Daily Archives: March 24, 2010

Jim Pickard

The Tories are likely to go on the attack tomorrow morning on the freezing of the income tax allowance. This isn’t new, of course; it was in the pre-budget report.

However, the personal allowance for anyone under 65 will remain frozen at £6,475. In other words, if you’re income is rising, you will pay – proportionately – more tax. 

Jim Pickard

It’s just that I tried the site second ago.

And it had this response: 

It is perhaps telling that there were no big, last-minute fights over the content of this reassuringly dull Budget. The bulk of it was wrapped up more than a week ago.

Given December’s Pre-Budget report was still being negotiated in the early hours of the morning, this is quite a feat. This time Ed Balls’ emissaries weren’t on the phone at 3am arguing about the GDP deflator. Darling and his team managed to get some sleep, which is not something chancellors on Budget day are used to. 

As delivered by Alistair Darling on March 24. With “Mr Deputy Speaker” removed. Click on the image to see in full.

Tag cloud generated by Wordle

Jim Pickard

As I predicted this morning, the stamp duty holiday for first time buyers up to £250,000 has come with a major “sting” – an increase on the levy for people exchanging £1m-plus homes. 

Jim Pickard

The Treasury has just revealed that the tax increase will fall hardest on super-strength ciders*. Police are preparing for widespread riots across the Westcountry. 

Chancellor sits down at 13.30 – FTSE 100 unchanged at 5,673.26. Sterling is down 0.75 per cent at $1.4920 and the yield on the 10-year gilt is up 3.1 basis points at 3.94 per cent.

Please see www.ft.com/budget for all the news and analysis of the Budget – thanks for joining us. 

We journalists are never ones to knowingly underplay a political fad. But the Tory plan to “crowdsource” the Budget? Hmm.

The case for the wisdom of crowds is compelling. But what kind of crowd will be attracted by Budget small print? On a Wednesday afternoon? And will this rabble of idlers with hours to spare be any better than the crowd of paid pointy heads at CCHQ? I have my doubts. 

This is a political Budget first and foremost, so it makes sense to partly judge it against the Tory’s main economic positions.

1) Prudence, giveaways and the Tory marriage tax break Osborne may want to let rip at any of Darling’s fiscal bungs. But he will be constrained. The Tories need to outline plans to recognise marriage in the tax system. But how can you criticise diverting some savings to a tax break if you’re about to do the same? 

Jim Pickard

I wasn’t at the UK Press Awards last night but apparently Boris Johnson pulled off a brilliant speech that included some comments undermining Cameron’s “Broken Britain” theme.

The mayor said of Stephen Byers, who notoriously compared himself as a cab for hire: “He must have found a devilish route to Heathrow.”

A line-by-line summary of Alistair Darling’s Budget statement, with commentary from FT writers, will be available on the Westminister blog from 12.30 (or just before the Chancellor stands up). Follow the Budget with the FT. Jim and Alex will then be back as usual.

Jim Pickard

Is it morally right to bribe voters into taking a huge leveraged bet on an asset class which is overvalued?