Thursday, 13 March 2008

It's the government's money now...

I vaguely recall that when Ken Clarke was delivering his budgets as Chancellor of the Exchequer, he used to produce a bottle of champagne, and brandish it at the opposition benches, while announcing that, owing to tax cuts, it was "the last of the more expensive stuff". An amusing gesture, but surely he would have done better to wait until after the tax cut, and to have then gone out and bought the first of the cheaper stuff? On the other hand, for Clarke's successor Alistair Darling, getting the drinks in prior to the budget would make more sense:
Big increases in duty on alcohol and high-polluting cars have been announced by Chancellor Alistair Darling.

In his first Budget he put 4p on a pint of beer, 14p on a bottle of wine and 55p on a bottle of spirits. Duty on a packet of cigarettes is up 11p.

He announced a one-off £950 tax on the most polluting new cars but put a 2p rise in fuel duty back six months.

Wow. Thanks, O benevolent one!

Of course, it's not just drinkers, smokers, and drivers who are handing over more and more of their money to the government. Between 2000 and 2007, government spending as a share of GDP grew from less than 38% to over 45% - a quite phenomenal increase. The government is helping itself to more and more of our money each year. Consider this, from the Telegraph:
Middle-class families are paying an extra £1,250 a year after suffering the sharpest rise in their tax bill of any leading Western country over the past five years, figures show.

In a major blow for Alistair Darling hours ahead of his first Budget, comprehensive research has shown that the middle classes have shouldered one of the world's biggest increases in their tax since 2002.

During the same period the average tax burden in most countries actually declined, according to the report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development [OECD].

But British families with two children and one earner on the average wage saw their tax bill increase by some £1,243 between 2002 and 2007, based on the current median annual wage of £19,856.
The Telegraph asks its readers: "What should Alistair Darling do for the middle classes?". My suggestion: shoot himself in the head. And, to ensure that all sections of the community are represented, he should first shoot Gordon Brown for the working classes, and a cabinet colleague of his choice (Jacqui Smith, perhaps?) for the upper classes.

Of course, the Tories wouldn't be much, if any, better. They're committed to matching Labour's spending programme for at least three years. It seems that all three main parties regard the public as little more than a piggy bank, to be tipped upside down and rattled every time they want some more money to play with and, generally, waste.

1 comment:

muzzylogic said...

OT: As I expected, the race-hustler Dizaei has got what he wanted:

Senior Muslim officer is promoted

One of the country's most senior Muslim police officers has been promoted by the Metropolitan Police. Ali Dizaei is now a Commander and can now join the Association of Chief Police Officers, having previously been a Chief Superintendent.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/7297568.stm