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
Like this writer's work please donate
British political scene
The next General Election in the UK may not be scheduled any time soon but the British political landscape is changing. With that in mind this blog will concentrate on the political scene but with a left wing perspective. Opinion pieces and news will bring you the stories that the MSM prefer to ignore.
Running a news based website is fun, time consuming and can be costly. If you would like to help the site keep afloat please use the donate button