George Osborne is calling the Budget a "con." He is, of course, right. ConservativeHome may wish that Mr Osborne was much more committed to making the economic case for lower taxation but Mr Brown has zero credibility with us on tax. The 2p cut today had a lot more to do with yesterday’s 28% poll rating for Mr Brown than anything else. There’s panic in 11 Downing Street as they consider the possibility that the dismal rating will drive panicking Labour MPs into the hands of David Miliband or even John Denham. Today’s announcement of a 2p cut comes from the stealthiest tax riser in British history. This Chancellor has presided over a massive expansion of the state and huge additional complexity within the tax system. No Conservative should ever give him comfort. He has been steadily raising taxes since the moment he entered Downing Street and we won’t know the true impact of this Budget until we’ve all read the small print. Every one of Brown’s budgets has contained sleights of hand and my guess is that this one will not be an exception. The sooner Mr Brown leaves all Downing Street addresses the better.
PS The Mail and Sun were far too soft on Brown this morning and in response to last year’s Budget. I hope they do their readers a favour tomorrow morning and expose this Budget for its deceit. If they can’t think of what to write themselves they should copy and paste this from The Spectator.
PPS There’s also this from The Business:
"The net effects of all his tax policies is
a tiny reduction in Mr Brown’s net position to the tune of £525m for
2007-08 but an increase in the tax burden of £280m in 2008-09 and £125m
in 2009-10. On balance, therefore, and for all Brown’s bluster, this
was a tax raising Budget. After years of bleeding the economy dry with
well over 100 tax increases, and a massive increase in the tax to GDP
ratio, the Chancellor has not changed his spots. He remains a tax and spend Chancellor, who thinks he knows better
than the market and individuals what makes an economy tick. He unveiled
another plethora of extraordinarily complex and detailed initiatives on
Wednesday, many of which will take weeks for teams of accountants to
work out their full implications."