Posts Tagged ‘Budget’

The three choices facing moderate Labour MPs at tomorrow’s Budget

15/03/2016, 09:55:09 PM

by Greig Baker

Some people accuse Conservatives of wanting power at any cost. Having worked for the party during some of its darker days in Opposition, I can assure you that is not the case. However, most Tory MPs do understand you have to be in power to wield it.

When the Chancellor sits down after delivering tomorrow’s Budget, ambitious Labour MPs will have three choices if they want to wrestle the keys to Number 10 away from Cameron’s successor. First, they could drink the kool aid and hope against hope that Jeremy Corbyn has stumbled upon a new way of winning elections. More realistically, they will have to choose between options two and three – quietly rebelling or carefully splitting.

The rebellion option will be embodied by Rachel Reeves, Dan Jarvis, et al, who will set out their own response to the Budget, coming from a dramatically different position to Labour’s frontbench. In contrast, the splitting option has already been demonstrated by David Lammy and Andrew Adonis, who have been willing to give Corbyn a few more days’ bad headlines in return for the promise of actually getting stuff done.

Given that Andrew Adonis’s recommendations from National Infrastructure Commission will get great big lumps of real hard cash thrown behind them tomorrow, the understated rebels are going to have to do something special to persuade colleagues that they can offer a viable alternative.

Either way, the reaction to tomorrow’s statement will give us a clear sense of which Labour MPs know that you don’t have to be a Tory to want to be in Government.

Greig Baker is Chief Executive of The GUIDE Consultancy

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The week Uncut

26/03/2011, 10:30:52 AM

In case you missed them, these were the best read pieces on Uncut in the last seven days:

Tom Watson decided to back Cameron… and then changed his mind

Dan Hodges says Libya is not Cameron’s first war, it’s Blair’s last

Sally Bercow predicted the usual Tory fare on budget day

Atul Hatwal reveals how the fuel stabiliser will hike household energy bills

Peter Watt asks: where’s the social care in the health and social care bill?

Rob Marchant doesn’t want Ed to march for the alternative

Jonathan Todd thinks Miliband can own the future in a way Cameron can’t

…and in this weeks Half a minute Harris, Tom backed Theresa May on student visas

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Revealed: Fuel stabiliser set to hike household energy bills

25/03/2011, 07:00:01 AM

by Atul Hatwal

Ofgem research contradicts government claims that costs will not be passed onto consumers

As George Osborne and Danny Alexander struggled to deny that increased taxes on North Sea oil would simply be passed on to consumers on petrol forecourts, it emerged that these taxes would also hit hard-pressed households’ energy bills.

Wholesale costs faced by the big household energy suppliers, who are involved in energy exploration and production in the North Sea, are set to rise when these new taxes are levied.

New research released by Ofgem this week revealed how these increased costs will feed through into household energy bills.

The report, entitled Do Energy Bills Respond Faster To Rising Costs Than Falling Costs, was sneaked out on Monday. It details how energy suppliers don’t just pass on an increase in the wholesale costs of energy, they hike customer bills by almost 10% more than the original cost increase.

Applying Ofgem’s analysis to the changes announced in the budget, all households that use energy from the major suppliers facing higher oil and gas taxes will be hit, regardless of whether they benefit from the cut in fuel duty.

The result will be millions of non-drivers subsidising motorists’ petrol costs through their energy bills, raising new questions about David Cameron’s claim that this would be the “greenest government ever”.

Even worse, Ofgem’s analysis shows that when energy suppliers’ wholesale costs decrease, they don’t pass on the full benefit to consumers. Instead, they pocket over 60% of the difference, leaving prices much higher than before the initial increase.

This means that the fuel stabiliser is likely to permanently ratchet up energy prices for consumers. (more…)

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Despite Osborne’s patrician brave face, all we can expect on budget day is standard Tory fare

21/03/2011, 08:00:21 AM

by Sally Bercow

With the amount of cereal my kids get through, action was required. Out went Kellogg’s Frosties at £2.69, in came Essential Waitrose frosted flakes at £1.69. The kids objected at first – not on taste grounds, mind, but because they missed seeing Tony the Frosties tiger cavorting about on the box. Happily though, as own-brand fish fingers have passed unnoticed, no such bond appears to have been forged with Captain Birdseye. Indeed, our cupboards are now heaving with Essential Waitrose and I’ve cut my weekly Ocado shopping bill by around a quarter (and, yes, I know I’d save even more shopping at Tesco or Sainsburys but, the last time I looked, neither would deliver to Parliament – apparently because it’s a business address).

Now I’m not going to pretend that switching from Kellogg’s to own brand means I’m in the same boat as families whose very existence is a struggle to make ends meet. But squeeze on living standards (the biggest in 90 years) is hitting everyone – even those, like David Cameron and George Osborne, multi-millionaires by birth, with rather a lot of cushioning and very little idea of what life is like for those who struggle to eke out an existence. Inflation is rising twice as fast as pay and the Chancellor is only making matters worse – adding to the squeeze with his 2.5% VAT hike in January.

