Op-ed: One day after Chancellor George Osborne's spring budget the big red budget book has been analysed and the conclusion is more spending cuts will be necessary.
Osborne has rejected claims that he will have to cut spending or raise taxes to meet his budget but something will have to give and you can bet your bottom dollar it will not be wealthy citizens.
The Chancellor is standing by his promise that Britain will be back in the black by 2020 but with a proviso; as long as the economy keeps growing. He has been forced to revise growth forecasts down and admit he missed key targets in his budget which was a giveaway for the rich.
The problem is the UK is not as 'productive' as many countries; with so much sold off to foreign investors and outsourced little is produced in the UK these days.
But Osborne is a typical style over substance politician and Wednesday after a semi shaky start soon got into his stride and by the end of his budget bombastically hammered home his set phrases.
Phrases such as working to a plan, helping hard working people (changed from families possibly after attacking child tax credit) we are on course and more were all used to pad out the budget.
Delivering the budget could be simpler and quicker but it starts with an intro which is all about political campaigning and is stuffed with theatrics.
Osborne's main budget aim, he claims, is getting the country into surplus by 2020 and the price paid by others to achieve this appears immaterial as long as it is not Tory fat friends losing out.
The Tory attack on disability benefits such as PIP, personal independent payments, and ESA, employment support allowance, when you consider the budget handouts to others by way of cuts to corporation tax and more, highlight priorities not good government.
The Independent had quickly analysed the budget details Wednesday and their report is well worth reading. It includes the following;
For those with large salaries, the threshold for the higher rate of income tax will be raised from £42,386 to £45,000. For those with valuable assets, capital gains tax will be cut from 28 per cent to 20 per cent. For those wealthy enough to have savings, the ISA limit will be increased from £15,000 to £20,000. For those wealthy enough to run businesses, corporation tax will fall from 20 per cent to 17 per cent.
Osborne tends to quote bodies such as the OBR which he claims are independent but he shies away from the IFS, institute for fiscal studies, which is less supportive. Budget 2016: 'Last chance' for George Osborne, IFS chief says reports the Independent.
Thursday the IFS will give its response to the budget but ahead of that Paul Johnson, the director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies criticised the budget saying Osborne only has a 50/50 chance of reaching his target.
If Osborne was serious about his so-called plan being all about fixing the roof while the sun was shining he would have delivered financial pain across the board; that would have been fair and done the job faster.
But Osborne's modus operandi has nothing to do with fairness and everything to do with securing Tory votes and helping fat friends.
Take his lifetime ISA promise Wednesday which sounds good on paper. It will allow anyone under 40 to save ideally for a first home with a little government top-up thrown in for good measure. But the point here is ANYONE.
This means if eligible on age the children of millionaires, including some adults in politics such as Tony Blair, David Cameron, Iain Duncan Smith, George Osborne and Nick Clegg could benefit from the scheme. Young people from poorer backgrounds may struggle to save and obviously save less over the 'life time' of the ISA which has a 50 age cut off. The Express writes;
The scheme for under-40s will be introduced in April 2017 but there are worries it could encourage workers to spurn existing pension schemes that hold a number of benefits for long-term savers.
For many people the conclusion is Wednesday's budget is flawed and fails on all levels except helping the rich get richer.
The latest from the Guardian is - Richest households gain £225 from Osborne's income tax cuts - and the poorest just £10, thinktank says.
Perhaps Osborne is waiting until the May elections and the EU referendum are out of the way before slashing budgets further.
After all there will always be another budget along and he could always opt for yet another emergency budget in July once votes are under his belt.
Op-Ed: Supporters of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn would not care if he attended the House of Commons in his jim jams; they want to hear what he has to say and are fed up of style over substance politics.
Wednesday for the budget he looked dapper after a makeover, whether voluntary is not clear, but he looked smart and ministerial if that is the sort of thing that floats your boat.
Me I was more interested in what he had to say and he did not disappoint.
