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No-one in the UK expected Chancellor Osborne to please everyone with his 2012 Spring budget. Most of us had second guessed some of the changes. On the surface the budget may have sounded rather a non event. However as always the devil is in the detail.
Conservative Osborne's budget shows where his loyalties lie. That is with the rich and wealthy of the UK. Little wonder that Lib Dem Business Secretary Vince Cable stood close to the door. At times the Coalition Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg looked decidedly uncomfortable. So he should.
Whilst today's budget may please traditional Tory voters it will do nothing for traditional Lib Dem voters or floating voters. It could be that the Lib Dems input has stayed the hand of the Tories but come election time that will mean naught. It will be a straightforward race between Labour and the Conservatives. We will be back to the two party system.
The Chancellor's Spring 2012 budget laid before Parliament many planned changes. It will however be remembered more for his budget gift to high earners in the UK and his attack on the pockets of pensioners.
The Coalition bowed to middle England's pressure regarding child benefit changes. The fairest way would have been to set a household income limit. Earlier proposals had outlined changes which would have set £40,000 as a cut of for receiving Child Benefit payments. Ill thought out this would have meant that a two parent family earning a total of £75,000 would have still received CB.
Personally this blogger still feels that a household income limit would have addressed this issue. Instead the government has reneaged on its CB changes. The limit has now been set at £60,000. An income of £40,000 and above will still enable a claim for CB. The benefit will reduce for each pound earned above £40,000 until the £60,000 limit is reached.
Currently child benefit in the UK is set at, "Two separate amounts, with a higher amount for your eldest (or only) child. You get £20.30 a week for your eldest child and £13.40 a week for each of your other children."
So do people earning £40,000 need to receive child benefit?
Next up, presumably at the expense of others too, the reduction in the 50p high earners tax. The Media has reported that today's budget will take £1billion from UK pensioners. So the government wants pensioners to fund high earners child benefit and 50p tax reductions?
Osborne may make many excuses and reason that the changes are sensible and fair but I think he forgets we not stupid. He may think that we are. He must do to propose such a budget as one that rewards work when in effect all it did was help Tory cronies and themselves.
When Ed Miliband challenged the front bench of the Coalition as to which of them would personally benefit form this budget red faces were the order of the day. Of course all of them, as millionaires in their own right, will gain quite nicely, thank you very much.
Many people who work will gain a little with the tax changes but they will lose out in other ways. Tax credits for working families are reducing which will wipe out any tax gains.
Perhaps the most galling cut though is to pensioners payments. Having worked all their lives they are no longer included presumably in a budget that is a reward for work. Pensioners stand to lose a great deal. Still at least when a UK pensioner struggles to pay her or his gas bill they will have the satisfaction of knowing they have helped increase David Cameron's and George Osborne's, et al, standard of living
Remember this come voting time. A couple of years down the road the government will be dangling a carrot in UK voters faces hoping to win them over. Make sure you have a long memory and vote accordingly.
In general the media have assessed this budget as a political one. With a more comfortable economic picture Osborne was able to cut what he chose. Looks like he decided UK pensioners are not worth a stuff!