That’s why Ed Miliband and Ed Balls are right to say that this country is undergoing a “cost of living crisis” and to call on George Osborne to use his second budget to help hard-pressed families, starting at the petrol pump. If Osborne thinks that merely cancelling or postponing the annual 1p-a-litre tax rise on petrol will be a sufficient sop to beleaguered motorists, he’s gravely mistaken. Instead, he needs to go beyond this and reverse the VAT rise altogether, by using the extra £800 million brought in by the bank levy. (more…)

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John Woodcock argues the defence spending row exposes Osborne’s spin

19/07/2010, 09:19:51 AM

George Osborne may be flavour of the month in Conservative associations and media comment pages, but the latest spending row between him and Defence Secretary Liam Fox has underlined a major weakness that Labour must exploit.

This appears to be an administration intent on learning from New Labour’s mistake of coming too slow to the table with fundamental reform. There is a speed and ferocity with which the Tories, aided and abetted by the Lib Dems, are seeking to embed a new presumption that public spending is bad while eye-watering cuts are wholesome and necessary.

What has been signalled so far surpasses the shrillest of Labour’s pre-election warnings – warnings that were rubbished as scare-mongering. Prior to victory, the Conservative leader gave the impression you could get spending back into balance simply by taking a Kim and Aggie approach to government waste.

Yet for all they could rightly protest to have been deceived, the public are hardly manning the barricades or demanding a re-run of the election. Attitudes may change substantially once the cuts begin to bite, but Labour cannot just sit back and wait for that to happen.


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We campaign in poetry, said Mario Cuomo, here’s Gordon Watson’s take on the Coalition Budget

16/07/2010, 05:23:52 PM

Where on earth’s Horatius …….?
[After Horatius: A Lay made about the Year of the City CCCLX’.]
Dave Cameron and George Osborne,
  By Bullingdon they swore,
The cost of Public Services
  Should blight the rich no more.
By Bullingdon, George swore it,
  And named his Budget day,
And sent his minions scurrying forth
East and west and south and north,
  To make the poor man pay.

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Tuesday News Review

29/06/2010, 07:56:50 AM

Budget fall out

“Is Labour losing out on a star? Yvette Cooper has just impressed the Labour benches with a tour de force of a speech in the Commons in which she picked apart the budget for imposing “savage” cuts that are “nastier” than anything introduced by Margaret Thatcher.” – The Guardian

“Andrew George, the Lib Dem MP for St Ives, who tabled the Budget amendment, has told colleagues he does not want to trigger “nuclear war” in the party. But the Lib Dem leadership will be concerned that a rebellion may grow. Labour has begun targeting Lib Dem MPs with high numbers of poor voters. Ed Miliband, the shadow energy secretary, said it was “shameful” that the Lib Dems had supported “the most right-wing budget I can remember”. – The Telegraph

“Ed Balls, the Labour leadership contender, said last night: “Nick Clegg and Vince Cable warned of a Tory VAT bombshell in the general election but are now helping to deliver it. So it’s encouraging that two Lib Dem MPs have stood by their principles and voted against the most unfair and regressive tax rise of all.”” – The Guardian


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Sunday News Review

27/06/2010, 07:33:10 AM

All you need to know about the candidates in one place

“On 25 September the result of Labour’s leadership election will be announced at the party’s annual conference in Manchester, but what will this change of management herald for a new New Labour? We invited David Miliband, Ed Balls, Diane Abbott, Andy Burnham and Ed Miliband to talk politics, purse strings and the perfect night’s television.” – The Observer

Daily roundup highlights Liberal meltdown

“Nick Clegg is suffering a fierce public backlash over the coalition’s VAT rise, with almost half of Liberal Democrat supporters saying the tax U-turn makes them more likely to desert the party. A YouGov/Brand Democracy survey, which will alarm already restive Lib Dem MPs, shows 48% of those who voted Lib Dem at the election are now less inclined to back them again as a direct result of the increase in VAT from 17.5% to 20%.” – The Observer

“A senior Lib Dem MP confirmed that a number of disgruntled colleagues had “talked tactics” with Labour opponents over the possibility of at least obstructing key measures, including the increase in the rate of VAT from 17.5 to 20 per cent.” – The Independent


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Wednesday News Review

23/06/2010, 07:53:04 AM

Labour’s fightback

“While Labour fights a leadership contest and Lib Dems wonder whether they can change the voting system as a reward for their loyalty, Osborne needs to win the argument that his measures are “unavoidable” – a word that recurred in his speech as often as “progressive”. The term is another convenient one, implying that there is no other course and therefore challenge is futile. Margaret Thatcher famously argued in the 1980s that there was no alternative to her policies. Osborne did not repeat the phrase, but “unavoidable” has precisely the same meaning and serves the same purpose.” – The Independent (more…)

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Tom Copley says the Lib Dems are too soft for the hard budget

22/06/2010, 07:45:39 PM

Today’s budget was a typically Tory affair. Fresh from wielding the axe, George Osborne sat down to ecstatic cheers from Tory backbenchers delighted at his assault on the state.  The Lib Dem response was somewhat more muted. According to the Guardian, only one of their 37 backbenchers waved his order paper in approval.

Amongst the Lib Dem membership I imagine the response was even frostier. Lib Dem federal executive member, Richard Grayson, writes on Comment is Free that his party’s leadership has “abandoned the party’s centre left roots”. He is wrong – they have no roots to abandon. (more…)

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