It seems the right-wing millionaire rag the Daily Express could find little to fault so went with "jacket with a red tie fastened neatly over a crisp white shirt. But one detail was missing, as Mr Corbyn appeared to be wearing black trousers instead of blue ones to match his jacket. Noticing the mismatch on Twitter, Helen James wrote: "Is...Corbyn wearing black trousers and a blue suit jacket? If so, unforgivable!"
Err no things like the Tories slashing ESA for people with disabilities is unforgivable while a blue jacket with black trousers is just a matter of style choice. It shows how meaningless politics is to some who watch the House of Commons daily business and how little they care for we the people.
So with that out of the way how did our Jeremy do?
Well as a Labour supporter I may be somewhat biased but you have to remember Mr Corbyn was not my choice for leader in the party election. He is now though and grows in my estimation each time I see him.
I also felt like a Mum watching her young child at his first big deal day as I tuned in for Budget 2016 yet I am almost the age of Mr Corbyn.
From the moment he got to his feet you could sense his presence in the House.
Remember this is a man facing attacks from within the party, even from his own Common's benches, as well as from elsewhere. He has only been leader of the opposition since September 2015 and it takes time to grow into the role-that has been true of all former party leaders even the ultimately slick Tony Blair.
I posted some of his comments on Osborne's budget in my words on Twitter as I watched Mr Corbyn's speech and I wrote:
Overall Mr Corbyn picked the heart, though heart is the wrong word, out of the budget and won the day.
His dress style was immaterial but I have to say he looked damn good!
Op-ed: It's that time of year again in the UK-Wednesday is budget day and we the people will have to endure a smug-faced Tory Chancellor Mr George Osborne spinning facts and figures to within an inch of their life.
If Osborne runs true to form he will begin his budget speech with a pat on his back and a great deal of stuff and nonsense about the economy.
He will try to brag he is doing a great job as Chancellor and all is well but we know he wants to slash billions from budgets so how will he spin that one? It could be more of "we are fixing the roof while the sun is shining" or feature on a global economic downturn but most people already know the truth.
The fact of the matter is Osbornomics is not working.
Trying to cut taxes for the very wealthy, budget for hefty pay rises for MPs and the Queen, commit money to war and expect the poorest people in the UK to take an income cut to fulfil all if that is obscene.
Wednesday expect a nod to the Tories "working to their plan" which to most people is a scary thought and how the Tories are helping "hard-working families" thus excluding a huge number of people from their radar-pensioners, people with disabilities, childless couples, single people and more.
As he taunts the opposition today and in particular Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn who is tasked with the job of offering the official opposition response to the budget expect jeers and cheers from the Tory benches.
Will John Bercow the Tory speaker of the house even make an effort to hold MPs to account, try to keep order and ensure Mr Corbyn is given the respect an opposition party leader deserves?
12.35 and the budget run down.
John Bercow leaves the chamber meaning his deputy handles the budget statement and opposition response so at least one piece of good news today.
Yep Osborne talks up the economy and blows his trumpet as expected as he begins his speech with long-term economic plan and other spin but here it goes and the blame game falls on the global economy.
So the cuts that are going to be announced will be to ensure our economic strength and if you believe that you are living in cloud cuckoo land.
Osborne starts off with yes you guessed it hard working families.
No facts yet but political campaigning including a stab at the former Labour government.
I guess all the ramble ahead of the facts and figures we the people are interested in is to confuse, mind numb or result in viewers reaching for the remote.
Osborne touches on the upcoming EU referendum-he claims OBR stay out of EU ref but then talks the talk about how the OBR see an out vote as a negative.
The Chancellor goes on to job figures posted conveniently today but his dodgy figures are meaningless; look out for the nitty gritty later.
Using a crystal ball Osborne claims analysis shows what would have happened had he not acted in 2010 but that too is meaningless.
Billions of "savings" but he claims disability budgets are rising. Dodgy borrowing figures which no doubt when checked thoroughly later will not ring true.
