It takes a few days for the 'analysts' to work it out, but it's clear now that Gordon Brown tried to pull a fast one on Wednesday. Here's some of the facts that are starting to emerge:
Gordon Brown claimed that 4 out of 5 households would be better off because of his budget, yet leading accountants say this is impossible to prove because of missing information which includes:
- The level of income at which basic-rate tax will become payable from 2008-2010
- The level of salary above which National Insurance is payable for that time
- Increases in personal allowances for people under the age of 65 from 2008-2010
- When higher-rate tax becomes payable in 2008-2009
- Details on who is able to claim working tax credits or child tax credits and how much
- Levels of inflation the Treasury has assumed for its figures
- No commitment to provide this information in next week's Finance Bill, which will only cover tax changes in 2008-2008
It's clear that the people who lose out most from this budget is single people with no kids on less than 18k, which, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, equates to 2 million people. The loss is due to the abolition of the 10p starting tax rate, and the fact that they can't claim child tax credit to claw back the difference.
The other losers in the budget is people like myself - small business owners, because the Corporation Tax rate is rising from 20 to 22p for small companies, yet coming down for large companies.
All in all it's a very strange Budget for a Labour government. So much for looking after the poorest in society and encouraging entrepreneurship.
And so much for the green measures - is £400 road tax really going to deter those who can afford a £50k Range Rover?
The Sun made itself look stupid, while other papers were taking a cautious reaction to the Budget, the Sun rejoiced with this headline:
Touch wood, none of this will affect me, as we'll be long gone by the time the changes start next April. The state of politics in this country is one of many reasons why we're fleeing down under.