The Pre-Budget Budget – an act of gross immorality
It was not so much a pre-budget report as an entire budget. And not only an entire budget, but an entirely leaked budget. There was once a day when chancellors resigned over such contempt for Parliament, but New Labour has held the legislature in contempt from the day it attained power: its haughty presidential aloofness has been one of its defining features. It leaks with impunity.
This pre-budget budget is pure Socialism; the most ‘left’ redistributive agenda the country has seen since the Old Labour of the 70s. In fact, the level of debt to be endured is actually greater than when James Callaghan was forced to go cap in hand to the IMF in 1976.
This was not a budget so much to kick-start the economy as one to put the Conservative Party at odds with itself. It was far more political than economic. While David Cameron is of the opinion that the country cannot afford such a loosening of fiscal policy at the present time, there are murmurings on the Conservative back-benches that tax-cuts are welcome in season and out.
But the joy is that there is now clear blue water between the two main parties in a way that there has not been since 1997 (and some would say since 1993). There is the blasé option of spending one’s way out of recession, or the responsible one of fiscal rectitude and budgetary propriety. The former simply mortgages our children; the latter faces the difficult issues and directly addresses the problem.
By stimulating the economy with a reduction in VAT instead of a cut in income tax, Labour are doing nothing to encourage prudent behaviour. When a government spends what it does not have, and guarantees the liabilities of weak financial institutions, they risk weakening the currency and causing an increase in interest rates, with all the consequent unemployment, recession, inflation and increased poverty. This is an undoubted moral issue, for people are reduced to hardship and depression, firms are condemned to closure, more workers to unemployment and more families to homelessness through unprecedented levels of repossession. The total number of suicides, heart attacks, divorces and mental breakdowns is never known.
This was not a pre-budget budget for recovery, but one to postpone the suffering of millions while the malignant tumour spreads. It was not the required treatment, not the prescribed medicine, and not the necessary invasive surgery.
One must pray the patient does not die, for resurrection may be beyond even the next Conservative administration.