15/16: £72.2bn (Autumn Statement: 74)
16/17: 55.5 (50)
17/18: 38.8 (25)
18/19: 21.4 (5)
19/20: -10.4 (-10)
20/21: -11 (-15)"
More crystal ball readings as he talks about future years but:
"Chancellor confirms he is breaking one of his fiscal rules. Debt as a percentage of GDP has risen this fiscal year, not fallen."
The Speaker has to call Tories to order as their Chancellor drones on and on.
Corporation Tax to reduce further to 17% by 2017.
Help for small firms; business rate relief raised from £6,000 which will allegedly help small businesses. As Osborne gives the details he mentions the CPI as opposed to the RPI and how using the lower one to assess rates will help small businesses; yes he switched the price index for pensions some time ago ensuring pensioners and benefit claimants only ever get the lower increase.
"Labour backbenchers shouting 'who's paying?' after @George_Osborne announcement on reducing business rates #Budget2016" tweets Sky news correspondent but I cannot hear any shouting.
I can hear shouting now as Osborne moves on to backdated tax cuts for oil and gas industry.
Osborne opts to add a stab at the SNP and Scotland with that announcement which is unnecessary and will ruffle feathers.
There is only so much spin this writer can stand so back later to add the basics.
The final straw I guess was Osborne saying proof that when an area of the country votes blue they get good payback. What a divisive statement.
BBC News has the highlighted the key points but bear in mind that institution is often accused of Tory bias these days. Find the information here.
[Quotes in the report from Sky News journos via Twitter]
Now for Mr Jeremy Corbyn's response - Jeremy Corbyn budget day winner, black trousers and all
Op-Ed: It is unusual for this writer to agree with former London Mayor and top Tory Boris Johnson on anything but she does agree with him Monday as he "urges Obama not to intervene in EU debate."
US President Barack Obama is expected to make a visit to Great Britain in April. It will be his last as President of the USA as he winds down his second and final term in office.
He has already made it plain that he believes the UK is better staying a member country of the EU than leaving and so have some of his advisers. In February NEWTEKWORLDNEWS wrote "John Kerry may want Britain in EU but do you?"
But if POTUS allows himself to be dragged into the in /out EU debate here in the UK it will be a mistake and could act like reverse psychology on some voters.
Part of the problem is we Brits are fiercely independent and stubborn. We do not and will not take kindly to foreign interference in any shape or form.
Will the fact that form of interference from Obama will be advice from the leader of the country often called 'our greatest ally' make it acceptable?
Hardly, when only last week he raised a few hackles-"Obama criticises Cameron for having no long term Libya strategy after Gadaffi overthrow" wrote the IBTimes.
Seems we are not such great allies after all.
At time of writing BBC News says “No 10 has refused to comment on reports that the US president will use the visit to argue for the UK's continued EU membership.”
So how come his name in being bandied about and Boris Johnson is saying “it would be "outrageous hypocrisy" for US President Barack Obama to intervene directly in the EU referendum debate.”
“The London mayor wrote that it would be "wholly fallacious" of Mr Obama to use any trip to warn that the UK will lose global influence if it quits the EU.”
Downing Street, in other words David Cameron’s office, has said Mr Obama and other leaders are "worth listening to" but it will be a fine line between debate and interference.
Johnson supports the Brexit group campaigning for the UK to leave the EU whilst PM David Cameron is leading the BRemain campaign for the UK to stay in the EU.
But with the Tory government and in fact that political party spilt over Europe the waters are more than muddied.
The British electorate face a tough old time deciding whether Cameron’s alleged EU deal warrants an in / out vote on June 23 without everyman and his wife sticking their oars in.
For some voters though their minds and so their vote has been decided for years and the deal and views of others will not matter one iota.
Obama is due to attend a technology fair in Germany in late April and a source told the Independent on Sunday he would visit the British capital around that time.
Op-ed: BBC News is reporting ahead of the Chancellor’s Budget statement Wednesday that he could be offering a bitter sweet pill to encourage low paid workers to save but before we go into the detail let me say this is another idea nabbed from the Labour Party.
In 2010 when the Tory Party came to power with its Lib Dem partners in tow they scrapped a very similar savings scheme; the difference being the Labour one was more generous.
