Budget. Alistair Darling is determined to avoid writing off a generation of young people and repeating the mistakes of past recessions. The irony is that he has opted to revamp a (relatively successful) Thatcherite scheme to do so.

The new programme will be called “Jobs for the Future”. Local authorities will bid for funds to set up youth employment schemes. Central government will effectively pay for part time jobs in the community. About 150,000 under-25 year olds will be taken off the dole and put to work by councils. Ministers want to create an additional 100,000 jobs in the private sector, by providing an employment subsidy for sectors such as social care. Read more

Some MPs are starting to panic about the plans for a daily attendance allowance. They are not so worried about the clocking in system, or what would happen if they are ill. The big concern is whether they’ll have any money for their long, long summer holiday.

Gordon Brown wants to push through his reforms by July — just before MPs disappear for a 12-week recess. This could mean that MPs will be forced to wait till October, when they next attend the Commons, for the funds to run their second homes. Think of all those mortgages to pay. How will they cope? Read more

Jim Pickard

Gordon Brown has acted “decisively” on MPs expenses after months of dragging his heels and looking the other way. Next week MPs will get to vote on a new daily allowance to replace the existing ACA (additional cost allowance) of about £24,000 a year. Read more

Jim Pickard

I had a funny feeling that only the nationalised banks would sign up wholeheartedly to Gordon Brown’s mortgage support scheme.*

Today the programme has finally be unveiled – after months of negotiations. Read more

Jim Pickard

Unite the Union has been at considerable pains to deny that it has provided funds for LabourList, Derek Draper’s solidly loyal website. (I asked them again recently and got a flat “no”).

Perhaps this has something to do with the furore over Draper’s ghost site, Red Rag – it never went live – on which McBride wanted to post his venomous smears. Read more