Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Budget Day

It's Budget Day today, and if the Government is scratching around this morning for any last minute ideas here are just a few of my proposals. I thought I'd better blog about them as when Radio Lincolnshire came to ask me yesterday, Charlie did most of the talking.

So, Mr Osborne, for your consideration:

1. That hike on fuel duty from next month - you know, that 'inflation plus a penny' one. Well, scrap it. Come on, George, you've just admitted to the world that you've found an unexpected £8bn stuffed behind the Treasury sofa; so give motorists a break. It now costs us over £60 a fortnight just to fill up with fuel. We live in Lincolnshire; we have to drive to get anywhere. Or go on the train... but at over £30 a week that's hardly any cheaper.

2. Paternity leave: let's share the entitlement (as you're proposing) - and the pay. Let's be all 'Norwegian' about it, shall we? Research shows how necessary 'dads' are. The United Nations published a report only last week saying something similar. Because dads, you know, do lots of stuff. We fight crime, stop drug addiction, keep kids off the street and the country safe from alien invasion. Ok, maybe not the last one. But there's overwhelming evidence that in countries where parenthood is taken seriously and government policy reflects the importance of both parents, society as a whole is richer. And that's what you're after, George, isn't it?

3. Council tax. Look, I know it's not strictly part of the Budget. And I know it's being frozen. But it's being frozen at a rate that's sky high after seven successive years of increase. And I know local authorities are being squeezed. So here's a radical suggestion: do away with them. No, not the Town Hall employees (although I'm sure a few Chief Execs would not be missed) - the politicians. Do you know what they cost in expenses? Frightening. There could be a few less bobbies on the beat, a few more keepers in the park and a few more sweepers on the streets if there were fewer councillors.

4. University fees. Look, I know someone's got to pay but paying that much is ridiculous. I'm already hearing students saying they aren't even going to consider university next year. And why should they? Yes, I know they only pay when they earn enough; that's not quite the point is it? Families who've been paying school fees for the past ten years will probably regard it as a blessing; but for the rest, it'll be a deterrent. Do the maths, George. And ask yourself whether those hardship funds that Oxbridge colleges say they're setting up will make much of a dent in the collegiate wine budget?

5. Give the Scouts a break. I know not everyone's into 'dib dib dib-ing' but those that are could do without the swinging rent rises certain local councils have been imposing, like the one Banstead District Scout Group received from Reigate and Banstead District Council (up from the current £135 per annum to £10,500). Ask yourself what these kids are going to do when the scout troop folds? And how much that might cost. I'd guess it might even be more than the 8.3% pay rise Reigate and Banstead District Council awarded its chief executive in 2009/10. Reign 'em in, George!

Oh, and while we're at it @ModernMummyUK would like some wine, @northernmum1 would like some cake with hers, @Urbanvox would like an iPad, @NurseCazPink would like a decent salary and @LauraCYMFT wants full-time pay for part-time work. And so do I.

Mr Speaker, I commend this budget to the House.


  1. You get my vote. Will you be running at the next election?

  2. awesome - I love it, I will be eagerly awaiting the response!

    is it wrong of me to specify I would like rose wine and cake with that creamy butter filling, with those silver balls on the top?

    Is it also too late to ask for some milk as well - I am out this morning....


  3. Fantastic post, full of perfectly sensible ideas.

    Have to laugh at the suggestions from the tweets at the end, who possibly didn't know how you were going to pitch your post. It reminds me of this story (no idea if it's true or not)

    In December 1948, a Washington radio station asked various ambassadors what each would like for Christmas.

    "Peace throughout the world," the French ambassador requested. "Freedom for all people enslaved by imperialism," his Russian counterpart said. Then came the voice of the British ambassador, Sir Oliver Franks: "Well, it's very kind of you to ask," he remarked politely. "I'd quite like a box of crystallised fruit."

  4. Well, why not Steve? I couldn't make things any worse, could I?

    Not at all, Northernmum, be as specific as you like. I'm sure George Osborne has to cater for all kinds of whims from David Cameron.

    I love that story, Trish. It has to be true!

  5. Great post Tim! Jokes aside, I really hope the Chancellor looks at this budget seriously. These are hard times and whilst I think anyone that stepped into parliament had to clean up the mess the country was in so we can be better off in the future, we need a bit of help just now. £60 a fortnight on fuel is extreme!!

  6. Absolutely! It's as much what the money is spent on as how much, Laura. I'm still amazed local authorities can cut vital services and not only pay councillors their expenses but increase them!

  7. I'd just like a pay rise please


    Great post btw!

  8. Wouldn't we all, BNM, wouldn't we all. And thanks - glad you liked it!

  9. I hope you feel better for getting that all off your chest. Off with their heads, I say.

  10. I'd vote for all of those!

    Now we've heard the budget, what are we tax payers going to do with our extra £43 a year due to the change in tax allowance?

    It won't even fill my (tiny) car with petrol!!

  11. Ah, the cathartic effect of blogging Hazel. You can't beat it!

    Nor mine, Carol. But don't forget the generous 50p saving per tank that the Chancellor has spoiled us with by cutting fuel duty by a penny!

  12. Well said. We want Charlie for President ...ops, Prime Minister! Ciao. A.

  13. Oh, he wants to be KING Antonella!


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