That was called the Saving Gateway and it aimed to give a 50p boost for every pound saved.
It was something that Hubby was offered in its trial stages and helped us through one of those difficult financial times that come along.
But it never got beyond the trial run as the Condems axed it. Here is what the Guardian said in 2010:
The government has quietly scrapped one of Labour's flagship initiatives to encourage Britain's financially excluded people to save.
The current Tory majority government will no doubt try to blame Labour for scrapping that scheme; you know the economy was so shot because of the outgoing Labour government and the global economic crisis was only real when we use it to explain out fiscal mess.
But all it shows is their priorities.
And silently scrapped.
So what will the new scheme offer? BBC News reports Monday;
Millions of low-paid workers who put aside savings could receive a top-up of up to £1,200 over four years, the government has announced. Employees on in-work benefits, such as tax credits, who put aside £50 a month would receive a bonus of 50% after two years - worth up to £600.
Well I hate to use my cracked record saying but as always the devil is in the detail.
The new scheme will be called Help To Save and be open to around 3.5 million adults who received universal credit or tax credit. How many will actually have enough disposable income to use as savings is not clear but my guess is not many. The scheme however will look good on paper.
Changes to tax credits, the minimum wage and more will limit who is eligible. And if your income is rock bottom putting any money aside may be impossible.
The Tory onslaught against the most vulnerable people of the UK continues; that means some people who should be eligible for the saving scheme will not be, plus others will have suffered such a drop in income via Tory legislation such as the Bedroom Tax that saving 1p a day would prove difficult.
For Hubby and I Labour's Savings Gateway helped us through a sticky patch but I worked too and that did not make us ineligible.
The Tories Help to Save scheme is less generous and after six years of Tory cuts and so-called austerity measures for many any kind of 'disposable income' is not attainable.
[It seems ahead of the budget Osborne is playing his usual games and filtering bits and pieces from the budget to his mainstream media allies]
Speaking on Sky News David Cameron used his usual spin in announcing the Help to Save scheme saying;
"I've made it the mission of this government to transform life chances across the country.
Hard-working is a term touted a lot by Cameron and his colleagues though many have never actually done a day's hard work in their lives.
I will leave you to read "David Cameron's father left assets in tax haven" to highlight the irony.
Op-ed: Politics can be a rough old game but when your own party is leading the charge you need nerves of steel and a hide as tough as an old boot.
It has been a rollercoaster of a week for Jeremy Corbyn or at least it has according to the mainstream media.
With wannabees in the party feeding the MSM a diet of hate the press appear to have filled in the blanks with fantasy.
The latest is that John McDonnell, Mr Corbyn's shadow chancellor and in some ways right hand man, may be the one to carry out the final stab in the back.
But hold that thought as we look for the source of this latest gossip posted as news.
No surprises that it comes via the Telegraph more popularly referred to as the Torygraph.
In October 2015, weeks after Corbyn was elected party leader the Telegraph ran with “How Labour can get rid of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell - in one easy step-There doesn’t need to be a coup: just one candidate who appeals to the masse."
That was penned by John McTernan a former Labour Party adviser. He is or was a British Labour Party political adviser, political strategist and commentator. McTernan was Prime Minister Tony Blair's Director of Political Operations from 2005 to 2007.
Friday the Torygraph ran with two stories:
The only conclusion has to be that money grabbers and phoney politicians fear true left-wing politics; those which could be on offer from Jeremy Corbyn if the backstabbers give him a chance.
Mr Corbyn may have opposed many former party leaders especially those who reformed the party to look and feel like a watered down version of the Tories but he was never as disloyal as these MSM feeders as to use a direct link to the right-wing press.
That watered down Labour politics may of course have appealed to their personal greedy bones; you know help the poor and vulnerable but make sure we make a bundle along the way.
Obviously then the likes of Tony Blair will be appalled at Labour turning back to its roots and away from his Maggie Thatcher weaker version style of politics.
Mr Blair did have a fairly good track record on some social matters but he only ever went so far and never far enough, and his legacy will forever carry the stain of the phoney Iraq war.
When you look at the bios of John McTernan, Tom Harris and others you can't help but feel they have played at politics for their own agendas. Now outside of the party they retain links to the backstabbers and the vile circle of deceit, name-calling and gossip mongering continues.
Check-out: Spetember 19, 2015, Lord John Prescott wrote in the Daily Mirror "Bitter Blairites mean Jeremy Corbyn’s worst enemies are sitting right behind him" guess he did not need a crystal ball for that one. But as if he did have a crystal ball he also said "Some of his own MPs are feeding journalists tales of dissent in the ranks and trying to portray Labour as being close to civil war. These people – I call them the Bitterites – need to accept that Jeremy won the largest mandate a Labour leader has ever had."
Op-ed: With the lyrics of The Backstabbers by the O'jays seemingly on a loop running through my brain I can only look on in horror as a series of Labour politicians, past and present, appear to feed the right-wing mainstream media a great deal of drivel and a diet of crap.
It could be that the MSM is in some cases making it up as they go along or selectively taking words and sentences out of context but it certainly does not look that way.
So let's take a brief trip along the anti-Jeremy Corbyn hype to nowhere on offer this week.
Jess Phillips MP
The week began with the fallout from a series of articles featuring Jess Phillips. She opted to attack Corbyn almost from day one when he was elected the party's new leader in September 2015; as the year moved on she vowed she would not stab him in the back but rather in the front if he was damaging the Labour party.
Since that time she has continued to seriously damage Labour's chances of election success; the right-wing press has lapped it up and she has enjoyed her 15 minutes of fame but at the expense of those who voted for Mr Corbyn, voters in general, the Labour party and the man himself.
Her assumption that only, as she calls them, £3 affiliates voted for Corbyn as party leader sends out a negative message, is simply not true and in effect spits on Labour party democracy and unity.
In her defence Phillips is relatively young and perhaps politically naive; she is however ambitious and it is difficult not to conclude that her appeals for more women in Labour's top jobs has at least some self-motivation.
Dan Jarvis MP
Ex-paratrooper Dan Jarvis may have been off your radar before this week but it is doubtful he is now. A series of press reports this week included claims that Mr Jarvis was about to stage a Labour coup, or at least do so some time soon.
On March 4 the Guardian reported "Labour donors flock to Dan Jarvis as he renews speculation of a challenge to Jeremy Corbyn with a warning the party must change to win back the voters."
News that a hedge fund manager who also donated to the Labour party under Ed Miliband's leadership has donated £16,800 to Jarvis will not sit well with many Labour supporters.
Hedge fund managers may not quite be as dirty words as bankers and banking system but it is a close.
One report in the Guardian two days ago said "Backbencher [Jarvis] tipped as Corbyn challenger to call for party to be ‘tough on inequality, tough on the causes of inequality’." That was ahead of a keynote speech by Jarvis. He has reportedly been raising money from other former Labour donors.
One day later, and in the Guardian again, a new report begins "Backbencher touted as potential leadership challenger signals concern over current strategy but also criticises Blair’s tactics" as he allegedly tries to position himself away from Blair's New Labour.
Friday remarks by Ken Livingstone, a supporter of Mr Corbyn, have had an angry response; the Daily Mirror opts for "Ken Livingstone has provoked fury by saying a Labour MP accepting a City donation was like "Jimmy Savile fundraising for a children's group" but it is not difficult to understand that analogy.
Who is actually feeding the MSM all of this drivel is not clear. The above report also claims "Rachel Reeves, the former shadow work and pension’s secretary, could be in line for the shadow chancellor role if Jarvis were to win the leadership" in spite of the fact a new party leader was only elected September 12, 2015.
Neil Kinnock is claimed by many to have been the great Labour party reformer. He failed to gel with the electorate, was demonised in the press and ultimately was party leader but never Prime Minister. He of all people should know about the need for loyalty but he does not.
Three days ago the Independent reported "Former Labour leader Neil Kinnock warns Jeremy Corbyn he cannot lead if his party [meaning Labour MPs] will not back him" but what about the ordinary man and woman on the street, supporters and party members?
Kinnock's wife went into politics and they are joined by their son Stephen these days.
In February we reported "Why are old Labour heavyweights doing Cameron's EU bidding" after five senior politicians posted an open letter on what they see as the benefits of the UK staying in the EU.
One of the men is a former Labour leader Neil Kinnock who is now backing David Cameron’s new EU deal. But when you post such letters you best make sure your house is in order. Thursday an old story relating to Kinnock and his wife is doing the rounds and it will offer voters cold comfort. A news report in Wales Online that dates back to 2009 but was updated in 2013 has this to say";
Neil and Glenys Kinnock came under fire from critics last night as details of their estimated £10m European earnings were calculated by a pressure group.
Friday we have Kinnock junior, Stephen, telling Wales Online "Questions will have to be asked about Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership if Labour fails to hit “ambitious” targets in the May elections."
Kinnock senior, Neil, was leader of the Labour party from 1983-1992.
So how come he was given nine years with poor election results and Corbyn has to shine in eight months and against a backdrop of deceit, backstabbing and undermining?
Like so many Labour backstabbers Kinnock junior's news report came by way of the Huffington Post and a podcast.
"Describing how Mr Corbyn would “get judged” on the results, he said: “The big question is when people look at him do they see somebody that could be the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom? And I think we will know a large part of the answer to that question following the elections on May 5, and also based on how the Labour party carries itself now through to June 23 and the referendum. “And you know, Jeremy, as any leader, gets judged on performance, gets judged on results.” Unlike your father is the only appropriate reaction to that I guess.
Open letters are not ideal but when you have well-paid Labour MPs constantly spouting negativity in the MSM such a letter adds a little balance.
Do those regrouping and jockeying for position, including people like Jarvis who not so long ago did not want to stand as party leader, have the best interest of Labour and the electorate at heart or are they shoring up their political careers?
We can include Peter Mandelson, Tony Blair, and a few others in that group.
Because essentially politicians also have a vision of how they see the future and it is not always a selfless vision.
[Stephen Kinnock MP is married to Helle Thorning-Schmidt, who is the prime minister of Denmark]
After actions resembling the 'hokey cokey' social security cuts have been pushed through in the House of Commons.
The Independent goes with ‘black day for disabled people’ and it would be impossible not to agree.
The Tories have shown their commitment to the work and welfare bill and its associated cuts by being prepared to spend time and thus money on pushing changes through parliament.
The £30 a week ESA cut is a slap in the face of people with disabilities.
The cost of DWP bureaucracy as they slash benefits should not be forgotten; the same goes for the money paid to MPDs to spend hours in parliament debating.
Changes made their way through the House of Commons to the House of Lords but that other place threw the legislation back for further consideration. Following another House of Commons debate the legislation tootled back to the Lords but was rejected again.
In order to push the legislation through Speaker of the House of Commons attached a 'financial privilege' to the Welfare Bill and sealed its fate and that of many people with disabilities living in the UK.
But that will not be the end of cuts.
More will follow.
The tory government is looking at further attacks on democracy; it has already looked at preventing the House of Lords rejecting legislation and also at stuffing the Lords with more Tories to enable that party to fulfil its crippling agenda.
The PM already has an option to use the Royal veto and now we learn he has a 'financial privilege' get out of jail free card available.
The Independent reports Tuesday;
The conclusion then has to be that the Tory government knows full well the impact on claimants but doesn't care one jot.
Also at NEWTEKWORLDNEWS:
Tory onslaught on welfare is not an austerity agenda
Paralympians speech halts ESA cuts for a second time
Nothing pretty about Priti Patel as she attacks ESA
MPs get pay rise of nearly £1,000 despite one per cent public sector wage caps
Tories force through ESA disability benefit cuts as Lords run out of options to block them
Charities slam Tories for forcing through disability benefit cuts despite House of Lords defeat
British political scene
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